100 Days of NorIce
Prompt 24- Rebirth
REBIRTH (noun): 1. The process of being reincarnated or born again.
2. The action of reappearing or starting to flourish or increase after a decline; revival.
The pale light of the moon illuminated the forest, throwing dark shadows of trees and branches into a sinister web, the skeletons of the leafless twigs spiking in every direction. The forest seemed dead, only twisted, gnarled trees stretching up into the night. No shrubbery existed on the dirt floor, nothing alive wandered this place. All was still.
Or rather, someone.
The soft crunch of long-dead twigs being snapped by a foot echoed loudly in the silent night. The faint sound of breathing followed, the breaths passing through warm lips and clouding in the air in white puffs.
"Who is there?" a voice called out to the approaching person.
"It's me, bror."
"Eiríkur," The voice sighed in relief. "For a second, I thought…" Lukas trailed off, watching his little brother step out of the shadows of the trees and into the clearing, the moonlight making his silver hair glow.
"It's okay, I'm here now. Safe." Eiríkur reassured. He walked forward, embracing his older brother, burying his head into the thin chest covered with many ragged and faded clothes, as if more layers might ward off the ever invading chill of the dead world.
"I am glad." Lukas replied, wrapping his arms around Eiríkur and pulling him into a soft, chaste kiss. Red blossomed across his little brother's cheeks but he did not pull away. Lukas released the silver haired brothers' lips and whispered. "I am happy that you are here."
"I couldn't let you do this alone, could I?" Eiríkur scoffed, but a look into his deep lilac eyes would tell anyone who could read them that the younger was a dizzying mixture of afraid and determined. Lukas kissed him once more on the forehead and pulled him towards the rune circle carved upon the ground, the dirt having been scraped away to the stone just beneath the surface.
"Is this it?" Eiríkur questions, looking at the stone with the runes carved carefully and precisely onto its surface.
"It is." Lukas confirmed. "Are you ready?" the older brother paused for a moment and then asked lowly, "Are you sure?"
"I'm ready," Eiríkur answered, before matching his brother's low tone. "And I'm sure."
No words were said after this, none were needed. Instead, Lukas approached the circle of runes and stepped carefully over them into the middle. Eiríkur followed him. They knelt down in the centre, facing each other. They held each other's hands- Lukas was the one casting the spell, and to take Eiríkur with him they had to have physical contact. They were so close that their kneecaps touched.
"If this works…" Eiríkur started. "How will we find each other again?"
"We will always be drawn to each other. It may take time, but we will meet again. Always."
Eiríkur smiled, "Forever." He whispered. The amount of adoration in the look Lukas gave him was immeasurable. Lukas took a deep breath…
Lilac eyes met deep blue.
Lukas began to chant.
An archaic language flowed from his mouth, the sounds of forgotten words vibrating in the charged air as the runes began to glow a fiery red. Sparks shot up around them, sporadically at first, and then growing in number. Silver and blond hair whipped in a powerful swirling wind, wrapping them in its violent embrace.
Eiríkur looked into Lukas' eyes, now glowing a blue-ish white. They stared back at him. Eyes seemed to convey what mouths could not.
'I love you.'
A brilliant flash, illuminating the entirety of the dead forest in its raging glow, erupted from the circle. When it had faded away, the place was still and silent again. A smoking rock, twisted and melted, sat in a shallow hole, scorch marks blasting form it to form a star on the surrounding earth.
They were gone.
Lukas leaned against the crumbling brick wall at the back of the school. The teenager was typing on his phone and rolling a cigarette in the fingers of his other hand. He brought it up to his mouth, inhaled, and then withdrew it. Smoke billowed out as he sighed, switching off his mobile and sliding it into his blazer pocket. That stupid Dane wasn't answering.
He is probably out drunk somewhere, he mused.
This was, of course, normal. Matthias Køhler was almost perpetually drunk. An irresponsible slacker inside school (when he actually bothered to attend) and outside of it he was even worse. Lukas often wondered why he bothered to associate with the brash and loud Dane, before he remembered the fact that they had grown up on the same street as children and Matthias was one of his only friends. Due to Lukas' reclusive, almost anti-social nature, he really didn't have many of them.
Unfortunately, and especially in recent years, their friendship had deteriorated. Most of it now consisted of Lukas putting up with sheer stupidity in the effort to continue a relationship that had mostly become a one-sided fight to save the scraps of a friendship that had faded through time. There was no real incident or breaking point. There had been no fight. There was no one at fault. They had just…drifted apart.
Lukas dropped the cigarette and smashed it under his foot, frustrated. How dare his musings lead him to why he was standing out here, waiting for a reply that would never come and a friend he didn't even know anymore to come or do or say something-
A voice broke through Lukas' thoughts.
"Are you alright?"
The Norwegian's head snapped up, dark eyes landing on a teen he had never seen before. The newcomer looked maybe a couple of years younger than him, with a lithe frame and the same school uniform Lukas himself was wearing hanging on him in a fashion that suggested second-hand clothing (despite this, they were in good condition, only a few frayed and faded areas). His accent definitely suggested someone foreign, heavy, and sifting into the English words coming out of his mouth.
Strangely, the young teen had silver hair (silver? Really?) and lilac eyes that shone like gems in the low light of the late afternoon-early evening sun (Lukas didn't even know how his mind had noticed this, but now that it was highlighted he found it hard not to notice those soulful eyes).
"I am fine." Lukas intoned, keeping his eyes fixed on a space just above the teen's left shoulder, in an effort not to stare into the deep, fathoming depths of purple eyes that were really far too pretty for their owner's good and how they were tinted with concern as they stared at him in a way that made his insides twist and his skin tingle and the hair on his arms rise in a tantalising sensation that both terrified and thrilled the blond-
"Are you sure? You don't seem to be too well. You look rather red in the face, are you sure you don't have a fever or something?"
Lukas breathed in sharply, saying more firmly, "I am fine. I am not sick."
The other looked at him doubtfully, but said, "If you say so."
Having successfully fought down his blush (him, Lukas Bondevík- the Ice Prince of the World Academy- blushing? 'How messed up is that?' That was what Matthias would say, Lukas mused, before he remembered that he was trying not to think about that stupid Dane), Lukas observed the younger teen standing perhaps six feet away from him. On second look, the slightly flushed heat on his face and the P.E bag hanging off his shoulder next to the normal school bag told Lukas what the other student had last lesson before the final bell had rung and school had ended.
"What is your name anyway, stranger?" the blond asked, not appearing to really be interested. The other teen blinked and quickly answered, the deepening of the heat on his face conveying the embarrassment at his overlook of an introduction.
"Eiríkur Steilsson. What about you?"
Eiríkur's eyes widened. Lukas' insides felt like they were being stabbed with a white hot knife. Eiríkur, despite clearly being a new student at the World Academy (known because he had not recognised Lukas), had clearly heard of his reputation. The one that stated him as being the coldest, most uncaring person alive that would kill you in your sleep if you insulted him.
Lukas suddenly found himself not wanting to be judged by his ridiculous reputation (a much exaggerated one, he appeared emotionless; it didn't mean that he was. Also, where did the whole 'kill you in sleep' thing come from? He was sure his glares weren't that scary). He wanted to be judged as a person.
Lukas stepped forward and grabbed Eiríkur's wrist before the younger could flee around the corner. He ignored the apologies that had started to flow from the other teen's mouth, instead his mind had once again zoomed in on a seemingly asinine thing- the feeling of Eiríkur's skin on his own. Eiríkur…the name rolled off his tongue. A beautiful name for a beautiful creature.
"I-I'm sorry, Mr Bondevík, sir! I didn't mean to be rude or-"
The silver haired teen was suddenly silenced a pair of cool lips pressed against his own. The kiss was somewhat forceful, Eiríkur's mouth opening to grant entrance before his mind had caught up with the situation. A hand snaked around the back of Eiríkur's head, pulling it closer. The other still held onto his wrist, though loosely now.
Then it was over and Lukas was walking back around the corner, leaving Eiríkur standing there behind the school in a state of shock, a cigarette butt still lightly smoking on the ground.
