Through My Eyes - Part Eight (excerpt)
Angelique © Yura Kairi, Ruby Party, and Koei
Clavis. How long has it been since I have thought about him as anything other than the lazy Guardian who seems to spend most of his life sleeping? Every time a less superficial idea came to mind, I would shove it away, think of his faults and try not to remember that I greatly influenced most of them. He was always fond of sleep, but ever since that day, he sleeps as if trying to pass the time... or escape reality. He had never been very open, but he had been reasonably friendly with the other Guardians. Now I cannot think of anyone I could count as his friend. He had always hidden his feelings, but when he finally revealed them to Angelique, I destroyed him. Perhaps that is why he tolerates that blue-haired boy's company, both are unwilling to trust anyone else.
And what of myself? It has been so long since I allowed myself to feel anything related to him or that day. I had felt so horribly guilty for months afterward, but slowly shoved these feelings aside, convincing myself that I had acted in the best interests of the universe. What is one man's happiness to that of billions?
What is one man's happiness to that of his best friend?
No! If I let myself think about this, I will decide to do something completely humiliating like throwing myself at his feet and begging to be forgiven.
"Pride..." the man in my bed murmurs as he snuggles deeper into the blankets.
"Stay out of my mind!"
"It's hard to stay in there, believe me. How can you think while trapped in that caffeine-induced haze?"
"It's better than other things I could be addicted to!"
Yes, Clavis had been exceptionally good at that, as well. I thought so, anyway - I had nothing to compare it to. It had been a great relief to finally come together after struggling against each other for so long. That first night - I will never forget. It was only then that I realized that much of the tension between us had been the result of a strong sexual attraction. Clavis had been slow to mature - he had mentioned always being somewhat behind the other children his age - but once he did, he seemed to have transformed overnight. The small, quiet boy who followed me everywhere was suddenly much taller than I - and had grown an attitude to match. He started wearing the amethyst jewelry that he had brought from home, and, for a short time, exchanged his robes for tight-fitting clothes of black and silver. He switched back within a week, annoyed all by the attention he attracted from the chattering girls.
In that time, he had argued with me over everything - deadlines, paperwork, where we would meet after work to talk. We had met at his mansion to discuss a particularly difficult situation that required both of our Sacrea - a discussion which, naturally, became a heated argument over how the work should be divided. Clavis had fallen silent, then approached me quickly, a strange look on his face. I had thought he was going to strike me, but before I could move I found myself in his arms and his mouth covering mine.
"Finally," he had said upon breaking the kiss, "I found a way to shut you up."
And I had been silent - for a short time, anyway, as an unbelievable scene unfolded before me. I had never imagined that his thin frame could hide such strength and at the same time, such gentleness. He had been hesitant, almost shy at first, cheeks and nose coloring lightly as he loosened his robes and let them slide to the floor. But that was gone in an instant as he waited impatiently for me to shed my own clothing. My hands were trembling, my fingers were numb, and I was absolutely certain that my face was the color of a ripe strawberry. I could not tear my eyes from his face, his body, so pale and so thin, but perfect, I thought, not weak. His hair fell around him like a gown of fine black silk, hiding and revealing and hiding his body again as he shifted back and forth, watching me. When had his hair grown so thick, so long? It was no less heavy than a robe, and no shorter, reaching down to sweep the carpet as he moved.
I suddenly felt inferior, ugly; no, I couldn't let him see me, he was beautiful and I was not. I couldn't bear to hear his laugh, to see that little smirk I loved - and hated - so well. He came forward, pulling insistently at my robes, undoing this and unfastening that while I desperately tried to cling to my clothing and my dignity. He had always been so much more beautiful than I, and I could not stand it.
In moments my robes were loose and would have fallen had I not been clinging to them, hands trembling, like an innocent girl on her wedding night.
He had thrown back his head and laughed, the jeweled circlet gleaming in the light of the faintly burning oil lamps.
"How dare you?!"
He ignored me, reaching out to yank the cloth from my hands. I caught it before it slipped beyond my waist, face red with fury as well as embarrassment.
But before I could say anything, he had caught me in his arms and captured my mouth with his. I found, to my shame, that while I wanted to shove him away, my body would not obey. Traitorous thing to abandon me to this madman with glittering violet eyes and silken hair! And while I was paralyzed like this, he brought one hand up to touch my chest - warm, very warm, though I could not remember a single time that his hands had been warm - and brush the tip of one finger, one nail, lightly across my nipple.
