Where do We Go Now?
Word Count: exactly 4,300
Rating: PG-13 (might be nearing R)
Pairings: AlbertxCount; AlbertxGankutsuou
Word Prompt: Christmas
Note: The idea for this fic came to me a month or two ago when I was watching a show on exorcism on discovery channel. Taylor wanted some AlbertxCount as a Christmas gift and gave me a chance to finally write it up. It was not at all what I originally planned, but I'm fairly happy with it. Longest fic I've written in months. Kudos to whoever can guess where the title is from.
The irony was never lost on Albert that one of the happiest days of his life was the day he met a demon. It wasn't the absolute best day, as that had been claimed years ago by his first meeting with the Count. Never the less, he hadn't felt this elated in years.
Albert had been sitting in his least favorite parlor that day. There were three in the house and all the others were being cleaned, meaning he was left to sit in the drafty, dimly lit room. Even though it was mid-afternoon, the only light came from a small window, so he brought in a couple extra candles to help him see.
"Dammit, I thought I would get to stay home for the next month," Albert muttered, glaring at the papers in his lap, "If things keep up like this there's no way—ah, what's this?"
The room had gotten darker as all of the candles went out suddenly, "Funny, there's not wind," he murmured, getting up to fix them. However, as he fumbled for a match all of them relit suddenly, glowing a bright blue.
"What the hell! I've only heard of something like this in…ghost stories…" Albert trailed off as he suddenly felt another presence in the room. Far be it from him to be thought a coward, so he turned around to see who—or what—was in the room. As he moved to see behind him, Albert gasped and fell to the floor. There, right in front of the closed door, were the glowing eyes, he remembered so clearly, of Gankutsuou.
"I thought you were dead!" he blurted out, any intelligent thought he might have voiced leaving him.
If the demon could have quirked an eyebrow, Albert imagined that was what he would be doing right now, given his tone of voice, "What you saw was the death of the container I was inhabiting at the time."
At this Albert's face darkened considerably. How dare this monster bring up the Count. "Out, get the hell out of my house immediately," he ordered.
"I did not come here to argue," the entity stated mildly, "Nor did I come here to be ordered about. I came here with a proposal."
"I don't ever want to see you again, much less listen to a word you have to say."
Gankutsuou paused for a moment before moving on, "These last few years I have been healing from the…traumatic experience summer six years ago. Now that I am fully restored I am looking for a new container."
"And you're asking me?" Albert asked disbelievingly.
"Yes," it stated firmly, "I am in need of someone to posses and there is something I could give you in return."
"Never," Albert stated resolutely, crossing his arms over his chest, "There is no way you could convince me to give up my body for you to use for your evil doing. Especially after I saw what you did…to the Count," he stumbled over the last few words. The wounds were still too raw.
If the demon could have looked sad Albert thought it would have, but instead those cold, glowing eyes merely stared back. "I have…nearly reached my time. Even a demon can not last forever. The only thing is: I can not pass on until I have made peace with this world. I shall live a tortured existence until that has happened. This means, I must…apologize in a way, to those I have affected. I would only possess you for short periods of time—not like the Count"
Albert stiffened at the mention of the other man, "And why should I care about that? As far as I'm concerned, you deserve this 'tortured existence' you speak of."
"You were in love with the last man I possessed," Gankutsuou stated simply.
"W-what!" Albert stammered, "Why would you say that?"
"It was rather obvious, the way you hung off every word his said, blushed at everything he did, every move you made was out of love for him."
"I…won't deny that. I still resent every day I let him fall further into your clutches," Albert gripped the back of a chair, his knuckles turning white. Even six years later, it was difficult to admit that. That summer had lead to many revelations, as well as many broken hearts.
"After I leave each of the different people I possess, I retain a part of them, especially your Count, since he was most recent. I could, for maybe an hour a week at most, become him. This would allow you, almost, a second chance," Gankutsuou finished, finally throwing all his cards on the table.
