I walked out of the shadows...And into a lamp-post (kills_jellyfish) wrote in amecorpsesprit,
I walked out of the shadows...And into a lamp-post
kills_jellyfish
amecorpsesprit

Chapter Fifteen - A First Unpleasent Visitation part 2

Title: Love's Just A Four Letter Word - A First Unpleasent Visitation part 2
Warnings: NC-17

 


She nodded, and left the room, pulling the door closed behind her, but not shutting it totally. Her steps were quiet as she went back towards the kitchen, her eyes only shifting to Edvard for a moment. She wondered, very briefly, if he would have crept into the bedroom by the time she had collected her own teacup up from the worksurface and re-entered the lounge.

He was trying not to show any sort of negative emotion; distaste, shock, revulsion were all removed from his face, although only after the initial surprise had worn off. He knew that within society there was an amazing range of standards of living, and he had always put himself close to the bottom of that list. But this… this was a culture shock, almost unheard of and frightening, a world away from his own comfortable apartment, which was messy, but still, everything had it’s place; and that place was not on the floor.

Zan sat down though in the space Kris had cleared for him, staying resolutely silent while he racked his brains for something to say, but couldn’t find anything, his blue eyes darting about at the window, furniture, rubbish and then back to the gorgeous young singer, head tilted curiously to one side. He hadn’t thought Kris would live like this, not from his outward appearance and the way he could laugh and smile or do nothing and still be the personification of everything Lysander wanted, and needed. It was frightening, almost. But there was little he could do, and even less he could say. He wanted, he craved, the second he could pull Kris away from here, take him home forever and ever and neither of them would ever have to step foot back in this place; this place that Kris called home. It simply wasn’t good enough, not at all. Lysander’s own apartment wasn’t much, but it was closer to the sort of lifestyle Kris should be provided with. Now, sitting here, Zan reached a decision. He was going to provide Kris with everything he needed for happiness, and was going to do that even if it meant working himself to the bone. If this was how Kris had lived up to then, the future needed to balance out the karma. And with that, Lysander’s fingers dug a cigarette from his pocket, lighting it, and took a deep, lung-rotting drag. Hopefully it would calm him down.

Miroslav carefully stroked back the intrusion of hair in Tyn's eyes, smiling down at him as his free hand repetitively lifted the small porcelain cup to his lips, sipping it almost cheerfully. He appreciated the darkness like he believed no one else could, it was his cover, his safety, his comfort. Nothing shone in the shadows so hard and cold as it did in the darkness-in the darkness the edges were fuzzed, outlines blurred, colours swept away. "Is there anything I can get you before I perhaps camp out on the couch?" His frail body shifted on the bed, mind ticking over for a moment to the promise of food. He would like that. A warm meal in his belly, drinks always available, good company, friends, work that needed to be done... It was perfect. "I can get you anything. Well, within most boundaries of reason." And then he smiled, unable to contain it. The Roma was cheering up by the second, eyes twinkling softly.

The immortal was still huddled on the couch, arms now wrapping his folded legs, his eyes moved from the shut doorway of the bedroom to the cup steaming before him on the coffee table. It looked inviting, tantalising... But he would not reach out for it. It seemed too good for him at the moment. It would be a comfort, a luxury he wouldn’t allow for himself. How he felt wretched! His hand swiftly lifted to brush back his curls, forcing his eyes away from the softly curled, delicate cup with steam rolling over the edges almost in a smug, teasing way.

For the life of him, Edvard could not pinpoint the cause of this sudden inner turmoil. Sure, the telling off had triggered it, but really, why couldn’t he just push it away like it was some useless chattering? Was it because of the one who had so generously given over the tongue lashing? Was it because of his current circumstances? Or, was it because of the conviction the lady of the house spoke with? The fire and her eyes and the poison in her words? That was probably it, he concluded, swaying forwards precariously on the couch, now his reddened eyes averted towards the bedroom door…

And then recoiling into the couch cushions. So, he wasn’t wanted there, was he? It pulsed like a heartbeat across the room. Perhaps it was merely his imagination… but no. He could /feel/ Miroslav, confused and dazed yet pleased, and Tyn, barely awake, sick, frightened, and confused.

That hurt him… A lot.

