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Victory by HarrietHopkirk

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Format: Short story
Chapters: 6
Word Count: 7,992
Status: COMPLETED

Rating: Mature
Warnings: Strong Language, Strong Violence, Scenes of a Sexual Nature, Substance Use or Abuse, Sensitive Topic/Issue/Theme, Contains Spoilers

Genres: Horror/Dark, Mystery, Angst
Characters: Teddy, Victoire
Pairings: Teddy/Victoire

First Published: 04/17/2011
Last Chapter: 10/08/2012
Last Updated: 10/08/2012

Summary:
Sumptuous banner by justonemorefic!


I try to decide what defines us, you and me, together entwined in this tempestuous game of love and war. I realise that I am fighting against you, pushing against you. I want to see you strain under the pressure. I want to see cracks appear in your beautiful face, in your facade. I want a victory.

Ravenclaw's best written story: May 2011. TGS finalist 'The Baddest of Bad Guys' 2011.


Chapter 1: I sense you.
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I briefly wonder where you are.

I taste victory on the winds. I sense you.

Our first meeting haunts my memory, like some obstinate ghost. It claws its way into my brain, snarling and biting, until I am forced to relive it - to relive you.

You were younger then. Not as cold, not as manipulative. You pulled me into the safety of your imagination with your light, your dancing, your so wonderfully free spirit. I was jealous of you. I hated you then, for a moment, before you smiled at me. I hated you because I would never have that. I would never have the parents or the family or the love that was bestowed upon you in great showers. I would be alone if hadn’t been for you.

Sometimes I wish I had never met you.

My life has changed to fit you in it. My entire being has been crushed and altered, simply so you could have room to enter my existence and swirl and dance around in the mess that you have created.

Of course I know where you are... I know where you’ve been.

I know the hidden cave in which we shared our first kiss. I remember the way the shadows fluttered around your face, and how I was stunned by the beauty of you, and of your allure. I remember the way the cold water crept up my ankles, the way your cold hands crept over my skin, and the way your cold lips caressed mine in a manner that should have been warm, should have made my numb toes tingle with the anticipation of you.

The dark, star-ridden night had washed over us. It had bathed us in its comforting warmth, its comforting privacy, until the harsh light of morning revealed us and opened us up for all to see.

Of course, in the light, you were in your element. I was at my weakest.

I know where you’re going. I know where you are now.

The clouds are rolling dangerously overhead, revealing the bright white light of something that shines nearly as much as you do. Whereas the stars comfort me, their companion destroys me, changes me. It changes me almost as much as you did, my poppet, my doll. It turns me into something that hates you almost as much I do.

I walk out of the house, the path winding in front of me. Walking seems difficult now, seems harder, but I can feel your pull and I push towards it, like I always do. Your coldness soothes me, eases the pain caused by the heat that tears through my body like wildfire. Your light and your brilliance still eludes me, but I am drawn to it. I am attracted to you. I want you.

I call out to the darkness. It’s a low, mournful sound, but I am not crying.

I dodge and dive to avoid its light, to keep away from the rays hitting the rooftops and the windows of the sleeping houses. I keep to the shadows. I keep to the darkness. I cling to it, and it clings back, protecting me.

I begin to run. Great, lengthy strides, and my feet hit the ground with satisfying thuds. I can see people pulling aside their curtains, their small eyes squinting at me as I move through the deathly quiet streets. It seems the only sound is my footsteps, and the screams of my muscles. No one dares whisper.

I inhale deeply, the cold wind stinging my throat.

I remember you stepping off a scarlet train, bag in hand, hair whipping around your face in the steam and bustle of the platform. You smiled at me, your lips taught and tempting and the colour of blood. My fist clenched at the sight of you, but I still walked towards you, I still fell into your arms. I still wanted you.

Your lips were fatal, your caresses were venomous, and yet I continued to return to you, desperate to be spared a fleeting glance in my direction.

A cat darts out from behind a tree and I panic. My feet slip on the already damp ground, the rain - now falling heavily, painfully, trickling into my senses - confuses me, rendering me sightless. I trip. I fall. The ground swoops up beneath me and catches me achingly. The concrete embraces me and I am left, stranded and abandoned, in the open. In its path.

For a moment, I am in pain. I revel in the fact that it is not caused by you.

For a moment, I wonder where you are.

It emerges. The clouds are suddenly disappearing and the moon’s brilliant white light is spilling over the houses and over me. The light that fuels my life, my dark side. I cringe at its beauty. How could something so beautiful cause so much terrifying agony?

