Homelands Pt. 03 Ch. 04byjdnunyer©
Part Three picks up where Part Two left off. Be advised that if you haven't read Part One and Part Two, the story may be quite difficult to follow.
This is primarily an incest story, but it is also sci-fi/fantasy, and supernatural elements are not incidental to the plot. Additionally, most chapters will feature elements of other categories, particularly group sex and anal.
All characters are over eighteen. All acts are consensual.
Over the next two days, Brianna pretended everything was fine between us. She did a good job of it too. If I hadn't gotten to be pretty good at reading Libidos, I might even have been tempted to believe it. But there was, in fact, a rather serious storm brewing.
What it was that finally set her off, I couldn't even have said. All of the pent up emotions just suddenly came out. A good deal of screaming, name-calling, crying, and apologizing, in roughly that order, came along with them.
Jealousy of Val only had so much to do with it. My daughter made her feel insecure, both because she knew I found Val more attractive physically and also because she thought, mistakenly, that Val's sweet and innocent personality was something I'd want in a romantic partner. It took time, but I think I actually convinced Brianna that the first part was true, but the second was decidedly not.
Which wasn't to say that I would want my daughter to be any other way. As a father, I was glad that Val hadn't become either as jaded or as depraved as Brianna yet, and hoped she never actually did. But those were no longer qualities I sought in a lover. The point was, I didn't want to take my daughter as a lover. I was glad to welcome her into the fold, and if we ever got out of our prisons, I'd no doubt sleep with her again. Many times. Because that was the way of our kind. But I simply wasn't interested in her the way Brie thought I was.
None of my finely chosen words swayed her, I don't think. But I was pretty sure she'd noticed that I hadn't so much as glanced at my daughter after switching places with Josh.
Even after we more or less established that I wasn't romantically interested in Val, though, the fight continued. Longer than it should have, really. And it was undeniably my fault. I shouldn't have needed to hear her say anything more. We were living together, sleeping together, and not really seeing other people. None of that was exactly by choice, but that didn't matter. There was no telling when the arrangement would end. So unless I started acting as if all of that was by choice -- unless I admitted to myself that for all intents and purposes, we were in a romantic relationship -- there would be plenty more screaming matches and tears in my future.
We agreed to go a week without sex, focusing instead on getting to know each other. The way we would have already done if we were still living as mortals. Or, at least, the way I myself had done at the start of each of my relationships in our echo of the mortal world. I got the impression that Brie had never done that, even as a mortal.
I also got the impression she'd never told anyone she loved them. Besides, of course, her family, and that only before she'd come of age. To be sure, she'd had plenty of boyfriends. But none of them had ever been anything but toys for her to play with until she got bored. And though I suspected she had actually loved Dom, despite her claims to the contrary, it seemed unlikely that she'd ever told him so.
The plan didn't quite work out, naturally. But we did get through three days whole days of abstinence. Having already been physically intimate with each other as often as we had, it was a little awkward. The thrill of wondering whether our make-out sessions would ever go further wasn't there, the way it always had been in the early stages of relationships I'd had in the mortal world. Nonetheless, those three days somehow managed to be both torturous and delightful. In the best possible way.
It was also nice to get to know my cousin better. I didn't realize how little I knew about her. Watching TV and movies together, listening to music, initiating her into the cult of gaming, and so forth, that all certainly counted for something. It was part of the process of building trust and preparing to open up to one another. But knowing someone's interests obviously isn't the same as actually knowing that person. Building the trust necessary to open up to each other isn't the same as actually opening up.
Of course, I'd been aware of that. It wasn't a difficult point to grasp.
Yet, somehow, it just hadn't occurred to me that, until recently, my cousin was still virtually a stranger to me. She was close family. We had quite a history as political rivals. And quite a history of physical intimacy. But, in the end, there it was. I simply hadn't known very much about her. Who she really was. What made her tick. What her values and core beliefs were. What terrified her. What inspired her.
