'Lo there all. Yes, It is me back with another Asmo fic. I can't help myself. I just love him to ity bity pieces. And I have to admit that I rather liked Rand in the Fire of Heaven. He's gotten a bit melodramatic in the last books. This of course tales place in the Fire of Heaven, my favorite book. Though I do have a fondness for Winters Heart and The Shadow Rising. Anyhoo, this has no connection with my other Asmo fic, it just happens to take place in the same book. I'll probably add another chapter onto So Long in the Dark that takes place in the AOL, but Niani needs to do a bit more research until she's completely sure she has the age down.
Crap man, I'm one of the biggest WOT fans I know, but if anyone knows a really good site about the AOL then give me a ring please.
Right then, I'll take up a bit of space to update my fic progress. I'm trying to write one with Gaul in it cause I want to do one with all my favorite characters. So I've got Juilin and Mat taken care of, and now I have Asmo done, but we'll see a few more of his fics. But I need one with Gaul in it. I'm not sure what book I should set it in though. So if any of you have suggestions, I'm all ears. And one last thing. I'm putting up a challenge thingy. I've searched high and low for any kind of serious Asmo fic, but there is none to be found. So, if anyone is interested, please write a little one-shot Asmo fic and we'll all get to read something a little better than my writing. There's really no winner, but if any of you want to put up a one-shot challenge for one of your favorite characters, I'll enter. Yeah, that is quite enough of my ramblings.
Disclaimer: RJ is doing a fine job maintaining everyone. None of it belongs to be, though I would really love to get my hands on Faile for one day, she'd be a heck of a lot humbler after that.
Never tell your friends
They'll never understand
Confessions only burn themselves in the fire
Choke on every word
That no one's ever heard
Your sentimental thoughts are strangled and tired
The dream would not end, it just kept repeating, he would have thought he was being tortured if he had not know it was a dream. That in itself was a sort of torture, to know it was a dream and be unable to awaken. He thrashed in a vain attempt to rid himself of the plague that seemed so cruelly real. The blankets wrapped him tighter in their tangled embrace and it held him down like chains in his nightmare throes. Whimpering helplessly, his hands scrabbled frantically at the rough woolen blankets that covered him from the bitter cold of the waste. They had been shoved down to his waist and knotted around his thrashing legs. His chest heaving in convulsive sobs of terror, Asmodean fell deeper into his invisible prison, unable to climb out of his nightmarish custody.
Rand followed the tracks over the tiles wearily, he was tired, but floating in the void it was not troubling at the moment, another man's exhaustion. He barely glanced through the beaded curtains that cut the room off from the hallway, the shielded forsaken inside was obviously sleeping and he did need to talk to the man now. He lifted the floor so that the darkhound tracks were erased as if nothing had ever walked on them. Rand turned to go, to skim back to his room, the maidens would not be looking for him right now of course, they were still fighting. But in a few hours they would be and if he was not there…Light, he did not want to think of what would happen. As he spun and prepared to open the skimming platform that would take him away, something caught his ear. Trapped in the void he could hear everything just as if he were inches from it, and what he heard now was a heartbeat, Asmodean's heartbeat.
It beat wildly, if Rand could put a word to it he would have said hysterically. Hesitating for a moment before curiosity won, Rand looked back and let the platform gateway close. More sounds echoed in the void, ones he had not cared to hear until now. Rand crept closer to the beaded doorway and took a good look at the sleeper inside.
Asmodean writhed in his blankets. Fevered moans sounded ripped from his throat. To Rand, each bead of sweat stood out clearly on his brow. He did not look dangerous lying there, the thought startled Rand. Not dangerous? The man was a forsaken, even if shielded! He deserved no pity, no sympathy, least of all from him. He was his enemy, all the forsaken were, and he should be dead instead of helpless by rights.
He twisted to skim back to his room…but the skimming dais did not open, he did not channel. With his back turned he could still plainly hear Asmodean's cries for whatever unseen anguish to stop.
He had to be strong, he had to be hard, he had to be…to be…The curtains opened with the sound of softly clicking beads as they were pushed aside. It was dark in the room, only a bit of moonlight gave shone through, and it was not much to see by. He lit the lamp and let go of saidin. He could no longer hear his rapidly beating heart, but the agitated breathing and the ragged sobs continued. His shirtless chest was damp with sweat from troubled dreams, though gooseflesh still stood out on his arms from the cold night air. Rand stood stiffly near the door, ready to leave if he showed signs of waking.
But the minutes crawled by without him showing signs of regaining consciousness. Slowly he inched closer until he was able to see the tormented lines etched into his face.
"Please, please stop…" Rand started when the words were spoken. The rest was a jumble of pained pleas and mumbled cries.
