Disclaimer:Characters and places invented by the brilliantly wonderful author Anne Bishop, not me. I am not making any money from manipulating her characters.
Author's Note:Upon discovering that there was a "Dark Jewels Trilogy" category on FF.net, I was surprised that no one had yet introduced slash fanfiction to these books. I would have thought it more intuitive from the content of the books than, say, Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter slash fanfic. This is just a little experiment, mostly: bringing m/m slash to the Black Jewels Trilogy fandom with a little "what if" story involving the most obvious pairing (that being Daemon/Lucivar, of course).
Opening bit in Italics, dialogue at the end, and entire context for this fic can be found on pages 117 – 119 of Daughter of the Blood.
WARNING:As you have been informed, this story contains m/m slash content. That means two boys having sex. In this case, it isn't overly graphic, but it isn't just daintily implied, either (hence the R rating). If the idea of homosexuality offends you, or if you are generally squeamish, hit the back button, as they say on this manner of fic; though if you are squeamish, I haven't the least idea why you were reading Anne Bishop's books in the first place.
It was late in the evening before Lucivar got the chance to slip out to the back garden. Daemon had gone out a few minutes before, after an abrupt, snarling disagreement with Lady Cornelia.
Moving with a hunter's caution, Lucivar followed the ribbon of chilled air left by Daemon's passing. He turned a corner and stopped.
Daemon stood in the middle of the gravel path, his face raised to the night sky while the delicate breeze riffled his black hair…
I remember the first time I followed Daemon Sadi. I've forgotten how long ago it was, and what bitch Queens at Dorothea SaDiablo's fingertips we were serving, but I remember following Daemon. All evening at the banquet and dance, I had heard whispers about him: the pleasure slave they called the Sadist. Hayll's Whore. I had followed the witches' furtive glances as they talked, and they led me to a cultured, polished-looking Hayllian man in a perfectly tailored suit that outlined the curves of a lithe but muscular body. Not a single black hair on his head was out of place, and his gold eyes were cold. Yes, I could see this man as "Hayll's Whore," this man who was more beautiful than a man should be, and I pitied him for it. With that sculpted gold and jet, fiercely masculine beauty, I doubted that he got any peace from the Queens he served. Having sized up the infamous Sadist, I turned away to stand at attention for my slavemistress, bitter but obedient and resigned.
Yet the whispers kept drawing my gaze back to Sadi.
I looked at the Jewels he wore, one around his neck and the other on a ring on his finger, and started. They looked dark enough to be the Black, but that was impossible – only one male in the history of the Blood had ever worn the Black, and he was Saetan, the High Lord of Hell, the Prince of the Darkness. Only one male, and he was dead. I dismissed the idea that Sadi wore Black Jewels, and decided that they must have been a dark Opal or Sapphire, their color obscured by the glare of torchlight off their facets.
Sometime later in the evening, he managed to slip away from the dance into the garden. I followed; the Queens didn't need their Eyrien Ebon-gray Warlord Prince just to dance. Someone would be looking for me later, I didn't doubt, but for now, let the women amuse themselves with other males.
Sadi had wandered into a greenhouse. I was wary about being trapped in an enclosed room with someone they called the Sadist, somewhere I could neither run nor fly, but curious enough to take my chances.
My footsteps were as silent as a hunter's on the cobblestone floor of the greenhouse as I watched Sadi absently trace the petals of a flower with delicately tapered, long black fingernails. Then he turned around and smiled at me; I was taken aback at first, but then realized, mentally kicking myself, that he had probably already heard my footsteps on the gravel path outside. Sadi's smile was sleepy, bored-looking, but it unnerved me. I myself was most dangerous when my smile was lazy; it was a deception tactic for those who didn't know me, and a warning to those who did. I decided to take Sadi's smile as a warning.
He approached me slowly, swinging his hips ever so slightly, and I wondered if it was a challenge. I stepped cautiously, subtly into a loose fighting stance, feet apart, weight balanced, and flexed my wings briefly. But Sadi didn't stop, and I wasn't sure if he was incredibly confident, incredibly foolish, or simply ignorant of the fact that he was dealing with not only a trained Eyrien warrior, but one with a volatile temper and Ebon-gray Jewels. He came so close that I could feel a slightly chill anger emanating from him, and more strongly, a honed sexual energy.
When he finally stopped, I could feel his breath on my neck, and his leg brushed my slightly bent knee. Those long nails began to trace circles on by bare shoulders as they had around the petals of the flower before, gentle enough not to draw blood, but hard enough to leave scratches. "What the hell are you doing?" I snarled, shocked out of my silence.
