The Velvet Ribbon
4th May 2008
Series: Anomaly Chronicles
Summary: He's gay. But that's not the problem. The problem is that he's magical, an Abnormal… in the twenty-first century where most everyone else is not.
Warnings: Homosexual content. Yes, homosexual content AGAIN. My other stories and hetero romances don't often get to see the light of day or the copyrighting of fictionpress because they never seem to get finished. But I know some of you love this genre so please… leave me some love if you like this.

"I'm gay," Imrad stated flatly. He grimaced, looking like the words left a sour taste in his mouth.

"You have hair long past your shoulder," Vane observed blandly, "which you wear tied back with a ribbon in a style not seen since the seventeenth century." He looked Imrad critically up and down, "You wear stylish clothes in a fashion influenced by the same era, and you are immaculate at all times." With a roll of his eyes he concluded, "The touch of eyeliner and said gothic style makes you look like a Victorian vampire but since I've seen you in daylight then obviously, you must be something else."

Imrad glanced over his soft tailored polo shirt and neatly pressed trousers, one hand fingering his cravat and its pin before smoothing over his waistcoat. He chose not to question Vane's thoughts on his attire and instead doubtfully slit-eyed demanded, "You knew?"

"I guessed." Vane shrugged, looking superior.

"Asshole," Imrad hissed, a tone of apprehension in his voice.

"I'm offended," Vane sighed dramatically with one hand over his heart, in a familiarly sarcastic and theatrical manner. "And to think you were confessing this to me out of concern of how I would think of you."

"You don't care, do you?" It was more a slightly surprised observation than an honest question.

"No, not really," came the flippant admission. "I can tell you've had this sort of confession blow up in your face in the past. But everything's cool, buddy." Vane grinned, "Feel better?"

"Yes, actually." Imrad sighed, "You… you really--"

"You're still my best friend and I don't care if you're gay." Vane waved a hand, frowning slightly, "Well I care, of course, since now I can't hook you up with any girls." He chortled wickedly, "And man, the girls are going to be so disappointed! They think you're such a Prince Charming, all mysterious and stylish…"

Imrad stared.

Vane shrugged, "Though I can get how to think about hooking you up with a guy, you always struck me as rather charming and romantically gallant. And you're ahh… hmm, how do I put this… too strong..? Like there's too much of you to contain."

There curved furrows between Imrad's brows as he frowned.

"And you know, that 'so much of you' always seemed more of an emotional thing. I kinda thought you needed… well, to be tamed," Vane muttered, index finger rubbing over his jaw. "Since a woman would be a logical choice being more emotionally strong than men, to address that balance in you, emotionally as I said, you seem to be better suited to having a girlfriend than a boyfriend." The serious expression fell from Vane's face, lips curving again into his usual carefree and goofy smile, chunks of red-blonde hair falling over his eyes. "Ah well! What would I know?"

With a small smile, Imrad shook his head. "You're surprisingly astute sometimes, you idiot."

"Hey!" Vane protested, but he grinned, "I did guess about you, didn't I?"

"I suppose you did." Slowly, Imrad licked his lips and began to look a little nervous now that they had passed the actual point of this conversation. "You didn't happen to make any… ah… bets… about, well, this… about me?" He shifted, looking suddenly ill. "Did you?"

Vane smiled slyly.

Imrad groaned. He made for the kitchen as Vane smugly pulled out his phone and began typing away.

Cookies. Cookies always made him calmer, so he began to bake.

When he was done, thirty minutes later, he discovered that Vane had, at least, managed to make the bets with people Imrad knew; it was a blessing or a curse, depending on how you looked at it: Blessing because his secret was contained, and curse because he interacted most with these people and they now knew.

He didn't want to deal with them, and tried to keep them out when they showed up.

"Forget it, Stanhope," Jordan scolded, braced with his shoulder and weight pressed against the door and Imrad's attempt at shutting it in his face. "You're not shaking us." He gave a burst of effort and managed to force the door fully open, effectively shoving Imrad's body aside, then stormed in.

Off balance long enough and cursing his slight build, Imrad could neither prevent Kate and Leonora's entrance. They glared at him and he stared balefully back.

Jordan whirled about-face to announce, "You're a bloody fool!"

"And you're trespassing!" Imrad hissed back up at him, feet braced apart and fists clenched. It meant nothing to him that everyone was taller. "Get out of my flat!"

"The hell I will!" Jordan rolled his eyes, flung his hands up into the air and turned away for the kitchen to help himself to Imrad's refrigerator as he'd used to.

"Forget it," Kate snorted in agreement, following but indicating she and Jordan expected him in the kitchen. She scooped up Noir on her way, Imrad's cat who had come to watch the show when the yelling had started.

