THE QUIET MEN
Because I am traveling again tmo, here is another chapter of the saga. Enjoy. Ran
Chapter 18: Justin's POV
I am so not in the mood to be fucked with by anyone, especially that fairy faggot, Ariel. These monsters almost killed my partner. They're blackmailing him by placing his son in danger. This has ceased to be a surreal adventure and turned into a complete nightmare. It became real when Brian was lying there on the floor of that crypt, motionless and not breathing, bleeding from every orifice, while the banshees wailed a death knell.
I wondered if my absolute terror over losing him was what he felt when I was bashed an eon ago at the prom. All I know is that I realized if Brian was gone, the rest of my life was pretty much without meaning. We function with one heartbeat, now. If his heart stops, so does mine. I sit beside him on the bed, and hold his hand between mine as I glare up at Ariel's beautiful, angry face.
Before he can say anything, I jump in with both feet. "Your stupid fucking charm did fuck all to protect Brian! What's the point? And here's where we are. If you don't get them to release Gus from whatever hold they have over him, we're packing up our marbles and going home. Period. We'll find some witch somewhere to save Gus, but whatever it takes, we won't play your game if you're going to put an innocent child at risk. Fuck you. Fuck all of you!" Brian's hand tightens around mine, but I'm not backing off.
Ariel gives me that `shut up you irrelevant cunt' look, and I lift my chin, refusing to be intimidated. "Who do we have to fuck to get that accomplished?"
"No `witch' can reverse a binding from the Quiet Men. Only Brian can do that."
"By doing what?" Brian intervenes. "Running an ad campaign? Fine, I'll run a fucking ad campaign! Just give me your message."
"It doesn't work that way, Brian. You have to be one with us. You have to be in the tribe."
"Great, teach me the secret handshake and let me get the fuck out of here."
"Patience is a virtue Americans are without," Ariel says with a dismissive roll of the eyes and I flare at him.
"Because Americans get things done and move on," I tell him. "We aren't into these ancient grudges and battles. Look, I know Brian better than anyone, including Brian. And he doesn't work well under this kind of pressure. If you want his best work, you have to free him of his fears for Gus."
"And then what hold do we have?"
"I'll give you my word," Brian says. "Free Gus and I'll make you happy with the ad campaign or whatever the fuck you want from me. My word is as strong as any binding."
"And when your mortal boy, here, begs to leave, where will your loyalties be?"
"I'd never ask Brian to break his word."
"Tis not within my power to do this thing."
"Then who's power is it within?"
"Others," he says ambiguously. "And worse now, that you've offended the Unseelie Court."
"Offended?" I snap. "Offended to the point of death? If not for that relative of his, Brian would be dead. You were certainly of no use to him, oh powerful Oz!"
Ariel's naked hatred of me was never more apparent. He opens his mouth as if to shoot fire in my direction, and then he reconsiders. "As much as we need Brian, it's not so high a yearning that I would risk internal warfare, which is just what the rebels long to see. Fiachna is driven by the blood, for this he can be forgiven, and he is a lesser king, a warrior who carries with him powerful weapons of destruction. Ours is a delicate peace, the space between Unseelie and Seelie Courts. My powers are directed more towards mankind, Brian's Justin, not towards the fey. Fiachna defends his own kind from his own kind."
"I want to talk to him," Brian says and Ariel sighs.
"You cannot. He's trooped."
"What the fuck is that?" I demand.
"The fey are trooping folk. We seldom stay in one place for long. The Court has trooped. Fiachna troops with the fey."
"Where are they?"
"In a land your kind cannot enter unbidden."
"Then bid us," I challenge him and he glares at me.
"You're not ready."
"I'm more than ready," Brian shrugs off a lone pixie that fluttered in and landed on his shoulder. It flies away, leaving a sheen of gold powder on his skin. He brushes it off and glares at Ariel. "What the fuck is this powder, anyway? Is it worth anything?"
"It's faerie dust, Brian. What else?"
"What does it do?"
"Do? It marks you as one of our kind, it warms you, it heals you, it protects you. It calls you."
I laugh and lean down to kiss him on the lips. Ariel doesn't like that very much. "Send your Justin home, Brian, and we'll settle all this more quickly."
"I'm not going," I declare and Brian sighs.
"I tried that. He won't go."
"Demand that he go."
We both chuckle. "We don't `demand' things of each other," I try to explain. "Our relationship doesn't work that way. I'm staying with Brian, no matter what happens here. Get the fuck over it."
"Where are my clothes?" Brian inquires as he passes me a grateful look.
"Being cleansed of blood," Ariel responds. "But no worries, you sleep here tonight."
"I could never sleep in this house," he says and Ariel sighs and presses a hand to Brian's forehead as he says,
Brian swoons, braced by my arm, and I help him lie back and cover him with the bedclothes. Ariel sees my worried expression and shakes his head. "Nothing to fear, sleep is healing. He'll wake as usual in the sunlight. You can't leave this room, so don't try. The bog is through that door. If you need something, pick up the phone." He leaves and my curiosity causes me to try the door. Firmly locked. I go into the "bog",or bathroom, and it's a beautiful room with mermaid themes worked into the tiles and a tub big enough for four. I decide to take a long soak, and as the water pours into the tub from the golden dolphin fixtures, I undress. I catch my reflection in the long mirror and realize I look tired and worried. Suddenly, the image in the mirror changes and I'm looking at Brian, but not Brian. That warrior, Fiachna, dressed in golden mail with a crown of apple blossoms in his auburn hair. His eyes are golden, not hazel, and have that slight elfin-feline tilt, but he is so like Brian that it hypnotizes me. I realize I'm standing here naked, but make no move to cover myself as his gleaming eyes travel down my body and back up to my face.
"Mortal boy," he says in a voice that has Brian's intonations, but an accent much more pronounced even than Ariel's. "Escape to the safety of your kind."
"I'll never leave Brian," I whisper and a smile lights his features, slowly, appearing first as a glimmer and then a true grin, as he nods.
"You love this man so much that you would risk death for him?"
"Yes," I answer immediately.
"For you," he tosses something golden, and it sails straight through the glass of the mirror, and slips up the third finger of my left hand, all on its own. I look down. It's a ring, a band of apple blossoms, delicate and gleaming. It fits tight enough that I can't take it off, but it doesn't hurt. "And now you belong to me," he says, and then he's gone and all I see is my pasty naked body standing there, like an idiot, with the ring my only sign that any of this really happened.
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July 25, 2004