Albert hesitated. This was a very interesting proposition. He knew it wouldn't exactly be the Count back from the dead, only a part of his personality. But, there was so much he wished he'd said to the other man; so much more he could have done. It wouldn't be healthy, and it would require giving his body to the demon for some time, but the offer was just too tempting. A part of Albert was still that energetic fifteen-year-old that needed someone to look up to. "All right, I'll do it. But, I'm going to have to limit the amount of time you use my body to an hour a week," he smiled crookedly, "Eye for an eye."
Gankutsuou was shocked to hear that philosophy from the young viscount, but then it had been a long time. Smoothly, it shifted into the Count's form and took Albert's hand to shake, "Indeed. I shall return a week from now for the deal to start." With that he walked calmly from the house.
Albert stood there, tears beginning to well in his eyes at seeing the long-haired man again. He shook his head roughly, to get rid of the tears. Now wasn't the time to get sentimental over seeing him again. Albert had been given this second chance and he was going to make use of it.
Albert sat in the dinning room ringing his hands. He wasn't sure to expect or how he would react. Deep down inside he knew it was a bad idea to talk to this reincarnated version of the Count, but he was so happy at the idea it overwhelmed all rational thought. That was another problem—he wasn't sure what was going to happen. Would they just sit and talk or…something else?
The doorbell sounded throughout the house and Albert listened as a servant went to answer it. His heart was beating rapidly as the Count walked into the room. At first Albert just sat there. When he and the Count had last spoken it had been on bad terms, but this wasn't some demon bent on revenge (Albert refused to think harder about this), it was his Count. He stood up and rushed to hug the other man, who merely grunted somewhat upon impact and put his arms around the viscount.
"Count, Count, I missed you so much…" Albert trailed off, sobbing with joy.
"I…" the Count hesitated, "I am happy to see you as well."
"Do you want dinner first?" Albert asked, wiping the tears from his eyes.
The demonic eyes of Gankutsuou flared onto the Count's forehead and Albert couldn't help jumping backwards at the sight of them, "You must remember, I can only retain this form for an hour. If there is something else you wish to do, I suggest you get on with it." And then the lines faded away.
Albert stared confusedly for a moment before grasping what the entity had meant. He blushed and coughed slightly before gesturing to the door, "The bedroom is this way."
For a second, at the bedroom door, Albert hesitated. It's not like this would be his first time or anything, but this was with the Count. Apparently, Gankutsuou knew exactly what was going on and there was no way he wanted to have sex with the demon. However, he opened the door, perhaps against his better judgment and stepped inside.
Immediately, the Count was upon him, pulling Albert into a passionate, if somewhat forceful, kiss. The older man nipped slightly at his lips, getting them to open and let the his tongue in to explore. They moved slowly towards the bed, still kissing and clinging to one another. With an almost feral look in his eyes, the Count pushed Albert back and began to remove his clothing.
Gankutsuou returned the next day, back in the glowing spirit form. Albert was nervously waiting in the front entry way. He'd never been possessed before, much less by a previously evil demon, and wasn't sure what to expect.
"Are you sure you could not allow for a little more time?" the demon questioned.
"No," Albert replied firmly, "I told you that this would be a fair trade. Unless you can maintain the Count's form for longer, I'm not going to allow you mine for longer."
"As you say," it moved on, "Now, I don't know if you're going to remember what happens while you're possessed, but if you do, I would appreciate you not mentioning it. This shouldn't hurt, I think." And without any warning, the demon invaded Albert's mind and took control.
He took a moment, adjusting to the new body, before opening the front door and heading into the night. After walking a while, Gankutsuou came to Albert's personal space transporter and climbed into the cockpit. Tonight's journey would be cut slightly short by the trip, but it was necessary.
A one-way flight to Janina took about fifteen minutes if you had a fast enough ship. Gankutsuou stepped quickly out of the transporter and hailed a vehicle to take him to the palace. Out of all the trips he had to make, this was probably the one he was least looking forward to, so it was best to get done first.
He stood there, not moving a muscle as Gankutsuou watched the princess walking towards him. Haydee looked exactly as she had six years ago, her skin untouched by time. As she grew nearer he held his breath, suddenly unsure of what to say.