Lukas smiled as he walked, his heart pounding furiously in his chest. Eiríkur Steilsson was his. A beautiful creature that Lukas wanted to wrap up tight in his arms and never let go of. Maybe because he had never shown or felt much emotion towards life, it had all built up inside him, Lukas imagined. He had never felt much for anything or anyone; so now that he had someone he felt for, did all of those unused emotions just intensify the feelings Lukas had for a complete stranger?
Well, whatever it was, it burned fiercely inside him. Just to hold the silver haired teen had had his skin tingling with an intoxicating wave of something. Nobody would harm the beautiful silver-haired lilac-eyed creature. He was his.
And everyone knew better than to go after what Lukas Bondevík called 'his'.
The pub wasn't very busy. It was still too early in the evening for that. But in around an hour or two, more people would start piling in, ordering drinks that would eventually break down their liver and sit on dark wooden chairs, watching the football that was playing on the large screen on the wall. Some would talk and chat and the occasional fight would break out, some would stumble out of the door while others had to have people called to come and pick them up.
All in all, a normal pub.
A blue eyed man walked in the door, shivering from the cold outside. The snow laying on his coat and hat melted into droplets of water as the man stamped his feet on the welcome mat and made his way over to the bar, unwrapping his scarf and stuffing it in his pocket, pulling off his hat to reveal blond hair. He sat on one of the small bar stools.
"The usual?" asked the silver haired bartender (who really looked far too young to have this sort of job but nobody really questioned it, the pub was in a fairly seedy area after all).
"Ja, takk." The Norwegian man replied, watching as the other moved away to get his drink. His heavy gaze lingered on the stark silver hair gleaming in the low lights of the pub and the graceful movements with which the Icelandic teen prepared his order, the result of much practise.
The glass made a muffled thud as it was placed in front of him; Lukas threw some coins onto the table and pretended to divert his attention elsewhere. He continued to observe the bartender he had come to know so well out of the corner of his eye.
The younger man was named Eiríkur Steilsson, this Lukas knew. However, because hardly anyone could pronounce his real name (Lukas being one of the few because he too came from a Nordic country), he was simply known as Ice to the customers and people of the area. Nobody messed with Ice, despite his somewhat frail looks. Everyone knew that no matter how rowdy the fights in the pub got, it was always Ice who had to stop the drunken brawl. This had given him the reputation of 'untouchable' after people had witnessed it and spread the word. Lithe he may be, but Ice could fight with the best of them.
Lukas found his eyes lingering on the muscles visible through the tight, form-fitting white dress shirt Ice was wearing, the sleeves rolled up to the elbows. Black slacks hugged perfect legs and ended with black leather shoes. A black ribbon tie was around Ice's neck. The uniform and the décor of the pub gave the place class, making it very popular with the seedy patrons of the area when trying to impress gullible men and women into doing business with them.
Lukas quickly realised what he was doing and looked away, swallowing. He knew he felt for the young bartender. He had been coming to this place for years, plenty of time to get to know someone, even if their conversations were short. Most of the communication between them seemed to be non-verbal, anyway. They just…understood each other, in a way that no one else ever had. It wasn't something Lukas could really describe. They had just…clicked.
"Everything alright at work?" Eiríkur asked, back from serving a man who looked rather drunk already. Lukas was shaken out of his thoughts. He looked up from the glass he was gripping with both hands…and directly into Ice's enigmatic eyes set perfectly in a sculpted face that was just a bit too close.
"J-ja, everything is going fine." Lukas replied, composing himself before he thought of any more sweet things he would like to do with those pale pink lips so close to his. Really, if he just leant forward, he could kis-
The door slammed open, admitting a cold draft into the warm pub.
Heads turned, Lukas' and Eiríkur's included. Then eyes widened at the man standing in the entrance, a heavy winter coat wrapped around him and a long scarf fluttering down over his shoulders. The (very) large man smiled innocently at them, but this action did not give a comforting effect. Instead, chills ran down people's spines and the air in the room got tense. Even the most drunk and rowdy patrons of the pub quietened down and sobered up as if they had been plunged into ice cold water.
Ivan Braginski, the leader of the most notorious gang in the city, walked into the small pub known as The Bad Hand (named after the original owner lost it in a game of poker, the second manager ran the place down to the ground and then lost it in a bet, the third owner built the place back up before dying and it went to his son- who lost it in a card game, and then to the fifth owner who lost the establishment in a casino… and so on and so forth, it was a popular story to tell to newcomers- even so, many eyed the current owner waiting for him lose it, too).
Ivan Braginski wasn't a man anyone would want to cross. Tall and broad, the Russian man portrayed an intimidating and imposing figure. And that was to say nothing of his reputation…
"I'll have a bottle of vodka, Дa?" a deeply accented voice said childishly, the owner smiling at Ice as he shut the door behind himself and walked over to the bar. Eiríkur quickly moved to get the requested bottle, everyone's eyes on him as the room was still apart from the bartender. Ice may be good at fighting, but drunken brawls are far different from the sort of deadly fights Braginski walked out of unscathed.
Ivan's purple eyes watched Ice as well. "You are very pretty, aren't you, little котенок?" he said cheerfully as Ice put his vodka in front of him with a slight slam, waiting expectantly for the money Ivan fished out of his wallet before the bartender swept it into his pocket to put in the cash register later.
"It's true! You are so feisty and cute, just like a little kitten!"
Ice shot the gang leader a look before turning away, knowing better than to pick a fight. However, Ivan reached out with one bulky arm and caught the bartender's shoulder, spinning him back around.
"Is there something you need?" Eiríkur gritted out. Ivan looked pleased at the fiery spirit of the one they called 'Ice'.
"Just admiring your sweet face, little котенок. It would look so beautiful screaming in pain, Дa?"
Ice threw the hand off his shoulder, glaring at the Russian man. Anger had overtaken his common sense. "Get out."
"Get out now, you sick freak!" Ice forced out, breathing heavily and gritting his teeth. The creepy smile on Ivan's face fell slightly, the feeling of danger growing.
"Ah, it seems I will have to teach you a lesson my little котенок. Don't worry, I'll be careful not to spoil that beautiful face of yours…"
Ivan stood up and gripped Ice's upper left arm, dragging him out from behind the bar. Eiríkur struggled against the Russian, but was clearly disadvantaged with Ivan's superior physical strength. The larger man slammed the silver haired youth against the bar; Ice's back bending over the counter as his hands warred with Ivan's in an attempt to push the Russian away.
"You look so pretty under me, little котенок. Maybe that lovely face of yours will look beautiful in pleasure, too? Дa?" Ivan crooned. Eiríkur's eyes widened and-
"Do not even think about it, Braginski."
The cold metal end of a gun was pressed against Ivan's temple. The Russian turned to look at Lukas, the business end of the gun ending up in the centre of his forehead. Cold blue eyes stared dispassionately into violet ones full of swirling madness. Lukas' face was stone, his voice sharp and authoritative. Arms were steady, stance prepared for a fight.
As violet eyes alighted upon the golden cross barrette pinning some blond hair back, recognition flooded into them.
"I didn't know you hung around these parts, usually you are sighted in the opposite side of the city, aren't you…Black Cross?" Ivan whispered, so only Eiríkur, Lukas and himself could hear the words.
The Russian giggled somewhat inappropriately, as though he wasn't bothered with being faced with a notorious assassin. The Black Cross was very famous for his silent, swift deaths. For having never been even sighted by the police. The only known fact about him (given by the Black Cross himself) was that he always wore a cross somewhere on his body. But a 'cross' could be anything, from a pattern on a piece of clothing, to a necklace, to a tattoo…the possibilities were endless.
Ivan Braginski only knew his face because he had hired the Black Cross before. It really was a miracle he had recognised him at all- when in uniform, the Black Cross hardly ever took off his face mask. It was only Lukas' voice and the cross barrette he always wore when he was around as a civilian that got him recognised.
Ice's eyes widened at the same time that Lukas' eyes narrowed, "Get out of The Bad Hand, Braginski, and never come back. You will leave Ice alone."
"And why would I do that, assassin?"
"Because I will blow your brains straight out of your skull if you touch Eiríkur ever again."
"I don't fear death, Black Cross."
"There are many things worse than death, Braginski. Do not make it necessary for me to have to introduce you to one of them."