The shock had broken the spell; I shoved the fiend from me, utterly humiliated and trembling with fury.
"What do you think you're doing? Don't ever touch me!"
He just smirked and pulled the fabric from my hands, moving so swiftly that I did not realize what he had done until it was too late. And he was staring at me, eyes fixed upon my body as one might study a painting!
"Don't... don't look at me!" I growled, cursing him for having hair that was long enough to hide his entire body, and wishing that mine was just as long.
"Why not? Everyone looks at beautiful things."
"Do not mock me, Clavis!"
This, too, he had ignored, moving closer to again capture me in his arms, his fingers flitting here and there over my body. Now tangled in my hair; now pressed against my back, slowly dancing down my spine toward--
"Don't you dare!" I hissed, horrified and yet fascinated by his incredible audacity. Why couldn't I move? It was such an effort just to speak.
Mercifully, his hands froze and he drew back to gaze into my eyes. What was that in his, that slightly wild and wholly terrifying gleam? They glittered with life, with mischief, and with something I could not name. And then he smiled, and his smile was just as horrible as his eyes.
"What are you thinking?"
"I'm thinking that I will do what I have wanted to do for a long time..." he murmured, pushing me back slowly, carefully, until my legs backed into something. I grabbed at him in a panic as I fell, only to be stopped a moment later by something soft and yielding. His bed.
"Clavis, are you mad?"
He placed his lips against my ear and his hands against my chest. "Maybe I am..."
I could hardly breathe, my heart was caught somewhere between fluttering and pounding as he slowly moved his fingers over my flesh, a touch so light that it left a burning sensation in its wake. I was sure that my face was turning every imaginable shade of red, and several others that had never been named. If Clavis noticed, he did not care.
"What are you thinking? I am a man!"
He glanced down, smirking. "Yes, I can see that."
"Don't look at that!" I could feel my face burning.
"It certainly looks like it wants someone to notice it."
"How dare you?!"
He had all but attacked me then, assaulting me with light kisses, tiny nibbles, gentle touches. I could not push him away. I did not want to, and this more than anything made me want to disappear. How could I allow him to do such a thing? How could I want him to do such a thing?
He paused, drawing back to gaze into my eyes. And finally, I could see the question in his.
Will you let me do this?
And I knew that the decision I made would affect everything from that moment on. I had come to one of those choices, one of those incredibly important forks in the road of my life. Yes or no. Choose now.
I wanted to say something eloquent, something profound, but all I could manage was a blush and a slight nod.
His eyes widened slightly.
"Damn you, Clavis, just do it already!"
When it was over, I stared up toward the ceiling, lost in the darkness above me. The relief of becoming conscious of something I had always known, in some way, was incredible. It was as if a burden had been lifted from me, a thing that I had not known existed until that moment. No need for the protective shield, the hiding of emotions, the pretense.
Clavis touched my face, tracing the path of my tears with one polished fingernail. "Did I hurt you?"
How long had it been since the last time I had let myself cry? How long had it been since someone had noticed and comforted me instead of punishing me? How could he find someone like me desirable? No, he wouldn't, not if he knew the truth. My secret.
"Clavis... I have to tell you something. Something about me. Maybe you won't want to..." I closed my eyes, looked away. Why was my voice trembling? "You wouldn't want me if you knew the truth!"
He turned my face back. "Don't be a fool. Nothing is that horrible."
"It is! No one here knows, the only one who knew was the Guardian of Light before me. I have to tell you, Clavis, I can't... will you--"
"I will keep your secret, Julious. No one will ever hear it from me."
I shake my head, trying to clear the memories away. No need to remind myself of my imperfection, the reason why my father hated me and kept me as a servant instead of his son. Let Clavis keep that secret, I do not want it. And he has kept it well for all this time. If he had told anyone, it would have eventually come back to me in whispers or a full-blown rumor. I haven't heard the word used to describe me - not in the literal sense, anyway - since I uttered it five years ago.
To understand what's going on, you need to know about the two truths I made up about Juli:
Everyone knows and buys into #1 (yes! I did a good job of making shit up!) but #2 is a little off the wall. It does, however, make perfect sense... what is vision but the eye's translation of the reflections of LIGHT? Hmm? ^_^