Title: Heated

Author: IndigoNight

Summary: Darren's having nightmares.

Feedback: Yes please, yay reviews!

Pairing: Could be taken as either a parental, or an at least one-sided slashy DarrenxCrepsley, your choice.

Disclaimer: I do not own Cirque Du Freak or the characters I'm just borrowing them for fun.

Spoilers: Through 6, with vague foreshadowing for 9

Warnings: Angst, violent and gory imagery, could be slash, very vaguely implied character death.

Author's Note: I just couldn't resist. Take Darren, a little PTSD, Crepsley, and a coffin and you've got some beautiful shmoop. It will be two chapters, the second one hopefully posted tomorrow.

As a side note, this happens to be Rayne and I's 250th posted fic here on , which just makes me feel like a very accomplished looser. I'm so proud of us :D

Anyways, Read, Review, and most importantly,


Everything was hazy, thick smoking hanging in the air, making it not only difficult to breathe but also impossible to see more than a few feet ahead. The entire room was a vibrant orange glow, burning the eyes just as painfully as the flesh.

Darren ducked, rolled, and leapt as fast as he could but it seemed nowhere was safe from the scourge. Another jet burst to life inches to his left and he cried out as red and black blisters bubbled up along his arm. It seemed there was no oxygen at all left in the room, smoke filling his lungs instead of life giving air. He coughed violently, falling to his knees as the fit tore through him. He had to keep moving, had to keep fighting. But his legs trembled and gave way beneath him as he coughed again.

No matter how hard he tried he couldn't make his legs support him anymore. He was in more pain than he'd ever imagined possible, it seeming like there was no part of his body left that wasn't burned. He knew he'd be crying if he had the moisture to spare but it had all evaporated. There was no relief to be found anywhere.

He lay there weakly, waiting for death. He wondered vaguely which would come first, another burst of flame to roast him alive or suffocation from the smoke. He wanted to close his stinging eyes but pride stopped him, he refused to die cowering like a child.

He was certain his last moments were upon him when dark looming figures began to appear through the smoke. But he felt no relief, he wasn't saved. The shapes were huge and ominous, filling him with an inexplicable dread. He caught flashes of purple skin through the flames drawing ever closer. They were evil, they were coming for him, and he could do nothing about it but lie there weakly and watch.

But suddenly yet another group of figures appeared, this time leaping to engage the vampaneze in battle. Red slashed across the orange, screams tearing through the air.

Painfully Darren rolled onto his knees, determined to somehow join the fray, but his legs still refused to hold him. The best he could manage was a slow crawl on his hands and knees. He hated being so helpless, especially when his friends were busy fighting for their lives.

The pipes just to the right of his hand suddenly started to rumble and he quickly rolled out of the way, only to hit the legs of a massive vampaneze. It toppled over on top of him, dead with a knife in its chest, knocking the wind out of him. He struggled with the dead weight pressing down on him, sticky blood seeping over him and into his burns. The pipes rumbled again, this time directly under him. In a panic he redoubled his efforts but it was no use. He resigned himself, this time it was for sure. The end. His heart thumped madly, fear surging through him, his eyes blurring and losing focus.

As he waited for death to come he noticed a particular streak of flame through a break in the smoke. Instead of the vertical jet it should have been it seemed to be moving toward him at an alarming rate. A mass of vibrant red topped off with a shock of orange drawing ever closer. Then he realized it wasn't a flame at all, but Mr. Crepsley rushing to his rescue.

A brief shot of hope flashed through him, but before Crepsley could reach him another dark figure loomed up out of the smoke. The thick hazy drifted away to reveal the distorted figure of Kurda Smahlt, but he was not as Darren had last seen him. His face was misshapen, vicious crooked teeth hanging from an open leering mouth, scarred and bloody and loathsome. But worst of all was the thick bloated purple arm raised high above his head, hand gripping a long wicked knife, which was pointed directly at Mr. Crepsley's back!


Larten Crepsley was startled out of a deep sleep by a scream. Leaping out of his coffin he was immediately tensed for a fight. Finding no enemies in his room he realized that the jarring sound was coming from the cell next door.