"I thought you might come back someday," she said softly, looking not at his eyes, but the design on his forehead.
Gankutsuou quirked a corner of his mouth, "Why would that be?"
Haydee turned to look out the large windows for a moment before answering, "To make peace."
He stepped back, surprised that she had known, but then coughed and started to speak, but she cut him off, "It hurt so much, watching the Count be consumed. Bask then, I hated you for it, but now, time has passed and I have grown wiser. It was not entirely your fault; he wanted the revenge too much."
"I'm glad your thoughts have changed," Gankutsuou willed the tears joining in his eyes away.
"Although," Haydee said sharply, and he was reminded of all those times before she had glared at him angrily, "Why did you have to involve the young Viscount?"
"I could not maintain a body for an hour and complete what I needed to," Gankutsuou replied, "It is much easier to posses someone. Also, he and I…have a deal."
Haydee understood immediately what he meant and looked away, "You're only hurting him by doing this."
"It gives him a certain amount of closure, I think. I only have a few minutes left."
"Well, I forgive you," Haydee moved forward and pulled the viscount's body into a hug as he slumped forward and the entity left his body.
"Huh?" he called out sleepily, "Where am I?"
"This is Janina," she replied softly, brushing some hair from his forehead.
That woke him up, "Janina! Why am I still here? I thought we were supposed to go back while it was still your turn, not make me do it." Albert glared angrily at the entity before him.
"Hush, you can stay for some food now before going back," Haydee pushed on the small of his back and ushered him out of the room.
After an extravagant dinner with Haydee, Albert was left alone with the entity on a ship back to Earth. They sat silently for a few minutes before he spoke softly, "Why did you do it?"
"Hm?" the demon replied, almost drowsily.
"Kill…" Albert gulped, "Kill the Count."
"I didn't," it replied simply, "I mean I only took hold of the vengeance already in his heart and gave him the means to carry it out."
"The Count never wanted to kill anyone," Albert replied staunchly.
"No," the demon answered hesitantly, "But, he did want to ruin the lives of those who ruined his. I planted the idea of what to do in his head. And…" it seemed to take a breath before continuing, "I regret in now."
Albert sat up more and turn to face the glowing eyes more fully, "Oh really?"
"Well, from a selfish stand point, it only hastened my ending. Also, from a more…humane standpoint, it was perhaps more cruel than I'd planned on being, than I'd ever been before."
The two sat in silence as Albert thought over what Gankutsuou had admitted. "You made me want to kill myself," he said quietly, "You ruined my friends, my family, and my love."
"I know," Gankutsuou replied, sounding tired, "And I'm paying for it now."
When Eugenie came to visit in October, Albert seemed tired. His eyes had bags under them and it seemed as though something heavy was weighing down his shoulders. Regardless of how he appeared though, he was happier than she'd seen him in a long time.
"I'm so sorry I don't visit more," she said, pulling him into a friendly embrace, "I've just been so busy with performances lately."
"No, no, it's all right. I understand," Albert replied immediately, moving them inside and to the parlor.
Eugenie accepted the coffee offered to her and for a while they sipped the drink in silence. "So, what have you been up to?"
Albert glanced around, as though checking if someone were near by, "Not, much. Traveling to Luna, meeting important people, the likes."
She smiled at the description of his job that he gave and said nothing for a moment. "You seeing anyone lately?" Eugenie asked abruptly.
For a second Albert spluttered on his coffee, coughing and trying to get it dislodged from his throat. "I'll take that as a yes," she answered herself.
"Well, I am…in a manner of speaking," he mumbled, refusing to look her in the face.
"And what does that mean?" she asked, quirking an eyebrow at him.
Albert tilted his head up so that he could look her in the eye as he spoke, "I meant to tell you that I…was not interested in the female persuasion."
She merely cocked her head to the side and looked at him, "Since when did you become so wordy?"
He spluttered for a moment before regaining his bearings, "What, but how did you know?"
Eugenie brought her hand to her mouth so Albert couldn't see her laughing, "Oh please, you were never that interested in me when we were together. It was always Franz you were talking about."
