"The Last Stop"
By Dominique Modiano
Kai was waiting when he arrived. 
Prince choose to materialize in white -- suitably impressive, he knew it would also keep him comfortable in the hotness of Between. In the short walk over to Kai, he could feel his powers gather around him, settling inside him again after the transition.  He could feel Kai watch him as he walked, and he assumed that the dead man was calculating strategy.  And then -- perhaps not.  Perhaps the dead man was not thinking anything at all. 
Prince had scarcely strode within ten feet of Kai when the man demanded, "Where's Stanley Tweedle?" 
To the point as usual. "Here," Prince answered. "Would you like to see him?" 
Kai paused and considered the question, then answered, "Yes, I would." 
"Then come with me." Prince offered his hand. Kai looked down at the offered hand, almost as if he were confused or distracted by the sudden motion.  Prince chuckled, perceiving Kai's literal nature immediately.  It takes time for the dead man to figure things out. And then -- perhaps not.  Perhaps Kai takes his time simply because he has all the time in the world. 
Prince leaned down, took Kai's hand, and led him away. Kai's hand was cool in his own.  Prince noticed that the skin was smooth, and yet not soft like so many men's hands he had held.  They were the hands of an artist, strong and flexible.  Prince guessed that while Kai had not used his hands in manual labor while he was alive, he certainly had not shied away from working with his hands.  Perhaps he had been skilled in repairing delicate machinery.  A thought occurred to Prince -- he wondered what it would feel like to have Kai's hands touch his body, caress with a slide of fingertips down the sensitive skin of his ribs under his arm, then down his 
waist to his outer thigh to the ticklish spot just above his knee... 
Kai was here with him, a permanent companion.  Prince could not help but look up at the sun and smile.  This was joy. 
As they walked, Prince asked Kai about his life before he was dead, and after.  Kai told him about the Divine Shadow, the Prophesy, the League of 20,000 planets, and their adventures that had brought the Lexx to these two planets. 
Prince was impressed.  Kai had not told him one lie as they walked.  Prince could feel when people were lying, and Kai's speech had been free from any untruth.  Kai was even open with his description of what it was like to be dead, and this fascinated Prince.  He knew that the people on Fire and Water were dead, but there was never any link with their first lives.  Xev was still living her first life, as had Stanley before he died. 
But Kai -- he was dead, and yet not dead.  He did not belong on either Fire *or* Water, at least not *this* Kai.  Prince remembered seeing -- and killing in battle -- the living version of Kai several times on Water.  But this man next to him did not act at all like the sweet, courageous, and beautiful man happily living out his eternity on the water planet, even though the Water-Kai did care about the people around him a little more than the usually self-absorbed citizens of the world did. What did this Kai care about?  Xev? Stanley? 
"Being dead, I do not care about things," Kai explained. "But I do ...think about them." 
An intriguing idea, thought Prince.  Is this a weakness? "And what do you think about?" 
Kai stopped walking, suggesting to Prince that this was indeed a significant question.  Kai turned and faced him. 
"I try to understand the difference between the living ...and myself" said Kai. 
If Prince didn't know better, he would think that this statement might have some angst.  Could there be desire for life in the dead?  He touched Kai's face, using his powers to discern the truth -- and the answer came to him as a bit of a surprise. With Xev and Stanley, Prince could read their minds, their memories. It was his gift, and his job, to find the right memories for the people on Fire in order to punish them for their misdeeds.  But Kai -- he was blank.  Prince could sense the internal call-and-response of the nanites, and nothing else. "Why, you're not living ...you're a chemical machine ...for lack of a better term."  Despite that finality, he wondered, 
"Would you like to be alive again?" 
"I do not have ...likes," stated Kai. 
Prince could not help but chuckle, "There you go."  He had found that was a sure determinant between the souls on Fire and the souls on Water -- what they liked.  If Kai did not have likes, then he did not belong on either Fire or Water.  Indeed, he belonged Between, and here he was to keep Prince company.  How delightful! 
As they walked, Prince's joy was tempered with another question -- if Kai did not have likes, then would he be a good companion?  "If you don't have likes, then why do you prefer Xev and Stanley over me? 
Kai snuck a look at him through his forelock. "I do not prefer them over you."  Kai paused before he continued.  "I experience ...an affinity for them." 
"An affinity?" 
"Yes. My issues are resolved -- theirs are not.  Long ago, I agreed to help them find a home." 
Prince could understand that sort of allegiance. "I see.  Therefore, you have an unresolved issue on their account."  They continued walking. 
Kai squinted at the ground, "Perhaps." 
"Do you think you could reach ...an affinity with me?" 
"I have no motivation to do so." 
Kai's answer seemed a little too rehearsed for Prince's satisfaction.  Perhaps, a deal could be made that would improve the dead man's motivation.  The idea that Kai's answer had been rehearsed suggested that he was hiding something -- after all, the people that Prince knew only made up pat answers in order to keep others away from the truth. 
"And if I could help you understand the difference between the living and yourself?  Could you reach an affinity with me then?"  Prince stopped walking. 
Kai, too, stopped in his tracks, considering the offer.  His brows and dark eyelashes shaded his eyes while his forelock fluttered in the hot desert breeze. 
Prince could not resist and took Kai's face in his hands.  Kai's eyes examined him closely, showing no reaction to this intimacy. Prince stepped closer and leaned down to take a deep breath of Kai's scent.  He smelled of the dust of this Between place ...and of the sour tanned leather smell of the Lexx ...a hint of Xev's scent ... and a dash of the metallic scent of the cryopod.  But in of himself, Kai had no individually identifiable scent.  Prince remembered tasting Kai while in Xev-form, and wondered if he would taste the same. 
Prince captured Kai's mouth with his own, running his tongue between Kai's full top and bottom lips in a kiss.  He hoped for a reaction -- anything at all -- but the reactiveness Kai had shown to his Xev-form was not apparent now.  In fact, Kai did nothing.  When Prince raised his head to look at Kai's face, he met Kai's dispassionate eyes.  Kai's mouth remained parted from Prince's kiss, his lips shining with the wetness of Prince's mouth and tongue, but his eyes showed no reaction.  Prince suspected that Kai had not even 
closed his eyes. 
