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 Sixteen - End Of An Era part 2

Title: Loves Only A Four Letter Word – Ending Of An Era
Warning: PG-13 - some moderate language

"He talks so... fancy." Kris murmured as quietly as he could into Lysander's ear, fingers wound with the other man's, afraid to uncurl them. The leather of the seats was so soft and un-broken in that his other hand had dipped to rest on it and then back to his knee more than once, looking around the cab curiously over and over. He had stopped on Jeremy many times, truly fascinated by the man. Of course, he had always been fascinated by people and how they worked. Jeremy was no different, just a strange subject to dissect. Kris, however, could no more tell anything about the driver than the driver could about the other; nonetheless, he continued to watch the bleached-blonde, smooth talking, business fellow with a strange sort of longing to pick his brain. Who on earth said 'sir' that much, anyways? It was just... unnatural. But effective, he concluded, leaning closer into Zan and letting his arms tighten just enough to not rumple their clothes.
Then, with a smile, Kris bumped the other's sideburns with his lips, letting his cheek lean against the freshly shaved one at his side. "So, I don't recall ever going to this restaurant-" of course he didn't, the nicest one he had ever been to was the first he had gone in with Lysander- "Tell me about it, hm?"
The were-dog leaned forwards over his emptied plate, mind fogging with content pleasure welling up the sides of his chest and making his arms droop. "Yes, that's.. fine. If you don't... care." With that, Miro felt like saying nothing else, declining the offer of more food and wine. He drained his glass and stood, gathering his plate and cutlery in hand before setting them into the deep sink. With his movements sluggish from a good feed and a drowsy mind, the man barely made it back to his stool before he seemed to melt down into it and the counter, puppy-dog eyes looking after the giddy woman, wondering if he had ever had that much energy.
Young people these days, he thought, almost laughing at himself and finding that he was too tired to do so. The need for long-overdue rest had caught him somewhere between the stool and the sink and attached itself like an infestation of disease to his body, dragging him lower and lower until he feared that he might pass out onto the counter. It was then that Miroslav decide that he had never been so tired and so pleased away from his master, even if that thought caused more guilt to tremor through him, a yawn cutting it short.
Edvard stared into the dark, eyes cutting around, the familiar scent hanging on the air like cheap, heavy perfume. It was disgusting, musky and dead and full of undertones of something awful, dreadful, evil. He coughed inwardly, fingers moving to his throat as though afraid he would choke on his own breath, eyes widening. The light barely penetrated four feet from the table in all directions, starting from directly at his side. It was the same table, yet the instrument he remembered there on his last visits were gone, long swept away from the eyes of the monster's beloved, he was sure, fingers pulling to his side in disgust as he urged them forwards to grab the lamp. The flame licked at the glass orb around it, leaving a gentle soot trail. He could hear no breathing in the room, but knew that when he picked up the lamp and moved for the far wall that /something/ would happen. Dante would be sure of that.
Finally, after much begging, pleading, and bargaining with his frozen appendages, the vampire reached out in one quick movement, snapped up the lamp, and slipped forwards in another daredevil attempt to reconcile himself. However, when the light finally did filter through the palpable darkness, Edvard almost recoiled with fear and utter disgust, wishing he had let his more intelligent instincts take over.
There was Dante, in all his bloody glory. Still chained as a lifeless marionette to the wall, sagging so heavily that he was dead weight on his manacles that bored into bone, blood leaking in clotted pools to the floor, a blue tint spreading everywhere over the fine alabaster of his skin, discolouring it in the most horrible display. His usually beautiful, red-wined lips were a sickening colour of purply blue, his eyes still closed halfway and milky with film. The mouth was still sagging, a bead of saliva still clinging to the corner of his mouth as though frozen in the chill. His feet were spread out, sockless and the colour of the setting-sky toes a frost-bitten hue. They looked as though they had slipped in the blood and were now turned in the worst way to support such a body. Edvard almost feared that the elder was dead, and wondering why he would have been panged so if it were true. God, he had to make sure.
Fingers grasping the lamp's handle, he lifted it above his head and cautiously stepped forwards, careful of the blood puddles and wary of being in reach; but, he found that he would have to get closer to check for any sign of life-or rather, reanimation masquerading is life. His empty hand lifted, shaking noticeably as he reached towards the face once so dignified and now so disgustingly twisted and pathetic, digits on there way to stroking the curve of the jaw, the bristled line of a sideburn; but then it happened-the corpse so expertly tethered to the wall let in a shaking, heavy breath, whole body shivering. In shock, Edvard fell backwards into a congealed pool of blood, a silent scream burning his lungs and choking him as he scrambled backwards with his open hand, the other still miraculously holding the upright, flashing lamp.

Rosa nodded, setting her own empty glass back down on the faux-marble worktop, reaching to stroke through the long hair again, as Miroslav seemed to droop in his seat. He must have been absolutely shattered, the poor darling. And slumped up on that stool was not going to be the best place to take a long, healing sleep. He’d probably fall off sometime during his nap too, and that wasn’t a very appealing prospect.  “Now, Miroslav, come with me.” She muttered softly, gently looping her arm about his elbow and helping him up.
