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I M P E R A T I V E

- Dim Aldebaran -

Dedicated to Blue Yeti, on a fine Christmas Day-After.

:i:

I. L U S T & C H A S T I T Y

There were words for them, of course, the most righteous of which was 'abomination' and the most obsequious 'pedophiliac'.

When the noose had snapped taut it had not been a clean death. He couldn't help but fall: upon that thin, lean body, into those bright, clear eyes…

Such is the nature of the noose.

The hangman had redefined virtue as pleasure; it was as if regression to that—that panting creature of need was the only thing of ought in a world of can't—more than a thought—a word—an act

—as if virtue itself had become a sin.

II. G L U T T O N Y & T E M P E R A N CE

He had given his name as Don Juan.

It was the right sort of joke; he the attractive young aristocrat, she the suitable candidate, and they the clique of men of class: the sort that required nothing but a selective knowledge of classics and a ready lack of conscience, given the proper amount of alcohol.

They laughed, even the woman; though a blush heightened the stakes. The naïve, he knew, were greatly prized.

A game for the drunkards—

He laughed, too; and the high color of the communal nepenthes washed him with blood.

—a game for what he had become.

III. G R E E D & C H A R I T Y

Sometimes, the days were forever; and sometimes, the nights as well. Strange, how he minded one, and not the other.

And in those endless dawns, he'd consider the callous sun and wonder why it had to rise and burn away the memory of night to reveal Day; and in those endless eves, he'd consider the cold brilliance of the moon and stars and how Salomé seemed to shine pale and proud beneath the shadow-shroud drawn across the room by a too-willing hand of time.

The nights were endless, as were the days. Strange, to follow one infinity, yet not another.

IV. S L O T H & D I L I G E N C E

It had been said that there was no room for error; that was when he stopped calling it a 'relationship'.

It was not a thing of mere subterfuge; he knew the taste of subterfuge, and it was not so sweet to the tongue. That was not the word for the thoughtless words and careless nights. Subterfuge would have meant there was something to hide, some volatility, some shame…

…for there was no shame in a series of one night stands, unless one failed to keep… busy...

That was when the term 'distraction' had been introduced by an… employer, of his.

V. W R A T H & C O M P O S U R E

Perhaps rage was not anticipated; but surely it would at least find acknowledgement.

—and so he raged, and so he raged, he would show him what he had done to him, he would show the world!...

His eyes were ice under the winter sun, flashing cold and flashing bright.

—and he'd fold his hands and reply with the careless courtesy of any aristocrat, My Dear Domovoi, I so hope you are not troubled…

And what could he say to the mask?—

—when the mask was all there was, the ice could only melt beneath the smooth fire of serenity assumed.

VI. E N V Y & A D M I R A T I O N

Despite the cool composure, he was a flame: for the pale heat both chilled and enflamed the man who sought only a hearth.

At first it was only with eyes that he watched the flames flicker: twisting in tortured dances, the very effigy, genius consuming itself in its own inferno.

It was those primal fires that lit civilizations through its darkest nights…

He was a brute, and perhaps he could so easily quench the candle between his fingers… the epitome of simplicity but the portrait of complexity—entropy

And sometimes, he touches the flame; though it burns him for spite.

VII. P R I D E & H U M I L I T Y

The first maxim is one of memory: memory is not to be trusted.

—for he remembered the child, the sweetness of youth with that smooth petal skin and soft carnation lips left so long untouched

The second maxim is one of forgetting: one must forget the misperceptions of the past.

—the child was not a child but a man, for then only was sin not merely a sin

The third maxim is one of remembrance: that one must remember the truth; and the truth is not what he remembers.

—for sins must be coaxed from the sinner by the saint-who-smiles

:i:

Each of these is a 100-word drabble for the respective drabble100 prompts of 'disease', 'drink', 'greed', 'lovers', 'agony', 'fire', and 'shattered'. Each are based on the opposing seven deadly sins and the seven virtues; interpretation can be taken from there. Hopefully this isn't as opaque as I'm afraid it might be.

These are really meant to be taken together, as one continuous view of the various aspects of the Artler pairing. So basically, I'd rather this viewed as a sectioned oneshot, versus as a sequence of drabbles, since though each drabble may be viewed independently, they are really intended to be taken as a whole.

Concrit much appreciated, as always. Consider it a Christmas present for me. But don't forget to wish Blue Yeti a Merry Christmas too!