ah, another rewrite of (very) old work. more vampy/magic (i use the term magic loosely here). sorta cliche'd, but i like it anyways. hope i manage to surprise some of you who remember this fic from before.
thursday, september 14, 2006.
I could tell what he was the moment my gaze found him, and wasn't surprised that he could sense that about me. His grin was sly and knowing, probably designed to instill fear within me, I'm sure. I didn't grace it with more than a roll of my eyes before I turned and continued on my way down the hall to my class, where I sat alone.
I always sit alone.
--- --- ---
It was after school that I felt him again, turning to see that he was following me out on my way through the parking lot and to my truck. Although blinking with apparent surprise that I'd rounded on him so quickly, he flashed a cheery type of smile and stepped up to about five feet away.
"Hello again." His eyes caught the sunlight, flashing quickly before they returned to looking normal…but that sheen had been that of an animal's.
My own blue eyes narrowed slightly, vague impatience bleeding into my voice as I asked, "Was there something you were wanting?"
Again, that same smile as before as his eyes flicked down just a bit…down to my neck. Disgusted, I turned to the side to block that gaze, snapping, "I'm not a blood donor."
"So you do know what I am, and what I can do?"
I had to roll my eyes again at the way he'd heavily laced his voice with suggestion, my own caustic reply of, "Yeah, I know what you are, and what you can do.
"And just what are you, that you are not frightened?"
A challenge for me to reveal my secret, and I let my lips twist into a smirk as I purposely chose to blink. He must have been expecting something, but he still gave an involuntary step backwards in surprise as my eyes turned from the dark brown I wear to their true color, dark lavender. But just as quickly as I'd revealed them, I blinked them back to brown; you never know who might be looking around here. It's always best to play it low-key, after all.
"You honestly expect me to be impressed by a witch?"
"Whatever." He was sullen, those eyes from before flashing again before showing a subdued guarding of his self.
"Impressed or otherwise, we've just met, haven't we Jacob?"
I was amused at the narrowing of his eyes, the hint of bitterness in his voice as he replied, "It's easy to pull a name, Marcus."
"You can call me that, if you want, others do. But even you should be able to tell that there's more to me than that name. But until then…." I shrugged slightly, pleased (for no legitimate reason) when he openly frowned.
I glanced at my watch, and it was my turn to frown, saying, "Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm running late."
Having said so, I abruptly turned and continued on my way to my truck, not even glancing back when I pulled from the space and drove away. I don't care if he cares to stick around and watch me go or not. It would just be annoying if he did.
The driveway was empty, but that didn't mean anything much; I know that there's a good possibility that there's a car in the garage attached to the small cream-colored house with its pretty front garden. I expected his mother to be home, and thus, I politely knocked and waited until the petite woman answered the door.
She smiled easily at me when I stepped inside, greeting me, "Marcus, it's always good to see you again. Eli's in his room, but I'm sure you know that."
"Yes ma'm, thank you." The bundle beneath my arm was comfortable, and I felt my tension ease up as I made my way through the house, coming upon Eli's room with the knowledge of having visited many times before. The door was closed nearly all the way, and I gave it my customary soft rap before I was pushing it open. He looked up from his desk as I entered, his entire face lighting up upon seeing that it was indeed me coming to visit. I was in the process of locking the door behind me as he got up and approached, beaming at my easy smile. He's petite and blond, looking eerily a lot like his mother; it's actually a bit scary in how much he does look like her.
His kiss in greeting was warm and comfortable, but then he was pulling back and slugging me pretty hard in the upper arm.
"Hey, what was that for?"
He was sulky as he watched me briefly rub the sore part, before he accused, "You said you'd be here earlier, I've been waiting for a long time."
"And that's supposed to be a good reason to just beat me up at whim? Jesus, I just got hung up in the parking lot after school, that's all."
He gave a pout and tried to pretend that he was still upset at me, but then gave it up in favor of pulling my face down for another of his kisses, one that begged me to deepen it this time. I did so for a few moments, but was then gently disengaging the two of us so that I could talk.
"We should wait until after the treatment, ok?" He gave a disappointed sigh, but had to nod that he agreed with me. At my physical urgings, he went over to his bed and fixed his blankets a little before lying upon his back, his hands palm-down at his sides. I went over and placed the bundle I'd carried in beside of him, opening it up and removing what I'd need for his herbal treatment.
He remained quiet as I worked, knowing that I don't like to be distracted during this process.
