by Nix Winter
All rights reserved
Note: These are the characters from Redeem Me.. and a few other stories on my website :)
Corey rested his hands against the shower wall. Warm water ran through red hair, guided by long strands down his back. In college, he’d been a long distance runner, but that felt so very far away. Since those days, he’d fallen in love with the devil himself, killed for him, run from him, finished seminary, come back to him, committed more acts of blasphemy in the confessional and everywhere else in the church than he could rightfully count, and he still loved his devil. He’d trusted God with his heart and his best intentions, with the well being of his devil, and the world had almost taken his sweet devil anyway.
Things had been getting better. The fragile bubble of hope for healing had held for a couple of months, but then had come this sudden trip to India and two days into it communication had dwindled. It was very hard not to think that August was on a binge again. There had been a time when the drug August wanted most was a red headed Irish blooded priest.
A year and a half after August had been kidnapped by some of the darkest beings on Earth, Corey wasn’t sure if they’d saved August or not. Somedays his husband was almost his husband, and some days the fear that his love was lost to drugs and sorrow, to a grief that would never heal, ground at his soul. His service to people went on and he did all he could to help his husband, but there were moments when he felt that he was losing himself like grains of sand slipping away. August could be really lost and this slow, agonizing depression and death were just the last rites. That August had found salvation in fighting human trafficking just didn’t ring true to Corey, hadn’t from the moment the idea had come out of his husband’s beautiful mouth.
He leaned forward, pressing his forehead against the smooth stone wall of the shower. There was just no strength left. Perhaps mortal sin was contagious... the mortal sins of those who had taken August had soaked into the skin and he was cut off from God’s grace. Of course, getting excommunicated from the Church could have had something to do with that too. He was really glad he hadn’t had some conversations with the bishop. ‘Yes, Father, I did have sex with an atheist lawyer in the confessional, but I didn’t actually keep track of the number of times, and yes, in the backyard, under the tree too...’
“Father, I am a fucking asshole most of the time, but I’m well intended, and bless me father for I have sinned,” August said, a hand pressing against the steamed up shower door.
“You were never any good at that,” Corey said, surprised at the rush of joy he felt at hearing August’s voice. “The part about how you’re an asshole comes in your confession. The part where you say who you are might go like, ‘Father, I’m a married man. I married one of your devoted priests and got him kicked out of the church.”
“I don’t really see how that’s much less of a sin in the Catholic judicial system, but I would argue that I am an asshole by nature, so it’s not actually an action, so it doesn’t count as a sin, per se, so it would belong in my description of who I am. You okay?”
Corey sighed, but lifted his head from the shower wall. “When did you get back?”
“Plane touched down a couple hours ago. I’ll tell you all about it,” he said as he toed his shoes off.
A rush of cooler air swirled around Corey’s legs, tightening his ass. “What? What are you doing?” Corey asked turning around and finding himself in August’s arms.
“Getting into the shower,” August said, as if it were the most obvious thing ever. Water darkened his hair, pasting long brown lengths to the side of his face, tangling them with his tie. Water ran down his face, soaked into his white shirt, into a black and silver paisley tie, down over fine black wool slacks. “I have thought of you endlessly since I left. I would have called, but the Indian authorities confiscated my phone and it seemed very prudent to get on the plane.”
“Oh, I bet that’s a story,” Corey said softly, fingers running over August’s face, to brush up to the silver at his temples. “Now, please understand, you’re standing in the shower with me in a thousand dollars worth of clothes and you haven’t checked-in in four days. Are you on a binge?”
August leaned in, pressing Corey to the wall for a moment, and kissed him, tender, questing kisses on shower warmed lips. “Now, how did I know you were going to ask? It’s like you’re married to a fucking lawyer or something?”
Corey groaned, pressed hard against his husband, fingers buried in his longer hair. “Yeah, imagine that. So, answer the question.”
“Turn around,” August said, nibbling Corey’s ear, “I’ll show you.”
It took all of Corey’s will do turn around. One of the hard boundaries he’d drawn is that he wouldn't share certain intimacies if August hadn’t been clean for at least seven days. Turning around just made it all the harder to give out the no that he was afraid he needed to be giving. Seminary delayed for nearly three years and sex in the church for way more than that, but when it came to August’s health, he found he could actually say no, which didn’t make it easy. So there he stood in his shower, with an obviously very interested August pressing hot wet clothing to him and all he could do was keep his eyes closed and wish the moment of no wasn’t coming.
“Open your eyes, Corey,” August whispered, his voice a shiver down Corey’s spine like all the ancient fae promising all that was wicked and delicious. “I haven’t done anything sinful in your domain. I promise.”
His heart half caved in. He wanted so much to believe that. There was no way forward, except forward though so he opened his eyes, mouth opening as well to deliver the boundaries, but there was a still sealed drug test held between two elegant hands. August licked his ear, as he broke the seal on the very high tech little testing device. Making sure to keep it out of the water, he pricked himself. The little drop of red truth traveled down the rabbit hole and a moment later the verdict pronounced him clean for sixty-two days. “There?” August said, taking a moment to bite Corey’s neck then the back of his neck before nuzzling his face in red hair. “Are we good now? Can I get undressed now?”
“Oh yeah,” Corey said, turning to take the kiss to his lover, his husband, the cocky, arrogant, pain of man that he loved with all his being. Pinning him against the other wall, he growled. “And then I can deliver your penance.”
“Good,” August shivered, as he threw his wet shirt and tie out the door. “I’m very penitent. You’ll see.”