The problem with deals .pdf

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Author: Alex Hegel

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Raythe Reign Gift Exchange:
Xing and Icar are two very different and awkward people. I didn’t actually like Xing until I started
writing this. Now he’s arguably one of my favorite characters in the current run of stories on Raythe
Reign. A lonely, hardworking, successful person, having intractable determination, strength, firm
opinions and a sense of curiosity can be evil. OR they can be the hero, depending entirely on whether
you see things from their perspective or from the perspective of their enemy.
Icar is hilarious. Hands down, he has always been one of my favorite characters. Period. The Abyss
and Kin story arc was the first one I’d ever read by Raythe Reign and it’s very near and dear to me.
Getting to write this was complete catnip for me.
Hope you enjoy it Nightrage, this one’s for you!

WARNINGS: The last few pages are NSFW!
This silly story contains SPOILERS for Pact 1 and 2, The Abyss 1 and 2, The Fell (perhaps), (perhaps) and Winter Haven Country Club.
Please do not read unless you’re caught up in these stories, or don’t mind EXTREME spoiler
information regarding demons, vampires, and the Kin and Abaddon.
Note: the * * * breaks in my story denote a shift in perspective from one character’s thoughts and
viewpoint to another character.

The Problem with Deals
Nate didn’t want to do this. His friend Cole could be quite persuasive and terribly noble-minded for a
Greater Demon. Nate felt rather put upon as he took his seat opposite the ancient ex-emperor. Emrys
didn’t even like vampires, and yet here Nathaniel Whitney, the most powerful demon, was offering a
Deal to help one of them. He could feel the Caps in his head around Deal, because Deals with the Devil
were never casual things. Nate didn’t like making Deals, even with people he didn’t like at all. Yet… Cole
wanted the Master Vampire to learn from past mistakes. Apparently his Other Self agreed with the
Bringer of Dust and Ashes and had invited the vampire out without letting Nate know, and now left Nate
to pay the bill and clean up the mess.
Or in this case, the task at hand was to send a semi-immortal undead being into the far future in the
hope of him having a change of heart. It seemed like an odd plan to Nate, but maybe the Other Him, the
Unnamed One, needed something from that instant, that particular place in the fluctuating possibilities
ahead. And as that time period was centuries in the future, to Nate that was a scary thought. Wouldn’t
it affect the future if he messed around there? Just how long a game was the Other Him playing?
“So you are offering me a glimpse into the future of my kind? A way to see all our fates?” The softly
accented, melodic voice drifted into Nate’s grumpy ear.
“Yes, in a way.”
“But why would I wish to see this?” A languid turn of the vampire’s perfect wrist revealed solid gold,
razor sharp claws on pointer and thumb. “Unless you will show me my death or an empire under my
command, I do not know if it is wise for me to go to a time so far removed. If I were to meet my future
self wouldn’t there be-“
“You won’t.” Nate interjected, bluntly.
Xing paused, his face a pale, perfect mask tilted becomingly. Hauntingly beautiful and empty of life.
“Why would you be so sure that I will not be still alive in this future time?”
“It’s not that you might not still be living somewhere in the future probabilities, but in the time that I can
send you, the possibility that will exist for you tomorrow, you aren’t. You won’t be there, because
vampires no longer exist on Earth.” Nate felt cold. There was an otherness to things he said, however
right the words might be. He always felt a bit sick when there was an Unnamed One Moment like this,
when the Unnamed One spoke with his mouth.
“If no trace of me or my kind is there, why would I go to this time?” The vampire pursed his full,
exquisitely sculpted lips, seemingly indifferent.
“To see, to learn. You’ll never have this chance again.” Nate truly, sincerely hoped that this was the
only Deal he’d make with Xing. He hated making Deals.
Xing looked away, his dark eyes shuttered beneath thick inky lashes. “Very well.”



