The cot Lykos had set up for him was surprisingly comfortable. Lykos had purchased a pad, and folded a couple blankets atop that. Despite the fact that his hands had been shackled behind his back and his ankles secured together, he’d have passed a pleasant night if he hadn’t been dreading the events to come with the dawn. Lykos had gone deeper into the cave before sunrise. Christophe’s leash was fastened to the old track, meaning he couldn’t have followed even if his hands and legs had been freed.
He heard a sound and his stomach sank a little. Lifting his head meant he could see the shine of Lykos’s eyes as the man returned. Lykos had taken no light source with him into the dark. He didn’t appear to need one, though he left a lantern in the cave that sheltered them for Christophe’s benefit. He’d also left a flashlight next to the cot.
Lykos had brought with him what looked to be two pieces of metal railroad track. He also brought several other pieces of metal back with him. As Christophe watched, Lykos set to work. The dwarf used his finger to slice one of the track pieces in half, moving through hardened steel as easily as a hot knife moved through butter. Christophe half expected to see the metal glowing, but however Lykos worked the material didn’t seem to involve heat. He swallowed. “How do you do that?”
“How do you move your hand through water?” Lykos glanced over his shoulder at him.
“Water is a liquid. Not a solid.” Christophe sat up. “The basic state properties are different. I couldn’t move my hand through ice.”
“Ah. Science.” Lykos nodded. Then he shrugged. “Don’t think this is science.” He set one of the bars atop the longer one to make a cross-shape, then used his fingers to smooth the metal and join the pieces. He then added small circles of metal to each of the ends of the arms of the…
Christophe’s eyes widened. The arms of the cross. Lykos was making a steel cross. “Lykos —”
“It not yet dawn.” Lykos glanced over his shoulder. “You beg already?”
“You intend to kill me.” Christophe shook his head.
“Kill?” Lykos shook his head. “No. Young, healthy. Can live days on cross. Perhaps a week or more, if give you water.”
His body was started to shake a little. He clenched his fists to try to make the shaking stop. “I need a word.”
“Word?” Lykos blinked, then turned back to him. “What word?”
“So, you know the begging is real and not just reflex. Give me a word. I won’t mean anything I say except that word.” He dragged his eyes from the cross to meet Lykos’s. “Please, master.”
The nod Lykos gave him was one of approval. “Two words. Give you pause to think. Snow White.”
“Okay.” He drew in on himself, and took several deep breaths before watching Lykos finish his work.
He gave the small metal bar on the foot of the cross a critical look, then started work on the sedile. He added a probe, then shaped it a little thinner. He did not wish to damage Christophe. Lykos permitted himself a smile as he worked. He’d half expected Christophe to start begging already, and yet the young man had shown some surprising wisdom. Recognizing his weakness, and finding a way around it.
When he was finished, he stood. Christophe sat on the cot, watching him, his face pale. “You want eat first?”
“I…” Christophe gave a small shake of his head. “I think I’d just throw it up.” He swallowed, then pointed at the sedile. “What’s that?”
“Rest. Sit on, carry some weight. Help you last longer.”
“Thank…” Christophe stared at it, his eyes widening when he noted the probe. “Sit on?”
“Sit on.” Lykos came toward him and began unfastening the chains from the shackles. He kept hold of the locks. Then he rubbed Christophe’s neck. “Ready?”
“If I don’t do this…” Christophe looked up at him.
“Next time ask mercy…” Lykos shrugged. “Answer no.”
“Then yeah.” Christophe stood. The effect was ruined by the young man stumbling a bit. Lykos had to catch him before he tumbled forward, but after a couple deep breaths Christophe stood under his own power. “Yeah. I’m ready.”
“And if you do, you prove you are not weak. I let you suck my cock.” Lykos patted his shoulder encouragingly.
“I could have done without hearing that part.” Christophe started toward the cross.
He laid down where Lykos indicated. The cross was uncomfortable beneath his back, and he could feel the steel sedile between his legs. The probe on it touched against his ass, and he was almost unsuccessful in biting back a whimper. According to what he’d learned in English class, the word ‘excruciating’ came from crucifixion. At least Lykos was using the manacles, not driving spikes into his limbs. He spread his arms as Lykos instructed, and the man fastened the first wrist cuff to the crossbar. Despite his best efforts, he flinched when the lock clicked closed.
Christophe positioned his other arm anyway. This time he managed not to flinch at the lock closing. Lykos moved to his waist, and reached a hand between his legs. Christophe closed his eyes and took a couple deep breaths. He opened them again when Lykos spoke. “You want me prepare you first?”
“What?” Christophe blinked.
“Prepare hole, so slides in easier.” Lykos raised an eyebrow.
This was already going to be bad enough. No sense making it worse. Christophe hesitated a bit before nodding. “Yes?”
Almost immediately, he regretted that decision. Lykos put something on his fingers, then Christophe felt the man start to work a finger up into him. Lykos’s hands could cut apart metal, and… He couldn’t quite bite back a pained cry. “Shhh…” Lykos used his other hand to gently rub Christophe’s chest soothingly. “Only hurt for moment.”
It was strange. The man crucifying him was comforting him about the pain in… Christophe felt his dick twitch as Lykos put a second finger inside him, working them both. His skin started to redden with humiliation. Fuck, he could not seriously be enjoying this. And yet there he was, getting a goddamn erection. “I think I’m prepared enough.” He gritted his teeth.