With another suppressed sigh, he moved again, unlatching his arms from around his legs and letting them fall limply over the side of the couch. With hands clutching at the leather, not wanting him to get up, he pushed off with his legs, body following piece by piece. When the immortal was on his feet, he felt his shoulders hunch before lurching towards the kitchen door, a wave of reconsideration sweeping over him. Yet, carelessly, he pushed it back, eyes on his long-fingered, sharp-nailed hand as it shoved open the kitchen door.

There was lady Rosalind, busying herself with something, no doubt. Perhaps she was doing it to keep from reprimanding Edvard again, he didn’t know…. But he would bet a rather large amount of money that it was. Softly, almost meekly, he opened his mouth and began to speak, letting the syllable fall haphazardly. "Lady Rosalind?" he drew a deep breath, willing himself to continue. "Lady Rosalind, I’m… going out for a while. I do believe it would be in the best interest of us all. I’ll be back by tomorrow, at least, to see Tyn… I just wanted to know if you needed anything while I was away? I can pick up anything you’d like… Oh, and would you… be so kind as to tell Miroslav when he emerges that I don’t mind him staying at all, really. It would mean a lot to him, and me also. So, please, I know you hate me and want me to get run over by a snow plow and all that posh, but… will you do that one thing for me, please? And tell Tyn I love him? I don’t want to wake him…" Or scare him, Edvard thought, looking beseechingly at Rosa’s throat to keep from her eyes. She had won for this round, let her wallow in her victory, the man felt too confused to really care. Kris smiled weakly, eyebrows hunkering together like a pair of thin, beaten caterpillars.

"I… oh, it’s horrible, isn’t it? But, this is what you get when it’s free… My boss just lets me live here, don’t pay rent or anything…" Letting the table be and turning, he took a seat hip-to-hip with Lysander, eyes flickering briefly to the side of his face and then looking away again.

"I feel terrible. It’s so… tacky. Horrible. You must think me a street bum, yes, don’t say you don’t." the singer’s hand lifted, drawing the cigarette away from the other’s hand and quickly taking a few drags on it. Slowly, after burning up about a half of the cancer stick, he replaced it between the brunette’s index and middle finger, looking at his grey-carpeted, stained floor. His hands met and locked together, slipping between his knees, feet flat on the floor. "Blah," he murmured, looking for the words as his heart skipped a few beats. Silly thing was, he didn’t understand what had come over him. Shame was a word rarely inserted into the extravagant young man’s vocabulary, and he was momentarily caught off guard by the mere mention of it. "I… well; I don’t know what to say. But I mean, don’t… well. Jeez. You make me nervous, you know? It takes someone special to make me nervous. Hell, I’d invite the damn Pope in here and not feel a pang of anything. Now I feel like my ears might burn off. Look at them! They’re even red…" his blush deepened as he glanced into the tall mirror adjacent to the end of the bed. "See what you’ve done?" Kris asked teasingly.

Lady Rosalind had turned, her cup in her hand, and a softer expression in her eyes as Edvard’s words washed over her, her shoulders visibly slumping. "Edvard, did you drink your tea? Come, come and sit down, will you? It’s cold out, you should at least drink something warm. Please? For Tyn’s benefit. He’ll be upset if he wakes up and you aren’t here." She took her own cup with her, gently leading Edvard out of the kitchen and herding him into the living room and towards the leather sofa and chairs. Whether she truly believed Edvard would return, whether he needed some space, time, fresh air, or if she believed he was going to turn-tail and flee wasn’t clear, but she certainly wasn’t going to let him leave just like that.

"Edvard, listen. I know… we don’t get on. And I think… Tyn is probably the only thing we have shared views on; we both want the best for him, don’t we? I think… I know, that we both think we know what is best for him, and that doesn’t always meet. But Tyn loves you. He might be scared of you, but he’s scared of me too. We’re all scared of the people we want to impress. We’re scared of rejection, we’re scared of what they think of us, and we’re scared that they might love us back as much as we love them. Tyn is frightened of you like that. And maybe because he doesn’t feel secure. Lots of things have happened since you both met, haven’t they? Horrible things and I don’t think I could ever really understand even if you both explained. Using pictures and colour-coded diagrams. And because you’ve both been through that, it makes you stronger, together. But Tyn still doesn’t know who you are, does he? And you don’t know who he is. That is where things get uneasy, isn’t it? Because you love each other, but you aren’t quite sure who you love." As she spoke, she pushed Edvard’s cup towards him, offering the hot tea again. "If you want to go out, you can, if you don’t want to come back… again, it’s your choice, although you know you’ll confirm all my worst fears about you. I don’t think you want to do that. And I don’t want you to do that." She sighed, leaning back in the chair that know seemed positively claimed as her own, her little bag tucked into the side, knitting needles and thick lilac wool visible through the opening. She had got quiet far with her knitting while the two males had slept, but that seemed too long ago. She set her cup down, and retrieved the ball of wool, and the needles.

