Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Charcoal pt 19

Just under the wire!  And an end, maybe?  I would love to hear what you think!

Scott started when he realized the skin on the hand he had landed in was warm, he imagined, before he scrambled to the ground, that he could feel a heartbeat.  This place was familiar to him in a way that went deeper than his current life.  He paused for a moment to collect himself when he was standing on the relatively stable ground.  He didn’t spend too much time thinking about what body parts could grow out of.  Scott was in Soul’s hell and he had to get him back.  He began to walk following the thread that would forever connect them.  Scott tried to hurry, he didn’t want to be here any longer than he needed to, and he wanted to get back before anything could happen to their bodies.  Scott didn’t know how long he had been falling, or how time passed here.  Everything was an enigma, except his purpose, to get his arima, his soul back.

Soul turned slowly to look to the owner of the voice, but he didn’t see anyone there.

“Things are tricky here aren’t they, but it couldn’t be that easy to find all the answers could it?”  Soul turned again, but as the voice was behind him again.  Soul hated not being able to see who was talking to him.  He remembered the inky whispers during his fall and the flickering images.  He knew this voice was a continuation of them, and as tempting as they had been he didn’t want to give in.  He didn’t want to give in to the trick of this voice either.

“What a clever boy, though you didn’t come here in a very clever way.  Leaving your body behind, souls aren’t very sturdy when they are untethered, just like those you saw there.”  Soul couldn’t see the gesture or the speaker but he knew that it was referring to the swirls of darkness in the pool, and knew he did not want to become one of them.

“So clever boy what do you want to know?  You must ask the right questions, because as you know there are definitely stupid questions and I hear quite a lot of them.”

Soul stayed quiet.  He didn’t know what he wanted to ask.  He had already found more than he had expected.  He had expected, had wanted, nothing, and yet he could feel that answers he had been waiting for his whole life were at his fingertips.  But he also knew that he could ruin everything with a word, ruin it in a way that went beyond dying, beyond nothing.  He would be trapped in some unknown form, and there would be truly no way out because he was already dead.

Soul thought of his mother, about what Sylvia was planning, about how to get out of here.  There were so many questions that he could ask.  He could ask how Scott was doing, and whether he was going to stay dead.  But nothing seemed like the right questions.  He wished he could draw, that he could be truly alone.  That he could live a normal life.  Knowing he wasn’t going to get any of those things Soul sat down on the surprisingly warm ground.  He wasn’t tired, but curling his insubstantial arms around his fading legs was a small comfort.  He hid his face between his knees and closed his eyes.  He had never been good at asking questions, he was good at figuring things out, find ways to slip through the cracks and avoiding questions, asking questions required interacting, and speaking, two things that were not skill he had developed further than what was absolutely necessary. 

“How do I know what the right questions are?” Soul heard a laugh and could almost feel the warm breath brush the back of his neck.  He suppressed a shutter and closed his eyes tighter.  He imagined a face for the voice, a person he couldn’t see was somehow better than a person that wasn’t there.

“That is dangerously close to a stupid question, and not deserving of a clever answer, so I will tell you an almost stupid answer to match your almost stupid question.”  The voice seemed to come from changing directions, as if its speaker was pacing.  “There is no way to know the right question, you must simply trust yourself.”

Soul sighed, he could argue that his question was slightly better than the answer but he stayed silent.  He had to trust himself to get out of this.  His last few choices had helped him in unexpected ways.  He could do it again; maybe he would find some unexpected answers.

“Who is watching through the eyes in the gate?”  Maybe a question he didn’t particularly want the answer to would throw the invisible speaker off, Soul felt that the creature was bored.  Boring it more would definitely not be beneficial to him, and would not lead to him getting anything out of their encounter. And as disturbing as the voice was, Soul really didn’t want to be left alone here.

“Much, much better, that question is almost clever.  They are my eyes, the hands are my hands, the fingers and nails and lashes and feet- all of it is mine.  I have been here waiting for longer than you can know and I have grown, I have swallowed countless souls and given them form, I have spat them out, shat them out, thrown them up and eaten them again.  Some grow and some stagnate.  Some float in pools of my stomach and some rest in the hallows of my teeth, but they are all a part of me, just as you will be some day.”  Soul swallowed.  Information yes, but not really anything he wanted to hear, and nothing that he knew what to do with, nothing of what he needed to know.

“Is my mother here?”

“She is, because she is a part of you, she is here because she is in hell, but she is not here, because this place, well, it’s all for you.  Your personal slice of eternity.  You will end up here alone, but with everything and everyone that created you and will come after.”  There was a small pause, if the speaker had a body Soul would have placed a shrug in the space, he almost could feel a small ripple under him, if the whole landscape had lifted a shoulder.  “It’s rather complex.  Language is not good for explaining.  You can only really understand once you are a part of it.”

“Is my mother dead?”  Soul felt another laugh against the back of his neck. 

“Oh that is such a long story my clever boy, but you will hear it, because you have nowhere else to go, at least not yet.  You have asked a clever question but I do not think you will like the answer.”


Scott walked as quickly as he could, he was aware of the way he was not quite here.  It was very clearly a place for the dead and it would not be a good place to be lost, or stuck.  He focused on the fragile thread holding him together, connecting himself to Soul and to his soul.  He passed from the mostly open landscape into deeper and deeper forests of- body parts.  He wondered what was in Soul’s mind to produce such a place.  Scott tried not to look too closely to anything he saw, but as the forest got deeper he began to stumble over obstacles he didn’t want to touch with his bare hands.  He was forced to slow down, to look where he was going and what he saw did as much to disturb him as the warm soft skin he felt every time he fell.  Scott began to imagine he heard voices whispering to him, promising him a break from the dissembled parts, a break from the almost heartbeat he couldn’t quite ignore.  He saw shadows out of the corners of his eyes, slithering through his legs, almost brushing against his face, promising answers, comfort, Soul.  Scott flinched away from them and even though he never felt them he tripped over them, tripped trying to avoid them.  He knew they lied, but the deeper he went the better their promises sounded. 

