Author's Note: I thought that 'Home Is Where The Heart Is' would be a standalone fic: a simple what-if scenario that would be written and forgotten. However... I find that the idea has totally taken hold of me (with help from fellow author hobgoblin123, of course). What would Gerald and Damien's children grow up like? What would they choose to do with their lives when their parents are a legendary demon hunter and a thousand-year-old adept? Also, I inadvertently left a slight cliffhanger in my other fic: apparently Gerald is using the fae to keep himself and Damien from aging, but how long can that last? (That might not get answered, actually. I can't decide). This is what happens when a supposedly dead plot bunny comes back to life.
Warnings: Slash. Past mpreg. Damien Vryce experimenting with sarcasm.
Disclaimer: I do not own the Coldfire Trilogy. I do own Selene and Aidan Vryce-Tarrant. (Ah, it feels good to say that!) Incidentally, anyone who would like to buy Gerald for me for my birthday would have my undying gratitude - and of course I'd pay to replace their windows when the glass shattered from my squeals of joy. Damien would be nice as well - then I could have the set.
A.N.3: In this AU, Gerald turned mortal but the crusade and the Patriarch's sacrifice never took place, so the fae's still perfectly Workable.
A.N.4: I wrote this a while ago, but it hadn't been polished up yet - I feel a bit bad for neglecting this fandom while working on my Harry Potter fic, though, so this is to make up for that. Plus I got a reviewer request, and when you get as few reviews as is common in this fandom, you fall over yourself fulfilling those wishes. I didn't have time to write anything from scratch, I'm moving and it's turning into hell (it's going to take days to get the electrical and gas hooked up, and the last owners of the place didn't pay their bills so I get stuck with the cost of having the hydro meter unlocked again). So, this will have to do for now.
Reverend Damien Vryce-Tarrant raked a hand through his dark hair in exasperation and employed a few of his favorite curses. Given his propensity for swearing, they were very good ones. Propensity, Damien thought ruefully. Vulking hell. I'm even starting to think like Gerald.
The source of his irritation was a letter sitting on the table in front of him, stating that the Patriarch was considering implementing a new set of guidelines for fae-related education in Church-aligned schools and would like his input. Or, what was more accurate but not stated outright: the Patriarch would like Gerald Tarrant's input. Damien's too, possibly: after the media somehow got hold of the story of their battle against Calesta, they became Ernan folk legends. However, the letter wasn't really meant for Damien. Even the new, younger, and more ambitious Patriarch was not stupid enough to start issuing decrees without at least running them by the former Prophet, who was living not three miles from him - easily within hunting-idiot-Patriarchs-down-and-killing-them range.
Damn fool, he just can't leave well enough alone. Damien though wearily, pushing the letter aside to show Gerald that evening. The adept would no doubt fly into a rage and spend three hours lecturing about how stupid the Church authorities were and how if they would just stop deviating from Gerald's writings the fae could have been properly tamed by now. The problem was that Damien already knew that: it was the Patriarch who needed that lecture, but Gerald didn't get to lecture him, so it fell to Damien instead. At least the children were old enough that he didn't need to worry about Gerald's wrath damaging their sensibilities. By now, they knew perfectly well when was a good time to joke and tease and when was a good time to duck and cover.
Speaking of the children...
Damien pricked up his ears. Sure enough, mere moments later, he caught the crunch of footsteps on the gravel drive. That would be Selene: she got out of school sooner, since Aidan had an after-school study group to attend. There was more than one set of footsteps, though, and a moment later Damien caught the familiar sound of his daughter giggling. It was quieter than usual, though, and softer. He sighed mentally. Just great.
A few minutes later the second pair of steps retreated and Selene bounded into the study, grinning from ear to ear and her cheeks flushed a delicate rose. "Oh, hi Dad!" she exclaimed when she saw him, bouncing over and giving him a quick hug. "How was your day?"
"Just lovely." Damien said dryly. "Who is he?"
