- Soundless Tide -
5: une rêve
The rain had seemed endless that day. Harvesting work had come to a halt and everybody stayed inside for the day. I was curled up in a pile of blankets by the window, staring out listlessly at the growing puddles. My parents were worried that I had gotten ill and it had taken a while for me to reassure them that I was fine. When they'd finally stopped fussing, I'd taken refuge in my favorite spot. I must have fallen asleep a while later because the next thing I knew, I was drifting through a dream.
There were several figures shrouded in the darkness. They were surrounding another, but this person seemed different from the rest. He was being held to the ground with a foot to his back. As he raised his head I was able to recognize him as Gabriele. My chest ached to see him in such a state—it looked as though he'd been beaten.
I wanted to reach out to him, to hold him and protect him from those people but found that somehow I couldn't move. Of course I couldn't speak either. All I could do was watch helplessly as my Angel was shoved to the ground like a lowly cur.
"That's enough for now," a thin, nasally voice said in a low tone, almost a whisper. A tall man in black approached Gabriele and stared down at him. "I honestly was hoping we would not have to go this far, Sir D'Arcangelo, but you gave us no choice. If you would only agree to join us, we would be more than happy to release you."
"Over my dead body," Gabriele hissed. "I don't care if you kill me, but at least release Tacito."
"Tacito? Oh, you mean this mute man. Why, have you not noticed? He was our ally from the start," the man said, laughing shortly. It sounded terrifying. "He was to bring us prisoners. It seems he's done quite well, bringing us a noble of such high status as yourself, Sir D'Arcangelo."
"You…you're lying. He'd never do such a thing… I know Tacito! He would never betray me!" my Angel muttered lowly to the man. From his tone I could tell he tried to be strong but the thought of being betrayed by me was causing his voice to shake slightly. This wasn't right! I needed to tell him it wasn't true, that it was all a lie. He had to believe me, but I still couldn't move. I couldn't even shake my head. All I could do was stare at him pleadingly but he probably couldn't even see my eyes.
The man moved away from Gabriele now and approached me instead. A cold sweat clung to my skin as he came closer. I couldn't quite make out his features as the shadows enveloped his face but I could tell he was smirking. "Denial is merely an excuse, Sir D'Arcangelo. You must know it by now. The truth, that is. You must have noticed it. How does it feel, Sir D'Arcangelo, being betrayed by somebody you trusted with your life? I'm sure it must be quite agonizing. But don't you worry. We'll give you plenty of time to think it all over. If you still think you care so much for this mute man, then perhaps you should think of joining us after all." He laughed again, that shrill sound sending uncomfortable shivers through my bones. Turning to the rest of the dark figures, the man said, "Tie him up to the post. We'll see how long his determination will last him." Looking at Gabriele once more, he added, "If you should change your mind at any time, we will be more than happy to release you and accept you to our numbers."
As Gabriele turned his gaze to me, my insides tore apart. He looked right into my eyes—a fallen angel. "Tacito…is this true? Please tell me this isn't true." Those once-beautiful lips, now torn and bloody, quivered slightly as he continued to stare at me. "How could you, Tacito… How could you do this to me?" My beautiful, broken Angel closed his eyes and turned away from me.
My mouth opened and I tried to cry out in anguish, tried to tell him it wasn't true, but I couldn't…
I was trying to scream out, but of course there was no noise from my mouth but a strange rasping of sharply exhaled air. Nobody else was there in the room, but there was a loud and intrusive sound that continuously came in short intervals. It took me another moment to gather myself and realize that there was somebody at the door knocking. With a shaky breath, I stood and went to answer it, making sure to drape the blankets about me so that they wouldn't drag along the floor. Who could it be at this hour and in this weather? I glanced outside and saw that it was completely dark, but the sounds of torrential rains still could be heard splattering away on the roof.
As I opened the door, my eyes widened suddenly and I stumbled back. It was like straight from a dream…though not the dark kind I'd just had a moment ago. Gabriele stood at the door, completely drenched from head to toe, but with a large, playful grin on his beautiful face.
"Well? Will you leave me out here in the cold rain or will you let me in?" he said playfully, but it was clear he was trying hard to keep his teeth from chattering. I immediately stepped back to let him in and unwrapped the blanket I was rolled in to drape around my Angel instead. "Thank you, Tacito. Did I come at a bad time?"
