Warnings: NC-17. Sexual goings-ons, the between the lines of physical abuse, and some mental kind.
Word Count: 3378.
Characters: Nigel and Alan.
Notes: Prompt from psyches, "Nigel topping."
Summary: We are servants to our mind, slaves to our memory. And it calls as reverse, when one seeks to define it.
References: This Damned thread, specifically this part. Lines from Romeo and Juliet. A quote from Murder Mysteries, by Neil Gaiman.
Alan started, surprised and confused. The man’s face gave away his every emotion; perhaps it was well enough that Nigel could hardly see. Still, it was too obvious, even without the path of sight. “What?”
“Touch me.” Said in that same emotionless tone. Nigel stepped forward, closer, nearly a challenge. Alan rose warily, waiting until the other neared, and then reached out to press a palm against a chest. Nigel tsked. “No. Lower.”
Alan froze entirely, at the command, the near empty tone, at the content. But Nigel waited. More himself, he would have added, or are you going to refuse~?, but Nigel Kane was not himself. He was but caught in dreams, and for the first time in a long while he wanted - instead of holding on, keeping to kill him, to create rot, to force stagnation and decay - to forget. Only to forget. And here was a source to be tested. Even as a part of Nigel knew full well this treatment wasn’t deserved. “Alan…,” he said, quiet and sing-song. A waiting game. Because Nigel would not pleasantly ask for clarification--that implied there was a choice involved, and Nigel had not asked. He had told.
The other swallowed audibly, and stepped closer, slowly trailed his hand downward to cup heat.
How ironic, Nigel thought, somewhat detached. For everywhere else was frozen; cold as death.
For all that Nigel slept, he was one that rarely dreamed.
As it’s been said--dreams are but a way from the mind of filing memories, bits and pieces shifting as you slept, but that was for those who took in the world in a normal fashion. Nigel committed to memory without effort, whether wanted or not, and there was no need for that singular and single fashion of filing things taken in over the course of the day. Nigel dreamed, in parcel and part, but nothing that spoke of a habit.
And this was, anyway, something close to a memory never experienced that a dream. What it lacked in details, it gave in clarity, and there was something bright and shining about the child, as pale as absence, eyes blazing as pretty poisons, and he did not belong in that shadowed, small room, he did not belong in that building tainted by time.
Albedo stood as if motion had just happened, a hand falling down as he looked at Nigel’s past self. But this was not his self, this was a flawed creature who refused to cling to the things that might fade away. If you had, Nigel wanted to scream and shake the darker child; he wanted that existence gone. If you had, maybe we wouldn’t have--
But Albedo spoke, moving as if amused. No cruelty was present, and Nigel ached. “That’s because we don’t communicate well. Example one. If you want something, say so to begin with. I’ll do as you say for the most part. So state your opinions more freely.”
Where Albedo’s voice was comforting, the other child’s voice, sarcastic, grated against the sensitive skin of Nigel’s inner ears. “Is that a promise?”
“Mm, perhaps.” The paler child broke into a pleased grin, then went on. “It’s a promise,” he gave pleasantly. “Call it an absolute. I have no intention of going against you.” Another grin, bright and blinding. “So I’ll do as you say.”
“…You’re making a lot of promises lately.”
This wasn’t a memory that Nigel carried. It wasn’t something that he wanted to see.
Albedo paused. “So I have, it seems.” There was a beat. “I intent to keep them, Nigredo.” Another pause, heavy and awkward. All amusement had vanished from the game. “I want to be near you.”
It was cold. Both Nigel and the other child both felt the aching chill. The child clutched his stomach in lieu of comfort, in need. “…I’m glad.” One could speak of gladness and look as if they wanted to die. This was the contradiction this existence held.
Albedo moved to stand quietly in front of the darker one. His hands moved, reached to cup the other child’s elbows. “I’m glad, too,” he said firmly, gently. “That you're here.”
--A part of him wondered if he was breaking Nigredo with each phrase uttered.--
A play at words, a conversation, and Nigel didn’t have the mind to hear any more. He only watched as they interacted, moved to leave. There was a familiarity in the way that Albedo looked up, heavy-lidded, teasing and flirtatious. A way that squeezed his chest to breaking. Nigel couldn’t tell what had been said the moment prior, but Albedo was replying. “Whatever you desire, dear one.~” A glance upward, bright eyes near locking on where Nigel existed, insubstantial. “I exist to serve.”