We talked about religion and politics. We debated controversial moments in history. We somehow even managed to argue about social issues, though I'm not sure our views were actually all that different on that front. None of that really mattered much, except perhaps our religious beliefs. Or lack thereof. Any attachments we had to political parties, any beliefs we had about why members of certain demographic groups did what they did, or whether certain decisions made by mortal governments were appropriate or not, were purely academic at this point. We were no longer a part of the world that gave those debates meaning.
Nonetheless, I think we both felt we learned something about each other as a result.
Perhaps more importantly, we also discussed the nature of our kind. Our history and our potential. What it all meant. If anything. Which was itself a matter of some discussion.
"What do you mean, what does it mean?" I asked.
"Well, you've been to Hell, right? As near as makes any real difference? Doesn't that convince you that there's a grain of truth to certain spiritual teachings?"
"Sure, in a sense. But I think you mean something different by 'grain of truth' than I do. To me, all it says is that this is the reason why mortals believe in divine beings of pure good and pure evil dwelling in separate, otherworldly, realms. The Glade isn't Hell, though, and I doubt the Garden is Heaven. If anything, I'm less inclined to believe in anything more than what we can see with our own eyes now that I've seen some of the very mysteries that are so central to mortal belief systems."
Brianna dismissed my argument with a wave of her hand. "You're being pedantic. And pig-headed. And puh-something else. I'm not sure what. But there's a third thing. Because lists have to have three elements. You get the point though."
I laughed. "Persuasive? Is that the third 'p' word you're looking for?"
My cousin shook her head. "Nope, not that one." She twirled a red-brown ringlet around a slim finger. "Pugnacious?" A nod of her head. "Yes, that's it. Pugnacious."
We were rolling around on the bed a minute later. Though our clothes stayed on.
We never did revisit the topic of what the original immortals told us about creation.
All in all, it was surprisingly enjoyable to take the time to court each other the way mortals do. To discover that Brianna was, in some ways, more conservative than I was, even if, expectedly, she was the more liberal one in most other respects. I'd assumed that because she was anything but conservative in the bedroom, she probably wasn't in other ways either. Which, for the most part, was true. But there were all these interesting nuances and contradictions to her views that I hadn't anticipated.
All things considered, if it were up to me, we'd have gone the full week.
It was Brianna who crossed the line.
We'd been dry-humping. I'd thought that was a bad idea to begin with. It, of course, ended exactly the way you'd expect it to end. With all the desire we'd kept bottled up for days finally able to escape, our little slip-up turned into a marathon session that didn't end until a good twenty hours later.
We did, however, try to stick to the script again after that. And we made it a full eight hours on the second go at abstinence.
Yeah. Eight hours.
In light of that, we decided it was time to call the exercise a partial success and move on. It was obvious we'd never get to a full day again.
From that point on, we tried to strike a balance. We spent plenty of time doing G-rated coupley things. Things couples would do if they couldn't leave their apartment because it was literally the only place that existed in the whole world, at any rate. We couldn't take each other out to dinner, or to the theater, or on outdoor adventures, of course. But we watched TV together, played games, and sat around debating Big Important Stuff that didn't really matter. Of course, we also spent a lot of time in bed. Or in the shower, or on the kitchen counter, or wherever else we felt like doing it. But we didn't spend entire days having sex anymore. Things remained exciting, and the blue and red shoe boxes continued to figure prominently, but sex wasn't the only thing binding us together.
Of course, there was the whole shared experience of imprisonment thing. But, you know, whatever. Who pays attention to stuff like that.
In fact, somehow, we managed to construct a shared illusion that it was strictly voluntary that we never left our treehouse.
One morning, after I woke Brianna up with some expert tongue play, then offered her breakfast in bed, she told me that she was glad that we'd decided to move in together. And I didn't miss a beat in telling her that I was too.
Which was, at the very best, an overstatement of my position. But the main reason I was aware that I was misrepresenting my thoughts on the matter was not because it seemed strange to me to describe our circumstance as a conscious choice the two of us had made, but because I was thinking of my mother.