The thread seemed to be fading even faster than his willpower, and each whispered thought that breezed through his mind held a deeper compulsion.  He could stop for just a moment, retreat from the skin, the heartbeat, the horrible living warmth.   He could always begin again.  Time began to have no meaning, he would find Soul eventually, did it matter if it was in the next moments, or in the next lifetime?  Scott tried to hold onto his determination to reach Soul as quickly as he could but each time he fell he got up less quickly.  Closer to the ground the heartbeat seemed almost soothing, the warmth like waking with Soul wrapped around him.  The shadows whispered that he was already with Soul, that all of this was Soul.  That the heartbeat was Soul’s, that the hands that grasped at him through the dark were Soul’s hands, that each scratch he got from unseen fingernails were the same as Soul scoring his back in the midst of an orgasm. 

Scott finally saw a break in the hands, in the shadows.  He had made it somewhere, he felt his determination return but as it did the last pull of the thread disappeared.  Scott had lost his Soul.  If he would have thought about the end of their bond he would have guessed there would be intense pain, desolation, even death, but he hardly noticed its absence.  He reached a gate covered in rolling lidless eyes, and as he gingerly pressed it open, wincing at the smooth slippery, and altogether too yielding flesh of the eyes, he realized he had no direction, nothing to follow, and for the first time in his life he had the opportunity to choose his next action based solely on what he wanted. 

Scott was through the gate and he wanted back in his body, back in his house, in his bed, but the homey image was incomplete, what he really wanted, compulsion or not, was Soul.


“And so you see, the question of if she is alive is an altogether more complex question than one would imagine.”  Soul stared into the swirling darkness in the fountain, and wondered if that fate, or the fate of his mother sounded worse.  She had found a way to hide, but at what cost, her personhood, her peace?  Soul was still angry with her for leaving him with a shadow, but the alternative?  To be in pieces so small they could never be assembled, to be scattered bits of shadow aware and incomplete, without direction?  Soul couldn’t imagine the feeling and didn’t want to.  Pain was one things, stagnation was another, but the deep incompleteness of no longer being one entity? 

“You little boyfriend might be able to explain the feeling- well that is if he remembers it, you were quite the naughty boy weren’t you.  Clever though, using your body to get what you want.  Though you still haven’t quite managed to find what you really want have you?”  Soul didn’t respond, but the voice seemed to like talking, and Soul realized that he was a better captive audience than digested, dissembled, ancient bits of souls.  The creature must have gotten so bored waiting for him.

“I wasn’t just waiting for you, you know.  I am waiting for many, many things.”  Soul had gotten used to the sharp changes in subject during the story of his mother, but he didn’t think he would ever get used to the bits of his thoughts being pulled from his mind into the conversation.

“Well it sure sounds awkward if you think about it that way, so try this way.  We are essentially in your mind now.  And you, well you aren’t quite anything right now, your thoughts are just out here in the open, diffusing with the atmosphere.”  Soul looked down and found he had faded even more, his edges were gone and the color that tinted the air around his consciousness was wavering, like it couldn’t quite tell where he began and it ended.

“You don’t want to stay here much longer, free thoughts are one thing, but to be only an assemblage of thoughts?  Not really anyone’s favorite.  Though your boyfriend is quite slow.  I think he must have gotten distracted by the sudden freedom.”

Soul looked up from his fading being.  Scott was there and-

“What do you mean, freedom?”

“Oh stupid boy, that is really not a clever question.  I was beginning to have such high hopes for you.  I suppose a bit more time in the world might help you.  I will be lonely waiting for you to return, but the time will pass quickly before I see you again I think.” 

Soul stood, and the feeling was so strikingly similar to sitting he almost fell, his molecules were spreading and instead of feeling the ground beneath his feet he felt only the different temperature, the steady thrum of what he had though was his heartbeat and its absence. 

“But you have been so fun these few days, I will answer it.  The Gifts as you call them fade here.  They are nothing more than beliefs and impressions, and as you fade what holds them together fades as well.  The bond is gone, and will never be again.  Your boyfriend is close, but you will have to find him on your own, go quickly if you want him to leave with you.  His hell is a very different place than here, and if you don’t find him quickly he will find out what it is like before his time, and wouldn’t that just be so sad?”

Soul tried to gather himself, but only felt his being diffuse more.  He needed to find Scott.  He had no idea where he was, or what would happen if they couldn’t find their way back, the creature was gone, though he never saw it his diffused being felt the change in the atmosphere distinctly.  Soul looked around and noticed he was sensing more than seeing and his urgency ratcheted up another level.  The creature had said it had been days and his body was waiting for him, Scott’s was as well and Soul knew that if their bodies died they would be trapped in another way, even if they made it out of this hell.  He choked back a laugh and searched again.  This place was endless and time was nearly gone. 


Scott stood inside the gate and stared.  A ghoulish shadow creature was wrapped around Soul’s crouched body, whispering in an unknown language.  Its head turned to face him, its eyeless face smiling through Soul’s fading body.  It wrapped itself tighter around him before vanishing.  Soul stood and Scott watched the impression of his love shiver in the air, fading and diffusing slowly, bits of him drifting away, fading and settling into the soft skin of the ground.  Soul looked around, his almost face desperate, Scott tried to walk to him but was unable to get any closer no matter how he tried.  It was like a nightmare, he could run but he didn’t move, he could circle around or stand still, but he could only watch as little bits of Soul faded. 