There was static on the line, clarity fading, and Nigel only heard the younger child quietly speaking. “Don’t let go.” Don’t let go. “Okay?”
Like before, the world disappeared.
Alan has done everything Nigel has asked, and Nigel doesn’t have the mind to fully contemplate the whys. The other man’s lips are playing at his chest, and Nigel strokes Alan’s hair idly, as if petting an animal. “I dreamt a dream last night,” he speaks, and stares at nothing. “But dreamers often lie.” Even if they dream things true. “I talk of dreams,” he says humorlessly, with derision. “As if a child of an idle brain. Dreams… Nothing but vain fantasy--as thin a substance as the air and more inconsistent than the wind.”
It is your name that is your enemy, a curse to hold one captive to a fate. A name that Nigel holds in his chest, acknowledges by preparing to die, but Alan…. Doesn’t know his name, and moves differently from what fate had wished.
Nigel doesn’t know if he hates that or loves it, but he laughs either way. The sound startles the other, a jerk against flesh, and Nigel realizes that he doesn’t know if he had spoken out loud moments prior. Hm. He nearly asks for clarification, but realizes it doesn’t matter. A name was a name was a name.
And a dream, therefore, was nothing but a dream.
Nigel woke as if in the throes of some torment, legs lashing out to attack the blanket that surrounded him, arms stripping the sheets away to prop himself upward, chest heaving for air. There was no oxygen in the room; his head felt too light. It was a dream. This he knew without a doubt. Despite its wondrous clarity, despite its renewal in form, it had never happened. How could it have happened? If promises like that had come, Nigel would have--
If Albedo would have left after promises like that, he would have cut out his heart. Offered it begging as something to be cherished. Something to be destroyed. Anything but--
“Don’t let go, okay?” A clasp of hands.
The heel of his hand pressed into an eye socket, pressure turning to pain as he ground it further. Eventually the sensation stabilized reality enough for him to move. To breathe. To stand.
Albedo had promised devotion, had he? Said he would do what he was told. And Alan--
Wasn’t Albedo. Now was he. No. So that one wasn’t what Nigel had waited for, and these promises, dreamlike and false--
Were meaningless. Lacking. He knew this.
He knew this.
Still, he needed. Needed--
Here, was the second pause. The second wary look from Alan as he gauged what was wanted. What was actually needed. Nigel’s tone had turned sweet, saccharine and sickening, as subtle as a threat, yet he didn’t repeat himself. “What’s in a name…” he murmured lightly. “By any other name, you….”
The meaning was obvious, and Alan reacted as if slapped, recoiling, eyes down. Something begged wrong in that reaction, but Nigel didn’t think. Only reached to touch Alan’s chin, moving it upward. Smiling gently, eyes empty. “Retain that dear perfection.” A perfect threat, a careful demand. Remember who you were.
As if you could place memory into another as simple as that. Nigel might have done it, then; might have pulled all that was forgotten to the surface to see the man called Alan vanish under the weight of years. Maybe Nigel would have done nothing, would have allowed Alan that wanted forgetting. It didn’t matter. Nigel would command but not force--this person’s existence was his to wholly realize, a slip and a slide to drop away unformed or to hold to things never promised but as in dreams. A part of Nigel could understand he was regressing in a way never experienced, going mad as in a dance, and he wondered if this was how he felt when--
Alan’s hand moved against him, pressed against Nigel’s chest, heat against his heart. “Nigel….” Concern and fear laid in that tone, and Nigel wondered how Alan, even now, was worried for him. Nigel knocked the hand away, moved to grip Alan’s shoulder instead.
A contradiction lay within Alan. He could be as fierce and strong as something wild, as delicate and fragile as porcelain glass. And Nigel would see that broken. If Alan would not acquiesce.
Nigel laughed, and was curious why it sounded like a sob. “You promised, didn’t you?” A demand. “To do as I say, right? To serve, was it? To not go a--”
He cut off the moment he realized what he was saying, but the tell had already been revealed. Again, Alan reached for him, and again, Nigel knocked his hands away, pushed the other man back. “So keep your promise,” he said through grit teeth, pretending that it didn’t sound like he was pleading. “Take all myself.”
There was silence, and Nigel couldn’t see Alan’s expression. Was suddenly tired of this ruse. A cold hand clasped around Nigel’s wrist and pulled as Alan stepped backward, legs hitting the bed. He sat without pausing, reclined backward and pulling Nigel forward. His knee hit the mattress, his other hand came down next to the skin of Alan’s ribs as he hovered over him. “Is this consent?” Nigel asked, near blandly.
