Congratulations! You've made it to the second chapter!

Here's where things get fun...

- Rose

The sleek black limo cruised through the German countryside, gliding smoothly alongside the other vehicles on the Autobahn. The wine was flowing in the back as Astrid, Karine, Benedikt and Nicolaus rode to the gala. They had so much to celebrate - Astrid and Karine had been invited to study at the prestigious University of Heidelberg because of their fantastic work at Harvard Medical School, mapping the intricate systems of the body down to the nanometer. Nerves we're their specialty and their knowledge of the human nervous system matched those of their most educated professors. But intertwining nerves, blood vessels, muscles, bones, and all the other minute details of the body was really what set them apart – they had created such a detailed map of the human body that they discovered one new organ (vestigial, but still, very impressive) and opened doors for nanomedical technologies that no one had even thought possible. And at the age of 26, they were considered some of the top students at Harvard. They'd earned a drink tonight, and to enjoy the company of the two young doctors that had been their guides since arriving in Germany.

As the limo pulled up to the Stuttgart Museum, the velvet red carpet glistened in the dusk lighting of the oncoming evening. Astrid had never felt more elegant as the valet opened the door and she stepped out of the vehicle. The floor length black gown she had gotten for the event cascaded out of the doorway, and as she walked toward the museum, the fabric shimmered and flitted with each step, the strappy black heels peeking out from underneath as she moved. She carried a silver clutch with a strap that she kept wrapped around her delicate wrist, and her blond hair fell in loose ringlets over her neck and bare shoulders. Accented by a sparkling diamond necklace and chandelier earrings, the strapless dress clung tightly to her chest and waist before flowing freely over her legs and down to the floor. Even she had to admit she looked stunning - quite different from the quick ponytail and white lab coat she normally wore.

Karine looked equally amazing but much more daring in a bright red satin gown that fitted her curvaceous form down to her knees, then splayed outward like a mermaid tail. Karine's dark tresses and brown eyes contrasted beautifully against the red dress, making her look even more vibrant and mischievous than usual. The ample wine she'd had prior to exiting the limo gave some extra spark to her demeanor as well. Nicolaus and Benedikt wore their tuxedos exceedingly well, and as a group, they looked like movie stars. Not bad for nerdy doctors.

The gala was the epitome of high society - black ties and elegant gowns filled the hall of the beautiful museum foyer. A small orchestra played Mozart's Eine kleine Nachtmusik, the sounds echoing around the cavernous room and providing an almost royal ambiance to the gathering. Drinks and appetizers were passed by service staff on silver platters, and Astrid and Karine were having the time of their lives, schmoozing with the most brilliant minds in the medical field, many of whom had already heard of the genius duo from America.

Amidst the laughter and merriment, Astrid excused herself to find a restroom, and after getting directions from a passing waiter, climbed the huge staircase to the second level. As she reached the top of the stairs, she looked down to the clutch around her wrist for just a moment to check her phone, when she ran into someone going the opposite direction. She lost her balance, causing her fall back and land hard on the marble floor, her phone to skidding away from her on the smooth surface. She instinctively started to say something and laugh it off, but when she looked up…

The man looking back at her was stunning. It took her breath away - an almost ethereal pale, porcelain face contrasted gorgeously against his long black hair that was slicked back on top and feathered out in layers as it fell down to his shoulders. The formal black jacket was accented by a beautifully patterned emerald scarf, and he wore a dark green tie over the white collared shirt underneath. But it was those eyes...strikingly, stunningly, crisp blue, focused on her with an intensity that she had never seen before. His brow furrowed slightly - maybe frustration? - which made his gaze even more engaging, and for a moment, Astrid was lost for words. She hardly noticed the opulent gold cane with the glowing blue stone on the top.

They continued to stare at each other, never looking away, hardly blinking, Astrid's mind just racing to try and come up with what to say. After what felt like an eternity, she saw him raise an eyebrow, and his face softened into a charming smile. Then he mercifully broke the silence…and their eye contact.

"Excuse me," he said, looking down almost coyly.

"I - I'm sorry, I wasn't looking where I was going..." Astrid finally managed to stutter.

"It's quite all right," he grinned, and extended his hand to help he up. She took it and was surprised by how easily he was able to lift her, though she just smiled sheepishly and muttered something about being clumsy. He bent down and picked up her phone from the ground. "I believe you dropped this," he said, handing it back to her. His voice was smooth, soft, refined...but there was grandeur to it, a confidence that she hadn't heard in anyone's voice before – no hesitation, no inflection of uncertainty, just...perfect. As she took the phone from him, their fingers brushed slightly, sending chills down Astrid's spine.

