But no easy answer would come to the serpent in the days following Domerin’s rejection of his advances. Try as he would to dismiss the conversation they’d had his mind kept swinging back to it, as if pulled inexorably by a force he could not explain. It had been so easy in the past to brush the man off, to forget him in the moments he wasn’t serving his desires. But even he realized that over the years that had become harder to do. He’d never wanted to admit that a mortal had any sort of power over him but as terrifying as the thought was part of him knew it simply wasn’t true anymore. He wanted Domerin, wanted what only Domerin could give him and that made him more precious than gems or temples built in his honor. Even the simplest thing could take on the greatest of meanings given the right situation.
With no urgent business in the city to occupy his mind the first day he’d tried to separate himself from his vessel, thinking being in his own form would rid him of the bothersome feelings. Surely whatever was bothering him lived in mortal flesh, some sort of taint he could easily rid himself of. But even on another plane, with the myriad forces at his call, he could not let them go. They were there, unavoidable like a grain of sand inside an oyster, and worrying over them was making it larger and larger. Frustrated and determined to find an answer to his questions he returned to the mortal plain. It had been the middle of the night when he’d reentered Sesha, dragging the man out of his sleep and pushing him aside while began to replay bits of his vessel’s memories, trying to find an easy solution to his quandary. Hours passed. He maneuvered the body almost without thinking to take care of any annoying biological functions but otherwise he seemed to just sit there, ignoring all else, focused on the within as he tried to understand.
Usually when he returned to Sesha after the man had spent time with Domerin he focused only on any information that would allow him to play and torment. He’d known the moment the man had begun to desire Domerin all those years ago and he’d used it well against him in the time since but after knowing it he’d had no reason to return to it, to live inside it. Each new thought and feeling had only been useful to him as fodder. Everything he was given he used to further himself. Hadn’t Domerin said as much of him? He’d been ruling over mortals since time unremembered but that didn’t mean he understood how they really worked. Now, though, he played through memories slowly trying to understand the why.
The morning came and went while he jumped from one memory to another until he found one that suited. He watched, as if standing over them, a recent memory of Domerin and Sesha joining, focusing on his vessel’s face. Domerin’s words came back to him asking for his moans, his trembling body. In the moment he watched again, letting each feeling from his vessel wash over him uninterrupted, the sheer intensity of a human feeling that was not fear or simple lust. It was so different from what he was used to feeling and even outside of the pleasure there was the sense of something else, something that one person could not do alone. He realized the closest he’d ever felt to it was with Domerin in his chamber, two working towards one goal. Slow or fast, it didn’t matter. He was not sure what compulsion took him then, perhaps some last attempt to show he would not be affected, but lastly he watched the memory once more but from Sesha’s perspective. He’d never tried to do this before, the thought had never crossed his mind, but now he wanted to feel it. He expected to fear being on his back, being under, being entered. But In those moments none of that were what mattered. The moans were his and it was his body that trembled beneath Domerin. The man was inside of him and he wanted it more than anything. He wanted it to last forever. He was part of something with someone else, completely, and it felt so right. In those moments, before he could stop himself, he understood why someone would desire this.
He’d pulled back from it feeling shaken, unsure, and exposed. Never before had his vessel felt so confining. The only person who knew was Sesha and though the man wasn’t laughing at him he felt him very strongly there in his mind, as if he were watching. He knew he shouldn’t have touched the memory in such a way but it was too late to take it back now when even his anger could not burn through the feelings left over. He remembered other conversations as if his vessel were offering them up to him, the priest’s only way to rebel against his master in his moments of weakness. Domerin saying so frankly that he did not like to be taken, that he hated it in part because he felt discarded, that it didn’t mean anything. Snippets of conversation that he’d heard but passed over for years as not important. But even if it was not important to him it was important to Domerin. He’d never thought of someone else’s feelings in that way before, at least not this seriously.
Part of him knew he had to fight against this. The god’s anger swelled inside of him, coils trying to close around his heart and mind. Surely it was his right to take whatever and whoever whenever he wished!? He’d said as much to Domerin in their last conversation but each time the man had refuted him. Each time he’d tried to explain the the thing he’d just felt inside of a memory. How could you put something like that to words? Unbidden he remembered Domerin’s hands running over a body as if it had been his own. Domerin’s scent, and weight, and heat and in those moments the flesh he wore shivered along with him. Never before had he felt so connected to the body he walked around in. He remembered so vividly Domerin’s whispers of pleasure as he tortured him in the chamber. His wish that those moments could last forever if only they could. He wanted Domerin again like that but knew it was not possible now. Denial was anathema to a god but it was there, unavoidable. Hadn’t Domerin said he wanted the same thing? So many thoughts he could not banish all rushing for his attention was a torment in itself. His need swirled inside of him mixing with his anger, and his fear. At some point he’d banished the servants from entering, though how many days had passed he could not quite say.
Domerin was not just any man, not just some cowering mortal. This was the man who’d challenged him from the moment they’d met, refused to bow to his whims. He’d desired him then as a possession, a toy but they were beyond that now. Another memory sprang up, his vessel’s shock when Domerin had spoken that he’d rather die than keep on this way. He’d given him his freedom then, thinking it would be enough. Instead he’d been surprised at what Domerin had done with it and been angry. He’d assumed things wouldn’t change. Of course a wolf on too short a leash would long to roam free. Domerin had left him. He’d left without word and returned without word. The only man in the world who would have dared to do such a thing. He could leave now if he wanted and never return and it was painful for the god to realize that he did not want him to go. Out of all the mortals in the world, if pressed, there was only one he would keep.
He was a serpent and it was in his nature to choke, to poison, to coil but what was the point of something if it lived but was not alive? It was Domerin’s fire that had drawn him to the man. Now he was faced with Domerin either leaving him or staying but being gone in spirit. Which was worse?
There was so much to process, so much he’d never had to deal with before Domerin had come into his life. Through the tumult he formed new thoughts of his own, new assurances for himself. He could change this fate. He was a god, he had the power to do whatever he wanted. He could give Domerin what he desired, really desired, and he could keep the man with him like he wanted. It wasn’t weakness to walk into something knowingly, to chose, and knowing he would get what he wanted out of it too. In the end only Sesha and Domerin would know. Sesha could never tell anyone and for all the trouble he’d given him Domerin had at least never betrayed his secrets. For the first time he felt secure that he could give this part of himself and not worry about being devoured, about being weak. He felt sure he’d solved the riddle. He could do this.
What remained now was to call the man. For the first time in days the windows were opened, a bath was drawn, food was brought in, clothes were laid out. He would make himself up and call the man and tell him he would finally get what he wanted. Things would be different.