"Did you like my kiss?" Prince had to ask. 
"The dead do not like ...kissing."  Another formulaic answer, which irritated Prince. 
"You kissed me rather passionately when I looked like Xev." 
"I was testing her ...your reactions." 
"And now? 
"I do not need to test your reactions." 
Ah, the opportunity opens up, thought Prince.  "But if you want to understand the difference between the living and yourself, then shouldn't you test your own reactions?" Prince hoped the logic would appeal to the dead man, as the results promised great delight. 
Kai considered the logic for a moment. Then, "Very well." 
Kai reached up and pulled Prince's mouth into contact with his own. Prince checked for the briefest of moments whether Kai's eyes were closed -- they were -- and then he was lost in the most passionate kiss he had ever experienced. 
Kai captured Prince's mouth in an embrace of tongues that was just short of oral sex.  Lips, teeth, tongue -- a cool tongue exploring Prince's own hot mouth ...Kai's tongue gently caressed the top palate of Prince's mouth, sending shudders of delight down his spine. Then Kai caressed under Prince's tongue, tangling his cool organ with Prince's hot one, sliding his against Prince's with the sexy slipperiness of a nude dance. 
Prince tried to adjust, to shift into the dominant position in the kissing, but he was too caught by Kai's strong hands on either side of his head.  He felt Kai's smooth fingers running through the short hairs on the back of his head, teasing the nerves with skin delight.  Prince's attention was drawn back to his mouth as Kai began, with a nip of teeth, to suck on his tongue, bringing blood into the tip of the already sensitive organ. 
And the taste of Kai -- ah, the taste -- yes, this he could identify as an individual taste-smell-scent.  There was nothing like it, this taste of protoblood.  While in Xev-form it had given him a thrill, but now experienced in his own form the intensity was even greater.  The nanites tingled on his tongue as they followed the flow of protoblood wetting his mouth, and they added to that most identifiable taste -- a taste that was like the smell of water in the desert, a taste of life where life should not exist, a taste of defiant will in the face of a blasphemous existence. 
Kai might not have likes, but Prince certainly did -- and he liked this feeling of life in an existence surrounded by death.  How ironic, Prince thought.  Death is kissing me passionately and all I can taste is life. 
Prince held Kai's hips in his hands as he let his mouth be ravished, and he felt himself become aroused, his hardness growing between his legs.  Kai's kiss grew even more insistently erotic, seizing Prince's mouth and demanding a sensual response from the rest of his body.  Lips, teeth, tongue, and now Kai's hands were stroking his lower back, hips, groin -- where did this passion come from in the heart of a living chemical machine?  This thought caught Prince off guard and he pulled away from the kiss. 
"Where did you learn to kiss like that?" he asked, catching his breath. 
Kai's face was impassive, as if they had been discussing rock formations, and he dropped his arms to his side.  "I relied on the memories given to me by the Divine Shadows." 
This took Prince back more than a little. "You were kissing me according to other people's memories?" 
"What about your own memories?" Prince was dazzled and disappointed by this idea of having others' memories to play around in. 
Kai considered the question for a few seconds. "My own memories of kissing are not as extensive ...or experienced." 
"I would think you would prefer to test your own life's reactions to kissing, in order to know the difference between the living and yourself."  Prince could not help but push in order to further his desires -- and to find out what sort of companion Kai would be. 
Kai was steadfast. "My own memories of kissing do not include kissing a man."  Kai's gaze fluttered and then fell.  A lie? Prince wondered.  Is that his first lie to me?  How fascinating, to cover up something as simple as a kiss. 
"Does it matter?" 
Kai looked to the left and then to the right under his lashes, considering the question with great solemnity.  Then, he looked into Prince's eyes. "No. The dead do not have preferences." 
Another opportunity, thought Prince, his mouth curling into a smile at the idea. "Did it matter when you were living?" 
Kai's eyes slid away from Prince's again, as he appeared to gather the memories from his own life. "I died a Newborn.  I did not have enough experience to have ...preferences." 
Prince's smile gained width.  "I see.  Then test your reactions according to your living memories.  See how kissing the living compares to your living memories." 
Kai frowned and looked at the ground as he appeared to consider Prince's proposition.  Prince could see that quite a decision was being made from the depth of the furrows between Kai's eyebrows.  Then, Kai looked up, his eyes certain. 
"Very well.  If you will allow me to kiss you again, I will test my reactions to the living." 
"Of course."  Prince concealed his smirk. 
Kai put his hands on either side of Prince's upper arms, holding him still, and raised his pale chin for a kiss.  Prince leaned down, expecting another ravishment -- but Kai's mouth met his with a satin-soft chaste press of full lips.  The kiss was firm, a measuredness of mouth against mouth, but brief -- a single kiss and nothing more. 
Prince was so surprised that he opened his eyes, and saw Kai's face come into focus.  Kai's eyes were closed, his long eyelashes shadowing his chiseled cheekbones.  As the kiss ended, Kai's mouth parted slightly revealing the whiteness of teeth for a brief second, and his eyelids fluttered open.  Kai looked into Prince's eyes with an open gaze, a window showing Prince that these memories had belonged to an innocent soul. 
Then, Kai straightened up and lowered his chin into neutral position.  His eyes, too, returned to neutrality.  Prince assumed that the test was over. 
"What do you think?" Prince asked. 
The answer was immediate.  "I will need time to calculate the difference." 
"There is plenty of time here," Prince put a smile into his eyes. "We can continue testing your reactions as you choose." 
"Then perhaps I will be able to resolve the issue." 
Prince chuckled, "There you go." 
They walked along a ridge until Prince reached the spot where they could see the vortex, and he explained to Kai the necessity of the wait for those who made bad choices.  Kai's doggedness was apparent in his resolution to rescue Stanley -- and Prince could not help but suggest Kai accomplish the impossible. 
