A/N: Thought I would try my hand at some -man fiction. I sat on my ass watching all of them a week ago and reading all the comics, while at work so thought, meh, this might be fun.
Keep in mind this is probably AU in some respects and there are elements of Catholic Dogma present, especially in later chapters. No slash.
Pleasure and Desire
Chapter 1: It's a Pleasure to Meet You.
Cyril swirled the cognac in his snifter with his gloved hand, allowing his eyes to trail from the fire to balcony and the water beyond. The one saving grace of having to keep a house in the middle of the city was the view. Cyril loved the open water, it calmed him in a way few other things could. Always he had lived by the coast and the feel of the waves beneath him was like a mother rocking his crib. He needed to take his family out on the sea next weekend. It had been too long and he didn't think Wisely had ever been. He pulled his attention back to his "guest" Barão Alejandro de Condeixa and his incessant prattle. In a way it worse than listening to Road expound on the wonderfulness of Allen Walker. But he had to keep him entertained till Tyki got back from investigating the man's home and most likely his wife. Tyki's beautiful face and amiable character could be such an asset sometimes, not to mention his ability to walk through walls.
He supposed the man's discourse was pleasant enough if unimaginative but then again, he was old money, a landed aristocrat that never had be any good at anything and everyone always listened to him. He purposely relaxed his jaw before he started grinding his teeth in anger. He hated people like that or rather had always envied them which led to hate. He had had to work his and Tyki's fingers to bone to get through University then law school and get a good job. But he hadn't been able to really get power until he married Tricia and her landed ties. She and the patronage of her family had been the final piece in his plan to pull himself and his brother out of gutter and into the good life. And they had made it. He was the Secretary of Defense and due to some finagling, also controlled the ports and tariff stations in and out of Portugal. Only the King and the Prime Minster had more power than him and the Prime Minster was a fool that did whatever he suggested. And still men like this looked down their noses at him.
"Shall we get down to business, Mr. Kamelot?" so the useless blob of humanity finally decided to get to his point.
"So this wasn't just a social call, Dom Condeixa?" he turned and quirked the left side of his mouth up and answered in perfectly accented upper class English. This man was pure Portuguese Nobility, complete with the ugly sash for no reason. English subjugation of Portugal's economy and Cyril's own ties to the UK, being half Irish though everyone thought him properly British, had always made ones like this wary of him. The half breed upstart was what they called him behind his back. But while this man had a name but no money, Cyril had money and was making a name.
"No, why on Earth would I want to socialize with the likes of you, Minster?" Cyril cocked his head to the side and watched, noting the use of his political title rather than peerage title. "I have found out certain information about you and that slick brother of yours," the derision even more evident towards Tyki than himself. He would allow the slight to stand for now after all his brother could be a painfully, lazy wretch sometimes. He never could understand how Tyki was always ambling around, enjoying the moment, never planning for the future or securing what would be needed, never really caring for that matter if he slept in a feather bed or a nasty tick mattress. But then again, he supposed that was the difference between Pleasure and Desire. "Certain things that I suspect you wouldn't want getting out."
Ah so he was after black mail money, how droll. "Such as?"
"I have found out for a fact that you lied about your history in London," the man steepled his fingers from his seat. The glow from the fire caught on his liver spots. "You are not in fact the son of a merchant from Oporto and the daughter of the Gentry. I couldn't uncover your true parentage but I suspect it is something much more base," he now dropped his voice, "even that your parents came from Cheap Side and worked in trade."
Cyril came and sat across of the man, setting his brandy on the table, crossing his legs and leaning back. He eyed the Baron, who seemed altogether too smug for his own good. What an intemperate fool. "Who else have you told?" he asked, voice even.
"No one yet, but you should surely believe I will tell everyone, including your little wife and her family, if you do not meet my demands," he stood and turned his back, hands locked behind him, affecting a commanding air. Others might have been frightened but Cyril simply watched. "I will blunt, Mr. Kamelot, if that is actually your name. You will pay me 1000 réis a month or I will destroy you."
Cyril couldn't take it anymore and laughed. "You are absolutely wrong and I will pay you nothing."
"Excuse me," the man stuttered turning towards him then whipped back around as the door behind him slammed shut of apparently of its own accord. There was no reason to risk waking Road or Tricia with this discussion.
"You heard me clearly, Dom Condeixa, I will not give you a single cent and you are completely wrong about my background."
"You continue to try and stick with your lie," he bristled, "when I told you I have proof, irrefutable proof?"
