Shadow Apprentice

Prompt: Why destroy something, when you can corrupt it? Facilier takes Naveen as an apprentice. Sex ensues. Preferably of the relationship variety. Voodoo training a must. (from Disney Kink Meme)
Warnings: slash, evil bokors and lots of voodoo/tarot bullshit

Notes: This turned out way longer than I expected... First time trying to write in snippets, I hope they turned out okay. I'm not an expert of voodoo and tarot so some of my info may be incorrect (and I know almost nothing about hoodoo, so that part is mostly bullshit). I didn't want to go into too much detail with tarot so for the minor arcana I used buzzwords instead of proper explanations of their meanings. Oh, and I used Seventy-Eight Degrees of Wisdom as reference and imagine that Naveen is using a Rider-Waite pack.

~PatF~

Gotcha. Dr Facilier thought as he watched the young prince stare in amazement at every trick he performed and drink in his words when he read the cards for him. His plan was perfect – the boy was already caught in his web of half-truths and would agree to his deal for sure. Turning him into a slimy little amphibian and using his blood for a camouflage talisman would be no work afterwards with the help of his friends. Then finding and charming that foolish butler would be a piece of cake – from what he saw in the cards, the fat man was already burning with jealousy so a few well-placed hints would do the job. Now, all he needed was the prince to shake his hand and thus allow him to control his loa met tet. Yes, just one more moment and-

"Can I be your apprentice?"

"What?"

~PatF~

Amazed was the best word to describe how Naveen felt at that moment. He was thrilled at all the wonders this charismatic man was showing him, the flashy tricks, the deep rhythmic drumming sound that seemed to come from nowhere, the heavy vibe in the air... The prince was lost in the performance given to him and there was still more waiting for him when the man spread a pack of cards in front of him with great flourish and proceeded to tell his past, present and future from them. Naveen wondered idly what Lawrence would say if he saw this wonder, but secretly was happy to have this show all to himself.

Plenty of green in my future... he thought, entertaining the thought of wealth again without having to marry some spoilt little daddy's princess or actually work for it. The offer was tempting... Very tempting. Naveen was just about to shake the voodoo master's hand when a stray thought entered his mind. If his parents found out that he just found an easy way around their orders, they'd surely disinherit him this time. Lazy, good-for-nothing, a shame for the family he has been called. But maybe, if he could do all these amazing things the man showed him, his parents would see that he is good at something and he wouldn't have to do anything unpleasant for it. After all, being able to dazzle an audience in a new way can't be anything but pleasant, he reasoned and without mulling over the idea more, he asked.

"Can I be your apprentice?"

~PatF~

"Bonsoir, monsieur." he greeted from the dark, startling the small man. "Lawrence, I presume?" Dr Facilier said as he bowed to the man with flourish, while the old man eyed him varily.

"Yes, I am." the man replied hesitantly. "And you would be...?"

"Names do no matter, my friend." he said, wrapping an arm around the balding man's shoulders, cursing the young prince for talking him into this. "What matters is pleasure, entertainment, the thrill of life!" he proclaimed, accentuating his words with graceful waves of his arm. "Wouldn't it be nice to enjoy yourself for once, without having to watch over that foolish prince?"

"How do you know-"

"Details, my friend, pointless details. What's important here is what I can give you." he said, having his shadow whisper suggestions of a better life to the butler. "Now, Larry. What d'ya say?"

Eyes already clouded over with visions of freedom and joy, Lawrence could only nod and follow the tall man.

"And you think that becoming a bokor would please your parents."

"A... what?"

"A magician."

"Ah, yes. Yes, of course, I'm sure they'll be happy that I did as they told me."

"I don't think this is quite what they had in mind."

"No, they'll be thrilled! Believe me, when I show off the awesome tricks I've learnt they'll take me back in to time!"

"Somehow I doubt that. But as I told you boy, I don't teach magic tricks."

"Aw, come on! I'll have you know, I'm an incredibly wealthy prince-"

"Was."

"- I can give you riches you never imagined! And more! I'll give you anything you wish for!"

"..."

"..."

"..."

"Please?"

A sigh. "Well, why not, it's been a while since I did something completely reckless and stupid."

"I can't decide whether you're being serious or sarcastic."

"I said fine, I'll take you as my apprentice."

"Really? Aw, thank you, man!"

"No hugs!"

"Sorry, got a bit overexcited, haha."

"..."

"Um, there's one small problem, though."

"..."

"You see, Lawrence is probably looking for me..."

"Your butler?"

"Yeah..."

"Then go take care of him."

"But, but he surely won't listen to me and will just drag me to this stupid ball or whatever I was invited to! He'll just lock me in my room, maybe even call my parents and force me through awful things and in the end I'll end up married to some blond bimbo for the rest of my life with no hope of ever enjoying a-"

"Stop it. Alright, I'll take care of him."

"You would? Thank you, thank you very much!"

"..."

"So, um... How will you do that?"

"..."

"What is that?"

"A talisman."

"What does it do?"

"Help you."

"Really? How?"

"If you really must know, it'll hypnotize your butler into believing you're alright and he shouldn't be looking for you."

"Is this really effective?"

"Of course, I made it."

"Oh."

"..."

"Where are you going?"