Selene deflated only slightly. "I really don't know how you do that." she complained, settling into a chair across the desk from Damien and proceeding to tap her long nails rapidly on the varnished wood. "I mean, Mom's got the fae, but how do you always know?"
"Parental instinct. Who is he?" Damien repeated implacably. Selene pulled a face, but dissolved into laughter at her own antics. The sound was bright and sparkling, like the soft tinkling of a wind-chime. It never failed to make Damien smile, because on the rare occasions that Gerald truly laughed, it sounded just the same.
"David Harmon." she said, hazel eyes sparkling mischievously. She shifted in her chair, her tapping changing rhythm: Damien wasn't sure where she had inherited her boundless energy from, but she was rarely if ever completely still. Or silent. Even in her sleep she murmured and twitched. Gerald had often claimed that surely she would grow out of it, but at fourteen she still showed no signs of breaking the habit. Damien shook his head.
"The redhead from West Jaggonath? Goddamn it, there's Gerald's genes again. Well, at least he's one of the well-mannered ones. Really though, Selene, please try and refrain from sneaking around kissing boys for a few more years at least."
"Dad, you're so old-fashioned." Selene said, beaming as she sprang up and kissed his forehead. "I'll try, though. I wanna go out riding while it's still light: can I leave my homework until after dinner?"
"Yes, providing you don't try to get Aidan to write your history essay for you." Damien said, caving as usual. Selene had more of his mannerisms and his own hazel eyes, but with her shimmering flaxen hair and angelic features she was still enough like Gerald to melt his heart every time. She graced him with a dazzling smile and practically ran toward the back door.
Sighing, Damien sank back in his chair and rubbed at his temples. It had been another long day of trying to teach hormonal teenagers how to control their effect on the fae: needless to say, not much progress had been made. He threatened to just give up sometimes, but Gerald always smirked and said that he was just bluffing, because he clearly loved teaching too much to ever do anything else. Damien always grudgingly conceded, and the argument usually wound up involving lots of teasing and kisses. For someone who pretended to have no emotions whatsoever most of the time, Gerald could be surprisingly demonstrative.
An hour later when Aidan arrived home, Damien was still at the desk, wrestling with a particularly stubborn lesson plan that the Patriarch had given him for modification. The seventeen-year-old was grinning when he walked in, but it was a much more demure grin than Selene's: with his soft-spoken manner, piercing grey eyes, and finely sculpted features, he took after Gerald very strongly. Of course, Gerald always insisted that Selene was exactly like Damien: it was something of a playful competition between the two men, spotting which mannerisms of their children were most like the other parent. No one could deny how much Aidan resembled Gerald, though, in manner as well as form.
He dropped a heavy bookbag onto a chair and took the seat his sister had vacated earlier, smiling. "New lesson plan, Dad?"
"No, it's a menu." Damien grumbled. "I just can't decide what to have for dinner." Aidan chuckled.
"You shouldn't worry about it then: Mom'll just tell you what we're having, and you'll have to cook it. Incidentally, you might want to leave the sarcasm to Mom as well." When the children were quite young, Damien had referred to Gerald as their 'mother' as something of a joke: the look on the adept's face the first time Aidan called him 'mommy' was absolutely priceless, and it was one of Damien's most treasured memories. From that day forth, it was set in stone: Damien was Daddy, Gerald was Mommy. While he complained almost non-stop, Damien knew that Gerald was actually very touched by the endearment, and it didn't take long for the children to figure that out as well.
Gerald complained about a lot of things just for show, Damien had discovered. Like Damien's cooking, which the adept never had trouble devouring three helpings of. Or the way Damien insisted on set curfews for Aidan and Selene, where Gerald would have just as happily let them run amok at all hours. Or - and this was definitely one of their odder arguments - whose surname came first, when they got married eighteen years ago. Gerald still complained about that to this day, but Damien knew from the tone in the adept's voice whenever he introduced himself that he didn't really mind at all, being a Vryce first and a Tarrant second.
Aidan waved his hand again. "Hello, Dad, anyone home in there?"
