Fic For: winterbubbletea
Set in Paris for: belchan, tumi, suah and a whole bunch of other people
Rating: R-ish in this section.
Summary: Junsu searches Venice with only the scent of another man to guide him.
Set a couple of years after Red Windmill
The hunger drove him forward, plunging Yoochun into the gaily dressed crowd. It sank its claws into his back, whipping his nerves into a frenzy until every inch of his itched with need and want, begging to be slaked with a hot rush of copper in his throat. His skin crawled with the feeling of a thousand bee stings then tightened, making it hard to breathe.
A woman appeared, her throat pulsing with a beat strong enough for his fingers to feel its thump even though he stood yards from her. With a light rain falling, she sheltered under an overhang, her coarse face painted thickly for the Venetian festival. Her hair rose up and back from her face, a brassy bird’s nest draped with paste pearls and faded ribbons. The costume she wore was old, frayed at the hems and missing buttons down the front. The corset closures were mismatched, pinned in frogs holding some of the ties together.
He took a step towards her and lost himself in the shadows.
Closer up, she appeared worn and dreary, a cagey look to her sharp eyes. The fullness of her mouth was a lie, outlined with a red wax pencil and filled in down over her chin. In the dark, most men wouldn’t notice the deception but for Yoochun, there were no lies in the darkness — just his own.
She stank of the sewage floating in the Grand Canal as if her last bath had been in the yellow-green waters winding through the sinking city but he didn’t care. He needed to feed and she was available. The press of his thirst ate at his calm and he could feel the fire of his hunger burning through his resolve.
A few notes passed between his fingers to her hand made her smile. While still young, the woman wore her years heavily on her shoulder, beaten down by the streets. Yoochun’s mouth ghosted with a hint of a smile, hoping it reassured her of her worn beauty.
She lead him into a niche along the walk, barely more than a divot in a wall but it suited most men for what they needed to do. Yoochun glanced about, spotting no other couples lurking under nearby overhangs and pulled the woman close, pressing her back into the brick façade. Bending over, he pressed his mouth on her jaw, leaving a gentle kiss against the ripe of her ear before trailing his lips down the column of her neck.
If she smelled of rank canal sewage, she tasted much worse, the sour bitterness of laudanum soiling her skin. It would be a risk to feed upon her but the beast mewling inside of his blood could not be denied much longer, especially with the crowds milling about the city. Ignoring the dangers, Yoochun let his hunger emerge and reined in the horrific creature inside of him, hoping to control his appetite.
His teeth sank in through her fleshy neck, further down until the rich pulse of an artery shook and trembled at its invasion. The lush wine of human blood filled his mouth and he strained, trying not to gulp at the wound, needing desperately to leave the woman as unmarked as he found her. Too hard of a swallow and she would bruise or worse, the drain of blood would leave her wilting, a dead slattern in his arms.
The hunger wanted more, growling angrily as he pulled back with only a mouthful. The edge of his appetite was whetted but the rest of it would have to wait until the butcher delivered the pints of pigs blood he ordered. Most of it would go into his housekeeper’s morcilla, a Spanish variant of her own buristo. Long used to his habits and believing in restoratives, she would remove two of the pints and mingle it in with wine, leaving it in the chill room for drinking.
She moaned, driven to lust by the touch of his mouth and fangs in her blood. Grasping at his wide shoulders, the woman slithered into him, pressing her breasts against his chest, rubbing slowly to heighten her release. Begging softly, her words stumbled, becoming coarse and gutter as she whispered her need for Yoochun’s hands to be on her body. Gripping at his hair, she held him in place, refusing to let him withdraw from the twin piercings on her neck.
“Need you,” She murmured. Stronger than she appeared, the woman hooked her arms around Yoochun’s neck, disheveling his queue. Her fingers made quick work of the tie holding his hair back and his black mane tumbled down around his masqued face, a soft curtain of midnight silk. Running her hands through it, she found the ties to his domino, and tugged at one of the ribbons, forcing Yoochun to pull back, casting her from his body.
“Bastard!” Spitting, she fell, her rough skirts falling back, exposing her pockmarked legs. The borrowed fancy gown hid a plain linens under its wide hem, a false trim of eyelet masking her lack of proper garments. Anger faded under fear and her face changed, becoming almost child-like in its terror as she gazed up at the man she wanted moments before. Crushing his domino in her nerveless hands, she gasped, covering her mouth in horror. “Oh my God. You are of the Devil. You have come to take my soul!”