"Do you want me?" he whispered, his soft voice at once rich and husky. It should have sounded ridiculous, but the energy I had felt before was concentrated in a way that I would have thought was the tendrils of a seduction spell if I hadn't known better. No Queen had ever been able to use that kind of spell on me, since my Jewel was darker than any of theirs; no Sapphire-Jeweled Warlord Prince would be able to, either.
Nonetheless, there was a sick sort of pleasure in the pain of his tapered nails on my skin. The Sadist. I looked down at the hand on my shoulder to look again at the Jewel, but this time, in the soft but clear light of the firebushes in the greenhouse, there was no mistaking the Black. I should have become even more wary, but I was relieved that it was only a spell, though I knew I needed to be on my guard.
Sadi seemed to take my downward glance as a gesture of acquiescence. He gripped my shoulders, hard, and this time his nails did draw blood. Something kept me from snarling and breaking away as his perfectly sculpted face leaned close to mine and his tongue played along my lips. Wrong, it was all wrong, and my mind was disgusted, but my body wasn't and that disgusted my mind all the more. But I told myself that his Jewels were darker than mine, he could hurt me worse than I could hurt him if he so chose, so I submitted. I almost laugh now when I recall that when he kissed me the first time, all the disgust and fear and anger at my own foolishness had disappeared, and all I could think was that it was a damn good kiss. All wrong… My blood was on fire while my tongue danced with his, but something about him felt as cold as ice, and the fire and ice melting together felt so right…
But as soon as he broke away, my mind remembered. "No," I said harshly.
"'No' what?" Sadi purred seductively.
"No, I don't want you," I snarled.
"Don't you?" he asked. Damn him, he was amused! "Then why did you follow me?"
"I'd heard what they said about you…" I began hesitantly.
"The Sadist? Hayll's Whore?" Then he had heard it all before, enough that it scarcely hurt him anymore. Either that or he was an expert at hiding his bitterness. "If you wanted to find out firsthand, like they all do, then you must want something from me."
"Just to talk," I said, my voice hoarse.
He looked genuinely surprised. I felt validated. But only for a brief moment, because the glazed look was back. "No one just wants to talk with me." I couldn't tell what he suspected, and I doubt he knew either. "Who are you?" he asked casually. "You seem to know everything there is to know about me." I could sense the bitterness in that.
"Lucivar Yaslana," I said. If I was to gain his trust, there was no logic in lying about something as simple as my name.
"Well, aren't we royalty," he said. Was that sarcasm good-natured, or just rude? I could hear in that, And what is Eyrien nobility doing with a Ring of Obedience around his dick?
"And what about you?" I demanded, affronted. "Sadi isn't short for Sad-ass Bastard, though it'd work," I snapped.
"It doesn't matter what your name is if you're a bastard," he said softly, sounding almost sad rather than dangerous.
"No," I replied. "No, it doesn't. Most call me Yasi," I added, a remark that would sound like a complete non sequitur to most. Sadi understood.
"But I think I will call you Prick," he announced seriously.
I bit my lip to stifle a laugh. "But why?" I asked him with the same solemn tone. I knew why. Because 'Yasi' was too scornful a reminder of what I was; because 'Yaslana' was too painful a reminder of what I wasn't; and because 'Lucivar' was too intimate, too much like what a friend would call me. A slave can't afford to have friends.
"Because you are," he answered me with the grave air of a child pointing out to an ignorant adult what was inherently obvious.
"Then I shall have to call you Bastard," I declared. He looked stung, so I clarified, "I would have gone with 'Asshole,' but I thought it was a little too crude for everyday use."
Daemon Sadi laughed. It was a real, warm, good-natured laugh. I wondered how long it had been since he had laughed like that. The sharp shards of ice that slowly melted in his eyes as he laughed told me that it had been a long, long time.
"So, Prick, do you want to?" he proposed. Suddenly I became wary again. Was he still on about that?
"No," I said cautiously.
"That's a shame. It will be fun," he said casually, turning away and brushing imaginary debris off his sleeve.
I tensed, disliking his vague words. He might have been a Black Jeweled Warlord Prince, but I was a trained Eyrien warrior and damn strong besides. The bastard could break my magic if he really tried, but I could break his neck.
"I've found," he continued ruminatively, "that the one thing more fun than bloody murder is bloody mass murder." He turned back to me and asked persuasively, "Are you sure you don't want to join me?"