Soul spun fighting to feel Scott, searching inside himself for the ache of Scott’s mourning, for his pain, his love, for the small thread he had felt while falling, but the only thing he could feel was the fading of his imagined body.  The creature had been right, the bond was finally gone, and Soul could only wish for it back.  He had to find Scott, and they had to figure out how to get out of here, and both were things he had no idea how to do. He stopped moving and called in his voice that was not a voice.  He pulled everything that he was, everything in himself that called out to Scott and yelled.  There was no sound and the effort caused even more of himself to fade, but he felt something.   A pause in the constant pulse.  A stutter of thoughts, or the whispering he had become so accustomed to.  Everything was still and silent, and in that missed heartbeat there was a glimmer of something that did not belong.  Soul started toward the spot he had seen.  It was gone but Soul trusted what he knew he had seen and reached.   He felt nothing, saw nothing, but he knew from the place inside his heart that was no longer his own that he had found Scott.

“Lets go home.”  He whispered, and even though there was no sound, he knew that he had been heard.


Soul felt like he had been burned to the bone, he felt like he had run a marathon in his bare feet and that he had not eaten in days.  His soul hurt, his blood hurt, and his lungs felt like the air was razorblades.  He wanted to throw up, but the thought of that much effort hurt not only his body but his thoughts as well.  His body wanted to die, and each breath was an exercise in masochism.  Soul focused on the solidity of his pain and told himself with each razorblade breath that it was better than feeling himself fade piece by piece. 

“It makes you think dying maybe isn’t worth it doesn’t it.”  The sound of Scott’s voice was almost enough to motivate Soul to open his eyes, but the burning he felt from remembering he had eyes was enough to deter him. 

“If you ever want to look that deeply into you subconscious just ask, there are much easier ways than dying.  You almost started rotting.”  Soul couldn’t stop the dry heave.  He felt decomposed, but he would really rather not think about his body as literal dead meat.  “That was harsh, I’m sorry.  I would give you some pain meds, but well you might die for real so you are just going to have to deal for a few days.”

And so Soul dealt.  He was conscious of pulling each breath through his lungs, he was aware of the water being dripped slowly down his throat and the balm that was dabbed on his lips almost constantly.  And after an age Soul felt secure enough in his body that he let go, and slept with only the lightest suggestion of dreams, there were lights and colors and whispers and almost sensations, but each faded before he was fully aware, and when he woke he opened his eyes in a field of poppies.

Soul blinked a few times, caught off guard by the lack of pain.  And realized that he was not really seeing flowers, but a painting of flowers.  He was lying not in a bed of grass, but in a real bed, with arms wrapped around him and a hand brushing his hair out of his eyes.  There was a strange lack of pain, Soul almost though he had died for real, but, he thought slowly, if he had really died he would be back in hell and this was entirely too nice to be hell.

Soul sat up slowly and turned to look at Scott, his face was the most wonderful thing Soul had seen.  All his odd feelings were gone, his worries about the truth in them was gone.  He was finally able to look at Scott and feel what only he felt, and what he felt was a strange fluttering in his stomach, and heat in his cheeks like he had fallen asleep in the sun.

“Um hi.”  Soul said, then looked down at his hands.  He felt, shy, but more than that he just really hoped Scott still liked him.  Scott had never felt ambiguous toward him, Soul knew, but he had never seen Soul without the oppressive bond telling him that Soul was his everything.  Soul knew he couldn’t be everything for Scott, but he really, really wanted to be something.

“Hi to you, I love you.”  Soul looked up sharply.  There was no way it could be that easy.  He had to be dreaming, alive but dreaming, there was no way he could be in heaven so soon after all he had done.  He hadn’t been alive, awake, long enough to make up for even a tiny bit of what he had-

“Stop thinking so hard.  I had a lot of time to think while you were trying not to die.  I had a lot of time to tell you all I need to say.  I was waiting for you to see me for real.  When I was stuck in the disgusting hell that is apparently your mind ,I felt the bond break, and really nothing changed.  They whispered that I could have anything that I wanted and all I wanted was you.  I think I found my hell there, I could have had anything I wanted but you, you couldn’t see me, and you are the only one that ever really has.  It was torture and it wasn’t even a moment compared to forever.”  Soul wanted to frown and roll his eyes, it was entirely too sappy, but he could still feel the butterflies trying to claw their way out of his stomach with their tiny harmless feet and he sighed instead.  

“I loved you even when I hated you.  Being dead was no fun without you.  I think it wouldn’t have been hell if I didn’t remember you.  But I did and you ruined my peace.”  Soul realized as he continued to talk that his speech was entirely unromantic.  He employed the one tactic that had been consistently effective in his life and stopped talking.  Soul looked at Scott for a moment and just let himself feel.  He could feel a smile trying to sneak its way onto his face, but it was just not going to happen.  He kissed Scott instead, and when he felt the corners of Scott’s mouth turn up he had to smile too, if only to keep kissing him. 

Soul let his hands creep under Scott’s soft shirt, he let them trace up his back and around to the tight nubs of his nipples, he let his nails train down the gentle bumps of Scott’s ribs, he let them feel the goosebumps his touch had caused.  And when they had finished their journey he let them wind into Scott’s hair to pull him closer.

Soul only pulled back when his still tender lungs reminded him that oxygen was a necessity and not a luxury.  Soul opened his eyes to look at the face of his Scott, his love, and saw his own feelings reflected back at him.  He watched love, he watched relief, and finally he watched the spark of lust grow into a fire that matched to one growing inside himself. 

“Please, make lo- fuck to me?”  Soul’s voice was soft and he didn’t know what he was saying and he didn’t care until Scott began to laugh.

“Make fuck to you?  That sounds fun but care to explain?”

“Fuck, love me, fuck me, just do something I love you and I suck at words, I have to show you!”  Soul could feel his flush darken but he paid himself no mind.  He had attention only for Scott and getting his clothes off.  He started with Scott’s shirt because it was already in his hands.  When the shirt was gone he pulled off his own and was reaching for the drawstring on Scott’s pants when his hands were caught in a gentle grip.

“You were literally dead three days ago and you haven’t eaten, and you just woke up-“ There was a hint of worry mixed with the urgency in Scott’s eyes and Soul hated it.  He was alive damn it and he was going to get what he wanted.