She managed to utter a thank you as she shoved the phone back into her clutch, but when she glanced back up, he was staring at her again, looking almost perplexed. A nervous giggle escaped her lips, and she pushed a strand of blond hair out of her face and behind her ear. As much as she wanted to look away, those eyes were...captivating. She half-laughed and smiled, trying to ease the tension. "Well, um, sorry. I believe I was, um, heading that way... Maybe I'll see you downstairs…"

Astrid started walking past him toward the restrooms. But just as she was almost out of his reach, she felt his hand gently grab her wrist. "Wait."

She spun around and looked back at the dark stranger, her heart pounding in her throat as pins-and-needles radiated from where he touched her.

"What's your name?" he asked. It was a question, but the strength in his voice made it sound like a command.

"I'm Astrid," she responded, quietly.

"Astrid," he said, a slight smile parting his lips. "It is truly a pleasure to meet you."

Astrid felt more shivers and goosebumps rising on her arms, followed by more nervous giggles. "Oh, thank you. And you are…?"

He turned before she could finish her sentence. "Did you know they have a beautiful study up here?" he said, stepping away and wandering down the hallway. "It's just to the left down here. Would you like to see it?" He turned and extended his hand to her, inviting her to follow.

Astrid furrowed her brow, nervously. "I'm not sure we're allowed to…"

"Oh, it's fine," he interrupted. "I'm a friend of Dr. Schafer, and I'm certain it's something you would find…interesting."

Something about the way he spoke to her felt strange. Astrid had the good sense to know his invitation probably had nothing to do with the beauty of the study, but something compelled her to follow him anyway. It couldn't hurt just to take a peek.

He pushed open a huge mahogany door that led to a dark room. From the light that entered, she could see massive bookshelves, an antique globe, multiple dark leather couches, and a large empty fireplace.

A small "wow" escaped her lips as she walked inside, taking in the grandeur of the space. The man followed her into the room...then shut the door behind them. It was pitch black, and for a split second, Astrid expected a light to turn on. Instead, she heard the lock latch. She gasped and turned around, but the only light was the dim glow of the stone on the man's cane, illuminating his pristine features with an eerie blue air. His charming smile had changed into a menacing, eager snarl, akin to a wolf about to attack a sheep.

Astrid's eyes went wide, and her breath caught in her throat. Danger, her brain screamed. Danger! Danger! Danger! Why had she come in here with him? What had she expected to happen? All of the charm and grace she had seen in the hallway had faded away in the shadows, revealing a dangerous hunter. And she was alone with him, in the dark

"Astrid," he whispered in a low growl. He took a step closer to her, and as much as she wanted to move, her feet felt like they had hardened in cement. "Let me get a closer look at you."

He raised the blue stone toward her face. She saw mysterious swirling patterns in the orb, coming closer to her, and then...he gently touched the orb to her chest.

Suddenly she felt herself being violently pulled away from her own body, her head spinning, darkness encroaching around the edges of her vision. His sinister smile was the last thing she saw before everything faded to black. Though she could no longer see, she was still conscious; it was as though her whole self had been trapped away somewhere in the depths of her own mind. She tried to scream, tried to move, tried to do anything, but it was all just thoughts. Her body would not respond to her.

Then, she felt herself take a deep breath and fill her lungs; she could see, but she had no control over what she looked at. Still in front of her, he watched with a bemused look as the transformation completed. She felt her lips curl into a mischievous smile, and heard her own voice say, "Well...hello."

A low chuckle escaped the man's lips, and with a wave of his hand a fire ignited in the hearth. Astrid was dumbfounded, but her body didn't react – this "second her" hardly registered that something extraordinary had happened at all. In fact, the "second her" felt oddly comfortable. Confident, but stronger...dark, unhinged…almost...good. It felt powerful.

"Tell me," said the man casually, as he removed his jacket and settled down on one of the couches in front of the fire. "what brings you here tonight?"

"I'm a medical research student at Harvard University in the United States, and I'm working here with the University of Heidelberg to aid in their research. In fact, I'm the best in my field." Astrid felt a shock of fear - she couldn't control what she told him. Astrid walked over to the man and climbed on top of him, straddling him on the couch. Her dress rode up as she spread her legs over him.

He leaned back and stretched his arms across the top of the cushions. She drew a lazy finger across his chest, and began unbuttoning his shirt. "I map the body," she said, "I could tell you about every nanometer. But something tells me your body is significantly different from what I'm familiar with…maybe I should take a closer look." She flicked her gaze to meet his with a suggestive smile, the stone's power making her eyes a pale, sickly, unearthly grey-blue. "For purely scientific reasons."

