by Te
June 19, 2003

Disclaimers: Not even close to mine.

Spoilers: Fourth season Buffy, pre-X2.

Summary: A day at the circus.

Ratings Note: NC-17.

Author's Note: I'm amazed by the number of people
who really aren't at all surprised by the fact that I
felt the need to do this pairing.

Acknowledgments: To Branwyn for audiencing and
getting my head in the right place, to Jenn for finding
them cute, and to Molly just because.

Feedback: Always.


Ethan has always rather liked circuses.

Despite the often militaristic degree of order needed to
make the shows go off with as few hitches as possible,
there's always something... just a bit closer to his tastes.

A child crying instead of laughing at the sight of the
oh-so-friendly clown. Grease fires at the concession
stands. Tumblers tumbling down and down and *down*
with a meaty wet *whack* to the sawdust and wood.

And it doesn't *always* have to be gruesome -- though
too much enforced cheer often tempts Ethan to help
the accidental carnage along. For an example, one could
meet all sorts of interesting people at circuses these

Lithe little girls who 'swallow' fire whose that a closer
look reveals came from somewhere far sweeter.
Impressively flexible boys in pancake makeup.

And... this one.

Presumably male, and a truly fascinating shade of blue.
Supposedly makeup, right down to those needles for
teeth, but... no.

He's sweating as he flips and jumps -- far too high --
and the blue isn't so much as smudging. Ethan opens
himself a little, just a crack in the door-jamb of his soul,
and *feels*.

Yes, there are demons present, but they all appear to
be in the audience. A gentleman with a rather
impressive hat. Random people in a scatter too far away
for him to pinpoint properly.

Absolutely nothing from the 'incredible' Nightcrawler.

And that was... interesting, yes, definitely interesting,
but the world is a fluid place, and time spent locked up
in a nasty American military prison in the nasty,
American desert hadn't stopped it from flowing.

The world is moving, and taking humanity with it. It's
enough to make a lesser man quail.

Ethan is only a lesser man for the right people.

Backstage, there are large, tattooed men working
security. They assure him in no uncertain terms that
The Incredible Nightcrawler is far, far too busy for
autographs. Ethan offers them a distinct lack of
certainty for their trouble, and leaves them wandering
vaguely through the crowd of heavily-sugared
children and harried parents.

The Nightcrawler's dressing room is at the end of the
hall, just a small door, bare of decoration. It seems
like a shame -- the man had certainly had his share
of star-power out in the ring.

Ethan knocks and plasters on what he hopes is a
mostly harmless expression. It's been a long time,
and his face... He is thinner than he was before, and
he thinks his cheekbones say more about how he's
spent the last few years than he'd prefer.

The door opens easily, without care, and he is face
to face with a small, blue man -- more indigo than
he'd been in the harsh lights of performance.


The accent is German, the golden eyes somewhat

"Forgive me, I was not expecting visitors. I am still
in costume..." A quiet flourish of a gesture with a
three fingered hand.

And that's just... adorable, really. Ethan grins. "Come
now, you don't have to pretend with *me*."

The man dips his head and smiles mischievously up
at him through long, sooty eyelashes. Raises one
thick, clawed finger up to his mouth and gestures
Ethan in with the other.

So *trusting*. How long had it been? "Thank you,"
he says, and steps into the small, crowded room.
Shuts the door behind him and gestures for a small,
but effective locking charm.

"You are welcome, Mister...?"

"Rayne. Ethan Rayne, at your service." He bows
slightly, from the waist, and gets a wide, sharp smile
for his trouble. Sharp only in terms of teeth. Innocence
rolls off the man in waves, for however old he might

"Kurt Wagner." A showier bow. "But I am afraid I still
don't know..."

Ethan raises his hands. "Just a fan, albeit a... curious

"Yes?" Wide-eyed and open enough that Ethan could
just reach *in*...

"Well, to start with... why aren't you out there greeting
your fans?"

