AN: Thanks to all the reviews and encouragement.
Tripping Over Yourself
Even God cannot change the past.
The night was an odd patchwork of fleeting images. For the first time in her life, Zoë saw the Sistine Chapel, paint fresh on the ceiling, before waking into dimness and more blood.
Egypt some time after that, sand hot on her face, even though it was the moon, not the sun that was high overhead. Roman baths, where the scent of roses teased over steaming water and bodies writhed against sweat-slicked marble.
Dimness again, more blood and the vague wondering of whether she should still be in pain or not. She even nurses the urge to touch her stomach and find out if there's still a wound there for several moments before drifting off again.
There's mud beneath her feet now, scents and sounds of the jungle around her head. Air thick and heavy with water when she inhales, which doesn't happen as often as she's sure it should. There's light somewhere above, filtering down into the rocky crevice with her. The world that she isn't welcome in somewhere up above, sounds of children playing cutting through the other more subtle sounds. They'd be throwing rocks down soon- they always did around that time.
He's not surprised.
The floors a mosaic of glass shards, alcohol soaked into the carpet beneath, the walls have several decorative holes and the bed that they shared only hours before has been taken apart piece by piece.
Hannibal's sitting against the wall between the toppled dresser and the askew mattress, head in his hands. The room smells of blood.
"Is she okay?" It seems a struggle for him to get the words out.
Drake takes a seat on a bit of the bare bed frame.
"By whose standards?" He questions mildly. King doesn't answer, just gives him that look.
"She isn't human anymore." Drake admits and finds that for the first time ever, he has no idea what to say. Even stranger, is the feeling that he owes the boy something, an explanation? Worse- an apology. For what? He hasn't the slightest clue but he feels it regardless. He's faced with a terrible fact in light of that, something he'd rather bite his own tongue off then admit aloud.
Danica may be right. It's a bitter, fleeting thought and he dismisses it immediately. Shifts off the bed because he's already feeling the irritation of idleness. Feels glass shards shatter under his feet as he moves to stand in front of Hannibal, offering the boy his hand, instead of hauling him up off the floor by his collar like he should. Hannibal sighs and grips his fingers and Drake can feel the dried blood on them, turns Hannibal's hand over once the boys on his feet.
"Though some would consider that a virtue." He says casually, inspecting the gash on the wide palm… he doesn't apologise, not for anything or too anyone.
"It's nothing." Hannibal said, flinching, hand trying to pull free of Drake's grip when he scraped a nail over the wound, removing tiny bits of glass.
"Feel better?" Drake asked casually, watching blood begin to ooze again.
"I'd imagine so." He picks Hannibal up casually, like a bride, like he weighs very little, which in the grand scheme of things, compared to what Drake typically shifts around, he really does.
The boy tenses, is quite probably indignant over the submissive position Drake's placed him in. For a moment Drake thinks he's about to struggle- a sigh escapes him instead and he goes lax once more.
"I just- I just had to protect her." Hannibal's head lulls against Drake's shoulder, breath warm against his neck. Drake miscalculates- tries to kiss him, tries to soothe raw nerves and is shrugged off for his trouble.
"Put me fucking down." Hannibal demands and he does, is tired of fighting with the boy.
"Don't do that." He orders after taking several large steps away from Drake.
"Act decent and normal and nice and human… your not and it fucks my head up so bad that I do stupid things like fucking sleep with you."
"It would never have mattered would it?" He finally manages it pin down and admit what his entire problem with Hannibal is.
"I am a bastard and I do horrible things- but even if I weren't and didn't you'd still hate me- because of what I am."
"You kill my kind." Hannibal spits back at him- in a tone that suggests he has no moral high ground to stand on here.
"You killed my friends- tore them apart for no reason at all-" Yes… and maybe Hannibal has a point about him and moral high ground.
"And you kill mine. You slaughter my children for no legitimate reason-" But damnit neither does Hannibal, if they're going to be particular.
"You mean besides them eating us."
"Human's kill to survive as well- but you don't see it that way do you- you think human lives are worth more than any other on this planet. You slaughter animals, wear their skins, eat their flesh and do not spare them even a second thought because you think they are inferior too you."
"You killed my friends."
"Zoë's mother." Is starting to wish he hadn't but-
"Yes." It's an unfamiliar feeling.
"To… survive… because they would've killed you."
"Did you enjoy it?"
"Yes." Did he ever not?
"That's what makes us different."
"I've seen you kill- you don't understand it do you… why you fit your armour and your weapons and go out and fight- it's not to survive. You kill us because you hate us and you don't hate us because we hurt your kind. You hate us all because one of us wounded you. She made you feel weak and used and the only time that feeling stops is when you're tearing one of us apart. You never stopped to ask if any the vampires you've killed over the years deserved to die because you never cared." It occurs to Drake just then, that he is right. They are exactly the same- in every way that- for the moment- counts. It's not a happy realisation for him- he wishes to be human or anything else close less than Hannibal wants to be a vampire again.
"Have I misjudged anything? Tell me please, if I somehow have." The boy sighs, crosses his arms- looks as tired as he feels suddenly. It's sad- not because they make for poor, imperfect, skewed archetypes of their races- but because they don't and if ever Drake could believe that his race was the better of the two- stronger, less flawed, more honourable, those days are long gone. Violent, angry, conniving, and bloody… under the skin, they are the same.
"I'm not the only monster here so why am I the only one who should apologise for it." He spits and Hannibal's arms fall back to his sides. He huffs again and looks lost and Drake has the urge to touch his shoulder, has the vague and probably misguided notion that it'll ease some of the boy's frustration- even angry; he wants too.
Danica's right- which puts Drake in a fair amount of turmoil himself because he doesn't know what to do with something like that.
Drake wants to touch him… He walks away instead.