Ivan let go of Ice and rose to his full height, Lukas' arm moving up to adjust to the new angle. "Have it your way, assassin. You're lucky that you're far more valuable to me alive than dead. But don't think that I won't be watching."
With that, Ivan Braginski turned and walked out of the pub, vodka bottle in hand. Only when he was out of the door, past the windows and partway down the darkened street did Lukas lower his gun. He holstered it, turning away from the door. The eyes of most of the pub were still on him. Lukas glared and they turned away, the unspoken rule coming into play.
What happened in The Bad Hand stayed in The Bad Hand.
Lukas extended a hand to help Eiríkur up off the counter. The bartender hesitantly took it. Ice didn't know what to think anymore- what should one do when they find out that their regular customer/secret crush was an infamous assassin?
Eiríkur was shaken out of his musings. "Huh?"
"I apologise for my deception, we have known each other a long time and I should have been able to trust you."
"What? You're an assassin; you're supposed to keep it a secret! It would put your life in danger!"
"But you do not keep secrets from those that you love." Lukas replied, pulling Ice closer to him. Nobody had heard their conversation, the loud noise of chatter having started up again when Lukas had glared at the patrons to keep them from staring.
Lukas tilted Eiríkur's head up and their lips met, those noticing immediately turning away. Ice's heart beat faster and his hands rose up to grasp at Lukas' navy blue coat. He tilted his head to give the dangerous assassin dominance, a knot of fire sparking inside him. He felt that his heart would beat out of his chest as Lukas ran a smooth tongue across his bottom lip.
Sense returned to him when the two parted to take breath. Eiríkur's cheeks flushed at seeing Lukas' handsome face so close to his. The assassin smirked and tightened his grip around the smaller man.
"You are mine, Eiríkur. You belong to me." Lukas murmured into Ice's ear, trailing his tongue lightly around the shell of it.
Eiríkur didn't disagree.
Lukas Bondevík, all of nine years old, lay on his bed in his room. He flinched as the sound of a glass breaking echoed from downstairs, followed by raised voices screaming at each other in the midst of a loud argument. He put his hands over his ears and rolled onto his side, curling up. He wished that his parents wouldn't fight anymore.
The voices got louder and Lukas curled up tighter, as though that would shield him from the pain inside at the thought of his parents fighting again. It hurt. It burned. They should not be fighting like this, Lukas thought, they used to love each other. The past tense in that thought made something prick at the corners of his eyes.
I am not going to cry, Lukas told himself firmly. But the feeling seemed to be bursting out of his chest, and a small tear slipped out of his mystic blue eyes and trailed slowly down his cheek. Lukas fiercely rubbed it away.
A light tapping sound at his window startled the small Norwegian boy. Lukas cracked open his eyes to see a tiny someone that always made him feel strange. Eiríkur.
Lukas clambered off of his bed, moving to the window. He ignored the sounds of the continuing fight downstairs, his world having zeroed down to just Eiríkur and him. He turned the handle and, with a little bit of effort because the hinges were somewhat rusty, opened the window. Eiríkur fluttered inside.
"God dag, Eiríkur." Lukas greeted, his small stomach knotting in a strange but not unpleasant way.
"Goðan daginn." The small faerie replied, silver hair brushing the tips of his pointed ears as he shook his head to remove some dandelion seeds that had blown into and gotten caught in it on his flight to his human friend's house.
Eiríkur was one of Lukas' only friends (him, and that annoying Matthias boy who lived down the road that wouldn't leave Lukas alone, not that Lukas would ever admit to liking the blond idiot). Unfortunately, Lukas was the only one around that could actually see him. This was because Eiríkur was a faerie, or faery, or fae, or fairy. Whichever spelling one chose to use (although both Lukas and Eiríkur preferred 'faerie', it just looked more mysterious (enigmatic was the word Eiríkur had used, Lukas hadn't understood what it meant and it was changed to mysterious) and more magical).
Eiríkur was around twelve and a half centimetres tall (twelve and a half, Eiríkur insisted, when Lukas had forgot to mention the and a half part when measuring him with a small plastic ruler after Eiríkur had expressed interest in knowing how tall he actually was, the and a half part was important). He was lean due to the fact every faerie had to do a lot of physical work each day (well, the world in general was a lot bigger than them, that came with some difficulties).
The faerie had choppy silver hair (almost perpetually windswept) and large lilac eyes. Despite being outside most of the time, his skin was naturally pale. He wore a sleeveless olive green tunic with white leggings tucked into brown leather boots and a brown leather belt around his hips. The tunic had slits designed into it to make room for Eiríkur's large butterfly wings.
His wings had always been a source of fascination for Lukas. They were very large compared to Eiríkur's slim frame and of the richest shades of purple around. It started off a tinted white darkening to lilac the farther away from the faerie's shoulder blades they got. Lilac into amethyst, amethyst into mauve, mauve into violet, violet into indigo… by the tips it was a dark black that hinted of purple in direct sunlight. Through this blend of colours, patterns stuck out.
They were beautiful.
Eiríkur was beautiful.
"Are you okay, Lukas?" and then the faerie was in front of his face, looking concerned.
"I-I am fine," Lukas stuttered out. "Just lost in thought."
Eiríkur looked like he didn't quite believe him, but let it go. "Okay."
The shouting from downstairs started up again, piercing through the happy, peaceful bubble Lukas had erected around himself. Eiríkur looked towards the door, startled. "Is that..?"
"Ja…can we please go somewhere else?"
Eiríkur flicked his eyes back to the door and then towards the window. He flew towards it and back outside into the late spring day. Lukas followed, pulling a chair from his desk to stand on to help him climb out. Small hands gripped the edges of the window sill and then Lukas leapt to grab onto the tree that grew just outside of his room. He quickly scrambled down it and landed in the slightly-too-long grass at its base.
Eiríkur landed on his shoulder. "Let's go to the clearing again, it's always peaceful there." He suggested.
Lukas nodded and crouched down as he went around the back of the house to avoid being seen by his parents through the windows. He quickly made it into the woods at the back of his house, straightening up and increasing his speed, leaving his family problems behind him.
The clearing was a small place about half a mile into the woods at the back of Lukas' house. It wasn't big or wide, instead it was small and cosy, bushes lining around the bottoms of trees and large wildflowers springing up everywhere. It was just very peaceful.
"So how have things been with you?" Lukas asked as boy and faerie entered the peaceful clearing.
"Quiet. Not much has been going on lately."
Lukas glanced at Eiríkur from the corner of his eyes again. The warm feeling flooded his stomach and seemed to heat up his face as well. What was this feeling?
Lukas sat at the foot of a tall tree, leaning against the trunk. He pulled his knees up to just in front of his chest and wrapped his arms loosely around them. Eiríkur fluttered down to sit on his right knee.
The two sat in companionable silence, watching the world go by, although Lukas seemed to feel more and more uncomfortable as the minutes passed. The feeling was intensifying. It zipped through him, hot, fast, passionate and uncontrollable. It was making him notice stupid little things; like how Eiríkur's wings fluttered softly with the breeze, and how the sun shone off of his silver hair and smooth ivory skin, how his lilac eyes stared mesmerizingly into the bushes as they tracked the jerky flight of a nearby bee.
Suddenly, Eiríkur turned back around to face Lukas.
"I want to try something." Eiríkur seemed uncomfortable, too. He was wringing his slim hands and glancing uncertainly into Lukas' blue eyes of unfathomable depths.
"O…kay?" Lukas waited expectantly for whatever it was that his friend wanted to try. Eiríkur stood up on took flight, hovering closer to Lukas' face. He then hesitantly drew closer Lukas' lips…
A tiny pair of pale pink lips pressed against Lukas' larger, plumper ones.
The feeling suddenly raged through Lukas' veins, making him gasp. Eiríkur quickly pulled away, but Lukas raised a hand against his back and the faerie collided with it, nearly falling but then Lukas cupped his palm so that Eiríkur only ended up sitting in it.
"What was that?" Lukas demanded, face red. It was an unneeded question; both of them knew what had happened. What made it so different was the feeling that had gone alongside it. Was that what the feeling was? Lukas had spent many a night pondering on the strange sensation that occurred whenever he was around Eiríkur, or even when he just thought of him.
