“Jean-Claude?” His fingers traced the picture of the two men. Was the other a man? The one in the dress had such a fae face. Such desire it could bring to Asher. The dress however was almost shocking, on a female it would of shown far too much; on a female it would have been a display of breasts. It was those eyes that called to Asher though, it was those eyes that held something for the vampire. His fingers traced that one's face, there was something about the face that made Asher feel as though he should have known of him. “Jean-Claude..?” He again asked the vampire who was across the room. He held up the picture, “Who is this?” Why did Jean-Claude seem pale and angry because of a picture? Asher looked back down, his heart did a little flip flop, there was something in the eyes.
“That is Narcissus and Gabriel.” Jean-Claude walked towards him, had Asher touched something he wasn't supposed to? He frowned and put the picture down, flipping it over. The handwriting was neat and perfect, the date upon the back. “Zane gave that to me to keep for him. He didn't think it would be wise to have it any more but he couldn't throw it away.”
That was all that was said, all the Master of the city would tell him. Asher tried to understand why the picture upset him so. He remembered something about Narcissus, perhaps some little whisper. Nothing he could recall. The look on the man's face seemed to steal something in Asher. Seemed to make him feel as though he should go out and find him.
There was also the sadness, the sadness that he saw in Jean-Claude's eyes. His old lover had been so upset over the whole thing. Perhaps he shouldn't try to discover more about the man. Or perhaps it would be best if he didn't tell Jean-Claude what he felt. It was odd feeling something like this, he had never believed in love at first sight before now.
The first time he went to the club he had sworn it would be the last. He swore that he was just there to look at Narcissus, that he would not linger longer then he had to. That had been about four months ago. Now, as he stood lost in the group of love and lust filled men and women, he was careful to hide himself, he was careful never to be seen. Masks were his best friends. Asher was spending his money on new costumes, on little gifts that he would never send. He bought flowers that he would carry to the club and end up giving away because he would see Narcissus on the arm of some other male.
Yes, it was stupid, stupid the way he watched him, not getting close enough to let the other know what he was doing. It was odd that he could feel the other's beating heart. Feel the need to reach out and touch. Only one other person ever flared such a desire in Asher, and that person was long dead because of his mistakes. Because Jean-Claude came to late to save her. Sometimes he would walk a way from the club angry. Sometimes he would walk away feeling like he had been wooing the one he wanted. But how could he when he didn't get close enough to speak?
They were here in his playground, they were entering it. He knew something was wrong when he watched the exchange between Anita and Narcissus, he almost smiled at the way Narcissus handled the hunter. Yes, he had seen it before. Narcissus had such self-assurance, such passion that seemed to grow from the very center of the small male. Asher also noted the look upon Anita's face when she looked upon the Queen of the Hyenas. She could not tell if she should kiss or shake his hand, something that happened around the Oba. When was the last time he saw Anita, Six months ago? Six months of trying to win Jean-Claude's heart back.
Nothing had worked, for Jean-Claude's heart was too filled with Anita Blake to love the man that loved him. It hurt each time he saw them together, knowing that he would have to walk away. It added to the hate that seemed to grow out of nowhere, but had roots in he and Jean-Claude's deep past. Asher moved away then, if something was happening, then they would need help. Perhaps he would finally be able to speak to Narcissus, he had learned so much about the man, the man who would let no one top him.
Of course that one fact alone only made Asher want him more.
Not only was he now standing and listening to Jean-Claude, Richard and Anita trying to plead their way out of a deal, he was in one of his most inner rooms. The smell of sex and lust made Asher's vampire scream with a heated desire. Asher was trying to play coy by not looking at Narcissus. Pretending that he knew him not. Each toy in the room called out to him. He wanted to try each thing, on whom? Well, Narcissus for starters. He wasn't listening until Narcissus spoke words that nearly broke Asher in half.
Jean-Claude had felt Narcissus' touch? Anger flared in him and though it was quietly put down for now, there would be a time when Asher would pay Jean-Claude back for this. Why did it anger Asher? Why did he think that Narcissus was his? There was so much he wished he understood. Then, there came a moment of chaos.