He knew what she saw. Hated the look of himself as much as she did. The almond shaped eyes were nearly cat-slanted and dark, a strange red-brown not found in most Italians. His skin ran to gold, untouched by the sun but still his body retained a demonic hue. Although his head was well-shaped, the bones under his skin were marble hard and high, his cheekbones rising around a mouth created by the devil for sin.
The priest who found him dazed and wandering the hills made certain to beat the meaning of his weak flesh into his bones, striking him firmly with the thorned-rose switches until he bled more than he could take in. Each night he was allowed a sip of pig or sheep blood, enough to return him from the madness of his starved body but not enough to give him dominion over the creature lurking just beyond his sanity. Only when, years later, the clergyman died, he discovered what he was, the description of his demonic nature methodically captured in the man’s journals.
“It is of a birth most foul,” The priest wrote. “Born fully a man but clearly the offspring of a witch and either one of the Devil’s servants or a gargoyle come down from the stone to leave its seed on mankind. Although it wears the face of a man, its features are fouled as if God had no hand in its making. Curved eyes and face like a still-born cat, the creature hungers for blood but cannot tell me where it has come from, speaking only in a tongue that must be the language of Hell itself.”
The clergyman wrote volumes of Yoochun’s wickedness, leaving messages for any who found his unnatural ward to kill it lest it breed with any woman or befoul any stalwart man. The journal entries’ weakened in strength over the years and the handwriting wavered but the man’s convictions and hatred of Yoochun’s nature were clear.
He’d found a monster and brought it in to study for the sake of the Church. Should any of his brethren find the creature who called itself Yoochun, they were to slaughter it on sight. It would speak to them in Italian or French, perhaps even in some of the hellish words it remembered but under no circumstances were they to believe its pleas. The music it made was of the angels but it was trickery for had not Lucifer fallen from the Heavens? It made sense that the wickedness of the Hells would seek to turn the glory of beauty against a human man and weaken his soul so the creature might feed. It had no memory of its life before being found battered and broken on the cliff faces. Any scrap of information gleaned from the priest’s years of study were for naught.
It was better that the creature die in the rages of a fire than be suffered to live thinking it was as good as a man.
Those were the words Yoochun found in the priest’s writings. They did not surprise him. He’d listened to those words every hour, pounding into him during the rising of his welts and the breaking of his skin. There was evidence of letters sent off but to whom, Yoochun did not know. He only could suspect the priest belonged to a brotherhood — a brotherhood that could now be hunting him down.
That horror was what he saw in the woman’s face.
It was the horror he woke to every night when he opened his eyes and realized who — what — he was.
Her bitter sourness curdled in his mouth, the blood he’d taken only a sip but the taste of it going down his throat choked him — reminding Yoochun of the animal he was. The crowds were louder, too noisy for the woman’s screams to be heard over their ruckus but in every gathering there were moments of incredible silence and Yoochun knew he would have to flee before the garde arrived. There would be no explanation for his dagger-like fangs, none that allowed him to remain walking among the mortals he fed from.
Running was his only choice. As it always was and would be for as long as he existed in his world of half-nights and forgotten music.
“Garde!” Her shouts became louder and footsteps echoed down the alley, sounds of someone’s approach.
Grabbing the domino from her hand, Yoochun struggled to tie the ribbons about his hair, hoping to fall into the crowd and blend before whoever it was reached them. Then a man appeared — a man or a ghost of his memories and Yoochun’s beating heart stopped, then skipped — a staccato refrain of wonder and fear.
The burgundy and black were vibrant, worn over a sensual body Yoochun wondered if he imagined in the haze of a blood-drunken stupor. In the dim light, the white and gold mask resonated with innocence, an angelic calm amid the shadowed evil of his demonic nature. If two beings were more unlike, Yoochun couldn’t imagine how. God surely had forsaken him, any chance of ever tasting the honey of Heaven were burnt away as the man approached, warily eyeing the woman.
Any hope of covering up or running were gone. Her hand lay over the bloodied bite, leaking a trickle of red between her fingers. He’d not had time to seal the wound more than to close the artery so she wouldn’t bleed out but the punctures remained, dark evidence towards his conviction.
“Bacio di luce della luna,” The man whispered, reaching out with a gloved hand and stroked Yoochun’s face. “What has happened?”