Was this love?
"A-a kiss." Eiríkur mumbled in answer to the posed question.
Was this the feeling that had left Lukas' parents?
"I-I liked it…" Lukas stuttered out, face going an even deeper red at the confession.
If it was, could they make it work?
Eiríkur's eyes widened and he left the cup of Lukas' palm, flying closer. He leant to push another kiss onto Lukas' lips. Deep blue eyes slid closed, enjoying the feeling, but knowing better than to kiss back, knowing he could hurt Eiríkur.
"You know…in the Seelie Court…there are some fae who have very powerful magic. Enough to turn humans into animals, animals into humans…or fae into humans, humans into fae." Eiríkur murmured.
Yes, they could make this work.
"Later, boss!" one of Lukas' employees called as he moved out of the door, waving over his shoulder before drawing his coat around himself tighter to ward off the winter chill. "See you tomorrow!"
The door shut and Lukas was left alone in the kitchen at the back of the restaurant his family owned. Most of the lights were off now, the ovens cooling and the smell of fresh food fading from the air. It was half an hour after closing time, and most of his workers had left by now after helping tidy up the place ready for tomorrow. But Lukas couldn't leave yet. He hadn't shown up, and wouldn't until Lukas was alone.
A light scuffling sound from outside. If Lukas hadn't been standing so close to one of the small windows, he wouldn't have heard it. The Norwegian opened the backdoor and placed a tray with some of the left-over food on the concrete step. He then backed back into the kitchen, pulled up a chair, and waited.
There was a moment when nothing happened. A still, silent moment. Then a figure hesitantly made its way from the darkness of the alleyway and into the semicircle of light provided by the lights of the kitchen shining through the open door. It moved jerkily, ready to run at the instant Lukas proved a threat to it. Lukas waited patiently and didn't move, didn't stare (although he observed from underneath his blond fringe, appearing more preoccupied with a slightly battered novel he had read many times before).
The figure darted forward to snatch some of the food on the plate and withdrew into the shadows. For that moment when the figure had been in the light, silver hair had gleamed brightly under the artificial lights illuminating the doorway.
The younger person had been coming to Lukas for food for over two years now. The street kid and Lukas had met when one was scavenging through the bins at the back of the restaurant one muggy summer night and the other going out with a rubbish bag to add to them. They had stared at each other for a while, before the silver haired almost skeletal boy had scampered off out of the alley in fear. Curiosity had made him come back. They kept seeing each other for brief moments before Lukas had stayed behind one night and set out some food.
They had a sort of agreement between them. Lukas would give the street kid (whose name he still didn't know) some of the unwanted leftovers and it meant the other would actually have something to eat consistently. Lukas wasn't naïve, he knew that the younger's life was hard and that not everyone was as privileged as him. He had been born lucky, the other had clearly not.
Lukas wanted to help the other, desperately. He had somewhat come to know the younger, despite the two having never talked. A silent sense of companionship existed between them. Neither could describe it. They just felt…drawn to the other. Like two magnets. They just seemed to keep running into each other, whatever the time or place. Lukas knew for sure that if he went out and wandered around the city, he was almost certain to see the street kid at some point. It had been disconcerting at first; their minds seeming to run on the same wavelength, but now it was just weirdly reassuring that someone would always be there- intentionally or not.
This was the night, Lukas had decided. It was a Sunday night; business in the restaurant would be slow for the next few days until Friday when it started to get busy again. He had already mentioned to someone at work that he hadn't been feeling well (a lie). Tomorrow, he would be able to call in 'sick' and stay at his house for a few days without doing any damage to the family business. Also, his parents were out of the country for the next two weeks on a holiday he had insisted they go on ("You work too hard," he had claimed. "You never get any breaks from work, either. What if you go on holiday for a while and relax?").
Lukas was slightly worried that the silver haired street urchin he had grown to be fond of would not want his help. But then again, he had often seen the boy (he couldn't be described as anything but a 'boy', he looked very young, small and thin. But that could just be the malnutrition talking. The boy might be as old as Lukas at nineteen, perhaps a couple of years younger) looking at him with slight envy, or felt his gaze on him as he ate freely and went into his own home.
Looking up from the printed words he was staring blankly at on the page in front of him, Lukas observed as the sleeping pill he had crushed and stirred into the sauce of the food the boy was eating now started to take effect. The boy was wobbling, malnutrition weakened body unable to fight off the drug for very long. He sank clumsily to his knees, both wincing when bare flesh hit the hard concrete.
Lukas started towards the younger boy, hurrying to his side. As he knelt down and wrapped his arms around the filthy kid to support him as he lost consciousness, the other glared up at him. Hurt and betrayal echoed in those unforgettable lilac eyes, staring accusingly up at Lukas. The message within them was clear.
I trusted you.
Lukas felt guilt tug at his heart as the boy fell forward in his grip, far too light with his ribs pressing uncomfortably against Lukas' arms. Lukas picked him up easily, carrying the kid to his car. He securely put him in and did up his seatbelt. Then Lukas shut the door and went back to the backdoor of the restaurant, closing up and turning off the lights, shrugging his coat on and locking the door.
Lukas went back to his car and drove home, frequently glancing at the frail person in the passenger seat, who was sleeping deeply and had a peaceful expression on his face. It didn't feel like long before Lukas was pulling up into his driveway and parking his car in front of his modest house in a nice area of the city. He lived separate from his parents, but their house was only a few streets away and they often checked up on him. Lukas had often theorised his doting mother as having a bad case of empty-nest syndrome, with the amount that she visited, often bringing food (usually cakes or biscuits) she had made for him.
A slightly scary thought hit Lukas. If the kid accepted his help and stuck around, his mother would spoil him with many "Oh, isn't he cute, dear?" and "You should eat more, little one. You're looking very thin. Here, have some cookies."- the silver haired street child would be forcibly inducted into the family and then subjected to Lukas' mum's Mother Hen side. He would have felt sorry for him, if he didn't agree that he needed to gain some weight (and probably have someone help adjust him to 'normal' life, doing things like sleeping in beds and having showers and eating three meals a day).
Speaking of which, Lukas still hadn't thought about how he was going to tell his parents about the street waif he had just brought home with him. Oh well, he would cross that bridge when he came to it.
Lukas exited his car, shutting the door on his side and moving around to the other side. He opened the door and unbelted his guest, lifting him up (again, Lukas frowned slightly at how light the boy was) and shutting the door. After locking the car, he turned and walked up to his own front door, glancing around to see if anyone was awake to watch him carry an unconscious teen into his house, then fumbling with his keys a bit and entering his darkened hallway.
Lukas shut and locked the front door behind him before making his way down the hall past the picture frames on the walls full of smiling family and friends, flicking on the light, and entering his living room. He lay the kid down on his sofa and turned to back into the hallway to hang up his coat and extracted his wallet and keys from his slacks to put in its pockets.
Moving back into the living room, Lukas sat on the opposite sofa to the one his 'guest' was sleeping on. A flicker of doubt lapped at his mind. What did he do now? Wait for the kid to wake up? Well, the sleeping pill he had used hadn't been very strong at all, and he'd only used half of it. It had only affected the boy so quickly because of his weakened body. Lukas checked the time on the clock on the wall. It was 11:34 p.m. About an hour had passed since he had given the boy the drugged food (the restaurant closed at ten), he should be waking up soon.
Lukas used his time waiting for the silver haired boy to wake up to study him. Being this close up and in proper light, he could see more of his features. First, despite his small size, he must only be about two years younger than Lukas. He was very thin; Lukas remembered the feel of his ribs through the ratty and dirty grey t-shirt the other was wearing (which was also too big). He wore clothes he had clearly scavenged from a dump- the grey t-shirt several sizes too big and a pair of shorts not going below his knees which had a large rip in one leg. His feet were bare and scraped.
A low groan escaped the boy's throat and he shuffled. Lukas' attention diverted back to the boy's face, onto the glassy eyes that were slowly opening. Awareness flooded back into the street child and he sat up abruptly, muscles tense and ready to run. Lukas caught his arm and pulled him back down onto the sofa, barely having to use his strength to keep the distraught boy down while Lukas knelt next to him and looked into those stunning lilac eyes that stared at him with fear.
