A/N: How terrifying; I wrote something for Godchild that isn't CassianxJizabel. This rather rambley oneshot was written on a train listening to the song of the same name by Cinema Bizarre.
Sitting between Riff and my sister, I prepare myself for the worst. The church is full today and we have to sit with legs touching in order to fit into the building. If it wasn't for Mary, sitting on my right with a smile, I wouldn't be here. After all, I know what this particular sermon will be about.
Blasphemy. That's what they call it. A crime against God and everything that's good in this world. But they would say that, wouldn't they? Serried ranks of heartless statues in their Sunday best, eyes turned dutifully towards the man in the pulpit as if he truly was a messenger of God, the messenger of God, even God himself.
Hidden under my winter coat, I reach out and touch warm fingers with my own. The hand turns, catches mine and grips tightly. I can find comfort here. Understanding. Blasphemy against God. That's what this is.
Well, God is dead. And while I may not know a lot about good I know a lot about evil. I'm not the evil one here. The evil lies in the hearts of every person who can listen to these poison words and believe them to be the truth.
Love. That's what's meant to matter, isn't it? All my life I've been attending church, listening to old men with cold hearts preaching love and compassion. To them, love is blind, eternal, cold. Spread between so many people and creatures that it never seems to have time for me, the beautiful child whose pale complexion was not a sign of purity but a result of blood loss and fear.
It was after the incident with the beaten woman and her brother than I learnt that the old men had been wrong in all but one respect. Love isn't blind. That suggests no conscious thought, as if it's something uncontrollable. It is controllable. It has to be. If love was blind, I would have met my end on the scaffold years ago.
My love is not blind but sees with the precision of a hawk; no minute gesture, touch, expression escapes my notice. More than that, my love can see in the dark. Only after all candles are extinguished can I truly let my love run free. It sees through touch, though breath, through taste. When words of love are not only blasphemy but treason too other means of communication have to be found.
The priest is denouncing this particular means now, using heartless clinical language. Thou shalt not lay with another man as if he is a woman. Precise, if cold. A man sitting in the pew in front of us is nodding vehemently, too vehemently. I wonder if he has something to hide. It's too hard to believe that we are the only ones here with such a secret. As the priest starts another tirade with his beloved words thou shalt not, I turn to Mary. My sweet, innocent sister is watching the nodding man with a tiny frown; nothing noticeable enough to draw attention to us but clearly unable to hide her confusion.
For a moment, I wish she was as blind and cold as everyone else here. A rustle of fabric as Riff places a second hand atop mine. The moment passes. The best gift I could give her is ignorance of our sins.
Riff's hands are warm. In fact, everything about him is warm. The night I bandaged his hand was the first time I had ever truly realised just how warm they are. They shook a little when I carried on holding his hand when I was done, eyes fixed on the floor. He didn't shake as much as I did when he reached out and ran his fingers over my cheek. What happened after that was inevitable. I'd felt it coming for a while, some red horizon I knew I was going to reach as if swept towards it by a powerful river. I should have been terrified but as he took me into his arms I felt nothing but warmth. It was as natural and necessary as breathing.
Once locked safely in my chamber, Riff's touch was burning. I'd never felt anything so intense, never seen or heard anything as beautiful. Here was someone who wanted my in every way, whatever I had done, whatever we were to each other, whatever the world would say. As we melted together, I learnt that the old men were wrong. Love isn't cold. It's scalding. I felt as if my soul itself was on fire and I wanted those flames to consume us whole. It was strange, I suppose, seeing my calm and composed butler at the mercy of forbidden passion. But somehow, I'd always known Riff was burning behind those eyes, had been ever since he had escaped the flames. I'd just never dared hope he could be burning for me.
In the church, we are being sentenced to eternal damnation. I'd like to pretend I don't care but beneath my coat my hands are shaking with rage. I glance at Riff. His blue eyes are trained forwards, his expression blank, even as his fingers curl around mine. I can feel his pulse through the pad of his thumb against my wrist, beating just out of time with my own.
Blasphemy. I can hear the word ringing around this chamber of hypocrisy. Mary is fidgeting beside me, a nervous habit of hers that means she wants to say something that's risky even by her standards. She doesn't know about Riff and I so she's not angry on our behalf. She's angry because she has a heart and a mind capable of independent thought, something that no one else here seems to possess as they absorb the lies and condemnations.
I shouldn't be here. I'm too angry. I've always been a good actor but this is beyond me. How dare they? In their eyes, not only am I Cain the first murderer condemned to a life of trial and suffering, I am one of Lot's kin, destined to writhe in torment and die with the other inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah. If I am to die, whom should I choose to deal the final blow? My father? This priest? The hangman's noose? God himself? Who? Who could want a sinner such as me?
Riff would call me foolish. He says that sin is just a word. He says that he could never love someone who wasn't good. Usually, I can believe him.
My hands are suddenly cold. While I had been preparing the perfect words to say, the sermon has ended. Riff stands, offers me my jacket. As I step into it, his fingers brush against my neck. From the crucifix behind the altar, Christ watches with a benevolent smile.
Once outside the church, Mary reaches up and kisses my cheek. Before climbing up beside our cab driver, she makes Riff stop so she can kiss his too. She looks troubled. The ride back in the open air, a treat for dutifully attending worship when we'd all rather be somewhere else, won't be enough to ease her frown this time. I'm proud but worried for her. Perhaps one day she should be the first to learn of our secret. If anyone will forgive me, it would be her.
Once inside the cab, curtains hiding us from cold eyes, Riff and I pray together. It's a prayer we've practised before, a prayer to each other spoken with desperate kisses and linked hands. We pray to stay sinners. We pray that the church and the old men are right in telling us that love is eternal despite being wrong about everything else. We pray to stay true to one another or die on the gallows as blasphemers, heads high and hearts held in our hands.
Blasphemy. Love. Call it what you will, the only religion I will ever swear devotion to is sitting right here beside me. And we don't need the trappings and gilt of an establishment, nor the honey words of a prayer-book. Riff reaches out to me in the shadows and fingers run through my hair. As I lean into the touch, tears falling from my eyes at last, I know that the preacher had been wrong.
This. All we need is this.
A/N: Please leave me a note if you actually got through this! Love to all. Also...the JizabelxCassian Invasion shall start marching again soon!