[Rated M for language, violence, strong sexual themes and innate World of Warcraft jokes]
I've decided to post some of my drafting drivel here just for the honest hell of it. For those who read my last one-shot, Brooms don't work on carpets, you'll likely recognize the names of the characters in this one. What you probably won't recognize is the setting, tone, character traits and everything else, however. As mentioned in my last submission, the characters in Brooms were not fully-developed at that time, they were essentially Guy A and Guy B with a few names and other features tacked on. Kade, Cal (Caliban) and other mentioned characters are a part of a future urban fantasy writing project of mine called Cadaver. The chapter submissions here are for my own personal banking and digest.
There are elements of the story that are not fully explained. This is because this is not a stand-alone story, it is a part a brainstorming and practice draft for a much larger story that is not fit for submission on fictiopress at this time. If that is going to bother you, then this is not for your perusal.
Also, to note: I do not have a beta or second set of eyes, this is a slightly polished version of the raw copy, I can only do my best with it.
I'll be adding chapters to this short story regularly. I'd look forward to a minimum of five chapters total, most likely.
Kade rolled over to the sound of his phone buzzing and blaring. For once he wasn't fuzzy-headed from an overstayed visit with alcohol the night before, or the pains of strenuous training. He was just tired—plain, regular old tired. It had been a long week and he was not particularly happy with the obnoxious behaviour of his cell phone this early on a Saturday. He reached across his pillow and swiped the device, bringing it up to his ear but keeping it a safe distance. He was right to do so, as Jude's voice hollered over the other end.
"ARE YOU AWAKE?" she roared.
"I am now, partially," Kade groaned.
"You sound funny, are you holding the phone away from your face?"
"Don't do that!"
"Then stop yelling."
Kade flopped over onto his side, cocooning himself in covers and sheets, the phone pressed against his ear now.
"What do you want?"
"I just wanted you to be up on a Saturday! You don't want to waste a whole Saturday doing nothing."
"Since when do you care? I'm really tired Jude."
"I don't care—or, I don't care that you're tired. And you know who else doesn't care?—about you be tired, that is."
Kade sunk under the covers until he was completely submerged in them, hiding from the rest of his room, just him and Jude's voice on the other line.
"What about him?"
"I'm just making a suggestion."
"What kind of suggestion, you haven't made a suggestion at all."
"He's not going to see Lilith and them this weekend, he'll be around."
"How do you know that?"
"He told me. He seems a bit down in the dumps, that's why I'm making the suggestion."
"You still haven't actually made a suggestion you're just relaying information to me about Cal."
"Well take the information and figure out my suggestion from it."
Jude hung up. She really had to stop doing that. More than two years later and she still insisted on being theatrical with her phone calls. She'd probably tried to slam down her cell phone like she was hanging up dramatically. Kade expected to hear her complaining about the new crack in her phone's screen some time later.
Still, Kade willed himself out of bed to shower and get ready for whatever day Jude had intended he make this. Somewhere between looping his belt and trying to find clean socks did it occur to him that Jude's unmade "suggestion" was to go and spend time with Caliban, perhaps in the hopes of cheering him up. It was something Kade would be more than happy to do, if he knew how. As he recalled, Caliban was quite upset with him, for every reason in the world and then some, or something like that. He didn't exactly know what Caliban was upset about, actually. He didn't even know if Caliban actually was upset either. The guy was easier to read ever since he had Severed, but he was still far from an open book.
Kade would try though. It couldn't hurt to try, Caliban at the very least could appreciate an attempt at cheering him up, if he didn't need to be cheered.
Kade made his way to Caliban's room and, after talking himself out of turning around and going back, knocked. Once he knocked, he was committed to doing whatever he was trying to do. He was stuck there now, no skirting out of it.
"Who is it?" Caliban's voice called on the other side.
"…Kade," Kade replied hesitantly, bouncing on his heels.
He had expected a gruff "What do you want?" from Caliban, but instead he heard the grind of a chair moving and some soft footsteps padding to the door. The lock latch was flipped and the door was opened just a bit.
"Come in," Caliban sighed on the other side, out of view.