Trapped in her mind, Astrid cried out, trying desperately to stop the "second her." But it was no use. Astrid felt herself lean down and plant a deep, passionate kiss on the man's lips, arching her body into him as she commanded his attention. She teased his lips apart with her tongue, and when he opened his mouth she let out a soft, satisfied moan. The "second her" wrapped her arms around the back of his neck, pulling him into her kiss with obvious lust. But he slowly pushed her back into her straddling position on his lap before she could begin her advance in earnest. Astrid pouted.

The man laughed softly. "Well, if it's purely scientific..." he purred. He pulled her hips closer with a strong hand on her lower back. "Please, continue. What do you specialize in?"

Astrid was screaming to keep herself from answering him, fighting back terror. Why did he need to know any of this? How did he manage to trap her in her own mind? But soon she heard her own voice respond again...

"Nanomedical treatments for neurological disorders. We use an iridium-based anti-proton energy source to track every bit of the nervous system AND power the nanobots. It's different from what we've been able to do before…using the iridium, we can actually tell what neurons trigger what other cells – muscle, bone, tissue. And once we pinpoint where a problem is, we can inject nanobots to the site to repair any damage. Or…" Astrid leaned forward and pressed herself against his chest, whispering in his ear, "in theory, we can enhance the connection to make it stronger, or more resilient. As of now, it's all experimental, since iridium is so rare. But there is so much potential..." She nipped at his earlobe, and felt him shudder underneath her, His breathing quickened, and she felt his hard member bulge.

Inside, Astrid struggled to regain control of her body with all the willpower she possessed. Run! Stop! No! But as the man moved his hand to cup her breast, the tips of his fingers toying with her nipple through the thin fabric of her dress, she moaned ecstatically and fell into him, her body craving more.

"Astrid, I know you're still in there," he said, his voice low and dangerous, "I can hear your thoughts, I know how hard you are trying to resist. But you are just FULL of useful information, aren't you? How did I get so lucky?…" He ran his long fingers up into her hair and firmly grabbed a handful, turning her head so her ear was millimeters from his lips. She felt his breath shoot tingling waves of sensation through her.

Let me go...she begged. Please, please… He laughed, and whispered softly, "Astrid, I know you think that this is the worst thing that has ever happened to you. But believe me, this is a favor. A gift, from me to you…"

He licked the bottom edge of her earlobe, and the "second her" shivered in delight. "Freedom, dear Astrid, is a cruel lie. To fight is to suffer. Once you let it go, willingly and completely. then you will truly know happiness." He pushed his hips upward, and her lustful moan filled the cavernous room. Her desire was intense, her body ached for him, but her mind was defiant - she continued to fight his attempts to force her into submission.

Her hips ground down on him, the bulge in his pants pressed up eagerly to escape. She buried her face in his neck, his dark locks tangling around her. He smelled delicious- earthy, like dried herbs and sandalwood. She entwined her fingers in his hair, grabbing firm fistfuls near the scalp. She used the leverage it gave her to lean against his lap. Her body shuddered.

Why are you doing this to me? Astrid thought. The physical sensations coursing through her began chipping away at her coherence. "I'm releasing you," he laughed almost playfully, though the edge of menace could not be missed. He turned his face into her vulnerable neck and bit the soft skin harder than she could bear. But instead of screaming in pain, intense pleasure burst from the tortured skin, causing her to gasp with delight.

Astrid's mind raced. What was he doing to her? Everything he did was deplorable, and she hated every wretched touch, every sinister word, every unbearable moment of this torment. But even as she fought his advances, the way her body reacted in his control was utterly instinctual. With every kiss, bite, thrust, and word, she found herself wanting more of the delectable sensations, despite the fact that she could do nothing to stop him. Or...perhaps it was because she could do nothing. The vulnerability and exposure, in itself, was a strange, dark pleasure she had never experienced.

"My pet," he breathed softly, sensing her defiance beginning to waiver. "Is not this simpler?" He lifted her off his lap so she stood in front of him, her hair mussed and messy, a raw urge swelling in her most intimate parts. "Remove your dress" he commanded, as he sat back on the couch. Astrid immediately complied with his wishes despite her mind's outraged attempts to stop it, and in seconds she wore nothing but her lacy black panties, her strappy black shoes, and her jewelry. Her nudity in front of him tormented her conscience, but on the outside she was eager. He stood and removed his unbuttoned shirt, then walked behind her, sliding his hands over her stomach, holding her close to his lean, muscular chest. Her head fell back on his shoulder as her lips parted, and she whispered a soft curse while he began to explore her body.

