This is the revised version of this story, with all spelling, grammar etc mistakes removed (to the best of my knowledge ^_^;;) and any other issues fixed. No plot changes though and the full story should be re-uploaded soon.
Title: Black Phoenix
Author: Edana firstname.lastname@example.org
Rating: R (for swearing, mentions of attempted incest, attempted rape and suggestion of sex in later chapters)
Summary: Syrian wakes up with a strange mark on his face and from then on is haunted by the name and image of Black Phoenix
Disclaimer: All owned by me I'm afraid ^_^
Chapter One – Sins of the Father
I suppose it's not 'normal' to be a seventeen year old boy – I hate the word 'boy' at seventeen – living in a small, cramped apartment above a barely popular nightclub. Probably even less normal to be sharing that apartment with a man who hides behind sunglasses 24/7 like some kind of vampire on those supernatural teenage programmes that have infested television like some disease. And it's especially not 'normal' for that roommate to be a twenty-two year old ex-assassin. Or so he tells me.
Oh no, I don't doubt the fact that he used to be an assassin. I just doubt the fact that he ever gave the job up.
He has a collection of weapons – guns, knives and some wicked looking daggers that have always held my interest. You know, like those 'mythical' blades you always hear about, Excalibur and all. Some of these blades have gem-studded hilts, with small green and red stones shining from twisted gold and silver. Sometimes I suspect that the gems are real emeralds and rubies, worth a fortune, and I wonder how the hell he got hold of them. But then I shut thoughts like that from my mind.
But he rarely talks about his life as an assassin. Sometimes we'll be sitting on our small beige couch, barely big enough to hold the two of us, and watch crime films with bodyguards wearing black suits and glasses, and spies in caramel coloured trench coats and bizarre hats, and I'll wait for him to say something like, "Honestly, no assassin would ever hide in there . . ." or, "What does he think he's doing letting that guy see his face?" But he never does. I don't know if he thinks stuff like that, but he never says it aloud.
Truth is, I don't know much about Rian, whether that's even his name or not. I moved in with him soon after we met, mainly to get away from my father. Well, it's fairer to say that Rian let me stay for a few days, which became a few weeks, and a few months, and now we're pretty much living together. Not sure if he sees it that way. Maybe one day he'll decide that it's time for me to pack up and move out. Have to ask him about that.
The thing with Rian is, even though he used to be an assassin – I mean, he killed people for a living – he's a very caring and gentle person. Sounds lame, huh? Clichéd? But it's the truth. That's how I first met him. It's a complicated story, but I found myself caught up in a war I never knew about, and I was nearly shot by my father. Rian saved me; I owe him my life.
It's a little hard to talk about, my life. I lived with my father since I was born. Don't know my mother, never met her, never want to. I know she abandoned us, or perhaps just me. Perhaps it was too much responsibility. My dad never even bothered to pretend that she was dead, or doing research somewhere or whatever. I think he cared less than I did.
I lived with him for sixteen years, and it was fine. Sometimes we didn't get on and there were arguments, but what family doesn't have arguments? Yeah, he was my family. We never did the father-and-son-bonding-over-fishing type thing but he was always there when I needed him. He took care of me, and I respected him for that.
But there was always something off about him. I'm not sure how to describe it. Sometimes he would find it hard to breathe, and that freaked me out, but he reassured me it was nothing. Sometimes, when you were talking to him, he seemed to be looking straight through you, as if he could see something through your body. And then sometimes his whole body would twitch in a random spasm that looked like a horrific dance, and he would look at you angrily, as if he saw a dirty secret you were trying to hide.
I never asked any questions; never really thought it meant anything.
I was wrong.
I was distracted at school because of it, and one my teachers noticed. I don't know how it happened – perhaps I was too worried about my dad to stop and think, but I ended up having an affair with the teacher: nothing meaningful, just a fling. But my dad found out.
No, I can't keep thinking about my father. He isn't anything to me now. He's just some crazy old nut locked up in jail, or in a mental asylum or something. I don't know where he is and I couldn't care less. The point is that Rian saved me, turning against his employer for the first time. Rian told me that was the day he gave up being an assassin. He said there was enough crap happening in the world without him adding to it.
But this is all the past. The real story started last night. Rian, as usual, was nowhere to be found. I sighed and glanced at the clock, scolding myself for worrying about him like I was some kind of angry housewife. That guy could take care of himself.
