Title: Good Intentions
Author: Zalia Chimera
Pairing: Ariel/Domick
Rating: PG
Warnings: Odd, vague slashy content, rambling (but what do you expect from Domick during the time of The Keeping Place?), no real spoilers unless you haven't read Ashling yet.
Notes: Prompted by thinking about the mention of Domick's last report to Obernewtyn being ah... less than coherent and sane ^^;

It started with the best of intentions, but then, Domick supposed, these things usually did. The best of intentions, the purest of reasons and everything crumbled anyway. He couldn't help but let his thoughts wander back to the mountains, to the House. The Teknoguild were like that. They always had the best of intentions but how many of them had died because they ventured too close to tainted ground in their search for knowledge?

The pen scratched across the paper and Domick wasn't even certain of what he was writing anymore. He could feel that cool gaze between his shoulder blades and in his head. It was always there now, could feel it all the time. But what had...?


Would he have been any different if he'd known? Maybe a futuretelling could have kept those intentions at bay or substituted someone else in his place, but then, he'd always been proud and powerful.

"Aren't you all like that?"

The silken voice made him tense, startling him out of his thoughts and back to the dimly lit room and the desk he was seated at. He glanced down at the letter as though seeing it for the first time. There was ink smeared across it, dark splotches of colour on the white paper and the words, when he read them, made little sense even to himself. His report was already days overdue. They'd been getting more and more sporadic since Kella had left and the thought made his stomach lurch unpleasantly.

"Aren't you?"

He heard the soft pad of bare feet across the floor and wondered how it was that he never seemed to get cold, even in the winter. It wasn't a mountain winter, but the air was still chill and the stone floor even more so.

He remained still as Ariel leaned over his shoulder, picking up the letter with long delicate fingers, not making any move to stop him. He'd given up after the first few times when he'd realised how pointless it was.

"Your Coercers," Ariel said, and Domick could feel the flicker of his mind-voice in his head. It barely even received a reaction from him anymore. "The defenders of Obernewtyn. Aren't you all proud and powerful?"

The childish giggle did make him flinch, making him think back to those days when even their home had been a prison, with Ariel and Vega as their keepers. And it was his good intentions which had led him to that situation again. A larger cage perhaps, but no less a prison.

"We had to be strong," Domick replied finally, eschewing replying mentally. Misfit. Maybe there was something in the name if he could cause pain to others just by speaking with them mind to mind. He'd never lost that harsh edge that so many of the coercers had. Gevan, he had managed it, learned the diplomacy necessary for his position, and Elspeth, but she was more than anyone else could hope to be.

He wondered, for a moment, when the Coercer Guild had become past tense.

The letter was replaced in front of him, a slender, pale arm wrapped around his neck. "Sign it."

He picked up the pen once more and scrawled a signature, a far cry from the neat script he'd once used, but recognisable still.

"Good," Ariel said, cold hands running down his shoulders like a non-talent would pet a dog.

"I'll send it tomorrow," Domick replied, his voice blank and flat as it had become so often recently. He'd been so careful with the first few letters that he'd sent, knowing that Ariel was reading them, but there was never anything omitted or altered and they always got there. He knew that from the replies that he received. All of the information, everything that he'd learned to work against the Council; it was as though he didn't even care. Ariel let things slip far too carefully, but as long as it helped Obernewtyn, he had to send the information. Even if it was intended, he had to hope that it gave them some measure of hope, some edge.

"Of course you will. Now..."

Ariel drew him up out of the seat, his nude body practically glowing under the candlelight, and lead him back towards the bed. Sometimes he whispered things in the dark afterwards, secrets that even Domick's position wouldn't allow him access to, things that he couldn't ignore.

And so he went, with the best of intentions