Author's Note: It's like a sickness or something. I've got must-write-more-fics-itis. I had so many sketched out already, and all I have to do is actually flesh them out, that I CAN'T STOP! Ahhh! Oh well - third upload in three days, not bad, if I say so myself. Not the most original plot in the world, but I wanted to give it a try anyway. I've always thought there was a lot of potential in the mind-bond that C.S. Friedman didn't really take full advantage of. This is my spin on the situation - a 'what could have happened' scenario.
Warnings: Slash (maleXmale). Don't like? Get out.
Further Warnings: Extremely sweet, may cause cavities. Excessive fluff: choking hazard - do not swallow.
Disclaimer: My name is not C.S. Friedman. Ergo, I do not own the Coldfire Trilogy.
A.N.2: Why can't I ever organize this stuff into one note, you ask? It just seems better this way, for some reason. Anyway... there's no specific timeline for this, but since it's just Damien and Gerald, I'd say it takes place during their journey from Jaggonath to Mount Shaitan.
Damien was standing at the railing of the Golden Glory, gazing out across the gentle waves. The ocean was calm tonight, steady and peaceful; it was a much-needed break from the storms that had dogged them, and for the first time in weeks Damien felt optimistic about the future.
A barely-audible rustle of fabric behind him, and Gerald melted out of the darkness next to him, his boots making no sound on the deck's wooden planking. Neither one of them spoke; the silence was comfortable, nothing needed to be said. Damien was content just to have him there, not bickering or insulting, just there.
He was painfully aware that was probably all he was ever going to get, but that didn't stop him from wishing for more. He glanced sideways, surreptitiously admiring the Hunter's elegant profile in the moonlight. The pale blue-white light reflected in the man's pale eyes and haloed his golden hair, heightening his resemblance to an angel. Damien wondered wistfully when God developed such a cruel sense of humor: of course, He just had to arrange it so that Damien discovered he might not be entirely straight by falling hard for the most aloof adept on Erna. He wasn't exactly comfortable with the idea that he might be gay - or at least bi - but he was mostly just glumly certain that Gerald would never return his feelings.
His rather depressing musings were broken by the adept's soft voice. "I realize I'm remarkably attractive, Vryce, but you could at least try to be subtle."
Damien's face reddened instantly when he realized he'd been outright staring, but he rallied fast. "You're trapped on a ship over miles of water, with a painfully limited store of fae, and you still use a Working to keep your hair perfect. You can't possibly pretend you're not trying to be stared at."
To his amazement, Gerald flashed him a quick smile. "Well, yes, but I didn't think you wanted to admit that you noticed."
Damien knew he would probably regret it later, but he decided to take the plunge anyway. "And why would that be?"
Gerald lifted one eyebrow, his silver eyes sparkling with amusement. "Because you've been staring at me like a starving man stares at a four-course meal, and I seem to recall you insisting to Lady Ciani a while ago that you were completely straight?"
Damien threw what remained of his caution to the wind. "Maybe I exaggerated. Besides, somehow I get the impression you've had so-called 'straight' guys drooling over you before."
Gerald turned so he was mostly facing Damien, leaning back against the railing, his eyes suddenly gleaming with challenge. "And are you going to just keep drooling, or were you planning on making a move?"
Before Damien even knew he had reacted, he had caught hold of the Hunter's waist, pulled him flush against his own body, and crushed their mouths together in a desperate, passionate kiss.
Gerald bolted awake, eyes flying open and chest heaving. Realizing that he was panting slightly he clamped a hand over his own mouth, appalled. What the hell was that about? Granted, he had been fighting a strong attraction to the priest since their time in the rakhlands, but he'd never lost control enough to dream about him in that way!
He pushed himself up into a sitting position, drawing his legs up and wrapping his arms around his knees, trying to quell the slight tremors in his body. For all that it had been a simple kiss, the sensations it had evoked left him desperate and aching with desire. An awkward situation, considering that he was currently sharing a rather small cave with the priest in question. Glancing over at the place where Damien was tangled up in his bedroll, fast asleep, Gerald froze.