Lykos smiled, but nodded. “Is your choice. Slow or fast?”
“Get it over with.” Christophe braced himself. He felt Lykos move him slightly to position him, and then the man yanked him down, impaling the probe up his ass. He bit back a cry that was more surprised than pained, and took several deep breaths as he tried to adjust to the feel of something shoved up inside him.
It took him a moment to realize Lykos had fastened his ankles to the cross and was walking back up to his head. “Ready?”
Another deep breath. Then he met Lykos’s eyes. Ten men had gone home to their families. He could take a day. Ten men were alive, and if he did this, then Lykos would spare others. Perhaps even his father. “Yes.”
The boy was brave. Lykos would give credit where it was due. The boy was already ten times the man his father was. He found himself hoping that Christophe could endure what was to come. His dick was already hard, and it was tempting to yank his captive off the cross and take him now. And yet, Christophe needed to prove something to himself almost as much as Christophe needed to prove his strength to Lykos. He lifted the cross, then focused his power to drive the metal into the stone.
Christophe’s cry of pain as the cross went upright was soft. There were no spikes to add grinding pain to the strain in shoulders and the fight for air. That was damage he hadn’t been confident of his ability to heal, not with a full day on the cross. Maiming Christophe didn’t suit him at all. He stroked a hand down Christophe’s leg. “Good boy.”
A small whimper came from the hanging man, then words. “Thank you.”
His arms and chest were burning. He had to lift himself up to breath, standing as long as his thighs would hold him. If he timed it well, he could lower himself back onto the sedile gently. If he didn’t, his legs gave out and he fell back onto it. That hurt far worse. The sedile served to keep the manacles from numbing his hands, but did little for the strain in his shoulders.
Lykos sat, watching. Christophe considered asking the man how long he’d been hanging, but dreaded that the answer would be measured in only minutes. He sought a focus, something to take his mind away from his body. The edges of his vision grayed a little, and instinctively he lifted himself back up to draw in air. Eleven lashes had made him give in, and he’d let Lykos put him on a cross. It was probably a good thing he hadn’t gone to med school, because clearly he was fucking stupid.
“Hydrogen.” He exhaled. “Helium.” He recited, dredging up the knowledge from high school chemistry. He’d memorized the song once, but didn’t have enough air for singing. Concentrating took his mind off what he was enduring. Not all the way. Just a little. “Rhodium. Palladium….” He frowned. Then he pushed himself upright again for more air. By the time his legs gave out, he’d forgotten what came next. “Shit.”
“Silver.” Lykos’s voice was soft.
“Silver.” Christophe nodded. “Cadmium.” He let himself drift, playing the song in his mind. The world swirled around him a little. He was doing pull-ups in boot camp, contemplating how to get himself kicked out. For the first time, it occurred to him that he could have just quit. Like he could quit now. Two words, and it was over. Snow white. I quit. “Europium. Gadolinium.”
Six hours. Christophe had hung on the cross for six hours. Halfway done. He’d expected the young man to last minutes at best. When his recitation had become hoarse, Lykos had given him water. Christophe had thanked him. He’d recited a hundred and eleven elements before saying he could never remember or pronounce the last seven.
Christophe rose up to fight for air again. His cock hardened and twitched when he sank back onto the probe. Lykos stood, looking up at him. Then he reached up and gently stroked the young man’s shaft. Christophe started to protest the action, but cut off with a low moan. Lykos smiled, and continued stroking him. Christophe squirmed, his head hanging a little as he danced on the cross. “What are you doing?”
“Doing good.” Lykos smiled. “Rewarding.”
“I…” Christophe let out another soft moan.
“Hush. Save strength and just enjoy.” He continued fondling the young man’s cock, feeling it twitching and pulsing in his hand.
There was confusion on Christophe’s face as he moaned again. His whole body jerked as he came, and he cried out. “God. Fuck.” Christophe panted before rising upward again to take a deep gulp of air.
He felt dizzy, then realized the cross was swaying. Lykos was lifting it out of the stone of the cave floor. “No.” Christophe shook his head as he mumbled in response. “No, I didn’t say the words. Lykos, please. I didn’t say the words.”
“Shh…” Lykos laid him on the ground, then stroked his cheek.
“Lykos, please. I didn’t say the words.” Christophe shook, shifting desperately as he gazed up at Lykos. “I didn’t…”
Gently, almost tenderly, Lykos bent and kissed him. “Is done.”
“It…” Christophe blinked. “It’s done?”
“Proud.” Lykos patted his cheek. “Strong.” He moved to unfasten the manacles.
Christophe tried to make himself focus, but the world seemed to float round him. It was done. He felt a smile come to his face. It was done. “I did it.” When the last manacle came loose, he tried to stand. His legs wouldn’t hold him. Lykos caught him, and swung him up into his arms. “I did it.” He smiled.
“Yes.” Lykos carried him over to the cot and set him on it. “How feel?”
“I…” Christophe swallowed. “Proud.” He nodded. “Strong.” He tilted his head, then found himself laughing hoarsely. “My ass hurts.”
Lykos fastened the chain to the collar, then to Christophe’s surprise, the man lay next to him on the cot and pulled Christophe to him tightly but gently. He kissed Christophe’s shoulder before draping an arm over him. “Proud. Strong. Tired.” He held Christophe close. “Sleep.”
“Yes…” Christophe felt himself fading. “Master.”