Saturday, June 2, 2012

Flashfiction - untitled

Set before Blurred Nights.


It had been a bit of a surprise for Marc, when coming back to town, to catch Blake’s scent in the street where they had once shared an apartment. He had hoped to find his Childe again, of course, but he hadn’t believed he would find him exactly where he had left him five years earlier.

Hands buried in his pants pockets, he followed the trail, and tried not to rehearse what he would tell Blake. He had done enough of that while driving back. Whatever he wanted to say, it would all disappear with the first look Blake would give him. Marc would know, then, if he had a chance at repairing what he had broken or if it was useless to even try.

It didn’t take him long to find Blake, in the back alley behind a bar they had once patronized together. He wasn’t alone, which, seeing the circumstances, Marc couldn’t really blame him for. What was unacceptable, however, what sent him forward with fists balled up and an angry growl rising from his chest was the sight of his Childe’s fangs in a human’s neck.

With one hand, he wrenched Blake away from his prey, and, without a second thought, started raining punches on him.

The very first lesson he had given Blake, the night after he had sired him, had been that human lives were to be protected, not seen as a commodity. The lesson had taken time and effort to sink in, but with Marc’s help, Blake had reined in his instincts. And now this?

He caught Blake in the stomach with a right hook and sent him stumbling back. Only the brick wall behind him stopped him from falling to the dirty alley ground. Marc took a step forward, but before he reached him again, Blake’s prey had thrown herself between the two of them, oblivious to the blood marring her right shoulder where the strap of her dress left it bare. She was livid.

“What are you doing, you freak! Leave him alone!”

Shocked by her intervention, Marc froze, a fist still in the air and ready to swing until he finally dropped it. In front of him, the girl had turned toward Blake and was holding him to her, muttering a string of nonsense in which the word ‘hospital’ was prominent.

“I’m fine, Rose. Just fine. That’s just my Sire’s way of saying hello. He’s never been too good with social niceties.”

The words came with a bloodied half-smile for Rose, and a look as cold as winter for Marc. More reassurances convinced the girl that Blake didn’t need medical attention, only to go home and clean up. It took a little longer to dissuade her from accompanying him, but she eventually left, departing with a hateful glare toward Marc.

He didn’t apologize. A Sire just didn’t apologize to a Childe, not when the Childe had disobeyed so blatantly. But because Marc had been mistaken, because the girl had obviously been a willing participant rather than a victim, he wrapped an arm around Blake, mindful of his ribs, and slowly, almost painstakingly, helped him home. Neither of them said a word the entire way there, or even when they had entered the familiar apartment.

Marc washed his Childe’s wounds where the skin had split and blood spilled under his knuckles. He bandaged them as well, even if they both knew it was useless. And when Blake was tucked in between threadbare sheets, Marc presented him with his wrist.

Blake could have refused, then, and Marc would have left without another word, this time for good. He could take a hint. But Blake sank his fangs into the inside of Marc’s wrist and drank, slow sips to make it last, and the ‘welcome back’ in his half-closed eyes had the same elusive feel as forgiveness.

They slept in the same bed, but Marc had never felt as far away from Blake, even when half a continent had separated them. They didn’t speak until the next afternoon; only then did Marc understand that Blake could forgive blows, but wouldn’t forget as easily being left behind.

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