Author: silvereyedbitch PM
After Calesta's defeat, Gerald retains his powers. He and Damien return home, going their separate ways. Then, Damien receives a letter from Tarrant with a confession that leaves him speechless. Warning: M/M, emotional angst, and fluff at the end.Rated: Fiction T - English - Fantasy - Words: 3,193 - Reviews: 3 - Published: 10-14-12 - Status: Complete - id: 8609279
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Disclaimer: Still not even coming close to being a true writer. Just throwing out ideas that pop into my head after reading the Coldfire trilogy by C.S. Friedman, and using her characters with wanton abandon.
Warning: M/M and some angst displayed here. Nothing so bad as my first story, though.
Setting/Summary: Calesta was defeated, Gerald retained his powers, they both return home, and none of that nonsense about the church's assault on the Forest ever happens. Now, with Gerald in his element and Damien in Jaggonath, they are separated once again. However, Gerald finds himself drawn to Damien, his feelings having reached a limit that cannot be denied, and so he composes a letter to Damien explaining as much, hoping that his feelings are returned. The story begins with Damien reading the letter.
Damien Kilcannon Vryce,
It has been months since we parted ways, and though I am loathe to be the first to initiate contact, I find myself wondering where you are and what you are doing now out in this dismal world. Your lack of contact has me questioning things I would rather not. In my musings, I must assume your ignorance of the subject of which I write. Do you fully comprehend the changes in me you have wrought? I think not. Your small mind could never encompass such moral conundrums as those which you have dredged from the depths of my blackened soul. Not so long ago, I would have confessed delight if you were to never take a path that would cross my visual field ever again. And now…now, I find I am wandering the halls of my castle to no purpose. I stare into the night for hours only to discover that I have ended up facing the direction of Jaggonath, where you reside. I feel myself without a purpose, Vryce, no beacon to follow into the future. Why, priest? It angers me to no end that you are so ineptly equipped to understand what you have done. You have no idea, no basis for understanding the dilemma I find myself ensnared within.
I am ruined! Defeated, you fool! Though my compact is no longer in place, I must still feed on fear, and yet I find myself second-guessing my choices of victims. I consider the lives I have pulled them from so abruptly. Several have even been released by me after only one night of hunting. Do you understand me?! CAN you?! I am forced to explore new options for sustenance, priest, and this is no easy task. I have been able to sustain myself by supplementing with the Forest's fae, but for how long? I cannot continue in this method forever. Are you paying attention yet? Your attention span was always that of a small child, and so I need to be sure of it. I need something Vryce, but it is so costly I am unsure I could bear the consequences of letting slip this newfound weakness. My newfound hope.
Do you remember the first time we met? I can most assuredly tell you that I recall it perfectly. The way you walked, the way you sat, everything about you screamed out to me to avoid you at all costs. Associating with you could bring nothing but misfortune on a massive scale. And you were so high-handed and arrogant with your church faith and disdain of anything that got in its way or disagreed! I cannot say I miss that at all. But do you know, I have realized something strange while reminiscing over various memories of our trials together. Over my extended lifetime, the years begin to blur in memory for me. Oh, I remember poignant occurrences, such an assault on the Forest or a scientific accomplishment of mine being reached. But even my mortal memories have dulled over time. When I think of any of our time spent together, though, it readily jumps in hand, clear as crystal and charged with the emotions of the moment. Why is this? I have asked myself this repeatedly, and I believe I know the answer now. It is my true reason for sending this to you.
Know that the changes you have brought upon me have finally culminated into something that would have destroyed me utterly in the not-so-distant past when I was bound by the Unnamed. Something has been growing inside me, alien to my being. I did not recognize it at first because it has been so long since I could feel anything of its like. Its slow, seeping poison crept through my veins as softly as the onset of dreams. Its presence gathered in my soul so strongly by the time it made itself known that there was no hope for a purging of this insidious attack. Recognition came as a blatant shock. And that it's you who is the focus of it…I can't stand it! Have you guessed what it is yet, you lumbering oaf?! You destroyer of my soul?! How could you?! I didn't even suspect for the longest time, but you did it. You killed me. Perhaps not in the manner you had originally set out to do, but I am dead at your feet nonetheless. Had you fulfilled your vow made in the past to find me…to kill me… and had you run me through the heart with that symbolic Christian sword of yours then the pain I feel now would be no different….no. No, the pain is different now…and eternal in its suffering. Better to have died quickly at the end of a blade than to live this lingering, soul-devouring death. Have pity on this poor, pleading fool, Vryce, for he is desperately and unashamedly in love with you! You bastard!
Damien stops reading for a minute in order to absorb the enormity of the confession he just read. "Vulking hell," he mutters in total disbelief, eyes wide in shock. He grasps the paper's edge and notices the discolorations dotting the bottom. Tears! Emotions charge through his body and stop in the center of his chest. Time slows. He stands with his eyes towards the floor, heart heavy with confusion and something else…something unexpected. Could it really be? Time enough for that later. Bringing the letter back into his downward gaze, he tries to begin reading the last of it, when he realizes he can't see the words. Tears are blocking his vision! Oh no! Oh please no! I had no idea! he mentally cries out. Unable to stand any longer, he kneels on the floor, wipes his eyes, and begins reading again with a new determination.
