Chapter 12

It doesn’t take them long to get back to the gang house. His gang’s house, now. Silas ignores the catcalls and inappropriate comments from some of his underlings, mostly new faces since he’d taken Malachai’s place. Once he closes the door behind him and they’re in the privacy of his room, the best room in the house, he shoves the fiend up against the door. A low growl escapes Silas’ throat as they kiss each other violently, furiously. There’s the feel of fabric sliding over skin and then their bare chests are pressing together. The fiend’s mouth moves over Silas’ sensitive skin, alternating between sweet and biting. Silas lets out a deep whine and grabs the other’s shoulders, pushing him so he stumbles back and falls onto the bed. He pushes up onto his elbows and grins. His face is so foreign, so unlike what Silas’ lust-filled brain had been hoping and perhaps even expecting to see. He blinks against the image of River’s eyes, the perfect arch of his brows when he’d felt it. The fiend on the bed falters just slightly in his smile, noticing the blank look in Silas’ eyes.

Silas pulls his pants off and climbs over him onto the bed. The fiend wraps his hand around Silas’ cock and they moan open-mouthed into the space between them.  His fingers are quick and almost numb as he pulls off the fiend’s clothes, makes them naked together. The fiend is quick and rough and hungry, rutting his body up against Silas’. Silas closes his eyes and arches into it, seeking mindless numbness.

He needs to forget the hollowness he feels with Valor so unresponsive.

He needs to forget how River had looked at him like he held the world between his legs.

He needs to forget the dead look in the eyes of the ghosts Valiant had made.

He pushes himself away from the fiend then, climbing off the bed and to the side of the room. His head spins still from what he’d had at the bar but he picks up a bottle of scotch from the dresser, one which he should not have, and takes a long deep drink from it. As he drinks with one hand he uses the other to fumble around on the dresser until he finds the vial of oil he keeps there. He half-falls back onto the bed, kissing his way up the fiend’s body and pressing the oil into his hand. He feels himself roughly pushed over onto his stomach, fingers press into his thighs and pull them apart. The fiend takes time pressing with his fingers first. He goes slowly in a way that contradicts all their previous fire and makes Silas snarl with impatience. He knows he should be thankful that the fiend is taking his time, it’s better than the alternative in the long run.

Silas pushes his face into the mattress as finally, finally, the fiend presses into him. He gives himself over to it, lets the feeling of it distract him from the aching in his chest that yearns for River. He whines for the fiend to go faster, and he obeys. He fills Silas again and again, his body pressing into Silas’, his forehead resting on the back of his neck.

Soon the fiend’s breathing grows even more uneven and his thrusts become increasingly erratic. His moans grow high and frantic as he tenses, his whole body arched above Silas’. He feels the fiend above him jerk and fill him, and finally Silas is overcome by the feeling, and he loses himself to the blissful moments of ignorance and ecstasy.

 

The next morning Silas wakes up, surprised to find that the fiend is still there, and had not made a quick and easy exit at some point during the night. He rises from the bed and struggles to locate his boxers. After finding them hanging over a lamp on his dresser, he pulls them on and yanks the curtains open. The fiend grumbles at the sunlight that comes streaming in the windows, turning towards Silas and squinting. He mumbles something incoherent and sits up. He takes a few moments to blink into the sunlight before he seems to have put all the pieces of his memory together. He gives a wicked grin and asks why Silas is so far away, reaching out a hand.

In a matter of minutes, he has Silas bent over the bed. He’s grabbing Silas’ long hair and pulling it back, making his neck curve forward almost painfully. Silas grunts with each thrust into him. When the fiend finishes, he leans forward and bites Silas’ ear. Silas lets out a surprised cry, but finishes as the fiend gnaws on him. When he’s finished, he lets out hot, intense pants on Silas’ neck, collapsing on top of him until his breathing slows. Then he pushes himself up, dresses, and leaves without saying anything. Exhausted, Silas sinks to his knees without pushing away from the bed, dragging himself down until his head rests against the edge of the blanket.

 

He wakes up at some point,  blinking as he tries to register the fact that he’d fallen asleep. He remembers kneeling against the edge of his bed, but he must have somehow climbed back onto it because he’s sprawled out in a tangle of sheets. He’s still naked. He pulls the sheets up the cover him fully, suddenly getting the feeling of eyes watching him.

He squints to protect himself from the light coming in the window. Had he opened the curtains?

He runs his fingers through the knots in his long dark hair as a sleep clears from his brain and thoughts begin to solidify. First he notices that he’s much less hungover than he should be. In fact, he doesn’t feel hungover at all. He’s not upset about that by any means but it certainly doesn’t seem normal. Then he starts getting shards of memory which float in and out of his mind’s eye just out of his grasp. He’d dreamt something important. He closes his eyes and lays back down as he tries to think through all the dream fragments.