Kade took the handle and pulled the door open, watching the back of Caliban as the Severed Daemn retreated to his room.
It was strange behaviour, even for him. Kade was almost at a loss for what to do once he had stepped inside Caliban's dorm. Caliban himself had taken a seat at his desk in his room, but that was all he did. Just sat, slumped over, resting his head on his arms, which he had folded on the desk's top. There was a steaming mug beside him—Kade could smell the lemon in the drink from here. Steaming water with a lemon slice, he figured, that was usually what Caliban drank in the morning.
"Uhh…Jude had mentioned that you were a bit…off," Kade said, stuffing his hands into his pockets awkwardly, hovering in the doorframe to Caliban's room. "Are you…okay? Is it a Severing issue…?"
"I have a headache," Caliban replied grimly.
"Well that's nothing new for you," Kade replied bitterly before coughing and, in a quick moment of collection, added, "But I thought after you Severed the headaches would stop."
"I think it's just a normal headache," Caliban said. "The typical mortal thing."
Kade bounced on his heels, then removed his hands from his pockets to swing them.
It wasn't just a headache. Something was wrong, he could hear it in Caliban's voice. Before Caliban had Severed Kade could sometimes catch a problem, a pretty notable feat considering Caliban's Cadaver being so listless and without a single hint of real emotion. He obviously couldn't hide it anymore, like most people couldn't. Caliban didn't have his old shield now.
Slowly, Kade entered Caliban's room and took a seat on his bed, facing Caliban, whose head was still buried in his arms.
"…you know, if something's wrong, you can tell me," Kade began softly, rolling his shoulders forward. "Jude said you weren't going to see anyone in the SS this weekend either…it's not like before, you make it very obvious something is wrong."
"I don't intend it to be obvious," Caliban said.
"Well I'm sure you don't, but it is," Kade replied, smiling sadly. "You look and sound really bummed out about something and…well, I guess you just admitted that you are."
Caliban sat up somewhat, an arm still folded on the desk, while he used the other to prop up his head. The window in front of him had the blinds shut. It was a very bleak, grey March Saturday. Kade could feel in his bones that it was going to rain. Just the stale light filtering between the shutters seemed cold, and cast that chilling effect onto Caliban. It was still strange to watch his face twist and form real expressions. Even the slightest crease between his brows or at the corners of his mouth seemed troubling, like it didn't belong there, and the fact that it was just made the matter that much worse.
Horrible guilt clutched Kade as he studied Caliban, though. Try as he might to focus on the other male's obvious issue, whatever it was, he could not shake how secretly mesmerized he was with him. He had never given any real thought to his previous Cadaver form. Why should he? It wasn't even Caliban's "real" body, in every way. It was just a shade of what he could be, much like how his behaviour back then was just a taste for what was to come. Kade couldn't feel like anything less than a complete creep just glancing at the male now that he had Severed, though.
He never felt like he had gotten his "fill", he just had to keep looking at him and try his best not to show how much he was admiring him. Every new glance just brought a new observation, something Kade hadn't noticed before that he instantly fell in love with. Just the way his fingers curled around his chin when he held his head in his hand sent Kade's heart into a small fit. It was completely absurd. He was just glad Caliban continued to wear glasses. Kade was afraid of his own reaction if he were to ever see those violet eyes in full glory.
"I've just been thinking," Caliban said carefully.
"About what? Or just thinking in general?" Kade asked.
"About the war."
"It's not really a war."
"It could be a war though, and a one-sided one at that, if I fail."
"Are you serious?" Kade snorted.
Caliban's eyes flicked to Kade, glaring now.
"Well it's just you gave me a lecture at the beginning of the week about preparing for the fight and stuff," Kade said. "Has the stress actually gotten to you now?"
"Maybe it has, does that make it something I shouldn't be worrying about?" Caliban asked coldly.
Kade shivered and averted his eyes, nodding slowly.
"Well…I guess it is…yea, pretty serious still," he said. "But…it's not like you're going in it alone too."
"That's my other woe," Caliban sighed, shaking his head before placing it back in his hand, staring between the blinds again.