"What do you think, dimwit? I'm giving the talisman to your butler."

"Oh... alright then."

"Stay here."

"Sure."

"And don't touch anything."

"Su-" but before he could finish he saw the door slamming closed.

~PatF~

Sitting down at a table, facing each other, Faciler looked into the boy's expectant eyes. Sighing inwardly, he knew this will be a tough case.

"So, are you a voodoo initiate?" he asked, already knowing the answer but hoping for a miracle.

Seeing the prince's blank look, he decided on another question. "Are you Catholic?"

"Erm... yes, I am. Though I don't know what this has to do with-"

"Do you know about the Catholic saints?" Dr Facilier cut in impatiently.

"Yes, my mother had the servant read to me about them when I got older."

"Great, you'll need that knowledge. Now, let's start with the basics, shall we?" after Naveen's eager nod, he continued. "The voodoo belief is very much similar to Catholicism. The omnipotent God, called Bondye created this universe and looks over it. The loas-"

"Wait, what does religion have to do with magic tricks?" Naveen interrupted in confusion.

"I told you boy, I don't teach magic tricks!" Facilier groaned, thankful that the prince sat across from him and thus couldn't reach him. "You want to do voodoo magic? Then you have to be familiar with voodoo religion, rituals and all, only then can I teach you how to use these powers for your own means."

"Oh."

"So." Facilier started again, leaning on the table and steepling his fingers in front of him. "We have one God as I said, Bondye. Below him are the spiritual entities called loas. Contrary to Catholics, we believe that Bondye is unreachable to us as he does not interfere with daily life, having far greater matters to take care of. The loas however walk with us and help people in their everydays. Therefore we turn to them if we need guidance or blessing by serving and loving them and hoping for their kindness in return. Now boy, remember this: we do not worship the loas, we serve them. And if you serve them well, you can harness their powers as you see fit. Capiche?"

"Erm, yeah, I think so."

The bokor looked at Naveen sceptically to which the prince replied with a bright smile. Sighing, he decided to go with it as he didn't feel like repeating himself.

"You'll have to learn about the different kinds of loa and find the ones that walk with you. To find your loa met tet and become closer with various other spirits, you'll have to be initiated and attend the rituals of a-"

"Wait, initiated? Is that, like having to eat disgusting things or being humiliated naked in front of a-"

"No, you brat!" Facilier growled at the prince's stupidity. "Initiation is like baptism. It's just a ritual for welcoming you into a voodoo family."

"Oh, that's good... Wait, I'm already baptised!"

"That doesn't matter, most of us are baptised as well."

"But... I'm Christian..." Naveen muttered. Being raised in Christian spirit, he felt uncomfortable following a different religion.

"As most of us are." The doctor replied annoyed. "You can look at it this way: Christianity and Voodoo are basically the same thing from different perspectives. Hmm?" he said with a condescending smile, opening his hands in what he hoped was a comforting gesture.

"O-okay..." Naveen's head was swimming with all this new information about initiations and loas. He had no idea becoming a magician would include so much work, but he had set his mind on succeeding and luckily, he was stubborn enough to do so.

~PatF~

Living in Facilier's home so that he'd stay hidden from the public eye, Naveen had the opportunity to observe the mysterious doctor.

Facilier was a strict and fast teacher. He smothered a prince in various books on voodoo traditions and descriptions of the numerous loas and expected him to read every one of them. Naveen soon learned that a bokor was a witch for hire who performed both good and bad magic and that a loa met tet was something like a Guardian Angel whom you had to serve well in return for protection. A small shrine was set up for him where he could place his offerings to his loas and ancestors. The doctor was adamant about honouring his ancestors as well as the loas as they were the spirits who cared most for his wellbeing.

During the day he was left alone as the bokor went along his business, but he spent the evenings with Naveen, discussing any topic he couldn't grasp or wanted to know more about. In the beginning the prince skipped out on actually reading the books and instead fooled around in the house, playing on his ukulele, but after a few nights of being called a lazy good-for-nothing brat and being threatened of being kicked out, the prince got himself together for once and actually concentrated on learning something.

Naveen also found out that the doctor was actually kind of a neat-freak. Although his various magical objects, skulls, candles and whatnots seemed to be randomly littered on the available surfaces in the house, the young man soon learned that every item had its exact place. Facilier also didn't tolerate the prince leaving messes behind him so Naveen was forced to learn the hard way to clean up after himself. Facilier expected him to keep the house tidy in return of feeding and sheltering him and although at first he failed miserably at it, in the course of a few days the prince picked up on the dos and don'ts of housework.

He had to admit that he was fascinated by the bokor's lifestyle. Being surrounded by servants all his life, Naveen couldn't have imagined that it was possible to do so much on your own. Yet the doctor managed to serve costumers, cook, clean, study and teach Naveen all in one day. The prince soon found out that being in charge of your life with all the work and responsibilities it included was actually quite... enjoyable.

~PatF~

"This way ma'am, follow me. Here, please have a seat."

Naveen looked up from the book he was reading, was Facilier having a costumer with him? It was rare he brought someone home and it usually included manipulating the poor fellow into striking a deal with the bokor. Naveen noticed from early on that the doctor had a tendency to mislead people and cause chaos just for his own entertainment. Although sometimes he did it to trick the money out of those foolish enough to trust his sugar-coated promises.