“Food will be there later.”  He jerked his hands but they were firmly caught.

“I’ll be here later too.”  Soul wailed in frustration and when Scott let him go he flopped onto his back and pulled off his own pants.  The feel of the sheets against his skin was almost more than he could bear.  It was almost worse than the compulsion from Sylvia because there was no feeling of wrongness to temper the feeling.  He writhed and palmed his cock.  It hurt it felt so good and Soul bit his lip just hard enough to draw blood.  But instead of diffusing the feeling it added to the overload of sensation flooding his synapses.  He froze for a moment stunned by the sudden intensity of his feeling.  And in that moment he could have sworn that a soft voice whispered to him enjoy life, enjoy your body, enjoy love. 

“Soul?”  Scott looked down at him and he reached yanking Scott down for a kiss, determined to get when he wanted Soul flipped them so he was sitting securely on Scott’s stomach.  He ground against the firm muscles beneath him and knew that he could come easily just like this, the warm friction of Scott’s skin almost more than he could comprehend, but still he wanted more.  Scott had finally realized that Soul was not going to take his recent death as an excuse and held him tightly, his fingers digging into the muscles of his ass, it felt amazing and still Soul wanted more.   He ground harder and leaned down for a kiss, he didn’t pull away before asking for lube, speaking against Scott’s lips, hoping that Scott would have some nearby because if he didn’t Soul was going to hope spit worked better than he had heard.  Luckily he didn’t have to find out because Scott was handing him a small bottle. 

Soul growled in frustration when the small cap was too difficult for his shaking hands to open.  He was about to give up again but Scott flipped them again and before he had regained his equilibrium Scott was rubbing a cool slick finger against his hole and Soul was able to breathe.  Finally they were getting somewhere. 

As Soul sighed Scott slid two finders inside him.  The burn was intense but Soul didn’t mind, he loved every moment- but his desire for more hadn’t left him.  He writhed on Scott’s fingers unaware of the myriad sounds he was making.  When he found his voice the only words that he could find were variations on more, harder, please, and Scott. 

When Scott’s third finger did little to alleviate the emptiness that haunted Soul he wrapped his legs tighter around Scott and flipped them again.  The movement dislodged Scott’s fingers but Soul didn’t mind because he was able to, without hesitation, slide down the rigid pole of Scott’s erection until he sat flush to Scott’s hips and he could breathe again. 

“Oh fuck.”  Soul would have been satisfied to just sit for a moment and process the burn, the pleasure, and the soul deep completeness he felt, but Scott had different plans.

“Potty mouth.”  Scott said, and thrust up, he couldn’t go deeper but the movement shifted their position so he ground against Soul’s prostate and Soul gasped- a breath away from climax.  He leaned forward to rest his hands on Scott’s chest and when Scott repeated his action the sensation was even more intense.  Soul flinched and tried to conceptualize the feeling but Scott wasn’t giving him any time to think, he kept thrusting, kept grinding and Soul’s ability to even try to think fled, all he could do was hold on and try to breathe.  He saw lights floating in front of his eyes but it was nothing compared to the fireworks that were building to an incomprehensible climax.  Soul’s muscles were clenching and releasing almost randomly, his legs shook and if his elbows weren’t locked he would have fallen forward into Scott, he gasped as the feeling grew larger than his body and in a moment he was sure he wouldn’t survive, the fear only made the rapture more complete and in a moment of clarity Soul knew that bond or not he would never be able to live without Scott.

The feeling of physical release was almost secondary to the release of emotion.  Soul was gasping and tears were falling down his cheeks as he laid his head against Scott’s chest, the warmth of his seed between them and the feeling of Scott’s release inside him soothed his burning skin.  His muscles were like water and he couldn’t have moved for anything.  Soul felt the hand on his back begin to move, stroking his sweat soaked back, soothing his breathing, but not his tears.  Soul let himself feel the anguish from the whole year, the confusion, the relief, the fear and the pain.  He let himself feel how tired he was, from uncertainty and from death.  He had slept for days but his body had no fuel.  He had burned more than he had in reserves and he was completely empty.  He had only tears left and in a few moments even those were gone.  Unable to do a thing more Soul passed out completely.


Soul woke again hours later and felt exactly how expected to feel.  Revived, but sore.  He could feel his death and revival in his bones.  The need to experience life as intensely as he could was no longer sustaining him and his stomach gnawed at him.  His eyes opened to an empty room.  And fear flooded him.  He was alone in a room painted with poppies too familiar to be safe.

Before Soul could work himself into too horrible a panic the door opened and the room was filled with the smell of chicken soup and warm bread.  His stomach gave a roar of approval.  Scott put the food on a side table and pulled Soul into a sitting position against the pillows before placing a pillow on his lap.

“I couldn’t find a tray so no spilling.”  And even though the soup was from a can it was the best thing Soul had ever tasted.

Soul wanted to discuss all that he had learned, but after he had finished the soup he couldn’t stay awake for a moment longer.  He knew that Scott was probably tired of just watching him sleep but he couldn’t resist his body’s demands.  He only had the presence of mind to hand the empty bowl to Scott before sliding back under the covers and falling asleep again.


Soul opened his eyes and for a moment he thought he was blind.  There was no light in the room, and he knew that he was alone.  He remembered after sitting up that he was not in the scarlet room and decided not to try and find the door.  He still wasn’t feeling himself and he had no idea how to get anywhere from where he was.  It was difficult to wait, but he did.  There was a feeling that something had changed in the house, something significant.  It felt new but not entirely, something had been different since the first time he woke, he just hadn’t had the time to consciously think about it. 

