CampNaNo: Silk and Steel
Ahoi! I hope this finds you still safe and well and enjoying life as best you can!
So here’s the next bit of Silk and Steel and although it’s an ultimately sweet scene it comes with a trigger warning (see below).
“The world ended, the angels and the devils took who they wanted, but some of us were left behind… so we opened an antiques shop…”
Soundtrack / Playlist:
Trigger warning: This part contains a brief mention of past physical abuse in childhood. No graphic or gratuitous details but some people may find it upsetting.
“There’s no need to be shy,” Vraxi said, pulling off his shirt with a flourish and stepping close to the half-demon. He reached out delicate fingers towards Edmund’s shirt buttons but Edmund took a half step back and clutched the fabric closed.
“It’s er… it’s not that… I… there is something I need to explain…” he stammered, flushing scarlet, his hands trembling slightly.
Vraxi frowned. He wasn’t in the business of pressuring anyone to do things they didn’t want to – and it looked as though the insipid half-demon wasn’t going to be any fun at all he thought regretfully.
“I’m sorry.” He said, stepping back with a slight bow, “I mis-read the situation. Please, you take the tub to yourself first and call me when you are done.” He tossed his shirt over his shoulder and turned towards the door.
“It’s not that.” Edmund mumbled, his chin almost upon his chest.
And although his wits told him he was going to regret this, curiosity… or maybe something else… got the better of him and Vraxi couldn’t help but turn back. “Then… whatever is the matter?” he asked gently, surprising himself a little at the wave of genuine concern he suddenly felt as he looked into the half-demon’s beautiful heterochromatic eyes – one deep scarlet and one soft sky blue.
Edmund took a deep, trembling breath, turned around and pulled his shirt up at the back.
Vraxi thought he was going to be sick. Not with disgust, but with white hot… anger…
“Who?” he managed, just, through gritted teeth, as he tried to process the sheer volume of wounds that must have been inflicted on Edmund’s flesh to produce such a horrific scar-scape. “Who did this to you? To… you, Edmund?” The travesty of it was too intense to grasp. The hellfire that burned constantly inside him flared to the surface, rolling in waves beneath his skin so that his entire frame seemed to be filled with liquid flame. He closed his eyes against the agony of it and willed himself to calm down.
Edmund lowered his shirt. “My grandmother.” he mumbled. “She… didn’t really approve of… my father and mother… she had my father put in the asylum…a-and she brought me up herself… she…”
“She thought she needed to make sure that your demonic blood never rose to the surface?” Vraxi finished.
Edmund nodded, his eyes on the floor.
“Religious woman was she?” the Yag asked, trying for a shot of dark humour, though his voice was still tight with the rage he was trying hard to suppress.
To his huge relief though, Edmund offered a grateful smile and nodded.
“Weeeell,” the yag took a deep calming breath, “they’re not known for their intelligence this religious lot,” he said breezily, hoping to brush the whole thing under the carpet quickly and escape. But one look at those enchanting, tear filled eyes and all he wanted to do was hold Edmund tight and tell him nothing and no one was going to hurt him like that ever again.
Oh dear, Vraxi thought as he pulled the half-demon close against his chest and wrapped his arms around him, what can of worms have I opened this time?
It was over an hour later when Ros knocked at the bathroom door and Vraxi gingerly cracked it open, not wanting to disturb the sleeping half demon who now lay cradled on his lap.
“Not like you to bore your lovers to sleep dear,” she said playfully, “are you losing your touch?”
Vraxi grinned and gave her a sidelong look “Oh I can show you I’m not if you’ve got the time…”
“I have, but you haven’t sweetie,” she said apologetically, “Xander is getting impatient to go home.”
Vraxi looked uncomfortably at the sleeping Edmund, “He’s been burning the candle at both ends,” he explained, “working at the library, and the university, running the Rocchana den, it’s all adding up…”
Ros looked at him incredulously. “And you care because…”
Vraxi shrugged. “Did I say I cared? I am merely making observations Ros, nothing more.”
Ros looked at him sceptically. “Get dressed,” she said, and handed him two sets of clean clothes.