"Did you bring what I asked, ma'am?" sneaking to the door, the boy listened to the conversation going on the other side.

"Yes, yes, my dear. Here it is." he heard a feminine voice answer and from the tremble in her voice Naveen guessed she must be elderly. He supposed she must be one of those wealthy noblewomen whose husbands were cheating on them asking to curse their spouse or his mistress. Facilier did all for the right amount of reward, not caring whether said mistress was a cunning seductress or a simple chambermaid being taken advantage of.

"Lord Almighty!" he heard the woman exclaim followed by a loud crash and the distinct feel of cold, dead air sweeping out from under the door.

Dead spirits? Naveen wondered, having once experienced such a séance when a middle-aged man approached Facilier that he wished to speak with his late mother. Naveen was only there as a 'horse', as Facilier called it, a person to be possessed by the spirits. He said it'd be educational to the young prince and indeed it was.

But if I'm here... who is the horse? The young man thought, finding it hard to imagine that the bokor would become possessed willingly. He pressed his ear to the door, but the deep drumming coming from the room masked the voices and he couldn't get the words out.

Then just as suddenly as it started, the cold air disappeared and the drums stopped. Naveen stared at the door blankly for a good minute before he saw it opening and he quickly ducked into the shadows of the hallway. Dr Facilier walked out, leading a small, old lady while patting her hand. He was so surprised at the woman's simple clothes and overall poor appearance that he didn't even notice that she was sobbing.

"There, there ma'am, no need for tears. Now you can rest assured that your husband is in peace on the other side. Here ma'am, your cloak. Shall I accompany you to your home?"

"Thank you, doctor, but no need for that, I am quite alright. Just a bit shaken, seeing him after all these years. I almost forgot what a charming gentleman he was!"

"As you wish, ma'am. Remember, whenever you feel the need, you are most welcome to visit me in my humble adobe."

"Thank you my boy, may God's angels watch over you." the lady said from the door.

"And over you as well." Facilier answered as the woman walked out. Closing the door behind her, the doctor turned around and looking straight at the hiding Naveen, beckoned him out.

"What are you doing there? You'll scare the costumers away, sneaking around like that."

"If your little 'parlour trick' with the talking masks haven't scared them away yet, I doubt me hiding in the shadows would." the prince said, crossing his arms and pulling up his nose. "What did she want, anyway?"

"To see her late husband."

"See? I thought you only talk with the spirits, through possession and stuff..."

"Yes, when they mount a human, then that is the case."

"Mount...?" Naveen inquired, trying to look innocent for he was sure he was supposed to know what that meant.

"To possess." Facilier groaned. The boy could grasp some of the most difficult concepts in voodoo but still couldn't remember the simplest terms. "As I was saying, before your amazing half-wittedness interrupted me, humans are not the only things spirits can mount. A strong illusion can serve as their horse as well."

"I see. And what did she want from her husband?"

"Nothing, just to see him."

"She paid all that money just to see him?" Although being raised in luxury, Naveen could understand the value of money and knew that what the bokor asked for such things was more than any commoner could scratch together.

"I didn't ask for any money from her."

"What?" Naveen exclaimed, his eyes widening in surprise.

"She paid in the best way she could." At Naveen's horrified expression, the doctor groaned. "Not that, you idiot. She baked us a pie in return for my services."

"A pie."

"Yes, a pie. Might I add, her pies are one of the best in the Crescent City."

At the young man's disbelieving expression, Facilier sighed and wrapping an arm around the boy, he led them upstairs.

"You see, my boy, there's an important lesson in life you should know. Not all people deserve to be cheated. Help the poor, trick the rich, that's how I operate."

"I see... where are we going?"

"Upstairs."

"Aren't you going out?" It was still early afternoon and the doctor didn't usually return home before nightfall, earning money on the streets for as long as he could.

"Not today, maintaining an illusion while it's being controlled by a spirit is tiring so I'm going to sleep."

"Oh." Naveen said, wondering as he watched the bokor retreat to his bedroom if Facilier was actually a good man deep down.

~PatF~

Attending rituals and helping out the community members took up most of Naveen's day after his initiation, so he had only the evenings to spend home with his teacher.

"Why can't you initiate me?"

"I'm not a houngan- that's a voodoo priest," he added at Naveen's blank expression, "I'm not qualified for a lave t-, an initiation. And it'd do you good to learn properly what voodoo is about."

He had to admit, he did enjoy his new 'family', as Facilier called it. He always imagined voodoo to be something dark and dangerous but his family taught him to love and respect his ancestors and the loas, to use spells for bringing good luck and fortune and generally to never turn away those who asked for help.

"I rarely conduct such rituals for myself and sure as hell ain't doing it for you."

The ceremonies at first seemed strange and confusing to Naveen but soon he learnt how each loa had their preferred rhythm to hear and that the veves were drawn to draw their attention. The music and dances served to please them so that they'd come down and mount one of their members. After a while, Naveen found the rituals with their heavy drums and vibrant atmosphere an ecstatic experience.

"You'd meet a number of loas that don't answer to me anymore and who knows, they might take a liking to you."