The house was dark, silent, as it had been before Soul’s attempt to leave this world, but this silence was different.  There wasn’t the feeling of oppression; it was as if the house had released tension.  Soul had never felt entirely comfortable in the house, and he didn’t feel entirely comfortable in the darkness, alone, but it was a different unease.  It was anticipation instead of dread.  Soul sat and felt, and looked for the words to recount his experience. He tried to remember the invisible being’s words exactly and found he could not, but the impressions he was left with were strong.  Soul was confidant he knew what Sylvia was trying to do, and he was confidant that she would not be able to accomplish her goals. 

Soul was getting decidedly tired of sitting alone in the dark when the door opened. Even the slight illumination from the hall seemed bright.  Soul’s eyes easily picked up Scott’s face in the flickering light.

“The power has gone out.  I brought a candle.”  It would have been romantic if Soul weren’t so anxious to talk, finally.  He patted the bed beside him, unwilling to stand even with the light of the candle.  Scott set the candle on the bedside table where Soul’s soup had rested hours before and sat cross-legged on the bed.

Soul opened his mouth for his carefully thought out narrative, but Scott beat him to the punch.

“Mother, Sylvia, is really not doing well.  She hasn’t been since- well since the bond, and she has gotten even worse since it was broken.  Apparently she doesn’t have that much power of her own.  The bond, or its lack of completion was giving her the power.”

Soul frowned, she had made the bond herself it didn’t makes sense-

“How did she get power from something she created?”  Soul felt the bed shift slightly as Scott shrugged.

“I don’t understand it really.  Something about potential energy, she should have known that he power couldn’t last but she ignored it.  I think so much time passed she didn’t really remember how little Gift she had.”  Soul still didn’t understand but he had more questions.

“Is she going to be okay?”

“She could be, maybe.  But the people she called to help her- aren’t happy.  It seems that her power had greater reach than we thought.  They aren’t loyal to her, not really.  She has no one left.  I don’t think that anyone will take care of her.  I will miss her but I couldn’t- her time has passed.” 

Scott rubbed his face and Soul guessed he was crying. He didn’t mention it, he hated Sylvia but knew that Scott loved her, and would always lover her even when her influence was completely gone.  And with this new information he might not have to share his plan, Sylvia was done and all Soul had to do was make sure Scott would be alright without her.

Soul loved his mother even though he didn’t know her, he loved her for her intentions, and for her sacrifice even if he would have given almost anything to have really met her.  Maybe someday, somehow he would.  He would have a lot of time and many opportunities to ask questions once he died.  And hopefully he would have enough time to come up with clever questions to ask her.

“They want to burn it.”  Scott said suddenly.  “They want to burn the house to the ground.”  Soul looked up sharply, not realizing how deeply he had fallen into his thoughts.


“Because of whatever she was doing.  It’s not safe to leave it here, just in case she does survive, in case someone else wants what she wants, but it’s my home, I don’t know where else to go.” 

Scott was definitely crying now and Soul didn’t know how to soothe him.  He could always go home even if there was no one waiting for him.  He guessed they could go back to school but that wasn’t really a home, and it seemed so unnecessary now, what were they going to do?  Soul wrapped himself around Scott, knowing his words would do nothing to soothe him, and they sat, rocking gently for many minutes, until the smell of smoke curled softly, but persistently under the door.

“Oh no” Scott whispered when it was certain the smell wasn’t an accident.  “I asked them to wait.”  But they hadn’t, whoever they were, and they had to leave, immediately.


Soul had no idea where they were going, it was dark and they had left the candle in the room.  They had nothing but the clothes they were wearing and each other.  Soul followed Scott blindly hoping they could beat the flames, and when they burst through the final door into the garden the soft illumination of the stars was like heaven.  The air was crisp with just the hint of a chill, but the heat from the already burning house was oppressive.  There was already a group watching, and they joined them.

The fire was almost beautiful in its destruction.  The sound of flames roaring and the shattering of glass and loud cracks of beams breaking filled the night, louder than Soul would have imagined, and it was awe inspiring to see how quickly the fire destroyed the massive house and all the misery it had caused.  It had begun to collapse in on itself when Scott broke the cacophonous silence.

“Where is mother?”  Eyes dropped to the ground, and for a moment no one spoke. 

“She didn’t make it out.”  Nova said finally, softly, and even though he sounded almost mournful everyone knew it hadn’t been an accident.  Soul wrapped his arm around Scott, knowing it was an impossible thing to hear, and an even worse implication, but Scott held his head high.

“I guess we are finally free.”  There were nods all around, but Soul saw one wicked smile, almost hidden by soft wavy hair, an expression he had never expected to see on Josie’s face.
The end is in sight!!  Many years later I can finally see a conclusion to Scott and Soul's story and it is a truly strange feeling.  Only two chapters, maybe three remaining? Ahh I don't know what to think! Though I have few other ideas that are trying to get out.  But nope, not yet, finishing first.  Hopefully tomorrow a new chapter will be posted here and submitted to Lit.  Happy hump day indeed.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Charcoal pt 18

Woo! Finally the end is in sight after an embarrassingly many years.  I hope you enjoy!

Scott couldn’t believe it had actually happened, he felt resolved, like everything he had ever felt was finally settling into his skin.   An anxiety that had always been a part of him was lifted.  He felt satiated and calm and thoroughly exhausted.  And then he felt Soul’s arms wrap around him and heard the whispered  I love you  and nothing could have been more perfect.

Scott felt Soul drift to sleep and a feeling he recognized as not his own began to sep through his body, a lack of control, a soul deep longing to be his own person.  Absolute desolation and fear, Scott lost his breath as the feeling intensified overwhelming any peace he had felt.  He knew the feeling was not his own, and knew that it wasn’t as intense in him as it was in Soul but it still destroyed him.  Scott looked at the man next to him and understanding flooded him.  He put the pieces together, the days of working up to this moment, to joining.  The sudden calm, the last afternoon of happiness.  Soul had wanted him to see him happy, wanted him to know his leaving wasn’t because of Scott, it was to rid himself of this feeling.  Scott understood but he knew that he couldn’t let Soul complete the next part of his plan.  Scott concentrated on the bond, on the little piece of his heart and mind that had never been truly his and began to push, push the dark, raging desperation back, he tried to fill the hole with love and understanding and the piece he had felt minutes before, and while it left him slowly Scott came to understand that it was a part of Soul something he would never be able to fix.  It was something only Soul could take care of.  Scott felt the edges of his happiness begin to fold in on themselves again.  He had once again failed, and it was a failure he would never be able to fix.