10.30pm. Not too late, not too early. It was the perfect time for me to skip out of the apartment and engage in some late night activities. But for some reason I found myself simply remaining in Myth. That's the name of the nightclub beneath my apartment. Don't ask me why it's called Myth: the man who owns the place, and takes our rent money with a smug smile every month, is a bit of a nut case. Probably thought it sounded cool or something. Probably doesn't know what a myth is.
Yeah, so instead of creeping out the back door I exited through the club. I thought I would be safe, but I was so well known in Myth that I'm sure I was stopped several times and offered drinks, and by the time I was anywhere near the door I was totally pissed. I couldn't remember anything about that night; still can't.
I remember laughing, possibly. I remember dancing, letting my body go wherever the hell it wanted to. Probably had a couple of cigarettes shoved into my mouth by Cindy or Donna, even though I'm not really a smoker. Probably drank way too many drinks for my own health and sanity.
So when I finally became aware of anything it was when I forced my aching body up the stairs towards my room. At that time, incoherent, drunk as can be, barely conscious and cursing, I could have sworn that my legs had been coated in thick layers of steel. I was trying to walk but my body was screaming for rest.
Okay, I'll rest as soon as my bloody legs decide to be of any use. I refuse to fall asleep on these damn steps.
I think it worked – like I could remember. All I knew was that I stumbled into my bedroom and glared at the clock on the wall. I'm not good at numbers when I'm sober, so as the stupid colours all merged into one, I wondered why I was even trying to figure out the time. With a small sigh I fell onto my bed, still fully clothed, my boots heavy on the quilt, a cigarette hanging from my lip. I thought I heard giggling but I couldn't care less. I just slept.
I'm a terrible morning person. Oh, not because I get all pissy and grumpy and walk around with my eyes half closed and swearing at everyone, no, I'm terrible because when I wake up I spend the next ten minutes staring up at the ceiling trying to remember my life.
I don't know if it's temporary amnesia or what, but I can never remember anything about myself when I wake up: nothing at all. The first question I usually ask is, "What's my name?" I cringed the next morning, remembered the time when I had woken up after watching Star Trek the night before and could have sworn that my name was Spock. That was just embarrassing.
So the morning after the night before, my head pounding and stomach threatening to empty, nausea making my body tremble, I said, "What's my name?"
Syrian. Syrian Black.
Good, got that sorted. Now, where am I?
In my father's house?
No, calm down. You moved in with Rian, remember?
I hated having these conversations with myself every morning, but I had to do it. Otherwise I would walk around all day telling people my name was Spock.
So when I finally remembered my name, where I was, where I lived and how old I was, I decided that it was safe to leave the bedroom. Glanced at the clock. Groan. 8.30am! What the hell am I doing awake so early? Then I heard the noise, the sound of plates clinking against each other, and realised that Rian was awake and active and had woken me.
Somehow I managed not to pass him as I walked towards the balcony. This was the routine of every morning, and I wasn't going to stop now. I stood on the balcony, my white shirt undone to expose my chest, my hair whipping around my face. Sighing gently in relief, I sat on the wicker chair and breathed deeply, closing my eyes and revelling in the cool feeling of the wind wrapping itself around my body. My skin felt stretched, my hair was limp, but when I was sitting out here in the morning I didn't feel dirty. The breeze was cool and cleansing. I breathed deeply again, opened my eyes and promptly lit a cigarette. Not sure why. Just seconds ago I was talking about the freshness of the air and the next I'm polluting it and myself with smoke. Perhaps Cindy got me addicted. How many cigarettes did I smoke last night anyway?
My daily revitalizing exercise was interrupted by a familiar voice.
"Hey, put out that cigarette. They're bad for you, you know."
Rian. I smiled unconsciously, and answered him without turning.
"Who are you, my father?"
I shivered then, wished I hadn't said that. I couldn't see Rian's face, but his sudden silence caused me to start trembling. I hated feeling so out of control, so I wrapped my arms around my body to calm myself. But worse, I hated comparing Rian to my dad in any way, shape or form.
I turned to apologise, the wicker groaning under my weight, my body finally stable, but then my heart stopped beating as I realised that Rian was gone. Not sure where, but I was pretty sure why. I frowned, swallowed the bile that had entered my mouth and burned my tongue, trying to ignore the nausea that spread through my chest. Rian was my saviour, so I repay him like this?
