a shadow will overthrow it [M!!!!]

also: death themes, nudity, sexual situations, dubious consent


Nobody raised their voice to Electra. Even her mother, in her fits of rage, had known to keep her volume in check.

“I would give anything to be so hollowed,” she retorts in a hiss, over a lip that trembles faintly beneath the strain of this admission, the rage at being spoken to like this. He is impossible to her, incomprehensible, either unaware or totally unconcerned with her breeding and status. He is not afraid of her – not afraid to be angry with her. Would he have been, if he were alive? “But even in death I will not be permitted to forget.” It is a good thing they cannot touch, she thinks – she is deeply aware of the tension running through him, from the angle of his jaw down his chest, through his arms, turning his knuckles white, and she does not know whether she wants to strike him or shake him or kiss him.

Even as she stands before him, moments later, she does not know.

And it is a curious thing, this duality. She is angry with him, but not because he looks at her; not because he wants her, even while she fashions herself a demon he must confront. Not because he clings to his dignity even as she has discarded hers, like a childish thing. Not because he judges her for it.

“You think this is seduction? Sex is a horse we trade for power,” she counters dismissively, but the waver in her voice betrays her. For this is the wellspring of her anger – it was not meant to be this way. In the month she had been waiting, the many nights she had spent tangled in dreams of him, she had never considered that this might be their reunion. And she should have. “I was meant to trade this body to increase the power of others. If I must package it in trust to make you see, it is no worse than what Fate meant for me. And we do so enjoy spitting at Fate, do we not?” Even if Fate always reasserted herself.

Even if Fate always reminded her: to love is to destroy.

So she is expecting it, when he closes off. She is expecting the way he pivots from the heat of a paramour to the cool indifference of an embalmer, regarding her like a corpse to be prepared. She is expecting it, but the pain of it is so sharp she is left momentarily breathless, the tiny smothered whimper in her throat the only evidence that she remains alive. For the first time, she finds herself unable to meet his eyes.

He accepts. It was always going to be this way.

“That sounds no different than the agreement we already have,” she answers spitefully, misreading him, her gaze finally lifting to his with an expression that is equal parts petulance and weariness. But something in his eyes makes her pause. Makes her anger flare with fresh heat. Do you understand? She does not; the intensity of his stare does not match the distance in his voice. He is demanding an answer from her, a clearer confirmation than the one she has provided, and she wrestles her frustration into a clipped “Yes.” He nods, as if this is a call to action. The light dims beneath his command.

Her mouth falls open when he speaks next.

“What?” She demands, her haughtiness crumbling beneath genuine surprise. Her head turns in the direction he has indicated, then back to him warily, chin dipping. “For what possible reason?” But he answers only with an expectant lift of his brows, and she finds the force of his expression brokers no resistance from her. There is something forbidding about him, suddenly, and even though she knows he cannot harm her, she is afraid. And yet…

A chill ripples over her that does not feel quite like fear, and she finds herself climbing onto the bed with careful, hesitant movements, casting suspicious glances at the ghost over her shoulder, at the deepened shadows in the corners of the room, at the door, as if someone might catch her in this act of utter lunacy. She lays evenly on top of the coverlet, her back propped by the riot of colorful silk cushions, her hands folded neatly on her lap. If the situation were different, she might have looked like a scene from a painting.

She suspects she rather looks like an offering on a plate, instead.

“This is ridiculous,” she mutters to herself, dragging her legs apart peevishly and crossing her arms over her middle, avoiding looking at him directly until the pressure of his attention forces her gaze. His expression transfixes her; the dim light casts his face in sharp planes of light and shadow, and his eyes are so black they are swallowed by the darkness. The Jack she thought she knew – sweet and charming and deferential – has been replaced by someone menacing. Dangerous. So she is watching him, hypnotized, as he moves closer, and issues a command so startling it takes her several seconds to process it.

“You can’t be serious.”

His eyes say yes, he is.

Electra has no answer for it. She lays pinned beneath his stare like a butterfly to a mat, her breathing tremulous and her eyes wide, so shocked by him that she cannot summon a response – not least of all, because he has caught her in her lie. She does not know where his lips would land; she has never been “ravaged” and has never expected to be. The gentle ministrations of her slaves, always limited to what might instruct her without marring too much, had not prepared her for such a demand upon her imagination. She has only her dreams of him to guide her, and she realizes with a flush of color in her cheeks that he will know, in moments he will know, how limited her experience really is.

Her hand lifts, hesitates. To touch her own lips would seem childish, she thinks; she does not want to embarrass herself by revealing her innocence so quickly. So she rests a finger on her neck instead, lets it trail a path across her collar bone, then, boldly, down the arc of one breast. It stops, trembling, before it reaches her nipple. Her breath hitches.

She cannot let him see her weak. Her thumb circles where her finger would not, crests down across her sternum, around her navel, lands pointedly on the boney apex of her hip. Her chin lifts challengingly, but the gesture is marred by the visible constriction of her throat.

“Like this?” she asks casually, or tries to.

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