A snap was heard, a snap that brought Asher out of his stillness, for the sound in the room was almost deafening. His eyes fell upon Richard, the wolf's hand upon Narcissus' wrist. Asher almost jumped, almost pounced. Richard was so very lucky Asher had more self-control. If he had met him and done this to someone years ago, Richard would be dead. Asher looked towards Narcissus. The shadows were his friend at the moment, he could hide the anger in his eyes. Belle's training took over then, he could be angry without showing it. Through the little side look from Jean-Claude told him to be even stiller, to see that not everything was ruined.
Yes, Jean-Claude thought Asher was mad because this might stop them from saving the felines. Well that was true, but the anger was rooted at the pain the Oba must now be feeling, pain that Asher had not given him. Asher wanted to give the pain and pleasure, wanted to mix the twined feelings to bring Narcissus on his knees.
Narcissus wanted someone to pay for them entering his club. Wanted someone to pay for his pain, for the wrist made useless for the moment. He wanted someone to come forward and bend to his will. Oh, the look upon Narcissus' face, the look in the others’ eyes, how he wanted Jean-Claude. Would another vampire do? Could Asher please this Queen? Asher did wish to see him begging and whimpering.
There was nothing else Asher could do.
He had to flee, he had to get out or he would go back to the man who was laying in the love-lust haze that Asher put him in. There was something in their doings that scared the vampire. Something he hadn't felt in years... too far back. Had he betrayed her? Julianna... He wanted to force his mark upon the man. There was something in the moment with his blood and scent, his body and soul.
The scent still clung to his skin, hiding his own. The blood was still upon his lips, so that if he licked them he could taste it still. The last time he felt this way was the first time with... Julianna... He had to leave the club before the other woke, leave him moaning and twitching. Why did he wish to go back and watch him wake? It was far to close to the rising of the sun.
He had betrayed her memory. He was starting to love Narcissus, love his screams, and love his desire for everything, even after more pain and sex than Asher could give anyone. He was the perfect pet, slave and lover. But it couldn't be. No, he couldn't betray her. He couldn't find another to take her place.
All he left was a note telling Narcissus that he had enjoyed their night together. However, he had to leave before morning.
He felt like a rogue leaving behind a virgin who was no longer a virgin. He hadn't done that in years, and he knew that Narcissus was definitely no virgin, not like she had been...
By the darkest pits of hell, what had he been thinking? He had done all of this to spite Jean-Claude, to hush his ungodly lusts.
Julianna... Julianna... Julianna...
It is said that vampires do not dream, they do not go to sleep when they lay down to rest. No, vampires die when they rest for the day. Their souls disappear out of their bodies and there is nothing there but a corpse. Yet vampires do dream, but perhaps it is more a deep remembrance rather than a dream. When the memories flash over their eyes and they see nothing else. Sometimes it happened just as they woke, when all around is dark and quiet.
This happened to Asher often.
There was almost the first memory of being turned, of having his life torn away from him. The first feeling of fangs slipping into his skin and knowing that it was the last thing he would feel as a human. It took three times for a vampire to be made. Three times for you to say yes or to have your life stolen. Asher said yes each time, he gave into Her. Allowed Her to change him for the mere fact of Her beauty.
Would he have done anything different? No, he couldn't have, not to Her, for She was his world, a world of lies and death. Asher's arm moved forward to lift open the coffin. There were still memories that haunted him, that screamed in his brain telling him things would be no different with Jean-Claude, that he should flee while he still had the chance.
Just as he could not say no to his sire, he could not say no to Jean-Claude for fear of what would happen if he was not here with him. Jean-Claude, who fell in love with Anita far too quickly. Yes, the Master of the City loved his human servant far too deeply, far too greatly. Thus leaving no room for anyone else.
Pain. It was as simple as a broken heart. Something that he thought he'd never feel again. Yet, here it was, back beyond all doubts. But, there was another memory tonight. It was like a hot poker in the side that brought him forward and out of his deadly sleep just as it had for the past few nights.