Silence came only, that and the brush of Alan’s fingertips over Nigel’s lips. A gesture of love, even now. It called as obnoxious, something to be broken off and be made opposite. Except by now, it was only…. Only wanted, and yet still. Still.
Nigel lowered himself suddenly, pressed his lips to Alan’s bruisingly and Alan accepted, brought his arms over the other’s shoulders as his legs shifted around Nigel’s waist. An invitation as well as any other. A rose by yet another name.
Nigel was ill-experienced and it perhaps showed. He was less patient than was showed in other areas, and discomfort claimed itself as obvious. This was in part on Alan. History deemed this as something more than unwanted, and it was why he had watched Nigel without speaking when he had asked. Spoke. But it was allowed, even so; even as Alan clutched at Nigel and shuddered. It was when he was surrounded by heat, when pleasure crossed with the pain in his chest, when the muffled sound of tears caught his hearing, that Nigel relinquished this act. Relinquished the pain that promises cause.
He stopped, touching Alan’s face and kissing his hair, and Alan breathed heavily against him. There was a tightness present, tension, and Nigel suddenly felt contrite. For this, at least. For punishing one for the sins of another. For Alan was not-- “Do you want me to stop?” A quiet question, gentle, as he pet the other to relax.
Alan shivered, eyes squeezed shut, and opened his mouth to speak. Nothing came for a moment, then what did seemed almost meaningless. “…the line.”
Nigel couldn’t follow. “…What?”
Alan loosened his hold on the other man almost reluctantly, brought a hand to tap the other’s chest once. “…Say the line as it’s supposed to be. ‘Take all…’”
The prompt was now obvious, but Nigel nearly didn’t understand. He would do as asked, but for some reason, was hesitant. Was unsure on the lines. It broke as uncharacteristic and made him uncomfortable. “…‘Cast off your name,’” he said quietly. “‘And for that name--’” which is no part of you “‘--which is no part of you, take all myself.’”
Alan’s eyes remained shut, for a moment he was silent. Nigel kept to stillness, wondered about the methodology of waiting. “…And?” Alan finally prompted, quiet.
Hm. “The next line is a different character.”
“I don’t care.”
Contrary. So contrary. But this was something like amending, and Nigel would do it. He brought up the recall and continued. “‘I’ll take--’” Nigel stumbled, realized what had been set up. He was quiet when he continued. “… ‘I’ll take you at your word. Call me but love and I’ll be new baptized. Henceforth, I will never be--’” He broke off, swallowed something down.
For it was names that were the enemy, a curse holding one captive to a fate.
Alan had never been Albedo, and Nigel was no longer that pitiful child. No, he was something else now, made of mourning and loss. He hated himself in completely different ways, and his existence was something worthless. To be disdainful of and cast aside. And yet, now.
Nigel could feeling Alan relaxing in increments, as he didn’t move, as the other held still. The squeezing tightness gave way, and Alan exhaled, as if in an attempt to consciously relax. Nigel was disgusted with himself. “You don’t have to--”
The other’s eyes finally opened, startling clear and bright. Not so much a pretty poison but a guiding light. Too much poetics, Nigel thought. He had given himself too many allowances, it seemed. Alan reached up to hold Nigel to him, knocking Nigel from his musing, Alan’s eyes locking on the other. “I am not Albedo.” It formed as taboo, something never said, more for white’s sake than black. Still, no instabilities yet rose from the process. “If you’re going to love or hate me, do it for who I am.
“I never left,” Alan says, and time shifts, becomes unhinged.
“I never walked away,” he speaks, and his voice is hoarse. Nigel has the faint memory of quiet screams.
“I never abandoned you,” he gives firmly, as much as Nigel had in the beginning, hours prior. “I never left you. I never would leave you. I would never go away. So stop,” he says, and the tears are still in his eyes, “Comparing me to someone I’m not.”
Nigel is only silent, and Alan holds him tighter. “I’m not him. I wouldn’t hurt you, and I--”
This person is miraculous, Nigel thinks, as Alan speaks further. After all that’s been done and demanded, after all that’s been said, after Nigel in situated in a position that speaks of bad memories, Alan still is close to sobbing at the fact of comforting the other and proving his point. That he wouldn’t leave. That he’s never left.
He remembers, then, nearly the first thing he said to Alan when they met. “I do know you. I know who you are. --You left me.” And how it must have been, then. After that time. Haunted by the failings of another. If it was true that every seven years each cell in your body dies and is replaced, then each have truly inherited their life from a dead man; and the misdeeds of those times have been forgiven, and are buried with the bones.