Relieved and suddenly bloodthirsty, I bared my teeth in a wolfish grin. "We shall find that the one thing more dangerous than a Black Jeweled Warlord Prince on the killing edge is he and his Ebon-gray Jeweled Warlord Prince Brother on the killing edge."
If only I had known then how true my words were. Brother.
It was probably about fifty years before Dorothea was careless enough to let Daemon and me end up at the same court function again – a lifetime among the shorter-lived races, just a long time for Daemon and me. This time, I was able to sneak out and Daemon followed me. As we stood on the cobbled path lined by trees fragrant and colorful with blossoms, I coyly lowered my shoulder and gazed through the lashes of half-shut eyelids to whisper invitingly, "Do you want me, Bastard?"
Daemon laughed at our private joke, and I straightened my stance and continued to walk. "Well, Prick," he began, matching my stride (with a bit of difficulty, I noticed, as I was considerably taller), "shall we make it a reprise?"
I shrugged. "Why not make it more impressive?" I asked as if I were talking about the final number of a musical play, not about the violent destruction of a court of the Blood.
I think it was more impressive. Daemon and I were once more assigned to different Queens, different courts, but there was no further retribution. There is no law among the Blood against murder.
The next few times we met by chance, we simply greeted each other with a simple "Hello, Prick." "Hello, Bastard." We exchanged pleasantries, each glad to see a friendly face, albeit each one that addressed the other by an insult. Then we murdered. None of them could stand against us when we were together.
Then it came: the night that changed everything between us. It didn't feel like a chance meeting any different from the others. Daemon had wandered out, little noticed; I had followed when I got the chance about an hour later. I found him in one of the farther greenhouses again, lit by some lanterns just outside that resembled street lamps, and far away from the music and laughter and candlelight in the banquet hall. The air was cool, even for the autumn night, and this greenhouse was an environment that was deliberately kept warm. I knew to be wary of Daemon when his rage was cold, so I approached with caution and ventured, "Hello, Bastard."
He turned around and said huskily, "Hello, Lucivar."
The second sign of something unusual.
Daemon put a hand on my shoulder – a companionable gesture, I reassured myself, until his nails began caressing the side of my neck. "What, do you want me now?" I asked jokingly, hoping to break whatever strange mood he was in.
"Yes," he said in an ice-and-fire voice, silky and harsh, seductive and desperate. The air suddenly got warmer. Much warmer.
Extremely alarmed, I stepped back abruptly. I flexed my wings in warning and demanded, "What are you playing at, Sadi?"
"I'm tired, Prick. I'm tired of them. I'm tired of what they demand of me, what I don't want to give."
"Then why do you want to give it to me?"
Daemon looked levelly into my eyes. I could see desperation there, desperate weariness, desperate desire, but I didn't think it was for me. "Because you're the only one," Daemon said simply. "You're all I have, do you understand? This is all I know how to give, and you're the only one I can bear to give anything to."
It sounded sick, it sounded mad – it was sick, it was mad – but I understood. I nodded, then strode forward, grabbed Daemon, and kissed him with bruising force. We showed each other no mercy. We understood that there would be no gentleness, no coquettish bedroom games between us. We understood that this had nothing to do with love, nothing to do with a pleasure slave's skills. Whatever bond was between us, we weren't lovers, and we never deceived ourselves otherwise. Nonetheless, each removed the other's clothing carefully, so as not to leave any telltale rips that might betray what had been done. We made no sounds of painful pleasure or pleasurable pain; our desperate silence was even more brutal than screams. If we had done even so little as lain on the ground, there might have been the illusion of tenderness, so I took him standing up. Even with Craft to ease what was never meant to be done to the body, he bled a little, but said nothing about the pain. The Sadist wouldn't; the Sadist might even have taken pleasure in it. But we were both afraid when we realized that this was a sign we couldn't conceal, and this was a wound that a court Healer would never keep secret.
And the tryst of two dark-Jeweled Warlord Princes – one Ebon-gray, one all the way to Black – will rattle a few windows. All of them in the palace, in fact.
As we dressed, both of us still trembling, Daemon broke the thick silence by saying softly, "They never have to find out."
Too shaken to smile lazily and arrogantly, as I normally would, I added grimly, "And even if they suspect, they don't have to tell."
They never lived to.
Nor did any court that might have had suspicions as to why the floor seemed to be shaking after two pleasure slaves left the room.