Deep in space aboard the Abyss…
Icar hated being away from Abaddon. Even leaving him safely asleep on the Black Heart in Anarion’s
arms wasn’t good enough. Yes, he knew that Abaddon had others with him now. The Kin Commander
finally had love and happiness and perfected Kin to keep him fed, protected, entertained and of course,
he had Anarion. But Icar still felt the centuries weigh upon his mind when that hadn’t been possible for
his Lord. When it had only been the two of them, and everything and everyone else was either predator
or prey, and they had no safety, no home… no hope. Adding to his discomfort was his hunger. Out of all
that had been altered in their lives, everything new and different, Icar alone had remained himself.
Separate. Unchanged. And no snippy Perfected Kin upstart would take from him his place as defender
of Lord Abaddon, Abaddon’s First. No matter how sweet his lips, how lovely his silver hair -Icar paused in his pacing. Where had that thought come from? Dorn had silly hair, but that had nothing
to do with Icar’s dissatisfaction. Dorn’s hair was too - too bright, too… unprofessional. Too silly. And
Dorn was still in love with Anarion, not Icar. Icar needed a distraction, something to take the tension out
of his powerful shoulders while the ship sped the many lightyears away from Black Heart on its mission.
The Blood Bar would slake his physical hunger but not the lingering unease he felt so far from home.
Considering Icar hadn’t gotten angry with anyone he could kill recently, the cathartic pummeling he
craved would have to wait. He missed being able to go into battle, assured of his superiority and victory.
Sex and blood just wasn’t quite as satisfying as a real bloodbath. But they would have to do.
Pity he knew and despised all the willing Kin on board. A new face would be a wonderful diversion.
Xing wasn’t really sure about the clothes. They lacked… well… everything, aesthetically speaking. No
soft silk? No hand-stitching embellishments and hand-tailored fit? No flowing sleeves and no
symbolically significant colors? Put his hair in a simple braid himself? No jewelry? The restrictions that
the Unnamed One had asked of him were beyond insulting. Yet here he was in the future having a
grand adventure… somewhere with appalling lighting, intense boredom and no windows. Was he
underground? The floor rumbled and shook faintly, so perhaps some kind of generator or heavy
equipment was being used nearby.
He wasn’t entirely sure where or when he was, and the Unnamed One had been frosty in the extreme
when he had showed up at the Vampire Safe House that evening to take Xing on his journey. The
demon hadn’t deigned to tell Xing where he was going, only pointing crudely to a plain metallic door,
and reminding Xing’s esteemed person that he would be safe from the sun and if he obeyed the rules,
would remain unharmed. The rest of the rules had been odd, though, and the list had been exhaustingly
long. The fact remained he simply didn’t like the utilitarian, drab garments that these humans must
endure each day here in the future. They itched.
Icar couldn’t tear his eyes away from the bewitching sight in front of him. Just past the turn to the Blood
Bar, a sinuous fall of hair even more silly than Dorn’s was swishing back and forth gracefully, almost