The thinness of him was still shocking, and frightening, but the woman did feel slightly less concerned now he had some food in him. And if Rosa had any authority in this particular household, which she did, then the were-dog was going to eat again after he woke up. And perhaps stay for lunch too, because as sure as there was a heaven and a hell, she was going to make sure there were three decent sized meals in him. Well-balanced meals too, that would pad him out a little, because the boy was skeleton-slender and it was unhealthy. Besides, it made her feel fat. And a lady of Rosa’s age, give or take a few centuries, was not at her best when she felt fat. 
Holding him carefully, able to steer him but letting him control his own movements, they crept to the bedroom, the elegant free hand pushing the door open and letting the soft light from the livingroom filter into the otherwise pitch blackness. She let Miro sink down onto the bed, letting her hand slip from him as she moved to check on her son, her corpse-cold hand resting briefly on the fevered skin of his brow, before giving a soft sigh. As she stood, the boy groaned, twisting again to hide his whole frame beneath the sheets, his back turned to her. There was nothing else she could really do for him, aside from tuck him in, leaving him with good company, and wait up for his… his lover to return. There, she’d thought it again, and this time it had been easier.
“I’ll leave you here, then, Miro. The bathroom is just there. Get some sleep. And look after Tyn for me, won’t you? His fever hasn’t broken yet.” And with that, she planted a gently kiss on the blue-haired vampire’s cheek, and then took another step to place one of Miroslav’s cheek too. “Sweet dreams..” And then the door was shut behind her with the soft click.
“I think he’s meant to” Lysander supplied, free hand slipping under Kris’ shirt to stroke the skin that covered the other male’s back. “I mean, when people rent out something like this, they want something special. They want to be treated like royalty. I think that’s why he talks like that. I doubt very much that he talks like that at home, do you? I mean, it wouldn’t feel half so good if he talked like some kid out of the Hood, ” He muttered, turning his head to gently rub his nose against the singers. “Doesn’t it make you feel important? Being driven around in an expensive car by a guy who treats you with respect… it’s a nice feeling. Exactly what you deserve.”
Zan shifted then, after pressing a couple of quick kisses against Kris’ lips again, watching the bright lights outside the tinted windows roll pass. Out there was an entirely different world to the one they were used to. The rich and the upper class dwelt around here in their expensive town houses, belonging to their expensive social-clubs and eating out whenever they felt like it. It was odd to be driving through such a select area in such a well-to-do way, although really there were aliens here, curled together on the leather seat, afraid to touch it in case they broke it and were forced to pay more than they earnt to repair it. And as soon as Jeremy pulled up outside the place, then they would step out of their little bubble of safety and be bare and exposed in such a usual, unknown setting. It was like dropping two children in a strange city where they didn’t speak the language. Well, maybe not exactly, they were both adults, this was their city, but there was so many differences. Lysander could bet with a certain amount of certainly that everyone they passed in the dining room of that restaurant tonight would have a university education, or at least, some private tutoring. It was frightening, almost.
“Well, I’ve never been there either. It’s not the sort of place you go without having a very, very good reason.” He turned back, and pressed his lips into a smile, fingers squeezing at Kris’ hand to further explain that the very, very good reason they were going was actually him. “But it’s beautiful, from what I’ve heard. Very Victorian Gothic. You know, the big, high-ceilings, wood-panelled with lots of red and gold and the hundreds of tables? That sort of thing.” And then his eyes moved again as the car pulled up, all too soon for Lysander’s liking, and Jeremy turned off the engine and stepped out. In the moment of complete privacy, Zan gave Kris a deeper, more passionate kiss then he’d been able to before, and muttered, “Here we go…” before his door was opened onto the pavement, held open for their driver as the both stepped out.

Sliding across the seat he let the sweet tone of his lover's voice wash over him, the words beginning to take an effect. His cheeks coloured and he grasped Lysander's hand tighter, keeping a death grip on him, their fingers intertwined as his feet hit the pavement, eyebrows daring to jump past his hairline. The front of the restaurant was beautiful, clean-cut, stylish, well lit. All the things that made it worth the money; like an insecure child, the man slid against Lysander, watching and waiting, Jeremy standing patiently with the door held open until Kris finally moved and the driver snapped it shut. Dropping the tangled hands between their hips, eyes shifting around. His mouth opened to say something, forgetting his words instantly and letting his lips press back together. Somewhere between here and there he had managed to slick them with his lip balm out of sheer nerves, knowing that a little bit of primping in that degree would soothe him slightly.
Quickly, still confused and unsure of what to expect, he looked back to Lysander, keeping his eyes steady and under control so they wouldn't defy him and take another sweep over the front of the building, large and expansive.