About a year ago, I'd met Eli when I was volunteering at a hospital; he was dying from reoccurring leukemia, which he'd been fighting for nearly five years at that point. His life force had been what pulled me to him, that even though this young teen was dying, he was still vibrant and alive…more than I can allow myself to be, ever. I'd begun these treatments in secret, never telling him what I was or what I was doing. But as he began to improve despite the medical predictions that he'd die within weeks…. He's not stupid, by any means, and he came to realize that it was my doing, and actually confronted me on it. I had been so surprised that I confessed the truth of it, shocked that he was quick to accept me and the ideology of my 'powers', my force. And later, when he'd initiated our relationship…that same vitality that had drawn me to him gives him the ability to surprise me often.
He was a bit antsy by the time I'd finished, but replied amiably that he was feeling better than ever when I asked, grinning when my hands went to his abdomen; he claims that it tickles him when I probe inside with my energy. Even still, I was pleasantly satisfied when I deduced that the cancer was very nearly gone from him. He pulled a protesting face when I directed him to drink the concoction that I'd made up for him, but as always, he didn't verbally complain about its slightly bitter taste.
He wiped his mouth with the back of his hand as he gave a slight shudder, and I laughed, telling him, "There won't be any more treatments after this, Eli."
"You mean I'm…"
His face twisted up until tears fell, lunging at me and wrapping his surprisingly strong arms around my frame, his face buried against my neck as he cried. My eyes closed, suddenly wishing that I could feel more joy about this than the mild spikes of pleasure I felt in knowing that he was going to live indefinitely.
And a bit later, after we'd separated a bit, allowing me to lie beside him so that he could curl up against me, he asked me that question again. That soft voice, coming from where his face was pressed into my shirt, "Won't you ever make love to me?"
Again, I closed my eyes and fought off a surge of emotion brought on by his words, until I was able to say, "You know I won't."
"It's not fair! It's been a whole year, and you always say that I mean a lot to you!" His voice cracked, his shoulders hunching up as he clung to my shirt, finally looking up at me with pained eyes.
"You do mean a lot, and that's why I can't. You know that my force would just end up hurting you, like that time I…that accident." I felt that same guilt just bringing it up, remembering how I'd scared him without meaning to.
Whether he began to cry because of that remembered incident, or from his pained frustration, I couldn't tell, but I made sure I was gentle as I held him.
Gentle as I asked, "You want me to stay until you fall asleep?" He managed a nod, and thus I lay there for a long time, until his breathing and emotional overcharge tapered down and leveled out.
Even in sleep, his grip was pretty fierce, and there were a few tense moments where I thought he'd wake up as I attempted to disengage myself. And I stood there a moment or two, watching him as he slept. Almost unconsciously, I reached out and touched his face, watching as it caused him to turn and nuzzle against his pillow in sleep, exhaling deeply before stilling again.
A noise out in the house proper made me glance up, and realized that I should be getting home. Giving a heavy sigh, I gathered up my things, securing everything to where it needed to be, before I slipped from the room and out of the house. I was melancholy as I pulled my truck out into the street and headed home; during that interval of his crying and falling asleep, I'd felt his emotional withdrawal, and knew that it was only a matter of time before he broached the subject of us separating.
I've gone through this before.
And every time, it comes down to me not caring as much about the person as he wants, not being able to devote myself further. They want me to lose myself, and I can't; I've learned early on in life about the devastating effects that can come from me trying too hard to hold on, of attaching myself to someone.
And I won't make the same mistake twice.
It was nearly six by the time I pulled into my driveway, and the house was completely dark and silent, but I wasn't expecting otherwise. My brother normally doesn't get home from work until almost eight at night, and I'm usually home to make sure that there's a meal waiting for him when he walks through the door.
I know what you're thinking, and I tell you that you're wrong. I am no housewife, I assure you.
Our routine just works best this way, is all.
I put the radio on in the kitchen, humming to the Oldies that my brother always likes to hear; they remind him of our Dad, I think. It's frustrating sometimes, that I don't really remember Dad anymore, not like I do Mom. At any rate, Country or Oldies are great to cook to, while Rock is best for cleaning, and Dance is great for…dancing. Go figure, eh?
In the two hours it took from me getting home to Ian walking through the front door, I'd peeled and diced potatoes and leftover pork, combining them with carrots, celery, and tomatoes to simmer into a stew. I took the time to brew up some Lipton iced tea, which we drink more of than soda or coffee around here.
We're tea people, me and my brother.
Almost like clockwork, he was getting home just as I was turning off the heat, the table already set for the two of us; all that needed to be done was dish it up. I did so as he lathered his hands in the kitchen sink, commenting on the smell of dinner with a grumble of his belly in agreement.
We said our words of thanks in our own way, and he was quick to shovel food into his mouth.
"Damn, that's just want I needed. Why are you so good to me?" His shaggy brown hair fell into his eyes as he grinned, and I joked that someone has to do the dirty work.
"You know it."
Our teasing is comfortable, and he laughed and shook his head, lightly musing, "Where would I be without you, hm?"