Something Ethan's sure would be a blush on a
lighter-skinned man. Perhaps someone powder-blue? The
tail lashes in a way that could probably be dangerous,
given the right impetus. "We are new here to your
country, yes? It is... not always politic to send the mutants

Mutant. Another word being bandied about far more
often these days. There were demons out there just
*waiting* for the chance to call themselves mutants...
waiting for a better political climate. It will surely be
interesting. "It seems a shame to keep you cooped up
in here alone," he says, and tries a slower smile.

"Well, *you* had no trouble finding me, yes? And
please, sit down." A gesture at a small, sprung-looking
couch that still managed to be the room's most
comfortable-seeming piece of furniture. "You must tell
me how you managed to get past security."

Oh, he doesn't think *so*. "They seemed rather

Kurt nods as if Ethan's said something for more
substantive. "Well. I am glad that you did. It can be
hard to go from performing to..." An illustrative
gesture at the cramped little room. "Nothing."

And indeed, the man does seem rather... keyed up.
"I imagine so. What do you do when you *are*
allowed to leave your dressing room?"

Another probable blush. "Ah, I have few hobbies. I
go to church, I go to the library..."

And how *had* anyone managed to avoid plucking
this one up and away. "The library? To have fun?"

Another mischievous look. "Well. Sometimes I go

Ethan leans in and raises an eyebrow. "Church

A smile far too ominous for its intent. Ethan can't help
wondering if Kurt has ever *used* those teeth. "Ah,
now you are teasing. I will have you know some
church socials can be quite a good time. Lovely ladies,
*devout* ladies... they all still like to dance..." A
perfectly, falsely earnest expression. "But no, there
are clubs that welcome even people such as me."

Really... "Back in Germany?"

A quick nod. "Oh, I did not even ask. You are from
England, yes?"

Ethan smiles. "I've been in America for quite a while,

"In Boston? We will be here for a few more weeks, and
I do not even know where to go."

And to be honest, Ethan can think of any *number* of
places such a treat as this one would be welcome.
But... perhaps not yet. "Well, Boston isn't one of my
favorite cities, to be honest, but there are a few places
more... welcoming of difference than others."

"Do you know many mutants, Ethan?"

"Mutants...? No. But my life has been rather filled with
things outside the norm." Let me tell you what wonders
can be done with military men and a touch of magic...

And at that Kurt looked at him narrow-eyed and amused.
"I think you are thinking more than you are saying. I
am... not so innocent as I seem, Ethan."

And is there anything more beautiful than a truly young
heart? "Then in that case, you would not mind my
saying that you are a very attractive man, Kurt."

A blink, and a nearly comical look of surprise, all wide
eyes and rounded mouth. "Oh! Oh..." A string of
German, too fast to be comprehensible beyond Kurt's
obvious embarrassment and equally obvious...

And what *is* that, exactly...? "How long has it been,
Kurt? Really, if you can't so much as leave your dressing

Another beneath-the-lashes look. Far too pretty. "I do
not think we know each other well enough for such

And there are all sorts of ways to respond to that, but
there are times when Ethan prefers to be direct. He
reaches out and catches the beginning of the rune on
the tip of Kurt's nose. Traces it up over his forehead
and over his cheek. "Why wrath on your face, liebchen?
Is there so much anger in you?"

Kurt blinks again, and leans away. Not very quickly.
"I... you know what they mean? My scars?"

"There are more of them? And I know... many runes."

Kurt dips his head and... doesn't shiver. But his tail is
lashing again. "One for every sin..."

Mm. An invitation in shyness. "So many..." Why, he
could think of dozens to perform right here, given the
proper impetus. He presses his thumb to Kurt's chin,
and enjoys the hard ridges of scar tissue. Enjoys the
way Kurt's eyelids dip more. "You didn't answer my

A moment's pressure against his thumb as Kurt leans
back against him, and then he blinks, tail slashing just
above the detritus on the unused makeup counter.
"What? I..."

Ethan holds in the sharper portions of his smile. "Why
wrath for your face?"