brushing the floor with its inky black tips. Its owner tried in vain to scratch between his shoulder blades.
And the scent. The smell that was drifting his way down the corridor was electrifying, spicy, dark and
rich. The muscular shoulders and elegant hands, the slender waist and long, sleek legs below the most
perfectly toned ass held Icar spellbound. And Icar could attest that the man was flexible, gazing in rapt
appreciation as the vision twisted even further, eyes clenched shut in frustration to reach just a little
higher on the jumpsuit. Oh yes. Whoever this miracle was, Icar had no intention of sharing his prize for
the evening with anyone. Now to strike.
Moving with his normal blinding speed, Icar closed the distance in an instant to breathe in that delicate
ivory ear. “Need assistance?”
Almond-shaped eyes as black as obsidian, surrounded by the most invitingly thick lacework of lashes,
snapped open in complete shock and a moment later the beauty was halfway down the hall, spitting
mad. “How dare you stand so close to-” and then froze.
Icar smiled. The front of the man was just as pretty as the back had been. He liked being recognized,
and clearly the Kin (for he could see the delicate points of fangs between those sumptuous lips) before
him was in shock at the sight of Icar. Icar was a warrior of legend, and inspiring fear in his opponents,
and the reverence shown was quite gratifying. But he didn’t want to chase the beauty all around the
ship before he drank his fill, so charm would have to do. Icar’s fangs lengthened in his mouth as the
delicious smell of the man before him filled his lungs.
“I didn’t catch your name, though it’s clear you know mine. Could I interest you in a drink?” Icar let his
smile widen a bit as the expression on the gorgeous man went from anger to great confusion then
dismay as he looked up… and up at the imposing breadth and height of Icar in his Teklan armor.
“Are you even human? And I have no need to drink at present with men I do not know.” That haughty
tone reminded him of someone, the melodic tenor a perfect fit for the slim and muscular man, but not
even Dorn could match this lovely flower’s perfect poise and disdain. Wait, how could the Kin be asking
him if he was human? Could this gorgeous person not recognize him? How had he even gotten on
board without knowing at least the name of the one commanding the Abyss?
Icar cleared his throat. “I am Icar, and in command of the Abyss in Lord Abaddon’s place on our way to
our new outpost on Levos … and no, I am not human. I’m not so… hmm… fierce and stupid as they are.
I am civilized. See? Now you know me and we are no longer strangers. Shall we get that drink, lovely?”
Charm was something he had in spades. Smiling with his fangs elongated was a trick he’d learned
thousands of years ago.
“I am not lovely! Or well, of course I am lovely! But I am also Xing, and your words make no sense, so
there! You are still strange to me and we cannot drink together. How can you not be human?” The
beautiful Kin’s eyes fixed upon Icar’s mouth – his teeth - in shock. “He said vampires do not exist!”
Sadly, Icar’s charm didn’t seem to impress the delicious Xing. Probably staring with his mouth open
didn’t add to the effect. Perhaps Icar should try a different approach?

“He? He who?” Icar narrowed his piercing amber eyes in suspicion. Was there competition for this
gorgeous creature’s attentions already? Those luscious lips parted in a gasp and the onyx dark eyes
opened wide in alarm. Clearly Xing had said something he hadn’t meant to say aloud. Icar immediately
raised one large hand between them to reassure Xing.
“Whoever he is, I won’t let him hurt you, not while I’m around. Nor will I mention to anyone what you
said. Whatever secrets you keep are your own, Xing. All I’d like is a little of your time.” He relished
saying this beauty’s odd and sensual name, and wasn’t above a little blackmail to get between
someone’s legs for a night. Charm might not be working for some reason, but intimidation and coercion
were actually two of his better skills.
“You dare threaten me?” Xing hissed, his delicate cheekbones white with fury.
So coercion wasn’t a good idea. Perhaps Icar should’ve just knocked the feisty Kin before him over the
head and explained things after the sex? Time to try intimidation. Faster than thought he closed the
space between them and placed two knuckles lightly beneath that perfectly carved chin. “Not a threat,
sweet Xing, just a promise of a pleasant evening in my company.”
Xing swallowed shallowly. “I accept.”



It was a complete disaster and Xing was beginning to think he’d never make it back to Earth. Everything
was going wrong. He’d already broken the rules. And this lowborn massive idiot with the growling,
menacing voice kept touching him.
Xing was in space? Why was Xing in space, stuck on some sort of unadorned military transport ship
hurtling to another planet, apparently filled to the bursting point with non-vampire vampire-demons?
And what type of fool demon would think to take someone as refined as Xing to a common bar? He
could not drink common wine, even common future wine was sure to be terrible! Clearly this huge,
muscle-brained atrocity had to be a demon; his flirting was simply Hellish. Perhaps this Icar was acting
on orders to humiliate Xing for some awful nefarious purpose? And why hadn’t the Unnamed One sent
him home or killed him after he broke the first rules of time travel? Nothing made sense!



Icar felt mildly euphoric as he placed one hand gently, almost reverently on Xing’s lower back, just above
the gorgeous swell of his rump. His fangs ached at the prospect of the meal to come, and he found he
quite liked the silken slide of that living ebony braid brushing the back of his wrist. Even if the hair was
silly, it was sexy as Hell. The day was looking up.