For a moment, before it happens, I liken its radiance to your hair, to your smile. I remember your face, your lips and your soft, pale neck. Brilliantly white, shining, holy. Pure. You said you’d stay pure for me.

That was a little white lie.

That's when it happens. I fidget uncomfortably and I feel my skin tighten. My breath is quick, ragged and disgustingly human. I can hear my heart beat ferociously against my chest. It’s always the same, this pain, but it is nothing compared to what you have done to me.

The people watching me look away: delve back into the safety of their homes, to the warmth, to the cosy and snug interiors of their rooms. I am left alone in the street, like the dog I am, snarling and biting at the memory of you.

My nostrils twitch as I search the street, my eyes creeping out into the moonlit night. I am still the same, if I someone was to see me. I am not like my father. My mother’s blood diluted it somewhat, so that the pain is less excruciating, so that I am less dangerous, so that I still look like myself. I am still a dog, snarling, panting, biting. I simply look human. I can blend in. I can surprise you.

I remember a time when you took me for a walk. You patted me on the head and said everything would be alright.

I was your pet.

You will look like me too, soon, I hope. You will be beautiful.

I still have all my body, my arms and my legs. I flex them experimentally, my muscles screaming in protest. Veins are protruding ominously on the backs of my hands, vividly blue against my drained, unhealthy skin.

They remind me of the sea, and of the summers spent in your arms.

I call out to the darkness. It’s a low, mournful sound, but I am not crying.

I am running.

I taste victory on the winds. I sense you.

Did you think I was going to let you get away? Escape? No... you're much too clever for that... Why not try to face me head on? My doll, my poppet. We are one and the same, after all. Two pieces of the same bloody puzzle. Alone and together. Unified forever. I know this, no matter how far I may try to run from it. Sometimes, I feel like I'm no better than you.

I know where you are.

And I am coming.



Edited and sorted out by Stef from biggerandbeta! Seriously, check them out. Hope you enjoyed it... I thought this story needed a little revamping, so here it is (hoping it'll help my muse get onto WIPs instead of editing old stuff :S).


Chapter 2: You have me.
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Victory is close. It is attainable.

My feet strike the wet ground and the water sloshes up my legs, but it doesn’t bother me. The rain bursts from the sky, and it cools my boiling skin. It drenches my clothes and hair, but I ignore it, hardly feel it. I continue to swerve through the streets. I find myself panting like the dog I am. The orange light from the lampposts is merging with the silver moonlight now, the thin rays distorted by the falling water. Individual beads settle on my eyelashes and I blink them away, the drops tumbling down my cheeks like tears. Brilliant... now, it’s like I’m crying. I am not weeping for you, although I know you want me to.

I've gotten out of the habit of doing everything you want me to do.

Or do you want me here? Now? Do you want me with you?

I slip and slide on the wet paving stones, winding my way towards you. I twist and turn, dodging buildings and weaving through the abandoned pathways. I can smell you now; you are so close. I am the hunter. You are the victim.

I know where you’ve been. I recognise you.

You had to pull away because this was just a hunt, even if I was your favorite prey. So you stilled for a moment, and I could feel your beating heart, and I relished in the feeling of my arms wrapped around you, and the forbidden atmosphere of it. But you had to let go.

And you did. Tossed me aside when I fulfilled my purpose.

I stop in the middle of the road. The rain still falls.

I am suddenly overwhelmed by visions of you.

You’re at some stupid boring compulsory party, looking so radiant in your dress that I want to rush up to you and kiss you so earnestly the breath leaves your body and you die.

It is your eighth birthday, and your pink lips are surrounded by a thick layer of icing.


My heart stops. Your lips were pink, but they should have been red. I rub at my forehead, trying to fix the memory. Red lips. The stain of your lips would run red, and would be as blood, like the merciless bitch you are.

You are a plague, devouring and tearing at my flesh, rendering me helpless. For someone so exquisitely pale, you are as black as death. My hands claw at my own lips now. I can feel sweat on my forehead and on my back, mixing with the rain.

You’re sitting by a Christmas tree, and it’s snowing and you are camouflaged against the whiteness, your eyes pools of crystal clear water in the cold ice.

A dog is for life, not just for Christmas.

I laugh. I burst into hysterics, the sound causing the curious residents of this sleepy town to leave their beds and return to their windows to hear the dog bark.