Lysander didn’t speak until the smile broke over Kris’ face, his body relaxing as it brought the remains of the cigarette forwards again, finishing it off while it was clamped between his lips, arm now free to curl about Kris’ shoulders, tossing the filter into the ashtray on the table. "For a start, I don’t think you’re a slob, or a street-bum, or a hobo, or whatever else. I didn’t expect this, I’m not going to pretend anything different. It’s a side of life I’ve never seen. And I know you deserve better. Much better. I want… I want to take you away from all this." He shifted, pulling Kris closer and wrapping the other arm around him, rubbing their noses together. "Look, it doesn’t matter where you live, how you live, or anything like that. I love you. Not your apartment, the way you dress, or what brand of toothpaste you use. It isn’t important, I couldn’t care less about that. This bothers me, it shocks me, and… I’m scared. I don’t like it at all, I don’t like the thought of you staying here. I’m probably being over protective, I can’t help it. Let me take you away soon, please?" And the last words were sealed with a soft, pleading kiss on the singer’s nicotine flavoured lips, one of his hand’s finding Kris’ and curling their fingers together, squeezing to reinforce his words. "You will, won’t you? Just for a while, I know… it’s probably… too soon for you to leave. You need to talk to your boss but I’m sure they’ll understand, won’t they? Just… tell them you’re moving to live with me… it won’t matter, will it?" He asked, blue eyes soft and their nose-tips touching, nuzzling together as their lips met briefly again.

"But before you leave, Edvard, go see Tyn. Please. Just kiss him goodnight. I won’t do it for you, I promise you that. It means nothing coming from me, and it won’t hurt you just… just to say something. You won’t wake him, you don’t have to, but being there is enough. He’ll know you’ve been, and that will do him the world of good. He does love you, Edvard."

Lysander shifted, putting a little more space between them, and moving his free hand to push at his hair, fidgeting. "Look… I… get ready, alright dear? We need to be leaving and…" He didn’t want to say he wanted to get out of the small apartment, if it could even be called that, but he wanted to be away, free of the oppressive room and the bleakness that seemed to leak from the very walls, like poisonous gas. So instead, he looked away, lighting yet another cigarette and smoking it, just for something to do, give an excuse for him to break eye contact.

"Right," Kris said, slipping off the bed, eyes half closed, weary with the strain. How was he supposed to explain about his /boss/? How could he even /begin/ to leave there? It wasn’t something that Kris had ever planned before. He had never intended to leave, the young man realized as his eyes flickered away from Lysander’s new cigarette, his own fingers weaving over the material of his borrowed shirt and pulling it off without the full consent of his mind. The singer was somewhere between thought and action, moving quickly among the clothes and finding the ones he wanted to wear. They were pressed, freshly washed, and kept away from most of the cigarette smoke that would filter through the room when he went on a cancerous binge. Tucked away in the corner of a drawer of the dresser, he pulled out a pair of brown corduroy slacks and a jacket and set them on the bed, the shirt he had been wearing all ready refolded and lying next to Lysander’s hip. Quickly, he dug through another drawer and found his pink shirt, long sleeved, ruffled at the edges and over the front buttons. He almost grinned, remembering buying it with a on-again-off-again friend of his. That, of course, brought him to the realisation of ‘where were they?’

And by ‘they’, he meant someone his boss should have sent by now. He’d missed a day, and hadn’t been home since yesterday… but then again, it must have been too early to call out the slut police.

Kris rolled his eyes, fingers running the trim of the shirt as he pondered what else to go with it. With a soft little sigh he looked over his accessories lining over the clothes-covered counter, eyeing a silver-chain choker. That was on in a moment, his shirt lying on the bed, hand pushing off the rest of his clothes; by now, modesty wasn’t an issue. But then again, it never was with Kris.