While Naveen learned about loas and charms with his family, Facilier taught him about wild spirits and curses. He made gris-gris to ward off evil spirits during the day, but in the evening the bokor showed him how to make amulets that brought disaster into the wearer's life. They spent the evenings in the attic, surrounded by mountains of books, masks and raw materials for making dolls and fetishes. The place was illuminated with candles instead of electric lights for reasons Naveen never bothered asking. But he had to admit the candles added a certain atmosphere to their study sessions and Naveen found that every day he was looking forward to the evenings he would spend with the doctor.

"I'm a bokor, all houngans and manbos know me by now. Believe me, I'm not welcome at their ceremonies."

~PatF~

Naveen looked at the flickering candle flame as he thought about the answer. Facilier didn't trust anything that moved or wasn't made by himself so naturally, he had to quiz his apprentice every night to check that he was indeed progressing with his studies.

"Erm... Baron Samedi?"

"Wrong. A-"

"Oh, yes!" he interrupted when he realized his mistake. "Although he has the capacity to do it, a powerful loa like him wouldn't bother with such a trivial task. It's best to use a benevolent djab for that."

"Good." Facilier smiled, pleased with the answer. "You do remember what a djab is, right?"

"Of course, it's a wild spirit. They usually want heavy payment for their services but a benevolent one might not be so demanding. And for such a weak talisman there's no need to use a strong djab." the prince said, proud at the satisfied expression on his teacher's face.

"Very good. I'm glad to see that contrary to my initial impression, you are capable of thinking."

"Hey!" he said with a glare, which in Facilier's eyes was more like a pout. "I'll have you know, I'm fluent in three languages and received an extensive education in arts and sciences!"

His statement was met with a chuckle from the bokor and acting offended by this obvious disrespect to his abilities, Naveen punched the doctor's knee playfully. However, Facilier grabbed his wrist swiftly and pulled him over, making his apprentice fall face-front into the carpet they were sitting on, landing just before the tall man's crossed legs. Affronted, Naveen looked up only to see Facilier smirking down at him. He growled and tried to tackle the older man only to miss him when the doctor gracefully bended out of the way. The prince tried grabbing his tutor a few times more, the bokor evading his hand skilfully every time. After some time Naveen gave up and with a huff sat down next to Facilier, turning his back towards him.

"Had enough?" Facilier asked with an affectionate smile then wrapped an arm around his apprentice's shoulders and pulled him against his side. Naveen grunted first but soon relaxed in the loose hold and leaned his head against the taller man's shoulder. Glancing down at his apprentice, Facilier mused how the boy started growing on him. What he found annoying at first now made him smile endearingly and his half-hearted explanations and brief answers turned into an honest drive to teach Naveen all he knew about sorcery.

"Hey." he heard the boy call.

"Hmm?" Facilier murmured, still lost in his thoughts.

"When will I learn all those flashy things?" Naveen asked innocently.

Some time ago he would have reprimanded his student for his lack of professionalism but now he only chuckled at his childish excitement. "You still have a long way to go. You haven't even started on your journey to enlightenment."

"My journey to what?"

"..."

"Hey, I just don't get what enlightenment has to do with magic." Naveen explained turning around to face his tutor, unintentionally wriggling his arm off his shoulder.

"A lot, actually." Facilier answered, using his now free arm to lean back on one hand sideways. "So far, you've made all your gris-gris from set recipes, but you must have noticed I don't rely on that. To perform spells like I do, you have to release your full unconscious potential and to do that you have to go through enlightenment."

"And how do I do that?"

"With a series of meditations. First you delve into your subconscious to find your true self and once your unconscious energies are released you'll learn about the greater truths that hold the world together, the super-conscious so to say. When you come to grasps with it all you'll reach enlightenment and you'll be able to channel your energies to perform some powerful magic."

"Sounds like a lot of work." Naveen moaned.

"Don't worry kid, you don't have to do it all in one day. And I'll help you through it." the bokor said with an encouraging smile.

Naveen glanced at his tutor with a surprised expression. Facilier was always strict with him and expected him to practice on his own, only offering guidance when he got stuck. It was the first time he at least implied that he'd support his apprentice from start to end.

"What?" the doctor asked irritably, Naveen's wide-eyed look ticking him off for a reason.

"Nothing, it's just that... you've never offered to help me through something. You usually just give me a book and expect me to pull it off alone." the prince said, glancing sideways to avoid his teacher's eyes.

"Hmm..." Facilier hummed, not very sure himself why he was suddenly so willing to tamper the boy. "Reaching into one's unconscious can be a daunting task and without proper guidance it can take years and can possibly end in a disaster. It's just a precaution that I see you through it." he said, knowing that it was only half of the reason but seeing no point in letting his apprentice know that.

"Oh, I see." Naveen said a bit crestfallen at the practical reason behind the bokor's helpfulness. Scowling, the prince reprimanded himself internally for his foolishness, Facilier was his tutor so of course he'd seek to teach him as efficiently as he could. He had no idea what he was expecting.

Seeing his student's sour expression, Facilier frowned, unsure what caused the sudden change in mood. Raking his mind for reasons Naveen would be acting this way, he came up with the only plausible explanation.

"Are you... afraid?"

Snapping out of his brooding, Naveen glanced up. "Afraid? Of what?"