Alan was crying. “I love you. And I don’t care what you ask of me. But just know that I am the one that loves you, and I’m the one who--”
Nigel closed the gap and kissed the other fiercely, stopping the words falling from the other’s mouth like rain. He knew all this. Of course he knew all this. Why clarify, because wasn’t Nigel the first who would separate and place differences now? Of course he knew. His hands grasped ribs, then trailed back to curl behind shoulders, cupping shoulder blades gently as if they were fine birds. Alan whimpered into his mouth and clutched at him like a child. Needing comfort and reassurance. Retain that dear perfection. He couldn’t have cursed him any worse in that way, leaving the other to mull over things that should have stayed in the ground. Ah, how nice. This had turned out quite well, hadn’t it?
Still holding the other, Nigel discretely tried to shift out, and Alan’s legs instantly tightened against Nigel’s waist. The crying had lessened, and Nigel waited. The words that came near fluidly earlier had vanished; he was back to speaking only what was necessary. There wasn’t a long wait. “…Don’t go.”
“I’m not going anywhere. I thought that--”
Alan interrupted, spoke words of treason. “Don’t let go. Okay?” Like a child asking a favor. A simple tone for a complicated process. The words mirrored ones spoke by a voice Nigel couldn’t stand, and from this source, came as something not to be denied. A hand slipped through Alan’s hair and Nigel kissed the other’s forehead. Alan’s eyes fluttered shut.
“Then, is this okay?” A quiet murmur, nothing more. Nothing of a demand or command.
Alan shivered, then only held Nigel. Nodded once. He shifted, reached to kiss the hollow above Nigel’s collarbone, licked the concave of skin where neck and shoulder met in the way of one careful. Moving delicately. Nigel conversely couldn’t stand it and was attracted to it--he tilted the other’s head away from his neck and to his lips instead, kissing Alan deeply. In the same act, he pressed in, resulting in a moan echoing into his mouth. Nigel swallowed it, kept it close, and slowly moved outward, aware of reactions. The other was shaking, but it seemed more of an overwhelm than unwant. It was a slow rhythm found; by this point, he was unwilling to risk Alan any more, and even when, after a while, he was prompted otherwise, he retained that. Slow movements came as torture, sensations drawn out and expanded upon, and Alan was in tears again before they ended, a mess of one thoroughly used. Slow movements came as a testament of love, each felt in every inch, each aspect of the body memorized in a way that hadn’t yet been. This was given to Alan with no thought for himself, and Nigel only placed lips to skin, slid into heat, and murmured aspects long forgotten. Gave himself in every breath. More than had been seen before, because this one was only himself and no one else.
Silent were his apologies but he claimed them all the same. In hands searching skin and fingers brushing over spots made sensitive, of a tongue speaking treatises as it moved over pale flesh. For all of the actions made, the dominance held, it was quite reverse. Nigel was only Alan’s, and only had ever been--Alan had touched places no one had before, and held weight in ways that had not been expected. The other loved him, and it was not because of a name. Did not begin at a dream. Did not exist for blood’s own sake, and that was something ridiculous to the mind. Something overwhelming to the heart. Alan gasped for air, and Nigel only murmured. Only spoke. “…‘Cast off your name, and for that name, which is no part of you, take all myself.’” He moved, and the other exhaled on a cry. “Because I am yours,” Nigel said, quietly, clearly. “Only yours.”
He wondered if the other even had the ears to hear when Alan’s eyes fluttered open, a stammering reply issuing. “T-then… I’ll take you at… your word.” The rest went unfinished, the space taken by an inhale of air.
Nigel kissed the other’s cheek softly. “Yes. It’s a promise.” You’ve been making a lot of them lately. “I want to stay near you.”
Alan inhaled again, his hands slipping against Nigel’s shoulders. “…I’m glad.”
A mirror. Quiet and kept. Slid deeply into the ground as a tombstone for those children that had rotted away, the bones buried under earth. “I’m glad, too,” Nigel said, firmly, gently. “That you’re here.”
Alan curled into Nigel’s chest and quieted, uneven breaths the only tells. Nigel continued as he was, speaking love quietly, telling it in other ways, moving for motion’s sake and petting skin he knew more than his own.
I won’t leave, Alan murmured, something unspoken and trailing in minds. Nigel exhaled, the knot in his chest lessening, and he returned; spoke quietly that he knows.