I always took Daemon; he never tried to do the same to me. He never seemed to be aroused by our trysts, and I was never sure why, but I learned the boundaries he set. I tried, once, to rouse him, but he violently twisted my wrist when I reached to touch his organ. He didn't break my bones – I wasn't sure if he had the strength to – but the warning was powerful enough. I never asked about it and didn't try again.
He learned what my boundaries were, as well, when he gripped my shoulders while we kissed fiercely and tried to slam me against the wall of a garden shed. Wild, desperate fear coursed through my blood, even though I knew Daemon wouldn't hurt me – at least in any way that I didn't consent to – and I snarled and whirled us around so that he was the one pressed to the wall with my fingers digging into his upper arms. I broke our tacitly agreed-upon silence to warn softly, "Never force an Eyrien onto his back." I spread my wings to their full span both to explain to him and to reassure myself.
But then everything changed again.
I was there the night of Tersa's prophecy, when she finally let herself slip into the Twisted Kingdom, but I only heard what she said about the coming of Witch. The rest I didn't learn until the next time Daemon and I met – a full century later.
He followed me out into an orchard. Even before our customary "Hello, Prick," "Hello Bastard," I seized Daemon's shoulders and began to kiss him forcefully. But he twisted away and just said sharply, "No."
Confused and embarrassed, I probed, "Bastard?" I stared at his back a few seconds, then asked, "Bastard, what's wrong?"
"This. This is wrong," he said shortly, not turning around.
I knew. I had known for centuries. But it had never stood in the way. "Daemon?" I asked quietly.
Finally, he turned around. "Remember the night when Tersa…remember her last tangled web?"
"How could I forget?" I asked softly. "Witch has been my dream as well."
Daemon tensed, but I didn't know why. Then he continued, "She told me something else."
"What did she say?" I asked warily.
"'The Eyrien. He's your brother. You are your father's sons.'"
I was frozen with horror and even more shame. My brother. My brother. I had had sex with my brother. I felt suddenly ill. It explained everything, though – why I was inexorably drawn to him, the Sadist, Hayll's Whore; why our dangerous smiles were so similar; why we complemented each other as if we were born to, fire and ice.
I fought to keep my twisting stomach from revolting, then said, "We have to forget about this, Daemon. What we've done."
"How will you ever be able to look at me again?" Daemon whispered, his voice strained.
"I have to," I said, my voice completely level even as disgust, grief, and a strange joy warred in my heart. "You're the only one. You're all I have, do you understand?"
Daemon almost smiled, and put his hand on my shoulder. A brotherly gesture. Then, neither moving toward the other first, we embraced. He laced his fingers through my hair in a way that was anything but erotic, purely affectionate. Then the joy won the battle that was going on in my soul. I smiled and wept into my brother's shoulder. This was our love. This was love; we finally knew what it was.
"I'm promised to Witch," Daemon whispered against my shoulder. "I feel like since I was born I was promised to be Witch's lover, and no one else's."
"You've never broken your promise," I affirmed with fierce conviction. "You've never broken that promise."
I've never forgotten the first time I followed Daemon Sadi. I've never forgotten the first words he ever said to me. That is why his husky murmur of "Do you want me?" sounds all too familiar. That is why my snarl of "Do you really think your touch makes my pulse race?" echoes with Do you really think your touch still makes my pulse race?. That is why there is an unspoken It used to in the air between us.
Yes, I do want you, Daemon. I want you to be my brother. I want to be able to embrace you as a brother under the sunlight, never afraid that someone might be watching. I want the world to watch. But you've never had to whore for me. Because I don't want you to. Because you don't want to. This isn't my kind of game, Daemon. You were never my lover, but you were never my whore. We did what we did as an affirmation: that we could give with honesty, without pretending, with no lies.
"They've raped everything I am until there's nothing clean left to offer," you tell me, your hurt and shame all too plain in your voice. That I understand as well – I, too, have been dirtied by the lies. What you offered to me all those years ago was honest, but never entirely clean.
But it's not true, Bastard, what you said. You still have something clean left to offer. Your very soul may have been twisted, but you still have your heart.
Author's Note Part 2:If you'd like to read some more of my work (after you've reviewed this, of course) – free of slash and based mostly on Harry Potter and The Lord of the Rings – look for my alter-ego Flame Tigress. OK, these back-of-book advertisements need a blurb, so here it is: Flame Tigress's Stats page says in praise of her, "You are on the favorites list of 31 authors."