“He is a monster!” The woman lurched forward, clutching at the other’s shoulder. Her bloodied fingers rumpled and marred the burgundy doublet, smearing a drying scarlet trail over its weft. “Look at his mouth! He is a demon risen from Hell to feed upon us.”
“He is no monster,” Junsu replied softly, spotting the telltale bite on the woman’s neck. “Stand still, let me see your wound.”
“Beware, he will kill us all in our sleep,” She hissed, reluctantly baring her neck for Junsu to see. He examined the mark, keeping half an eye on the black and white clad man standing before them.
“Here, I can help you,” He murmured, gently kissing the spot.
Laving his tongue over the wound, he wrapped a tendril of his power around her, finding the weakness of her will. Fumbling through the folds of his trousers, he found a handful of notes and pressed the money down between her pushed up breasts, urging her to remember nothing other than a blond man who left a bite on her neck but paid well. A final kiss and he stepped back, silently gagging on the taste of her skin clinging with an oily stain to the roof of his mouth. If this was what the man was forced to feed upon to sustain himself, then it was a good thing he’d come along.
Junsu watched her leave, holding her skirts up and toddling along as if drunk. Turning, he faced the man he’d hunted through the streets of Venice, half-hoping to find his heart carried in the other’s hands and half-wishing the man he’d kissed been a dream.
“Dreams are always sweeter than life,” Junsu whispered as he approached the man he’d found one midnight so many moons ago.
“Do not…” The domino wearer pulled back when Junsu brushed his fingertips over his lips. “You should not touch me. Don’t soil yourself with the likes of me.”
“I think it is the other way around,” He laughed softly. “The world had turned to ashen grey and then in the moon during a Carnivale I found the glory of dawn in a kiss. And now you would deny me another taste? You would keep the sun from me?”
“I do not keep the sun in my mouth,” Yoochun disagreed with a shake of his head.
“That — I disagree with,” Junsu replied and leaned in to take a sip of the wine he knew he’d left behind.
Over three hundred moons rose and fell in between their kiss and yet their passion flared hot as if were moments ago. The taste of the woman burned away, leaving only the complicated fragrance of their tongues and lips. Junsu heard someone sigh, surrendering into the night then realized it was his own cry of need, slipping from his love-parched throat when the other cupped his face.
The man’s touch was gentle, playing a soft refrain of starry skies and wind-scattered clouds over the tremble of Junsu’s sensitive skin. His hands moved down, wrapping over Junsu’s neck and the balls of his thumbs pressed the other’s jaw open, giving the black-clad man entry into Junsu’s willing mouth.
He plundered in, sipping and nibbling on Junsu’s upper lip, taking his time to savour each taste and exulting in the varying textures he found. Laving at the edge of Junsu’s mask, he growled, frustrated he couldn’t sample the stretch of bone and skin of the other’s cheek and Junsu moaned, tilting his head back to pull the mask away.
They kissed again, fire playing between two burning embers until their clothes grew too hot and tight for their bodies. Pushing the man against the wall, Junsu kissed at the holes in the domino, letting his tongue wander over the thin press of the other’s eyelids. The ties were hastily done, easily tugged free but the man turned his head, clenching his eyes tighter.
“No,” He said, a rough brandy voice as potent as any liquor Junsu had the pleasure of sipping. “I am not — I cannot be seen. The woman was right. I am a monster. Not for someone like you.”
“You are so wrong,” Junsu murmured and pulled the domino gently from the man’s face, laying a kiss on Yoochun’s cheek. “Open your eyes. I want to fall into them. I want to see the stars in them and know that you carry their light in you forever.”
Yoochun opened his eyes, staring down at the beautiful man cupping his face. “God, do the Heavens know that you’ve fallen? Why haven’t the angels come for their brother?”
Turning aside, he shuddered, hating to think of his mouth dirtying the pretty face he gazed upon. His heart clenched, knowing the priest had been right. He was the spawn of a fallen, carved from diseased angel blood and bone and left to wander the earth. The man he held was beautiful, warm and flesh pressed into the curve of his body. “Please, do not look at me. It’s not right. I am a horror.”
“If you are a horror, then I am as well,” Junsu smiled, letting his fangs slid free. Yoochun gasped, his breath catching in the cold of his chest. “But I am telling you, beloved bacio, you are no more a monster than any man. If anything, I suspect that within your beauty lies a heart even more wonderous than I can imagine. Let me kiss it open so the world may see it bloom.”