"Oh. I..." Strange, hard-looking hands winding and
squeezing at each-other. "It seemed like something to
remember. The... the dangers of it, yes?"

Ethan nods, uncurls from the couch and stands in front
of Kurt's little stool. Traces over his forehead into dark,
sweat-damp curls. "And do you get angry very often...?"

"Ethan, you are..."

He catches the curls in a grip on the kind side of pain
and sends a hint -- the barest touch -- a compulsion out
through his fingertips. "Answer the question."

"I... no. Not anymore. But when I was young..."

"You were alone, and the world didn't see you as you
saw yourself...?"

"So much *fear*..."

In Kurt's accent, the word has two syllables. Ethan has
to tilt his head up, brush the fingers of the hand he isn't
using to hold him still to touch the soft mouth, slack
with confusion, and perhaps just skin-hunger, simple
and sweetly pathetic. "And is fear carved on your skin,

Kurt looks up, searches out Ethan's eyes and holds
them with something between pleading and focus. "I
am not often frightened."

With, perhaps, the unspoken 'but I am right now?' Ethan
smiles, as gently as he can manage, and crouches before
Kurt. Pushes his colorfully-clad thighs apart and moves
in close. "Will you show me what you are?"

"Ethan..." And Kurt is frowning, but he's also undressing.
The rather fabulous coat hits the floor, followed by the
vest and the damp and exuberantly decorated shirt.
Beneath is only skin, and carefully carved runes.

"Oh, lovely..."

This time he does shiver, but doesn't try to cover himself.
Spreads his arms like a martyr, instead, and closes his

There are so many cruel and cutting things that could be
said, but Ethan doesn't feel the need to voice any of
them. "I wish I had known you before you did these,
Kurt... I would've liked to help."

Ethan smiles into Kurt's shocked and shocky eyes and
presses a kiss over his solar plexus. Licks at a ridge of scar
and does it again when Kurt gasps.

"Do you like that...?"

A tremor, just beneath the skin. "I... I..."

Ethan used the flat of his tongue to trace one of the spirals,
then simply moves over to one small, hard nipple. "It's all
right," he breathes. "I promise." And bites down.

And then those strange, wonderful hands are on his head,
trying and failing to get a hold in his too-short hair, and
then simply moving over his head. Palms flat to his
cheeks, a claw scratching gently, so gently over the back
of his neck. "Ethan... I. It feels..."

Ethan lets his own hand press flat to Kurt's belly, searching
and stroking and... finding. Yes. It's been a very long time
since Judeo-Christian magic has appealed in any way, but
it's worth the time it takes to shape his mouth for rusty
Hebrew when the rune flares hot beneath his palm and

Shakes like he's being electrocuted.

Ethan pulls back to watch, ducking when the man's tail
sends a bottle of something flying toward his head.
Opening his arms to catch him when he falls off the stool,
panting and jerking.

"What... I don't... oh God --"

Another whisper of power and Kurt's hips move with an
easy, ragged grace, thrusting and pushing for contact.
And Ethan can give. Tugs open the ridiculous pants and
pushes down disappointingly ordinary boxers and takes
Kurt in hand. Hard and long and thick and wet at the tip.

Uncut, foreskin soft and faintly, surprisingly velvety
against his palm.

"Mmm, Kurt. You *are* happy to see me..."

"What... what are you *doing*?"

Ethan wraps his free arm around Kurt's waist and pulls the
man, pliant and unresisting, into an unsteady straddle of
his thighs. Leans in and fucks the pointed ear with his
tongue. "Pretty one... one of the first things they teach
you when you learn graphomancy is never to offer your
body to any rune you don't wish to experience

"Oh God, I... I can't..." And Kurt falls back, hitting the floor
with a painful-sounding thump, but not even pausing to
wince before he's spreading his legs. Unmistakable
offering and it's the easiest thing in the world to crawl
over him, to undo his own trousers, and get himself out
and in hand and pressed close, pressed *hard*

Ethan runs his hands over the rough scars and smooth
skin, up over the lean chest and the tensed throat, and
Kurt is out of words.

