Fallen Ch. 11byNephylim©
The bath has been drawn in expectation of our requirements and we all sink gratefully into the hot water, allowing the stickiness of our previous lovemaking to soak from our bodies. The bath is big enough for Bridge to float on his back looking up at the ceiling.
"It looks like the sky," he says dreamily, as if he is still half asleep.
"What looks like the sky?" I'm busy, rubbing soap into Sacha's body and haven't been paying any attention to what Bridge is doing. I have to smile, when I see him floating. Just about everything Bridge does, make me smile.
"The ceiling. It's blue and white and far away. It's like the sky."
I glance up. The ceiling is far away, true but it does not remind me at all of the sky. It is arched with white beams curving in to an apex, from which hangs, what looks like spiky ball of ice, which illuminates the room. The walls and the ceiling are painted a kind of duck egg blue. Alright I'll admit that the colours might be sky-like, but all it reminds me of, vaguely, is a rather modern church.
Sacha takes the words right out of my mouth. "Maybe, in your world, Bridge."
"I like my world," he says, un-fazed. "In my, world the sun is shining right over me, in a summer sky with white clouds. In my world, I'm floating in a pool, deep in the forest, fed by a waterfall. There're cool green trees all around and wood nymphs playing in the water and..."
"Who are you are calling a nymph?" Sacha laughs and splashes water on him. He's startled and capsizes, thrashing for a moment and going under, until he finds his feet. When he erupts from the water, his hair flying everywhere, scattering droplets like diamonds - he looks like a water elemental.
"You're the nymph," Sacha breathes. "And you've cast a spell on us all."
Again, we exchange a glance and, while we're doing it Bridge plunges into the water and comes up between us.
"Bridge! I'm all wet now."
"You're in the bath, Sacha. You're supposed to be wet."
Laughing, Sacha takes him in his arms and kisses him. "God, you're beautiful, Bridge," he whispers. Bridge throws his arms around his neck and presses his body against him, his only response the hug.
I watch them play... my boys. They look so young, but Sacha is over forty in the years of the outside. I have no idea how old Bridge is, neither does he, but I'm guessing he's under twenty, maybe as young as eighteen. I look down at my hand and see long slender fingers, with black lacquered nails and a single silver ring. They are the hands of a boy of barely eighteen and I have the face and body to go with them. And yet, that it the biggest deceit of all. I have been eighteen for over seven thousand years and lately I've been feeling every one of them. But not now. Now I feel like I am eighteen again.
Wrapping my arms around both of them, I rest my head on Sacha's shoulder, while stroking Bridge's hair.
"It has been a long time, a very long time since I have opened my heart to anyone. I have felt fondness and I have felt tenderness, but briefly, like oases in a desert of careless heartlessness and sterility. I have committed atrocities, for nothing but the thrill of them. Perhaps, I have been seeking death, but only found it in others.
"And now." Both of them have lifted their faces and are staring at me, slightly apprehensive. I smile at each one in turn and they must see what I am feeling in my eyes, because they both mirror the smile back at me. "How can I say that I love you when I have forgotten what love is? And yet... For now, let me just say that you have opened a heart that has been closed for more years than you can imagine and which I had half believed had turned to dust.
"You are my family now. There is no one on this earth that I value more than you... and Aqua whom I am sure you will grow to love as much as I do. He is something... someone very special He has something within him that makes him..." I smile, how can I explain? "Aqua will be made as I am. He has the strength and the special qualities needed to make the transition. You, my little flowers, I would ascend in a moment, if I could, but you are too fragile and you would die in the transition. Know this, that even though you will remain human, you are no less to me for it.
"Someone I loved... love very much pointed out to me recently that my disregard for humanity was a foolish and crass one. The flower that grows in the earth and blooms for just a brief span is the most beautiful of all, far more so than the gardener who reaps it, or the woman who sets it in the vase, or the man who smells its sweetness. Once, I knew that, but I had allowed myself to forget, perhaps it hurt less that way. But no more. You are both precious to me, more precious than I can begin to express. You have done more for me than I thought anyone was able to do and for that you have my love, you have my protection and you have my gratitude."
They both look at me, somewhat stunned and then Bridge starts to laugh. "You don't half speak a lot of bollocks sometimes."