"Enlightenment." Facilier said softly, tilting his head slightly. Even for him it was a scary experience at first so he could understand if the boy was upset about having to go through it.

"Oh, no, not really." The prince answered, scratching his head. "You'll be by my side so I have nothing to worry about." he said with a bright smile.

Facilier's eyes widened a fraction at the statement. He didn't know why, but the way the boy said it struck a chord in him and stirred up some unwanted emotions. For a long moment they stared at each other in silence, Facilier feeling himself start to panic in the suddenly heavy atmosphere. Or was he just imagining that? Although his outer appearance remained unchanged, the doctor could feel confusion overwhelm him and he thought he saw Naveen's expression turn softer, darker. Just as he was about to excuse himself from this unnerving situation, with a boldness that was truly Naveen, the prince leaned forward and captured the bokor's lips with his own.

~PatF~

Naveen stared blankly at the pack of cards in front of him. Unsure what to do with them, he looked up at Facilier with a confused expression.

"Tarot cards. They don't bite, you can touch them."

Reaching out to the deck hesitantly, Naveen examined the cards carefully, noting their complex designs.

"These are not the same as what you used before." he remarked after noticing that the pictures looked very different from the ones he saw all those months ago when he first met the voodoo master. Not to mention the pack was a lot thinner.

"Yes, that's a different pack with simpler symbolism, better suited for beginners. And it's only part of the deck as first you'll learn about the trump cards only." the Shadow Man replied, conjuring up his own pack and shuffling it absentmindedly. "Now tell me, what do you see in the cards?"

"Erm... pictures?" smack – a card from Facilier's deck hit Naveen straight on the forehead.

"No, dimwit, what do you see in the pictures? Try to interpret their meaning." the bokor groaned, thanking the prince when he returned his card.

"Well..." Naveen said thoughtfully, looking at the first card of the pack. "This one... is a jester." At Facilier's unimpressed look, he continued. "I suppose he represents... freedom? He seems pretty carefree to me. And... wait, is he about to step off a cliff? He just prances about, looking at the sky and steps off a cliff. What a fool."

"Exactly. That card is called The Fool. And others would say he's taking a leap of faith. Now, next."

"Oh, s-sure." Naveen stuttered, looking at the next card and trying to describe what he thought it represented. This went on with all twenty-two trump cards, Facilier listening to the young man's interpretations of them, commenting here and there but otherwise silent.

"Good." the doctor said at the end. "Remember you first impressions of the cards, they'll be important when you start doing your own readings. Now, the trump cards you just looked at are called the Major Arcana and the other part of the deck is the Minor Arcana. There are various interpretations of the trump cards and the order they come in, I personally prefer to think of them in three lines: the conscious, the unconscious and the super-conscious line."

At Naveen's blank look, the bokor sighed and tried again.

"Let's just look at the individual trumps, shall we? Let's start with the Fool..."

~PatF~

Their first time was hurried and needy, more painful than pleasant in Naveen's opinion. Lost in their moment of passion, that forbidden phrase escaped the prince's lips.

I love you.

He was glad he spoke Maldonian in moments like this.

~PatF~

Naveen was amazed at the enthusiasm Facilier showed for tarot cards – every time he explained their meaning to his apprentice, Naveen could see a small smile play at his lips which made the boy's heart skip a beat. Not to mention that the man's knowledge was impressive! There was not a single book on the topic in the house, yet Facilier seemed to know the meaning of every little detail in the cards' pictures. On one occasion Naveen asked where he had learnt all of this, as his voodoo family didn't seem to know about the cards at all. All he got in reply was a smirk and one sentence:

"I have the necessary... connections."

~PatF~

"Argh, this is impossible!" Naveen exclaimed throwing up the cards into the air in frustration. Facilier, who was sitting a few feet away from the prince in the attic, looked up from the doll he was sewing and watched with a bored expression as the cards fell around the young man.

"There are just so many cards in the Minor Arcana! And their meanings are so... illogical! How can you memorize all this?" Naveen cried. "And the pictures are not helping at all either." he pouted, glaring at the scattered cards around him.

Chuckling lowly, Facilier discarded his thread and needle and walked over to the upset prince. Standing behind him, he bent down with his hands clasped behind his back.

"With some patience and enough... practice, I'm sure you'll be able to master it." he murmured in a deep voice, sending a shudder down Naveen's spine.

"Yes, umm... practice..." The prince gulped, the way the bokor said that with his breath ghosting over his neck conjured up naughty images in the young man's mind.

"If you wish... I could help you revise." Facilier said huskily, delighted in the tremble his voice caused in Naveen.

"Yes, that would be... nice." Naveen muttered, eyes half-lidded and face flushed. He was embarrassed to admit that he was getting aroused just from a few words from the older man.

Smirking, Facilier straightened up and walking around he sat down facing his blushing student. Idly reaching out for a card on the floor he held it up for Naveen to see.

"Let's start with this one."

"Erm... Eight of Swords." The young man tried his hardest to concentrate on recalling the card's meanings but found it quite hard with the way Facilier was eying him like was about to pounce him. "It means... failure?"

"Wrong. Oppression and confusion." Smirking, he chose another one blindly. "How about this one? Think carefully – if you get it right, I might reward you."