"I am not going to hurt you." Lukas murmured, rubbing his thumb in soothing circles over the hand he had in his grip, his other pressing down against the boy's chest to keep him on the sofa. Fearful eyes locked onto his own.
"How do I know you won't?" The younger asked hoarsely, breaths shallow and sharp.
"We have known each other a long time, even if we have never spoken. You can feel it, too, cannot you? The pull. I have nothing to offer you but my word. I promise that you will come to no harm."
Lilac eyes observed Lukas warily, but they detected no lie. It was true- both had felt the strange pull. Something inside the street child just screamed at him to trust the handsome blond that had been so much a part of his life since being thrown out of the house and onto the streets. Those mystical blue eyes enchanted him, their owner a source of hope that things would get better.
Guð, he didn't even know his name!
He slowly nodded to Lukas, but questioned, "Why am I here?"
Lukas was relieved that his guest had calmed down. "Because I would like to help you." He answered honestly, hoping that the street kid would pick up on this.
"But- why?" Eiríkur said, shocked. "I'm just a street kid you see a lot; you have everything you could want- friends, family, a home- why waste your time on me?"
"Because you are important to me. I do not know why, but we are drawn to each other. I feel like I know you from somewhere, yet I am sure that before our first encounter two years ago, I had not seen you before at all. You cannot tell me that you cannot feel it as well."
Eiríkur could not contest this. "I- at least tell me your name."
The Norwegian was slightly surprised at the question but wasted no time answering, now that it appeared that the kid would accept his help. "Lukas Bondevík."
Lukas moved his hands from where they had been pressing down on Eiríkur's chest, a tiny smile tugging at the edges of his lips. "A fine name." he commented. Pale cheeks tinged pink and Lukas chuckled under his breath.
"Come." Lukas beckoned, standing up. "The first thing you are getting in this house is a bath."
A laugh tore itself from Eiríkur's throat at the blunt change of subject, and he stood, following his friend through the house. The draw seemed stronger than ever, but it just felt so right. His heart was swelling in his chest, pulsing with warmth that rushed through his veins. Only Lukas could make him feel like this.
Things were looking up.
Pale moonlight filtered in through the partially open curtains, falling upon the small figure in the bed, bathing him in a silver glow. The curtains wavered gently in the soft breeze from the open window and their shadows danced over the peaceful face of the sleeping boy, caressing his smooth skin and brushing his downy hair as silver as the crescent moon hanging suspended in the inky sky.
Unseen by mortal eyes, an older male watched over his young charge, guarding his sleep. Blond hair partially pinned back with a golden cross and royal blue eyes surveyed the bedroom. A sleeveless white tunic falling down to just above the knees, a brown belt strapped around the hips, old style sandals with straps criss-crossed up the lower leg, brown leather bracers enclosing the forearms and a necklace with a metal cross on it was what the elder wore. A golden ring of light hovered over the head of fair hair. Most imposing about the man's appearance, though, were the giant white wings that swept from his shoulder blades, hanging majestically behind him as their feathers caught the light of the moon.
The Guardian Angel stood next to the window, keeping a lookout for any threat to his charge. Occasionally, though, his eyes would flick back to the sleeping child more than was strictly necessary to make sure the boy on the edge of being a teen was okay. The Angel couldn't understand it. Why did something about this particular charge call out to him more than any of his previous charges? What made this one so special that he kept the Angel's attention more than any other person- mortal or immortal- the Guardian had met in his long life?
Movement caught the Angel's eye. A man was walking out on the street, seen through the window. Nothing wrong there. Except that it was nearly three in the morning and the road his charge's family lived on was fairly out-of-the-way of the main streets of the town. The man couldn't be lost, then. And he was walking purposefully towards the front door of his charge's house. Lukas (the Angel) narrowed his eyes. A hand went to his belt where he kept his short sword (Lukas had three weapons- a short sword and a dagger for close combat and a bow and arrows for long range- they were needed to protect humans, whether from each other or from the evil forces of the Devil, the countless Demons and other malevolent spirits that Beelzebub had under his dark command).
The sound of the doorbell rang through the house. Eiríkur (Lukas' charge) didn't wake up. Sounds were heard from Eiríkur's parents' room further down the landing. The light switched on and the sound of feet going down the stairs reached Lukas' ears. His charge shuffled and rolled over, facing away from the window, but did not wake.
"What are you doing here? I told you, I want no more to do with you lot!"
"I came to collect the debt you owe us. Hand it over."
"I owe you nothing! It was all paid back years ago!"
"You forgot one thing. Your dealings with us are never over. You know too much, if you continue refusing to co-operate, then we must ensure your silence."
"What? You're crazy if you think I'm going to uproot my life to deal with you lot again. And I owe you no debt!"
"The debt you owe us is your services, not money. Your life could get better if you agree. Shortened if you don't. Do you still say 'no'?"
"I'm never going back to you!"
A gunshot pierced the night. Lukas fingers gripped the handle of his sword and Eiríkur was jolted awake. A thump from downstairs- a body hitting the floor? Heavy footsteps up the stairs and it struck Lukas that Eiríkur's room was directly across from the top of the curved staircase. Eiríkur sat up in bed, tiny hands gripping the blankets and pulled up to his chest, staring at the door in fearful confusion. Out in the street, lights were turning on.
The handle was yanked sharply downwards and the door burst open, a menacing silhouette loomed in the doorway, light from the landing darkening the features of the man, but glinting on the metal of the gun in his hand. It could have been a scene straight from a nightmare. Lilac eyes stared fearfully at the man from the bed, the childhood feeling that one's room was the safest place on Earth shattering into irreparable pieces around Eiríkur.
The man grunted, but raised the gun again. Lukas leapt forward to protect his charge, hand flying out to aim the gun away from the boy on the bed. Surprise flicked onto the man's face as his hand was knocked sideways by an unseen force, changing the direction of-
-the bullet smashed through the metal of the old boiler in the corner of Eiríkur's room that the family had been meaning to get removed. No water had been feeding into the boiler for quite some time, but it had remained on and was very hot. The family had put boxes around that section of the room and told Eiríkur not to go near it. The bullet smashed through the boiler and into the old water container behind it, spilling the stagnant liquid onto the super-heated metal.
The water boiled instantly on contact, the pressure of the uncontained steam rose fast and a violent explosion ripped through the house. Lukas, with the supernatural speed and grace of all Angels, had watched the bullet fly through the air in slow motion, then had turned his back on the human in the doorway and pushed his charge down on his bed, curling around him and caging him with his wide wings to protect the child from the blast.
A miracle was what the papers called it later. Everyone in the house was dead except for one little boy who was miraculously unscathed. The house itself was nothing but a smoking ruin by the time the police and the firefighters got there, but on the ground there was one unconscious, but perfectly healthy, pre-teen.
Things from there were normal, bar one thing. Eiríkur gave a shaky statement on what he had seen, the police investigated, the neighbours gossiped. The media soon found new stories to report and the orphan Eiríkur Steilsson was all but forgotten. Then came the question of what to do with him. At that, a young man, barely into adulthood, came forward.
He claimed to be Eiríkur's half-brother, the product of an affair the husband had had some years before Eiríkur was conceived. His younger brother hadn't known he had existed, but he would be willing to take him in.
Blood tests and legal papers confirmed his story, and the social workers were glad to have the silver-haired boy off their hands. They handed him over to the blond haired, blue eyed young man called Lukas Bondevík and forgot all about them.
Eiríkur hesitantly took the hand of the older teen who was his 'brother'. Kind eyes shone down from a cold face. Recognition flooded the Icelandic boy's mind, pulling up memories of that horrible night and the feeling of a warm glow and safety and arms holding him and feathers brushing his skin as they protected him-
"It was you." Eiríkur whispered. And for a moment the shadow of imposing wings and a ring of light flashed in front of him, replacing the image of Lukas.
A secretive smile.
Lukas knelt down and pressed a soft kiss to Eiríkur's forehead.
"Anything for you."