I start to run again. Great resounding leaps that let me fly over puddles and around corners: a dark shadow flitting amongst the light of the moon and the orange of the streetlamps and the white of you.

I am coming.

i)

It is a brilliant day. The sun is shining and you are in my arms. You are warm to the touch because of all the time spent in my company.

Your hair fans out over the pillow, your porcelain skin perfect, your lips rubbed free of the red stain from our kissing. I like you this way: cleaner, purer, mine.

The red turns you into something hideous, something fake.

Your hand is lying flat on my chest, sensing my heartbeat.

Your breathing is almost too faint to hear.

Your eyelashes are fluttering.

Your fingers are tracing a scar on my arm.

“My daddy is a werewolf,” you say.

“No he’s not,” I reply, and you lift your head off the pillow to look at me, your blue eyes searching mine, “not like my father.”

“Your dad is dead.” I wonder how you can sound so cold, so unfeeling. “Do you miss him?”

“I never knew him.”

You suddenly swoop down to kiss me, and our limbs entwine for a moment. Your actions always speak louder than your words. Your words are so jumbled, so conceited, so overwhelmingly incomprehensible that I always have to decipher you through your movements, through the slight flicker of your eyes or the way you kiss me.

Because when you’re touching me, I cannot feel your coldness.

For a moment, all I sense is you and I like to think that this is the real you. We share the same oxygen. You only kiss me like this when we are alone together. Never in public. Passion should believe itself irresistible. It should forget civility and consideration and all the other curses of refined nature.

You define nature, not refine it.

“You and my father, you’re the same,” you say afterwards, and your lips are now naturally red, “you’re half and half.”

You’re looking somewhere else, not at me, and I take the moment to admire you in the sunlight. Your features astound me, they take the air from my lungs and sometimes it is difficult to regain it.

“I wonder what that makes me.”

“Beautiful,” I reply, half spontaneously. My breath returns just in time for me to form the word.

You smile, and I see a glimpse of your pearly white teeth.

“I know.” Your confidence eludes me.

You put a hand on my cheek, your delicate fingers stroking along my cheekbones and my jaw line. I want you to kiss me. I want you to share your beauty with me.

“But I was born with it,” you say, “you can make yourself beautiful.”

You perpetually blind me.

“I like that,” you continue.

I press my lips to the vast expanse of purest white between your neck and your shoulder.

“I love you.”

I hear you laugh. You’re laughing at me. I try not to show the hurt on my face. I keep my eyes closed as I kiss you again. I know you can read my eyes, look deep into my soul, see my secrets and exploit them.

“You can be beautiful. You can be whatever you want to be,” you say.

I lift my head up to look at you. You are only inches away from me, and yet you seem as far away as the moon, the stars, and the galaxies.

“What do you want to be?”

“Ugly,” you respond, quick as a beat. I think I can see the real you - if only for a second - through the impenetrable shield of white skin and perfect hair. Through the red lips.

“You don’t mean that.”

“I do.”

I kiss you properly now, and your mouth is cold. I place my arms around you to heat you up, but I know it is too late. It will consume you. You will leave this room, the red stain returned to your lips, and head for colder climates, where you will be alone and without the intimacy that I know you so crave.

“You’re too bloody beautiful for your own good.”

You kiss me. You tear at my flesh and grasp at my hair; you sink your fingernails into me, blood red dripping from your fingers. You laugh cruelly, writhing against me, and I spread my arms to be at your mercy. I gaze at you with a hint of a dreamy smirk and lust-filled eyes as you heartlessly consume me.

You have me.


Chapter 3: I love you.
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You can feel my mark burn into you and you can feel my heat spread across your skin. The sweeping, gentle touch of the wind and the biting of the sea spray touch and caress you, but all you can feel is the memory of me. From across the miles, from across the oceans and from across the never-ending expanse of your extremes, you see the moon drift out of the clouds. You think of me.

You wonder where I am.

The thought of me sends you back to your dark corner, and it sends shivers down your fragile, breakable spine.

I remember you, sitting outside in the sunlight. You managed to eclipse the great ball of fire and gas that fuels our galaxy. You fuelled my life. I wondered how you were so cold when you always insisted on being outside in the warm.

A cigarette was stuck between your lips, the orange light blazing and the smoke curling around your features. It is bad for you, just as you are bad for me.

“You’re beautiful,” you said, and I was stunned by the compliment. So stunned that I leaned over and kissed your toxic lips.