The priest was tossing in his sleep a little, face lightly flushed. His mouth opened and he more sighed than spoke, but there was no misinterpreting what he said.
The Hunter's face went white, and he gulped, uncharacteristically shaken. Had he lost control so much that his repressed desires had bled through the bond? Fighting to quell the first stirrings of panic, Gerald considered his options: he didn't have all that many. If Damien found out how Gerald felt about him, the Hunter was likely to get a sword through the gut before next sunset. Bad enough that he was the Hunter: having that kind of... longing, for Damien, would only make a bad situation worse.
He had to know how much of the dream had bled through. Swallowing his dread as best as he was able, Gerald reached out through the fae and gently brushed against Damien's mind - then recoiled in shock. That couldn't be right!
He tried again, and got the same results. He sat there, frozen, stunned into momentary paralysis. It seemed insane, impossible... and yet, the fae didn't lie. He hadn't lost control. That dream hadn't come from his mind. It had come from Damien's. Somehow, unlikely as it was, it was Damien who was dreaming of him, and not the other way around. Gerald considered that for a long moment, allowing himself a flicker of hope. Perhaps Damien actually wasn't quite as straight as Gerald had believed. Perhaps... he just might have a chance of getting what he wanted after all.
One way to find out. Gerald closed his eyes, and reached out through the bond, letting himself sink back into the dream...
Damien reveled in the Hunter's responsiveness as he kissed him deeply, cupping the perfect face between his hands as he explored the other man's mouth eagerly. Gerald matched his eagerness, his tongue moving against Damien's, taunting and teasing, drawing him further in. The Hunter's slim hands came up, one tangling in his hair, the other curling against the back of his neck. Damien let his own hands slide down, over the lean shoulders, finally settling on the slender waist. He pulled Gerald closer, wanting to feel his lithe body pressed close to him, aching to feel those sleek muscles that played so gracefully under the Hunter's alabaster skin. Gerald moaned softly into his mouth and arched slightly in his grasp, molding his body more closely to Damien's, wrapping his arms around the priest's neck in a tight embrace...
Gerald shook himself out of the vision, once again panting lightly. That was... hot. Really hot. If he'd wanted the priest before, it was nothing to what he was feeling now. His skin was on fire, the marrow of his bones aching with need: if he didn't seduce Damien now, it might actually kill him. He licked his lips hungrily, remembering the imagined taste of Damien's mouth. Oh, yes. Time to let that stubborn priest know just who he was dealing with.
He rose silently and slipped across to where Damien lay, kneeling next to him and taking a moment just to stare at him. Damien really was handsome, he reflected thoughtfully, with his classic chiseled features and muscular build: but that wasn't even what attracted him the most. It was the priest's soul that truly called to him; that light that nothing could dim, the fire that refused to be extinguished. Damien's faith was as great as his own had once been, perhaps even greater; he was everything Gerald had imagined when he thought of the ideal Knight of the Flame. A skilled sorcerer who knew when to use the fae, and when not to: a warrior who killed only for the good of others, a man with a heart big enough to hold all of Erna. Damien was everything he'd dreamt of when he created the Church - and everything he'd lost when he committed his soul to darkness. Was it so wrong, then, that he wanted Damien for his own? Being near him was like finding himself again, as though the priest was the piece of his soul that had been cut away by his sacrifice. Being near him felt right.
And now it seemed that maybe, just maybe, there was a chance that Damien felt the same way. However much he feared rejection, Gerald knew when Fate was sending him a sign; there was no way he was going to back down now. Gathering his courage, he leaned down and pressed his lips gently against Damien's.
