Author: S.H. Marr PM
Rey never really thought about the reasons that make staying out late a bad idea until he discovers one: the rest of the people out in the middle of the night are insane. Insane, pushy, arrogant, and maybe kind of adorable. Slash.Rated: Fiction T - English - Fantasy - Chapters: 55 - Words: 84,831 - Reviews: 301 - Favs: 53 - Follows: 63 - Updated: 01-05-13 - Published: 04-14-12 - Status: Complete - id: 3013457
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Waking up with a knee in your abdomen had to be one of the most unpleasant experiences in life, Rey thought. So why did it seem to keep happening to him?
"Move," he complained, shoving the warm body on top of him away.
Eiryu rolled off. "Wake up."
Rey groaned. "I am awake."
"Good. So what do you want to do today? I think you should pick what you want to learn about now. I've covered most of the basic areas. What sticks out?"
"Me?" Eiryu arched his brows and tossed one arm over Rey's chest.
"Yeah. You keep teaching me stuff you knew as a kid, but I don't have any context. What were you like as a kid? What did you do?"
Eiryu rolled off of the bed with a sigh. "Okay, fine. I'll go get my photo albums and stuff while you get dressed. Meet me in the living room."
Rey grinned. "Awesome."
While he sat up and climbed out of bed, Eiryu left the room and walked across the hall to his own room. Rey tossed on the first shirt and pair of jeans he could find in the drawer he kept of his own clothes for the stay-overs at Eiryu's.
After they had first started dating, Rey's parents hadn't really wanted him to continue the convenience sleepovers, but Eiryu had had a long, probably incredibly awkward, discussion with them about the probability of them having sex and whatever he had said (since Rey had refused to be a part of it, because that embarrassment simply wasn't worth it) had convinced them it was safe.
Eiryu wasn't in the living room when Rey walked out there, but he figured that made sense, since Eiryu said he was looking for photo albums and such. He considered offering to help, but figured the last think Eiryu really wanted was someone poking around his stuff. Honestly, Rey was surprised he even agreed to talk about his childhood.
While he waited, he sat cross-legged on the carpet and picked at the sand-colored carpet. Rey was of the opinion that carpeting was almost always ugly, but at least Eiryu's kind of matched the tan furniture.
He was wondering how rude it would be to start unraveling the little threads when Eiryu came in and dumped a pile of binders on the floor and set a wooden box next to them.
"So," Eiryu started. "Where are we starting?"
Immediately, Rey answered, "What did you do as a kid? What stands out as important to you?"
Eiryu was quiet for a moment before he pulled out the most battered of the leather binders and opened it. "Echai and I were born in Kellye, but neither of my parents were from around there, so I didn't get to know my extended family until I was older. Echai and I mostly spent time with each other as kids, and when we started school when we were four, we made our own friends. I met Ayasaz that year, and Resol. Do you remember Resol?"
"Um…that girl we met?"
"Mhm, her. I think she had a crush on Echai for a long time when we were younger, and we were fast friends, too."
"And you hated Ayasaz right away?"
Eiryu smiled. "Pretty much so, yeah. Echai didn't mind him as much, but Aya didn't like him." He pointed to one of the photos, a group of little kids all dressed identically in brown robes that made them look like little monk children.
The idea of Eiryu as a monk almost made Rey snort with laughter, but Eiryu didn't notice as he said, "That was our class photo."
It didn't take him long to identify Eiryu by his eyes—they hadn't changed much since he was kid except that they sometimes looked more haunted now—and his brother next to him. Obviously, they hadn't been identical twins, since Echai had black hair and brown eyes, but they were clearly brothers anyway.
"Where's Ayasaz?" Rey asked, figuring that if he couldn't recognize him, it would probably be funny to see who it was.
"The one that looks like a scarecrow," Eiryu answered, pointing out a tallish, thin boy with an unbrushed mop of straw-colored hair.
Rey laughed for real this time, more at Eiryu's description than at the actual picture.
"So, you started school at four? What did you study?"
"Well, it's tradition for us to start at four, because pretty much all of us can talk by then and it's usually the age we start gaining some control over our magic abilities, so it's time to start training. We only have to stay in school until we're thirteen, and then we start private studies with mentors in our prospective fields. That's when I met Master Fleon. Echai was studying with Master Aohan originally. You've met him. He was one of the men who were studying that tattoo on your back."
Rey couldn't remember which of the men Master Aohan was, but he didn't voice that. "Huh, okay. So what did you do for fun?"
"A lot of the same stuff normal kids do, Rey. I mean, we had a few games that I can't teach you how to play because they involve magic, but it's not like we played Quidditch."
"You read the book I got you."
"Yes, I did. You were right. It was kind of absurd." He gave Rey a smile and winked. "Echai and I played chess a lot as kids. Our dad started teaching us how to play before we could even walk well. I think he wanted to make sure we couldn't run away."
