Narcissus and Adonis

...

Rating: PG-13

Genre: Angst/Romance

Warnings: References to slash

Spoilers: Up to the beginning of volume four

Summary: Eleven years have passed, nothing to an immortal, too long for a human, yet so much has changed in their lives, leaving them with only memories... Les Bijoux mild slash Panther/Carnelian

...

"I'll meet you at the hot spring later," I told Lapis.

The dark skinned beauty smiled at me. "It's all right, I'll wait for you. I need to talk to Shary anyways." He left with a wave of his hand.

I turned to the only other inhabitant of the tent as I closed the flap. Panther gazed at me coolly through his dark eyes.

"It has been a long four years, my friend," I told him, nonchalantly pushing aside a lock of my red-gold hair.

"Indeed. I thought you had died," the guardian said in his deep, melancholy voice. His black hair gleamed in the dim light of the tent.

I stepped closer to him, observing his garments. So conservative, so... confining... I missed him when he ran about like an exotic dancer of Sable, in an open vest, loose pantaloons, and so many glittering bangles and jewels. "You know that Death won't claim me. I am too pretty for him." I smiled at him, a lopsided half-grin. "He can't have someone prettier than he is in his realm."

"Keep up your insolence and he might forgo that," Panther retorted dryly.

"Dour as ever, my friend." I reached to touch his face, fingertips barely skimming the pale silk of his cheek. "A match for your cool beauty."

He dodged away from my hand, glaring at me with those dark eyes. "You are an insolent brat, I hope you realize," he said.

I laughed, obviously shocking him. "Of course! I am the brat prince!" I said, crowing. "So insolent Death himself won't take him, lest he upstart the entire hierarchy of the Underworld!"

Panther actually looked shell shocked. That expression only made me laugh harder at him. He then snapped, "Insolent as you always were, you whelp."

I immediately stopped laughing, looking at him. My fingers lifted to touch at my diadem and slowly trail down the scar slashing my face. "Of course, Panther," I said softly. "Of course I'm insolent. I loved and dared to play with my elder brother's toy. I challenged him when he had most dangerous assassins of Les Bijoux at his beck and call. I faced down Diamond, the deadliest warrior ever born. I strike against an old witch's caravans with a motley group of outlaws." I laughed softly, as he actually looked a little subdued. "I'm insolent by being Carnelian, now the Bandit Prince."

Panther looked at me steadily, actually daring to study me. Before, he had only glanced at me moments at a time, looking away quickly if I caught him.

"You- have changed," he pronounced steadily.

"Of course. I am no longer as ravishing as I was," I said, making light of it.

"Besides that," he murmured. "You too have managed to grow."

I arched an eyebrow at him, unable to resist one last tease, "You thought I was ravishing before?" At his blush and quickly opened mouth to retort, I quickly responded, "In a fashion, Panther. It's been a long four years. Plus... these scars have taught me much."

I was no longer so bitter about the scar across my face. It wasn't so terrible, really, especially as the years had healed it and faded it. The ones upon my back were the ones that hurt, especially when it was cold in this damnably stormy Mine.

"You've become a true leader, Carnelian," said Panther. "Being with these... bandits has changed you."

I raised my hands. "Whoa, Panther, I just fight. Lothestie is the one who has the true voice about here. She whips –sometimes literally– the men into shape, not me."

"Yet who is the Bandit Prince?" asked Panther, his lips quirking slightly.

I laughed, trying to keep my voice light. "I'm a figurehead then."

Panther looked at me. "Not quite. I have never known you to be so... self-deprecating."

I grinned crookedly. "I've never known you to be so complimenting."

Panther touched my shoulder in a surprisingly comforting gesture. "You have changed... and I don't know who I want... you in your beautiful youth, or this grave, grimly sad man."

"You should know, I suppose," I said quietly. "You have been traveling with one for the last four years."

We both exchanged a sad smile, wistfully wanting those memories of ours back, of the happiness before the bitterness and... almost desiring for those bittersweet times as well.

I walked away, still wearing that sad smile that was my lot now.

...

Adonis: Sad memories

Narcissus: Egotism, vanity

By the way, both are also part of Greek myth as the names of doomed young men.

Adonis was a beautiful young man Aphrodite fell in love with and charged Persephone to protect. But the goddess also fell in love with the young man and refused to let Aphrodite have him back. Ares, in a fit of jealous rage, turned into a boar and killed Adonis. According to legend, it was either Adonis's blood or Aphrodite's tears that caused the first Adonis to bloom, in memory of the youth.

The story of Narcissus is better known than that of Adonis's. Basically, Narcissus was a very beautiful boy who attracted swarms of females, including a nymph named Echo, who was cursed to only be able to repeat what others told her. However pretty Narcissus was, he was vain and arrogant, rebuffing all of his admirers, including Echo. Aphrodite (Nemesis, goddess of revenge, in some cases) cursed him. Narcissus fell in love with his own reflection in a pool and pined away, turning into a flower that will bend over water to glance at itself.

By the way, did anyone catch the Anne Rice reference? Hint: It has to do with an (in)famous blonde vampire...