Albert blushed and looked out the window for a second before turning back, "But, did I tell you that the man I had a crush on was the Count?"
For a moment she sat there stunned. Eugenie supposed it should have been obvious; Albert practically worshiped the man. But then, she'd always supposed he was more interested in Franz. It just seemed impossible that he could have fallen for the Count, especially after what he did, "No, I didn't know that. How could you have though? He ruined your life."
"I suppose," Albert murmured, "He was kind to me, for most of the time I knew him. I guess I was just overwhelmed at having someone older interested in me, but I think there was more than that."
They sat again in silence, which Eugenie only ventured to break when her curiosity got the best of her, "Why do you bring this up now?"
Albert blushed and turned away again before muttering, "I guess my new lover just reminds me of him."
A month after the deal began, Gankutsuou started to stay for a bit after both he and Albert were finished. At first, the viscount had been disconcerted by this, but now it was familiar. He wasn't fully sure why the demon had given up its evil ways. However, it soon became apparent that no harm would come from letting it stay a bit.
"Are you sure you want to keep doing this?" Gankutsuou asked, his presence resting on the bed.
Albert sat up on his elbows to look at the glowing figure beside him, "Why do you ask that?"
"I was only wondering. Just so you know that I'm not forcing you to do this."
For a moment Albert just stared at it before asking, "This is so…different from how you were when you were with the Count. What changed?"
"A lot of things," the entity answered truthfully, "As I said, I'm nearly at my end. Also, I guess the pile of regrets I've gathered has just gotten big enough."
Albert lay there, mulling over what it had just said, when Gankutsuou spoke again, curious, "Are you conscious when I am in control of your body?"
"I'm not asleep, it's more like I'm listening to you and watching you with my head underwater. I hear noises, but I don't understand them," Albert answered thoughtfully.
"So then, you know who I've been visiting?"
Albert rolled over fully to look at the demon, "I have some idea." They had been making their way through all of the people involved in the fiasco six years ago. Bertuccio, Peppo, Luigi Vampa, even the Morrels had been on their list of people to go and make peace with. All of them had been forgiving, if somewhat grudgingly.
"Could you guess who I still have to visit?"
"I think so," Albert tried to list in his head everyone who had been involved.
"I'm nearly finished," the entity stated, sounding again, overwhelmingly tired.
About four months after the arrangement had started (sometime in late November), Gankutsuou came to Albert again as the Count. It had become so familiar now that he didn't even bother waiting at the front door. He appeared in the hallway outside Albert's room and entered without knocking.
Albert lay on his bed, lazily reading a book, but as soon as the Count entered he stood up and crossed the room. He pulled the other man in for a passionate kiss, exploring the mouth he had come to know so well. The Count returned the kiss, pulling Albert further into his arms. After a second the younger man stepped back and looked carefully at the floor.
"Do you think, erm, just for today," he stammered, still not looking up, "That you could be here as well?"
"What are you talking—oh, I get it," the Count looked away as well, but when he turned back the purple lines were glowing on his forehead.
Albert looked relieved that his request had been granted and immediately pulled the other man into a kiss. They stumbled backwards to the bed, the Count crawling on top.
"Want you—" Albert murmured, voice heavy with desire. The Count (or was it Gankutsuou now? It was difficult to tell who) obliged, slowly undoing the buttons on his shirt. After removing both their tops he pulled them together again, slowly licking and kissing his way down the other man's neck. Albert's face was flushed and he moaned as the Count licked across him throat and down to a nipple, leaving a trail of saliva.
The Count continued on his path downwards while at the same time undoing the viscount's belt buckle. With skilled fingers, he stroked at the other man's erection.
"Gankutsuou," Albert moaned loudly, pulling the man closer, and then froze, realizing what he'd said. The Count (is that the right name to call him now?) looked down, those mismatched eyes looking confused, but not all that unhappy. Albert lay there breathing heavily, staring not at those eyes, but the ones glowing on his forehead. After a second more deliberation he leaned up to kiss along the spidery lines.
Gankutsuou (for that was who it truly was) shuddered at the contact and knew that everything had changed.