The dream dissolved around Damien as he felt himself starting to wake; he didn't fight the process, but he couldn't help but feel disappointed. He would have liked to linger just a little longer, enjoy the dream-Gerald's embrace for a moment more. He knew it was a terrible sin, to have these feelings for a creature as steeped in evil as the Hunter, but he couldn't seem to fight it. It had started as mere desire, but it had gone so far past that now: he was deep in love with Gerald now. He didn't just want to have sex with him; he wanted to hold him close and pour out his heart to him, he wanted to be there for him when he needed someone to keep the shadows from overwhelming him, he wanted to fall asleep at his side each night and still be there when he woke up. He wanted Gerald, in every way possible, and the happiness of being close to him was marred by the pain of knowing his dreams could never come true.
Then the haziness of sleep started retreating, and reality tried to assert itself. For a moment, though, Damien was completely certain he had slipped back into a dream.
There were cool lips on his own, sweet and soft and so damn tempting, and Damien didn't even try to fight the urge to kiss back. It was pure heaven, so much better than anything he'd dreamed before - then the lips drew back and Damien opened his eyes to find Gerald hovering over him, his silver eyes darkened to the color of storm clouds with swirling emotions.
Damien caught his breath and froze, hardly daring to breathe. For a moment they just stared into each other's eyes, grey into hazel, then Damien slowly exhaled, eyes brightening almost imperceptibly. "I'm not still dreaming, am I."
It wasn't really a question, but Gerald answered anyway. "No, you're not."
They both moved at the same time, closing the distance between them once more. Damien reached up and wound his fingers into the silken strands of Gerald's hair, pulling his head down gently, sweeping his tongue across the adept's lips in a silent plea: the Hunter gave in immediately, his mouth opening in invitation. An invitation Damien was only too happy to accept.
The Hunter's body seemed almost to liquify, melting down into Damien, and the priest welcomed him with open arms. They lost themselves in soft touches and softer sighs, not stopping the wonder about what was happening, just letting their hearts lead them on. At first, both dreaded the moment when reality would crash back down, and this fragile waking dream would shatter - but that moment never came. It was as though they were wrapped in a cocoon of fae, shielded, hidden away from the world: in this sheltered instant, the only thing that existed for them was each other. They bound themselves to each other with kisses and touches, promises shaped in the gentle press of lips and the longing glide of fingertips, vows sworn in soft whispers and gasps of pleasure. Lines blurred and faded away: they were no longer priest and demon, no longer fated enemies, but fated lovers. No harsh truth could break the shield of love and passion that enveloped them, and for the first time since they had met that fateful night in Briand, they let themselves forget who the world dictated they be and became simply themselves.
After, they lay twined together, content simply to hold each other and know that they were together. The peaceful calm, so like an ethereal dream, lingered still: neither spoke at first, wanting to treasure that peace a moment longer, and just be.
Finally, Gerald shifted in Damien's arms and whispered, "What does this mean?"
Damien sighed softly, eyes closed, basking in the feeling of Gerald's lean body in his arms. The Hunter was all fragile bones and silken skin, breathtakingly delicate yet impossibly strong. A living contradiction, a self-contained paradox - and the most precious thing in the world, to Damien. "I don't know." he admitted quietly, reaching up to smooth his fingers through silky blond hair. "I know that I love you, though."
Gerald sighed as well then, closing his own eyes momentarily. "I love you too." he breathed, feeling an aching tide of emotion rise in his heart: love and affection and tenderness, all the feelings he had sacrificed so long ago, given back to him by Damien. The sensation was too much: his eyes still pressed close, he felt a few tears escape from beneath the lids and trail down his cheeks, but he was surprised when a calloused thumb brushed the droplets away with the utmost gentleness. He opened his eyes to find Damien smiling at him, with such love in his hazel eyes that Gerald's heart nearly shattered from the strength of it.
"Then that's all that matters." Damien said softly, still stroking Gerald's cheek tenderly. "We'll worry about the rest of it later. As long as we both love each other... then everything else will work out eventually. I promise."
Gerald felt a smile spread across his own face, and he let himself sink into Damien's arms, resting his head on the priest's chest and letting his steady heartbeat lull him to sleep. Gerald had lost faith in love a long time ago, but as he had with so much else, Damien seemed to have given him a second chance at that as well.