“So we are to drink together and then you’ll let me go on my way?”
“Drinking certainly sounds like a wonderful start. How about we savor the experience and see where
the rest of the evening leads without putting constraints on it, for now?” The rumbling reply from Icar

seemed to vibrate in his chest. Xing could swear he’d never seen amber eyes look so predatory outside
of a hungry tiger.
The door before Xing slid open soundlessly and he got his first look, his first whiff of the Blood Bar.
Blood, old pain, fear, and spirits wove through the air, strongly enough to make him feel drunk. The
dark room had many occupants and several were watching their entrance with interest. “Ah, I’m not so
sure about…”
“I can tell the open seating is too exposed for your taste, Xing. Let’s try one of their private rooms, shall
we? Much more intimate that way.” The hulking Icar was back to smiling in that insufferable, overconfident way. Did these demons allow everyone to see their fangs?
“I agree that a room would be… preferred.” Xing felt like a fool letting Icar plan the evening, but he’d
been supposed to blend in, to hide in plain sight. He’d been supposed to follow the rules and not use his
name, but he’d been so flustered by this massive… dolt that he’d just. Forgotten. For one brief moment
that here Xing was nothing. And no one. Here he could be prey. And this grinning, handsome, brighteyed predator was faster than anyone Xing had ever seen except the Nomad himself. Given his size he
might even be stronger than Xing and that thought was chilling.
The door shut behind them, leaving the two alone in a velvet lined room with low seating and soft,
intimate lighting. Safe at least from outside prying eyes.
“Your master, you said his name was Abaddon?” Xing tried to break the ice. Lineage was a safe question
among vampires and demons alike, he hoped. Everyone liked to brag about how old their line was.
How rich and powerful they had become through centuries of conquest was a universal starting point.
There was a long, frightening pause.
“How can any Kin not know Abaddon? Xing, where have you been?” Icar looked horrified, and his voice
had risen from a deep caressing growl to a near yell in consternation.
“I am from… from Earth, and only recently left it.” Hastily throwing up a small white lie as close as
possible to the truth seemed wise for about 15 seconds, and then Xing remembered that this demon
said they were in space, and likely far, far away from the planet Earth, the only planet Xing knew. Xing
sank slowly onto one of the seats and lowered his head, forgetting briefly that his hair was not loose for
him to hide behind. He picked up the end of his braid and wrung the hair between his trembling fists.
Xing’s mind spun with how many ways this disastrous conversation couldn’t be happening. The
Unnamed One would likely kill him soon for not thinking more quickly on his feet and averting this
fiasco, and Xing would welcome it.
“I thought for certain that all Kin were off that filthy rock years ago!” Icar lowered his voice to a more
wrathful purr and sat down beside Xing, placing one hand gently on his arm. “Did the human
government have you captive? Did scientists somehow damage your mind that you do not remember
Lord Abaddon?”
To Xing, the idea of discussing a prison he’d never seen was fraught with pitfalls. Change the subject.
“Why call me Kin? Or are all lesser demons kindred children of - of their Masters?” Xing had no idea how
to proceed, except he didn’t want anyone looking in his skull for brain damage. Icar seemed no longer
threatening but pitying him. What had he said to get that reaction? Who was this Abaddon?

