Introduction: This "story" is intended to house excerpts, oneshots as it were, set within the same "universe" as my story Forsaken. While it may not always be the case, each chapter will generally be self-contained and not necessarily related to other chapters which may be added to the collection.
These things, for one reason or another, do not fit into the main story, either because they are from a viewpoint other than that of Voldemort or Brand, or because they would probably never actually happen.
The first three offerings, however, are related, but that's just the way the duck quacked when it ran me over. And for all I know, these three will be it. Time will tell.
29Aug2005 Notes: I'm sorry, but I just could not get this out of my head. This is weird, possibly disturbing, horribly sappy at times, and I dunno what (kinky might be a good word here). See the end note for final comments on this particular oneshot.
(If you want to know what the title acronym means, go browse reviews for Forsaken, chapter 10, before you actually read to get a hint of the content.)
Responses: Please see my profile for the location of review responses.
— Alpha (TIISP) —
"I just . . . don't. . . ." Brand turned his head slightly, rubbing his cheek against his father's leg. He felt fingers thread into his hair and stroke gently. "Why?"
"I don't think anyone has answers like that, Brand," Voldemort said softly. "No one could have foreseen an accident of that nature, not with so many precautions."
"Well, that's it, then."
Brand lifted his head slowly. "I'm not doing it again, that's all." He pulled away and stood.
Voldemort reached out and grasped Brand's arm. "This may sound excessively cruel, Brand, but . . ."
"But what? I'm still alive? Did you know, I never actually said the words?"
Voldemort pulled Brand back toward him. "You are not being very cooperative in letting me attempt to comfort you in any way."
Brand turned to face his father with a glare, glancing down for a moment as Voldemort let his hand slip down to take his. When his gaze rose again he was somewhat confused; his father had never before done such a thing.
"Brand, nothing and no one will ever replace him. That is fact. There. You have it."
"Have what?" Brand growled. "That's the problem!"
Voldemort shook his head slightly and tugged on Brand's hand. "What you have is reality. Please sit down?"
Brand started to fold himself to the floor, then blinked in bemusement when Voldemort stopped him. "You're sitting in a chair, father."
"Yes, I am. Now will you please sit down?"
After an incredulous look, Brand settled himself on Voldemort's lap rather stiffly, startling a bit when he felt an arm wrap around his waist. A second after that he was being drawn closer, and once he was resting against his father's chest he relaxed, comforted by the sound of a steady heartbeat.
"This isn't so bad," he said after several minutes, still feeling a bit confused. For all that he had lavished affection on his father, what he had got in return was less tactile, generally speaking. He could almost forget about why he was distressed puzzling over that.
"No, it isn't." Voldemort's other arm came up to wrap around him and hold him close. "Brand, it's been well over a year, almost two."
"Don't you think I know that?" he mumbled into his father's neck. He pressed closer on feeling a hand stroking his back and sighed. "I know. I'm sorry."
"For what, having feelings?" Voldemort let out a soft chuckle and squeezed Brand momentarily. "I know you haven't been fine, but you've acted it. So why now?"
Brand shrugged. "We've been so busy for so long. I've kept busy. I've had a son to take care of. I haven't had time to indulge my feelings."
Voldemort moved to begin carding Brand's hair with his fingers. "Is Callidus with Remus?"
Brand nodded, then pulled away and stood. He ignored the raised eyebrow of his father and resumed his seat, this time straddling his father's legs so he could drape himself more fully against Voldemort's form and wrap his arms around his neck. After burying his face in his father's neck again he mumbled, "Remus said he would take him through the weekend. He's happy enough for a playmate for Jarrol."
Voldemort made a noise of agreement and raised a hand again to play with Brand's hair, then his other to rest on Brand's hip. "Then I would like it if you stayed here with me. There is nothing of any importance happening at present, so you can remain here and express yourself however it is needful. No one aside from me need be the wiser."
"Oh? So you're saying I can finally have my long delayed nervous breakdown," Brand said humorlessly.
"If you desire, certainly. I will give you anything you need within my power."
Brand kissed his father's neck. "You always have. I hope you know how much that means to me. How much it's always meant to me." He felt a kiss pressed against his hair. "I don't know what I'd do without you."
"Or I you," was his father's ready reply. "You've given me the world, and all you had to do was be there."
Brand sighed. "I admit, I feel lonely."
"I think you'll have to explain why," Voldemort said gently, "as I know we have all been here for you, your family and friends."
Brand shifted uncomfortably and coughed.
"Ah," Voldemort said, then placed another kiss against Brand's hair, "I see."
"Father," Brand said slowly, "you've never done that before, and now twice."
"I love you. What other reason do I need? You have never been shy about showing your affection."
The hand at his hip squeezed gently, then relaxed. It had the effect of making Brand feel somewhat more confused, and he retreated into silence as he considered the situation and even the past. He had never been particularly bothered that his father had maintained a rather peculiar fascination with his sexuality and sex life, but now it struck him as being almost morbid in nature.
He had always been oblivious; that was one of the hallmarks of his character. He was beginning to think, however, that Voldemort's affection was not quite so innocent, and he couldn't truthfully say if that disturbed him or not. Brand furrowed his brow and shifted to get more comfortable, inhaling the familiar scent of his father—something that always made him feel better.
"Am I crazy?" he asked softly.
"I feel as though I'm getting the strangest vibes from you. Maybe I always have and just never thought to . . . I don't know, question it."
"I'm not sure I understand what you're suggesting."
Brand snorted softly. "I think you do."