Looking into the bokor's eyes as he said that, Naveen gulped, not knowing what to expect. "Um, Six of Wands. Means victory." At Facilier's expectant smile, he quickly added. "And... optimism! Yeah, optimism it is!"

"Good." The bokor murmured in a deep voice, leaning towards Naveen until his lips were just a breath away from the young man's. Lingering, he waited until the boy was about to close the distance before he withdrew with a new card in his hand.

Blinking in confusion, Naveen stared at the doctor for a few moments before he realized what he was supposed to do. "Ace of Cups. That's easy. Love, happiness."

"Very good, boy."

"Do I get my reward?" the prince smirked, finally getting the hang of their little game.

"You may come and claim it."

Facilier sat unmoving as Naveen crawled over to him and leaned up to kiss the doctor gently. Their lips melted against each other in their slow, chaste kiss. With a soft groan, Naveen shifted so that he could put more pressure on the older man's lips but was cut off when Facilier moved back, pushing at Naveen's shoulder so that the young man wouldn't follow him.

Smiling smugly, Facilier flashed up a new card, chuckling at his student's frustrated frown. Groaning, Naveen snatched away the card and glared at it as he tried to remember its meaning.

"Four of Cups. Peace, moment of calmness." he stated, tossing the card behind him and moving in to claim his teacher's lips again.

However, Facilier placed a hand against his shoulder again and pushing slightly, stopped him in his advances. "Wrong. It means apathy, neglecting to see the opportunities of the future. Shall we try another one?" he said, clearly delighted in how impatient the prince was getting.

"Wands... Knight of Wands. Eagerness, adventure, a person burning with the will to act."

Facilier leaned closer to his apprentice, tempting him, before he answered. "Correct." He whispered against the Naveen's lips. "And what does it mean reversed?" he smirked, teasing the young man.

"Ah, to hell with it!" Naveen exclaimed and knocking the card out of the doctor's hand, he pounced on the older man, capturing his lips in a bruising kiss. Pushing Facilier's top hat off, the prince threaded his hands through the bokor's wild locks and nudging his lips apart, slipped his tongue into the hot cavern.

Facilier ran his hands up and down on Naveen's sides before he tugged the boy's shirt out of his pants, and loosening a few buttons on the bottom, slipped his hands inside to explore the prince's now familiar skin. Gasping, Naveen pulled back from the kiss and arched into the questing touches. Naveen looked at the bokor with half-lidded eyes, who leaned in to capture his student's lips again and pushed his hands deeper under the prince's clothes, hiking up his shirt and vest in the process. Sliding his hands down to caress the doctor's neck, Naveen pushed on the flaps of his tailcoat, slipping it off with Facilier's help.

Not separating from his student's lips, Facilier pushed the boy down until he was lying on his back on top of the scattered cards. Unfastening the young man's pants, the doctor reached inside, making Naveen throw his head back in a moan and break their kiss. Not letting an opportunity go to waste, Facilier attacked the exposed neck, kissing and sucking his way down. Stopping to nibble at a nipple just below the boy's hiked-up clothing, the doctor pushed Naveen's pants and underwear down his hips. He kissed a trail down the boy's abdomen, darting his tongue into his navel teasingly.

"Facilier..." he heard the boy moan and looked up just to come face to face with a tarot card.

"Eight of Pentacles, signifies hard work. Reversed, means impatience and frustration." Naveen recited proudly, smiling at his teacher's blank stare. "Do I get my reward now?" the boy smirked, looking at the doctor expectantly.

~wink~

Enveloped in each other's arms amidst the scattered tarot cards, they made love until both of them were spent, Naveen moaning and screaming in his native language. They collapsed onto the carpeted floor and lay next to each other for a few moments, catching their breaths, before Naveen turned over and snuggled into Facilier's side. Gazing at the ceiling of the attic, the bokor sighed and pulled his lover closer.

"You know, I love you too." he said quietly, still looking straight ahead.

Eyes widening in surprise, Naveen turned his head to look at his teacher, feeling his heart thump loudly in his chest. He reached up to turn the bokor's head so he could look into his eyes and Facilier let him do it.

"Facilier... I-" but just then a thought hit Naveen: wait, did he just say 'too'?. Forgetting his earlier intention, he demanded. "Hey! How did you know that I l-... you know..." the boy muttered, suddenly embarrassed. He was sure that Facilier viewed their time together as a mutual favour thus Naveen made sure to never let a confession slip, lest he received rejection and ridicule. Or at least he thought he did.

Chuckling, Facilier ruffled the blushing boy's hair, amazed at how insecure he became suddenly. Looks like he was right in assuming that the prince was too oblivious to realise by himself that his affections were returned.

"I did some research on the Maldonian language and learned the basics of it." he answered with a smirk.

"But-oh... Oh." Naveen blushed harder as he realized that the tall man most probably understood all he screamed out during sex. Forcing out an embarrassed laugh, he tried hard to recall what else the bokor could have heard when the prince was sure he wouldn't be understood.

Facilier turned onto his side to face the embarrassed boy and watched him panic in silence for a few moments. Taking pity on him, he grabbed Naveen's chin and lifted his head, leaning close to whisper against his lips.