I stare at him, in shock and he splashes water in my face. Grabbing him around the waist, I lift him off his feet to kiss him deeply, then set him down again and climb from the bath.
"Bollocks or not, I have to warn you that you are in serious danger of being eaten, if you don't get your arses out of that bath and into some clothes pretty damn quick."
Bridge giggles. "You can eat me any time." I glare at him. He's biting his lip suggestively and looking up at me through lowered lashes.
"That's not the bit of you I would be scooping out with a spoon. I only eat the best bits."
"Are you trying to tell me that's not my best bit?" He pouts, prettily.
Laughing and shaking my head, I wrap a towel around my waist and precede them from the bathroom.
The terrace is a long patio on the South side of the house. It is shaded by lilac trees and screened from the rest of the grounds by white painted iron trellises, wound with roses.
Cast iron tables and chairs, also painted white, are clustered in groups along the whole length of it and it is heated by garden heaters when there is a chill. There is no need for them tonight.
When I dine on the terrace no one else bothers me, unless I specifically ask them to join me. Other than that, it is used often by all of the boys. The household staff never comes here, unless it is to clean or tend the trees and flowers.
A trailing honeysuckle is vying with the lilac to scent the air and there is a cool breeze, teasing the leaves and making them whisper softly. Almost as if it is part of the sounds of the evening I hear soft moans and smile to myself. At least he's not screaming.
As I muse, there is a loud cry and a curse, as a figure rises suddenly from one of the day beds, at the far end of the terrace. "Demon," a voice hisses and I wonder if I have gone too far, in sending Serif to Aqua. I hurry towards the figure, who suddenly laughs and springs like a big cat, landing on the bed again, with a howl.
I am, actually, shocked to see that the person who had been driven back was Serif. He is naked to the waist, and bleeding from a number of scratches and bites. He is also on fire, his eyes wild and his teeth bared. By the time I get there, he is on the bed, pinning Aqua's hands above his head and kneeling on his legs, to prevent him kicking him off again.
What really surprises me, is the look on Aqua's face. He is as wild as Serif, and there's a fire in his eyes that turns the pupils red. He is fighting like a demon but, as we approach, he raises his head to meet Serif's and kisses him, in a way that can only be described as violent.
"Serif, that's enough." I say, not loudly but with authority in my words. He turns his head, his eyes wide and snarls at me. "Serif... enough!"
He blinks, looking dazed, then gets slowly to his feet, his head bowed. "Yes, My Lord."
"Is this your interpretation of 'looking after' my guest?"
He looks up at me through long, bright lashes, licking blood off those pretty lips and his eyes are burning. "Yes, My Lord," he says, in a voice thick with lust. I have to exert control to prevent myself laughing.
"Go find Taz and burn off your... excess enthusiasm. But be careful, he's still fragile."
"Yes, My Lord." He flashes a glance at Aqua that elicits a similar one in return, then bounces off, tossing his hair.
"Are you alright?"
Aqua's eyes instantly lose their fire and are cold, when he regards me. "What makes you think that I wouldn't be?" He sits up and I can see that is shirt is torn and there is blood on the edges of the tears."
"Serif can get carried away. He looks like an angel, but he can be somewhat... enthusiastic."
"So can I," he returns, getting to his feet. He is glorious. I suspect that Serif has had a hand in dressing him, because, from the waist down he is encased in creaking leather, with silver chains and leather belts, slung low across his hips. The shirt he is wearing had once been pristine white silk, but is now slashed and bloody. He has been sweating and the smell of him makes my nostrils flare, as the sight of him widens my eyes.
"What are you looking at?" he demands, his eyes meeting mine with clear challenge.
"You look good."
"I know." He tosses the beautiful white hair, which now hangs to his waist like smooth silk, over his shoulders and his turquoise eyes snap fire. They are so large and deep and blue. Shaking myself mentally, I pull myself back from the edge of the abyss. Now that I know who he is, I am in danger of losing myself completely in him and he is not ready for that yet.
His eyes flick over my shoulder. "Who are these?" he asks, his voice dripping with distain, "Some of your pets?"
I feel Sacha tense at my shoulder and I slip my arm around his waist, pulling Bridge close on the other side. "No. These are my family, as you soon will be."
He sneers. "In your dreams, freak. I've been told clearly enough that I'm trapped here, but don't expect me to like it. And don't expect me to let you take me without a fight either."