If you are able to still read these words, then you are either simply curious, possibly interested, or so disgusted and horrified that you cannot yet put it down. I realize that the last option is to be the most likely, and I cannot hold you to blame for it even as I hope otherwise. As much as it aches deep down in my being to admit, I understand that I have never really shown you any true kindness. Verily, I have been exceptionally cruel to you at times. But please understand the reasoning behind those cold acts involved powers that I could never surmount. You witnessed them yourself even. And after centuries of being steeped in the kind of evil that kills even the most resilient of human emotions, I am pathetically ill-equipped to even pretend at knowing how to behave here. My first instincts are always to gain control and destroy opposition, for all the good it does me in this situation… I am lost Vryce. Lost and alone, and I cannot find my way without you. I wonder, I hope…will you help me?
I will be at the Inn of the Seven Horns all night in the private booth of the common room. Meet me there, if you would help this tired traveler relearn how to live again. Should you wish to reply in the negative, send a messenger in your stead, and I promise to leave you to your life and take my damning presence back to the Forest. Most probably I will die, but that would be truly preferable to the existence I am forced to endure at this time.
My Soul In Your Hands,
Inside the Inn of the Seven Horns, a well-dressed young man sits alone in a booth normally reserved for parties comprised of 20 or more. His imposing, yet lean frame is tense with apprehension, and his golden hair drapes his shoulders in disarray, as if he has been nervously running his hands through it over and over. A glass of wine sits untouched in front of him on the table, and the stillness about him is frightening in its intensity. Waiters have avoided the area since seating him and bringing the wine, not wanting to risk the mood that seems apparent in every aspect of this young man. Gray eyes that shine silver with tears, barely held in check, glance toward the clock. 1145. He's not coming. He had delivered the letter to Damien's apartment personally, using the fae to ascertain that the former priest was home before he slid it under the door, knocked, and left. So there is no chance that it was missed; no chance that he just hadn't received it yet.
Despair welled up in Tarrant. Not even a messenger; he didn't warrant enough attention for even a messenger to crush his hopes. The slow torture of watching the time slip away as he waited had been worse than the feel of the Corelight's fiery kiss. What did I expect? That he would just easily forget all of the horrible things I have done to him? That he would see past that undead nightmare that I have represented for almost one thousand years? the adept thought forlornly. Still being an adept, Gerald had many years left to expect in this life, and now they would be spent alone. He felt as though the part of his soul that Damien had rekindled to humanity had just expired. Better to be dead, he thought with finality. The clock struck midnight, and it seemed as though each chime was a part of him slipping away into nothingness. He closed his eyes and let the tears come. If he was to die tonight, he would at least have this cleansing release of emotions before he crossed over to whatever awaited him.
"Excuse me, sir?" the messenger boy repeated for the third time. This time, Gerald came out of his pitiful reverie and stared at the boy with bloodshot, flat, metallic eyes. "I was told to bring this to you, sir, right after the stroke of midnight. Been waiting in the front of the inn for hours to deliver it, but the chap who paid me was insistent that it not reach you until then." Gerald snatched the envelope from the boy, who promptly ran off, frightened by the myriad emotions displayed on the recipient's face. Removing the paper from the envelope, he closed his eyes and breathed deep. So, I warranted a note after all, but only after being made to suffer as long as possible, he thought. He could almost see the humor of it since Vryce had had such a good teacher in the ways of inflicting pain on others. Bracing himself for the angry words bound to be displayed within, he unfolded the paper.
Inside, there was but one line scrawled: "Room 110, top floor." There was a key secured to the paper. Tarrant's mind was too filled with grief to immediately process the implications of this short response. Slowly, though, he felt hope swell in his breast. Could it be? he asked himself. He arose from the booth swiftly, almost ungainly in his haste, so uncharacteristic of his usual perfect and deadly balance. Those patrons in his path either quickly dodged out of the way or were forcefully moved by an energy they couldn't perceive. A path opened before the Hunter as he made his way to the staircase.
Upon reaching the door to room 110, Tarrant paused, once again apprehensive. What if it is another cruel joke? No way to know. But no, there is a way! He sent questing tendrils of the fae under the door. The thin wisps of deep violet spread throughout the apartment, and a familiar voice called out, "You don't have to be so dramatic about everything, Hunter. Just open the damned door and come in." The tendrils dissipated quicker than thought. Silence reigned over the room for many seconds. Then, slowly, the doorknob turned. Before Damien could register what was happening, the suite dropped into absolute darkness. "Gerald?" he questioned softly. At once the darkness lifted and there stood the Hunter, scant inches from him, naked anger evident in his shining eyes. Oh man, I guess the waiting was a bit much, thought Damien. Tarrant opened his mouth to speak, or tried to anyway, "You...insufferable…can't believe…why…gaaahhhh!" He threw up his arms and stalked to the balcony at the end of the room. Tarrant stood there, still as a grave, and mad as hell, but Damien still saw him as beautiful, the fine features of his face glowing in the starlight.