“Demons??? Your captors called us demons?” Icar snarled in fury on his behalf. His powerful jaw
clenched tightly in anger. “I will show them demons. And when Abaddon hears of this we shall rain such
fire and death upon them!” He shook his head, eyes glittering with rage at some unseen foe, and
tightened his grip on Xing.
“But Icar, you promised me! Does your word to keep my secrets mean so little?” Xing saw the trap then.
If this Icar told his Master that Xing was under no one’s protection, he would be hunted. He would be
prey for all the demons on board the Abyss.
Icar stared at him, mute. Their faces were so close that his warm breath brushed Xing’s cheek. “You
would have me tell no one that you were trapped, that you were hurt and needed protection fromfrom those human monsters!?” He lowered his gaze for a moment between them and paused.
Xing realized then that he’d placed his own hand above Icar’s massive one.
“I am no demon, and neither are you. Neither is Lord Abaddon, and he would never hurt you.” Icar
whispered gently, staring only at their overlapping hands. He would not look up into Xing’s eyes. “I
would not prey on someone already so cruelly abused. I have… have some honor left, it seems. I will
keep my word if that is what you truly wish, Xing.” He drew back and, turning his eyes to the wall
opposite, asked Xing; “May I get you something to drink?”
“I don’t suppose they have type B” Xing murmured with a hopeless shrug. Better to get his secrets all
out; more rules broken since he’d begun so spectacularly.
“We have few blood donors with us at the moment for the Kin on board, as we are far from Earth, but
we have many bags, and I know the blood type is marked on each. I will bring you only B.” Icar smiled
feebly at the wall, then left.
“Most Honorable Unnamed one, if you are listening, I would like to come home to Earth now, if it please
you…” Xing whispered in his native Chinese. “Or if you must smite me now, let it be lightning. Fire is



Icar was shaking with wrath and impotence. He had never felt so furious. How could one of the Kin
have been lost on Earth for so long that the Kin left on the Abyss had no record of him being taken?
Could it be possible to rewrite a Kin’s mind, and did humans really have the technology to do it without
breaking the poor subject completely? But he’d given his word to not tell Abaddon. And Anarion would
need to be told as Tranis might know the scientists behind it. Although, thinking about Anarion and his
terrifying father, Icar supposed that a driven human scientist could possibly do very horrible things.
Very real things, permanent things. And Xing’s hand had felt so cold. So terribly fragile against his.
Every instinct in Icar screamed at him to attack, to tear those that had held Xing captive into bleeding
pieces and free any others that were enslaved. To shield this lovely, damaged person.
But how in all that was unholy was he to do it when Xing was likely to vanish after they parted ways this
evening? Where would Xing go? How could Icar help him if Xing didn’t want help? Would using the
Artificial Intelligence onboard the ship break his promise? He truly thought it would, as it was
connected to Anarion, now. Icar was a soldier, a warrior, not a healer. He could be diplomatic when he

had to be, but he preferred a clear opponent he could kill, and obvious enemies and friends, black and
white. At least his queasy stomach meant he no longer felt hungry.
Grabbing the bags from the bartender with a grunt, Icar schooled his features and tried to calm down.
The only way through was to convince Xing to trust him. He wished that Anarion were with him now.
Everyone with a brain trusted Anarion, and Icar hadn’t a clue how Anarion did it.
The door to the private room opened on the tail end of a quiet murmur from Xing in a language Icar
didn’t know. So much about this Kin made no sense, and yet his vulnerability and prickly nature
combined with his sensual motions and beautiful face kept Icar intrigued. How best to proceed?
Perhaps the only solution was to do the thing he hated the most. Anarion was the only exception
where the prospect of a heart-to-heart conversation filled with naked truth didn’t leave Icar wanting to
break things. Xing might prove to be the same. He could only try.
“You asked me about Abaddon. Perhaps we can start there, and find out slowly where else your gaps in
knowledge lie. All the Kin suffered memory loss after the change a thousand or more years ago, so
relearning must be a part of who you are now, Xing, like all the rest of your species. Will you let me tell
you some of what you’ve missed?” Icar kept his voice low and soothing. It was impossible to look less
threatening at nearly seven feet tall and broader than two Xings standing shoulder-to-shoulder, but he
made an effort, sitting slowly opposite Xing, and offering one of the bags of blood in a gentle non-violent
“Y-yes. I would like to learn. Or re-learn all that you will tell me.” Xing kept his eyes low, reaching slowly
for the bag.
Icar paused in contemplation and wondered where to begin. “Abaddon is… was… born to be hope for
his world. He is different from you and from me; both a part of his planet and separate. Older than all
of us, but he’s forgotten so much. He is my friend, and I serve him gladly.” Icar could see the confusion
in Xing’s eyes, and struggled to explain. “Abaddon was Black Heart’s dream, the hope of connection to
other living creatures, and I am honored to stay with him and do his bidding, even as all of my people
are now gone. Abaddon needs structure, protection, help and stability, someone who will not change,
will never abandon him. I can give him all these things. In return, he gives me purpose, honor, a moral
code. We complement each other, and we each gain from one another’s strengths.” Icar spread his
hands in frustration, lacking the words to explain something as old and complex as their friendship.
Xing peered up at him through his lashes, laying the blood pack in his lap for now. “Didn’t he make you
to be his servant when he created you?”
“What? No! Scientists long ago made special serums to help perfect all of my species using some of
Abaddon’s genes. It wasn’t successful in all of us, and many, most, died. But Abaddon isn’t a scientist
himself. He is a leader. A… a king. I serve him because he is worthy. The choice was mine.”
“He did not bite you?”
Icar tried to follow Xing’s reasoning, but the Kin asked strange questions. “Ah. Yes, on many occasions
Abaddon did. But that was many millennia ago, before my change.” Icar blinked then flushed at the
thought of those long-ago feedings.