Soul woke up slowly, sore in the most delicious way, and wrapped in Scotts arms.  For a moment he was content to simply lie there comforted.  But he knew that Scott would have felt his feelings and if he were to put his plan into action he would have to act quickly.  Unfortunately when Soul tried to wiggle gently from Scott’s arms Scott woke and only held him more tightly.

“I understand.”  Scott whispered and Soul could feel tears spring to his eyes.  It was what he wanted, or a part of what he wanted, something he had wanted for so, so long.  “I understand, but I can’t lose you- please?”  Scott’s voice started strong but lost its rigidity with his last words.  Soul felt the tears begin to streak down his cheeks but his resolve remained.  There was no way he would change his mind.  He needed to do this for himself, for everyone.  He needed to feel some power for once in his life and most of all he needed a rest.  A break from all of it and the only way he could do that was to end it forever. 

Soul felt the edges of his mind melt and knew that Scott was looking inside him, feeling what he was feeling.  He wanted that ability for himself, but didn’t want to wait around to learn.  The sooner he did it the less it would hurt Scott, and now that he was so deeply attached to Scott, even in love with him, going gently mattered a lot to him. 

Soul felt Scott begin to cry into his hair and willed his feelings to change.  But he could see no other way out but death.  His challenge now was to figure out a way to do it without Scott stopping him. 

When Scott had stopped crying they quietly showered and got dressed Soul found himself reaching out to Scott, but Scott seemed to always be just a bit out of reach, even when his fingers did manage to connect it was apparent that Scott had shut down his emotions and Soul didn’t have the tools to reach into him and pull the out.  It made him feel worse, if that was possible, but he told himself that it was better that way.  If Scott was already distancing himself it wouldn’t be so bad for him when Soul was gone.

The house was again almost unnaturally quiet.  But it didn’t have the feeing or atmosphere as it did the day before, something had been irreparably damaged between them.  Soul almost felt like drawing, but he wouldn’t let himself, he wandered through the house following Scott like a lovesick puppy. It was hours before he realized that Scott wasn’t really going anywhere, that he wasn’t doing anything.  The random objects he picked up and put down were just that- random.  The rooms they passed through didn’t have any meaning and the pacing through hallways was just pacing. 

When Soul realized that he wasn’t going to reach Scott he began plotting with more intensity.  He didn’t know very much about dying.  He could take some sort of pills- but he didn’t know where any were or how many he would need to take.  He could try to set up a hanging but it was unlikely he would be dead before Scott caught him, and honestly he didn’t know if he was brave enough to suffocate.  He could cut himself, but he wanted to avoid pain if he could.  There were no guns, and again he didn’t know if he could make himself do it.  He began considering the objects Scott had picked up in each room, wondering if there was some way to die with them.  He could think of ways for most of them, but ways he was not willing to attempt.  Cursing his cowardice Soul sat on one of the couches in one of the seemingly endless sitting rooms.  He had thought this would be so easy, but nothing here was easy, and leaving was the most difficult of all.

Scott watched Soul for a moment before resuming his wandering.  Soul felt acutely alone and desolate for a few moments then decided to use his free time to look for something that could help him.  He knew there were many bathrooms, and surely one would have some sort of pill he could take.  Sighing he levered himself off the couch with entirely too much effort and went on his own aimless quest through the house.

Knowing he had little to nothing to lose Soul opened every door that was unlocked and rifled through every drawer and cabinet he could find.  Finally when he was getting close to giving up, or taking a break as he told himself he found an unlocked room.  When he made it through the door Soul realized it was really a suite of rooms, something about the airy decorations mixed with pieces of heavy furniture told him it was Josie and Nova’s rooms.  Thinking of all the difficulty she had with her pregnancy Soul felt a renewed sense of purpose, there had to be something in here that would help him.  He was not wrong.  He found in one of the bedside tables a bottle full of small blue pills, take one for sleep, the label read.  Soul took the whole bottle.  He left the room as undisturbed as he could.  He thought he could take the pills immediately but didn’t want anyone to stumble upon him and make him throw them up- or worse take him to a hospital.  He would wait until it was almost time for bed, then his drowsiness would be natural and no one would know what had happened until the next morning.  Soul felt bad for a moment, imagining Scott waking up next to his cold body, but shook off the feeling.  They would have the night, and Soul would make it up to him by taking the bond with him.  Scott would finally be able to make the choices that were the best for him, and not worry about what might happen to Soul. 

Dinner was quiet in the best way, Sylvia was there, along with a few of the others, but she didn’t speak, just frowned at her food and seemed to shiver every now and again.  She seemed sick and Soul couldn’t summon an ounce of sympathy for her.  He knew the time was nearing for him to leave this place and if she died with him all the better for everyone, especially for Scott. 

Scott and Soul walked to their rooms slowly, still not recovered from the day and the unexpected exchange of emotion.  Soul still felt like Scott was pulling away from him, but by the time they were ready for bed, and Soul had the bottle of pills hiding under his pillow Scott was pulling him closer, and moments later kissing him, sliding his hands under Soul’s soft top.

“I don’t want to let you go.”  Scott whispered into Soul’s hair so quietly it almost couldn’t be heard.  Soul wanted to respond, to reassure him, but couldn’t find the words.  He tried to summon all the love he felt for Scott, all the pleasure he had felt in his arms, and tried to push that feeling toward the place in his chest he could feel Scott, tried to push that feeling into him so he would have something to hold onto when Soul was gone, then Soul put his mind to making Scott forget. 

