Alex's mother wasn't happy that he was going back to the city early. "Are you sure you don't need a few more days?" She pleaded.
"I'll use the extra time to catch up on my classes," Alex told her.
She sighed, and packed him a small box of index-card recipes. She gave him some money to buy a crock-pot, though Alex wasn't sure how inclined he was to use it now. She hugged him tight and warned him off from parties again. Alex's father came down from his office, also wary about Alex going back.
"If anything happens, you call us," he demanded.
Alex agreed and went to his car. He started the drive back to the city, tension rose as time passed. He went over the contract over and over again in his head, trying to think of anything that could screw him. He decided to add that nothing would interfere with his daily life at school and going home.
That was the first thing Alex did when he got back to the dorms. He printed it off and read it over again. How did someone think when looking at this, looking for any tiny mistake, any play on words? Izzy would look at it that way. Alex kept reading over it, flexing words and trying to see if that could change the meaning. Most words had already been fixed by Mells.
Sighing, Alex folded it carefully and putting the contract into his coat pocket. He pulled on his coat, even though the city was slightly warmer than his home. It was late at night when Alex finally left and headed to Izzy's loft, almost expecting it to be abandoned. The police had said no one existed there, had Izzy left?
But, he still opened the door, looking a little more than shocked to see Alex there. Alex gawped back, staring at the natural sight of Izzy. His skin was a soft, cream color. It wasn't white. There was too much pink and orange in it to be white, but it wasn't entirely those colors. Gold tribal markings scrolled over his face; rolling over his cheeks, jaw, and forehead. His eyes were strange and almost reflected like muted gold. His hair was creamy as well, but close to an off-white and tan, trailing down his shoulders and back.
"Your protection's gone," Izzy snickered.
"And you don't look like you're from the Unseelie court," Alex mumbled.
That shut Izzy up quickly, and he scowled. Alex meekly pushed his way through the door. "I have a contract," Alex tried to keep his voice steady. What was Izzy if he wasn't Unseelie? That just made it so much easier to understand- why-he did something like that. Now the reasoning was gone.
"What kind of contract?" Izzy asked, striding over into his kitchen. He seemed taller now, too. His legs were longer, and so were his fingers. It might have freaked Alex out if he wasn't used to Mells.
"One where you can hurt me," Alex answered.
That got Izzy's attention quickly. He stopped, and looked over his shoulder for a few seconds, eager for the opportunity, but he wasn't going to jump at it. "And why would you do that?" Izzy chuckled.
Alex took the paper contract from out of his pocket, unfolded it, and held it carefully. "You want to hurt me, and I'm willing to let you, so long as it's only me for the time of the contract." Alex held up the paper to let Izzy see it.
Izzy pursed his lips and held his hand out in a demand to see it. Alex carefully approached and handed it over. Izzy's eyes scanned it quickly, a free hand resting on an unmarked bottle of liquor. Alex stared at the candy like color, at the long and thin fingers of Izzy's hands. Alex's eyes traced the gold scrolls on his face. He was beautiful, like Mells, but more so.
"Seelie Sidhe?" Alex asked.
Izzy's eyes left the contract and fixed dangerously on Alex. "I am no longer part of any court."
"Why not join the... Unseelie?" Alex asked. It seemed to be Izzy's style.
"I will not lower myself to their court," Izzy snapped angrily.
Definitely a Seelie Sidhe, once upon a time, Alex decided. Izzy still thought too highly of himself. Izzy went back to looking over the contract, taking his time, looking for anything to twist and bend. His eyes narrowed and his lips thinned out into a smile.
Alex panicked. What had he and Mells missed?
"You had your friend go over this with you, didn't you?" Izzy chuckled. "There's not anything for the imagination."
Alex relaxed, though tried not to show it. Izzy set the paper down on his counter and drifted away. "And why should I agree to this, Alex?"
Right. Izzy didn't have to agree to this. Alex ground his jaw, knowing he had to sound like a commercial. "As long as I'm not high, I'll feel all of it," Alex paused and swallowed hard. "All the pain you want to give for whatever reason, with nothing to make it tolerable."
"There's no incentive for you," Izzy pointed out, aiming one long index finger at Alex. "No reward. You'll want out."
"Who says I have to want anything?" Alex mumbled.
"Because, that, is how humans work," Izzy accused. "Your friend is already dead, and there's no way you'll be able to harm me."
"I don't want you hurting anyone else," Alex snapped. "Someone who doesn't know what the f*ck you're doing to them, giving them. I know what you are and have some idea of what you're capable of. Hurting people who don't even have an idea... it's despicable."
"A martyr, then," Izzy chirped.
"Except I'm not dying," Alex corrected carefully. "Says so right there in the contract."
"True," Izzy sighed. "But I guess I can agree." He dug out a pen and rolled it down the counter to Alex.
Alex signed his name carefully; print first, before scrawling his signature under it. Izzy slid over and plucked the pen out of Alex's hand. He signed his name simply Izzy.
"No," Alex protested. "Your full name."
"Oh wouldn't you love to know my full name!" Izzy laughed. "Did you forget that about faeries?"
"Knowing a faerie's full name gives you control over them," Alex recalled.
"Correct." Izzy smiled. "So Izzy is all you get to know. If I let you know my full name, I'd be forced to do what you say. The contract is to benefit me, not you."