If it's a prayer, it's a filthy one -- and just exactly what
Ethan wants to hear. He holds Kurt down by the
shoulders and gets their hips lined up and... moves.

He can tease the man -- the *boy* -- all he wants about
it having been a while, and it's true that he's never had
particular trouble finding bed-partners, even ones who'll
let him (consciously or not) work his little tricks and

But this... this is something special.

An innocent in his hands and under him, crying out to
God in multiple languages and flaring and burning them
both with his own unwitting magic.

God, a *lust* rune, carved in blood and scarred in flesh
and Ethan doesn't even have to renew the spell. Just...
ride it out. Ride *him* out, and oh, such a sweet boy.
Curling his legs around Ethan and reaching for him.

Looking for connection, or perhaps just more simple
carnality. It doesn't matter. This is... this is a little moment
of beauty. Cold floor, stink of popcorn, and all. He stops
thrusting just long enough to kiss the slack and dangerous
mouth, cutting his tongue mostly on purpose and bleeding
a little of himself down Kurt's throat.

"So good -- so --"

And then he has to move, faster and harder and -- ah. Hot
splash on his belly, coating his cock, and it just makes it
better. Hotter.

Shaky little aftershock moans from the man beneath him
and the seemingly endless pulse and flare of the rune on
his belly and Ethan can feel it building, feel his body
tensing, feel his *magic* tensing, like wire stretched over
a flame.

Shifts one arm for better position and Kurt moves faster
than he would've guessed the man could manage after
coming like that. Catches his thumb in his mouth and
scrapes ever so lightly with those sharp, sharp teeth
before sucking it down, mouthing wet and dirty and
Ethan thinks to himself:

Good *boy*...

And comes gasping, making a mess between them and
letting himself fall into it.

His shirt will be ruined, but Kurt has an interesting
selection of outerwear for him to peruse.

Mm. When he feels like moving. Kurt's still sucking his
thumb, making sweet little sounds of appreciation and
shifting and moving beneath him. Clutching Ethan when
he moves to roll off. Clutching Ethan with his *tail*.

Which is just as new as it should be.

"All right, I'll stay here..."

And Kurt... giggles. Sounding somewhere between stoned
and utterly shocked. "I think... I think that would be a
good thing. Yes." Strokes Ethan's back with his tail.

Ethan has a moment where he has to think back to the
compulsion spell and wonder just how strong it *really*
was, but then Kurt rolls them onto their sides and looks
at him with a kind of lambent, clear-eyed earnestness.
Ethan offers him a closed-mouth smile of satisfaction, and
gets a broad and mildly terrifying grin in return.

"Perhaps next time we can try the couch?"

Has to laugh. "Well, I wouldn't want to *presume*. We
haven't known each other for very long, after all..."

Light smack, again with the tail. Really, Kurt could give
a man *ideas*... "You must tell me what you did with
my... runes, yes?"

Not as innocent as he seems. Right... "Just what did
you *do* at your church socials, anyway?"

Another giggle. "There is much pleasure in the world
for the religious man, Ethan."

Which is... not very far from his own beliefs, at all. "Is
that so?"

"Oh, yes." Another roll, and Kurt is on top of him, tail
sketching what could very well be *more* runes in the
air. Easier to watch the dark face, and the widening
smile. "I think you are a very interesting man, Ethan.
I look forward to having conversations with you." Out
of sight, the tail wraps around his knee. Squeezes.

It is entirely possible he's underestimated the incredible
Nightcrawler. Ethan grins back. The world is just *full*
of surprises. "That can be arranged..."

Slow, quietly happy nod. "Good. But first... let me show
you how I kiss. And this time you will not hurt your

And it's slow, and sweet, and just a little painful on
some level Ethan doesn't particularly want to examine
at the moment. Kurt's tongue tastes like chocolate, like
coffee and the barest hint of Ethan's own blood.

Yes, the circus has all sorts of things to offer an enterprising