Soul pulled himself gently from Scott’s arms, successfully this time, and gingerly swung his legs out of bed fighting his own post-coital drowsiness.  He could sleep forever in just a few moments, he told himself, willing his eyes to remain open as he quietly pulled the bottle from under his pillow.  The small pills looked black in the darkness of the room, and he wondered it this would work.  They were so tiny and seemingly innocent.  There were ten in the bottle, and Soul hoped it would be enough.  He had remembered to set a glass for water in the bathroom and he took the pills in one swallow, they tried to stick in his throat gripping each other and fighting all the way down.  Soul fought his gag reflex and sore throat and finally they were down.  Relieved and sad that it would be over soon Soul made his way back to the bed and crawled under the covers next to Scott.  He wanted to feel Scott’s arms around him but didn’t want to make the discovery of his body any more jarring, so he placed a pillow in Scott’s arms to replace his body, and curled around a pillow of his own and waited for it to be over.

Scott woke with a feeling of dread building inside him.  He knew that there was little he could do to stop Soul from dying, but he didn’t think it would happen so soon, he didn’t think he would do it in their bed, and yet when he pulled the pillows from between them his fears were confirmed.  Soul was absolutely still and pale, a hit of blue shadowing his eyes and lips.  His chest was still and cool.  Scott sat frozen for a few moments; waiting for the desolation to hit him, for the ripping feeling of the bond being broken and it didn’t come.  He could still feel Soul, just out of reach.  It was worse than the years of wondering what feeling him would be like and with that thought Scott felt the tears begin to fall.

Soul had wanted him to be free of the bond, he knew that, but this was more trapped than he had ever felt, he was more useless than he had ever been and now there was no chance to redeem himself.  The only way he had gotten through the other long, long years was knowing there was a chance for everything to change.  It was all over and all his pain had been for nothing, all his pain was nothing compared to the long years awaiting him.  Scott couldn’t face seeing anyone, saying anything, he just wrapped his arms around the still body that had been his love and held him close.

Soul was drifting, it was dark here and peaceful.  Just like he had imagined death, and it was wonderful.  He had thought he wouldn’t be able to think, but the gently dreamlike suggestions floating through his mind didn’t bother him.  It was kind of nice to still exist in some way.  If it was this peaceful.  The only bad thing was he could still feel Scott, not distinctly but there was a niggling feeling where his heart would have been, if it had been beating.  Where a deep sadness had made its home.  Soul hoped Scott would feel better soon, for both their sakes. 

Soul drifted deeper and the thoughts became even less distinct, but there were images, dark swirling things that should have scared him but just felt familiar.  There were feelings that almost felt like memories.  Voices just out of reach, words he could almost understand.  Still he drifted through the inky shapes, his own body indistinct, only a thought surrounding his consciousness, gently, free of the rigidity of bones and skin.  He watched the shapes, and listened to the voices and drifted deeper, so deep it felt like he was beyond sleeping.  He would have wondered if he could, if this was sleeping to his spirit.  If being dead didn’t stop him from thinking why wouldn’t it keep him from sleeping?

Soul thumped solidly into a room or somewhere… he stumbled before realizing he no longer had a body.  He laughed to himself silently, and wondered for a moment if he could make a sound.  But his wondering cut of when he became aware of where he was.  It was the forest, the one made from hands and nails and smoke, the one he had been drawing seemingly forever.  He really didn’t want to be here.  The foreboding he had avoided was again closing around his throat choking him.  This was altogether too real.  This wasn’t just an image it was a place and here he knew bad things could and would happen to him.  He couldn’t breathe and even though he didn’t need to, it terrified him.

Slowly he looked around and realized this was the composite of what he had drawn for so many years, exactly as he had drawn it.  The image wasn’t a metaphor he didn’t understand it was a real place.  It was Hell. 

“Oh fuck.”  Soul whispered the words and no sound came out.  He turned to his right and found that there was a gate.  It was the only thing that looked manmade.  It was carved from rusting iron and towered over even the trees.  Soul began walking toward it even as everything that was left of him screamed at him to stop.  But the gate was opening and he couldn’t help himself from entering.  Thought streamed through his mind.  What had he done to deserve Hell?  He hadn’t really hurt anyone, except Scott, and that wasn’t on purpose.  He had never really believed in God but that would only send him to purgatory wouldn’t it?  He walked through the gates and it hit him.  He had killed himself.  That was why her was here.  But it didn’t explain why he had dreamt and drawn this place for so long.  At least, maybe, he would finally get some answers.

Soul walked and walked and the feeling of dread began to fade.  It wasn’t nice here, that was for sure but nothing was bothering him.  The scenery was creepy but nothing was trying to hurt him.  He could stay here if he needed to.  Maybe he could figure out why everything in his life had gone so horribly wrong.  Maybe in death there would be answers.  And even better his new non body didn’t seem to get tired, he walked for what could have been hours and felt no aches or pains.  Just the faint hint of foreboding and curiosity.  He hadn’t been able to stop walking, or turn in any direction that he chose, but he wouldn’t know how to choose.  This suited him just fine. And if this was his eternity- so be it.


Scott had begun to sob, and if he wasn’t holding Soul so tightly or if he hadn’t been hoping quite so hard he might have missed the soft exhale of breath.  Scott’s sobs stopped immediately though the tears continued to fall without pause.

“Soul?”  He asked quietly, there was no response, but there was a small hiccup.  Scott knew that people had just died sometimes made small sounds as their bodies began to decompose but that had definitely been a hiccup, a distinct muscular event, not a random- it happened again.  And Scott began to shake Soul willing him to breathe normally, to open his eyes, to take a breath or something, but he was still.  But Scott’s hope was unstoppable now. 

Scott picked Soul up and ran down the hall ignoring his lack of breath and clothing, with only one thing on his mind, making sure Soul didn’t slip any further away.  Scott could make his spirit come back, if only Soul had a body with enough life left to come back to.

