008. Memoria – Friends

Title: Friends
Genre: Undefined
Characters: Christian Koenig, Valerie Vega, Melissande Blanc, Marcus Van Arden
Story Origin: Vignettes prior to Angel of Lies
Prompt: 008. Friends
Word Count: 1,890
Rating: R
Summary: Melissande is not okay.
Warnings: Language, Mild Implied Violence, Blood

Melissande stepped into the room, closing the doors behind her.  Her heels clicked against the stone floors, bouncing off the high walls and back into her own ears.  She cringed, stopping short of the bed.  She wasn’t surprised to see Christian there.  In fact, she’d come here specifically looking for him.  Valerie’s back faced her, the long, brown tresses catching the flickering candlelight and giving it a sheen.  Her movements were languid and Melissande could feel the strain in the air, prickling her skin down to her toes.  She resisted the urge to shudder and wore her attitude like a mask to hide her discomfort.

“What do you want?” Valerie’s voice was low, barely audible, and strained.  It sounded otherworldly–nothing like the soft, gentle tones that usually left her lips.

“Christian seems to have forgotten about our guest…”

At the mention of his name, Christian’s form stirred.  A candle came to life on the wall next to him, illuminating his features.  His eyes were covered, as always, with sunglasses and his skin seemed almost like marble–white and flawless, bouncing light like a reflective surface.  His voice in her head was like someone stabbing her with a knife in the temple.

‘I’m a little busy at the moment.’

Melissande said nothing to that, preferring to ignore it rather than confront it.  Instead, she shot back with, “well, what the hell am I supposed to do with him?”

At this, Christian’s lips quirked into an almost cruel smile.  Melissande shuddered, the image that the face put in her mind one she didn’t want to remember.  She cast it aside, fearing he would read it in her mind as he spoke to her.

‘I’m sure you can think of something…’

“Oh fuck you, Christian Koenig!” She snarled, arms crossed over her chest, her breathing strained.  She took a few steps back.  “I’m not your whore for hire!”

‘You said it, not me,’ Christian replied, still smirking.  It faded quickly and his face was once again an impassive mask.  ‘Just keep him occupied a while longer.  There’s nothing I can do about it now.’

“He’s not going to be happy, you know.  I don’t even see why it matters… another egotistical vampire, what good is he to us?”

‘This is why I do the thinking.  Just keep him entertained.’

His hand moved to Valerie’s head, gently guiding her down against the bed.  She followed like a wraith in a swoon, her body moving almost as if it had no bones within it at all, like liquid flowing gently against the bed, head resting on Christian, legs splayed awkwardly towards Melissande.  She turned away, unable to watch.  Valerie wasn’t there, gone completely.  She’d be out for awhile after this, and it would be some time before Marcus truly got to speak to Christian.  Melissande sighed, trying to repress her urge to shudder, fear building at the base of her spine.

“This isn’t my job, you know.  To entertain your toys.”

‘I know.’

“Well, as long as we’re in agreement,” Melissande grumbled, shaking her head.  She tried to keep her eyes off Valerie, but constantly, she was drawn back.  The Seer’s face was not twisted in pain or agony, completely complacent, eyes partially closed, mouth slack, her skin a glistening, pale white.  Her left hand twitched, the fingers curling up to form a very loose fist before unraveling again, falling motionless.

‘You should go.’

Melissande nodded dumbly, her head muddled.  Her brain felt as if it had turned completely to moosh and begun oozing out her ears.  She needed to leave, the need to leave overpowered her, forced her legs into motion.  She turned away and left, shaking it off.  The farther away she got, the better, the less it affected her.  The door closed behind her, the sound echoing through the small room.

Christian watched her leave.  Almost as soon as the door closed behind her, Valerie’s right hand moved to life, though its motions were languid at best.  Slowly, it moved to brush against the hand that now rested on her chin.  He felt the distant touch of her consciousness and before he could warn it away, she said:

‘Don’t feel guilty.  I allowed this.’

And then it was gone almost as quickly as it had come, leaving its own, soft imprint on his mind.  It was like a cool breeze on a hot summer day.  Once she was once again safe, Christian relaxed back against the bed, his hand falling lax against her neck.  Her skin was clammy to the touch, sweat beading on her forehead.  Bits and pieces of her soul were funneled out and into the air, directly into Christian, absorbed like one breathes air.  He felt his own soul putting the pieces together, absorbing them whole.  At this point, his own soul was like a patchwork quilt of many.

When Valerie had first offered herself, Christian had vehemently told her no.  But she had wore him down, demanding to know the difference from purposely taking and accidentally taking.  Every time their consciousnesses assembled, something was stolen, her soul was fractured, forced to fissure itself back together again.  Valerie was adamant, completely determined  to everything she could to slow the process and make it certain that Christian could be around others.