Edvard took up his place on the couch, merely staring at the tea that moved closer to him on the table, looking at it like something he had never seen before. "Yes," he murmured slowly, still not up to looking at Rosalind properly, his voice void of any real emotion. "No one knows who they are, really. They never truly do… You and I have lived for years, and I still haven’t a clue who I am. Perhaps… perhaps it’s all these things I do. Maybe, even… it’s all the things I /don’t/ do. But I’ve never been quite good enough, or maybe, maybe I haven’t reached the standards of enlightenment… But it doesn’t matter, does it? We’ll find each other soon enough. Pain… They say pain can bring people together. Mould hearts like candle wax… And they say, they say that absence makes the heart grow fonder…" at this point his lips pushed apart and he offered a soft smile, a gentle chuckle pouring from his lips. "Oh, and forgive me, won’t you, for being so rude? I had no right to speak with you that way. I was being foolish and self-centred… Maybe, when I return we can have a proper cup of tea and a conversation together…. But, yes, anyways… I’ll kiss him good night."

The immortal got to his feet, drawing the tea cup up with him and taking it to the kitchen to pour down the sink. It had all ready chilled and the dregs had gathered like clumps of mud in the bottom of the cup, clinging to the porcelain. When he entered the kitchenette, he tipped the contents into the sink and then rinsed the cup, setting it back into the silvery basin before turning and heading back through the living room. From there he easily pushed open the door, careful not to let too much light slip in before he did.

In the darkness he could see Miroslav finishing his tea on the edge of the bed, eyes downcast on the sleeping form at his hip. He merely glanced up to acknowledge Edvard, getting up when the other drew near. "Hello, Edvard."

"Evening, Miroslav… You know, not that it’s any of my choice, but I don’t mind you staying, really… Just… well, Rosalind is in the living room and I heard her promise to feed you, so you should probably go on and do that soon before she becomes too absorbed in her knitting and whatnot… I’m sorry I was so… nasty to you earlier." The immortal tipped his head and leaned forwards over Tyn, inspecting him as he slept.

"It’s fine, Edvard, I understand completely… Really, don’t be upset about it, there’s nothing to apologise for. I know that I… bring back bad things, don’t I? Here, if you’ll excuse me, I’ll leave you two alone…" Then, the were-dog slipped from the room like a shadow, silent and frail.

With a smile at the prospect of being alone with Tyn he let his hand run over the curve of the young man’s jaw, eyes fondly caressing him through the pitch. "Sorry for all that… junk I pulled tonight… It was… horribly cold of me, wasn’t it?" he listened to the rhythmic breathing, continuing to let his fingers draw down Tyn’s throat. "But either way, I’m going out for a while, a little evening stroll, you know… I’ll be back sooner or later, just thought I should tell you goodbye… But since you’re sleeping, I’ll just kiss you goodnight instead…" His mouth dipped, pressing a tender kiss to Tyn’s dried lips, Var’s hand cupping the boy’s face. "It’s such a sad, thing, partings…" he remarked to himself in the lowest of voices, watching a moment longer for any sort of life.

"Do you really like my outfit?" Kris asked, half dressed now, slacks and shirt on, lithe fingers playing at the white buttons between the ruffles. "Or do you think it’s a little much? Really, I know you don’t care, so don’t say that, but what do you think? Pink, or just a sweater?" Now he lovingly caressed the sleeve cuffs, looking at himself in the mirror, back to Lysander.

The other man’s laugh was silvery, soft and gentle as Kris turned to examine himself in the mirror again, a beautiful marionette dressed and cared for… he stood, balancing the cigarette on the side of the ashtray, and took Kris by the lips, chin on the other man’s shoulder as he considered the youth’s reflection. "I think you look gorgeous undressed, but I don’t think you’d go out like that, would you? Hmm… go with the jacket. Why stop halfway? You’ve already out-classed me." He pressed a loving kiss to the other’s jaw, reaching for his cigarette again. "But you do look fantastic. I think the pink would set it off…" he smirked, taking a drag before passing over the cigarette. "You know what else is white, pink and brown? That ice-cream… Neapolitan. It’s the best. Strawberry, vanilla, and chocolate. I was never very keen about the chocolate, but the rest is delicious."