"Go ahead.  Rescue him.  Take him with you." 
Kai took him literally.  Prince could hear the mechanism of Kai's brace prime as he raised his arm and aimed -- and then Prince guessed that some sort of thought process caught up with the immediacy of the physical action because Kai paused and then lowered his arm and the spyglass. 
"How can I do that?" 
"You can't." Prince was almost sorry to say no to the man, but the 'almost' passed and he felt himself return to his usual smugness. 
The smugness remained solid as Kai tried to intimidate Prince, but it didn't work, of course. Prince explained, "Because no one ever returns from here.  This is the end of their journey.  The last stop.  Nothing comes after it and there is no way back." 
Kai stepped forward after returning the spyglass, and was now nose to nose. "And you can return." Kai's voice was deep, with almost a growl to it. 
"Of course." He smiled and thought, how delightful. "I'm Prince.  I'm here with you and yet at the same time I'm there with Xev.  Butyou will keep me company ... forever."  With a patronizing grin, Prince put his arm around Kai and patted him on the back. As hewalked away, Prince ordered Kai to follow him, "Come." 
And Kai followed, like a good companion. 
Part 2 
After a few minutes of walking, Kai spoke up.  He had clearly been doing some more thinking. 
"I will keep you company?" 
"Yes," replied Prince. 
Kai's tone had returned to its stubbornness. "I am here to rescue Stanley.  I do not experience any motivation to keep you company." 
Another opportunity clicked into Prince's awareness, and he stopped walking in order to look at Kai carefully. "Do you want to make a deal?  A deal that would help Stanley?  I could do that if you would agree to keep me company." 
Kai rocked back on his heels for a moment, seeming to adjust his center of gravity.  Prince had noticed that Kai's footprints were deeper than his, and while Kai formulated a response Prince idly wondered if Kai was heavier than he looked. 
"The Dead do not make deals." 
The formulaic response once again.  Each time Kai uttered a formulaic response, he revealed a weakness.  This was good to know, thought Prince. "I see.  You have an affinity for Xev and Stanley -- would they make a deal with me to help *you*? Or each other?" 
Kai appeared to be caught by this logic. "I think ...they might.  It would depend on the deal." 
Despite Kai's protestations that he does not care about things, he does care about his friends, Prince noted with glee.  A definite weakness. "I could, if we had a deal, improve Stanley's position.  I could shorten Stanley's wait." 
"What would I have to do?" 
The dead man was definitely caught, and Prince celebrated internally.  "You could keep me company by showing me some more of those memories of yours."  Prince stepped closer to look into Kai's dark green eyes. "It would be to your benefit as well, helping you test your reactions to the living." 
"Very well." Kai solemnized. "I will keep you company for as long as it helps Stanley." 
Prince smiled and led Kai over to a rock canyon, the sides of which were shielded from the sun.  Inside the canyon were three smooth rocks, the middle one perfect for a seat not unlike a backless throne.  Prince sat down on the stone, enjoying the coolness of the shaded rock.  Kai stood five feet from him, watching with his usual unperturbed gaze. 
"You will help me, and then I will help Stanley.  Is that a deal?" 
"I agree. What would you like me to do?" 
This was too perfect, new, and exciting.  Prince could feel his heart begin to race at the lascivious thoughts going through his mind. What was Kai capable of remembering?  He had thousands of memories, the man had told him.  Perhaps Prince should begin with something basic. 
"Come here in front of me. Kneel and undo the front of my trousers." 
Kai complied, kneeling and unfastening Prince's trousers.  Prince was wearing trousers that featured a front flap held to the rest of the garment by laces, a design that made it easy for Prince to access his manhood.  Kai exposed Prince's organ to the hot desert air and examined it closely and dispassionately between the tips of his fingers for several seconds before looking up into Prince's eyes. 
"I think ...I understand what you wish me to do."  Kai looked at the organ again with a frown. "But sex is an intellectual concept for me now." 
That did not matter to Prince -- sex was sex -- intellectual concept or not, and he found Kai's examination of his large organ to be entertaining. "I want you to bring me pleasure, some joy.  Will you do that?" 
"Yes." Kai looked up again. "Do you wish me to use my hands or my mouth? I have experienced this sort of pleasure both ways." Kai's face was solemn. 
"I want you to use your memories -- all of your memories." 
Kai held Prince's gaze for a moment too long, as if his mind were occupied elsewhere -- and then he looked away and lowered his eyes.  Prince guessed that Kai was cataloguing and gathering his memories for the appropriate actions, and he felt his excitement grow.  If the kiss was an example of Kai's memories, then asking the dead man to perform oral sex promised enormous... 
Kai snapped to attention and licked the palm of his right hand slowly and sensuously before grasping Prince's organ, wrapping his fingers around its stem one by one and gently squeezing up the length.  The sudden grasp almost made Prince come undone right there. The liquid on Kai's palm provided a perfect amount of lubricant for the cock skin beneath his fingers to slide easily. 
Kai immediately established a rhythm, forcing a gasping moan from Prince's lips.  Prince's flesh became hot and hard, and he could not help but close his eyes and bite his lip from the pleasure.  His body began to tingle from the feelings in his cock, radiating out to curl his toes and scramble up his spine. 
"Unhhhh..." was all Prince was able to speak.  Kai knew exactly the right amount of pressure to exert, the perfect twist over his sensitive cockhead, and then the heavenly slide back down to the base of his organ. Over and over, Kai's cool hand slid up and down, raising the level of pleasure each time.  Prince found himself opening his legs wider just so that he could thrust into Kai's long fingers. 
Kai looked up at Prince, his eyes absent from emotion, and tilted his head to one side, examining Prince's reaction.  Prince looked back, speechless, breathing heavily from Kai's expert grasp.  Kai blinked, some sort of criteria being satisfied, and looked down at the organ.  A few drops of precum slid down the head, and Kai slowly licked his full lips. 