And that was how it came to be.  Christian remained linked to Valerie constantly, forcing her to bear the brunt of his own burden.  She shouldered it and carried as if it were but a tiny feather, the strength of her soul and mind seemingly endless.  He knew better, though.  She was wearing down, becoming weakened.  Her power had improved over the years, but she hadn’t been meant for this.  She wasn’t meant to fall as far as he had.

Nothing could be done to stop it.  The wheels had been put into motion.  Her energy was unlike most, it was touched with the very essence of everything, cognizant of everything around it, entwined with the world in ways others would never know or could ever fathom.  There was no way the thing within him would ever give it up.  Christian feared he would be helpless to stop it before it was too late.

Melissande tried to shake off her discomfort.  She had never agreed with what Valerie did nor did she understand why Christian allowed her to do it.  She felt, in the very back of her mind, that maybe he was taking advantage of her affections.  It made her angry.

She attempted to focus on the task at hand, her dark eyes falling on Marcus who sat patiently, waiting.  He looked up at Melissande and offered her a small smile as she approached.

“Any news?”

“Unfortunately, he’s a little… preoccupied at the moment.  It will be some time until he’s ready to see you,” Melissande said, trying not to shiver.

Marcus noticed her discomfort, the pieces slowly assembling in his mind.  It was a difficult thing to fathom, what Christian was, what his nature was.  The stories he had heard were the opposite–that he had been rebuilt, reborn even, in Sanctus Unus’ image.  So why then this darkness?  Should he not be ascended past such things?

He barely noticed when Melissande sat down beside him, resting her arm against the couch, “you’re probably wondering what’s up with this, huh?  I know Christian told you he’s scary and you should believe him.  He is.”

“I don’t claim to be a scholar on the subject, but I thought that Sanctus Unus was ‘good’.  Why then, such a fate for this chosen one?”

At this, Melissande laughed.  It was pretty and delicate.  “You really are a vampire, aren’t you?  I only know because I was ‘lucky’ enough to deal with the thing myself.  Sanctus Unus is neutrality at its finest, Marcus.  You can’t be the world and take sides.  That’s not how it works.”

“I suppose that makes the most sense, but it seems cruel, doesn’t it?  To damn someone so?”

“Not if you know Christian,” she continued.  “He’s got a whole lifetime of getting fucked up the ass.  You’ve heard of Eckhard, Xavier… Beryl Cross?”

He shook his head, “I’m afraid none of these names but Eckhard’s are familiar to me.  I know a little of Eckhard’s tortures, though.”

“You might want to get comfortable… this could take awhile…”

By the end of it, one of Melissande’s vampires had come along with a tray of blood and Melissande was sprawled on the couch, considerably saddened.  It was hard to recount everything that had happened, it seemed like a lifetime ago when it was only just years.  It made everything that much more real… and the consequences seemed so close she could almost taste them.

“Why agree to it, then?” Marcus asked, still a little shocked by the story.  He truly had been clueless and he felt all the more a fool for it.  “It seems foolish to lay down your life for nothing.”

Melissande swirled her glass a bit, too distracted to drink.  She stared up at the far away ceiling, “because there isn’t a choice.  That’s the thing, choices aren’t really choices.  They are a lie, kind of.  You’re born for a purpose, you can say no, but that purpose doesn’t go away.  It doesn’t just disappear.  You can’t turn your back on who you are, who you were born to be.  So, the ‘choice’ you have is just a mirage, a fake.  In the end, there is no choice.”

“I suppose we can consider ourselves lucky, then… that we were left to our own devices in the grand scheme of things,” Marcus replied, his voice somber.

“Lucky, yes,” Melissande said, closing her eyes.  Her chest felt tight.  She thought of her brother, her fingers clutching the glass tighter, shaking slightly.  “But what is luck when you are surrounded by people who haven’t been ignored?  What good is it to be lucky when you must watch everyone else suffer and plod along a pre-determined path… helpless to do anything but watch.”

“I had forgotten, I’m sorry,” Marcus apologized suddenly, realizing his error.  Melissande truly was surrounded by the hands of fate, untouched by it herself, but forced to watch everyone around her bend and twist to its will.

“Me, too,” she said, biting her lower lip.  “I hate being helpless.”

This may seem like it was everywhere, but I really wanted to focus on Melissande’s own thoughts about everything, since her opinion is largely ignored in the main storyline.  She is the only one who wasn’t born to a purpose.  Sure, Sanctus Unus used her during Wings of Steel, but she hadn’t been born for that, it was simply convenient.  I can’t imagine what it would be like to watch, completely helpless, while people die following their life’s purpose, forced to bend to the will of the greater good/purpose.

The first scene didn’t go as I had planned, mostly because my creativity is like, only half present.  So everything is half-assed.  Sorry about that.  I had grand ideals, but am unable to execute them to the best of my ability at this particular moment.  But now we see how Valerie came to be as she is (when we seen her in AoL) and her closeness with Christian and the situation itself.