He sees Valor’s face clearly behind his closed eyes. Yes, he’d dreamt Valor had stood, facing him, hands outstretched. His eyes flutter open instinctively as he reacts to how real it feels. The air feels different. Like when Valiant had come, but full and welcoming rather than heavy and oppressive.

He stands slowly, fighting the primal desire to simply bury himself under the blankets where the light won’t get in. He turns slowly, taking in the room, unable to shake the feeling that someone is watching him.

“Valor?” He whispers, afraid to voice the hope that he feels creeping into his mind.

The room around him is empty and silent. A jolt of previously nonexistent anger bursts through him.

“Dammit, why have you left me? You give me the chance to see you, to talk to you, and then you just leave? You’re a part of me. You can’t…you can’t do that!” Silas spits, anger taking away his ability to voice his thoughts coherently.

The air still feels full and welcoming, and he hates it. He hates that it feels this way when it’s such a lie. When he can still feel Valor like a rock inside him…

And he realizes he can’t.

It’s not that he can’t feel Valor there, he can. It’s just that he doesn’t feel…dead anymore. The feeling is so familiar, the sensation he’d had for years inside him, that it hadn’t registered at first.

There is a sudden shift inside him. It feels like his stomach drops out of his body and his heart jumps into his throat. For a moment he is acutely disoriented and the world around him swims. Where is he? Then it fades out, and he realizes that there is a winding pressure around his left forearm. He looks down and there is a blue snake wrapped around his arm. Its body is thin, its head like an arrow with two glowing eyes staring out at him. Their light is a familiar dark red. Red like Valiant. The dark humor of that is achingly familiar.

“Valor” He whispers.

The snake flicks it tongue out from between its cobalt scales, tasting his skin as it begins to uncoil and work its way up his arm.’

Silas sits cross-legged on the bed, watching the snake at it slithers over his arms and shoulders in serpentine motions. It’s not exactly a conversation, like he’d had with Valor before, but he can feel a sort of curiosity coming off of the familiar as it explores him. He’s certain that Valor gave the snake to him to satisfy the need he’d developed for communication between them.

He hears a knock on the door, and is so fixated by the snake that he doesn’t respond.

“Come on, Silas.” Violet shouts from outside the door as she continues to bang on it. “I saw that hottie leaving this morning. You went out, you got fucked, and now it’s time to get out of bed and really move on with your life.”

Silas looks at the door, barely registering her words. Absently he calls for her to come in, forgetting the fact that he’s sitting on his bed entirely naked.

Violet throws the door open. Silas doesn’t look up, watching the snake slither up his arm and dart its tongue out to taste the skin of his face. He sees out of the corner of her eye as she freezes up with shock at the sight of him.

“Silas, is that…?”

Silas nods enthusiastically and looks up at her, opening his mouth to begin explaining.

She holds a hand up to stop him. “No. First, pants. Then tell me. I like you, Silas, but not that much.”

Silas half smiles and pulls on a pair of boxers, moving carefully to avoid disturbing the snake. It slithers quickly around his arm to avoid falling as he moves.

Then, he tells her everything, just as he remembers it.

 

So things return. Maybe not entirely back to how they were, but better than before in many ways. Cobalt, as Silas has named his familiar, helps him interpret Valor’s moods by giving them physical representation. There are fights in the streets between secs and fiends. Whenever the witches show themselves in public, which they do rarely, they get insults and bricks hurled at them. The government holds together albeit tenuously. Malachai and the other leaders had been so focused on simply getting things up and running, trying to get things to simply function that they haven’t been able to deal with the various crimes on the streets. Silas knows it’s all so close to falling apart, so fragile that he might have to soon implement the skills he’d gained as a leader and step in once again. Everything is chaos yet it still is closer to peace and equality than they’d ever been before.

Yet among it all there are still his daily duties as the head of the gang. Malachai’s gang was one of the most powerful before, sheerly through the power and reputation Malachai had built. Now, with Silas as the leader and his renown on top of everything Malachai had made, the gang finds itself with huge amounts of power and twice as much responsibility. Truthfully it all just boils down to a lot of work for Silas. Of course, it has its perks too. At night he goes out and gets fucked, though not as often as he once did. They recognize his face and feel his power. He always has the top choice of the guys in the bar, and when he takes them home they fuck him with all they have, driven by a hope and a need to become his favorite. But always afterward he is quiet and detached as he asks them to leave. Often, after, thoughts of River keep him from sleep, and he wanders out into the streets to find peace.