The rain falls. Lightning streaks across the sky just as I streak across the ground towards you.

I call out to the darkness. It is a low, mournful sound, but I am not crying.

I am closer now, so close I can almost smell you. I can almost smell him too, another rotting corpse discarded at your feet. It is a shame that you killed him first. I would have liked to get my own hands on him.

The darkness is my friend. It comforts me, guides me. And me, as a creature of the night, of the moon, I was drawn to you. And then you crushed me, and blinded me, until it was impossible to walk or do the things you asked of me, and you grew tired of my inabilities and flitted away. The sun set, and I was left to wither.

ii)

The sea is crashing against the cliffs and the sound of the waves is whirling around my ears. Your hair is a mess, getting in your eyes and your mouth but you don’t care. You are walking dangerously close to the edge. Your feet touch the white of the chalk, and I think that you must feel at home.

This, of course, was your idea. The sea is rough and dangerous. The rain is pounding on the ground and on our skin, and the cold is searing through my body. Of course it doesn’t affect you.

You give me light to do the things I would never have tried. You make me do things you want. I am blinded by your freedom, your frivolity and your apparent carelessness with life. I watch you from a safe distance; watch the way you move, the way you dance.

When you stop - right at the very precipice of the cliff, of life - the wind suddenly stills. Your hair stops blowing, and the look on your face is so calm and serene that I am jealous. I stand behind you. Ready to catch you if you fall.

I see your eyes follow the movement of the water below, watch it as it crashes against the rocks. White spray flies everywhere and the smell of the sea is ripe upon the air.

I taste salt upon the winds. I sense you.

“I am beautiful,” you say.

“I know.”

You nod in my direction, whether in thanks or in agreement I don’t know. I never really know what to do when you begin to talk about yourself in this way.

“People want to look like me,” you continue, and you pull your fingers through your hair, “people try to look like me.”

I want to go towards you, but you look so free, so alone, so independent that I am worried I will damage this vision of yourself.

“Many will succeed.”

I don’t know what you are talking about. I don’t understand you.

“Soon everyone will be beautiful.”

I want to leave. I can feel myself shaking.

“Then where will I be? I won’t be needed. I won’t be wanted. No one will care. No one will love me.”

“I love you.”

You finally look at me, and you step back from the cliff edge. You keep your gaze locked with mine as you move. You take my hands in yours and it surprises me so much I gasp at the contact. I can feel your iciness through the wool of my gloves.

“You don’t count,” you reply.

“Why not?”

“You were born to love me, just as I was born to be a companion to you. You were alone, and I was created so you could share your life with someone. So I could share my life with you.”

I hate it when you talk like this. You are so completely superior that I feel small.

You leave me, and walk back to the cliff edge. You walk so quickly and stop so suddenly that I think you are going to throw yourself off. I take a step towards you.

“Share death with me,” you say.

I think you are saying something else, because at that moment the wind roars so loudly that I become unbalanced and I cannot hear your words. You remain stock still, of course, still graceful and elegant and wonderful in this weather. It, of course, is the weather that suits you. The cold brings you in a dark coat. It brings you in red lipstick. It brings you to me.

“What if I take one step? What if I cross the line?”

I am suddenly so frightened that you will go through with it that I go to stand beside you. Rocks at the edge crumble away under my feet, crashing into the water below, where they will be churned and cut by the power of the waves.

You put your arms out. Your white fingers are stretching towards the ends of the world. You are beautiful.

“I am an angel,” you say, “I should be up there with them. There is nothing to keep me down here.”

You’re insane. Suddenly I imagine you with a halo and great feathery wings and I feel like laughing. I have always pictured you as the devil. Angels don’t have lips of blood.

“I will keep you here.”

You look at me again.

“I will keep you with me.”

You put your arms down and step closer to me.

“Why?”

“Because.”

You fling yourself into my arms so violently that I think I will fall, and that the two of us will tumble over the cliff and onto the rocks. For a second - before you press your lips to mine - I think I can hear the sound of bones breaking. But I catch you and you fall into the safety of my arms and I hold onto you so tightly that I think I might never let you go.

And I won’t.


Chapter 4: I'll miss you.
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I taste victory on the winds. I sense you.

The roads and streets are deserted. There is no one around. I pause briefly, breath flowing back into my lungs and freeing my chest from the tight hold of pain. I can see my reflection in a puddle of water.

I look dog-like. Boring. Not beautiful or ugly or anything you wanted me to be.