"No, I won't stick with the lie but you're still wrong," he answered in his clipped British accent before dropping back into the lilting Brogue of the Cork docks he and Tyki had originally come from. "I canna' tell you what my sire did because I have no idea who he was. My mother was Portuguese dock yard whore that fucked anything with a guinea to spare. I only consider myself Irish because that happens to be where she birthed me but from her tellin' I was conceived between the gunwhales of ship in Spithead," the Baron looked appalled. "So no, bucko, I'm not half gentry and polite folk don't talk about me mum's trade so you are completely wrong."
"This is worse than I thought," Condeixa huffed. "Why would you tell me this?"
"I have no reason not to," he looked at his gloved hand, and noticed a bit of dirt on it from where he had touched the mantle earlier. He would have to have a word with the cleaning staff. He always wore gloves in company, to cover the scars on his hands from years as a day laborer and even longer as top-man and rigger, not to mention his flat knuckles. They had been worn down by repeated bare knuckle fighting to make sure he and Tyki had enough to get by when they were growing up. No, he chose to keep that concealed from these close minded snobs, who thought anyone not pedigreed like a dog was useless. Little did they realize his genetic pedigree was 7000 years old.
"That makes no sense."
"Actually it makes perfect sense," Cyril rose but only to retrieve his brandy and take a sip. "You see, you come into my home, where my family sleep, insult me and my brother, then have the audacity to try and extort money from me. You are a fool and I don't suffer fools unless I'm related to them." Jasdevi and Skin immediately popping into is mind.
"And what are you going to do to stop me?" Condeixa crossed his arms over his chest. "I now have the upper hand, Minister, and unless you make yourself agreeable to me, you will be ruined along with your family and your no account brother."
"It's simple really, I'm gonna' split your fucking head open," he answered with a smile.
"That's not funny," the man looked worried.
"It wasn't meant to be," he held his hand out and watched the astonishment on the Baron's face as the fireplace poker glided from its holder into his out stretched hand.
Tyki hummed "Danny Boy" to himself as he strolled home along the winding paths of Lisbon. He took the long way and was rewarded with a gelato shop still being open. He always took the long way so he could avoid the water. Cyril may love the sea but he hated, feared it, despised it, and wanted nothing to do with it. So they compromised and he agreed to live in his brother's house but his room was facing the street so he didn't have to be reminded it was there.
He slipped into the house through the servant's entrance and didn't even make it out of the kitchen before Snow, his brother's Great Pyrenees met him at the door to glare suspiciously at him before wagging his tail in greeting. He had thought Cyril had lost his damn mind when he had come home with the large white puppy two and a half years ago and said it was a gift for Tricia but now he understood. The akuma posing as servants around the house kept her safe from Exorcists but Snow guarded her from the mundane threats like burglars and rapists. He pat the giant, white beast on the head in greeting and continued to the main part of the house, noticing that Cyril's study was still lit though the door was closed. He decided he was in the mood for company and wanted to know how the meeting went so he knocked and slowly opened the door with his free hand. Normally he would just walk through it but the Baron might still be there and that would never do. He was met with the sight of his brother, pushing his blood covered hair off his face and yanking a fire place poker out of the back of the Baron's skull. There was blood splatters all over the study and furniture.
"Welcome home, Laddy boy, how was your evening?" Cyril looked up and smiled.
"Not as violent as yours it seems," he answered and stepped over what might have been a piece of brain.
"What did you find out?" his brother asked as he meticulously removed the blood from his poker.
"He has a cute cat, bad locks, his wife has lumpy breast, and is a dreadful bore in bed. I had to fake and orgasm to get out of there. Oh and he's planning on black mailing you but I guess you figured that one out already." Tyki noticed that Cyril was making no attempt to hide his brogue and answered in kind.
"Aye, I did at that," he picked up a glass of brandy and noticed the same time Tyki did that there was a chunk of hair in it. "Bloody hell," he spat and flung the glass at the fire, causing it to spark and burn brighter for a moment. He then turned and started kicking the CLEARLY dead man. "You stupid, fucking, motherless son of a whore!" Cyril's moods could be mercurial at best and downright dangerously bi-polar at worst, even before he became a Noah.
"How can you be motherless and a son of a whore?" Tyki asked him as he licked his ice cream cone then handed it to Cyril as he started phasing blood behind paint and marble to clean up the scene even as his brother levitated the body up and made it dance a jig before placing his hat back on and propelling the corpse towards the door.