Rosa looked up, pausing mid-stitch as the door was closed, her smile returning for Miroslav. "Ah, you left the lovebirds to it. Very wise. Now…" She set the knitting down, rubbing her hands together and clearly enjoying the chance to play mother again, her aura bright and alive. She stood, humming some ancient melody under her breath, and moved to take the were-dog’s arm. "Now, what would you like? Something hot, certainly. Any particular favourite food?" She asked, leading him into the kitchen, and opening a fridge door which was re-stocked with all the basics, and a few of the luxuries, she knew were needed. "Of course, we’ll have to work within reason, but I’m sure we can get you something. Something tasty, and good for you. And then we’ll find you somewhere to sleep, hm? I think that sofa lays flat, you can sleep on that, or, if you want, snuggle with Tyn. I’m sure you’re more trust worthy then Edvard, in that situation, anyway…" She stopped her rant there, sighing as she pulled a bottle of clear alcohol from the fridge. "Does this stuff reproduce? I could swear I tipped it all…" she muttered to herself, and smiled wearily at Miro, gesturing him to the little stool by the narrow worksurface by the window. "Tyn needs someone around to look after him, don’t you think, Miro? I take it you and Master Edvard know each other from before? What do you think of him?"

Lysander pulled himself away, picking the jacket up and holding it out, letting his love slip his arms into it, and then Lysander allowed himself to arrange the collars of both shirt and jacket. "There. Much better. Are we ready? Yes? Good!" He pressed a small line of kisses over the other’s cheek, and took him by the hand, pulling him out towards the door. "We’re late, we’re late, for a very important date!" He paused, allowing Kris to actually finish getting dressed. "Did you ever watch that film? Alice in Wonderland? I swear that film is crazy. Ever read the book, but that’s apparently worse. Hmm. Next time it rains, how about we stay in and watch movies? I think that would be rather entertaining." He smiled, clearly excited by the prospect, and by their date that evening. "And I’m going to call a cab, alright?" He leant forwards, pressing another kiss to Kris’ lips, before pulling the sleek curved phone from a pocket.

Tyn purred softly, turning in his sleep as Edvard’s lips brushed his cheek, a small sigh escaping the boy’s lips, but he made no other movement or sound. Sleep was a wonderful place to retreat to, a place of extreme safety where only the worst of fear could follow, and they themselves in dream form, could always be defeated. No, Tyn had not heard any of the more friendly conversation his mother and Edvard had shared, but if he had, probably would have felt more comforted by the soft tones, the way neither raised their voice, but the distinct lack of obvious, or veiled, insults. But Eddy’s presence, as his mother had said, seemed to ease the boy’s sleep, and his breathing seemed less fevered for the short interval that his lover remained in the dark room. But then again, perhaps that was only a brief lull, likely to get worse, not better, while Tyn slept without the protective watch of his love. Who knew? Certainly no-one Tyn could name, if that were possible in his present dreamy state. Ah yes, the comforting bubble of sleep…

Rosa straightened up, closing the fridge door and moving to open up some of the cupboards. "Keep an ear out for Edvard, will you? He offered to go shopping for me while he was out. And there was only so much I could bring back by myself. I’m sure he’ll be much more capable…" She smiled, and turned back to look at her emancipated little guest. "How often do you eat, my dear? Properly? I don’t think you’re eating three times a day." She moved closer, touching his side and feeling the rib almost right beneath the skin. "It’s not good at all. You realise you can come back here and eat whenever you need to? Tyn would want that. Although I probably won’t be staying much longer. Edvard and I don’t particularly get on, and it’s upsetting Tyn. He won’t get better unless he feels like he’s in a stable environment… and for that matter, neither will Edvard."

Edvard sighed weakly, backing off Tyn and straightening up, his hand moving away from the boy's body. Withdrawn now, he folded his hands into his hips pockets, eyes cutting through the dark. All he wanted was to curl up in the protective rolls of covers, molding against the curves of that thin, weakened body... But he couldn't. It wasn't right, it wasn't fair, he couldn't bring himself to do it. He wasn't afraid of the reprimands he would receive, even though he wasn't looking forwards to those, either. But he had to get out. Both men needed their space for a little while. He needed to be away from Rosalind and Miroslav and, most of all, Tyn. And Tyn needed to be away from him. Not because Var was upset with the young man, but because he was ashamed of himself. He felt sick as all the thoughts of his treatment towards his lover came back, berating him in the darkened, silent room. The words from the kitchen seemed as though they were a million miles away, barely making it through the fog as he stood like a statue in a graveyard, staring down, down, down.