Kai suddenly let his mouth take over from his hand.  As he fed the organ between his lips, Prince could not help but arch off the rock as pleasure screamed its merry way up his spine. 
Kai ran his tongue under Prince's foreskin and around the crown, causing Prince to gasp and shudder.  He then slicked his lips with his mouth liquid again, and then dove down, swallowing the length whole, working his jaw until his nose was buried in the thick white hairs of Prince's groin. 
Prince's senses luxuriated in the act happening before his eyes -- the sight and sound of Kai, the feeling of the man's mouth moving up and down his cock, the wonderful sight of his own cock as it left Kai's mouth and the sweet noises Kai made as he sucked the cock in and out. 
Prince did not care if Kai heard the gasps and grunts and almost-whimpers from his mouth, or saw the clenchings of his hands and teeth. The power and the pleasure were as one as he felt like he had finally won a battle, if not a war, to get this dead man to give him living pleasure. 
Every few minutes, Kai changed techniques, and each technique promised a different pleasure.  A favorite was when Kai rose up and sucked on the end of his cock for a few seconds before diving down hard, lodging the head of Prince's cock deep in his throat before moving his lips back up the shaft. Each time Kai did this, Prince could not help but hiss and tremble and moan.  Sometimes, Kai would pause and dip his tongue into the slit at the head of his cock, and the absolute pleasure would force Prince to throw his head back in ecstasy. 
Kai's hands clenched at Prince's thighs, holding him open and holding him down, his strength the only balance against Prince's helpless thrustings.  Prince lay back, and then propped himself up on his elbows as he watched.  He could not resist tangling his fingers in Kai's sleek black hair, feeling the softness and thickness.  Soon, Prince felt his whole body on fire and he ground his hips into the mouth that held him hostage, so close to orgasm that he was in pain. 
A wave of ecstasy shuddered through his body, wrenching a gasp from his throat, and Kai responded with an amazing show of strength -- pulling back slightly, he lifted Prince's hips up to meet his mouth.  Kai began to feed himself the cock before him, shining with sweat, precum, and the liquid from Kai's mouth.  Prince gasped loudly and his hands spasmed to grasp the rock underneath him, the sweat from his palms leaving dark trails on the light rock.  Prince's weight was supported by his shoulders on the rock, and Kai's strong hands were holding his hips in the air. Kai pulled himself to a half standing position, and Prince's feet left the ground. 
Kai controlled all movement, using his strength to feed Prince's hips up to his mouth, fucking his mouth with Prince's cock.  Soon Prince could feel the tingling in his balls and the burning at the back of his groin that signaled his orgasm, and he could feel the sweet slide of pleasure drawing his balls up tight and hardening his cock.  The small part of his brain that could still cricket-chirp a thought wondered if Kai would swallow his jism or pull away and let Prince come all over himself.  The sheer imagined thought of Kai 
swallowing pushed Prince over the edge. 
"Kai!" Prince gasped. "Kai - I'm... I'm... *fuck*!" 
Kai heeded the warning, but not in the way Prince imagined.  He pulled Prince forward harder, jamming the huge cock into his mouth and throat until Prince could feel the back of Kai's throat.  Prince burst, filling Kai's mouth with his smooth fluid, and he moaned deep in his throat as he rode his orgasm out, his hips jerking as he came, groaning and spasming in Kai's strong hands. 
Prince opened his eyes and saw that a little of his release had spilled out of Kai's mouth, trickling across his lips and chin.  Kai slowly returned Prince's hips back to the rock, sucking softly again and again until Prince's cock began to soften in his mouth.  Prince was a mass of trembling, and was panting harshly. 
Kai released Prince's cock from his mouth and solemnly put the organ back into Prince's trousers, tucking the now sleeping organ under the fabric and retying the laces.  Prince's jism was still on Kai's mouth and chin, and Prince could not help but smile at the incongruity of the sight.  He sat forward and cupped Kai's face.  Kai went completely still, his eyes wary, but Prince only smiled and cleaned Kai's mouth and chin with his own tongue, tasting himself on Kai's cool skin. 
With a final kiss on Kai's unreacting mouth, Prince lay back on the rock with a happy sigh. "I will help Stanley when I wake up," Prince mumbled sleepily. 
After a few hours sleep for Prince, they arrived on the top of a cliff nearest to the vortex. 
"I cannot release Stanley Tweedle, but I can move him to the head of the line.  I do have some influence here," Prince explained.  He felt his powers run clean and clear through himself, and he raised his arms, calling Stanley into Level 9 ahead of the rest. "There." 
He turned to look at Kai, and they both looked at the Vortex.  Prince smiled inwardly -- he had fulfilled his end of the deal, and was satisfied.  Very satisfied. 
For now. 
They were returning to the shady canyon when Kai finally spoke.  After Prince had moved Stanley up the line, Kai had gone silent, appearing to be working on understanding the difference between the living and himself.  But then -- perhaps not, Prince thought. 
"Where is Stanley Tweedle now?" Kai asked. 
"He's on level nine." Prince paused and sat on a rock, putting his leg up for comfort. 
"In my city.  It's reserved for the worst cases." 
"What is he doing there?" 
Prince knew that sooner or later an intelligent man like Kai would see through his machinations. It was only a matter of time.  Stanley called out for help, and Prince could not resist funneling the cries into Between for Kai to hear.  After all, Kai had agreed to his side of the bargain, and Prince had fulfilled his own side of the bargain, and so the situation was resolved here.  Still, Prince could not help gloating.  Stanley's voice floated out of the ether, "Someone help me!" 
"I will try to help you, Stanley!" Kai predictably responded, much to Prince's amusement. 
"He can't hear you and you can't help him.  There's nothing you can do." 
"I fulfilled my part of the deal."  Kai's eyes looked at him with a razor sharp expression. 
"Yes, you did.  And I fulfilled mine.  I did all I could to help Stanley." Prince could not conceal a satisfied smile. 