"I guess you can't be," he licked on the cone and Tyki didn't complain. He wouldn't eat much of it. He never had a sweet tooth like Road and himself.
"Water or docks?" He asked, wondering what lie his brother had planned for the dead Baron.
"Docks, his murder will let us crack down on the docks in doing so annoy the Italians. They'll retaliate against the Westies and there will be a gang war for a few weeks, then I'll bring the Army in to quiet it all down. That should cause plenty of grieving widows for the Earl." He answered and flicked his hand and the Baron "walked" out of the room to a no doubt waiting akuma that would plant the body and take the fall. "Maybe I'll ask the Earl to visit his widow, then I can make him dance even after he rots," he chuckled as he removed his blood stained gloves, throwing them into the fire.
Tyki stopped and looked at his brother. This wasn't the Noah gene or rage against Innocents making him do this. He hadn't killed because of the Earl's order or to further his goals. This was Cyril and he had done it because this stupid bastard had made him mad. Tyki loved his brother but he had to agree with Wisely on this, that of all of the Noah, Cyril was the most frightening not because of being a Noah but because of what he was like when he wasn't. Cyril was probably the smartest of them and certainly the most cunning. He was also ruthless boarding on sociopathic and didn't care who or what he trampled over to reach his goals. Tyki had seen it his whole life, the merciless way Cyril met challenges and overcame them sometimes through force, sometimes through wit, but he always ended up on top. His shipping empire, that all the Noah lived off of, was founded on a slew of dead bodies, drugs, guns, piracy, and other assorted smuggling. The worst part was that the groundwork for it had been set before he even became a Noah.
Without realizing it he said, "sometimes you scare me, brother." Cyril stopped and looked at him and he felt guilty. Cyril had never hurt him or done him any harm. In fact, Cyril had basically raised him, especially after their mother was killed. Cyril was his big brother and had taken care of him when he was sick and taught him to read and write. Cyril did these things so that Tyki and the rest of their family wouldn't have to scratch by the way they had had to. He tried to smile to lessen the insult.
"It's alright, Laddy boy, sometimes I scare myself." They both turned to leave and he handed Tyki back his cone. It didn't matter, he wasn't hungry anymore. "Good night, Tyki."
"Night, Cyril," he answered and climbed the stairs to his room, stopping briefly to give Snow one more pat on the head as the dog sat sentinel at the top of the stairs.
Even though he was tired, and his bed was the most comfortable he had ever slept in, his mind couldn't find peace. It was late and he was alone, so he rolled over and retrieved a pouch from his night stand, dumping the contents into his hand. A few pretty rocks along with Allen Walker's button, he sifted back into the bag and grasped a large agate marble. It was perfectly round and smooth, with only the slightest nick in one curve. It was green and blue with a few strings of white and grey running through it. He closed his fist around it, feeling it warm to his touch and rested his hand on his chest as he sank back down. His father, or at least the man who claimed the position, had given to him when he was young. "Look Taicligh, it has all the colors of Ireland in it: the green of the grass, the grey of stone, the blue of the sea, and white of the surf. Keep this with you and you'll always have a piece of home." He had smiled then, his blue eyes shining and Tyki had hugged him. Thomas McMahon had been a simple sailor that had fallen in love with their mother and married her, doing his best to raise her to an honest profession, though Tyki hadn't figured it out till later that she still turned tricks on the side when he was out at sea. But he had convinced her to take runs on pleasure yachts as a server or a maid.
Dad, or Thomas as Cyril called him, had been a good man, an honest man that smiled and loved his family, even Cyril who wasn't his. Tyki always felt safe in his arms, even when they walked near the water. He had loved music and from the time he was 4, had taught Tyki to play the fiddle. He had had a mole under his left eye, just the same as his son and Tyki missed him. The marble, the mole and the fiddle were the only things he had left of the man. Though there was a part of him that was glad he was dead, that both his parents were because what would they say about him and Cyril now. Yes they were wealthy and powerful but they were rotten, a beautiful red apple with the center eaten through by maggots.
He rolled onto his side, still clutching his marble and wondered when everything had all gone wrong. Everything used to be so simple, so easy. Back in Ireland when all he wanted or needed was on the first floor of the little row house they rented on the docks and he was content to run around all day and come home to his mother's cooking, his father's strong arms, and the warmish bed he shared with Cyril. He hadn't even realized that they were poor or that being poor was bad. But Cyril was never content, not even back then. He wouldn't be happy to live on the docks and learn a trade, no he was always at the church or in town, begging for books to read. There was a long time, when Cyril was the only one in their family that could read or figure sums. Back then he never understood how Cyril could spend hours reading, when it was so much more fun to run and play soldier or sailor with the other children. He hadn't understood that Cyril wanted the knowledge in those books, absorbed it like a sponge, and greedily tucked it away until he needed it. He always watched, always learned, always looked for a way to twist things to his own advantage.