It was a joke, of course it was. If not a joke then a subconscious phrase that I had picked up from years at school. Now I knew I would never say it again.
"Shit," I murmured under my breath. I knew I should get up to find him, but a combination of ignorance, laziness and a hangover that I had almost forgotten prevented me. Firstly, I didn't know where Rian was. Probably ran off downstairs to talk with the landlord, and me, wearing my open white shirt and ripped jeans from the night before was not about to parade my inability to dress myself two days in a row. Secondly, the chair, as uncomfortable as it was, was currently the sanctuary and resting place of my useless body. Or in other words, I am one lazy bugger. And then lastly my head was about to explode.
"I'm gonna kill that damn truck driver," I muttered under my breath.
"What truck driver?" a familiar and yet deeply irritating voice asked. I turned and saw Larry, the greasy landlord/manager of Myth, watching me with interest from inside the apartment, his trademark smirk on his skinny face. I groaned slightly. That threw my idea that Rian was talking with Larry out of the window. Now I felt worse 'cause wherever he was, he was alone.
"The truck driver that decided to run over my head last night," I moaned. Larry laughed, sounded slightly self-righteous. After all, he wasn't the one with the hangover.
He stood in the apartment with his hands on his hips for a while. I think he was expecting me to get up and greet him or something, but if I wasn't going to shift for Rian it would be a cold day in hell when I got up for Larry.
Eventually he realised this and sneered again, taking a small step onto the balcony. "I don't blame you for having a hangover," he said coldly. "You should have seen yourself last night: dancing, drinking, smoking, barely conscious, girls hanging all over you. Didn't look like you were alive half the time."
It was my time to smirk. "It's called having a good time," I said slowly. It was so obvious that Larry was jealous that it almost wasn't funny. Almost. And since when did Cindy become a group of girls without telling me?
He sneered again but I didn't have the energy to laugh. Standing there with his arms on his skinny waist, his face twisted, dark greasy hair hanging in his eyes, he reminded me of a drowned rat: defeated, wanting revenge, but not sure how.
I gave up trying to analyse him and turned away.
It was then that Larry made a weird noise that was almost a cross between a laugh and a gasp. Almost thinking he was choking, I turned back quickly and faced him; there was an expression on his face that I had never seen before. It reminded me of those people in films who didn't see the bullet coming but when it hits them . . . Shock, disbelief, pain and horror. Then they realise they're going to die, and you almost expect them to start gargling blood.
But Larry was being melodramatic. He always was. I would have been very surprised if he suddenly fell to the floor and died. Maybe surprised enough to get out of my chair.
And suddenly the look seemed to evaporate and Larry was struggling to hold back laughter. He always sounded so dirty when he laughed; it made me cringe. Two seconds later he was pointing at my face and laughing without restriction. That pissed me off. Okay, so I'm not gorgeous or anything, but Larry's not exactly a sex god.
"What's wrong with you now?" I hissed. He was really starting to annoy me. I was even thinking about standing up.
"How much do you actually remember about last night?" Larry sounded smug again. I hated that.
"Why?" I demanded crossly, not willing to tell him that to me last night had faded out of existence.
"I think you should go and check out a mirror," he said, laughing again. I frowned. The last thing I wanted to do was find a mirror, as it would look like I was actually listening to Larry and doing what he said. But with a sigh I stood up. Screw Larry, this was probably important.
As I walked towards the mirror in the bathroom, Larry still laughing on the balcony, I wondered what the hell I could have on my face. I wasn't too worried. Lipstick? Perhaps. Maybe someone had used my face as a notepad and I had a phone number scrawled across my cheek. Maybe I'd gotten myself into such a state that I'd fallen and now had a huge bruise on my cheek or something. It couldn't really be anything important.
Sighing, I reached the mirror. Stupid Larry. With every step I took my contempt for him grew. I didn't hate him. That was too strong. Just sometimes . . .
I froze, all thoughts of Larry leaving my brain as the silvery surface of the mirror reflected back my face to me. My heart was pounding and for a long moment I was silent, studying my face, playing over everything I could remember, wondering how this happened and what it meant. Carefully I placed long fingers on my face.
Then I lost all control.
"What the hell it that?!"