Kai's chin rose to a belligerent level, but his eyes were placid as usual.  Ah, he realizes he's been used, thought Prince.  His satisfied smile was now unconcealed. Kai's chin dropped back to neutral position, and he looked at Prince carefully. 
"If I am a machine ... and Stanley is, in essence, meant to suffer forever, then what are you?" 
"I do not know."  The question was a good one.  I wonder what he is trying to figure out, thought Prince. 
"How is it that you do not know?"  Kai began a series of questions, which Prince answered truthfully.  After all, there was no point in lying to the dead man.  This was the last stop for him, and Prince wanted to be careful to tell him the truth.  There was no point in having a companion that did not trust him. 
Kai asked questions which were surprisingly difficult to answer despite their seeming simplicity. "Where do you come from?  What do you want?  Why do you want to destroy Water?" The last one was very difficult to answer, and so Prince choose the easiest way to respond: 
"Because it is full of good and I am full of bad.  I think that's all there is to it.  I'm not very complicated really."  At least I don't think I am, added Prince silently to himself.  But Kai was not satisfied. 
"Has our presence on these planets been a good thing ... or a bad thing?" 
"Well, a good thing for me is a bad thing for others, of course, but the truth is I don't know.  The issue is not yet resolved."  Prince could not resist using Kai's words against him, against his own logic.  However, Kai continued to push, obviously working out some sort of plan or deal on his own. 
"But if you and I are to remain here forever and if Stanley is to suffer for the rest of time ... what can possibly happen now to resolve the issue?" 
With great mastery, Kai had flipped the situation back at Prince.  The smile dissolved from Prince's face.  He had underestimated the dead man.  Prince responded by revealing his most powerful weapon against Water. 
"Xev," Prince confessed.  "She holds the future of Fire and Water.  Without her everything would go on forever as before.  We would defeat the people of Water in every battle that we fought, but then we would fight among ourselves and undermine our victories.  We would never lose and yet we would never win." 
"Where is Xev now?  Do you know?" Kai asked, his tone of voice slightly different.  Is that the sound of worry in his voice? Prince wondered.  Worry means weakness.  Prince decided to answer with an almost-truth. 
"Yes.  She's come over to me." 
Kai paused, considering the information, and his tone of voice changed again. His response contained a hint of disbelief based on logic. 
"Are you certain?" 
It suddenly became very difficult for Prince to reply. "No." 
A long silence arose between them.  Kai looked at the ground, and he turned his face so that his forelock shielded his eyes from Prince's gaze. Xev obviously meant a lot to Kai, Prince realized. Perhaps his "affinity" for her was greater than his "affinity" for Stanley.  Another weakness.  Prince felt his usual sense of satisfaction return. 
"Are you ready to continue with our deal?" He pushed Kai, and Kai pushed back, so Prince felt no qualms about pushing Kai again. 
"No. I see no point in it if Stanley can not be helped." And Kai pushed back again.  This was very delightful and entertaining in a companion. 
"Then you want a new deal?" 
"No."  Kai's eyes bored into him again with that razor gaze.  Prince realized it was time to pull out the heavy artillery. 
"What if I offered you a deal that would free Xev?" 
"How could you do that?" Kai did not react at all to Xev's name, but he did not say 'no', either. Prince pushed again against Kai's defenses and logic. 
"I have her trapped in my city. If we made a deal, I would let her go."  Prince loved revealing the full extent of his powers -- that he had all three of them trapped and separated from each other.  Kai moved forward in the game, looking at the outcome from Prince's point of view. 
"If you let her go, she would resolve the issue."  This was a very talented move on Kai's part, thought Prince.  Look at the situation from the enemy's point of view, and you are most likely to find a way to defeat the enemy.  Prince welcomed Kai's next attack. 
"Yes ... the key word here is "if."  I don't have to let her go.  The issue has not been resolved in the past, and there is no real reason for me to allow it to be resolved in the future." Prince hoped he was not too clever here.  You can't fight an enemy that does not care about winning. 
"If we made a deal, you would let her go even though it is possible she would destroy Fire?" 
What was this? thought Prince.  Was Kai offering him a deal?  How delightful!  Prince decided to play it coy for one more round, "She might destroy Water too... I would have to take that chance." 
"Would making a deal with me...make you want to take that chance?" 
"Yes."  Oh, yes, thought Prince.  The things I would like to do with a companion like you... Prince clenched his teeth to keep the lascivious thoughts to himself.  The idea that Kai was offering himself up willingly to Prince's hands was just too delicious. 
"Very well," Kai solemnized again.  "I will make another deal with you.  I will remain your companion if you let Xev go free." 
"Deal," said Prince quickly. He smirked inwardly -- I will let her think she escaped, but that does not mean I won't try to kill...erm...'test' her first. His smile spread to his face after all. "Let's return to the canyon, shall we?" 
Kai nodded, and followed, his footsteps a little slower than before. 
Part 3 
"Talking about Xev has given me an idea of how you could be my companion."  Prince threw this statement over his back before he sat down again on the rock in the canyon.  The sun never rose or set in this Between -- it was always mid-afternoon, making the shade of the canyon very pleasant.  He hoped he didn't have to check on Stanley anytime soon, because he had some interesting ideas about how Kai could pleasure him again. 
Kai stopped in the exact same spot as he had before -- five feet away -- and looked down at him with an impassive face.  "Xev is a beautiful love slave." 
"Believe me, I know," Prince grinned. 
"I cannot provide you with the same ...services that Xev can."  Kai frowned. 
"Are you sure?" 
"I do not have ...girl-parts."  Kai seemed like he had needed to access a memory in order to find his last words.  But the statement was irrelevant. 
"My preferences do not require you to have girl-parts." 
Kai nodded, the frown disappearing. Prince smiled, "I would, however, like to see what parts you do have." 
Kai stepped forward, his arms at his sides, and stood looking at Prince with a open look to his eyes as if he were curious to see what Prince wished to do to his body.  His dead body.  Prince was fascinated. 
"Take off your clothes," Prince softly ordered, his voice low.  He could feel his heart pound with excitement. 