He remembered the few times he had gone to town with his brother, to play by the fountain while his brother cleaned the book shop for pennies and the chance to read, he would look around and not understand the fuss. There were pretty people to be sure, women with big hats and skirts, whose faces were pale and had all their teeth and men with smooth hands and clothes that weren't patched that smelled good. He thought they were neat but didn't understand why they were so special. He couldn't fathom why Cyril looked at them with such want in his eyes, such desire. Tyki had never understood, even so long ago, why Cyril couldn't be happy with what was around him, what he already had. He had always been obsessed with stock piling, planning, conniving for the future. He supposed it was the difference between Pleasure and Desire. If Pleasure didn't like something, it simply moved through it, rejected it. If Desire didn't, it controlled it, dominated it, made it bend to its whims.
Pleasure and Desire, that's what they were now, maybe what they had always been. No one had been able to answer his question, if they were the way they were because they were destined to be Noah or if they became Noah because of the way they were. Were they predestined or chosen? He supposed such deep pondering didn't suite his simple mind but he couldn't help himself on this one topic. After all becoming members of the Noah Clan had changed the course of his and Cyril's lives for good, so why shouldn't he ponder the reasons. Maybe he was just liked obsessing about it because it had been so unpleasant for him. He hadn't been lucky like Wisely and turned quickly. He hadn't just woken in an instant and all was well. He had been more like Skin only worse. For him it had taken months, months of pain that made him writhe and cry, months and fear that left him trembling, months of feeling his mind break fissure by fissure and his sanity slowly slip away like water rolling on a deck.
10 years ago Dock Yards of Oporto, Portugal
Taicligh McMahon or Tyki the Mikk as he was now mostly known, sipped his tea and watched the rain sheet down the window and shivered from the draft. He couldn't see much of the docks in this weather but at least he wasn't out in it or worse, Cyril wasn't out on the water in it. He gulped down the rest of his tepid drink and pumped the water spigot to rinse it. Tea got cold so quickly in metal cups, which was why he always let Cyril have the one ceramic mug. He needed it more so he could stay up late and study. He was sitting for his law school entrance exams the day after tomorrow and as usual had commandeered their one table to use as a study station. Tyki didn't mind really, he was tired and achy and would go to bed soon anyway, if the sound of the drip from their leaky roof hitting the wash basin didn't keep him awake. Rain like this always made him feel groggy and unhappy. It had been during a thunderstorm that their parents' ship had gone down.
He looked up one more time at the window and because of the light from Cyril's lantern; he could see himself reflected back against the rain water and dingy window pane. He wondered if he looked as awful as he felt. But within a blink of an eye, his reflection had changed from himself, to a refined version of himself, with skin darker than his darkest tan he had ever had, eyes that shone like candles, and a smile that seemed to take up most of his face. He gasped and grabbed hold of the edge of the sink, agony spiking through his forehead again, like he had been stabbed. Pain lanced through his chest and his limbs felt numb and useless as he watched his reflected self pull his bangs back and expose a row of black crosses, right where his own head throbbed. He felt, rather than saw a drop of blood fall from his forehead and tried to make his ice cold lips form Cyril's name. Didn't his brother see this, wasn't it real?
His reflected self's eyes seem to lose their glow receding to and preternatural golden. They regarded him for a moment then he lifted his hand, a black mark also marring his palm, before pointing out towards the dock. There was a flash of lightening and Tyki saw the docks clearly illuminated, there were dead bodies everywhere, people he had known and been friends with since he and Cyril had moved here 4 years ago. They were covered in blood and ravens pecked at their eyes even as rats nibbled at their bloated and rotting flesh and maggots made their skin ripple. He could smell it, the stink of blood and death. Why couldn't Cyril smell it?
"You could do it, Tyki, you could paint this picture," he heard a whispering voice in his head even as his reflected self mouthed the words. And like that the spell was broken and he could move. Without thinking he bolted for the door, expecting to see the docks bright as the day and covered in blood but instead it was dark and rainy, no different than it had been when he got home.