Alex stared down at the signed paper. It wasn't a legal document; no law would consider it valid. Would it really protect him?
"You forget Faerie's can't lie, either." Izzy seemed to pick up on Alex's trepidation. "My word is with this contract. It's impossible for me to go against it, until it's ended."
Alex let out a breath. Izzy could hurt him now, cut him and beat him. The contract only prevented anything serious; it didn't mean he wouldn't feel pain.
Izzy watched carefully, still with a smile on his face. "Now, do you want to know the loophole I found?"
Alex's stomach dropped. Izzy never said he hadn't found one; he hadn't lied. He just hadn't mentioned it until it was too late. Alex didn't answer and just stared down blankly at the counter.
"'You may use my body,' you said. When you and your friend wrote this up, you were only thinking about abuse. What about sex, Alex?"
Alex's mouth parted in surprise. Sex? Izzy was right. They had planned on abuse and drugs, pain and death. "That..." Alex dropped off. "I'm not... into men."
"You didn't specify," Izzy said. "We'd have to end the contract to change it, which I won't do."
"That isn't fair," Alex croaked out childishly.
"Life isn't fair," Izzy snarled. Alex whimpered when strong fingers gripped his upper arm. "How noble of you to sacrifice yourself for others. That’s rare for humans."
"Why are you so against humans?" Alex questioned, trying to stall as Izzy dragged him to the couch.
"Call it revenge," Izzy answered simply and pushed Alex down.
Alex's first instinct was to try and get away, but he forced himself to be still. He would not balk. He had signed the contract. Izzy retreated back to the kitchen only to return with a knife. The blade was small and grey. Izzy's fingers seared upon touching the blade--it was iron.
"Shirt off," Izzy demanded. "And lay on your stomach."
Alex obeyed and shrugged out of his jacket before pulling his shirt off. He rolled over and left his back open to Izzy. Alex buried his face in the couch.
The first cut was quick and sharp across the middle of his back. It was a sharp sting of pain that didn't stop. Alex squirmed under it, waiting for another round of pain. The knife next dug into the same wound, turning and agitating the wound. Alex felt his eyes sting with tears, his fingers clenching onto the couch.
"You'll come over two nights a week," Izzy explained and made another clean cut closer to Alex's shoulder. "The weekend, as to not ’interfere’ with your school."
Alex tried to focus on the conversation, not the pain as Izzy began to twist and dig with the knife again.
"Do you think you can stand this?" Izzy teased, jerking the knife and causing another sharp pain. Alex let out a yelp but quickly tried to cover his mouth with the couch.
He hadn't done this to Casey. Casey had only bruises, small nicks and cuts. Alex knew at this point he would probably scar.
Scars were better than letting someone die, he told himself. He wouldn't be able to live with himself letting Izzy kill, not if there had been anything he could have done to prevent or stop it.
It would only be two times a week. It wouldn't disrupt his school life.
He had to keep telling himself that as the blade dug in again.
Alex was weak from the pain by the time Izzy was satisfied. He stood up and touched the blade between his thumb and middle finger, not even flinching as it burned his delicate skin. He wiped away the collection of blood with his fingertips and wiped it on Alex's shoulder.
"You can go," Izzy said and shut himself up in a room of the apartment.
Alex didn't move right away. He lay there, waiting for some of the pain to ebb. He had been expecting Izzy to initiate sex. Alex thought that maybe it would be better than the knife. Some part of sex would have to feel good, right? Alex shut his eyes and tried to push the thought from his mind.
No, sex with Izzy wouldn't be right. Enjoying it wouldn't be right. Izzy wouldn't make it enjoyable, anyways.
Alex finally moved, feeling the floor with his hand to look for his shirt and jacket. He put on his shirt, not caring that it would stick to his back. He would designate this be the shirt he wore to see Izzy. He didn't even try to look at his back.
He drove back to the campus, and tentatively headed for the showers. As late as it was, the place was deserted, and Alex showered quickly. He let the water run down his back, making the wounds sting, and hoping that it would be enough to clean them.
Izzy had been right. Already, he was having doubts about this. He didn't want pain. He didn't like it. Would he be able to stand it until the contract ended? It only ended if both of them agreed on it. There was no expiration. At this rate, Izzy wasn't going to agree. He would thrive off of seeing Alex beg for it to end.
Alex hung his head and let out a shaky breath. He wanted to see Mells, have her comfort, but she was six hours away. He tried to remember her voice, some of the songs she had sung when he was younger. Most of it was foggy with time and maybe that memory block she had put in.
Alex shivered under the water and dried off. He tried to get a look at his back in the mirrors, but could only see the edges of the cuts. He slipped a shirt on over them since the bleeding had stopped. Alex went back to his room, his alone for the rest of the semester. He avoided looking at Casey's barren side of the room. All of his things had been taken out and sent back to his parents.
Alex collapsed into his bed and stared at the wall. He curled up under the sheets while trying to be cautious of his back. The sheets were hardly what he wanted, though. He wrapped his arms around himself and buried his face in a pillow.
He had to do all of this alone. He couldn't tell anyone about Izzy. Not even Casey would have understood.
Maybe Mells had been right? Maybe it would have been better if Alex had remained oblivious.