"You didn't seem to be objecting to Serif."
"He isn't the one who kidnapped me and is keeping me prisoner as part of some sick blood bank/harem. He's hot, exciting and expects nothing from be but a good hard fuck. And besides... in case you hadn't noticed I WAS fighting."
"Yes... you were." I can't keep the lust out of my voice and he all but snarls at me.
"I'll fight harder than that with you, you sick bastard. There's no way I'll let you touch me without doing my very best to gouge out your eyes, tear out your guts, cut of your dick and stuff it down your throat."
"I'll look forward to it. However..." Regretfully, I sigh. "I give you my word that I will not take you unless and until you ask me to. Until then, you have the freedom of my house. You may sleep with who you wish... or not. No one will demand anything of you, least of all me. You will live in your own apartments, next to mine. Sacha will be your companion, but he will satisfy himself in my bed and not with you, unless you ask it of him."
He looks uncertain now. "You... you're not going to force me to have sex with you? You're not going to rape me?"
"Of course not. I never force myself on anyone."
"Like you didn't do that to me." he drawls.
"I didn't hear too many complaints and, if I am not mistaken, at our original meeting we made a business deal."
He considers. "Do you really think you bought me, body and soul for a glass of JD?"
"Not at all. You are your own man. I want you, but I don't own you and I am prepared to wait for you."
"You'll wait a fucking long time then."
"I have time."
"Well yeah... I guess so." He looks thoughtful, then he flares again. "You almost fucking killed me. I was... I was..."
"Yes." I say quietly. "There was no excuse for that. To say I am sorry would be an insult. It would diminish the gravity of the disservice I have done to you. To say I regret it, would diminish the depth of the pain I have experienced, in the shadow of the fact I could have lost you."
"Do you always speak like that?"
He surprises me. He actually sounds curious, as if my words meant less than the way I said them. "I speak the way I speak, the way I have always spoken."
"I can see that. So... I smell food. Are you going to leave me here to starve, or feed me? I've had nothing to eat since I came here. The stuff they stuck in my arm doesn't count." I stare at him, in amazement, as he stalks past me, heading towards the table which bears the food.
Sacha seems to have been struck as dumb as I am, but Bridge chuckles. "He's glorious," he says softly. "But I'm glad he's yours and not mine. I'm a bit scared of him."
"Are you really sure you want me to look after him?" Sacha asks, nervously.
"Well maybe 'look after' are not the right words."
Aqua has thrown himself into a chair and is delicately picking food from the plate on the table in front of him. He regards us out of veiled, thoughtful eyes. Sacha and I manage to make some kind of conversation, but Bridge just sits close to my side and stares at him.
"Take a picture; you can take it home and perve over it," Aqua snaps at him. I expect him to flinch but he doesn't.
"I don't need to. This is home and you live here too."
"Yeah I do, don't I?" he grinds out glaring at me.
"Why are you so angry? You were a whore too, weren't you?"
Aqua's eyes flash. I think, for a moment he is going to throw himself at Bridge, across the table and I put an arm protectively around him. However, he eventually sits back, chewing his lip. "Not yet. I was going to be, but it didn't work out."
"I know. You don't feel like a whore. I understand; it's scary. Is that why you're so scared now?"
"Scared? I'm not scared!"
Bridge smiles his gentle smile, never taking his eyes away from Aqua's. It was almost as if he was mesmerising him, with his words.
"Yes you are. You're scared, just like I was in the beginning. I was never like you because I was broken long before I ran away. You're stronger than me but you have the same look in your eyes that I saw in everyone's, when I was on the streets. You're scared. But you don't have to be. No one hurts you here. It's warm and comfortable. You get fed and you get..." He looks up at me with the gentlest smile on his face. "Loved," he breathes.
Aqua snorts. "Is that what you think of as love?" But there is something different in his eyes now, something softer. I hadn't realised that Bridge was magical, but he's exuding it now. A magic that makes you want to hold him, to kiss him, to love him. And I can see it beginning to creep into Aqua's eyes.
Suddenly, unexpectedly Bridge gets up and walks round the table. He puts his arms around Aqua's neck and kisses his cheek. "Don't worry Aqua; I'll look after you."
Aqua's eyes widen. "You? Look after me?"