I shook my head and held up my hands to tell him to wait as I dashed to get some towels. I returned and handed them to him. He accepted them gratefully and sighed as he began drying himself off. Surveying him up and down, I saw that his elegant clothes were completely ruined; mud was splattered all along the pants while the shirt was torn in places, but the cape was in the worst condition—it was barely more than a scrap of fabric now.
Telling him to wait again, I hurried to my brother's room and knocked on his door. Savio opened it and sharply barked at me, but stopped short when he noticed our unexpected guest standing in the middle of the other room. He stared for a long moment before realizing who it was. "You're not serious...?" he said to me in a mutter. I nodded and then pushed past him into the room to grab some of his clothes. Hopefully they would be the right size for Gabriele, but it looked like they would be a bit of a tight fit…
When I returned, I found Savio and even Saverio kneeling down before Gabriele, who was trying to get them to stand again. "Please, enough with the formalities! Just think of me as a passing soul who needed to take shelter from the rain and nothing more. I'm not supposed to be here, in any case…" my Angel was saying to my brothers, who looked up in curiosity just as I did.
"Not supposed to be here, Your Grace?" Savio asked suspiciously. "Then what are you doing here, may I ask?"
"I, er…" Gabriele gave an awkward laugh. "I guess you could say I ran out…"
"But why?" Saverio put in before quickly adding, "If it's not too bold to ask."
"Do you mind if I sit?" my Angel asked. My brothers both jumped up to pull out a chair for him, which made me smile to myself. I took the chance to approach with the clothes and handed them to Gabriele, who accepted them with a gorgeous smile. "Oh, thank you. I really didn't think this through before running out the doors…" I pointed him to my own room to change.
As the door closed and I pinched myself to make sure I wasn't still dreaming, a heavy hand fell on my shoulder. "I can see why you're so taken. He's something else, isn't he? And he came all the way here through the rain in the middle of the night just to see you… How darling! Isn't it so sweet, Sav? Our little baby brother's all grown up and in love." Saverio snickered wickedly as he smacked my back again. I whirled around and glared at my brothers to warn them not to humiliate me in front of His Grace.
"Aye, next thing you know he'll be married and bringing home children…but who knows from where," Savio added his own insult. I raised my fist and was just about to punch his lights out when a low chuckle came from behind. Whirling around, I hid my clenched hand behind my back.
"A bit small, I think, but not so bad at all," the Lord's heir said as he brushed the few wrinkles out of the shirt. It was indeed a bit tight on his strong torso, but it accentuated his muscles in a way that made me suddenly flush…
Of course, my brothers always being alert and at the ready to jump at any chance to make fun of me, caught my reaction. "I don't think Tace minds at all, Your Grace," Savio cackled. He shoved me forward with a palm on my back.
"He's been hankering for you all day, he has," Saverio added. I glared at both of them, my fist slowly rising again…
"I know, and I'm so sorry. I tried to come by earlier, but my father said that riding or even bringing a cart would be dangerous," Gabriele said softly. I turned back and saw him smiling at me apologetically. I only flushed in reply and my hand dropped to my side weakly, fingers loosened again.
"Did you bring a horse, Your Grace?" one of my brothers asked; I didn't care to see which one.
"No, I figured it wasn't worth risking it. Besides, I've got two perfectly good legs, haven't I?" My Angel chuckled lowly at our surprised expressions.
"You mean to say you walked all the way here? From over there? All the way here?" Savio said, agape.
Gabriele nodded. "I must say it was a little farther than I'd calculated, but all in all, it wasn't too terrible," he said with a shrug. "Besides, I couldn't stand being inside for much longer…" He threw me a grin, which only caused my face to turn a darker shade of red.
"What's the ruckus out here? If you two idiots are stirring up trouble for your brother again, I swear I'll kick your rears—" My father stopped in his tracks as he stared up at the stranger in his house. He frowned. "May I be of service? I'm sorry, but I haven't seen you around here before…" My brother's clothes seemed to hide Gabriele D'Arcangelo's true identity for the moment.
"I'm a traveler. Unfortunately, I got stuck in the rain and I came to seek shelter. My name is Gabriele. If it is not too much trouble, would I be able to stay here for the next few days?" my Angel said with all the elegance natural to him. It seemed to be a bit too much, for my father was slightly baffled.