Lukas stoically followed his exuberant parents into their new house. Both his mother and father had been ecstatic at finding their 'dream home' in Iceland. Lukas had not been so happy. His parents had told him, without so much as a by-your-leave, that he would have to uproot his life, leave all of his friends behind and move to another country. Lukas knew his parents could be…impulsive…but they had never done something this crazy before!
Looking up at the large house, with its grand size, arched windows and a giant door with great metal studs in it, Lukas could admit that the place itself was very beautiful (in a distinctly two-hundred-years-outdated sort of way). It reminded Lukas of a manor house that should belong to a rich family. But the Bondevíks had gotten it fairly cheap.
Lukas adjusted his heavy duffle bag so that it wasn't cutting into his shoulder. His parents were chatting loudly behind him at their car, pulling their belonging out. Apparently all of the furniture was left inside the house. They had had to only bring their personal possessions. The Norwegian teen looked up at one of the upper windows of the house.
A pale face stared back at him.
The skin on Lukas' arms rose into goose bumps and a shiver went down his spine as he looked into the pale face in the window, its features distorted by the distance and the glass. His heart pounding in his ears, Lukas felt that he couldn't look away. The face commanded all of his attention. As if from a great distance, the voices of his oblivious parents reached him, muffled as though Lukas was submerged in water.
The face was gone.
Lukas glanced around at his chattering parents, scanned all of the other windows and then his eyes landed on that one window again. Nobody was there. Had he imagined it? No…he was certain that he had seen someone there…
A ghost? That would explain why the place was so cheap…and why the previous owner had been in such a hurry to leave…
"Come on, Lukas! We're going inside. You can choose your own room!" his mother called as she stood behind his father who was fiddling with a large brass key. Lukas walked up to stand behind them. His father opened the door, which, contrastingly to the old appearance of the house and Lukas' recent experience with an apparent 'ghost', did not creak ominously.
The family of three walked down the long hallway, Lukas eyeing the paintings and portraits lined along the walls and the unlit, half-melted candles enclosed in metal brackets and holdings. The house had a very homey feel to it. None of the doors creaked, the eyes on the portraits didn't follow you, and there were no suspicious stains or cobwebs…
Instead, there were large windows allowing lots of light into the rooms, tasteful interior décor, large fireplaces fully stocked with wood and coal in most rooms and the furniture was very comfortable (Lukas knew this because his mother had sat on one of the sofas in what appeared to be a small living room and gushed over its comfortableness for the next three rooms).
By the time they got to the bedrooms (the manor- Lukas had definitely decided it was a manor- had four floors- four! And a cellar (but they hadn't gotten to that yet). The place was huge, ridiculously so), Lukas was getting tired of carrying his heavy bag around. It was a relief when his mother turned to him and said, "Now, go choose your room. Any room but the master bedroom at the very end, that's ours."
Lukas had over twelve rooms to choose from, spread out over the fourth floor and a couple on the third (those must have been for servants or maids, the Norwegian boy had thought as they peeked into them). Wanting to have some privacy from his parents, the teen chose one several doors down from them, partway down the corridor but not right next to the stairs.
The room was fairly large, larger than the one he had had back in Norway. A big double bed with thick blankets layered over the duvet and fluffy pillows sat with the headboard against the wall. Opposite, another fire place. Large windows with high curtains took up most of one wall, but Lukas was pleased to see that it had a wide window sill and a sofa with no back under it, pushed against the wall. The perfect place to do reading or drawing. On the wall with the door, a big wardrobe and a chest of drawers with a mirror hung on the wall above it.
Bedside tables with modern lamps clearly put there by the last owner but with their shades designed to fit in with the old décor of the rest of the room (the one on the ceiling was the same). A desk and chair were next to the bed on the side of the window. Another door on the wall with the fireplace led off to an on-suite bathroom, the only real modern area of the room.
Lukas dumped his bag unceremoniously on the bed, glad to have its weight off his shoulder. He sat down on the edge, feeling the soft mattress sink under his weight. The reality suddenly hit him. He was here to stay. His parents would begin their new jobs in town next week. Lukas hadn't realised that he had been hoping this was all some kind of dream, or not real. That they would turn back and go home to Norway. That it was all just a stupid joke and somebody would jump out from somewhere and shout 'fooled you!' Lukas would have welcomed it, however embarrassing.
But their house in Norway was already sold. He had already moved schools. He had already exchanged phone numbers with friends and promised to call often. No going back. This was his life now.
No…no! Lukas felt a stinging in his eyes. No. He was not going to cry. Absolutely not. But he could already feel a treacherous tear burning in the corner of his eye, blurring his vision. Lukas lay back, horizontally across the large double bed. He covered his face with his hands, turning onto his side and curling up. It…it wasn't fair. He wanted his parents to be happy. And here, they were. But…he wasn't.
Their happiness at the cost of his own. They probably didn't even know how upset he was with them. Lukas didn't express emotions easily. It wasn't just that he didn't want to let people know what he was thinking and feeling, it had got to the point where he wasn't even sure if he could express emotions in public. On his own, he was fine. But around other people and he couldn't do it. Psychologists probably had a name for this sort of mental block, but Lukas didn't particularly care.
Lukas could feel his mind getting slower, hazier. He was slipping into a light doze, brought on by his pent up emotions that he was unable to express because in the busyness of the move he hadn't had any time alone. Distantly, he could hear his parents unpacking down the hall. But closer…
Someone was humming. He could sense them lying next to him on the bed. Their hand was running through his hair, stroking with very light touches. Lukas tried to look. Tried to open his sharp blue eyes. But then he was pulled under into the quietness of sleep, hands going slack and laying half curled in front of his face on the bed.
Eiríkur Steilsson (born 17th June 1812, died 14th November 1827) looked down at the teen lying across his bed. He had seen the family come in through the window, and knew that the boy had seen him. Felt, in the way that only spirits could, the happiness of the adults and the misery of the teen. He had been prepared to chase them away. Scare them into moving like he had so many people before them.
But this time something was different. Something about the teen in front of him had stopped him. What was it? The ghost didn't know. But he wanted them to stay. Stay in the house he had lived and died in. Stay in the home that had belonged to his family for centuries. Or…he wanted the teen to stay.
He had heard the mother call her son that. The name sparked something in him. Tugged at his mind like a memory he couldn't quite pull up. A name he knew but couldn't quite place. Eiríkur had never known someone called 'Lukas', in life or in death. But he knew this one. Not certainly. Not exactly. But he knew him. And he also knew, as sure as he knew where his rotting body was buried out in the grounds by the hill where the Mountain Avens grew, that he wanted Lukas to stay.
Lukas couldn't leave. Ever. This blond haired, blue eyed beauty would stay with him always. So Eiríkur could run his ghostly hands across that smooth pale skin, look into those blue eyes with his own lilac ones and see the tantalising emotion in them that Lukas would display only to him, so he could claim those pink lips with his paler ones…
Eiríkur looked down at Lukas, lilac eyes filled with an emotion he did not yet recognise. An old emotion. But still felt as strongly and passionately as it had been felt in lifetimes before. Eiríkur pressed a kiss to Lukas' cheek, watching with a thrill as Lukas unconsciously moved closer to his half-transparent and optionally intangible presence. His hand stroked through Lukas' hair as he gazed upon the Norwegian possessively.
For the first time since his death, Eiríkur felt alive.
The patch of sun Lukas was lying curled-up in was really very warm. The small cat with sandy coloured fur, a floating curl and large blue eyes was drifting between dozing and being completely asleep. He had curled up on the window sill where his owner had considerately placed a large cushion several hours ago. He vaguely recalled that sometime after he had commandeered the window he had distantly heard his owner leave the house, slamming the front door behind her.
Oh well, it wasn't his business. She would be back soon, anyway.
The sun was obscured by a cloud.
The sudden coolness of his previously warm spot awoke the cat properly. Grumbling inside his mind, Lukas made to roll over, when his sharp ears pricked up at the sound of an approaching car. He continued his roll, but stood up at the end of it, stretching thoroughly and yawning, his pointed teeth flashing. He shook himself off, the gold cross hanging from his red collar jangling, and sat down elegantly, poised and waiting for his owner to return.
The sound of an engine stopping. Keys being removed. The car door opening. The sound of an object being moved across the leather seats and picked up..? Probably her bag, Lukas decided. The car door slamming shut. The beeps of the car being locked. Footsteps up the garden path. Jingle of keys. Unlocking of door.