"What do I think of Edvard?" Miroslav asked, watching the woman rattling around the kitchen, the earlier questions being considered with a dull shrug of his shoulders or a tilt of his chin. "Yes'm, we do go back quite a long ways. I don't remember the dates, of course... but it has been a while. But anyways, whatever you'd like to give me will be fine; I don't care what I eat. Just whatever is convenient for you... I really appreciate that, Lady Rosalind, by the way… And when do I eat? Well, I haven’t eaten in a while, actually. There isn’t much… around the house…" and he was silent for a moment, looking at his hands folded over his knees as his feet rested on the lowest wrung of the stool. Then, feeling the hair shift neatly back over his shoulders, he looked up again, forcing a smile onto his face. "Oh, and Edvard... yes... Well, Edvard isn't... all that balanced, as you might say. But, it isn't entirely his fault. If I had to put Edvard and people into a sentence, seeing as that is the man’s weak point, I would simply say that people who deserve it the least need love the most…" the Roma let his words trail, eyes weakly darting back to the ground, tiles catching his attention and holding them for a long moment.

"Where is it that you plan to go when you leave here, ma’am? Is there someone waiting for you somewhere?"

Edvard sighed, chest heaving as he turned, moving towards the door. He would be back in a while, he was just going to be out to clear his mind. Yes, just that. His hand twisted the doorknob, body pushing through the small gap in the door and back out into the hard light of the living room. The hand he had left in his pocket quickly slithered up to hide his eyes, teeth catching his lower lip, mind flicking back to now. As he stood there, regaining himself, he let his breathing slow from where it had caught when his body had hit the light of the room, tongue wetting his lips. After another silent moment, the sound of Miro’s voice closer, he stepped towards the kitchen, hand pushing against the doorway.

The were-dog’s head snapped towards the door, his eyelashes fluttering at the sight of Var- forlorn and tired looking. "Hello again, Edvard."

"Hi, Miroslav… Madame Rosalind? You never did say what you would need me to get while I was gone… Is there anything in particular or would you just like some food of some sort?" he carefully rearranged himself in the doorway, leaning his shoulder against the door frame, one arm holding the door, the other folding over his chest. The curls that had been pushed behind his ears fell, slipping to the collar of his creased, crumpled shirt.

Kris smiled sweetly, checking himself once more in the mirror as he sat down and pulled on a pair of dark brown dress shoes, lacing them quickly. When he saw that Lysander had finished his phone call, he gave a grin. "I think it’s a great idea… and I love that movie; but you’re right, it doesn’t make any sense. However, I do like that cat. You know, the purple striped one? The Cheshire cat. He’s fun… I was going to read the book, but then again, I’m not much for reading or anything like that. Plus, I just don’t think I would stay interested…" he rocked forwards from his bed and onto his feet, fingers pushing at the rumples folding in the slacks at his thighs before looking away from the mirror and to Lysander, hands absently running down each sleeve before he looked away again, this time to his dresser. The silver chain he had been admiring earlier was snapped around his neck in a couple of moments, clasps apparently no challenge for him like most. Then the necklace was followed by a cheap, silver watch which he checked to make sure it was still working.

"Right, uhm. Now I’m ready, I think…" he stumbled through the room to the door, flicking off his lamp and making sure his bathroom door was shut before he got to the door. When he got there, he made a run through of his pockets, retrieved his keys, and lead Lysander by the hand out the door. "We’re late, we’re late, for a very important date, my love!" the singer chuckled, flicking the lock and taking off down the stairs, his fingertips brushing Zan’s as he took off, bouncing down the steps like a little boy. "Come along, we can wait for the cab outside. It smells funny in here, you know…" he laughed again, stopping to wait for his beau on the lower landing.