Miroslav submitted easily, sinking into the mattress, the damp remnants of a kiss to his cheek cooling rapidly. His hair caught beneath his arm and he undid the ribbon with a experienced hand in the darkness, feeling it wrap about his limbs like a hairy robe, eyes focusing on the tossing, whimpering youth by his side. The were-dog felt most compassionate for the boy, his hands moving the cover back slightly from his chest and fanning him with the edge of the comforter. Words spilled quick and thicker than blood from his lips, rich words so foreign and strange that perhaps no one in the living world would be able to decipher them. Then, to add to the comforting he wished to bestow upon the young man, he let his hand caress over Tyn's cheek, fingertips parting the clumps of hair before trailing down to rest on the dry, cracking lips in a sign of silence. He would give nearly anything if Tyn would stop thrashing and whimpering so.
As gently as was possible from an exhausted, undead were-vampire, he took up the space beside the blue-haired boy, one arm holding the other still, cooing into his ear, face to face. Even though Tyn's body was burning up, Miro's touch was bitterly cold and meant to cool and calm that fevered brow, that troubled mind. "Lie still with me, child... It won't be so bad, perhaps, when you wake... Soon enough, you're fever will pass..." he murmured more to himself for reassurance than to the one near his side, eyes shutting, hair caught all around him like black ink oozing from his pours to paint the bed in long, silken, tendril like stains.
And now he shut his eyes properly and let his body ease from taught muscles into that liquid state that comes on from the relaxation that one feels as they conform to the softness of their beds, the strain being pulled off of them like putty from Popsicle sticks in a child's model.
As the breath expanded the stale lungs, in came the scent with it, caught on the air like frost. Scent of Edvard, scent of intruder, of blood. It twisted and turned inside his lungs, flipping a switch in his brain that made his jaw widen, the breath inside him swooshing out in the cover of a scream, long and listlessly angry. The vampire still crawling backwards on the floor winced, ducking his head and whimpering like a puppy, eyes cutting upwards towards the demon's face and watching it miraculously come back to life-or, at least, mostly. The blue was draining away, being replaced by that clammy white and blotches of red, the little blood he had left pumping through his veins at a pace very unnatural but necessary in it's long absence of a heart-beat. When the noise stopped the thrashing began, quick, frightened jerks creaking the chains and the cement that held them, each tug oiled with a screech of pain. Var scrambled and scraped to his feet, pulling the lamp up with him, appalled and terrified at this behaviour. He had never in all his days seen anything like this, his attention now on the rolling, maddened, filmy eyes that were unhurriedly clearing. Still wary, but somewhat more confident by the apparent strength of the chains, Edvard began to scream in reply, something more intelligent, of course.
"DANTE! DANTE! QUIET, SHH! YOU MUST BE SILENT, STOP SCREAMING, IT'S DOING YOU NO GOOD!" he howled above the noise, the empowerment of their positions sending a jolt of realisation through him; Dante was not the strongest, most horrible thing in the world. Right now, the strongest thing in Edvard's world was those chains, holding the creature from his nightmares at bay. Still thrashing and rolling against the wall like an animal in a beartrap, Dante ignored him, whines growing fainter not because of the commands which seemed lost on him, but because the energy was draining from his body, making him pant and slow with the throbbing aches and pains. "Dante, calm... Calm." Var murmured, watching from a safe distance, lantern-lamp held in the air over the now-revived man, blood slung over his body and fresh scrapes adorning that dirtied patch of exposed chest and arms.
With the new-found breathing began gradually pan out, the chest rising and falling at more regular intervals as the wild eyes swivelled in their sockets, slick and roving. They slipped over the darkened corners of the room until they had scanned enough, finding Edvard and stopping, the curly-haired man's breath and words catching in his throat.

Maybe, in his comatose state, Tyn mistook one longhaired beauty for another, then again, perhaps such kind words and gentle actions had calmed him. Whichever action had caused the whimpers and frightened squirming to cease, and caused a soft purr in their wake, also produced the need for Tyn to shuffle closer to this source of comfort, which he duly did. In this condition, Tyn most likely couldn’t tell the difference between Miroslav and Edvard, but why need to? He was being cared for, and clearly, that made whoever was caring for him special, and trustworthy. And worth nuzzling up against. That was exactly what he had done, head bumping up against Miroslav’ shoulder, cheek turned against the other’s collarbones before issuing a soft noise- like a pleased kitten, and letting the room drift into silence again.
It was quiet possible that the were-dog was going to recoil, push Tyn away, or just accept the boy and try to sleep. After all, Tyn was not clinging, or making any other movements now, and his dreams seemed to be peaceful enough, it was a childish fancy, probably, sweet and innocent. Then again, if Tyn had mistaken the other male for Edvard, who knew?
That was unlikely though, it had to be admitted. How was the ill child, especially in sleep, meant to summon that sort of energy, after he had further worn himself down by thrashing about earlier? Even Rosa, settling back into her chair and reclaiming her knitting, was slightly more worried then she was broadcasting. Miroslav had already demonstrated some form of empathic powers, but lucky enough for her, her sire had a variant of that skill, and had known taught her enough about blocking such mental advances. Besides, a lady’s mind should be as private as her handbag.