I want to change. I want to change my face, my skin, my voice with just one thought. I want to see if I change my eyes, whether that will affect my vision or my memories. My mind already flickers back to that darkened room and to the countless moments spent with you. I want to eradicate them.

I can change, but so can you. Your change isn't in the body - your beauty remains constant - but in your mind. You can change your desires. Your personality mutates and evolves at lightning speeds: one point laughing and happy and in love, another cold and unforgiving and obsessed by your own image.

You change so callously and so quickly that I don't have a chance to keep up.

I do now. And I am running.

iii)

The air has left my body and I am floating, uncontrollably and undeniably floating. I have passed the roofs of the house, passed the clouds, through layers and layers of atmosphere until I reach the dark of the galaxies. I feel so light without you holding me down, without your hands tight around my throat.

Now, of course, your hands are elsewhere. Your cold, coarse touch is driving someone else to breaking point.

I am watching you now, and I can’t look away. A dreadful, traitorous part of me is stunned - as always - by your empowering beauty. By you.

I can see his hands trailing over your body. I hear your quiet shudder as his lips are mere inches away from yours. I hope that small sound is some sign of guilt, that you are recognising the fact you are ruining what we had between us.

Your dress has fallen, exposing your white skin, your shield. His fingers trail warmly across your collarbone, down your shaking throat. Your hands are clawing at his back, ripping at his shirt. You have this animalistic need to be the one in control. The one who is superior.

Your eyes meet mine in the darkness. I search them, looking for regret or repentance or anything. I can’t find it. You are as coldly beautiful and indifferent as before. I see a flicker of excitement, and you look more like the devil - like a mixture of the monster inherited from your father and the noxious blood from your mother.

You smile. A single drop of red falls from your lips, but it is smudged and smeared by his ravenous mouth.

You have this ability to make me think that this was my fault. With one look - which I would have treasured before - you can make guilt and confusion course through my veins as if I was the one with another’s mouth on mine, with another’s hands on my skin.

He pushes your dress down your arms, and he kisses the vast expanse of purest white between your neck and your shoulder. Mumbled words like ‘love’ and ‘you’ are thrown around callously, bouncing around the room, off the walls, off his lips.

Your smile fades. You are staring at me now, suddenly very still. You are now longer writhing with lust or power or anger, but simply standing as he attacks you with his lips.

I can see you, truly and really, for the first time since we met, since we started this war in which you are clearly the victor and I am merely the object of your pent up frustration, something to destroy. A target. Your insatiable appetite for my destruction has driven you all this time, kept you going until this point. It’s ironic how the child born at the end of an old war gave birth to a new one.

You open your mouth. Your lipstick is now covering your chin and your cheeks, and it looks like you have been feasting on something.

I hope, for a moment, that you are going to tell him to stop. I hope, for a moment, that you are going to tell me how much you need me.

You continue to stare at me. You don't blink, and the lights of your eyes are shining out of the darkness. They are heavily lidded with desire, whether for him or for me I don't know, as you just look at me. Of course it's because of him. It took this to finally tell me that you don't think of me like that, that I can't do those things to you.

We still stare at each other, your infidelity fluttering around the room. I want to capture it, harness it and use it against you: another weapon in my arsenal against your beauty and your charm.

“I love you too,” you say. Your eyes still don’t leave mine, and I find I can’t look away.

I am floating so high that I touch the sun and burn.

I fall. I am a bloody, broken mess. Now, of course, there is no one there to catch me, or to tend to my wounds.

Stumbling out of that dark room and back into the light of the party, it takes a while for breath to come flooding back to me. There are people everywhere, but I cannot hear them. I cannot hear anything: just the thumping of my own heart and the rushing of my blood and the sound of your betrayal.

I grab an entire bottle of champagne from a waiter. I hear someone calling my name, but I ignore them. I want to be alone. I try to find somewhere dark, somewhere warm, where I feel at home. There is still someone following, their footsteps fast and loud on the stone floor. I don't turn around. I don't look.

I don't look because I know it is you. I can't look at you now.

"Please," you say. The pleading quality in your voice surprises me and it takes me a while to remember that I now loathe you.

"Just look at me."

I want to. I really, really want to. You know you have that effect on me. You revel in the power you have over me.

You take a huge breath, and I hear it shudder around the room. We - and the word seems so repulsive now - are standing alone in this great, cavernous hall that only just seems to fit you in it. Every move has an echo. Someone calling back to us.