"I love you." he said a second time, waiting for a few moments for the confession to sink in before he closed the distance between them. Relaxing into the kiss, Naveen finally realized that the bokor had in fact, confessed to him. Smiling in delight, he returned the kiss eagerly, wrapping his arms around his lover. Separating, Facilier turned back onto his back and Naveen nestled into his arms, the two of them enjoying each other's silent company for a few minutes, lost in their own thoughts.

"Kid." Facilier called after a while. "You're progressing well with your studies. Soon, I'll start teaching you hoodoo."

Naveen looked up in confusion. "Voodoo? But I thought you already taught me tha-"

"I said hoodoo, you idiot." Facilier frowned, pinching the prince's cheek.

"Ouch! You mean it's not the same?" Naveen replied with honest curiosity written on his face.

"No. To put it simply so even you would understand: voodoo is a religion and hoodoo is...well, flashy magic."

"You mean magic tricks?" Naveen exclaimed excitedly, sitting up to look at his tutor. "You'll teach me magic tricks?"

Scowling at the boy's insistence on not using proper terms, Facilier propped himself up on his elbows. "I'll teach you hoodoo magic, yes. With that you'll be able to perform those 'flashy' tricks you love so much, among other things."

"Sweet!" the prince exclaimed and glomped Facilier, making him fall back on to the floor. But the bokor only chuckled at the boy's excitement and for the first time in his life, he only cared about making someone happy.

I truly have changed.

~PatF~

"So, how long should I keep in touch with my voodoo family?"

"As long as you wish."

"I mean, you obviously don't belong to any family anymore. At what point of becoming a bokor do you leave the community?"

"As I said, when you wish. As long as you feel you benefit from being with them, do so. However, when they find out what you are, they will shun you and maybe even curse you, so it'd be wise to leave before that."

"Would they really curse me? They seem so nice, I can't believe they'd do something like that."

"If they think you deceived them then they would. Houngans and mambos are not very partial to bokors as what we do goes against some voodoo principles."

"You mean dark magic?"

"Not just that. I think they're sourer about us asking payment for our services. True voodoo tradition says that we should help anyone who approaches us without expecting anything in return."

"Oh, I see."

"Don't worry too much about it, kid. I know it's easy to get attached to your family, but this separation is important if your want to exploit your powers to their full potentials."

"I know, it's just... It bothers me that I have to keep secrets when they're so honest and open with me. I mean, I can't mention the tarot cards or anything you teach me and sometimes I even have to lie when they ask how I know so much about the future."

"And believe me, they'll never forgive you when they find out."

"Oh..."

"Your family will be the only ones who'll never, under any circumstances seek your help. It's best if you accept that."

"I wonder what they'd do if they found out I was your apprentice."

"What do you mean?"

"Well, once I asked them about 'a tall man selling voodoo charms' and they all shuddered and hushed me, saying they never talk about the Shadow Man."

"Hmm, I do have a reputation, boy." he smirked.

~PatF~

"Whoa!" Naveen cried out as the powder he was holding started vibrating in his hand.

"Keep going, just like that!" Facilier encouraged, seeing some progress at last.

"Trying, trying..." the boy replied, focusing on the dusty material that started to heat up in his palm. "It's burning! Is that supposed to happen?"

"Shut it for once and concentrate. You almost have it."

Listening to his tutor, Naveen turned his attention back to trying to control the powder. However, when the heat started to burn his skin, he threw the thing full force onto the ground, recoiling when the stuff went up in a colourful explosion.

"Whoa!" he said again, covering behind an unshaken Facilier.

"Not bad, kid. A bit more practice and you'll be able to conjure up illusions with the powder."

Suddenly feeling exhausted, Naveen leant his forehead against the doctor's back. "Thanks" he murmured. "But this thing is draining. How can you manage to do this all the time? You make it look so easy..."

Chuckling, Facilier glanced over his shoulder. "Practice, Your Highness. I've been working with hoodoo for decades, of course I'm more used to its energy-consuming properties."

Frowning at the formal address, Naveen wrapped his arms around the bokor's waist. "Stop calling me that. Coming from you, it sounds like an insult."

"That's exactly what it is."

"..."

~PatF~

With a flash of coloured light their surroundings changed, the dim browns of the attic bleeding into bright greens and oranges, the various shades dancing around, chasing each other, conjuring up peculiar shapes fluidly melting into one another. In the middle of it all stood Naveen, his arms extended and eyes bright as he controlled the apparition in the room to his liking. He smiled widely at the rush of power filling him and at that moment he felt he could to anything. Glancing at his tutor standing a few feet to the side, he beckoned to him, purple tendrils of smoke appearing around the tall man and embracing him, nudging him towards their master. Facilier took a few slow steps towards his student who once within reaching distance grabbed the bokor and dragged him closer.

Facilier noted silently how the smoke-tendrils were circling around them before he was forcefully pulled down to meet his apprentice's lips. Devouring his tutor's mouth, Naveen was lost in the bliss his lover's lips on his and the magic bubbling within him caused. The smoke dancing around them caressed Facilier's body, reaching under his clothes, touching him everywhere and Naveen moaned as he could feel what the smoke felt, he could feel it all, the whole world within his hand and his lover in his arms.