Rand knew of dreams, he knew them well. How many others knew just how well they served as agony enough to make a rock weep and cower. His dreams were safe now, as safe as they could be. But they did not block out what was already there, and what was there, would not go away. Asmodean knew something about cruelty, he himself had caused pain and suffering. And now he was getting his rewards, oh yes, his grand rewards that were promised to him were being granted in full. A grim smirk came to Rand's lips as he watched Asmodean struggle and fight. And yet…it seemed cruel.
The thought disgusted Rand. He was feeling pity for a man who lived to cause pain and torment? He had pledged himself to the Dark Lord on his own free will knowing what it meant, knowing what it made him. He had only himself to blame if he was only feeling it now. No, not feeling it only now, Rand stopped to correct his thought. He was feeling it every time he opened to Saidin and felt the torrent of the taint and the trickle of the life. Feeling it every time he smiled at Rand because he had to endure his harsh words if he wanted to live to the next day. Feeling it from the moment Rand had cut him off from the Dark Lord. Asmodean would not stop feeling it until the day he either opened his own veins as he said, or else died by some other means. Be it Rand or anyone else that may have a death wish for him.
Rand sat on the cold tiled ground and stared at Asmodean as he tossed and turned. What was the demon in his dreams? Was it the Dark Lord, or a fellow forsaken come to haunt him? It could be Lanfear, he had a reason to fear her, a good reason. Rand had a good reason to fear her too for that matter. Though his situation was decidedly different and a bit odd as well. She wanted to kill Asmodean most likely, after he had served his purpose of course. Rand could not tell the difference between her love and her hate. Either way she would be the death of him if he let her. He sat for a while in silence; or almost in silence. Asmodean's arduous breathing and mumbles made the room take on a haunting air with the light from the lamp dancing across the cold walls.
Could it be me?It was a possible consideration. Rand did not know exactly how much he frightened Asmodean. His manner towards him was harsh, he had to be hard. How was he supposed to be with a forsaken? He could not pat him on the head and except the man to lick his wrists for cutting him off from immortality and protection from insanity.
He would not admit it to anyone, no one could know about Asmodean anyway, but it was…a relief…to have someone to talk to about things no one else could understand. He did not expect Egwene to know about madness or the difficulties controlling saidin. Asmodean was not the most pleasant person to talk to most of the time. But he did not interrupt when he talked, and Rand knew that he commiserated if only because he could not disagree.
He ran a hand through his hair. It might just be his imagination, but the man actually looked content some of the time. Of course he had never let Rand see. But there had been times where he had caught the man off guard, in his own tent or room. He had been playing his harp and his eyes were unfocused as he stared at nothing. He seemed relaxed and…peaceful. Rand knew it sounded mad, it sounded mad even in his head. But he swore it as the truth.
He suddenly had the urge to laugh. Instead he once more raked a hand through his already untamed hair. What was he doing? He was sitting in the dark listening to Asmodean's nightmares. Light, maybe he was mad. He uttered a hoarse bark of amusement before he could stop himself.
Asmodean cried out and jumped in fright as he leapt clear of his nightmare. Rand also jumped in startlement and knocked the lamp over and out. In a seconds time Rand had seized the source and was ready to move. Asmodean have a hoarse sob and backed himself into corner, shoving the blankets away in his panic. Rand could see him clearly through saidin enhanced vision. The sparse moonlight made it as clear as the lamp had been. But not for Asmodean. The man had not even took hold of the source. He must have decided that it was not worth it, or either he was too frightened.
"W-who are you?" The words were shaky and near hysterical. Rand could see exactly how big his eyes were, how his throat bobbed in frenzied panic. Light, what did the man think he was? Rand tried to think quickly. If he left now, Asmodean might try to follow him and end up lashing out with the power. Or maybe he wouldn't, Rand thought again and realized that if he left now, he would in all probability not find Asmodean alive the next morning. And he was quite sure the death would be by his own hand, the man would think that someone finally coming to finish him off. Fleeing was out, and that left only one more option.
He tried to make his voice sound soothing. He nearly winced when he found that he did not have to try hard. Pity was hovering just out of sight and it would not take long until he could grasp it. "It is only me Jasin, Rand. I-I came to check on you, there were Darkhounds in the city." He released the source, at this point it was doing more harm than good, he channeled a light in the lamp before he released.
Pity swarmed in as Asmodean groaned and covered his face with his hands, sliding down the wall until he sat down on the floor. He rested his elbows on his knees, his hands still masking his features. His shoulders shook and Rand was not sure if he was laughing or crying. He did not have to wonder for long when something wet splattered on the floor as it slowly slid from Asmodean's covered eyes. Rand stayed where he was now crouched, across the room from Asmodean. He thought about getting closer when suddenly the man spoke. It was actually more mumbled than anything. Rand shuffled his feet and could not help himself, he tentatively asked "What?"