No, Tyn was sick. And he hadn’t feed again tonight, as she had meant him to, either on human food or… more nocturnal sources. Had he even drunk anything? She didn’t know, couldn’t remember. But such illness, although not rare in humans, (or even in infants Turned before it was right) wasn’t normal in a vampire of Tyn’s age. Of course, bad blood would have something to do with it, it must have, coupled with all the stress the poor dear was having to deal with, the loose of his eye, and Edvard’s arrival and apparently frequent temper-tantrums. There was, of course, no where she could take him, no 24/7 Accident and Emergency department for the undead, although there were certain individuals, both undead and mortal, who had more knowledge then she could claim. They would help, if the situation became more dire, although for the moment, Tyn was best left undisturbed. And no matter how disturbed Edvard was, he would need to be consulted, or at least told, about her plan to remove the blue-haired boy from the apartment, from the country for that matter, for however long it took. Edvard would most likely insist to go to, and although it was probably not best, she could not deny him that. Nor deny Tyn his company.
Lysander was clearly impressed too, although his gawking was probably not so obvious as the little singers, managing to move both himself, and his partner, towards the steps that lead up to the tall building, managing to nod, and confirm their booking before gently poking Kris in the hip. “You’re staring, love.” He breathed, although that last endearment caused one overly dressed, somewhat overweight patron of the restaurant to look at them before muttering something derisive. Although in turn, that only earnt the man a wide smile from Zan and a complementary once over by those pale blue eyes. Of course, it was only to make the man uneasy. His evening wouldn’t have been complete without insulting a few more homophobes then was strictly necessary, and by causing a few to stride off uncomfortably. Although he supposed tonight he should be on his best behaviour, and be as forgiving as possible, considering if they caused too much trouble, they would probably not be allowed back…
He put those thoughts aside as they were lead forwards by a penguin- or rather, one of the smart looking waiters dressed top-to-toe in while and black, who guided them to the table.
Although they were really following him on auto-pilot, eyes having gone wide as they moved across the great expanse of dining room, the high-ceiling raining light down upon them in the form of what felt like a hundred chandeliers. Where the front of the building had been stylish, the follower of fashion, this room set the fashion. Clearly, the Victorian room had once been gilt-gold and plush, rich red, but had been tamed for the modern dinner. Silver replaced gold, and black replaced red, toning down what would in the eyes of most people being a glaring atrocity in the name of style.
This was even more impressive then Zan had been lead to believe, especially as the table they were lead to was carefully laid; finest silver and cut crystal glasses with the napkins carefully shaped around the neck, set on a plain white cloth set at an angle to display the polished dark wood beneath, the chairs cushioned with matching while the main colour of the wall- a neutral white which made the silver and black detailing even more extravagant. It was unimaginable, large then life, and the soft murmur of elegant chatter and the noise of silver on chinaware filled the place, and let did not seem to even reach the lowest crystals of the silver light-fittings.
It was a beautiful room, one that left an imprint on the mind that would never fade; a room designed to impress, but also one to be re-visited. It was too remarkable for words, and Lysander was hardly able to thank the waiter after he handed them both menus (in white, silver and black to reflect the room) and left them sitting at the table.

"I know... Know you.... Know Edvard. Know you. Edvaaard," he gasped, mouth opening and closing like a surprised fish out of water, eyes narrowing into black, bloodshot canyons on his face, tongue licking at the knives he had for teeth. "Edvard. I know Edvard. I know. I... kn..." Then the man cut off, his words hung, breath shuddering. Edvard was still standing, struck by the sheer madness the chained elder portrayed.
"You... what's happened to you?" Var inquired, watching warily, hands clutching and clutching air and lamp, feeling the heat beneath his arm. There was nothing propelling him now to do anything besides stand and stare, his mind swilling, sloshing in his skull, making him question and requestion why he was here, in this basement in the dark with such a beastly thing.
"Where Miroslav?" he grunted, the words lost on him. "I want Miroslav, want drink. Edvard will get me a drink, please?" he groaned, looking away from the other vampire for the first time and back to his arms, seeing the oozing very little blood at all, wincing when the iron hinges and spikes scraped the tender bone and caused a noise to be made in reply. "Wine. Can you get wine?"
Var suddenly pouted, face turning into a nasty, haughty cast as it threw aside fear. "You have the gall to ask me to get you /anything/?" he snapped, looking Dante up and down.
Dante calmly looked up from his bindings and bleeding limbs and gave one short nod. "Yes. Wine."
"No wine," he snapped back, "Water. Or tea."
"Don't want water or tea!" the Italian said back, voice lifting painfully. "Want wine!"
"WHO'S THE ONE CHAINED TO THE WALL?"
"WINE, EDVARD!" this little screaming fit caused Dante to fall back against the wall, the manacles giving a sizzling hiss in reply and another whimper of pain from the man wearing them. "Please, something... Anything, I won't yell... I just... just want..." and he looked up slowly, seeing Edvard retreat from the room, taking the light with him. "Edvard! Edvard? Don't leave, don't leave..."