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5 Responses to “008. Memoria – Friends”

  1. Veron says:

    First, there is nothing half assed in my sight. All I see is full ass.

    Christian is… no longer squee worthy… You warned me. You did. You TOLD me that this was going to be some shit, but now that I see it… he’s frightening. I can’t squee over that dude. I can however, let my jaw hang from my face and mutter, “What the fuck?”. And while Valerie is doing what she is meant to do and saving the souls of so many others, I feel like she’s biased. Like, I’m not going to sit here and let you ABSORB MY THE ESSENCE OF MY SOUL unless there is some deep underlying shit going on here. Yes, she has no choice really, but does she even WANT a choice. Her “I allow it” sentence whacked me over the head so hard. AND THEN I know she’s the seer, and I know she’s got all this Sanctus Unus granted uber serious power going on, but how long can she survive this. This seems like a mighty temporary solution, and will it reach a point where Christian can’t bring himself to stop and just royally jacks her shit up?

    I’ve always been fascinated by Mellisande, and not just because I think she’s gorgeous (she is. she makes me go all slack-jaw fan-girl idiot PRETTIES? WHERE DA’ PRETTIES). But she always seems on the edge of EVERYTHING, and I find those most outskirted people usually are the ones most missed should they vanish. I really didn’t expect her to… care so much. Like, she really gives a damn. Clearly she feels put upon by all this mess, but at the same time, she cares!

    Sorry, I wrote a missive full of sailor talk. This was awesome. Very full assed XD.

    It makes me sad to think that about Christian. Of course, he could turn Eckhard, and I would still love him. He’s my character, after all, and has been one of my favorites to write for a long time! (and easiest, next to Eckhard) xD But yeah, he’s not the same Christian… but after everything that happened, I can’t see how anyone could expect him to be.

    The funny thing about Valerie is that it isn’t her Sanctus Unus given ability that gives her this strength. It’s simply her. She’s been told, over and over again, how strong she is, how strong of a soul/power/energy she holds and she’s largely ignored it and thought they were wrong. They were right, she is incredibly strong in ways that most people are not. And she’s using it the only way she knows how. She’s blinded by her emotion, though, and her attachment to Christian. Her all or nothing attitude is the result of that. Christian has his own worries, but its either this or killing random people, or killing the people close to him. Valerie is one of the rare few who can still retain most of what he’s taking.

    Melissande is on neutral ground, constantly caught in the middle without ever really being a part of anything. She’s definitely important, though. She’s been around since everyone else. ;)

  2. E. Black says:

    It was nice to hear things from Mellisande’s side. She seems more vulnerable then she lets on. I actually felt sorry for her.

    Melissande is very vulnerable. That’s why she’s such a hard ass. We’ve glimpsed her vulnerability (though briefly) before… but she hides it well.

  3. S.B. says:

    Two very strong reactions: first, the relationship, whatever it is, between Valerie and Christian is almost shocking in its intensity. I understand why Melissande was unnerved by it, and turned it on its head, making Christian the ‘aggressor’. And second, Melissande’s reflective side was surprising, although I’m not sure why. Maybe because she’s sharing her thoughts with Marcus, who doesn’t really matter. Almost like talking to your dog.

    I adore the shots. The sense of broken angles, things placed oddly, disturbing. Wonderful, wonderful piece.

    The safest people to confide in are usually the ones completely removed from the situation itself. ;) A big reason why Marcus and Melissande end up together is because she shows her vulnerability most to him. It is so hard to do angles, because I keep trying to hide certain things on Christian, sigh. His hair helps, certainly. Thanks!

  4. goodbye_sun says:

    The first thing that came to mind with those shots of Christian and Valerie was how much it reminded me of pictures you see of opium dens. They are both hooked and its way too late to do anything about it, and even though there is some regret, its not like either has the willpower to do anything about it. The only difference is their reasons, their own personal emotional attachments.

    And its really good to see past all that bravado of Melissande’s, for once she is letting her guard down and that makes me wonder how much is her needing to just get that off her chest and how much might be related to why Marcus is there.

  5. Tanya says:

    Finally getting around to catching up over here, and as the others have said it’s interesting to see things from Melissande’s point of view. This bit got to me the most, where she’s thinking about the way Christian and Val’s current relationship/need is somehow not right:

    “She felt, in the very back of her mind, that maybe he was taking advantage of her affections. It made her angry.”

    First of all it was a surprise that she’s sympathising with Val, considering the way she thought of her during WoS (knowing that she had the hots for Nicolas, etc.). Secondly it’s almost as if she’s on the verge of comparing Christian with Eckhard, and the way that he wouldn’t think twice about playing on someone’s feelings for him to get what he wanted. With Christian’s changed state, maybe the apple is a bit closer to the tree?

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