"No, we did other stuff. We went camping a couple of times." Eiryu flipped through pages of the album, apparently looking for camping pictures and stopped somewhere else and smiled suddenly.
"Oh, just…just an old picture." He showed it to Rey and said, "Dad had gotten us charms for our birthday and we had to figure out what they did for ourselves. We never did figure it out. I…I buried both of them with Echai, though, so I'll never know."
Rey winced and reached over to hug Eiryu. "Can I ask a painful question?"
"Might as well get it over with now," Eiryu replied with a deep breath. He leaned into Rey's arms before pulling away and sitting upright. "What?"
"How old were you when your dad died?"
Eiryu shut his eyes for a moment and took another deep breath. "Ten," he finally said, opening his eyes. "But I still remember him like it was yesterday. Echai is the same way."'
"Yeah. I just…I wish I had more time with them. I would have done so many things differently. Made the most of the time, you know?"
Rey scooted over so he could hug Eiryu again. "What happened to you dad?"
"Heart failure. He was young…way too young for what happened to be normal, even for people like you…and it doesn't run in the family. But we don't have anything that says it was anything other than a tragedy."
"Wait, you think someone…did that to him?"
Eiryu bit his lower lip. "Probably. There's no evidence of anything, it just…seems so suspicious. But without something more, no one can even try to do anything about it."
Eiryu shook his head. "I've gotten used to the idea. Anyway, he died when I was ten. When I was twelve, my mother met my eventual step-father. They got married the next year."
"You don't like your step-father?"
"I hate him."
The venom in Eiryu's voice made Rey's arms tighten around him instinctively. Never had he heard someone say they hated someone with that much believable, genuine conviction. It made Rey's stomach flip over.
Eiryu took yet another deep breath and managed a weak smile for Rey. "So, more questions?"
"Yes. Familiars. I'm curious about familiars. In your society, and your previous ones specifically."
Eiryu winced. "You remembered that I had ones."
Rey rolled his eyes and pulled away again so he could look Eiryu in the eyes. "Of course I remembered, Eiryu. I still want answers."
Eiryu swallowed and looked at his hands. "It might make you think worse of me. It should."
"Because terrible things happened because of me."
"Let me make the decision on that," Rey said, taking Eiryu's hands and giving them a gentle squeeze.
Eiryu shut his eyes again. "The first one wasn't bad. I met her when I was thirteen. Not everyone in Kellye is Mageborn, just most of them. And everyone knows about them. And teenage years are usually the first time a Mageborn finds a familiar…and it's a good time for it, because the magic matures with puberty, and the familiar can be a stabilizing force, and it increases the flow the mage has on hand. Basically, I can tap into you for more energy if I need it.
"The first one was a girl named Ivy. She's Resol's sister, and I liked her, and for whatever reason she didn't inherit any of her own magic. So I gave her a better place in society as my familiar, but…things didn't work out. Like I said, my magic was still maturing and it turned out that because she was from a Mageborn family, even without talents, that she still had areas of specialties, and they were opposite my strengths. We had to part because I couldn't tap into her anymore. I haven't seen her since.
"The second I didn't meet until I came here. He was a few years older than us, his name was Greg. I…found him much the same way I found you, heading home after a long day in the park. Only Greg was a runaway and didn't want to go back to an abusive family, so I gave him a place to stay in exchange for his assistance. But…but he got sick of the deal and ran away. I found him a month later writhing in pain with his wrists slit. I think he was trying to end the pain."
Eiryu stared back, looking more vulnerable than Rey had ever seen him. More vulnerable than when he'd shared the details of his brother's death. It only took an instant for Rey to understand why. He was afraid that Rey would reject him. Even right after they'd finally gotten on even footing in their relationship.
Rey took a breath and tried again to process what Eiryu had told him and only managed, "That…sucks. I…I understand why you were so worried about me. I mean…how are…um….how are you, about it?"
Eiryu shrugged tightly. "I didn't know him that well. He only stayed with me a month. It was a bad idea to even take him in."
"How can you say that?"
Eiryu looked up at him bleakly. "Because I have to so that I can deal with it."
Rey bit his lip and drew Eiryu into his arms. "I think that's enough stories for today."
The other boy bent his head against Rey's collarbone and replied in a choked sob, "I do, too."
A/N: Giant infodump! Right after fluff, no less. I need to figure out how to spread this information out better.
Which reminds me: In response to the anonymous review by one "Glades": I totally get that the interesting stuff needs to be evened out. In my (pathetic) defense, this is a first draft? I'm compiling a list of major problems with it, and that's on the list somewhere near "What is wrong with Rey's parents?". The rest of the review kind of confused me, though. I haven't lost a connection to this story, I promise, and I don't know why it feels that way...and I have literally no clue why this story is less "me" than my others. True, this is the only modern set fantasy on here, but I do write a lot of it. Care to explain?