Kai nodded briefly, and then unfastened his jacket, laying it gently on the nearby rock.  Kai's silver skin glowed in the shadow of the canyon, almost luminescent, brushed lightly by the golden glow of the filtered sunlight. Prince was surprised to find how slender Kai was under his clothes, his skin tight against the bones. His prosthetics drank up as much light as his skin gave off, the one in the center of his chest and the points on his breast giving Kai a contrast matched only by the difference between his light skin and his dark hair. 
Kai bent and undid the fastenings on his right boot, and then his left, taking them off.  Prince noted that Kai had the feet of a dancer, proudly arched.  Then Kai removed his trousers, leaving only an oilskinned loin cloth to cover his nakedness.  Finally, he removed the loincloth -- and there was still one last covering over his genitals, much to Prince's dismay.  What was this? 
Prince leaned forward and trailed his fingers over the black bulge in the center of Kai's groin.  "What is this?" 
"It is part of my ...equipment." 
"Take it off!" Prince demanded. 
"I cannot." 
"Why not?" Prince looked up into Kai's dispassionate eyes with a frown. 
"It is a part of me as much as this is," and Kai showed Prince his brace, the cord of which disappeared into his arm, not to be seen again. "I cannot...take it off, as you ask." 
Prince shook his head with frustration and reached forward, tucking the fingers of his right and left hands under the machinery -- and pulled.  Kai's hips thrust forward with the pulling, but the machinery was immovable. 
"There must be some way...," said Prince to himself, grasping at the top and bottom of the machinery and pulling again.  Kai's hips jerked forward again and again as Prince attempted to forcibly remove the machinery.  Prince turned the knobs and pressed on the sides and tried everything he could think of, every combination of turns as if the mechanism were a puzzle.  But the black cupped machinery remained firm. 
Finally, Kai brought his hands forward and stilled Prince's tries.  "It cannot be removed by force." 
"Is there a lock or something?  I want it off!"  Prince was very frustrated.  To have come this far only to find that the object of his desire locked away -- this was not something he was used to.  Prince usually got what he wanted, and he didn't care who he had to go through, or kill, to get it. 
"It can be removed for maintenance on my systems," Kai explained, his voice low. "But to do so would cause me to shut down for the duration." 
Prince looked up.  "So I could take it off, but you will not function if it is off?" 
"That's not much fun." 
"The dead...do not have fun." 
Prince snorted at the ludicrousness of that formulaic response. "What's underneath it?  Are all your parts still there?" 
"The bioscholars did not remove any of my parts," Kai said softly and calmly. "Any parts not essential for my role as an assassin were rendered ...non-functional.  However, the parts were kept intact in case it would ever be necessary to render them functional." 
Prince frowned and blinked up at Kai, trying to understand what the dead man was saying.  "You mean you can't have sex?  All those memories, and you can't have sex?  You can't fuck?" 
Kai looked at him impassively. "Sex is an intellectual concept for me." 
Prince spat out the word as if it were venom.  He looked Kai up and down, his irritation growing.  There was only one last thing to try. "Put your right foot up on the rock at my side."  Kai obeyed, his arms still by his side.  Prince looked up and cupped Kai's arse, giving it a squeeze, and then slid his fingers between the cheeks, searching for that secret spot.  Prince's eyes never left Kai's face, hoping for a reaction.  Kai looked down at Prince with the calmness of a saint. 
Prince's fingers found the hairless orifice.  "Did they remove this as well?"  Prince pushed at the opening with his first finger. "Did they lock up your arse too?" 
Kai shook his head in the negative, slowly, looking into Prince's eyes. 
Prince wet his finger with saliva and pushed in.  The sphincter was tight, but slowly opened under his finger's pressure, and Prince slid in to his knuckle, then to the bottom of his finger.  The cavern was cool and moist. 
"At least they left you some humanity, Kai." 
Kai tilted his head to one side, considering Prince's words. "It does not function." 
"That's not important." Prince put the smile into his eyes as he removed his finger. "Turn around." 
Kai put his foot down and turned around, his arms at his sides, and looked blankly forward at the rock wall.  Prince remembered that he had to give Kai very, very specific directions. 
"No, I meant..." Prince changed his tone. "Turn back and look at me, Kai." 
Kai did so, looking at him with that calm stare.  Prince felt suddenly very daring in asking this man to do what he wanted.  For some reason, deeply buried, he was less interested in achieving what he wanted, and more interested in seeing what Kai would do.  How Kai would react -- how Kai would test his reactions to the living. 
"I want you to lie down on the rock on your back," Prince began thinking of what he wanted. "I want you to spread your legs to the sides and show yourself to me -- all of yourself." 
Kai nodded, understanding the command. He lay down on the rock exactly as Prince told him to, spread his legs, and looked up at the sky.  Prince stood and began to unfasten his trousers, looking down at Kai, and a memory of his own recollected in Prince's mind. 
He remembered a sneak attack on Boomtown -- he had surrounded the city with his gondolas and watched a party taking place.  One of the rooms was a vast chamber where dancing was going on, and Prince remembered aiming his crossbow at one of the dancers...a dancer that looked just like this man before him.  It must have been one of Kai's incarnations on Water. He remembered watching the man dancing, a laugh on his face, his long hair loose and flying, a lean, muscular, tanned body turning and twisting with joy, his feet barely touching the ground.  As the man paused near a pillar, laughing and catching his breath, Prince shot him in the 
chest, the metal bolt going through flesh and heart and bone and finally imbedding itself in the wall behind the man, pinning him there helplessly. The man had looked up at him with shock before the light left his eyes. 
Pinning...embedding...holding him fast to his will...Prince realized that his cock would not give him enough satisfaction.  Kai would not even feel it, Prince guessed.  No, he needed something that would make more of an impression on the dead man.  Something like...he looked down at his fingers...and then made a fist.  Something like his fist. 