“And this did not lead to your change? Did he not want you for a fledgling? And how was he born from
a planet?” Xing tilted his head, inquisitively.
“Xing, Abaddon is unique and will always be so. He is part of his home world. The world Black Heart
itself was… is… alive. Abaddon’s bite would only cause pleasure or death. No bite of his, or of mine,
could make more like me. We - I am sterile.” Icar found himself watching Xing closely. Would the man
opposite him hate what this meant for himself? If Xing wasn’t aware of his past, this might come as a
terrible shock. “You, also, as a member of the Kin… are sterile.”
“I have been sterile since my death, but that doesn’t mean I cannot make others like me!” Xing shook his
head, and then flinched as though admitting any fact about himself was a mistake. “Being kindred to a
planet-being who is your king has nothing to do with that!”
“You… you believe you are dead?” Icar widened his eyes in absolute shock.
“So are you!”
“No, I am not. Here… feel?” Icar reached out and grasped Xing’s free hand, while with his other, Icar
swiftly tapped the disc on the front of his Teklan suit, causing it to retract. This exposed the skintight
under suit below. “My heart beats more slowly than a human’s heart would, but it does beat.” He
lightly pressed Xing’s cool, graceful hand to his chest. “I must drink blood to survive, but I am not dead.
It is like the other story that the stupid humans told you. I am no demon. I’m simply a different species
from another, ancient world, a species that died out long ago. I’m a being that went through a genetic
rewriting to extend my life, to make me stronger. Just like you.”



Xing had completely lost the thread of the conversation, focused instead entirely on the hard, muscular
chest beneath the thin under suit, and the callused hand that held him pinned. Beneath Xing’s palm he
could feel a gentle, steady, and very slow beat. Icar had a living heart.
“How can this be? Only demons could remain alive for so long, or perhaps gods. No vampire could be
alive, as to become vampires we must die.”
Icar shook his head. “You aren’t dead, Xing, and neither am I, nor are we gods or demons, truly. You
know this. Here…” and he reached to place his fingers against Xing’s chest.
“Don’t!” Xing leapt up and fled before Icar could brush even his fingertips against the suit Xing wore.
“I won’t hurt you!”
“You have no right!” Those dark eyes flashed about the room in panic then settled furiously on his own.
“No right to what? Touch? Xing, you are aboard the vessel I command and thus under my protection.
You have accepted the blood you need to survive from me. What right don’t I have to aid you? I only
promised not to speak to others. I didn’t promise anything regarding speaking to you. Or touching. I
know you’re afraid of me, but I swear I will protect your secrets and keep you safe. The only way I can
help you is to have your trust.” He gathered up the abandoned pack of blood from the floor at his feet.
“Here. Drink, and be calm. I won’t hurt you, I promise.”

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