I wasn't joking now, calm as I sipped my tea before stating, "Happier."
His eyes reflected the pain he felt from that, his voice soft, "I'm happy enough."
My gaze was steady as I spoke the truth, "I wouldn't be living here if our parent's weren't dead. And then I wouldn't have run off Lila, who was the best thing to ever happen to you…you do remember that that's what you always said about her, right?"
His grimace was unhappy, "Marcus, you can't blame yourself for that, she just…."
"Never felt comfortable around me, I know. She always thought I was creepy, a loose cannon. It was just the last straw when I marked you."
He stared into his bowl, unable to retort my claim, because he knew that everything I was saying was true.
I'd run her off, plain and simple.
We ate the rest of our meal in silence, and I finished up first, standing and placing my rinsed dishes in the sink for tomorrow. I felt his gaze on me as I made my way for the hallway to my bedroom, and he let me get as far as the edge of the carpeting that runs the hallway before calling my name.
When I didn't even so much as pause, he grew frustrated, infusing his force into his voice as he called, "Galen, listen to me."
Even with the use of my name, my true name, I could have kept going, but I respect my brother too much for that.
I felt the faint hold around me lessen, enough that I could turn to face him, seeing the faint grimace around his dimly glowing violet eyes; he has more trouble than I do in using his force, having never developed into being anywhere near as strong as I am. The hold disappeared completely as his eyes became brown again, and he wiped at the beads of sweat that had cropped up on his forehead from the effort.
"I never needed your mark to make me love you, and certainly don't blame you for what happened; what's done is done, and you always knew that. The only regret I have about you living here is that you never got to experience our parents like I did, that's all."
I'm eighteen years old, a senior in high school, and still I'm overrun with the want to leap into my brother's arms and have him smother me in his hugs, like he used to when I was younger. He is the only man who I have no doubt about, as solid as a rock and then some.
His eyes said it was ok, and so I went over and let him hug me for a moment, his arms strong and tight and familiar. It's been a few years since I let him do that. He let go when I moved away, at ease now at seeing me briefly smile at him before I turned and went to my bedroom for the night.
I had appeared calm out there, in control of myself; I'd been putting up my front.
As soon as I was shutting the door to my personal sanctum behind me, I went around and began lighting cones of incense in their customary sconces I've got placed all around the room; I used to use matches for this, but grew to learn that a common lighter is much quicker and effective. Besides, the smell of matches is acrid, and almost counterproductive to this procedure in the first place.
The resulting smoke was effective in relaxing me, allowing me to return to my forced emotional balance. This is an important and daily ritual of mine to wind down from the day's tensions; it greatly helps me control myself and my emotions, thus making my life easier.
I lay in the middle of my bed, my feet amongst my pillows as I stared up at the ceiling and unwillingly revisited my earlier sadness, despite my efforts to release it from my mind; whether he thinks it or not, I still know that it was me who ruined his life.
I was eight the year our parents were involved in a deadly car accident, and Ian, being my only living relative, brought me into his home.
His wife, Lila, had protested it from the beginning. She would have rather had me living in a state home than with them, with her. Even before that incident, I had been aware of her distrust of me, and it only grew worse when I came to live with them. She grew more vocal in her persuasions to get rid of me during the year or so of my living with them, more vocal in her opinions of foisting me off onto the state, or with some old family friends who had once said that I was welcome to stay with them until I was old enough to care for my own financial needs.
I was eight years old with dead parents, and I'd been terrified of my 'precarious' position with my brother's heart, that he would listen to her and get rid of me.
I'd become desperate.
My knowledge at that age had been adequate enough for me to create a mild sleeping drought, which I slipped into his tea, knowing that he'd never willingly submit to what I had recklessly had in mind. When he was sleeping in his armchair, and when Lila had stepped out of the room, I'd quickly went over and took his wrist into my hands, pressing the pad of my thumb in an inconspicuous space of his skin.
And I placed the mark of my love, what's called 'the brand of the selfish heart', on the outside of his left wrist. It was smaller than the end of a pencil, a faint discoloration that you could only spot if you knew what you were looking for, and Ian (or Lila, for that matter) would never think to look for such a thing. The mark was set and I had time to regain my seat before Lila returned, not paying me the slightest attention; she'd suspected nothing.
That mark bound him to me because of my love; for as long as I loved him, he was forced to return it.
And my love was fierce. Within him, it left no room for anything or anybody else.
It was only once she'd left that I realized the wrong I had done to my brother, because even though he had shown thought to only me for days, he shut himself up in his room and cried once she was gone, forcing me to stay away until he finally came out, unhappy but still loving me like I loved him.
What I had done to him was unforgivable.