Uknowing of his Master's current situation, the were-dog curled up, his arms wrapping the boy's body as his own skin and bones frame conforming comfortably against Tyn's. His face laid down, snuffling of the ocean-coloured hair, a smile twisting the thin, darkened pouts of his lips as they kissed a comforting touch against the other's brow. He wouldn't worry anymore with sleep, or comfort or anything of the sort. All he would do now is rest and hope, when he woke again, that Tyn would be better, or at least to the point that he could personally take him out and get some sort of food and blood in him. But now... now... Now he was lost in his own thoughts his own blank dreams...
Kris almost swallowed his tongue as they took up their seats; of course he was staring! Who in their right mind /wouldn't/ be staring? This place was gorgeous, even with it's re-painted walls and classy, snobs adorning every table like classy little flies on a well-dressed, well-endowed dead man. He laughed slightly, both from the glee filling his inside, and the thought of this place being a corpse with blowflies. How /gross/. He giggled again, quickly turning it into a cough in the palm of his curved hand, eyes turning to the waitress propped up before him.
Right, so... what was this sort of writing? He had finally torn his eyes away from gawking all over, unable to keep his gaze from lavishing every wall, every table, every chandelier with lusty adoration. He had twisted his brainwaves from wondering how fabulous the whole place would have looked in bloody red and gold to what this mystery language was, hands folding and unfolding nervously in his lap. He was almost too anxious to speak, too afraid that someone close by would overhear his ignorance and laugh and point and do whatever those odd rich people did when they were amused at someone so damn destitute. They'd probably nod to their wives or business partners and motion towards the pair's table and mutter something quietly under their breath; or perhaps, if they had some grace about them, just wait until after dinner to amuse themselves and look back on it. Kris had /never/ really cared much for what other people thought, but he would rather have his gut stretched out, minced, and sauted before he would want to embarrass Lysander. So, instead of asking anything, he sat, letting his eyes wander groggily from the scribbles of such a foreign script to that of the silverware on either side of him, wonder why in the world /anyone/ would need that many sets of silverware. Every moment or so he would glance hurriedly at Zan before looking back, trying to send the other brain waves on his many questions and knowing that it wasn't working.
Dante was whining faintly, looking horrified in the dark until after a long few minutes he heard footsteps starting back down the passage outside his cell. The scent of something hot and faintly bitter wafted through stagnant air to him, blocking out the scent of his own blood. "Tea, you brought tea?" the Italian groaned, trying to shield his lightless-adjusted eyes by turning his face away and lifting an arm, a yelp making him quickly lower it again.
"Of course I brought tea, but it wasn't originally for you..." Edvard spat, a tray in his hand lowering onto the table as he rearranged the lamp to set near the two little cups and the kettle. The fine china done with oriental tea-roses and softly painted, muted green vines seemed absurdly out of place in the blood-spattered, reeking room. Slowly, the Victorian flashback poured a cup of tea and dropped in a pair of sugar cubes, having to use his fingers instead of tongs, carefully stirring his hot drink with a tiny spoon and tasting it briefly before letting his eyes turn on Dante. "How many sugars?"
"Four." Dante replied softly, intrigued by the movements of something so... undead that would bring him a drink. Perhaps this was misplaced interest, but it was interest all that same. And that, was something deadly from such a madman, as gentle as he may have seemed all chained to the wall.
With a roll of those clear, honey eyes he dropped in four sugars and swirled it around. "You didn't seem to have any milk or anything... so... This is what you'll get. But only, only if you behave yourself..." another mannerly draw of tea.
Dante reacted as though he hadn't heard the words. "Why are you here?"
At this, Edvard looked up from the chinaware he had been inspecting, dull eyes catching Dante unaware.

Drop one, loop one, loop another, drop two, loop one, loop another, drop one… it was a mundane process, but one that would not drive you mad if you did it correctly. After all, using the hands for something as tame as knitting was unlikely to use much brain power anyway, leaving the mind free for other, higher purposes. Rosalind liked this idea, although at the moment, her mind was far off. Well, not actually as far as you would think, but in a different geographical location. Not in a jar somewhere, which was perhaps what Edvard would have suggested, but in fact skimming over every mortal and immortal mind she could, working in small areas of the city, looking for any trace of the words Edvard, or Miroslav, or Tyn. It was a relatively easy process, but was taking time. So many were wild-goose chases, or the right people, but no useful information could be gained, even by sieving through the entire conscious of one being. It was going to take a long time, perhaps the rest of the night, although there wasn’t too much left of that, before she found out what had happened, and wherever Edvard had taken himself to. But going block by block through the whole city… it was no way to make process. But she was on her own, and had no other choice. She was waiting for a lucky break. Or a miracle.
