Owls & Ashes

Dancing with the Devil

Sascha turns and whirls on the dance floor in front of the orchestra, keeping his steps timed perfectly to the ever-increasing tempo of the musicians as the song segues from stately waltz to energetic swing to furious high-speed marching improv.

Within him, the Beast roils in fury, lashing and snapping at its bonds. How fucking dare you, you little bastard, it would say if it had a voice. The Beast wants out. It wants to tear Barton a new ass and feed it to him. Covered in mud, chocolate, whipped cream, cherries, and plant debris, Sascha’s suit for the evening is ruined, the crowd eyes him silently as he pulls Mila with him into the dance, and the Beast rages inside the Man, wanting to repay in kind the humiliation heaped upon it.

Yet, Sascha resists. His concentration sinks entirely into the dance, the performance, pushing out, letting his Majesty show that despite the distractions, the challenges, the pressure, he is grace, he is ice, he is steel and charm and silk and he is un-fucking-touch-able.

Barton flings out a white-gloved hand, slashing in the direction of the orchestra, and the musicians all come to an abrupt halt, the hall echoing with the last notes. Instead of stumbling to an ungainly stop along with the music, Sascha times it perfectly, whirling Mila around him, dipping her, and standing perfectly upright in the space of a breath—if any here drew breath, that is.

He turns to survey the crowd watching him—the Prince, his court, the various attendants of the evening’s Elysium—and the Beast backs down, snarling in the darkness behind his eyes. It will wait. It will repay, if it can.

In response, Barton watches him with cold disdain, and the Beast within him pushes out, testing Sascha’s limits. Then it abruptly recoils at the strength it finds there, and with a whirl of his garments, the Sister turns away. With one soft snort of icy, infuriated derision, the Harpy marches crisply away, his sycophants in tow.

The crowd gives polite applause, gradually building into genuine appreciation as the undercurrents of the drama stir them. Sascha gives a slight bow, and even O’Neill gives a grudging, appreciative nod.

“You lookin’ for a job, yeh?” He says to Sascha. “Well, you’ve got one. Show up tomorrow night, and don’t be late. We’ll see what we can make of ya.”

Sascha grins, teeth clenched a little tighter than normal as the Beast shows its teeth around the edges. The audience gradually drifts away from the drama, and the night’s Elysium, with its strains of the Danse Macabre, returns to its normal movements.



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