As I fixed her yogurt parfait and fresh fruit salad, I mulled that over. Had Iva found a way to manipulate our thoughts more subtly than through the use of a veil? That was just about the only way to explain why we were technically aware that we were imprisoned, but somehow managed to keep letting that fact slip away from us. The only way to explain why it took a conscious effort to even realize that I should have been thinking about my mother a whole lot more than I was. A whole lot more.
If so, it was damn fine work on my aunt's part. Not only had she succeeded in keeping us from thinking about certain things, but even when we managed a few lucid moments, we didn't detect any overt and unmistakeable signs of foreign influence. With a traditional veil, it would have been obvious that our minds had been tampered with.
"You should be anyfuckingway," Brianna's voice echoed in my mind.
Suddenly, the thought fled, and I went back to focusing on breakfast. Went back to wondering why it was that Brianna always requested such bland, healthy fare.
Those of us who had lived healthy lifestyles in the mortal world often tended to keep it up for a while after discovering who we were. But our bodies would be perpetually youthful, fit, and beautiful, regardless of whether we did anything to maintain them.
And as that awesome truth sunk in, most of us started to eat like shit.
For example, I was preparing for myself a mountain of hashbrowns, covered in melted cheese, and an absurdly over-stuffed omelet that contained three cheeses, a fistful of crisp bacon, another fistful of savory sausage, and yet another fistful of tender ham.
But Brie? Yogurt and fruit salad.
It was perplexing. And cute too, I had to admit.
I'd been thinking about something less frivolous than my cousin's dietary choices just a moment ago, though, hadn't I? Was it her tattoos? How surprised I was that I'd mentally blocked my ability to so much as see them for so long, when it turned out that they were really tasteful and did a great job of accentuating her best parts? The way the trail of windblown leaves along her hip bones not only subtly drew the eyes to one of the few parts of her body where there was something close to real curves, but was also quite fitting for a daughter of Autumn? Or how glad I was that she didn't have a tramp stamp, since her ass was perfectly capable of drawing one's attention to itself all on its own? Or the way the tongues of flame forming a V around her pubic hair, itself shaved into a V, gave new meaning to the term "firebush" without quite straying into the realm of tacky?
No, no. None of that. I'd definitely been thinking about her tats recently. And the firebush thing was totally tacky. But that was okay. It was still sexy. I'd had that debate with myself that morning, yes, but not while I was preparing breakfast. In the shower, maybe. Something else had been on my mind just now though.
"How's your disgusting pile of grease coming?" Brie called out from bed.
I laughed. "Almost done."
Whatever it was that had just been on my mind, it couldn't have been too important. It wouldn't have slipped away from me if it was important.
I finished up the two breakfast trays and headed back to bed. "So, let's talk about what the brownie points I just built up can be traded in for."
Later that afternoon, while we were playing a game of poker to determine who'd get to draw from the red shoe box, I had another lucid moment.
"So, you said you got to be pretty close with Iva, right?"
Brianna's green eyes slowly peeled away from her hand and drifted towards me. "If you're not talking about your mother, you're talking about her," she mumbled to herself. Or something like that. I wasn't sure. Her words were barely audible. And before I could absorb them, she said, in a normal voice, "Not sure I'd say we were close. But we spent some time together, yeah. Why?"
Her tone reminded me of a yellow traffic light. It didn't quite say that I had to stop. But if I were smart, I'd have done so anyway, just to be safe.
If I were smart.
So, of course, I went ahead anyway. My cousin couldn't really get too jealous of Iva as a result of what I wanted to discuss, anyway. I hoped.
"I think I just figured something out," I said.
"Do tell," Brianna replied, over-enunciating each word.
"You think it's possible that her real father is, well, my father?"
She rubbed her forehead with the palm of her hand. "Why would you think that?"
"Well, Grandma once told me that there are just two things in her life that she regrets, and both have to do with Iva. I already know that one of those is that she banished Iva after Iva Devoured my grandfather. And we know he wasn't really her father. I think the other thing she regrets might be that she let my father impregnate her. With Iva."