"Lukas, I'm home!"
She was back. Lukas meowed softly in greeting (it was always best to be polite to the one you relied on for food and a roof over your head). The young woman entered the room, shrugging off her coat and placing it haphazardly in a pile on one side of the sofa. Lukas nearly rolled his eyes at his owner's inherent laziness. She didn't have tolerance for messes, but she did have the habit of leaving things for later- whether 'later' was hours or days from then she didn't care. The coat would probably lie there all day and night before she would pick it up to put on tomorrow.
"I have someone I want you to meet, Lukas. He's come a long way and will be living with us from now on." His owner always spoke to him. Maybe it was a side effect of living a fairly reclusive life and working from home, but because she didn't have many friends she often talked to her pet cat instead. Lukas would be the first to admit that he was probably quite spoiled by her, but that didn't mean he was a brat. He had been a Rescue Shelter cat before she had adopted him, and knew what it was like to live on barely anything. He was thankful every day for getting such a kind owner.
His owner turned and picked up something she had put down in the hallway, just out of sight. It was the dreaded thing. The object all cats hated with a vengeance. The terrible Pet Carrier.
Lukas tensed, his fur standing on end. She wasn't going to put him in it, was she? But no, there was something already inside it. No, not something. Someone.
His owner opened the door and a smaller cat walked out, hanging its head shyly and remaining near the carrier. Its fur was white in colour, although it appeared on the edge of silver. It was even smaller than Lukas' slim frame, making it nearly petite. Lukas couldn't see the colour of the cat's eyes.
"Isn't he cute?" Lukas' owner cooed. "He'll be part of this family from now on. It's like you'll be having a little brother!"
The white cat's ears flicked back and he seemed to curl in on himself. Lukas' owner pulled a strip of dark blue cloth with a white and red stripe through it out of her pocket, tying it around the neck of the new cat with a bow at the front. "Now he looks like the perfect little gentleman. His name is Eiríkur. Now get along, kitties, I have to go back out."
Lukas', and now Eiríkur's, owner picked herself up off the floor and grabbed her coat, exiting the room and then the house. Both cats heard the car start up again and drive off. Lukas observed the new cat from his higher perch. He had never thought that his owner would get another cat, but he wasn't really complaining. The new cat was adorable.
Lukas leapt down from the window sill, landing a couple of feet away from Eiríkur. The white cat (nearly the size of a kitten, really) looked up, startled. Large lilac eyes nearly stopped Lukas' heart. Those eyes struck a chord in him, something that screamed he knew those eyes. The sandy coloured cat padded closer, until he was nose to nose with the little bundle of white fur with large lilac eyes that caught the hearts of anyone who saw them.
Without any warning, Lukas struck. He moved to the side and twisted his head, grabbing the back of Eiríkur's neck with his teeth, like all mother-cats do to carry around their kittens. Following this, he picked up the white cat and carried him out of the room.
"Hey-! What are doing?" came the protest from Eiríkur, unsure as to why his new 'brother' was treating him like this. Lukas ignored him and carried Eiríkur up the stairs, heading towards the spare bedroom. The door was slightly ajar and Lukas pushed his way in. He jumped onto the bed and let his 'lillebror' go. Eiríkur quickly withdrew a couple of feet away from him.
"What was that for?" the white cat nearly shouted. Lukas shrugged (as much as a feline can shrug). Eiríkur glared at the nonchalant answer, but it didn't quite work. It just made him look cuter.
A smirk lifted the corner of Lukas' mouth and he pounced. He and Eiríkur tussled on the bed, the match becoming a play-fight. After several minutes, they both stopped, exhausted. They lay there, side by side. Confusion lapped at both their minds. Why did this feel so right?
When Lukas had gotten his breath back, he rolled over to Eiríkur, lying half on top of him. When no protest came from the cat beneath him, Lukas took this as an invitation to start cleaning Eiríkur up. He gently licked at the smaller cat's ears, moving across the top of his head, down his neck and shoulders. Eiríkur shuddered under him, then flinched, embarrassed. Lukas slowly started to lick around Eiríkur's face, purposefully going slow, teasing around the white cat's furry cheeks and 'accidently' brushing the sensitive whiskers.
When a mewl escaped Eiríkur's throat, he stopped. There was a whine of disappointment and then a very self-conscious Eiríkur looked into Lukas' eyes, mortified and embarrassed, as his sense returned to him. Lukas smirked, and then blew his warm breath over Eiríkur's face, intentionally angling it so that the brunt of it hit the whiskers. Eiríkur shuddered again and Lukas leant down to push his nose against the silver cat's little wet pink one, rubbing gently.
"Welcome to the family." He murmured, nipping Eiríkur's ear teasingly.
Eiríkur looked into those protective blue eyes, and smiled.
The young Icelandic teen heard his father calling from downstairs. Well, he wasn't really his father. Not biological, anyway.
He sighed. Put down his book. He had been adopted by this family several years ago, when he had been fostered by them. They had liked him so much that they had decided to adopt him. They still fostered, however, and today another teen was arriving to stay with them. He would probably be gone in another few months, moved on again.
Eiríkur went downstairs, ready to meet his new (temporary) 'bróðir' or 'systir'. There was another teenage boy standing in the doorway with a social worker behind him. 'Bróðir', then. He looked only a couple of years older than Eiríkur's thirteen, with blond hair and blue eyes. While the adults chatted, Eiríkur's and the new teen's eyes had found each other. The feeling that had shot through the Icelandic boy at that moment when blue had met lilac was indescribable. All-encompassing. Heady. Nostalgic. World shaking.
By the minute widening of enigmatic ocean blue eyes, Eiríkur knew that the other teen had felt it, too. The Icelandic teen descended the last few steps, the other boy approaching him also. There was something in the air, an electrified, anticipation of some kind. Eiríkur opened his mouth to speak-
"Well, why don't you both come in and have lunch with us? Lukas can sit with Eiríkur in the living room because there is only room for four at our table, which also gives the boys a chance to get to know each other." Eiríkur's mother interrupted the moment, smiling at everyone. The adult moved to the dining room and Eiríkur went to shut the front door, then walked into the living room with the new guy (Lukas, wasn't it?) following.
The two sat down on the sofa awkwardly. The sound of the adults talking in the kitchen and pots clattering as Eiríkur's mother set about cooking echoed through the walls and door. Eiríkur cleared his throat awkwardly.
"So, um, Lukas, is it?"
Lukas frowned in confusion, then self-consciously pulled out a notepad, scrawling down in English:
I am sorry, but I do not understand Icelandic.
Oh. Eiríkur quickly asked again, this time in English.
Ja, my name is Lukas. Bondevík is my family name.
"Eiríkur Steilsson." The Icelander introduced himself, wondering why Lukas had not just spoken to him instead of writing things down. "So…are you British or something?"
Nei, I am Norwegian. But I do not know Icelandic and I assume that you do not know Norwegian. English is our common language.
"Okay…but, and I mean no offense, but why don't you speak?"
Lukas paused, and for a second Eiríkur thought that he had treaded on a nerve and the Norwegian teen wasn't going to answer. But then Lukas unwrapped his scarf and tilted his head back. Eiríkur's eyes widened and he could help the gasp that escaped his throat as his hand unconsciously rose to trace the set of pale white scars around Lukas' neck.
"You- you're mute?"
Lukas just nodded, rewrapping the scarf and fiddling with the pen in his hands. Eiríkur let his hands fall back to his lap and they sat there in silence for a while. The social worker came into the room.
"Okay, Lukas. I'm going to leave you here with this family. Stay out of trouble."
Lukas answered the social worker, but instead of writing down his response he made actions with his hands for several seconds. Sign Language, Eiríkur thought, after a moment of watching. He didn't know Sign Language. Lukas would hate it here, around a family that didn't understand him. This made Eiríkur feel stricken, he didn't want Lukas to hate it here.
The social worker left soon after. Lukas and Eiríkur moved to the kitchen where their lunch was waiting on the side. "Come on, let's go up to my room." Eiríkur murmured, dodging around his guardians and ascending the stairs, Lukas right behind him.