"I love him." That echoes around my head a thousand times.

"He's different. He'll do anything for me," you continue.

Of course he would. I would. Anybody would.

"Do you love me?"

Yes. "No."

"You said you did."

"I was wrong."

I still can't look at you. I can almost hear your wry grimace, your sad, patronizing smile. I have grown to hate those lips, red or no red.

"If you loved me, you'd understand."

Your voice is suddenly loud, and I can feel your breath on the bare skin of my neck. You are right behind me. Closing in.

"You'd understand that I need to be with someone I truly love and adore."

You should live a life with yourself, gazing at your reflection in a heap of shattered glass. You place your hands on my shoulders and I stop floating. I am pulled out of orbit and brought back to your side with a single touch. Your fingers curve around my throat, stroking the delicate skin.

"I'll miss you."

And then you are gone and I am free of you.


Chapter 5: You were wrong.
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I swerve around a corner. It is raining so hard that it drowns my lungs, causing me to cough and splutter and spit. Through the falling water, I hear the strange sound of voices and they cause me to lose balance. I thought I was alone in the dark night.

Slowly, I peer around the edge of the building. There are people; their stench engulfs me, overpowering my senses. A girl... I feel her before she walks into my line of sight. She looks like you, she sounds like you. Her feminine laugh echoes into the empty road. I hear her shoes splashing around in the puddles. I can smell her perfume. I can taste her breath.

I step out from my hiding place, revealing myself. She stares at me, a grin sliding over her lips and uncovering brilliant white teeth.

Her hair is dark, a sweeping shadow across her face. It flows over her shoulders and her warm, pink skin. She is shorter than you, but she still manages to loop her arms around my neck and plant her lips on mine. I can feel her hands on my skin, and they are clammy, sweaty, and uncomfortably warm.

Not cold. Not like you.

I want to turn her into something. She would do, I had reasoned. She would be the example that I set to you. I want to show you that I have moved on, that you mean so little to me that I could have simply brushed you aside as you did to me.

My heart wants to stop. My hand wants to reach into my chest and rip the beating organ through my skin. My foot wants to grind the vicious, traitorous piece of my body into the rain-spattered pavement and so then I would not have to have to feel guilt, or feel love, or feel anything for you and whatever you do to me.

I cannot do it. I cannot do it to you as you did it to me. This girl cannot become him - the one you ensnared in that dark room and then proceeded to tear to pieces - she cannot show you how I’ve moved on, some horrific pretence of normality. Because I haven’t.

But I want to. I really want to. I want to so much that I kiss the girl fiercely, so fiercely that I bruise her lips and pull at her hair. I rub her skin raw, but she doesn’t complain. She stays with me, and we breath the same oxygen and share the same space.

“Hello,” she breathes. It covers my face, clouding my senses.

I return the greeting with another kiss. I probably shouldn’t.

I tell her we can’t do this anymore, and she understands. She knows about you, of course. She squeezed it out of me before I had any chance to protest or lie or try and tell her how I had never known you.

(And in a way, I hadn’t).

She wants to know all about me, know all about my past, my parents, you.

Especially about you.

I don’t want to tell her about how much you affect me. I know you know, and that you exploit that. You exploit the fact that I worshipped the very ground you walk on. Not anymore, though. Not after what you did.

She asks me where I am going, and I tell her I am headed home. And in a way, I am.

She departs after a fleeting embrace. No tears, just smiles, parting like old friends who probably shouldn’t have ventured into the vague territory of romantic entanglement. The relationship flew by so quickly that I had no time to detach myself from you and fully open myself up to her.

And now I am alone, and searching for you.

I remember the way my fingers trailed over your skin. I remember the way you shivered and shuddered and sighed at my touch. I remember the way you kissed me.

I am running again, now. I am as fast as lightning, and ready to burn you.

I take a sharp right, and then I arrive.

My feet teeter at the edge. My hands press against the fence, stopping me from reaching you. The sea is raging against the cliff and the houses are small, with their lights blazing.

I watch as a man struggles against the wind, his umbrella useless against the thundering rain that rips into my cold, stoic body. I feel like you.

You wanted to do it to yourself. You wanted to throw yourself off that cliff, you wanted to drive that dagger into yourself, you wanted to dive into the water and never come out again. You wanted to return to heaven, to the angels, where you thought you belonged. It was wrong. You were wrong.

