Tangible Schizophrenia


Deal Aftermath: Comparison Shopping

Author: Guede Mazaka
Rating: NC-17. Bondage, car-sex, gratuitous fangirling of demons, etc.
Pairing: John/Balthazar, some John/Lucifer and John/Midnite
Feedback: Good lines, typos, etc.
Disclaimer: Does not belong to me in any way, shape or form.
Notes: AU. Balthazar is human and John’s a demon, but Midnite still owns a bar. A nod also to Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman: Season of Mists. For dementedsiren in return for the ficlet.
Summary: A little bit of domesticity after everyone’s settled in.


Now that John had a newly-refreshed sense of taste and no smarmy overlord breathing down his neck, he was happily re-familiarizing himself with the many flavors the world had to offer. Namely, whatever the hell Balthazar was using as aftershave.

“Mmm…can’t say much for the smell, but it makes up for that in other ways,” he purred, pulling back. He dragged his hands down Balthazar’s front and dipped to nibble on the underside of Balthazar’s jaw.

Balthazar was feebly pushing at him and saying something about keeping up appearances, but John ignored that. When John had first walked into the office, Balthazar had just gotten back from his last meeting of the day and naturally he’d been perfectly dressed and coifed. Sleek as a seal. Just the precise comb-tracks in his hair had made John’s fingers twitch.

By the time John finally let him stand away from the wall, his hair was flopping in his eyes and his mouth was nice and red and tender. His suit was still in one piece, and even still tucked and buttoned properly, but it had enough wrinkles to say ‘disheveled.’

“Better. Now I don’t feel like I’m putting in a loan application.” John gave his coat-sleeves a tug, then shook out a cigarette. “How was work? Anyone notice your cute little fangs yet?”

Balthazar made a face and started sticking files into his briefcase. He kept stopping to push at his hair and slide his hand down over his shirt, but he might as well have given up. When it came to messing people up, no one was better than John. “Stop calling them fangs.”

“Why? Because it sounds vampiric and you think those guys are tacky?” The smoke issuing from John’s cigarette floated up normally at first, but then it suddenly flipped over ninety degrees and trailed parallel with the floor. He frowned and walked around the desk to look out the windows, but didn’t see anyone.

It could have been just a fly-by. And John could sleep easy at night for now on, if he actually ever needed sleep. He glanced at Balthazar, who’d also paused to look around; Balthazar reached into his pocket and pulled out a couple runes, which he flipped one by one over the backs of his knuckles.

“Nothing.” After tossing the runes back into his pocket, Balthazar picked up his briefcase and coat. He’d made a lot of protests when John had shoved him up against the wall, but he didn’t hesitate about sidling up to John as they walked to the door. “Do we have to bring something?”

“It’s All Hallows’ Eve. If you don’t at least show up with some good liquor, chocolate and a couple black cocks, you’ll be ostracized by the entire voudoun community.” John reached out and casually rested his hand on the back of Balthazar’s neck. He let Balthazar steer them through the empty halls and into the secret backways, which always made John crack a grin. The man was so paranoid, even with his fellow humans. “Don’t think of it as disrespecting Midnite—think of it as disrespecting a bunch of very important spirits. And let me tell you, Baron Samedi can be a bastard about details like that.”

They went into the elevator. Sighing in resignation, Balthazar tipped back his head and slowly rotated it. He sighed a little differently when John tipped his fingers into Balthazar’s collar and began to rub slow circles. “I suppose you’d know.”

John dug his nails in, just beneath Balthazar’s ears. He pulled Balthazar around to face him and blew a little bit of smoke at him; Balthazar flinched and John let that motion push Balthazar’s head further into his hand, stroking at the edge of Balthazar’s jaw with his fingertips. “You really like to push, don’t you?”

Instead of answering, Balthazar lowered his gaze. His hands came up to lay flat against John’s belly. They rested there for a minute, warming themselves, and then began to creep upward. John took his cigarette from his mouth and considered it.

The doors chimed.

“I would love to flip you around and fuck you all the way back up to the top of this building,” John said, leaning forward to run his nose up the side of Balthazar’s face. He grinned at the hitch in Balthazar’s breath and flicked his tongue out to just graze the shell of Balthazar’s ear. Watched him jump, then turn to try to nuzzle. “But—we are going. And we’re bringing gifts.”

With that, he gave Balthazar a shove out of the elevator and walked quickly out himself. He smiled at the irritated look that Balthazar didn’t quite manage to hide. As nice a way as Balthazar had of talking John into things, it wasn’t wise to go too long without reminding him that John was letting him be persuasive.

“I’m picking the market,” Balthazar finally said. He sulked his way into the driver’s seat.