I reminded her that my father had told us that he wasn't any closer to Cindy than he was to his mother, and that Iva was born after he came of age.
"I guess," Brianna said. "It would explain why she and Cindy pretty much stopped seeing each other. I kinda thought I might be the reason for that, but if you're right about this, that would make more sense."
"Wait, why?" I asked. "I don't get that."
"Well, since Iva forged her alliance with Daphne, I think House Farrier took a page from Lady Winter's playbook," Brianna said.
"Oh," I said. "Oh. Wow."
Did that mean it wouldn't make sense to think Grandma regretted having her own son's baby? Or had she genuinely regretted it at one point, but changed her mind since?
"Why didn't you say anything about that earlier?" I asked.
"I did," she said. "Don't you remember?"
"You seem to be having a lot of memory issues lately."
So she explained, not for the first time, apparently, that Daphne wanted Iva to become Autumn's Matriarch, and that my father and Mark were taking turns impregnating Cindy.
If Iva had known that her real father had actually been in her life all along, and had never rejected her, she might never have Devoured the step-father who'd spurned her. Might not have spent most of her life as an exile. It wasn't hard then to see why she'd have some strong feelings about the matter of inbreeding. And might not take too kindly to her sister, her lover, engaging in the practice.
"Great. Two more things you have in common with her," Brianna said.
She rolled her eyes. "Apparently, you have the same father. And you both react to the mere thought of inbreeding the way a mortal would."
If Iva did too, then why did she forge an alliance with Daphne in the first place?
But the answer to that was obvious. For power.
Yet again, my cousin's words echoed in my mind. "You should be anyfuckingway."
I suppressed a shudder.
"So, what, it doesn't bother you?" I asked.
At that point, I should have seen how deep the quicksand was getting, and should have been trying to get out. But her biting tone got under my skin, and the question left my lips before I had time to think about it.
"Why should it? You don't think we need to worry about birth defects? Have you ever met one of our kind who had any kind of health problem to speak of?"
"Well, no, of course not," I said. "But-"
"But what? 'It's just wrong' isn't really an argument. And, if it was, it's obviously not one that means much to you, or you'd have a problem with incest. What makes it okay for us to have sex with each other but not to have each other's children?"
I didn't know what to say to that. She'd guessed exactly what I was going to say, and of course she was right that it was a pretty weak argument.
"Isn't that like saying that if you've ever downloaded music illegally, you should just go ahead and rob banks?"
But even I realized that was a lazy argument. Perhaps a step above the one I'd been about to make, but only a small step.
My cousin snorted. "More like saying that if you're okay with drinking, it's pretty silly to look down your nose on people who smoke weed."
"Well, no, because--"
"Whatever," she said. "Who cares which metaphor is better. I don't see anything wrong with it. If I wanted to have kids, I'd probably be pretty upset that it would apparently be impossible to talk you into helping me fulfill that desire. But, fortunately for you, I'm not planning on having kids any time soon, whether by one of my relatives or anyone else. So I guess it doesn't matter. It's just weird to me that you think that way. But then, there's still some part of you that thinks incest is wrong, isn't there? Not so wrong that you shouldn't do it. Just wrong enough that you have a lingering sense of guilt that actually makes it more exciting for you. Just a little bit of that mortal way of thinking. Am I right?"
"Yeah," I confessed. "I don't always feel it, but sometimes I do."
My cousin shrugged. "I stopped feeling that a long time ago. I'm not interested in you because you're my cousin. Nor would I say that I'm interested in you in spite of the fact that you're my cousin. It just doesn't really enter into the equation. I'm interested in you because you're really hot and ridiculously good in bed. Mortal men are boring compared to our kind, and, even among our kind, most men have next to no idea how to use their power. I'm sure I could meet plenty of guys who are just as good as you if I went to the Eternal Garden or the Shadowed Glade, but those guys wouldn't give me the time of day. So that's pretty much it. Well, that, and the whole hard to get thing. You are, after all, just about the only guy I've ever had to try to win."
"So, for you, incest is just," I held up my hands, palms towards the sky, "eh, whatever?"