He was abruptly moved to an upright position, his father eyeing him steadily. "All that matters is that I love you and I'm here for you."
Brand narrowed his eyes and said, quite deliberately, "Of course . . . Tom. Nice evasion, by the way. Care to try that again?"
Voldemort arched a brow. "Then perhaps I have not been so discreet as I had thought."
He blinked slowly at the vague confirmation and glanced off to the side. When he looked back he said, "I thought you were . . . simply accepting."
Voldemort half closed his eyes and tipped his head back. "Brand, I've always tried to respect your choices and give you the father and family you so desperately wanted."
"So, that would be why you kissed me? Why you've always teased me about sex? Why I know you've peeked at my memories of it? More than once, I might add. I know you aren't some ghoul, so why don't you explain this to me?"
Voldemort lifted his head and stared at him, then shrugged slightly. "All right. I've given you what you've wanted and needed, and taken pleasure in doing so. You have given me back my humanity, Brand, and with that came things I had long since thrown away as being useless. You have been, at times, both a rival to be wary of and an irritating annoyance I would have liked to crush beneath my heel. You have also been my ally, partner, heir, equal, and superior. You asked to be my son, and I agreed. I've tried to respect that.
"Do you have any concept of how attractive you are? I have watched as you've grown into being a confident, capable, and admirable man, a person anyone would be honored to have stand by their side. I have contented myself with your affection, knowing that that was all I ever had a right to. But I see you now, still torn up over his death and lonely, and I have not been able to mend this. I love you, but not as I ought to."
"You're in love with me," Brand stated.
"Yes. For many years." After a pause he continued, "If you like, I can take this memory from you."
Brand pushed away almost violently, ending up in a sprawl on the floor. He quickly righted himself and took several steps back, lifting a hand in a gesture that was both defensive and warning in nature. "Don't you dare. I know exactly what could happen. I conveniently forget, and all of a sudden you don't treat me quite the same anymore. Then I become hurt and curious, wondering what it is that I've done to displease you so, and start prodding, only to find out anyway what it is you've been hiding from me all this time. Don't you dare presume to make such an offer."
Voldemort laid his arms along the arms of his chair and crossed his ankles. "As you wish."
"You know I love you."
"I have never doubted that," Voldemort said.
Brand's chest tightened at the resigned look that slowly gained ground over his father's expression, though it quickly changed to surprise as he stepped forward and resumed his earlier position. "I know," he whispered as a hand came to rest on his hip again, "that you're my father in name only. I must have caused you so much anguish over the years. I don't know how you've born it."
"Your happiness has meant nearly everything to me. Does that make me seem pathetic in your eyes?"
"No, never," he mumbled. "Or I am equally pathetic, having always desperately wanted to please you, your opinion meaning more than that of any other to me." He sighed and kissed Voldemort's neck again. "This complicates things."
"That was never my intent."
"I thought you liked women," he said almost casually, then pressed himself closer.
"It never came up."
Brand laughed softly. "Not directly. And I, of course, too stupid or polite to ask a question of such personal nature." He pressed another kiss to his father's neck and felt the man shift beneath him. After a moment of contemplation and a purely mental shrug he lifted his head slightly and bit into Voldemort's shoulder, causing the hand on his hip to tighten drastically and the other to come to rest on his back again.
When his father made no verbal comment Brand shifted to whisper in his ear, "This really complicates things," then nip his earlobe.
He abruptly found himself being sat up again, this time to see a fire raging in Voldemort's eyes before he was pulled down to be kissed savagely, the hand on his back sliding up to grip his neck and force his head to tilt. Voldemort attacked his mouth aggressively, only slowly relaxing into something much more languid and sweet, almost as though he had been afraid that Brand was merely teasing him and would disappear at any moment.
When they did break apart Voldemort said raggedly, "What is it that you would have of me?"
Brand licked his lips and thought about that for a moment, then said, "I want you to drive every coherent thought from my head. Every doubt, fear, hesitation, regret—I don't care. I don't want to think right now, but I shall not object if you were to make me scream in an agony of sheer, overwhelming pleasure."
Then he paused and let a coy smile touch his lips as he used a finger to trace an idle pattern on Voldemort's chest. "I would do anything you required of me, father, as I have the utmost faith that you have only my best interests at heart. Or, perhaps I mean to say, surely I am your most devoted servant, my Lord, and would be grateful for any command you saw fit to give me so that I might be of service?"
Voldemort stared at him blankly, then the corner of his mouth twitched suspiciously as one brow slowly arched upward.
End Note: Yes, all right. This stops at a very . . . cruel point, but there's a reason for that, contained in Brand's last little speech. If you will, an A path (Father) and a B path (My Lord), depending on which flavor of perversion it takes.
In any case, I must say that while this is very obviously set within the Forsaken universe, it is not in any way intended to be taken as an indication of things to come. It's simply something that I have not been able to get out of my head, so I decided to indulge myself. (I blame one person in particular, actually. If you're reading this, girl, you know who you are.)
I originally started out with Draco as the intended (main story), changed my mind to Severus, was convinced to keep Draco, then slowly wandered over here into Tom/Harry, no doubt thanks in part to OWA. Of course, when I asked my good friend if I would be taken out and shot if I killed off Draco and segued into this, he first said yes, then sort of shrugged and said, "It's your story."
So this is a compromise.
And, having seen more than enough evidence in the main story to support it. . . . However, after having actually written path B, I have to say that posting it here (in its entirety) is something I'm just not foolish enough to do. Check it out here (when posted), and if you're still curious, you should know where to go look at this point for the remainder.