One hand came away from his face and then the other as he pushed himself up and staggered towards the door, "I'm going to be sick." His voice was uneven but clear, and one look at him clearly said that he was not lying. He lurched by Rand and only just made it through the curtains and into the street before his stomached violently expelled itself. Mercifully the road was empty of people, Asmodean noticed gratefully a second before he heaved. It went on for what seemed hours, or at least it did to him. More than likely it was because he was the one on hands and knees sicking up his dinner. He felt a steadying hand on his back sometime during the process, he barely flinched, he knew it to be Rand. He slumped over wearily against the man when his stomach quit heaving, he was the only thing that kept him from collapsing completely to the ground, his body trembled violently. Not wanting to close his eyes, but not wanting to open them either, he settled for twitching them open and shut convulsively.
He risked seeing the images of his dream with them closed and risked catching Rand's eye with the alternative. He could have sooner flown than seized saidin. A low moan escaped his lips softly. Asmodean was exhausted, some time had passed before his stomach decided it was empty enough. The only thing he wanted to do now was to curl up and sleep dreamlessly until morning. But the next thing he knew, Rand had hauled him upright and encircled an arm about his waist to keep him propped up. Thankfully the man did not say a word. Then, half carrying Asmodean, he made his way back to the room and lowered him gently onto his pallet of blankets. Turning his head, Asmodean did not look at Rand. But it did not make him go away. And as much as he wanted him to leave, he wanted him to stay even more.
Even if Rand had left, he would still be huddled in a corner until morning anyway. It was safer with two, even if one of them sometimes lurked in the nightmares that sleep brought. Though Rand had not been in this one, he had made him sweat in others. Asmodean's thoughts were interrupted when Rand's voice cut through the silence. "They've gotten worse. I've seen you dream before, but never like this." He stopped and seemed to think before he continued, "I thought they would go away when you taught me how to ward my dreams. But other…things…took their place." Rand did not look at him as he spoke.
Asmodean swallowed a few times before he spoke, and even then it came out gruffly and his first words sounded more like a croak, "Warding only goes so far. How do you ward against your own thoughts and what you can not hide from?"
Rand almost flinched, he did not like to think that the man's thoughts were so much like his own. The forsaken were human, he knew this now, he had once been naive enough to think that they were omnipotent. But whatever pleasure he got out of seeing their suffering and proof of just how human they were, was spoiled when he looked upon the man laying in front of him. He trembled still and he was frightened, scared spitless of his own dreams. Empathy had gone past worming through his disgust, it poured through Rand. He turned to look Asmodean full in the eyes, and did not look away. "If there is a way to ward against thoughts…I do not know it. But I can keep them away." Asmodean's eyebrows rose in surprise, "You keep them away?" His words voiced the unspoken plea to teach him how.
Rand laughed bitterly. How ironic was it that out of all the people he was surrounded with he had to pour out his thoughts to a forsaken? "Yes, I keep them away, and do you how? I do not sleep for nights. I sit in a corner of my room and I hope and pray that whatever I just dreamed does not come through my door. I do not shut my eyes for more than to blink because my mouth is already dry with fear at what lays behind closed eyes." It was hard to keep eye contact with Asmodean, and even harder to smile after his confessions.
Asmodean's eyes widened, though he was not sure if it was from shock at hearing Rand admit to things that no one else but himself must know, or at the surprise that he had similar thoughts. Rand held his eye for another minute before he looked away, and he appeared to be grateful to do so. Asmodean sat up, letting the blankets fall around his waist. He shivered in the cold night air, gooseflesh pebbled on his bare skin, but he did not draw the woolen covering around his shoulders. He drew his knees up to his chest and embraced them. It was not a very flattering pose, more like cowering than anything else, but it was the farthest thing from his mind right then. Besides, he felt like cowering.
When the silence became too oppressive to just let it sit, Asmodean licked his lips with a dry tongue and spoke into the darkness where Rand sat. "I will not ask what haunts your dreams, I do not like to speak of it myself, but I must sleep sometimes, do they go away for a time?"
Rand was not prepared or anything to be said and he was silent for a moment before he recovered and tried to answer. "They come and go. As you see, I am still alive, so they allow me some rest, yes."
"Just enough so that you are not run into the ground. I know, it is the same for me." It was spoken softly. Just loud enough for Rand to hear.
Rand smiled lightly, there were far worse people he could have chosen for a friend, none really came to mind right then, but he was certain there had to be worse. If that was what the man turned out to be, a friend that is. He could just imagine himself saying it aloud, "Yes, I am the Dragon reborn. Have you met my good friend, Asmodean?" Rand sighed mentally, it was madness. But life was mad sometimes.
He should be going soon, the maidens might have discovered he was not in his room by now. Standing, and turning towards the door, he could practically feel Asmodean's alarm at his leaving. It was dark still, it would be for a while. "Get dressed. If neither of us is going to get any more sleep tonight, I see no reason why we can not get something to eat and find someplace to talk." Rand did not seen to turn to see Asmodean's shocked expression. But as the man tugged on a shirt and tucked it into his breeches and walked to Rand's side, he saw the small smile on his face. His harp was slung on his back and his face was still a bit pale, but he tossed a friendly glance at Rand before they exited the room.