Zan followed, catching Kris by the arm when he reached the little platform between each set of steps, curling the singer’s arm through his in some mocking of a heterosexual couple, humming softly to himself as the walked side-by-side, which was preferable to Kris running off by himself. Even if it did mean Lysander got a prolonged view of the corduroy-covered backside, holding the youth was more enjoyable then only looking at him. "Yes, I remember the Cheshire Cat. But… I never much liked him. That grin was just… spooky. The way it faded and turned when he went invisible. I liked the Tea Party… when I was little, I went out Trick or Treating as the Mad Hatter. And my older sister went as the Walrus and my younger sister went as the Carpenter. I think my whole family were born insane…" he stopped then, smiling lightly, before moving to nuzzle Kris’ cheek. " ‘The sun was shining on the sea, Shining with all his might: He did his very best to make, The billows smooth and bright, And this was odd, because it was The middle of the night.’ I can’t believe I still remember that." He laughed softly, and held open the door to let Kris out of the block of apartments – he didn’t really think it smelt, but he hadn’t been concentrating on anything but getting out. But now they stood in the cool, darkening evening, Lysander reaching back to his pocket and pulling out a box of cigarettes and offered them to Kris, fetching his lighter from another. "Cab’ll be here in about 10 minutes. Think you can wait that long?" He muttered, the air around them tinged with vapour from their breath, although it was still invisible. The temperature would have to drop a few more degrees for that, but it was likely to drop that much before midnight.

"Well, my own Sire is still alive. I was with him until I came here, and I suppose that’s where I’ll go back. He’s a very powerful man, but very, very old. He needs someone to look after him." Rosa looked up, having pulled a couple of eggs from their shaped shelf within the fridge door, her eyes sliding back to Edvard and hoisting up a small smile. "Ah, I didn’t, did I? Yet me have a quick look…" still holding the eggs carefully, she took a quick itinerary of the contents of the collective larder. "Milk, certainly, if we’re all going to keep drinking so much tea… I bought some bread, but we don’t seem to have any butter. Butter, please Edvard, not the other stuff, whatever they call it. And whatever little bits and pieces take your fancy, I’m sure. God knows, if I have to feed three young men, I’m sure we’ll be needing much more then I planned… Oh, I should give you some money…" she turned, gently setting the eggs down, making sure they couldn’t roll on the worksurface and onto the floor, and pulled open a draw, rifling through envelopes and bits of paper, humming to herself again as she pulled out a set of crisp bills and handed them over. "After all, you shouldn’t have to pay out of your own money for what you aren’t going to consume all by yourself, hm?" She turned back to the eggs, picking them up and looking about for a pan. "Tell me, Miroslav, ever had omelette? Spanish omelette? You like smoked salmon, don’t you? And potato? It’ll taste good, I promise. Tyn used to eat them all the time, as I remember. Probably the first thing over then risotto he could make by himself. Did you know you’re boy-toy could cook, Edvard?" She asked, shaping the words carefully, as if they were distasteful, but she was trying to get over the bitterness they left in her mouth. Her son was sleeping with this man, this man was sleeping with her son. They might have been on rocky ground, but she needed to learn how to deal. She was going to have to keep the peace a little longer, it seemed, and then… then perhaps things would be better. And more smoothly too. Tyn was sick, and she would stay a little longer to make sure he was on the way to recovery, and that Edvard was going to come back. It might do, she hoped he did. Tyn wouldn’t recover as well, if at all, if he were abandoned again. It seemed to be the story of his short, ill-fated life up until that point, and Rosa didn’t want it to happen again. But Edvard had to make his own choices, she realised that. She knew from the moment her eyes met his as he lent against the doorframe that he was troubled, extremely so, and needed the chance to escape. Whether that be eternally or just for a few hours, she didn’t know, couldn’t even hazard a guess. But we would go, and the money she had given… well, maybe it would help him along the way if he decided not to return.

At least, he would get a head start before she tracked him down and pulled out his throat with her teeth.

Tyn shifted, the room seeming to cool a little as he was felt alone again, his dreams spinning within his head, pushing the covers down as he shifted, his temperature running higher as the chill swept into the room. From the balcony, or from the gap between the floor and door, or the bathroom window always ajar. There was a hot, painfully heavy knot in his stomach, it twisted and turned like a viper inside him, but there was nothing he could do about it until he woke. Only in his dream did he fight it, a knight in silver armour armed with sword and shield against some legless dragon, a giant scaled worm that had wrapped it’s curls around him, tightening slowly, but unstoppably, like the future and past both pressing in on him, ceaseless and unfathomable.



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