It always started the same way. He could smell him, taste him. Who was him? Narcissus of the were-hyenas, the head of the family, the leader, their Oba. It was odd how his scent could fill Asher's coffin. The memory would roll into him like a wave meeting the shore. The memory of their night together was fresh in his mind, perhaps that is why he could still taste it.
Yet, that didn't explain why he would ask after the male, why he would listen if the name was spoken or even if he thought he heard it. There were nights when he found himself very close to Narcissus in Chains, almost to the door. Asher always turned away, turned back before he could set foot inside. Turned back because his feelings for the man scared him.
He was not going to fall in love again, no, for that part of him was to stay scarred and dead. Scars. His hand traced over his face, the Oba didn't care about his scars. In fact, he seemed to enjoy them. There was no fear in his eyes, nor pity, as he often saw in Jean-Claude's. Asher didn't know what to make of it.
Perhaps if he only went back, if he only stepped into the club and saw him again. No, the furthest he had gone was in sending flowers to Narcissus. Flowers, hand picked, each one. He hadn't even added a card. Perhaps the Oba hadn't got them. Would he have smelt his scent among the flower's own sweetness?
The memories washed over him once more, the look of Narcissus' face when he reached his pleasure, the sound of the other's voice, begging, needing and screaming. It made something in him warm, though he would have to wait until after he had fed to respond to such an image. Asher removed himself from his coffin, his eyes falling down to the insides.
Once the coffin had been bigger. Once there had been another person sleeping with him. He always worried that she didn't see enough sun. Yet, she slept by his side.
How could he think of another when her ghost still haunted him? He swore to himself years ago no one else would take her place in his heart. Yet, Narcissus called to him, called to him unlike any other had in his long life span. Tonight, perhaps, he would call the club, perhaps even speak to Narcissus without hanging up. Just to see how he is doing, perhaps even invite him to do something.
'Julianna… forgive me..'
The vampire overjoyed at the sight of the club standing in the still of the darkness. He was finally coming back to see his Narcissus. No, Narcissus did not belong to him... and yet some part of him felt the need to take Narcissus and allow no one else to touch him. There was a mixture of smells; life, death, lust, passion, and body sweat. All of them greeted his nose as he stepped into the group of bodies, both living and undead.
There was a flower mixed in with all the weeds, a flower whose scent made Asher's eyes close and his body sing from the first sniff. Asher found himself doing something very silly indeed. He was trying to hold his breath, to hold that scent trapped within him.
Jean-Claude had started to notice things like this. He noticed that Asher was acting so very oddly. Still Asher did not tell him. He went on the dates with Anita, he played the perfect loving friend though every moment of acting as such was painful. There was also the fact the wanted to taste the Oba's blood, for it was like the sweetest wines the vampire had ever tasted. There had been many wines, many willing and not so willing bodies to take from. Each night he took from someone, who either wanted it so ever badly or did it merely because they knew the pleasure of his bite. None, however, gave him what Narcissus did. None looked upon him with such desire.
Did the Oba feel the same? Did he waste his nights away wishing? The sounds of beating hearts flooded his ears, drawing him to find the one that beat just to the right tone. Narcissus' heartbeat was strong and true. He moved forward, catching the Oba's eyes as he sat upon his throne. The man looked just as lovely as he remembered but there was sadness in his eyes. Would he be welcomed? Asher moved forward, his eyes staying upon the were-hyena's, through he wasn't trying to roll the other's mind. He was trying to make Narcissus see him. Did he see him? Or was he another face -a masked one at that- in the crowd?
His answer came as the Oba rose from his chair and moved towards him. Narcissus' face seemed to be a mixture of surprise and joy for a moment before it relaxed into the normal care-free smile, what others would think as his 'I couldn’t care less' smirk. Asher knew better, he could see it better. Did Narcissus remember him?
The answer his name breathlessly spoken. A smile touched his lips, his body felt the warmth of blood in the other man's body. Yes, Asher knew then that nothing else would take him from his side, he could see that now in Narcissus' eyes, in the smile and tightness of his body. There was only one person left for him, only one person he would take to him. Only on person he would love.