"I promise," Bridge whispers and climbs onto his lap. Unable to resist, Aqua puts his arms around him and holds him, as he snuggles into his shoulder. From the look on his face, I know Aqua can feel how frail he is. He holds him as if he is afraid of breaking him. "I'll be your friend, Aqua. I'll take care of you and make sure you're not scared in the night, like I was. You don't have to be, here." His voice is soft and I have to strain to hear, but Aqua hears.
"My name's not Aqua," he says, but there is no sting in it now.
"Tell me your name and, if it's so important, you may have it back," I say, genuinely thinking to improve relations between us.
The anger snaps back. "Who the hell do you think you are to 'give me back' my name? I don't have much, but my name, at least is my own. I don't remember giving it to you and there's no fucking way I'd ever let anyone take it from me." He stops, in surprise, as Bridge strokes his face. He looks down at him.
"He said I could have my name, too but I didn't want it. I don't want to remember what went before. I don't want there to be a before. This is a good place. I want to be part of it. I want to belong here, and not the place I was before, where men bought my body, as if it was a piece of meat and didn't care what they did to it. Here, they care."
"I..." He can't keep angry when he's looking into Bridge's soft eyes. No one can. "I'm not giving up my name," he says stubbornly.
"I am not asking you to," I repeat. "Give me your name and I will see that everyone uses it."
He looks at me for a moment and the look takes my breath away because I see Her in it. "Star," he says. Of course it is; of bloody course it is. He looks defensive. "It might be strange, but my mother gave it to me before she died and I will not give it up for anyone."
"Star it is." I say, through the emotion that chokes my throat.
He softens a little, then melts as Bridge says gently. "Star is a beautiful name, like you." Then he sighs deeply and closes his eyes. While Star stares at him and unconsciously strokes the long silky hair, he falls sweetly asleep.
Star looks up sharply. "Is he alright?"
"I thought you didn't care. I thought you didn't care about anyone or anything here and that you despised everyone in my household."
"Yeah well..." He glances down at Bridge, with real affection in his gaze. "Maybe I changed my mind. Maybe I don't hate EVERYONE." His voice betrays a lot and makes me smile inside.
"His name is Bridge. He's a true angel. No, he isn't alright. He's ill, very ill, but he will be alright. I will heal him in a few days."
"You will heal him?"
"I am not human. I have substances within my body that I can release into a human body in various ways. They are not all substances which are alien to your world. They are mainly enzymes, but I consider them to be a kind of venom, which has various affects on the host body. I can intoxicate, sedate or even kill... but I can also heal."
"That's what you did to me: when you met me in that bar. You drugged me with your... venom."
He swallows. "And when... when you came to me, when you drained me?"
"That was a mistake."
"A mistake that almost killed me."
I doubt it, I seriously doubt it. It was something more than that, much more. I don't know what it is but I think it was always about bringing her blood, her soul to the surface, waking his true self. "Yes."
"What do you want from me?"
"You said... you said that I was going to be a pet."
"I did and I also said that you aren't and you won't be."
He frowns deeply. "Then what...?"
"You are a special person Aq... Star. I have done something with you that I have not done with anyone in many thousands of years. I have fallen in love with you. I will not take you by force; I will not force you to do anything that you do not want to do... other than stay here. You will not be a pet, you will be part of my family. If you choose to come to me, I will rejoice. If you do not, I will respect your will. If, in a year you have not come to me, I will let you go."
"I..." He stares at me in confusion. His eyes flick to Sacha and then down at Bridge.
"Do... do you? Are they...?"
"No. They care for me and will stay with me. I care for them too... a great deal... but I love you, and no one but you. I hope that, one day, I can show you how I feel and that you will come to feel for me too, but if not then in a year you will be free, and that is an offer I have made to no one... ever."
He shudders. "No way. Not that. Never."
"As you wish."
"I..." Bridge stirs in his arms and murmurs something softly in his sleep. Instantly Star's eyes turn soft. "I'll think about it. Can I... "
"You have the run of my house Star, you may take who you will when you will... except Sacha and Bridge. They will come to you if they wish but you have no right to insist."
"Of course not," he snaps, his lips curving as he strokes Bridge; his eyes thoughtful and much less hostile, when they run over Sacha, who colours under his stare.