title: Lessons
fandom: Demon Diary
characters/pairings: doubly one-sided Eclipse/Raenef
rating: G
warnings: none
summary: Eclipse finds teaching Raenef the ins and outs of the demon world to be enlightening.
notes: for Tanith, her ficlet on demand. ^_^ this would take place somewhere before the end of volume 4.

There was entirely too much sunshine. It made Raenef bouncy. Eclipse had never encountered a bouncy demon lord before, but his Raenef was, as always, doing his best to be one of a kind.

It disturbed Eclipse that it pleased him to think of Raenef as one of a kind. It disturbed him even more to think of him as 'his' Raenef. The previous lord would never have stood for such an attitude, and Eclipse had thought that he was perfectly happy to serve such a lord.

He was finding serving the new Raenef a whole different form of pleasure.

Although, right now, he was rather pleased with his lord. He was nearly three-quarters the way through the evolution of the lower circles of demon society, and Raenef was still busily scratching away at his scrolls, watching Eclipse with keen attention. He had begun the lecture by using sand to create a mirage as a teaching tool, but he'd had to abandon that tactic when it became clear that Raenef was too distracted by the pretty sand to pay attention. For the first ten minutes of his lecture, Raenef had sat slumped in his chair, pouting.

The fact that Raenef was terribly, terribly cute when he slumped and pouted became distracting to Eclipse, and so he turned his back to his lord, rightly assuming that Raenef would not punish him for the insult, and barreled through his prepared speech.

Soon enough, he was pleased to hear the scratching of a quill on parchment, and he had been able to face his lord again.

Not that he wasn't still a bit distracted by the sight of Raenef, slim arms spread over his desk, his sweet face set and determined, his eyes blazing with interest, his wispy hair tied up, almost begging to be let down...

Eclipse stopped midsentence. Raenef's eyes blazing with interest? That didn't sound right.

He waited, but his sudden silence did nothing to stop Raenef's quill from scratching madly over the parchment. Eclipse sighed. He strolled casually over, moving slowly so as not to draw attention to himself, but keeping an eye out for what it was that Raenef was doing. He got three strides closer, and then Raenef realized that he was moving in; his eyes got even larger, and his cheeks pinked adorably, and he pulled his parchment close to his chest, shielding it.

Demon lords were most especially not supposed to pink adorably; of that, Eclipse was utterly sure.


He sighed. "My lord. May I please see your parchment?"

Raenef pushed back from his desk defensively. "What? Why? Are you... shouldn't you be lecturing me?"

With a sigh, Eclipse raised his fan. He did not like striking his master, but sometimes, it was the only way to get through to him.

Raenef squeaked, and put his arms over his head. It was true that he had been struck several times this morning in dark magic practice, but that was no excuse for a demon lord to cower. Eclipse was about to say so when he saw that the parchment had been abandoned.

Raenef had clearly been working on his drawing all through the lecture. It was beautifully detailed, the central figures framed in flowing flowers, rainbows, and birds. Eclipse's arm fell to his side as he stared at the drawing.

Raenef slowly became aware that he was not being struck, and he dared to glance at Eclipse from the cover of his arms. He saw his servant staring at his picture, and made the noise that mice make when they've been caught snacking by the cat.

Eclipse felt a migraine coming on. "My lord. What... what is this?"

Raenef blushed hard enough that the tips of his ears flamed beautifully. Eclipse had to squash the impulse to cuddle Raenef protectively. Cuddling was never demonly, no matter how many scenarios Eclipse contemplated. "It's... well... I was thinking... I was just doodling... Er, I was imagining getting married someday."

"I see," said Eclipse in a tone that implied no comprehension whatsoever.

Raenef coughed delicately, and tugged on his parchment. "I was just trying to think what it would be like, that's all."

Eclipse cleared his throat. "You are going to marry me?"

Raenef looked away shyly. "I... I... I couldn't think of anyone else to put in it."

Eclipse frowned. "You are wearing a dress."

Raenef furrowed his brow. "Well, I certainly couldn't put you in a dress."

Sighing, Eclipse gave up.