John suppressed a laugh. “Sure. Actually, this should be interesting. If you do your grocery shopping anything like you do your clothes…”

* * *

Surprisingly enough, Balthazar took them to a back-alley night market near the Chinatown section. It was loud, dirty, and would probably melt into a disgusting puddle if exposed to the light of day. It was John’s kind of place.

And, after he’d watched Balthazar lay an impressive combination of charm and haggling skills on a few merchants, he supposed it was Balthazar’s as well. There definitely were enough hands swapping fistfuls of cash and other things in the background. John spotted a few of his old colleagues, but as soon as they saw him, they swerved in the opposite direction. That was interesting.

“I’ve seen him in Midnite’s club before,” Balthazar said, coming up with an armful of fine goods. He nodded towards one of the fleeing backs. “I know you had a reputation before, but—”

“It wasn’t that good. Makes me wonder what the hell Lou said when he was giving everyone a send-off…they must think I have some kind of hold over him.” The bags were shoved a few times into John’s face before he got Balthazar’s point. He shot Balthazar a look over the tops of the bags, whereupon Balthazar made another face at him. Grinning, John dropped his cigarette butt and ground it out with his heel. He still didn’t make a move to take the bags.

Balthazar let out a put-upon sigh and irritably rearranged the bags so he could carry them with one arm. He was a little mollified when John slipped a hand onto the small of his back that John didn’t really need to have there in order to push them through the crowd. “Well, you did talk him into it…oh, those look good.”

He was referring to a stack of strawberries, which were so big and beautifully red that John didn’t let Balthazar near them. Instead he pushed Balthazar back and went up himself to check them out, holding one up to his nose for a sniff. The fruit-seller, an old wrinkled knot of a woman, opened her mouth to protest.

John gave her a smile wide enough for his long canines to be visible. She closed her mouth and nodded in apology.

“What? What’s wrong with them?” Balthazar asked. He wedged himself into the small space between John and the end of the stall, looking vaguely worried. After a moment, the worry turned into calculation. “Should I pick up a box for Midnite?”

“We really need to do something about this deep hatred you have for him. You don’t get to kill him—I’ve already told you that.” A last sniff, and then John put down the strawberry. There wasn’t anything wrong with them unless one happened to be related to the corpses that had been used to fertilize their stupendous growth. Fortunately, John wasn’t. And as long as he didn’t taste dead flesh in them, he didn’t really care about the growers’ methods. “I’ll take this one,” he said to the seller. “Cash or—”

She squinted at him, then rummaged in her pockets till she’d produced a photo and a few strands of hair. “My granddaughter, ungrateful little brat. Ran off last week with all my savings. Don’t want her dead or hurt bad, but I want my money back.”

“Done.” John handed the strawberries to her to get bagged, then took the photo and hair. He tied a few knots in the hair and muttered over it before putting both that and the photo to the flame. Used the burning photo to light up another cigarette.

“I know, but that doesn’t mean I can’t think about it. He would have happily let Lucifer or you gut me,” Balthazar muttered, bumping up against John. The bags poked at John’s elbow, and this time Balthazar kept doing it until finally John took one. Then Balthazar grabbed the strawberries from the fruit-seller.

Before John knew it, he was watching Balthazar pop strawberry after strawberry into his mouth. First Balthazar would delicately bite off the tip. Then he’d put that end to his mouth and suck gently so his cheeks hollowed just enough to make people stare and slow down traffic without actually snarling it. His tongue came out to run over the fruit, and then there’d be a flash of white as he chomped into the rest. He finished up by moaning and fluttering his eyelashes as he licked his hand.

“You know you’re supposed to wash fruit before you eat it. Especially if you buy it in a place like this,” John said. He admitted to being pretty fascinated by the soft noises Balthazar made as he sucked strawberry juice off his fingers, even though he knew it was a deliberate ploy. It still looked like he really needed to get them somewhere where he’d have the room to deal with the damned tease.

“I can’t get sick from that now. And the sulfur tasted worse than the dirt,” Balthazar airily replied. He looked speculatively at the half-box he had left, then turned and began to shove his way through the crowd. “We can pick up the cocks at that stall near the beginning.”

John pushed after him, and had gotten Balthazar by the elbow before the man had gone too far. People were still staring like they wished there’d been a longer show, so John couldn’t yank Balthazar back as hard as he wanted to. “Wait—sulfur?”

“It was in everything except you for a little while. It went away after Lucifer gave you back your soul. Thankfully—it was revolting.” The chicken-seller came up on their right and Balthazar dragged them over to get that seen to, so John didn’t have time to reply.

He kept his peace while they bought the damned chickens, and while they packed everything into the car. But when Balthazar tried to pass him on the way to the driver’s side, John got him by the waist and spun him around, then shoved him up against the car. His hands smacked down on the steel, keeping him up, and he tried to look over his shoulder. “John, what—”

“Imagine living fifteen years with that taste,” John said, running his hands down Balthazar’s arms. He drew them behind Balthazar’s back and pulled up the man to lick long and slow and hard at Balthazar’s neck. Bit roughly at the speeding pulse.