Prince knelt by Kai and drank in the sight of the man.  Now that he knew what he wanted from Kai, he felt himself grow hard, the images of impalement still floating through his mind.  Kai turned his head and looked at Prince, his green eyes meeting the ice-blue, and Prince leaned down and kissed the dead man, making the cool lips parted and wet. 
He nibbled on Kai's only nipple, hoping that it would become erect...but it showed no reaction.  Kissing and tonguing down the cool chest, Prince paused to dip his tongue in Kai's navel.  Kai was silently watching, and Prince knew that he was taking mental notes.  If that was all the participation that Kai could give him, then so be it, but Prince was determined to fulfill his fantasy of coaxing one small reaction out of the dead man.  The difference between the living and the dead may not be a difference of absolutes, but of simple extremes, Prince mused as he licked alongside the black cupped mechanism in Kai's groin. 
Prince tongued down to the base of the cup, and then lower, changing his position so that he knelt between Kai's legs.  He caressed Kai's nether cheeks, viewing the rosebud for the first time -- it was the same color as Kai's tongue, still pink and seemingly mortal. After breathing on the spot gently, he touched it with the tip of his tongue, and then pushed his tongue in deeply, tasting Kai's body. 
At first, he tasted only his own saliva, but soon he could detect tiny amounts of that distinct protoblood taste, the tingle of the nanites on his tongue similar to the heady feeling of kissing Kai's mouth.  He lifted Kai's hips, and Kai responded by curling his pale hands behind his knees to support his body and resting his head back on the rock, looking up at the sky. 
He's just making it easier for me, Prince thought.  He put his index finger into the cool cavern and began to ease it in and out.  Kai gave no indication of discomfort, so he added a second finger and stroked in and out.  The sphincter was expanding slowly, the muscle relaxing.  He added a third finger. 
"I can relax the muscles in the area, if you wish," Kai spoke so very softly. 
"You mean, make them all relax at once?" 
This intrigued Prince, but it was not what he wanted. "The living can't do that so ...no, don't." 
"The ...orifice is relaxed enough for you to penetrate it, then." 
"I know." 
Kai lifted his head. "Are you going to ...penetrate me?" 
"With my cock?" Prince smiled. "No. Not unless you want me to." 
"The dead do not have preferences." 
"Do you have memories from your own life of this experience?" Prince kept three fingers in Kai's hole, caressing the muscle. 
Kai considered the question for a moment. "I do not."  As he answered, his eyes looked away to the side.  A lie? Prince wondered. Does he think his personal memories are special, or somehow sacred? 
"And what of your other memories?" 
"I have male and female memories of various kinds of penetration, including devices and ...animals." 
Prince added a fourth finger. "Do you have memories of being penetrated by a hand?" 
There was a long pause before Kai answered. "I do not." 
"Then this will be a new experience, will it not?" 
Kai considered for a brief moment, and then nodded before resting his head back on the rock. 
Prince looked back down at the wet, slippery crinkle his fingers were tucked inside.  He leaned down and licked his thumb, adding more saliva to his fingers, and slipped it in the hole, pushing his hand in to the knuckles. 
Kai made a short guttural sound and lifted his head to look at Prince. 
"Does that hurt?" Prince asked. 
"I do not feel pain," Kai said solemnly. "It is, however, exceeding my design specifications." 
Prince chuckled. "Kai, you were not 'designed.'  You were born, like the rest of the living." Prince smiled. "And if this feels like I'm exceeding anything inside you," Prince chuckled again, "I haven't even begun." 
Prince licked the back and palm of his hand, and then pushed into Kai -- all the way to his wrist.  He worked his hand around, feeling the cool softness of the muscles around his hand, searching...but in here there was no metal, only flesh.  Prince felt the soft gland of Kai's prostate through the thin walls, and gently caressed it. 
Kai blinked his eyes several times, but said nothing.  Prince smiled, thinking of the sensations Kai must be feeling -- not emotions -- Prince believed him when Kai professed a total lack of emotions, but physical sensations.  Touch, taste, smell, sight; all of these were plainly working in the dead man's physique.  And having a fist up his arse must be causing quite a ...How would Kai put it? ...a 'neural overload'? 
Prince pulled his hand out and then put it back in before the ass had time to tighten and close up, working and relaxing the muscles.  He pushed in further, and reached bottom, the point of the second sphincter; he thought about continuing further, deeper, but something went off in the back of his mind making his own dick hard and stiff. 
Prince began fucking Kai's ass with his fist, wedging his way through flesh and muscle, sliding in and out, piston-fucking the hole.  Prince looked up, and Kai's eyes were closed, his mouth slightly open, his head tilted back, looking for all the world like he was dreaming.  Prince knew Kai was concentrating on the sensations his body was giving him, memorizing them, trying to understand this interior journey, and all the while looking unspeakably beautiful while he was lost in the depths. 
Prince was so close -- too close -- and he paused in this pumping to undo the laces on his trousers.  Just in time, too -- the moment he released his organ, he came, splashing all over the rock between Kai's thighs. 
But he didn't stop.  Releasing himself, he resumed his pumping, rubbing his fingers around the cool velvet inside Kai. His hand was covered in saliva and what appeared to be protoblood, and his fingertips tingled from the nanites working on him, trying to figure out what it was that Kai had deep in his guts. 
Thrust after thrust, Prince began to feel that Kai was tormenting him with his ability to take such a battering, and yet say nothing.  No screams.  No moans. No begging for mercy.  Only silence. 
Kai's mouth was parted, his full lips begging for a kiss.  Leaving his fist in him to the wrist, Prince used his left hand to pull Kai's head up as he leaned forward and placed his mouth on Kai's.  Prince stuck his tongue in deeply, and Kai sucked on it; Prince felt a circle of energy complete like an electrical current, and when Kai made one small gesture, the placing of his cool soft hand delicately on the outside of Prince's thigh... 
...Kai had touched him ...voluntarily.... 
...Prince helplessly thrust forward again, another orgasm overtaking him and splashing onto Kai's stomach and the black mechanism between his legs. 