Zan had let his eyes wander around the room, taking it all in, or rather, the most in-your-face parts, before glancing at his menu, unfolding in and glancing down the silver-leaf that listed every dish and Chardonnay they had in the place. And of course, the restaurant wasn’t cheap enough to write down their prices in the margins. Well, Lysander thought, tonight was not about money. He had convinced himself of that when he had hired the car, and that had been worth it. This surely would be too, once he’d got his French right. Oh well…
He glanced up, meeting Kris’ worried face for the first time, and leaning over slightly and reaching to take the singer’s hand, and smiling. “It’s not what I expected. But it certainly is impressive, isn’t it? I mean… wow. Can you believe people actually come here every night? God. Someone is on a better paycheque then we are, I tell you that much.” And the smile grew a little, setting down the menu. “Now, my French is a little rusty but… well, these are just starters… side salads, things like that… main dishes look slightly more interesting, seeing we skipped lunch. Duck and orange… lamb, or beef roast… then have hotpot too, I think, although it could be warm-toilet but…” his immature grin spread wide over his face, although the pun was clearly disapproved on the surrounding tables. “But I think it’s the former, rather then later… erm… that is… some sort of vegetable soup. With cream and cheese…  cooked in a small pumpkin. Sounds interesting.” He glanced back at Kris, flashing another smile as he ran his leg against Kris’ under the table.
“My French was never very good. It’s not exactly the language of computer gurus. But I’m sure the staff’ll help. They must be used to uneducated ruffian like us turning up for anniversaries or wedding parties or those Jewish bar things or… something. They’ll help. It’s the job. And we can always pretend to be snobs, and ask what they recommend or what the chef’s choice is, or whatever they call it here. Or… we pick things at random. You’re choice. I’m better on the wine-list, all honesty, but it looks like they do beer as well for the common people.”
Rosa sighed, dropping the knitting to the floor, and then rubbing her eyes with her aching fingers. This was taking too long, and she wasn’t getting anywhere. Besides, her own energy levels were dropping way below what that should, after feeding Tyn and all the other misadventures and stresses she had endured. And as unhappy as she was about leaving the two sleeping boys, they would be safer together there then coming with her, one ill and the other exhausted. She would be gone less then ten minutes, just to satisfy her hungry until Edvard returned and could watch the little pair. But before she left, she checked on them again, smiling softly as the wane light illuminated them, Tyn’s arm now dropped over Miro’s side, both breathing gently. Poor Tyn. He should have had a brother. Someone to watch over him and be his friend and grow up with him…  but at least he seemed happy now, as did Miroslav. And then, shutting the door just as silently as she had opened it, she switched off the living room light, and let herself slide into the shadows.

The so-called ruffian who didn't know the difference between a salad fork and a regular one laughed quietly, smiling across the table at his beloved. "Jewish bar things?" he giggled. /Bar things/. That was funny, intended or not. After a few indignant looks from here and there, the young man quieted down, his knee leaning heavily back against Lysander's leg, eyes roving the menu. "I'll let you pick, hmm? That way we can get things done simpler. Except, I don't really want anything soaked in oranges or whatever it is they do to those poor ducks. Simplicity is best...." then, in undertones he stated, leaning forwards over the table a little, "Why do I have so damn many forks, anyways?" he muttered, eyes cutting from table to table, apparently unheard but not unnoticed. "And why do people keep looking at us like we're a disease? Could it be, my love, that we are too dog-gone handsome for them? Are their eyes being burned by our pure stunningness?" he asked, grinning broadly to show that even out of place he could take the pressure it might have been causing him.
Slowly, he leaned back into his chair, taking inventory, eyes casting misheviously back to Lysander until a waiter appeared beside him, almost causing him to melt off the side of his chair in shock. He had not expected a rather handsome penguin to sidle so silently up to his side.
Miro stirred very little, subconsciously feeling a stream of light slid over him, the press of a rather powerful mind sifting things like air currents or electricity twisting his blackened dreams now and again into snippets of thought that were being channelled. He could see things far and wide through the city, some that he would rather not, memories, thoughts, pointless lusts... They all came to his mind and then snapped back into darkness when the bedroom door was shut and the apartment was vacated. With a groan, he clung tighter to the warmth at his side, wanting to hold and comfort the hot form there if it was necessary.
"Why are you-"
"I heard what you said, I'm not deaf!" Edvard snapped, setting Dante's tea back onto the table and taking up his own in both hands, taking another steadying sip.
Dante let his body sag into the wall, eyes narrowing. "Snappy, yes?" he asked, more curious than upset, watching Edvard with the stare of a hungry alligator, his lips set into a sad little pout. He was not only upset that he had been fussed at and snapped at, but that he was still in complete pain from the bindings and that he was still tea-less. His throat seemed to be cracking dryly as they spoke, or rather, as they stood in silence, Var staring hard at the tea kettle as though telepathically conversing with it.
