Midi a Minuit
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I do not know what it was Anita said to Jean-Claude that night. I admit, I was afraid to ask him. She walked out and sent me in, sent me to him. "Be safe," she said, touching my face, looking at me like all the answers might be written in the pattern of my scars, or perhaps the blue of my eyes. "Let him make you safe."

I shivered at the thought of even one hour in Musette's arms, let alone being given to her for their entire visit. Not all hurts are physical, and she would know just how to wring every ounce of agony from me without leaving a single mark. There was only one thing I could think of that would make me safe from her, but even that seemed too much to hope for from our Anita. Her unequal possessiveness of her lovers was sometimes more than I could bear, especially at times like this.

"What does she mean, safe, mon ami ?" I asked Jean-Claude once she had gone, pausing to admire him. The sight of Jean-Claude still took my breath sometimes, and tonight he radiated a tension that bubbled up in his gaze like fine wine, waiting to be savoured. It was a tension I thought I knew of old.

He stood and walked to me, stalked all around me just as I taught him to do, every bit of his grace and sensuality en homage to what we once were. It hurt, until he stopped in front of me.

Until he kissed me.

"She has given us leave to attempt to forge our relationship anew, but she is too..." He made a noise of frustration. "Anita is too much herself to join us."

I had given myself permission to enjoy the kiss despite my misgivings, but I froze at his words. "Is this opportunity, as they say, for one night only? Will it vanish with Musette?"

" Non, mon ami, non. I would not accept that, and she gave before our need, and our love. Tonight, she thinks she wants you to be safe more than she wants me to be hers alone. Tomorrow, we will hold her to it." Jean-Claude's hands were gentle as they slid up my arms, as they cupped my face. Like Anita, he paid no mind to the scars, though I could not tell if it was because he no longer minded them, or because he saw me whole through the eyes of memory.

With our lips touching once more, it did not matter in the slightest, just this once.

" Je t'adore, mon chardonneret ," he whispered.

" Je t'aime, " I replied, and finally I let myself touch.

His skin was full of stolen warmth, and the moment my fingers touched him another fire ignited between us, the familiar heat of Jean-Claude's ardeur . I had no qualms about being food for his lusts, for I knew what compensations he could offer the willing -- and I was tres, tres willing.

Besides, I had powers of my own to share.

"We must forge it all anew," he said again, tracing the lines of my face, both sides, with no room among the wonder and love in his eyes for the disgust and horror I had grown to expect. "There is no Julianna, no Anita."

"No one to hide behind," I said, and kissed him again, chest and groin both aching with needs that only Jean-Claude could fulfill the way I so desperately needed them to be fulfilled.

A part of me hated that desperation, and hated even more that this moment we were given was only by Anita's grace, but the rest of me shoved her aside and drowned myself in the midnight sea of Jean-Claude's eyes.

" Mon chardonneret , you will finally be mine in truth," he whispered, and in that moment I knew that I was not the only one who had been hurting and desperate.

It was a good feeling.

" Mon minuit ," I whispered against his lips, just to feel him groan with the pain of memory. It was a little cruel, but then, we are what we are. I slipped my hands into his clothing with a grace I did not feel, my fingers remembering a deftness long unused.

"Midnight is long past," whispered Jean-Claude, and between us we made short work of our clothing. There were no games between us until the very end, when I could not help but make him pause before the final revelation.

" S'il vous plait ," he begged, no shame left in him, just need and want and old, old pain.

"So formal," I whispered, even as he dropped to his knees before me and ran his cheek over the blue silk of my underwear, his eyes very blue next to the straining fabric. I couldn't help but shiver at the sight of it, knowing that a part of me had chosen them just in case such a thing might happen. That I had dressed every day since arriving here, hoping.

" Je t'en prie, mon midi ," he amended, gaze full of everything I'd ever wanted to see there.

"Noon will never come for us again," I said, smoothing a hand through his thick curls, and then finally I nodded. "See what has been wrought of my body at the hands of humanity."

He kissed the tip of me through the fabric, then pulled it down with his eyes closed and rubbed his cheek against the length, once, before sitting back to look. The wonder filled up his gaze, pushing away the pain and leaving nothing but joy in its wake. "You are whole."

I nodded, bending down and down to kiss him with every ounce of passion welling up inside me. "I am whole, and I am yours." My words were soft but I could see that he heard every bit of meaning them when I stepped back to look down at him, his pale darkness a mirror of my golden beauty. Or at least, of the beauty that had once been whole. I did not wish for him to truly mirror me, not even in my most hateful dreams of vengeance.

He looked up my body from toes to crown and nodded. "I want you to have me, mon chardonneret ."

"Will notre petite belle not mind that I have been where she cannot go?" I asked, though of course I had beaten her to it by many centuries already.

He shrugged, and I laughed. "If she does," he said, standing up to press the full length of our bodies together once more, skin to skin, "then it is her problem." He kissed me deeply, enough that I felt his hunger beating against me like a gentle flame, eager to consume me.