He stands now in the crisp night air, his hair moving in the breeze, his body still feeling flushed and empty. He misses River. Always he hopes that this will be the time he moves on and always he ends up feeling this emptiness more acutely. He puts his hand over his face and sinks down to his knees in the middle of the empty street. The night is silent around him.

It is a long time before Cobalt unwinds himself from around his arm and slithers up to curl himself around Silas’s shoulders. Valor is frustrated. Silas knows. Valor likes the fucking and the power. He hates these times after when the sadness hits Silas full force. Silas knows, as well, that he will only make things worse for himself if he sits here in misery like this. So he stands and walks through the beat-up city, fuming with anger, wishing that he’d never met River, or that things could have been broken off cleanly, or that the witches had never betrayed them. Wishing things had been different. He kicks a half-shattered bottle down from the dingy sidewalk into the street. A form wrapped in blankets, turned in towards the wall of the building, stirs but did not wake.

“Still the same disgusting city.” Silas mutters angrily. Cobalt tightens around his arm almost painfully. His anger is strong, fueled mostly by the vague sadness that has accompanied him since River rejected and betrayed him. He’s angry, and Valor loves the strength of that emotion almost as much as he hates Silas’ sadness. He moves within Silas, feeding off the anger and trying to absorb as much as possible. Silas prefers the anger too, it’s cleaner and easier than the sadness. He digs his hands into his pockets, clenching and unclenching them as he walks with the anger boiling inside of him.

He hears a sharp yell, and he jerks his head up. Standing just a few feet before him in the street is a ghost, thankfully one he doesn’t recognize, his empty eyes sunken deep into his skull, seeming a husk of a man with his magic so obviously absent.

Silas opens his mouth either to yell at him to shut up or to offer help, he would never be sure because the shouting happens again. Its higher and more shrill this time, escalating into a full-blown scream.

The ghost isn’t the one shouting. The sound is echoing from some place further off, from the narrow space between two of the buildings. Silas feels a sudden pull on his heart, and he is plunged into icy fear. He dashes off towards the source of the scream, doing his best to pinpoint where it had come from in the now eerie silence.

A group of fiends sprints out from an alleyway. They pass Silas as they run, and one of them turns to him with a savage grin. His eyes are fiery and wild as if he expects Silas will appreciate whatever they’ve just done.

Silas feels the ice in himself grow colder, as if Valor knows what is happening even while he is not so sure himself. He takes off to where the fiends had come from, turning into the alleyway. He slows down and places his hand on the wall for balance as he takes in what he sees.

River.

River is laying on the ground curled in on himself. One of his pale hands covers his stomach while the other is buried in his hair. Silas can see blood oozing out from under his hand into his golden locks.

River groans and rolls over, his two-toned eyes focusing dazedly as he blinks.

“Silas?” His voice is quiet and broken.

Silas half-runs half-stumbles to him and falls to his knees.

“Silas…I…” River whispers, his voice hoarse.

Silas shakes his head. “It can wait. Whatever you have to say, I promise I’ll listen later. Right now I have to focus on getting you better.”

River stares up at him as Silas’ eyes move over his body. Healing is not his strong suit. But as bad as they beat River, the wounds don’t look fatal. Of course, there could be any amount of damage on the inside.

Cobalt glides over his arm, seeming to disappear into the soft skin on the underside of his wrist. The place where he disappears glows with a blue light.

Silas takes a deep inhale, closing his eyes and opening them again slowly. His magic is strong, and has been stronger since he’d gotten his familiar, but if River has broken bones or bleeding on the inside, he might not be able to fix all of it.

Plus, his magic would likely harm River more than it would help him. Filling a divine magician full of demonic magic would probably do much more harm than good.

“I’m going to teleport you home…to your coven.” Silas’ heart contracts as he says the words. “Then…then we’ll find someone to heal you.”

River shakes his head feebly, his two-toned eyes growing wider.

Silas grinds his jaw. “River, please. We can’t treat you the way your own people can. Demonic magic will only harm you.

River shakes his head again. “They know…about me. About…us. I can’t…go back” He winces around the words.

Silas blinks. How had they found out? They must kicked him out. That must be why he had been out on the streets. His own family had sent him out to roam the streets, when they have been so dangerous for witches lately?

The thought makes River angry. He lets Valor loose, tinging his vision blue as the demon rises in him just enough to make him stronger. Gingerly, he picks River up and cradles his body against him. He wants to crush River’s face to his own chest and kiss his hair. But there is not time for that and River is too weak.

He opens the portal and steps into it, falling into the nothingness, clutching River against him.

The next chapter will be posted on March 10th. Until then be sure to comment below or email me (krmorrighan@gmail.com) with your thoughts or constructive criticisms. 

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