By Kammy Gaffney
Adavidarian always woke in the middle of the afternoon, left the bed he shared with his brother, and came to Rhaegal's. This was how it had been since the very first time Rhaegal had insisted that he was too old to sleep with his father any longer. The boy went to bed willingly enough, but the next morning, sure enough, Rhaegal would wake with his child curled up beside him, or even on top of him, Davy's small golden head resting on his chest. He had given up on ever breaking the child of the habit - He found it amazing that while even the slightest sound would have him instantly alert, sword drawn, he never sensed his second-born's arrival, never even figured out if Davy was waking at the same time every day or merely walking in his sleep. But this day, Rhaegal woke - blinking, it was hot, and the sun sifting through the boarded-up window was painfully bright - and his child was not there. Perhaps he had not risen yet. Rhaegal lay there for a moment, and heard noises in the main room of the little abandoned two-room ranch house they were squatting in. He tensed, listening for a moment. Yes, he was certain. Someone had just come into the house.
Rhaegal slipped from his bed, his hand closing over the grip of his sword as he went. The vampire glided over to the doorway, let his mind fall from its sleepy chaotic patterns to a sharp, focused readiness. He spun out of the room, through the door, swinging the sword as he went - and barely checked his killing blow in time. His mouth dropped open in shock as he looked down at his fully dressed and already sunburned youngest son. What the hell was he doing outside?
"Adavidarian!? What are you doing?"
"I came back to get some stuff. Mark is taking me fishing."
Rhaegal raised a brow. "Markkas? Fishing? In the middle of the afternoon? Where?" What was that boy up to now?
"There's a pond, over there..." the boy gestured carelessly, "we passed it when we went hunting last night, and Mark said he would take me fishing. It's safe. I bet nobody even knows that pond is there."
"Fishing...." Rhaegal was staring at him in open astonishment. He couldn't quite believe his ears. But Markkastanen was nothing if not unpredictable. He read a great deal, everything he could get his hands on, and often could not resist implementing what he had learned, in some fashion or other. But he rarely bothered attempting to include his younger sibling in any of his experiments - surely he knew better than to endanger his brother's life in this way? Rhaegal's temper was flaring. But his voice stayed low and even.
"Absolutely not. I forbid it."
"B - but Father, Mark said I could go with him..." Davy's lip was starting to tremble, and his eyes, as intense as Rhaegal's own, and huge in his tiny, sun-reddened face, turned soft and pleading.
"No. I do not want you out of my sight." Rhaegal had put on what his sons had dubbed 'Father's dragon face.' His expression grew dark, and hard as stone, and his eyes glittered coldly.
"That's not fair!!! You let Mark do whatever he wants, and I never - "
Rhaegal struck him, and felt his heart break. He'd never laid an unkind hand on his son before. He never would again. The boy's eyes went wide, and he bit his lip hard, to hold back the tears that he was too ashamed to cry. Drakthae do not cry - Mark had told him that. But he was going to cry, and in front of his father, too - Davy turned, and fled the house.
"Adavidarian!" Rhaegal called, and then he lowered his head and groaned. He'd give him a moment of privacy, to shed his tears, and then he'd go get him and bring him home... it was unlikely that he would get into trouble - there was no one about for miles around, and the boy wasn't foolish enough to head towards town. Besides, no matter which direction he headed in, Rhaegal could overtake him easily. He'd give him just one minute... and then he felt the pleasant hazy tingle of an oncoming dream. No, not now... Beloved, please... Rhaegal fought against it for a moment, but this time, his waking dream would not be denied. He sighed, and simply stood there, his eyes staring out into nothing. His wings trembled, once, twice, and then he was still.
* * * * *
Mark found his little brother sobbing his heart out behind the house.
"There you are - Davy, I was looking all over for you! Why didn't you get the fishing line, like I asked?" Whoever had abandoned the house had left it full of odds and ends - the fishing line was only one of a million other sundry items. Rhaegal had looked around at the mess, when they'd first discovered the place, and dryly remarked that they should hold a yard sale.
Mark crouched down in front of his younger brother, and tousled his golden hair. "What happened?"
"F-father... s-said... n-no..." the little vampire hiccupped, struggling to dry his eyes.
"Ah... I see..." Mark stroked his chin thoughtfully. Then his eyes sparkled mischievously. "C'mon." He held out his hand.
Davy looked at his brother in astonishment. "Father'll kill us," he said.
Mark rolled his eyes. "You always do what Father tells you. That's why you never get to have any fun. You even heard him, he said there's no fae here, hell, there's barely any humans here, so what are you so worried about?"
"But what if a human does see me?"
"We'll kill them, of course! Dammit, what are you going to do, hide in a ditch for your entire life? Humans are our prey, for the gods' sake. We shouldn't be running from them all the time. They should be running from us. Come on, little brother. Otherwise I'm going to have to assume that you're as yellow as your hair." Mark gave his brother a wicked grin.
"My hair's not yellow. I just don't want Father to be angry with me."
"Father's always angry, anymore... but hey, if you want to miss out on all the fun, then just stay here." Mark spread his wings and took off. "If you change you mind, you know where I'll be." He looked down at his little brother scornfully, as he rose into the air. There was no mistaking the contempt in his voice.
Davy paced along the side of the house for a long time, kicking at pebbles. Then he sat down and shook all of the sand out of one of his shoes. It just wasn't fair. It wasn't fair that he had no glamour, like all of the other fae. His father and Mark could walk down the street in the middle of a parade, arm in arm, singing and dancing, and flapping their wings, and no one would mistake them for anything other than human, unless they already knew otherwise. They could read minds, they could even manipulate a weak mind, could charm a gold coin from a gypsy king, but no, not him. And to make a bad situation even worse, if he was anywhere in another faery's vicinity, their glamour didn't work as well. No magic did. He cancelled it out completely. The Sidhe said he was a glamour-thief, but that wasn't true. They still had it - it just didn't work while he was around. He'd never actually stolen anything, as far as he could tell, well, except helping to empty the pockets of their few feeble victims.
Whenever he asked his father why the elves were trying to kill him, his father would give him a look of equal parts rage and sorrow, and tell him it was because they feared him. Davy didn't understand that. How could something as powerful as the Sidhe be afraid of someone like him? He wasn't any good at hunting; he wasn't strong enough to subdue his prey, and without glamour, he couldn't charm, and his meals felt only pain at his bite, instead of the ecstasy, and they fought him. Without his father and brother, he'd have starved to death long ago.
"Hells!" he said, loudly, to no one in particular. It felt good to say it. Grown up, even.
"Hells, hells, hells!" Maybe Mark was right. Maybe what he needed to do was, well, whatever the hell he wanted to do. After all, he wasn't a baby anymore, right? He was Drakthae. Dragon-kin, fierce and brave.
"Gods-dammed hells!" Grinning what he imagined to be an appropriately fierce grin, Davy spread his wings and flew off into the dazzling afternoon sunshine, heading toward the pond.
design ©2001 by Cindy Rosenthal
The Drakthos © 2001 by KL Gaffney
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