Breathe the Dust
The fading rumbles of thunder rolled like drumbeats, accompanied by the rains percussion against the windowpane. Vincent turned his gaze from the window and down to Tseng, kissing his lovers shoulder softly. Tseng was cradled across Vincents chest, an amusing yet touching sight, considering their comparable size. Their hair was damp with sweat and rain, and Vincent reflected on the events of the evening as he gently cooled into sleep.
What had come over his raven? Tseng was usually so calm, so cool-headed, but tonight his past had taken its toll once and for all.
Tseng was bored. It wasnt a good feeling, for when the raven was bored, he thought, and when he thought, terrors had a field day with the ravens conscious mind.
Hatred, pain, life, death, souls lifted nevermore. Nonsense.
The storm raged outside, the wind beating the house walls in protest. Vincent was in his study with a book, reading or writing, Tseng wasnt sure. So often, the vampiric man claimed he was touching his past, claiming it freed him in a sense. Freed him?
All the men and women Tseng knew, save his master, hid their pasts, buried them six feet deep in steel coffins, never to be exhumed. Vincent teased his past, prodded the damned thing into life and forced it to breathe the dust.
It angered Tseng, how Vincent almost proudly waved his wretched antiquity in his lovers face, almost as if gloating. I can deal with my troubles, wretched student. When will you learn?
Such words would never leave the lips of the man he loved, but Tseng waited for the announcement of the sick noble truth that rooted so firmly in his mind. Tseng Tsuki-yumi, you are a weak man.
The things he feared, he forgot. He feared his past, that was not even a memory. He feared alcoholism, so he never drank. He feared the loss of his love, so he sacrificed himself to keep Vincent happy.
Tseng Tsuki-yumi, you are a very weak man.
Tseng? Raven, love, what is the matter? Vincents deep rumbling voice slipped through Tsengs thoughts. The Wutain man whirled on his lover, his eyes shards of tempest-touched glass.
What is it, Vincent?
Vincent was a bit taken aback at the harshness in Tsengs tone, but went to him and gently toyed with his hair, nonetheless. I just wanted to know if you wanted to go to bed, my raven, he murmured in his lovers ear, attempting to pacify him.
Tseng set his jaw. No.
No? Vincent achieved his semblance of a pout. Why no, my raven-winged dove?
Master Vincent, Tseng spat, the other mans mere presence registering hatred in his veins. Maybe you were used to your lady, love, whore, Lucrecia, doing as you say, because you say, but I dont want to be near you right now, youre going to be made aware of it.
Vincent blinked crimson eyes and rose. Something I have done has upset you.
Tseng paused, turning eyes the shade of silver to his lover and opening his mouth to speak. Failing that, he swallowed hard and let his hand hover on the doorknob. Lightning flickered, then crashed just outside the window. Vincents eyes followed the sound, then flicked back to Tseng. Dont. Dont go out in this.
Tseng left, a cloud of spite forming behind him. The rain stung cold through his shirt, plastering his hair to him. Tseng! The word was a summons through rain and thunder. Raven!
Tseng turned his face to the ebony sky, the streets empty in the humid Wutai night. Come on! he screamed, tempting Fate, begging her to drop her skein for one moment and pay heed to the obsidian-haired man whose desperation now voiced itself. I dare you, bitches! He spoke directly to the Fates now. Am I not worth it? Is it not worth the time, the energy? Come on! Strike me down! I call upon you Ramuh, Zeus, Thor, any of you! One bolt, one strike, one flick of your wrist and Im no more! He felt a warm hand and a chilly claw close over his shoulders, and he spun to face them.
Tseng, stop this foolishness. Please, dont tempt Fate. She is cruel, my raven. Vincents sanguine eyes were pleading. I have no knowledge of what anger I have caused, but I desire to cease it right now. Chance, my love, mere chance is what causes this all. Your past, our love, this squall. Chance and nothing more. Much like a lightning strike.
Tseng swallowed hard, facing his lover. Vincent could see the rain mingling with tears on his tanned cheeks and in his deep-set eyes. They say you are never struck twice, angel. I do not plan for twice. I plan for a third time. He directed his argument back to the angry sky. And a fourth, if that need be to destroy me! Vincent could hear the catch in his screams, and clamped his hands tighter around Tsengs arms. The other man suddenly felt very weak, and relaxed, his legs barely supporting him.
Vincent eased Tseng into the house they shared, walking him to their room. Tseng fell onto the bed, shaking with grief. Vincent Vincent, Im sorry, it was all lies, I am a liar, Vincent I love you, Vincent . He trailed off, his hair falling around his face in wet ropes. Vincent pulled off Tsengs drenched shoes, then followed with his own.
Tseng, my raven, my love he whispered, gently pushing away the black strands and sitting next to him. You are not a liar, and you have no need to apologize. You merely got caught up in your thoughts, it happened to me for twenty years. I forgive you, love. Gently, he pressed his lips to Tsengs.
Tseng returned the kiss with heat, the aching void in his chest gradually replaced by love. He removed his lips from Vincents, kissing his lovers neck. Tsengs body, his voice, his touch was that of a man, but his words were those of a child. Vincent, I really didnt want to die.
Vincent gently eased Tseng out of his soaked shirt. Shh. I know, love. I know.
*back to present*
Tsengs eyes opened, and he lifted his head, kissing a corner of Vincents lips. Thank you, he whispered in the Angels ear.
Vincent spoke without opening his eyes. For what, raven?
You saved me tonight.
Vincent yawned. Nonsense. You were angry, I merely calmed you. Goodnight, love.
Tseng watched him doze for a moment, before winding a blanket around his hips and walking to the bedroom window. His eyes were fixed to the very spot he had professed his screaming lamentation to gods with deaf ears.
The ground there was charred to a burnt black.