You don’t belong there. You belong here with me. You were born for me. You said so yourself in your strange, unreal, supercilious way, and I couldn’t help but feel a little proud at your words.

I remember that dark room and that other man. You smile. A single drop of blood falls from your lips, but it is smudged and smeared by his ravenous mouth.

In your usual insane, conceited way, you practiced with someone else first. You wanted to see the damage it would do to your beautiful body, whether cracks would form in your façade, whether you would return to your ethereal home a destroyed, shattered version of your former self.

You propelled him off the precipice of the cliff, off life. You sent him falling to his death. You, the sun, burnt off his wings so he could not fly, and sent him falling into the darkness. You watched as his bones splintered and you watched as blood trickled from between his lips. You had the temptation to go down yourself, to kiss the stain from his skin, to mix it with your lipstick so your mouth would be an explosion of red. It was then, at that exact moment, when you were looking at the broken, bloody heap before you, that you decided that it wasn’t worth it. You never wanted to look like that.

And now you are locked away, hidden from view, in a place so cold and desolate that I think you must feel at home. You think you are safe, but the taste of your guilt and the stench of his rotting flesh draw me towards you.

I don’t give second chances, but you knew that already, didn't you? If not, you soon will. I'll see to that...

I suppose I am happy that you threw me aside before you reached that stage, when your immortality and your magnificence became all you could think of. I suppose that he meant nothing to you and I feel better.

The wind is howling now, ripping at my skin and pulling at my hair. I quickly scale the fence, dropping gently down onto the other side. My feet are so close to the edge that I should walk backwards, away from the danger, but I find myself moving forward. I find myself not caring.

I breathe in and out, and jump off into the water and into the depths.

Chapter 6: I've found you.
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I am swimming. The cold, ferocious water is hounding my ears and my limbs are numb and white with cold, but I am coming.

The salt burns my eyes but I am not crying. I call out to the darkness. It is a low, mournful sound but I am not crying. My lungs are screaming for more air. I need more.

The rock appears out of nowhere in this sea of shadows, hard and deadly in the swirling water and as sharp as the souls it isolates. I climb, pulling myself out of the water, the wind battering my tired frame until I feel like giving up. I think my blood has frozen to my bones, and I cannot move my limbs, and I simply hang on to the outcrop like it’s the lifeline I pretended you were.

I feel like I’m going to die. I feel like I’m going to die at your hands, just as he did. I hate it. I hate to be compared to him.

You. You are why I am here, alone and desperate and angry. You, the one whom I have hated and despised all this time. You, who have destroyed me. You, who have set me running free.

It takes a simple memory of you - you are smiling, and the wind is blowing your hair around your face and you are coaxing me towards you so we can spend another few hours in one another’s company - to pull me back, for the anger and the rage felt at your betrayal has set my heart pounding and my blood racing.

And suddenly I am made of steel and climbing the rocks with the speed of light - the light that seemed to shine from your every orifice and seemed to power my existence and my every move. There is a brief moment where I imagine - in some out of body, otherworldly experience - watching my own body fall, seeing my bones shatter and the colour fade and my breath leave.

Of course, that’s what you did, isn’t it? It wasn’t an otherworldly experience because you were there and you watched as his life expired and you reveled in the fact that it wasn’t your own. You watched as the lights left his eyes, and you watched as he climbed towards a much brighter one.

You didn’t regret it.

You should have known it was wrong and that people would come after you and that some day - one day - you would have to answer for everything you have ever done, every move and every word and every action.

My hand finally reaches the top, and I feel the cold, hard touch of concrete underneath my fingertips. I hear the shouted orders - whispers compared to the howl of the wind - and the crunch of boots upon gravel, and I feel my skin tighten at the thought of the men I will have to fight to get to you.

It is, of course, no worse than you have done.

I crouch perilously on the edge, before bounding into the shadows on the other side of the pathway. My nose twitches, picking up the scent of you and I take two right turns.

A man. Solitary against the moonlit night, his head bowed against the wind. If I move quickly enough and silently enough, then my presence will go unnoticed.

I turn another corner. Another black, dank corridor, the walls lined with bars. A hand reaches out to me - green and mottled and feeble in the strange, phantom light. A face looms out of the darkness. Eyes shine out from the gloom. It is deathly quiet, aside from the sound of my footsteps and the steady drip, drip of the rain.

Another man seems to appear from the darkness and I have nowhere to hide myself. I steal into the shadows as he passes, but he turns at the sound of my breathing. He has no time to call out or yell before my fingers are wrapped around his throat and he is gone.