Prince gasped at the realization and looked into Kai's eyes. Xev may hold the keys to Water and Fire, but Kai now held the keys to Prince's own soul.  Prince could not kill or hurt his companion -- he could not bring him joy or pain -- he could only give him himself.  And the more he gave, the more Kai could take. But Kai's eyes were expressionless. 
Prince rested for a several minutes, and then slowly returned to the thrusting in Kai's asshole, and Kai closed his eyes, returning to his silent contemplation.  Kai looked like he was dreaming, or adrift in pleasure, his long neck arched back, the tendrils of his dark hair fluttering in the warm breeze.  Prince realized he would give anything to see this man before him writhe in ecstasy, and he whispered "Yes."  He was rewarded with Kai raising his head ever so slightly and peeking at him with seemingly sleepy eyes, their dark emerald depths shining in the golden light of the canyon. 
Prince looked back down to see his hand disappearing and reappearing from Kai's bowels, and saw that he himself had a hard-on again. He kept stroking and sliding his hand in the hole, caressing the prostate, tickling the second sphincter, loving the velvet feeling around his hand.  Prince reflected that his hunger for Kai had not diminished even after three orgasms.  He had worn Kai's body, killed Kai's body, kissed Kai's body in Xev-form, and now he had returned to the man's body, entering it with his mouth and cock and hand. 
This dead man had touched his life and made him feel more alive than ever before, given him a joy for living. 
Kai's submission to Prince's will made Prince feel humbled, and yet full of passion.  To fuck him now, Prince realized with a sharp mental pain, would be blasphemy. He could fuck Kai for a thousand years and never be satisfied, because Kai would take Prince more places than he could ever imagine. 
Prince scooped his jism off of Kai's stomach and added it to the fluids on his hand, wanting extra lubrication, but also wanting to anoint Kai with the essence of his own living body. Inch by inch, so very slowly, Prince began to spread Kai open...a little with his left hand, a little with his right hand. 
Kai's eyelids fluttered open, and the mutest of moans came from his lips. 
Prince hoped he was pushing Kai's body to its limits, giving Kai sensations that the assassin had never felt before, dead or alive. 
Prince slipped a little to one side, and then to the other, until he was up to his third knuckles on both hands.  He slipped the fingers of his right hand into the palm of his left, and pushed over the thumb joint of both hands. 
Kai's mouth opened slightly, his eyes closing again.  Prince guessed that his companion was concentrating on relaxing, memorizing the sensations ...and simply experiencing the intensity of something *new*.  Kai's silence was his assent. 
Prince drew his elbows against his stomach, and pressed in little pushes... slowly -- slowly -- slowly -- that looks so beautiful, Prince thought, seeing his hands finally in up to his wrists. 
Kai exhaled suddenly, and his hands and legs went limp. 
At that last magical word, Prince felt himself draw up and begin to spasm in orgasm for the fourth time.  His hands were bound and caught within Kai's body like a slave's.  Before him was an altar, a body resting like a sacrifice on a rock table, a body made of silver and ebony, painted by the sunlight of Between into a golden god. 
Prince's orgasm spattered on the rock below Kai's legs, and Prince collapsed forward, gasping for air and resting his forehead against Kai's black mechanism.  Slowly he removed his hands from Kai's passage, and placed his hands on Kai's thighs -- the protoblood and nanites on his hands reabsorbing into Kai's skin. 
Kai raised his head and met Prince's eyes with his usual calm and cool gaze, as if nothing had happened between them.  If Kai had come to an understanding of the difference between the living and himself, or had experienced any sort of personal sensation, he did not appear to want to offer it up freely. The Dead *do* keep their secrets.  The dead man looked at Prince with his usual detached manner, waiting... for nothing. 
Prince broke the gaze to look at Kai's rosebud -- and it had returned to the way it looked originally, seemingly untouched by his hands and the incredible stretching he had forced on the muscle.  Somehow, with this man, Prince thought, all boundaries are gone.  Everything is possible.  And yet, as with all the dead, nothing changes. 
Kai sat up, his forelock swaying and caressing his cheek, his eyes examining Prince's exhausted features. 
"Now you will let Xev go," Kai demanded. 
Prince nodded, trying to catch his breath. "Yes... up there... I just died... again.  She's free." 
They returned to the rock where Kai saw Stanley join Prince's city.  Stan tired quickly...lost his head, and rejoined the vortex.  This did not surprise Prince at all. 
"Look, he's back already.  He didn't last long at all.  Still, he'll get another turn.  And another.  And another."  Prince felt he was being generous to give Stanley so many chances to suffer for his crimes. 
Kai's tone was not that of agreement. "I think ... you enjoy your job." 
"I'm very good with pain," Prince explained, trying for a smirk, and yet remembering ...knowing, now... that he could bring his companion neither pain nor pleasure.  Or had he?  Why had Kai gone limp at the end? Why had Kai not wanted him to stop? Is that all this was...a job?  His entire purpose for being was defeated by Kai's very existence. 
Such a realization of sheer uselessness brought an end to Prince's interest in solving any issues.  Next to the magnificent puzzle that was Kai, everything else faded. 
They stood in silence for a long time, Prince remembering and trying to understand what had happened to him here in Between, while Kai... Prince looked at Kai, who appeared to be looking up at the vortex, inspecting it, analyzing it, trying to understand it.  And then -- perhaps not. 
Suddenly, the energy from Lexx outlined the horizon and moved towards the planet. 
"What's that?" 
"The end of your planet ... and of you," Kai said calmly, looking up at the plasma string. 
So Xev had chosen to upset the balance after all, and all issues were solved.  Prince felt glad, somehow, that he had given up on solving the issues before this time.  At least he had not been defeated. Now ...it was his own last stop. 
"I think I should be sad ... but I'm not." 
Then everything disappeared in a blaze of light. 

6/14/01 10:30 pm. 
If you liked this, PLEASE send me a word or two.  Don't read it and then forget it -- fanfic is a labor of love, and I aim to please you. Yes, you! Send comments, fan mail, flames and constructive criticism to: semiramis@pacbell.net