"Us fighting? Wait, hang on."
Kade smiled, sad smile that it was, and ran his hand back through his hair.
"You're afraid for us," he said. "You're scared something is going to happen to us."
"Again, maybe I am, does that make it something I shouldn't be afraid of?" Caliban asked, voice raised, belittling Kade again. "You understand that if I can't defeat Kraysil, the rest of you don't have a chance, right?"
"Well…we have a chance…to get out alive, anyway," Kade said.
"I doubt that," Caliban snorted. "Remember what happen in the gymnasium here? If I lose, that will happen again, only worse. If it was up to me I would have dismissed you, and Jude, and Ivee and even Ajani from this mess already."
Caliban frowned hard at Kade, before snatching his drink and sipping it. His hands were shaking somewhat.
"It's going to be alright," Kade assured.
"No it is not."
"Yes it is."
"You don't know that!"
"And you don't know that it won't be fine! Just—here."
Kade forced Caliban's hands, and the mug, back onto the desk. The tension seizing the other male's limbs was becoming visceral, Kade was afraid he was going to smash the mug between his fingers.
"Look, we all have to help and want to help kill Kraysil as much as you want and have to," Kade said. "He can't take on all five of us at once. You know he can't."
"And then what? What about the Necromancer? What about anything else they have in that spire?" Caliban hissed.
Kade sighed and pressed his fingers to his temples.
"If we die, we die, there's nothing we can do to prevent that in the whole of it," Kade said. "But the four of us, you know, we don't really have much to lose. We don't have families of our own, our positions can be given to others…we're glad to be doing this."
"Why would you be 'glad'? There is nothing to be happy over," Caliban spat.
"I guess it's a mortal thing, then," Kade laughed lightly, rubbing his palm against his brow. "Honour and stuff…out to make a name and prove ourselves…culture, tradition…things like that.
"As long as Kraysil is killed I don't care what happens to me, because he's the important one. If I fall, someone stronger will defeat the Necromancer. It's just Kraysil—as long as Kraysil is dead the Necromancer will fall, and I know he will. There won't be a war, just this one big battle."
"You're not afraid of dying?" Caliban asked.
"No," Kade replied simply. "Not anymore, anyway. I'd rather not, of course, and I'm afraid of any of you dying too but…I dunno."
Kade sat back and stretched, arcing his back, eyes to the ceiling.
"Jude and Ivee and AJ, they have the same mindset as me," Kade said. "They're the same way right now. They're okay with dying if that's how it's going to be, as long as we can get Kraysil down, they'll be happy. Or…Ivee and AJ will be, Jude seems keen on facing the Necromancer, but hopefully she'll change her mind once Kraysil is dead."
"And what about me, who doesn't have that mindset?" Caliban asked quietly.
"I'll shit my pants for you then," Kade said with a small flourish of his hand. "After Kraysil's dead. Because I know you're going to beat him, so I don't have to worry about you to start."
Caliban rolled his eyes and brought up his mug, but Kade could tell it was just to hide his smile.
"I still wish the rest of you didn't have to do this," Caliban sighed, pursing his lips after his drink.
"We don't have to, we want to, I just said that," Kade groaned. "And even if we didn't want to just for our own personal reasons, no one is going to let you and the SS go in it alone anyway. What would Jude say about a caster one-manning a dungeon?"
"Jude wouldn't let me pitch the notion," Caliban replied with a smirk, staring through the blinds. "She'd clock me between the eyes half-way through the sentence."
Caliban twirled a finger in the air methodically.
"'Fifty DKP minus'," he recited.
"Exactly, now get up," Kade said, clapping his hands together before throwing himself to his feet off the bed.
"Why?" Caliban asked, turning in his chair after Kade.
"Well it's Saturday, you don't want to waste your Saturday," Kade said, bouncing somewhat.
"But what am I supposed to do? I had plans to brood here for the weekend," Caliban said.
"Fuck that noise, we're going to see a movie, get your coat."
"I don't know, I haven't thought that far ahead yet. We'll go to the theatre, see what's playing and then and we'll kill time if we have to."