They ended up in Eiríkur's room, sitting cross-legged on his bed with their plates in front of him. Unsure of himself, Eiríkur tried to start up the conversation again.
"So…uh, do you know how long you'll be staying?"
The paper pad came out again.
Around four months, I think. Then I will be moved back to Norge.
"I hope you don't mind me asking, but how did you…become mute?"
In the car crash where my parents died. That was four years ago.
Then another question sprang to mind, something he had noticed in the exchange between Lukas and the social worker.
"How many languages do you know? The social worker talked to you in English but she was Icelandic and you answered her in Sign Language…"
I know English and Norwegian as well as Norwegian Sign Language and British Sign Language. The social worker knows British Sign Language so I could communicate with her. I do not know Icelandic or Icelandic Sign Language.
"Okay. That's…clever." And it was. Lukas knew, essentially, four different languages. The conversation ended there, both teens turning to their cooling lunches. Four months suddenly seemed far too short.
And they were. The time flew by far too quickly. Eiríkur had connected with Lukas unlike any other person his parents had fostered. Then the day came when all of Lukas' bags were packed, and they were standing out in the front garden, waiting for Lukas to be taken away.
It's not fair, Eiríkur thought. Why does Lukas have to go?
The car with the social worker had just arrived. Lukas' bags were packed into the boot of the car. It was time to say goodbye.
Lukas allowed Eiríkur's parents to embrace him, carefully hugging back. Then he hugged Eiríkur tight with all of the fiery love the boy everyone said possessed a heart of ice had within him for the younger boy. He nuzzled the side of Eiríkur's face and placed a kiss on his cheek, unable to do more with the adults watching.
As Lukas reluctantly turned away, walking a few steps towards the car come to take him back to Norway, Eiríkur called out.
The Norwegian stopped, turned back to his little love. Eiríkur, hesitantly, hopefully, started to sign.
He signed in Norwegian Sign Language, his small hands fluttering as they formed the important message. Lukas' eyes widened, lit up in joy and a deep, deep love. He smiled, the most beautiful smile in the world to Eiríkur, and mouthed the words back.
In the car, on the way to the airport, Lukas played the scene over and over again in his head. Engraving it into memory. He silently swore that he would come back to re-join the silver haired beauty waiting for him on Iceland's shores.
When he slept that night, the sight of Eiríkur's hands spelling out 'jeg elsker deg' haunted his dreams.
Iceland lay sprawled across Norway's sofa, drifting between sleeping and waking. His head was in Norway's lap, his hair being stroked by his older brother. It was late afternoon, turning into early evening. Outside, the blue sky was bleeding into reds and pinks and yellows as the sun was slowly setting.
"Think of how much time it took for us to get to here." Norway interrupted his lazy sinking into sleep. Iceland blinked, now wide awake.
"It has been a long journey for us to get to here, has it not?" Norway repeated, twirling one of the strands of silver hair he was holding around his slim fingers. "All those past lives, being drawn together again and again by that spell I cast."
"Oh, já. This is our, what, tenth?"
"Hey, remember when we were both cats? That was a weird life. I'll never get over that incident with you, that bird and the garden pond. It was so funny!" Iceland laughed at the put-off look on Norway's face, clearly remembering his embarrassment, too. But his laughter proved contagious (as most laughter is) and soon Norway was chuckling under his breath as well.
"What about when you were a faerie? Or when you were a ghost? In those lives I was perfectly human." Norway mused, thinking about the strange relationships they'd had when one of the pair wasn't human.
Iceland frowned playfully, "What about when you were that Guardian Angel? If we hadn't started our relationship until I got older, that could have been paedophilia!"
Norway looked affronted. "But it was not. We waited until you were seventeen before actually starting it properly. What about your creepy possessiveness when you were a ghost?"
"I was the older of us two in that life! I wanted my chance to be more dominant for once." Iceland pouted teasingly, reaching his hands up to stroke Norway's face, tracing his lips in a clear invitation. Norway pulled Iceland up so that the younger was sitting in his lap, before claiming Iceland's lips in a heated kiss. The island whined when Norway pulled away.
"Wonder why we only remembered our past lives in this life?" Iceland hummed thoughtfully.
"It is probably to do with the fact that in this life we are virtually immortal. We can only die if our country is dissolved and our people do not identify with us anymore."
"I knew you'd have a theory. Stupid smart people."
"And that is an oxymoron."
"Stop talking, Noregur."
"Oh? Is that a command?"
"Já, it means your bedroom is really very inviting today, stóri bróðir."
"Well in that case, lillebror, I will do as you please."
Norway scooped up Iceland, carrying him upstairs. Now was not the time to worry about past lives. Now was Now. The Past was the Past. And Now was Iceland peppering kisses all over Norway's bare chest as they fell back onto the bed, leaving the shirt forgotten on the floor.
Now, in Norway's opinion, was pretty alright.
I'M SO SORRY! I cannot describe how sorry I am for not getting this up sooner. I actually do have an explanation. Remember all those exams I was complaining about a couple of chapters ago? They all sneaked up behind me and then jumped me, comandeering my life for several weeks. Then I had a horrible mix of not much free time, tiredness when I did, sickness for a few days and a bit of minor Writer's Block. Sorry, again.
On a happier note, I hope you all had a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. To those that those wishes apply to at least. To those who don't, I hope you all had a happy 24th and 25th of December and 31st of December and 1st of January. Thank you for hanging in with me this long.
A big thank you to Blood on the Sakuras, love-heart-heart, AimIsTalking, Guest, Alonis, JustMakeLeftTurns and animeduchess14 for reviewing since I posted my last chapter; xArchivex, love-heart-heart, littleshadows, animeduchess14, QueenOfThePolarBears, Hunter Avalon, Blood on the Sakuras, Harrison642, OrangeyPie and Painting Politics and Poland for favouriting and 1sarahsmiley, JustAnotherPervert, LeoVargas, QueenOfThePolarBears, animeduchess14, hetalia is LOVE, love-heart-heart and nightwhisperofshadows for following.
Just to let you all know, I have made some changes to the previous chapters. There is more Icelandic and Norwegian in their dialogue. I promise, I did restrain myself. It's all fairly simple, mostly single words and phrases. I also cross-referenced all of it, so it should be accurate. If it's not, can somebody please send me a PM so I can change it? I spent quite a while trying to get all of the chapters up to scratch, so please have a quick look, thanks.
Right, so onto this installment. The concept is pretty simple, you probably got it around three lives in. Norway has cast a spell after the apocalypse so that he and Iceland will continue being reborn and meeting each other. In the second life, it is in a school setting and Iceland is the new kid. By the way, Norway smokes in this as a representation of all that has gone wrong in his friendship with Denmark. You know, peer pressue and trying to fit in. He stops after he meets Iceland.
The next one is Assassin!Norway and Bartender!Iceland with some GangLeader!Russia thrown in on the side. I loved coming up with the concept of The Bad Hand, who knows, I might even revisit it. The fourth life was Young!Norway and Faerie!Iceland, for those who don't know, the Seelie Court (and the Unseelie Court) are Scottish folklore- you can look at Wikipedia for more information.
In the fifth life we have a StreetKid!Iceland. This one was the hardest to write out. I spent days on it and I'm still not completely happy with it. I made Lukas' family very friendly, his mother is somewhat based off of Molly Weasley from Harry Potter. Sixth life and we have Young!Iceland and GuardianAngel!Norway. Because Norway would make an awesome Guardian Angel. The seventh life has Ghost!Iceland haunting the house/manor/thing Norway's family has just moved into. This was also the one life where Iceland is more dominant in the relationship.
In the eighth life, we have Cat!Norway and Cat!Iceland. I didn't use the Nekotalia designs, instead replacing them with my own. Awkwardly, it also happens to be the most graphic life in the whole chapter. Up next is number nine, and there is Mute!Norway. In this, Iceland is thirteen and Norway is fifteen. You can be rest assured that Norway comes back to claim Iceland as his own.
Last life is when they're Nations. They reflect on past lives and focus on the Now. Suggestive material, maybe, but more lighthearted than the rest.
I'll leave you here. Sorry again for taking so long. Happy New Year!
Read and Review, please!