After the silence seemed unbearable, Edvard began to speak, his voice wavering, uncertain. "I... I thought I knew why I came when I set out this evening for here, but come to find out... I don't have a fucking clue why I'm here. I don't even know what I'm still standing here for... but somehow, somehow I came to the illusion that coming here would set everything right... I don't know... All I can think about is how you have fucked up /everything/ between Tyn and myself. Did you even know that you ripped out one of his eyeballs? You scarred him permanently, not only physically, but mentally too. Me, now that's different, I might have somehow done something to you to deserve whatever sick perversions you felt the need to strap on me, but there was no need for you to even look at Tyn. He was mine, he is mine, and you had to scar us both... And now, now I'm not sure if I should feel worse or better. You're chained to a wall, bleeding, no doubt completely rattled in the head... but I can still feel every place you've touched me burn... an when I look at Tyn, I can see you, see what you've done to him... And you don't even care, do you?" in an instant, his voice had turned from pensive to cold, cruel. His lips pursed tightly together and he shot Dante a look of poison.
Dante looked back, absorbing the glare like it was nothing. "Then leave, forget it. It's really rather simple, Edvard..."
"Simple! You bastard, you've /never/ had anything done to you like you've done to me, to us!"
"Hush your blubbering, Edvard and bring me my tea and unshackle me so we can talk like gentlemen, eh?"
"Go to hell."
"I'm there."
"Not quite." Edvard snapped, eyeing the lamp at his side and then thinking better of it. He would not, could not. If he burned this monster, there was a chance of him coming back in various ways; not to mention Miroslav. Miroslav would die like a fly if Dante was stripped of his body, and then, where would he be when he returned to the apartment? The pair of vampire grieving over some flea-bitten, demon's slave. No, it was a foolish idea.
"You know, if you would just listen... you never have wanted to listen, Edvard... It's quite the major character flaw on your part." the Italian stated, a flicker of his old self showing in those dark, pitiless eyes. "All you have to do is forget me-"
"With all the reminders around? There isn't a-"
"Dammit, Edvard, listen to me, idiot... I just said you don't listen and the first thing you do is prove me to be correct..."
Var silenced himself, glaring daggers at the other man as he began to speak again.
"All you have to do is want something bad enough; all you have to do is erase me from your memory bank. Dreams will haunt you only if you dwell on the things that cause them-injuries, thoughts, memories... Don't think of me when you look at your pretty little lover, think of him. Think of how damn beautiful he is and how much his hair resembles the ocean and just how much his eyes look like sunrays. Think about that," he concluded with a sudden air of lightness, as though he were speaking over a crumpet and not a set of manacles, "and you will forget me in time, I am sorry to say..."
The curly-haired vampire twisted on his feet, sipping the last of his tea and pouring himself some more, considering this. "Perhaps..."
"Can I get my tea now, since I have spilled such wise and noble pearls of wisdom?" Dante inquired, eyes flickering mischievously.
Edvard laughed, "Only if you can get your little slave to come and undo those chains and fetch more for you...." and then he downed the other cup of tea, smirking softly at Dante. "You didn't really think I would get within ten feet of you, did you?" and then he turned, the last look of the monster that had haunted him for centuries swimming almost dreamily from his vision as he walked out the door, much to the elder's dismay.
Screams followed the freshly-dressed Victorian-flashback out the door of the twisted palace, his old, blood soiled clothes left behind in a pile of dirty clothes that no doubt Miroslav had arranged to be washed. With an air of ignorant bliss and yet wise glee, he moved happily down the sidewalk, feeling a good bit lighter. So that, that was the simple answer. He had known that, but he had to hear it from the horse's mouth. He needed to hear Dante admit that it was a possibility for his cruelty, his awful deeds to be forgotten. He knew that it would be the only way to forget for good. The only way. Yes. He had not yet accomplished the entire deed, but now, now he had hope, faith in the situation.

It was about this time that Rosa reappeared in a little darkened avenue, the main road empty, but filled with the not-so-distant noises of traffic. It was a quiet residential street, old-fashioned iron street-lamps shining their orange light down on the Georgian crescent; houses three, four floors high, counting the basements, with whitewashed steps leading up to tall red or blue front doors. The drop between cellar windows and pavement, because if was about 2 meters, was protected by black painted spiky iron railings, the detail touched with gold. Certainly, it was not within the limits of the city in which Tyn lived. If a casual observer had been able to look down on Lady Rosalind’s position from above, higher then the rooftops of this particular Capital, they would see that non of the streets had any sort of planned pattern, but followed from one to another like some great river fed by hundreds of streams. That probably met that this particular Capital was not even in the same country.
Which was a nice break. Rosalind missed the pure Englishness that no one in America would ever be able to recreate. One hand catching her skirt, she turned, making her way up the steps of the nearest house- the most familiar, and rapped on the door using her knuckles giving the bronze demon that held the heavy knocker within it’s teeth. She’d never liked that thing. Especially since the bloody thing had been Embodied. Thank god tiny snores were bubbling from the thing, instead of the leers and sneers it normally dealt out. Rosa had expected her master to find some more respectful demon to live within the metal, but apparently this… Letzutu amused him. Rosa had no say in the matter.
 The door was eventually opened by one of the uniformed maids, who bobbed as Rosalind stepped inside, before shutting the heavy door and waking the retched knocker, who cursed the occupants of the house with words so strong the air about him seemed to tarnish. But the maid clearly had heard it all before, and ignored it, leading her mistress up the stairs.