I did it for you. There is another example to add to your collection.

Another few steps. Your stench is ubiquitous, seeping into my skin and clothes until I become the very essence of you. Another corner, another cell, another prisoner.

And then I find you: all alone, abandoned, detached from civilization because you wanted to see what lay on the other side, to conquer the next great adventure.

You are sitting, knees under your chin, your hair limp and greasy and your clothes worn and weather-beaten. Amazingly, impossibly, you are still beautiful. As beautiful as the day you first kissed me, when we first met, when I felt your cold, crude touch on my unsuspecting skin.

It takes very little for me to open the cell.

I eye you stealthily and you smile again, your wonderfully blue eyes shining out through night. It is genuine, and the gesture seems to grow on me. Your small, delicate hands find mine and caress them, your dainty fingers running over my flesh. I feel it crawl and I flinch. Suddenly, your hands are on my face, on my arms and on my chest.

I can't stop my sense of it. You set my mind on fire, with hate... with love. I kiss you. How can I not? Your lips taunt mine in the dark of the night, in the cold, bleak light of your prison cell. I drag my teeth against your neck and taste your beating heart. Your pulse pounds through my veins, sustaining my existence, keeping me alive. You are my life... my heart, my death. I will be the same for you.

Now... now you are like me.

And I feel I can finally love you as an equal.

You and me. Me and you. Victoire. A victory.

You take my hand in yours and lead me outside. You are smiling, and the wind is blowing your hair around your face and you are coaxing me towards you so we can spend another few hours in one another’s company.

You take several deep breaths. You like it out here, in the open, where you have free reign.

We step further towards the edge. The rain and the wind are roaring all around us but all I can focus on is you. You look beautiful. The time inside has made you paler, weaker, but there is no sign of the red stain on your lips. You look free again. Like you finally appreciate the life and the lovers you had outside your prison walls.

You take my hand in yours. It is so pale, so white. You are waving a white flag of surrender with a single movement, and our war has ended. I saved you from your own destruction. You still have all your body, your arms and your legs. You flex them experimentally, your muscles screaming in protest. I can see your blue veins dancing across the delicate skin.

“You came for me,” you whisper. Your voice is different: not the haughty, mesmerising tones that used to haunt me, but rougher, calmer. A bark in the dark of night and it calls to me.

“You always knew I would.”

You bring my hand to your mouth and kiss it softly. It is such a small gesture that I would not have noticed it if I had not been watching your every movement with adoration and longing.

You step towards me. You hands find mine again and then they move to my neck. You bring my head to yours, and when our skin touches I think I can sense our thoughts passing, like some mythical connection. When your lips meet mine I feel like I am burning. It courses through my skin.

“I missed you,” you say.

“You killed him.”

“I wanted...” you stutter, and the sign of weakness surprises me, “I wanted to see what it would be like.”

“I know.”

There are tears in your eyes and I feel like crying.

“I can never win with you,” I say.

“You don’t have to.”

Another kiss. Another brief moment of paradise in this bitter, desolate place. I long to spend eternity with you. I long to spend my entire life, my entire future wrapped in your arms.

Another step. I can feel the rush of wind and the smell of salt.

I taste victory on the winds. I sense you.

A shout from behind tells us that we are not alone. A dozen men this time, standing behind us, preventing us from leaving. I turn to you. I tell you that I will stay with you forever. My heart soars when you say it back.

Then we take one last step.

I can feel your loving touch on my back, your hands resting on my shoulder blades as you stand behind me. I turn, again, to put my hands around your face. I touch the delicate skin of your throat - the vast expanse of purest white between your neck and your shoulder - and you feel warm beneath my fingertips. I can feel your blood and my blood mixing within your veins. I can feel your heart pounding.

All it takes is a little push from you. A brief spell of effort.

I am falling, not floating. I am plummeting into the depths and before long I am shrouded in the darkness that used to protect and caress me, that used to shield me. It was the darkness that housed my biggest secret.

My bones are brittle under your explosive touch.

But before long I am shrouded in a new kind of light. One that doesn’t come from you, or isn’t moonlight - one that doesn’t blind me or transform me. It is warm and comforting.

I’ll miss you, just as you’ll miss me.

I know where you are now, but I find myself not caring.

The rain stops.



And that's the end of this new edit! Thanks again to Stef from biggerandbeta for looking over all this. Thanks for reading!

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