"Eclipse?" Raenef rolled up his scroll quickly and tucked it away. "What are demon weddings like?"

Eclipse considered the very real possibility that their best hope for securing a viable future was to join a circus. "Demons don't have weddings, my lord."

Raenef looked shocked. "You mean they all live in sin?!"

If demons were able to sit on the ground and bawl like newborn babies, then Eclipse would have done that right then and there. "Demonic relationships tend to revolve around power. Weddings are human customs, my lord. When a demon lord chooses to take on a consort, he asserts himself and takes control of his intended. Ultimately, it is an assertion of power, with the dominant demon making a servant of the submissive demon."

"But how can any demon love when their relationships are always so unbalanced? Can't they have partnerships?"

The question was so naively forthright, Eclipse felt as if the air had been sucked out of the universe. Staggered, it was several moments before he was able to speak. "Demons... demons do not love, master."

"They don't?" Raenef sounded like a kicked puppy. Eclipse normally loved the sounds kicked puppies made, and often kept puppies for the sole purpose of kicking them. It was a popular way to make music amongst demons. But this sound ripped Eclipse's heart into shreds. "N-none of them?"

Eclipse shook his head gravely, and Raenef immediately turned away, raising his shoulder to hide his face from Eclipse. There was nothing in the universe that Eclipse wanted except to take Raenef into his arms, and hold him forever. He wanted to shield his young master from every sort of pain and aggravation, and be the comfort that his master sought whenever his heart became heavy.

But Raenef has said it himself. How can any demon love when their relationships are always so unbalanced?

"I think... I think we have done enough for today," Eclipse declared, tired. "Why don't you take a break before dinner, my lord?"

Raenef nodded, and then disappeared. Eclipse could have chosen to take some relief from the knowledge that Raenef was finally getting used to his castle, but it was shallow comfort.

Eclipse did not normally sleep at night. He mainly regarded sleep as a refuge for weakness, and besides, he enjoyed the night. It was late enough that his master would be sound asleep, so Eclipse slipped into his bedchamber to check on him. One could never be too vigilant, after all, especially since Raenef had already run off and been summoned away from him.

That he could watch his master sleep, and perhaps even brush his fingers against the impossibly soft, smooth skin of Raenef's cheek was not at all why Eclipse checked on him every night.

The room was deathly dark, and at first, Eclipse thought that the wind was rustling the bedclothes rather loudly. He approached the bed silently, finding instead that Raenef was thrashing back and forth, clearly in the throes of a terribly dream. He acted purely on instinct, right away. He leaned down and put his arms around Raenef, softly crooning gently reassurances. He hadn't expected it to work at all, much less so quickly. All the fear, all the tension, bled right out of Raenef's body, and he curled up against Eclipse.

Frowning, Eclipse brushed aside the sweaty strands of hair that were sticking to Raenef's face. This boy was far to pretty, far too kind, and far too lovable to be a demon lord. Eclipse did not know what his previous lord had been thinking when he chose this boy as his heir, but in the deepest part of his heart, he had to admit that he was glad that Raenef had entered his life.

Raenef sighed with pleasure, and murmured something that Eclipse could have sworn was his name. He froze, and stared down at his master's frail frame.

How would Raenef react if he were to find Eclipse in bed with him like this? Eclipse had no way of knowing; the behavior of a demon lord was child's play to Eclipse, but Raenef left him baffled. Would he be happy? Would he smile at Eclipse, and cuddle up to him? Would his open, expressive eyes radiate happiness, completion? Would he blush like he had in class? Would he allow Eclipse to kiss his tender, little mouth?

Would he be mortified? Would he feel violated?

Eclipse wished that he knew, but it didn't matter, anyway.

How can any demon love when their relationships are always so unbalanced?

Slowly, gently, carefully, he unwound himself from Raenef. As Raenef's contact with Eclipse was taken away, his face began to look troubled again, so Eclipse stayed close by the bed, holding Raenef's hand, and brushing his hair away from his face.

It didn't matter what strange, foreign emotions were twisting inside of Eclipse's heart. What mattered was that he was Raenef's servant, and Raenef was his master, so they would always be together. Eclipse would make sure of it.