Eugenie knew that something looked different about Albert the next time she went to visit him. He would see wildly happy at one moment—the bags under his eyes disappearing and his face lighting up in a way she hadn't seen in years. Yet in other moments, it seem like he was hiding something, looking at her cautiously as though to gauge the way she would react to something.
Eventually she got fed up with this, stating loudly, "Albert, are you going to tell me something or not?"
Albert stared back at her, with eyes wide like those of a deer caught in the headlights of a car, "W-why do you think I have s-s-something to tell you?" he stammered, carefully not looking at her eyes.
"It just seems like there's something on your mind," she replied while pouring herself another cup of coffee.
"There's nothing really to tell," he said, still not looking at her.
"I mean one second it looks like you own the world and the next you look like a scared teenager again."
Albert stared at his mug, before turning to look her in the eye, "I was just…thinking. This, man I'm seeing now. I guess I only just realized that, maybe, I love him," he finished in a small voice, barely over a whisper.
Eugenie smiled and grasped his hand, "But, Albert, that's a very good thing! Now you should tell him."
He looked away thoughtfully and somewhat sadly, "Yeah, maybe I should…"
Christmas snuck up on Albert that year. Normally he didn't do much to celebrate, just sat at home and acted as though it were any other day. He only realized the day before that maybe he should get something for Gankutsuou. Immediately, this thought stopped him and made him wonder just when he'd started thinking of his bed partner as "Gankutsuou" in stead of "the Count."
The idea kind of scared Albert, this was the demon that had plagued the universe for thousands of years. But, it was hard to connect it now with the being that controlled the Count and eventually killed him. The entity he talked with twice a week was kind and repentant. Never once did he force Albert to do anything and never abused his body when he possessed it.
In the end, it was only decided that Gankutsuou would come for a visit on Christmas Eve. While Albert was positively elated at this, the entity appeared more thoughtful. There was even a trace of sorrow in his eyes.
That evening passed the same as any other: Gankutsuou appearing in the Count's form, Albert engaging them in a wild bout of love making for an hour, and then the two of them—demon and man—lying on the bed afterwards. But, something was different about the evening, a frantic air surrounded everything they did and somewhat scared Albert.
Just before midnight, Gankutsuou nudged Albert awake, saying that there was something they needed to talk about. The viscount yawned and sat up, turning his attention to the glowing form beside him.
"You said," the entity started out slowly, "That you could tell some of what I was doing when I possessed you, correct?"
Albert nodded, not really liking the almost sad tone Gankutsuou was using.
"So then, you must know that I have visited everyone connected to that summer." Again, Albert nodded. "I don't know if you've noticed it, but lately I've been growing fainter as well…"
Upon looking, Albert did notice the eyes that had been glowing so brightly when they first met, now were merely a slightly shimmering form in the air. A thought occurred to him, "Wait, does that mean—"
The sat there, neither knowing what to say. Tears began to well up in Albert's eyes and the being floating beside him looked away. "I didn't mean for it to go like this, when I first came with the proposal. And now, I've only created more of a problem for both of us."
Albert shook his head violently at this. "Don't look at it that way. I don't regret anything…"
"It seems no matter what, there's something out there twisting everything I do. Kind of ironic, isn't it? That, by the time I finally find some attachment to this world, it's my time to go," Gankutsuou said bitterly.
"I don't see it as that," Albert said, wishing that he could pull his lover into his lap to comfort, "It's not your fault and I'll just…go on."
Gankutsuou moved back and forth, as though shaking his head, "It shouldn't be like that. You shouldn't have to put up with this."
"I don't blame you." And Albert moved forward so that his lips rested right next to the faintly glowing figure. "There's nothing to forgive. I love you."
Even as he said that, Gankutsuou began to glow more brightly. Brighter and brighter until the room was filled with a glowing white light. Albert closed his eyes against the blinding light, and when he opened them again he was alone.
He sat, staring out the window where snow was softly falling, and willed the tears to go away. He didn't regret it; there was nothing left to forgive. Somewhere in the distance a church bell rang at midnight.
Thanks for reading! Please leave a review!