torch, 1996

This is a work of speculative fiction. No copyright infringement is intended. Not to be distributed without the author's consent, or for profit (although the author wouldn't mind a chocolate vampire or two). When Amy told me about the fairy tale series, I thought long about fairy tales and then went and wrote this little vignette instead. Greek myths have always fascinated me, and I do think Daniel makes a lovely Persephone. Do not archive this story without permission.

A descent into Hades

Once upon a time, he whispered, once upon a time. Child of sunshine, and I can only imagine how beautiful you are with the light in your eyes and your eyes reflecting heaven.

You're my heaven.

This is the world I have to show you. There's light in the darkness. Starflickers, and wild lightning.

They walked along the edge of the sea, the very edge, little waves lapping up to taste their footprints. The stars did not flicker tonight, they were huge, vast lights hung in the sky like giant Christmas decorations, almost gaudy in their brilliance and perfection. Daniel tilted his head back and laughed. "It's so beautiful," he said, "I can taste the night."

"Madness," Armand said softly, but not reprovingly. His cool hand slipped into Daniel's warm one, a gesture so simple and so simply human that Daniel's laughter almost slid sideways into tears. "Where do you want to go, Daniel?"

"Anywhere." If they kept walking this way they would fall off the edge of the world. And that was fine. "Anywhere, I don't care, I don't care..."

"But you have to know where you're going." Armand's hair fell about his neck in loose curls, a wildness, a jubilation, a case of plain disorder. Chaos theory.

Daniel stopped and turned to him, salt water slithering around his feet, his ankles, tugging at him to come play. "But Armand, I don't even know where I am. You brought me here. You call me back again and again."

"No," Armand whispered, closing his hands around Daniel's arms.

"Yes." Daniel smiled. "This is your world, Armand." He stepped closer, wrapped his arms around Armand and pulled him close, and for one moment they were nothing but lovers on a beach, reduced to their essential selves, two souls meeting. Lips meeting.

It did not feel like falling, more like floating. Daniel would have laughed, as the soft sand of the beach wrapped itself around him and the water licked him with its cool tongues. And Armand, always Armand, so cold he burned, this hard little work of art, not even alive. Ah, the sweetness of him, the sweet promise of his kisses.

"You asked to come here," Armand said against Daniel's throat, tangling his fingers into Daniel's hair.

"I ask to stay here," Daniel said, and the rest of his pleading correction died on his lips as teeth scratched him. Took him. Not away, not the swoon of falling this, he was more here than ever, but this was not what held him fast. He sighed in riotous pleasure and waited.

Armand's eyes shining with shared life.

And tonight he did not have to ask, as glassy nails cut and his head was pulled down against that smooth perfect throat and he sucked slowly, feeling his doom sealed, again, always. Since the first time. There is no way back.

You are mine, beautiful boy.

My love. You taste like pomegranate seeds.

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