When I approached him again, he had to be awake; knowledge of its existence is one of the factors to its removal. I'd been ashamed, openly crying as I wordlessly rubbed the salve against the brand of my selfish heart, my energy eradicating it from his skin, and removing its effects from his mind and body.
And he'd reacted as if a veil was removed from his head, recognizing all the signs now that the 'drug' was gone.
"I'm sorry, but you were gonna send me away…." And if he hadn't been, then he sure as hell was going to get rid of me now.
"You marked me…."
I can still hear the softness of his voice in memory, the shock that I'd done such a thing. It'd been more than I could take, causing me to leap up to run away, but arms had yanked my waist, spilling me backwards and into his embrace.
"I was never going to send you away Marcus…we're flesh and blood, bound tighter than anyone who holds the title of sibling anywhere else. We're brothers, Galen. Remember that."
I was snapped out of the intense memory by my coughing, my eyes streaming tears because of their harsh pain. My forgotten incense was suffocating me. Putting my shirt over my nose so that I could breath, I went around and snuffed out what was left of the smoldering cones, my head throbbing as fumbled with the latch to my window, finally allowing bursts of cool air to clear my lungs and head.
I stood there, my eyes stinging as I closed them against the breeze.
And without any clear notion of what I was doing, I proceeded to climb out the window, instinctually deciding that a walk would do wonders to clear out the rest of the smoke. I was probably about five blocks from my house when I finally glanced at my watch, seeing that it was after midnight, closer to one than not.
Thus distracted, I didn't sense my company until just a split second before his voice floated from somewhere behind me, "We meet again, I see. Perhaps you are following me?"
Irritated at my own strange behavior and the residual emotions left over from before, as well as being unnerved that he'd actually managed to surprise me, I was quick to turn and bark out, "Then why is it that you are behind me?"
He slipped away from a shadow, and somehow that made it worse for me. His infuriating smile didn't help matters; he merely exists to get under my skin.
I had to remind myself to calm myself, managing to give a simple shrug when he teasingly asked, "Out for late-night strolls, are we?"
After a moment's pause, when he realized that I wasn't going to verbally respond, he added, "Not afraid of bogeymen, then?"
I couldn't help snorting at the thought, "Yeah right."
He apparently found that vastly amusing, for he laughed for a good moment or two before sobering, and only because I'd resumed walking and called over my shoulder, "If you just insist upon following me, you may as well keep up, you know."
I allowed myself a small measure of vindictive glee when he sullenly hastened his step to catch up before falling into pace at my side.
And we walked in relative silence for the length of the street, before he finally spoke up, "Just what is that smell, anyway?"
When I gave a questioning raise of an eyebrow, he reiterated, "You're practically drowned in the scent of heady smoke and some herbal thing. It's sandalwood, I think."
The nape of my neck tingled at the thought; I don't like that he could pinpoint the smell of it so easily, that I was broadcasting my habits like this; I don't like for him to know what I do. The very notion of it is disturbing.
"I was burning incense before coming out."
"Quite a bit of it, is more like it. Then again…my grandmother used to do the same sort of thing." His voice became distant near the end of his statement, his face showing the weary thoughts hidden just below its surface.
"How long has it been for you?"
"What's the year again? ...2006?"
I nodded, and he was pensive a moment, before musing, "Well, I was born in '31, and was nineteen when I turned…so, I'd say almost sixty years by now. I tend not to think about it, though."
"You lived through the Depression?" His nod was absent, flickers across his face showing his thoughts of his past, and they weren't happy thoughts.
And like the proverbial flip of a switch, his demeanor changed as he grinned, teasing as he asked, "Why not tell me that other name of yours?"
"Oh, so you'll dangle it out that you've even got another name, but you won't come out and say what it is? What a tease."
Why do I feel so hurt by that casual remark?
He sensed that he'd said the wrong thing when my expression closed off and my walk became brisk, deliberately putting space between us with no invitation that he could catch up to me this time.
"Hey, it was just a joke, come one…."
"Get dead and go to hell." My words were casual but acidic, stopping him in his tracks just like I'd planned.
"Hell was the World War, asshole. You're just fifty years too late!"
"You should of stayed dead then!" He didn't grace my bark with a reply, melting back into the shadows and leaving me fuming to myself. This walk was supposed to relax me; some help this was.
Everything was silent when I finally crawled back through my window, the remnants of incense greeting me as I yawned, suddenly exhausted. The events of the day really began to catch up with me as I stumbled getting undressed, nearly eating it but managing to catch myself on the edge of my bed just before going down completely. I had to laugh, shaking my head as I pulled my shirt over my head and tossed it on top of my hamper, too tired to place it inside until tomorrow.
Eventually down to just my boxers, I turned off my lamp and crashed into bed, falling asleep without any trouble whatsoever.
A/N: length was necassary. i hope i spelled that right.
warlock is another term used loosely.