Still refusing to face his tormentor, Tarrant whispered, "I have been known to kill slowly those who have done to me what you did tonight." He let the threat hang in the air, not saying any more. And then he felt Damien's breath on his shoulder as he whispered back, "Is that what you want, Gerald? Do you want me dead?" The Hunter's body went rigid, and then he flung himself around to face the former priest. Tension such as Damien had never seen caused tremors to course up and down the lean frame of this fearsome man in front of him. But one long look into the face of that man told Damien all he needed to know. "Never," whispered Tarrant, "never." His pale face was ravaged by such grief that Damien felt his heart shatter. "I only meant it in jest, Gerald. I didn't know the wait would affect you like this. I'm so sorry." He reached out and touched Tarrant's face to wipe away the freely flowing tears. "I never meant it this way."
"Your answer, Damien. I need your answer," Tarrant said in hushed tones, then finished with a whispered, "Please." Damien took him by the shoulders and squared off facing him. "You stubborn fool. Why didn't you tell me? Why didn't you write sooner? I never even guessed. And I can't believe how blind I was!" he railed at the adept. Then, in calmer tones, he said low and soft, "And now that I know…now that you're here…I'm never letting you out of my sight again!" With speed born of emotions held in check for far too long, Vryce stepped in close to Gerald and pulled the pale lips into his own. Cool and smooth, they parted before him. Gerald melted into Damien as naturally as if they had been made for this. Gerald's hand reached the back of Damien's neck, and he held on to the knight as though death would pull him away otherwise.
When they finally parted, staying close enough to feel the other's exhalations, Tarrant gazed into the face of the one who had become his nemesis, his ruin…his life. The clear hazel eyes that stared back at him showed nothing but acceptance and longing. Then, Tarrant felt something else, something he couldn't comprehend at first. He hadn't fed in almost 2 weeks, and he was already weak when he had arrived downstairs, but he felt somehow improved, stronger. Realization hit him hard, and he gasped and fell back onto the large sofa. Damien, fearing for his lover, was at his side immediately. "What's wrong, Gerald?! Damn it, speak to me!" he almost shrieked the last part, so frightened was he. He remembered all too well the heart condition that had nearly been the end of the adept on Mount Shaitan. But for long minutes, Tarrant could only stare up at Damien with wide-eyed wonder while lying on the cushions. As Damien began patting him down to assess for unseen injuries, Tarrant whispered, "I found it…the answer…it found me." "What are you talking about, Gerald?" Damien demanded, still scared out of his wits. With a trembling voice, Gerald continued to whisper, as if afraid whatever he had discovered would be banished if spoken of out loud, "I…fed…from this." Heavy silence passed them over again. "From what?" Damien asked insistently, still not comprehending. Gerald pulled himself up into a sitting position, and then slowly turned to face Damien, who was kneeling on the floor in front of him. "Us…this…us…," Gerald stammered while gesturing between them, at a loss for words, "Our combined feelings…they fed me, and I'm stronger," he finished with disbelief.
Damien sat back in careful thought. When he spoke again, it was slow and with conviction, "Think about it, Gerald, and it makes a sort of sense. When bound to the Unnamed, you could feed best off of the complete loss of hope. Perhaps now that you're unbound, you are able to take strength from its opposite, love, which is the complete fulfillment of hope." Happiness for his friend, his lover, spread throughout Damien. At last, a way out of the darkness for him! he thought. He glanced back up at Gerald, who looked lost in contemplation. Probably trying to come up with a scientific and logical theory for this occurrence, Damien thought affectionately. "Hey," Damien said, breaking Gerald out of his reverie. He stood up and then gave an inviting smirk before saying, "Still hungry?" Gerald looked up into his eyes for a moment, just basking in what had to be the happiest moment he'd had in a very long time. Then, with preternatural speed, he grabbed Damien by the collar, threw him down on the sofa cushions, and landed straddled across the knight's legs. He leaned down and over Damien until his face came within scant inches of his right ear. Damien barely felt the breath that spoke the almost inaudible word next to his skin, "Starved."
End Note: Well, that was…something. Just wanted to add a funny note at the end here. When I first finished reading the Coldfire trilogy and went looking for additional reading material such as fanfics, I had no idea what the term "slash" or "M/M" meant. Hilariously, I came across many stories that had that listed. What I thought initially was that "slash" meant that the original characters were "slashed" or taken from the books of their creators and used by fans for their own creations. I guess I was partially right? LOL! Then, "M/M" was even funnier. I thought "M" meant mature, so "M/M" must surely mean VERY mature, because after all, Tarrant murders people, so maybe these fans are just getting very graphic… OMG! I laughed so hard when I realized the truth! And apparently, I latched onto the M/M idea for these characters quite thoroughly!