Quickly rushing in he found Darren on the floor, having fallen from his hammock. He was twisted up in his blanket, thrashing wildly against it, apparently locked in a nightmare.

"Darren," he called, kneeling beside the boy and gripping his shoulders, "Darren, wake up!"

Darren moaned, head rolling limply even as his arms pushed outward as though attempting to shove Crepsley away from him. "No!" he cried, "No… don't hurt him…stop…"

"Darren!" Crepsley called again, shaking him a little, "You are dreaming, wake up!" Letting go of one of his assistant's shoulders he cupped his chin, stilling Darren's head and studying his face. To his surprise his fingers met with wetness on Darren's cheeks and he realized that tears were streaming down his face.

Darren woke abruptly with a gasp, one hand automatically grasping Crepsley's shirt in a death grip. He was panting, trembling all over, drenched in sweat and tears. His eyes were wide, filled with terror and pain and his grasp on Crepsley's shirt tightened.

Crepsley ignored the little holes Darren's nails were making in his shirt, waiting for Darren's eyes to focus.

He shuddered as the last vestiges of the nightmare released its grip on him. Slowly he blinked, eyes focusing on Crepsley. "M-Mr. Crepsley?" his voice was rough from screaming and he sounded younger than he was. He was still trembling but he forced himself to release his mentor, sitting back a little.

"That was quite the nightmare," Crepsley observed, watching his assistant closely.

"Yeah," Darren mumbled, not looking at him, "Sorry I woke you."

"Do you… want to talk about it?" he asked a little awkwardly. Vampires by nature were not in the practice of comforting one another and therefore he wasn't very good at it. But Darren was still shaking and he looked so very young he couldn't just brush it off like he would if it were anyone else.

Darren shook his head however, quickly wiping the tears from his face as though to pretend they'd never been. He took a deep breath, stilling his trembling. "No, I'm okay," he said, voice still rougher than usual, "You can go back to bed."

Crepsley hesitated, then nodded slowly and stood. On his way to the door however Darren's voice made him pause.

"Thanks for waking me," he said softly.

Crepsley nodded curtly and quickly left. Though he wouldn't admit it, even to himself, he was all too happy to escape the high awkward tension in the air.


Darren slumped back against the wall. His blanket lay in a twisted heap a few feet away and his hammock had somehow gotten knotted. He wasn't sure where Harkat was but he wasn't anywhere in sight.

After waiting a few moments to listen as Mr. Crepsley returned to his coffin, he was certain he was alone he allowed his scarred, bald head to sink into his hands. A silent sob shuddered through him. The dream had been so vivid, so real. Even though he was awake now his heart still thudded with the terror and helplessness he'd felt and his skin still tingled in remembrance of the fiery pain.

Although the dream hadn't been real, it had consisted of a variety distorted and patched together memories, the wounds of which were still all too fresh.

He still bore the scars from his trial in the Hall of Fire, and he still vividly remembered the tense pain of it. Although there had been no battle during his trial the one that had occurred shortly after had been his first real taste of large scale violence and the faces of the vampaneze he'd killed that day still haunted him. But worst of all the image of his one time friend, mutated by his subconscious into one of the vampaneze he'd allied himself with aiming a knife at the back of one of Darren's friends was all too real, although Mr. Crepsley had not been the original target.

He shuddered again. Just the thought of Mr. Crepsley being stabbed made him feel as though it was his own heart that had been pierced. Unable to dwell on that thought he quickly shoved it to the back of his mind along with the rest of the horrid dream.

Resigning himself to getting no more sleep that day he stood stiffly and headed for the Hall of Perta Vin-Grahl in hopes that a cold shower would wash his childish fears away.

The shower did do him good and by the time he was finished it was time to report to the Hall of Prince. Every night he spent his time there learning how to be a vampire of good standing, and a prince. The lessons left him exhausted and by the end of the night his head was pounding from everything he'd tried to cram into it and all he could think of was crawling into his hammock for a solid day's sleep. All thoughts of the day before's nightmare were far from his mind. That was, until the heat started.