"You say that now," I said, but didn't give him time to protest. I devoured him in kisses, careless fangs nicking us both until blood mingled in our mouths like the most piquant cocktail, not food but merely an added spice to our long-awaited meal. I couldn't feed on him, not his blood, but just as I could be food for his incubus, so could he feel the shiver of my power touching him in ways no mere human could ever hope to duplicate.

He returned the favor, using his voice to whisper sweet nothings in French, to caress the inside of my aura as though it were another sex organ. We kissed and kissed, and it was only when he pulled me down onto him that I realized he'd been slowly moving us toward the bed. Jean-Claude had always been able to make me forget everything, but it was so much worse, so much better now with nothing between us but the pain and scars we both carried, the love we'd shared for so long and the lust that flared brighter and hotter than ever.

He slid up the silk of the sheets and spread himself wide for me, opening himself willingly in a way that tugged on many things, groin and heart and memory alike. I should have known that even this could not be simple between us. "How long has it been?" I asked, wondering how we would manage his desires without any more pain than necessary.

He chuckled. "I have not forgotten how it goes, mon amour ," he said, with such a proprietary air that I was glad we were alone, so I knew it was all for me. "The things we need can be found in the bathroom, if you wish."

"I do wish," I said, and then I cheated a little and used every ounce of speed I could muster to swoop in, retrieve the slick modern lubricant and plant myself back between his thighs. I couldn't trick him or move any faster than he could follow, but it still made his eyes flare with heat to see me so eager for him. That was worth expending a little extra energy.

I kissed the top of his foot, then worked my way upward, licking and kissing and biting, though not for blood as much as the sensation, the sounds he made when he felt me nip and tease and sink fangs into his white, sweet flesh. I used my mouth on his entrance, letting myself think of how it had become truly a sexual organ now, of use only in pleasure now that his body fed in other ways. The puckered skin had the faintest flush of pink to it, and as I licked and kissed and even sucked at the wrinkled, tender flesh, it grew soft and wet and rosy, like a mouth that had been kissed to bruising.

I had forgotten what it was to give pleasure to him, and know without a doubt that his body wanted it as much as mine.

" S'il te plait , Asher, no more teasing," said Jean-Claude, finding his voice while I gazed at this most intimate part of him.

One last lick and I got my fingers slippery, finding that my lover had chosen a very good brand indeed. "I would chide your impatience, but I know that the dawn will not wait for us to take our pleasure," I murmured as I did so, and then I slid up his body, curling around him. I sank fingers inside for the first time in centuries, feeling the silken grasp of him as I had begun to think would only ever be a memory for me. " Mon minuit, mon amour ," I murmured between kisses, the first one of Belle's pet names for us, but one that held as many memories of pleasure as of pain, at least for me in this moment. She called us her midnight and her noon, when she wasn't calling us other, less savory things.

When she called us at all.

I shoved her away as well, not wanting to call her to us, wanting this moment to be for the two of us and no other. " Je t'aime, je t'aimerai toujours ," he said against my mouth, promising things that we could both only hope he could deliver.

I was his second, but that had not been enough to keep me safe from Musette, let alone Belle. Now I was also his lover, and it was an irony that I was also his second in this.

I no longer wanted to think of safety, however, only of the sweet surrender of Jean-Claude's body. "Are you ready for me, mon coeur ?"

He laughed, breathless and warm, and it caressed my body in ways that were achingly familiar, tugging a gasp of desire from my lips. "I have been ready for centuries, mon chardonneret ."

There was something in his tone that told me that he would have accepted me into himself without anything to ease the pain except his own blood, his own need, and I was glad I had taken the time to pleasure him as I had. Some time very soon, I thought, we would take all night together, the two of us, and do nothing but drown in the pleasure that two such as we can create.

A little more of the wonderfully slick stuff, and the foreplay was over. I sank into the depths of him and Jean-Claude's body was hot around me, though I could remember times when he had still been cold as Belle ordered me to take him. No one had ordered this, however, and I was free to hook those long, white legs over my shoulders, to fold him in half as I leaned down for one more kiss, to watch his face go slack with the pleasure of it, of us.

I thrust my power into him along with myself, and he returned the favor, letting his incubus, his ardeur flow over us and drive our passions to the brink. Every sound of pleasure came with a caress of power, every inward glide of flesh was accompanied by an equal measure of my own magics, and it took all that we were to let it build and not succumb too fast. It wasn't until I felt the press of dawn so close that I could taste it in my throat that we both let go, spending ourselves in a glorious burst of energies as if by silent accord.

" Je t'aime ," I whispered, finding his lips one more time, curling against him, flesh to flesh.

He just had time to pull the sheet over us both before the sun took us away, the sound of his answering, " Je t'aime ," still lingering in the air.

Title: Midi a Minuit
Fandom: Anita Blake books
Pairing: Jean-Claude/Asher
Rating: NC-17
Warnings: Slash, implied canon het, rimming, vampire porn, and gratuitous use of French
Summary: Jean-Claude takes steps to make Asher safe. AU from Cerulean Sins.
Acknowledgements: Thank you to antumbral for the beta, and isidore13 for checking my French. Written for MystikHeather in Yuletide 2008.

All of the works contained herein are labours of love, unauthorized by those who hold the rights to such things, and no profit is made from them. No harm is meant, and hopefully no offense given.