The room was unchanged, and the man was unchanged too, sitting in his favourite chair, facing the fire, his greying hair pulled back into a tail, and his eyes focused on the white embers in the grate. No words were spoken, but Rosa moved towards him, setting on her knees at the arm of the comfortable chair, her hands on the arm as the maid shut the door. One arm clothed in the rich cobalt sleeve of the man’s smoking jacket, reached out to pat her head, stroking the messed hair, before it ran over her cheek. “And how is the boy, my dear?” the highly accented, aged voice muttered, hardly above the crackling heat of the flames. “You must bring him here, one day. He would like London, I’m sure. And I would very much like to meet my grandson.” He smiled, although it was a movement lost in the flickering shadows.
“He’s sick, sire, but… I am hoping it is nothing his body will not be able to recover from. I came… I came to ask…” Rosa’s voice, so strong and authoritative when speaking to any of those she had left behind over the ocean, was as weak as a kitten here, but then again, what vampire would not have been able to show such in the presence of this man?
Miroslav had been right, of course, but names were meaningless when once reached a certain age, or had so much power over an entire race. This man, although he was something more then that now, stronger than the definition of that word, had fathered all of them, indirectly. But the few that he had sired personally (Rosalind was the newest of them, his youngest child) were superior to those who were only distantly related from him. The power to withstand the sun, for a longer period then their ordinary cousins, the power of Shadowflight, such things as that. And although hers was limited, weak, there was that ability, the wonderful gift of controlling time. Only on a small scale, even in her master, but it was what kept this little street with it’s gas-lamps and deep shadows safe, cut off from the bustling, crowded streets that made up modern London.
Her question went unfinished, his sleeve moved without intervention, freeing the wrist and offering it to her, his hand moving from her hair, one talon-like nail running across the vein. Nothing seemed to happen for a moment, but slowly, the trickle of deep red seeped from the cut, and Rosa leant forwards, kissing the gash, and then licking the blood from it.
“You use the forks on the outside first, moving inwards.”  Lysander supplied, smiling gently before the tall, good-looking waiter invaded the little space around their table, bowing slightly as both sets of blue eyes moved up to look at him, as if the waiter was some spaceman of rare, beautiful butterfly to be ogled at. Lysander managed to regain himself before he was thought rude, and smiled slightly, glancing back to the wine list as the man asked them, above the background chatter, what they would like to drink. “Well,” the brunette surrendered after a moment, eyes moving back to Kris and then to the waiter. “As we haven’t been here before, could you suggest something? We were thinking of perhaps having… un peu de tout?”
The waiter smiled, apparently not as snobbish as his fellows. “Ah, probably the wisest choice sir. In that case, I’d recommend something light, perhaps a white wine rather then a red? Something with a milder palette, I’d suggest Acres van de zevende hemel ’95, a very light Dutch wine, or perhaps the 1997 la vigna del duca di millan, which I personally recommend. Would you like to sample a glass of each, sirs? It would be no trouble.”
Zan nodded, accepting the other’s insider knowledge, but clearly relaxed as the waiter scurried away. “I think we would be best trying them don’t you think? I thought we should try Un Peu De Tout… it’s basically a little bit of everything they do, on little plates, so you can find out what it all tastes like. So we know what we want when we come back.” He gave a wide grin, just in time for the return of their waiter, carrying four glasses and two bottles with expert hands which meant he wouldn’t drop any of it. With those same lightening quick hands, he set them all down, two in front of Zan, two before Kris, and then placed the bottles, one a pale green that hid the wine inside, and still damp with icey-cold water from wherever it had been stored, and the other plain glass, which showed off the purity of the liquid.
“I am Johnston, and I’ll be serving you gentlemen.” The man supplied, uncorking each bottle with a faint pop, before pouring a small measure from the translucent bottle, the wine splashing into their glasses like lime-washed gold. “This is Acres van de zevende hemel.” He told them, as Lysander (who had once thought himself some sort of wine guru) picked up his glass and examined the contents, taking a sniff at it as he gently spiralled the liquid, before sipping at it, and swallowing. He waited for Kris, smiling almost tenderly.
Kris was so much like a child, innocent to so much of the world and it’s practises, but yet, there was something horribly mature about him too, a portion of his lover that both intrigued, and frightened Lysander more then he would admit. He wanted to care for this creature, keep it warm and safe like one would a tiny, precious china egg, but at the same time, he wanted to crack it open and see what treasure was inside, what secret it held.
Back to now, and Johnston was waiting for their judgements. “Certainly a very fresh wine… very clear. Barrel-fermented?” He asked softly, eyes flickering to their waiter, before moving back to look almost absently at Kris, Zan’s eyes focused, and yet, somehow not.
It struck Zan very suddenly, and he didn’t understand it at first, but after that evening, when he had time to sit down and consider it, he unravelled it as thus: making love was not sex. Sex was a dirty and crude joining of two bodies, but making love was something that could be one word, a touch, or a grin across the table.
That grin. Kris’ grin. That was making love.

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