But without warning, the colourful images started to crack, the smoke dissipated and before it all registered in Facilier's mind, Naveen collapsed in his arms, exhausted from the powerful hoodoo he performed. Shaking his head, Facilier smiled affectionately at his passed-out student and carried him down from the attic to lay him down on his bed.

~PatF~

She stood in the dark alleyway, her bright pink dress standing out against the grey walls. She looked around apprehensively, hoping to spot something familiar for a clue.

"What is a fair lady like yourself doing out at this hour?" she jumped when she heard the deep voice from the darkness.

"Who's there?" she squeaked.

"No one to be afraid of, my lady." the man replied, stepping out from the shadows. The woman calmed down once she took in the stranger's handsome face, his dark skin complimenting his features. "Do you happen to be lost, princess?"

"Erm... Yes, I think I am." she replied, blushing at the endearment. "And... who would you be?"

The man chuckled darkly before bowing down in an introduction. "My name is Naveen and I'm here to make your dreams come true, fair princess."

Giggling, she returned the bow. "I'm Charlotte La Bouff, pleased to meet you. And how would you make my dreams come true, sir?" she asked already hooked on the promise of realizing her dreams.

"I have the means." Naveen replied with a wink and with a wave of his hand conjured up a green cloud of smoke which slowly took the shape of a heart. He twirled the smoke-heart on his finger before blowing it over the blond girl's amazed face. "May I take a look at your hand, mademoiselle?"

"Yes, of course!" she replied eagerly, impressed by his display of magical prowess.

Taking her palm in his hand, he looked at the lines, pretending to be deep in thought. "Oh, I see. What else would a beautiful princess like yourself need? A charming prince of course. What a coincidence, I just happen to have such a prince in my company, looking for a bride."

"You do?" Charlotte squealed. "Where is he?" she screamed, hopping on her spot in excitement.

"Not so fast, princess. Although you are a beauty to behold, I'm afraid my companion is adamant about marrying a lady with riches comparable to his own." Naveen sad with a fake sorrowful expression and wrapped an arm around Charlotte's shoulders in mock comfort.

"Oh my!" she said, digging through her pockets for her purse. "That's not a problem! My daddy has plenty of dough, here, is this proof enough?" she asked pushing hundreds of green bills into Naveen's waiting arms.

"Well, I suppose he would consider your proposal." he said, pocketing the bills and holding out a small talisman to the blond woman. "For your generous offer, let me give you this small present. If you wear this talisman around your neck, the prince will surely be dazzled by your beauty." his words were met with an excited squeal from the girl. "Here, let me put it on for you."

Tying the amulet around her slender neck, he discretely let some sparkling powder drop on her skin, sprinkling some on her face as well. Once she was under his spell, he led her gently to an alley opening from the one they were standing in.

"Let me introduce him to you, I'm sure he'd be pleased to meet such a fine lady."

Nodding with a blank expression, Charlotte let herself be led to meet her prince. Once in the alley, she saw a tall, handsome young man with shiny blond hair and a heart-stopping smile. Squealing, she jumped into the prince's welcoming arms, finding true love at first sight.

Naveen stepped back chuckling and watched his handiwork with a smug smile on his face. Lost in the satisfied afterglow of a job well done, he didn't notice the other man sneaking up on him and jumped in surprise when an arm snaked around his waist.

"Was that really necessary?" Facilier asked. "I'm sure she'd have paid just as much for a simple trinket that brought good luck." he said, looking at the blond woman hugging a lifeless wooden doll on the dirty alley floor.

"No, but it is much more fun this way." the prince grinned. "Imagine her daddy's face when he finds out his princess had fallen in love with a puppet! Then you'll just have to offer to lift the 'curse' and I'm sure Big Daddy will reward you generously." he said, winking at the doctor.

"You're a sly little bokor, you know that?" Facilier asked with a satisfied smile.

"I know." Naveen drawled, leaning up to place a soft kiss on the taller man's lips.

"Who cares about fortune and riches, when I have the whole world at my command? Why should I go back to my parents when I can stay here by your side and play around with these poor souls' lives?"

"You know, today's the second anniversary of me becoming your apprentice." Naveen said, relaxing in his lover's arms.

"It is?" Facilier murmured, he didn't keep track of things like that. "D'you think your parents have noticed by now that you're gone?"

"Nah, I'm sure they haven't. Unless that talisman you'd given to Lawrence wore off."

"It could have. Wanna check out if it did?"

"Do a tarot reading?"

"No, something much better. How would you like a trip home?" the doctor asked, pleased by the surprised look his suggestion brought to Naveen's face.

"Go home...? And cause mayhem in Maldonia?" the prince smiled, liking the idea of showing off his new powers to his people.

"If you wish to. And once we're there, we could look around Europe as well. I need to get a new tarot deck anyway, since the last one got... ruined."

Smiling mischievously at the other bokor, Naveen reached up to pull Facilier into a soft, sensual kiss, thinking of all the possibilities this trip could bring. He may not have married a rich princess and maybe he's no prince charming anymore, but at the moment he felt his life was a hell lot like happily ever after.

~END~

A/N: All the nasty bits were cut from this, to see the full version please visit my livejournal (username: serena_mckeenzo, but if you click my homepage on my profile, it'll take you there)