"Think about it. Your body was designed to feel like this," he breathed, his deft fingers massaging her soft skin, gently caressing her breasts and pinching at the nipples teasingly. Astrid felt her body go somewhat limp against him, relying on his strength to keep her upright. He had no problem supporting her lithe frame. "Your species evolved to experience these feelings, to enjoy and revel in them, to be overcome by them…" One of his hands slid into her panties, and his fingers slid between her legs. She shivered and moaned. Still Astrid tried to resist, but she was starting to lose herself...it filled her with a mix of terror and thrill.

"Is this not your natural state?" he mused, and he fondled her slick folds and massaged her naked breast with his other hand. He began to bite her neck in the sensitive spot he'd discovered earlier, and Astrid's pleasure mixed with her pain and fear in an intoxicating cocktail of surrender. She heard her own voice moaning and swearing softly as she reacted to his ministrations.

"It's the unspoken truth of humanity, that you crave subjugation." He began to rub her faster, harder, responding to her body's reactions. She shook all over and felt her hips instinctively thrust into his hand. Her pulled her back toward him as he toyed with her, pressing his still-covered cock between the cheeks of her buttocks. She leaned forward at the waist as he pulled her hips back toward him, and she threw her arms out to catch herself on the couch. Without slowing his pace, he used his other hand to rip away her lacy underwear like paper.

"The bright lure of freedom diminishes your life's joy in a mad scramble for power...for identity." Astrid started panting and moaning loudly as he manipulated her supple flower with renewed fervor. She could no longer tell if she had any control over her thoughts or her body, all she felt, all of her being, became a mad swirling frenzy of desire and passion. Want. Want. Yes.

"You were made to be ruled," he growled, low and dangerous and lustful. Still stroking her and pumping his fingers in and out of her delicate sex. He took his other hand and pushed her off the couch to the floor. On her knees, Astrid could feel her pleasure mounting, coiling tighter and tighter until she felt it would snap any moment…

Suddenly, he stopped, and pulled his hand away. She cried out, trembling with desire and so close to the edge it hurt. He just stood there for what felt like eternity, watching her struggle; Astrid could not think, could not stand, could do nothing but want him to finish what he'd started. He walked over to her, knelt down, and kissed her forehead. Then he stood and walked behind her. "In the end…" he said, his voice soft and dark. His hands pushed down gently but firmly on her upper back, lowering her head and shoulders to the floor, opening herself to him.

"You will always kneel."

He thrust himself deep inside her, and she lost all control. She screamed with pain and pleasure and want and need. Yes! He took her forcefully, grabbing her hips and filling her with his girth, pounding rhythmically to the musical wails that rang from Astrid's throat. There was nothing but sensation, nothing but oblivion, nothing but the pleasure rapidly dissolving what was left of her sanity. Astrid was ravenous, crying out and moaning and begging him to take her while he expertly dove in and out of her tight sex, grunting and tensing as his own pleasure approached its peak. With one final thrust, he pulled her hips back into him, pushing himself as deep as possible into her soft tissues, and he exploded inside of her. Astrid let out the most delicious cry of ecstasy as the tidal wave crashed over her, and she completely lost herself in the swirling finale of pleasure and release. He held her hips tight and remained motionless as the orgasm wound its way through both of them, his only movement the subtle throbbing of his cock as the last of his ejaculation subsided.

Astrid had no idea how long she remained in her kneeling position, trying to catch her breath and shuddering from the aftershocks. He stayed sheathed within her, reveling in sinful delight and watching her gasp for air. Eventually, he removed himself, leaned over her bent form, and placed his hand gently on her back.

"Good girl," he whispered softly, and he walked away toward the fireplace.

Astrid remained on all fours and looked up at him, sweating, half-terrified, half-awestruck. She found no words to say, no way to fully comprehend what had just happened to her. He had opened her up, controlled her, toyed with her, pleasured her into letting go of...everything. And given her...what? She knew it was wrong, she knew she should feel awful that it had happened to her. And yet...something had changed in her. Something was different.

He waved his hand, and instantly he was fully clothed. With one last smile, he walked toward the door. "I'll see you soon, Astrid…" And the door closed behind him.

Astrid just stared at the door, until she realized she had control over her body again. The "second her" was gone. When did it happen? Was it during their interlude...or after it? Tears welled up in her eyes, but as she looked around the room, she noticed a small basin of steaming water and a few small towels were on the table next to her...were those there before? She took one of the towels, dipped it in the water, and wiped her face. The warmth was immeasurably soothing.

After cleaning herself up and re-dressing, Astrid carefully left the study. Down the hallway, she saw the man looking over the balcony at the gathering below. Astrid held her breath as she returned to the staircase. He didn't seem to notice her, and she didn't try to get his attention. She passed him and went back down the stairs.