Damien started, then laughed sheepishly. "Sorry, I got a little sidetracked."
"Hmm." Aidan had a knowing gleam in his grey eyes. "You were thinking about when you and Mom first got together again, weren't you?"
Damien stared at him, taken aback. "How the hell did you guess that?"
Aidan shrugged, smiling. "You get a certain look in your eyes: all misty and happy. Mom gets the same look when he's thinking about you, actually. Anyway, as I was trying to tell you before you zoned out, I've got some fantastic news! Mrs. Gregson told me today that she mentioned my 'Analysis of Historical Conflict: Causes and Parallels' essay at an inter-school teacher conference, and a few people asked to read it. Somehow it made its way over to the History department at Jaggonath Central University, and they want me to attend the Young Scholars International Research Conference!"
Damien's jaw dropped. The YSIRC was the most prestigious group of up-and-coming historians and loremasters on Erna. It was invitation-only, and very rarely were people under twenty invited. For a seventeen year old to be requested to attend was almost unheard of, and a high honor. Aidan had been fascinated by history since preschool, thanks to Gerald's colorful accounts of past battles and such, but his passion had reached new heights in high school. He had begun doing seriously in-depth research into parallels between different civilizations and cycles of progress and regression, at a level that impressed even Gerald. When the shock had worn off slightly and Damien could move, he stood and pulled Aidan into a rib-bruising hug.
"Aidan, that's absolutely wonderful! I'm so proud of you! When's the conference?"
"In a month." the young man said, silver eyes shining with excitement now. Gerald was the same: he could keep his eagerness under wraps for an astonishingly long time, but once he started talking about it, the cat was out of the bag. "I can hardly believe it: this'll be great for helping me become a loremaster!"
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Aidan had determined early on that he wanted to be a loremaster - about the same time Selene got her heart set on breeding and racing horses. More surprisingly, though, was Aidan's other possible occupation: that of author. The young man had showed an amazing talent for creative writing early on, and was hard at work on his first true novel, a historical fiction about the Dark Ages - with heavy input from the resident Revivalist nobility, of course. Damien beamed at him.
"Might help you get yourself published, too! It certainly adds credibility to the 'historical' part of 'historical fiction'. You'd better get any homework you have done now: once Gerald gets home he's going to spend all evening hounding you with questions about that essay."
Aidan laughed. "Good point. I've just got a few paragraphs on earthquakes to write up for science: I'll go do that now." Aidan then headed to his room, while Damien decided to get an early start on dinner. That kind of news deserved a fancy supper, no question of that.
It was nearly an hour and a half later when Gerald finally got home. Normally he was home shortly after Selene, but they'd had a breakthrough at the research lab he worked for and he'd stayed late. By that point Damien was in full cooking mode; he was making spaghetti Bolognese, with homemade meatballs and elaborate self-made sauce. It was one of his specialties: after moving in with Gerald and realizing the adept couldn't cook to save his life, Damien had discovered a previously unknown talent, and had become quite the amateur chef. Gerald walked into the kitchen and nearly started drooling on the spot.
"God, that smells heavenly. What's the occasion?"
Damien beamed at him. "You'd better ask Aidan that. It's his news. How was your day, love?You're home late, something must have happened."
"Yes, actually - we had a bit of a breakthrough." Gerald said, leaning against the counter and watching affectionately as Damien bustled around the kitchen. "Ever heard of electroplating?"
Damien stared. "Electro-what?"
"That's what I thought." Gerald said rather smugly. "I suppose you'll just have to wait for the plebeian-friendly explanation in tomorrow's paper."
"If it's big enough to hit the paper, congratulations. One of your fellow lab rats make the find, or you?" Damien asked curiously. Gerald smiled.
"Double congratulations, then." Damien said with a grin, checking on the garlic bread. "Go talk to Aidan, he's probably close to bursting by now."
Gerald obeyed, and a few moments later, Damien heard his husband's ecstatic shout echo through the house. He grinned. Life was good, especially for legends like them.