He glanced at me, and then at my brothers, before returning his calculating gaze to Gabriele. "If our humble abode would suit you, you are more than welcome to stay. I'm afraid we do not have an extra room or even extra bedding for that matter—" He stopped when I tugged at his sleeve. Father's eyes widened slightly, but then he softened and nodded. "My son offers his bed to you, if you would like to take that."
"Oh, no, I couldn't impose like that when I'm only staying here out of your kindness. I won't mind sleeping on the floor," Gabriele said, shaking his head. I moved from my father's side to his and shook my head at him, begging him with my gaze to allow me to help. He looked at me for a moment before smiling. "If you insist, then I suppose I will. Thank you again for your kindness. I will try within my power to repay you somehow."
"Not at all. We all need help sometimes, and it wouldn't sit right with me if I didn't help a fellow man in need," Father replied. "If you are hungry or thirsty, my sons can get you something…" He nodded at Savio and Saverio, who in turn looked at me. "Please rest well, then." Turning with a last glance at Gabriele, he retired to his room.
"I thank you again, Sir," Gabriele said to him, bowing at the waist.
"Well, guess we'd best turn in too. Good night, Your Grace. If you need anything, just holler for Tacito and he'll rush to your side faster than lightning to meet any need," Savio loudly yawned.
"Any need at all, just ask Tacito. I'm sure he'll be more than happy to agree," Saverio said with a wink as they both turned and went inside. It was good they left because I was ready to tear them apart.
At the sound of a gentle chuckle, I turned to my Angel. He was smiling. "They're quite the characters, aren't they?" he mused. I could only nod dumbly.
After a long moment during which he beamed at me and I stared embarrassedly at my feet, Gabriele gave a soft yawn. Looking up, I immediately moved to usher him into my room. I waved a hand toward my bed, proffering it to him. He raised an eyebrow.
"Are you sure? I can sleep on the floor, you know. I couldn't make you sleep on the floor of your own home—" he began to argue, but I shook my head resolutely and pushed him gently to sit on the bed. I smiled and bowed my head before shuffling out of the room. Before I got to the door, he grabbed my wrist.
"Don't you want to know why I came in this state?" he asked softly.
Those sparkling aquamarine eyes brightened even Savio's ratty old shirt and pants. I was too stunned to react, but brought myself back to attention and smiled with a quick shake of my head. Pointing to the bed, I motioned for him to sleep, and then pointed to the window, into the darkness outside. I waved my hand a bit, hoping he'd understand. It seemed he did, miraculously, for he nodded and smiled.
"Alright, I guess there'll be more time to explain tomorrow. It was definitely a longer trip than expected…and I didn't even pack anything," Gabriele chuckled. I paused for a moment, then motioned as if I were drinking from a cup, looking at him meaningfully. He shook his head in response. "No, thank you. I think I should last until the morning. You've already been so kind to me already…" I smiled back.
As I shuffled out, I felt his hand in mine. Turning to look up, I was suddenly floored by his contagious smile and piercing blue orbs. "Won't you at least share the bed then? I would feel so terrible if you had to sleep on the floor because of me…" he said lowly. I flushed at the mere thought of being so close to him, but resolutely shook my head again. A smile told him that I would be fine regardless of where I slept. Slowly he let go. "If you're sure…then… Thank you, Tacito. I am in your debt."
At last I managed to exit, closing the door quietly behind myself. I went back to my usual seat by the window and pulled up another blanket from the pile there. Settling down, I sighed contently. I had woken up feeling terrible from that strange and horrible dream, but now that my Angel was here, it seemed nothing could go wrong. At least I was safe from more nightmares, for I didn't have any more that night.
From the Author:
Holy crap, it's been a while. 2 years, apparently. Sorry to those few readers out there for the super delay. (
I know I just updated this but frankly, that was only because I was going through my numerous file backups and found it again. This chapter wasn't uploaded so I did. Actually I quickly added some parts (like the entire dream sequence). But back to my point... I don't know how much further I'll go with this. I hadn't really planned it out too much to start with, and after 2 years...well, actually I forgot most of what I might have had planned for it anyway. LAWL.
In other words, most likely there will not be any more updates. Again, big apologies to reviewers/watchers. ( However, maybe one day I'll lose my mind and pump out some more stuff. Big maybe. We'll see.
For the third time, sorry. But a big thank you as well for the really kick-ass reviews and for the faves. You guys are awesome.
(I forgot how to add chapters and apparently the system for story summaries changed too. No parentheses? Criminal.)