He heard Cyril shouting after him but ignored it. He opened his mouth to cry out but instead of a scream, his supper spilled out and before he knew it, he was on his hands and knees, retching into the street. He felt his brother's long fingers collect his loose hair and hold it back from his face as he heaved and spat his meal onto the ground. His stomach writhed like there was something alive in it and his nose burned with the scent of blood. He heard a gentle laugh in his head and he whimpered, body convulsing and splattering bile in front of him.
He felt his brother wrap his arm around his chest to hold him up and soothe in his lilting voice, "it's ok Laddy, I've got you." He gagged a few more times, till they were nothing but dry heaves that tore at his throat before Cyril helped him sit up and he immediately pulled his legs to his chest, hiding his face on his knees. He felt Cyril drape his heavy Greatcoat over his shoulders. It was warm with body heat and smelled of the linseed oil and tar used to keep it waterproof when Cyril was out on the fishing ships. With his brother's sure footedness, fearlessness, height, and reach, he was worth his weight in gold as a Rigger and he worked on weekends on fishing ships and occasionally gun or drug runs to pay for his schooling. It wasn't till he no longer felt the rain that he realized he had been in it and that he was cold.
He started to shiver, teeth chattering, just as Cyril returned, wearing only his shirt sleeves. He handed Tyki a dipper of rain water to rinse the vile stickiness out of his mouth and throat. Once he was done, Cyril helped him stand on legs that ached and felt like jelly. His brother man handled him into the house and deposited him in one of the only two chairs they had. Once he had shaken the water off his coat, he returned with a towel and threw it over Tyki's head. All the while he tried not to move too much. He was afraid any movement would set off the blazing pain in his head or the writhing beast in his stomach. But he couldn't stop shaking no matter how he tried.
"Oh Laddy boy, I worry about you," Cyril said, as he rubbed the towel over Tyki's hair, like he had done when his brother had been a little boy. "Not even bright enough to come in out of the rain," he joked and Tyki wanted to laugh but he couldn't. He just kept staring at his hands. They hurt. He felt his brother swipe the towel across his forehead, it felt like sandpaper on an open wound, and then use his finger under Tyki's chin to get him to raise his head. "Did you hit your head, you're bleeding?"
He lifted his own shaking fingers to his forehead and felt the tender stop, and sure enough there was blood. He looked at it and all of a sudden, a large wound opened on his palm, blood, dark and thick like tar poured from it, coating his fingers. He saw bugs, small beetles and maggots teeming in the hole, borrowing under his skin. He blinked again and it was gone but he couldn't stop himself from gagging at the sight. Luckily Cyril had lunged for the pan they were using to collect water from the leaky roof. There was nothing left in him though, so it was all for naught.
Cyril squatted in front of him, bringing him lower than Tyki, so he could look up into his face. "What's the matter?" He asked, taking one of Tyki's hands in his own, rubbing some warmth back into it. He shouldn't be this cold. That was one of the reasons they came to Portugal to get away from the cold in Ireland. That was what Cyril had said, that they needed to go someplace warmer without a looming famine so they went to France, then Spain, then settled here in Portugal so Cyril could go to school. It was ok though, unlike the other places he spoke the language here. His brother again tried to catch his eyes, "this is the 3rd time in as many weeks that you've been sick. We need to take you to a doctor tomorrow." He felt his brother's hand on his leg, warm and comforting. He wasn't sure a doctor could help him. He was pretty sure he needed a priest.
"No," he managed to croak. His throat felt like had been gargling glass. "You need to study tomorrow then you have your tests. If I still feel bad, we'll go after that." He wouldn't screw up Cyril's plans for this. He wasn't a kid anymore.
"Are you sure, Laddy," his brother asked him, concern warring with his desire to not waste precious study time. Tyki was sure and shook his head yes, not trusted his voice. "Ok, then off to bed with you," Cyril pulled him up and gave him a little shove towards the back of their house. He had recently started sleeping on a straw tick mattress on the floor like Cyril, now too tall to sleep on the cot. He sat on his bed and pulled his boots off, burrowing under the blanket. It did nothing to stop his shivering. He opened his eyes as he heard Cyril come kneel beside him. They didn't have a bedroom, proper, really their rented house was only one room with a small kitchen and a nook they slept in. They shared outhouses and bathing rooms with the rest of the row houses. He watched his brother place a pail beside him and pull the blanket from his own bed over top of him. "No reason to have you running out in the rain again," Cyril stroked his hair and he wanted to cry for some reason. "Now get some rest, I'll be at the table if you need anything." Tyki nodded then closed his eyes.