“But—but you don’t anymore? John?” Balthazar tried to twist around again. He gasped in more than a little fear when John shoved him back. “Wait—John—don’t—”

John laughed as he mouthed his way up Balthazar’s throat, stretched out his tongue to flick the tip over Balthazar’s lips. He kneed Balthazar’s legs apart, then pressed the man harder against the car. It put Balthazar off-balance so he teetered on his toes, straining not to smash his face on the hood or to wrench too hard at John’s grip. His ass rubbed up perfectly against John’s cock. After the first couple moments, that was on purpose and not just random chance.

“This is a public lot,” Balthazar said, close to whimpering. When John bent him over, he didn’t resist. He did when John slipped off his tie, but stopped after John had craned around to suck on his lower lip, which was still tender from earlier. And which tasted like strawberries—surprisingly innocent for Balthazar.

By the time John was wrapping the tie around Balthazar’s wrists, he didn’t even have to pin them down. Balthazar had his cheek flat against the hood and was rubbing himself against the car, arching in long smooth curves. He whined when John scraped teeth over the back of his neck.

“Damn it, John—that’ll show above the collar,” he hissed.

John got him by the hips and shoved him down so he couldn’t move. It only took a few seconds for Balthazar to tuck his head down and whimper pleadingly, but John wasn’t quite done. He leaned over Balthazar, curling his tongue around the back of Balthazar’s ear. Let it slip to tickle beneath the jaw, then put his mouth against that pretty cheekbone. “Yeah, it will. It’ll show, and people will stare just like they were staring back there. And when they do, you’re going to remember I had you here. Like this.”

Balthazar’s eyes glazed over. He moved his head blindly around, mouth working like he was hoping to catch something with it. He lunged when John brushed a finger over his lips and moaned low when John pulled it away to lightly trace a wiggle down over Balthazar’s spine.

Belt and fly were easy, so John took his time about it. He dragged his hand over Balthazar’s swollen prick, pressed it against Balthazar’s thigh and then released it so it bumped into the car. Rubbed his fingers up behind Balthazar’s balls till Balthazar was damn near trying to straddle the car, hump upward against John and jerking his knees apart. “And you were asking for it every step of the way.”

“Yes—John, damn it, would you—”

John ran his hand up between Balthazar’s buttocks, then molded it over one and sank in his nails. He dragged his fingers slowly down, then rolled his thumb over the angry red scratches he’d left behind. “Would I what? I don’t know…I’m busy thinking here. While we’re at it with getting you the demonic traits and all, I seem to remember Ellie mentioning some incubi that oil themselves up. Might be something to look into—make it easier for me.”

Though oil never was too much of a problem. A couple words and John had all he needed to tease open Balthazar, make his body shudder and twist against the car.

Please,” Balthazar finally groaned.

“That’s better.” Very gently, John kissed the side of Balthazar’s mouth. He worked open his pants and pressed up behind Balthazar. “Magic word, you know.”

He had the impression Balthazar wanted to curse at him for that, but in a second Balthazar forgot all about it. And John was quite content to not remind him.

* * *

“You’re late,” Midnite greeted them. He already had his coat off, sleeves rolled up and blood staining his arms to the elbow. Sweat was beading on his forehead and his eyes showed the tiniest bit of lightheadedness. When John clapped him on the shoulder, he swayed into it for a moment before his usual sense reasserted itself.

He roughly shook off John and glowered, which always amused John: for the power he got, Midnite happily put up with the slaughterhouse atmosphere, the grave-robbing, and even the sacrifice of friends, but he had the damnedest time handling the…freer behavior of the loa. Of course, that made for an interesting time whenever he channeled one.

“Sorry.” John stepped back and rubbed his hand over the neck of the slightly bruised, very annoyed man standing next to him. He tugged and Balthazar instantly curled up against him while shooting a cold look at Midnite. “Minor delay.”

Midnite pressed his lips tightly together, but refrained from commenting further. He nodded towards one of the backrooms, from which drumming and chanting and lewdly twisting shadows drifted, then abruptly turned and walked towards it. The zombie that’d been waiting behind him came forward to take the things John and Balthazar had brought.

“It could have been a major delay. Still could be,” Balthazar muttered, nuzzling at John’s throat.

John let him, but pulled them along the hall. “Stop that. You’re going to like this. Really. Trust me.”

Balthazar looked at him.

And John looked back, letting the smile fade off of his face. “You will like this. It’s right up your alley.”

“If you say so,” Balthazar finally said, and let John usher him into the room.