He gave the exit an interested look instead.

Leonora shut the door and stood before it, feet planted and arms folded, "Don't mess with me, Imrad Stanhope," she said faux sweetly. "You're just going to have to suck it up and deal with us."

With a sour expression, Imrad marched haughtily after the other two and hopped up onto one of his barstools. He ignored them as they collected their drinks.

"So now that we know you're gay--" Kate began.

"And I'm a fifty quid down," Jordan muttered under his breath.

"--we can finally quit with this whole 'hiding from your friends' habit you've had going on since the beginning of time," she finished with a scowl in Jordan's direction. Leonora swatted him as she passed on her way to her seat and Kate gave her a grateful smile.

If only they knew. Imrad folded his arms tightly together and braced his feet on the barstool rung, still ignoring them.

Jordan wickedly joked, "Man, I always wondered what you had shoved up your ass…"

Unable to restrain a sharp twitch at his temple or the dark scowl beginning to blanket his face, he turned an icy glare over at his rude… trespasser. Kate looked aghast for a moment, flashing him a quick glance before staring death at Jordan. Leonora tried not to squirt her cola out of her nose as she restrained her laughter.

"You are unwelcome," Imrad hissed at them in a low and dangerous voice, refusing to unbend.

"We don't give a shit," Kate and Jordan replied together in the same tone, challenge in both their voices and faces.

With a sigh, Imrad tried to get his temper under control, breathing to a mental chanting of numbers. He closed his eyes when Kate and Jordan exchanged knowing looks; they knew what he was doing. Finally he snapped his eyes open and stared at them a long moment before saying slowly and clearly,

"I hate you all."

"No ya don't!" Kate cheered, suddenly looking immeasurably happier. She nuzzled the cat in her arms, which mewed back at her, delighted by all the attention.

Jordan echoed, "You love us to bits and pieces!"

Leonora smiled at him and said nothing.

"Excuse me," Imrad said tightly, snatching up an apple from the nearby fruit basket, getting up and heading out of the kitchen toward the bathroom.

He sedately made his way down the hall to the en suite in his room, shut and locked the door behind him, and set the innocent apple on the counter. Taking a deep breath, heart thumping with his temper and a horrible headache setting in, he contained his emotions as though two-handed crumpling up a large piece of paper… then forced it into the apple.

With a whoosh of air and a loud splatter, juicy chunks of apple splayed all over his bathroom… including him and his formerly pristine attire.

Unfazed, he watched the juice drip slowly down the walls, the slipping bits and pieces gliding almost imperceptibly downward, blanketing everything including parts of the ceiling. The bits of red skin coloured every surface as well, giving the mess an effect of slivers of bloody human flesh.

Bits and pieces indeed.

Magic always made one temperamental; to have the knowledge and power to change things but having to restrain yourself at all times from making things into what you wanted was always a big chore. Everyone always wanted what they liked, what they preferred. And Magic was supposed to mean being able to get it… only, he was Not Allowed To.

If only he could magic away his sexual preference. Magic himself into a normal Abnormal or magic back the friends he'd lost when he'd told them this truth.

Or magic away his magic.

His friends… his normal friends thought they had finally guessed what it was he has been hiding from them. They expected bonding and togetherness now. They expected openness and confessions and 'everything is going to be better than ever' and that was just not going to happen.

It was probably time he left, just because of this and despite he still had one more year of University to go. He didn't want to go back to the Academy, and he liked this school!

Damn it.

One more year.

Well, the apple explosion had made him feel loads better, really. He sighed then waved a hand and the mess evaporated in a smoky shimmer. His clothes looking perfect again, he splashed some water on his face and smoothed back his hair a bit before turning for the door and flinging it open.

Kate was just bouncing up the hallway. "Hey, Imrad! You were taking so long so I came to get you." She flung her arms around him in a happy hug, "I am so glad we know your silly secret! All along, it was just that? Gosh, we still love you." He resisted the urge to step out of her embrace; it actually felt quite nice. With a giggle, she pressed her nose into his shoulder then paused and gave him a puzzled look, "Why do you smell like apples?"

"I just ate one," he replied shortly.

"You went to the bathroom just to eat an apple?" She tilted her head to one side at him, still confused.

"I needed some time alone," he growled, scowling. But it had no effect on her and she merely nodded agreeably before taking his hand and leading him back to the kitchen. With a weary sigh, he let her pull him along, despairingly supposing there would be a lot of private bathroom moments and exploding fruit in his future.

It'd probably mean he could cut the expensive perfume out of his budget, though.