Scott looked sadly down at the body that looked resolutely dead in the small hospital bed.  He had demanded the bed be brought to his rooms, his childhood rooms with the mural of poppies and familiar distance from the center of the house.  It was funny that this was the first time Soul had seen his room, or rather not seen it.  He was here finally but for all purposes gone.  He was propped up with pillows but his head stubbornly listed to the side no matter what Scott did to prop it up, the tube down his throat forced air into his lungs and the electronic box on his chest sent muscle spasm inducing shocks to his heart forcing it to pump. 

“If he’s dead it won’t help.”  Nova had told him as he attached the box.  “If he’s dead the blood will clot and you will just have a mess.”  Scott had known Nova wasn’t trying to be cruel but it had felt cruel.  He really believed resolutely that Soul was coming back and mess or not he would make sure his chances were as good as possible before reaching into the bond and pulling him back.  There were just a few things he had to do first.


Soul felt jostled for a few moments but he was not able to stop walking.  His throat began to burn his chest burned and it felt like things were punching him in the chest every few moments.  It was very uncomfortable and Soul really wished it would stop.  But he was soon distracted as the landscape began to change.  There began to be more different body parts, not just hands but arms, legs.  Feet, even, and here and there what looked like closed eyes.  Soul shuddered.  Not only were the body parts getting larger the forest they formed was getting deeper, the dread began to build again.  When the light was almost completely obscured and Soul began to be thankful for his inability to stray from the path because it ensured he wouldn’t fall or get hopelessly lost, or even worse, lead him to inadvertently touch some of the flesh plants.  He wondered for a moment what they would feel like, and if it would be worse if they were blood warm- or cold.

Soul’s dislike of being dead began to increase and he began to regret his decision to end it all when he came to another gate.  This one was smaller and at each cross of the iron bars there were eyes.  They blinked slowly at Soul and he wondered if it was worse that they could blink, or if simply staring would have made the whole thing worse.  Soul didn’t have to wonder too long because the doors opened and his legs began to move again. 

Soul waked for only a few minutes more before he stopped moving in front of a fountain, it was enormous and filled with something that he didn’t want to identify, it seemed almost like the shadows that had surrounded him on his way falling to Hell, they seemed more solid here, or rather liquid.  Soul was now free to move on his own but found himself unwilling to move, he waited, sure that something would show itself to him now the compulsion was gone.  He stared into the fountain, watching the shadows intertwined in ever narrowing fractals.  He found himself drawn to the patterns, even reaching out a hand to touch. 

“I wouldn’t if I were you.”  Soul turned; surprised by the voice even if a part of him was waiting for it.  The voice was as cool as it was deep, and even though the words held a hint of humor, Soul had the feeling the owner of the voice wouldn’t have a very good sense of humor.  “Well not if you don’t want to stay here forever.”

Scott held Soul’s hand in his own, the chill seeping into it was worrying him, and he couldn’t wait any longer.  He held the cup of tea in his other hand, the steam wafting from it didn’t smell very good but he trusted that it would help, and anything was worth getting Soul back, even if it meant following him to Hell.

Scott felt himself falling, it was an oddly peaceful feeling but he didn’t let the peace get to him.  He had to stay focused, he had to keep his eyes open and follow the thin invisible thread that was connecting him to what remained of Soul, if he let that intangible string break, of if he drifted too far off course he would have a nearly impossible task getting back to himself, if he would even want to after having lost Soul forever.  And so even as the voices whispered for him to follow them promising love, peace, anything he had ever wanted he had to resist, and even as the shadows slithered through his mind promising to tell him the answers to everything he had ever wanted to know he pushed them away, and as the flickers of memories he longed to relive danced at the edges of his vision he closed himself off to them and willed himself to fall more quickly, chasing after the thread. 

Soul had an unknown head start and it would take hours to follow him again and any distraction could ruin his hopes.  Scott focused himself, reminding himself that everything he wanted could be found with Soul, and that the only thing he really wanted was Soul.  With that thought in his mind he landed in a hand on the outskirts of Hell.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Charcoal Pt 17

As always any comments are welcome!!

Soul got into the car and buckled his seatbelt.  Anywhere was better than here.  Even the horrible house with its overwhelming miasma of disappointment, even the scarlet room and all the expectations that went with it.  Sylvia had won so why not just give her everything that she wanted?  Why should he drag out the pain when it was going to happen either way? Soul knew now that nothing in his life had ever been what he thought it was.  He had held onto his childhood somewhere inside himself assuring himself that all the craziness had started when he met Scott.  Learning about the twins had ruined that vision to some extent, but finding out that not even his mother was real was the final straw.  Nothing he had ever done, no one he had ever been close to just liked him for who he was.  No one had ever stayed and he had always been alone.
The ride home was silent.  Soul imagined this is what going to be sentenced for murder would feel like- an inescapable slow trek to nowhere.  He knew Sylvia would be waiting.  He knew they would all be punished.  He just didn’t know how.  And somehow that was even worse. 
The house was dark when they arrived and the sun was just setting.  It was about dinnertime but food was the last thing on any of their minds.  The huge doors were open when they pulled up and Sylvia was sitting on the staircase.  She was smiling the same smile as when Soul had first arrived.  It was as terrifying as it was fake.  Soul didn’t care, he walked past her without a word, and she let him go.  He almost imagined he felt a brush to his spirit and wished her well.  There was no need for her to make him feel awful; to take away his hope- it was already gone. 
Scott arrived to the scarlet room shortly after Soul; he seemed fine if subdued.  There was a hint of a red mark on his cheek.   He sat beside Soul and wrapped his arms around him. Soul didn’t move, he didn’t move as Scott undressed him.  He didn’t move when Scott left to shower and get ready for bed.  And even when Scott pulled him up and tucked him under the covers he didn’t resist.  Scott slept, his breath falling on Soul’s face is soft minty puffs, and Soul lay awake the whole night wondering if there was any way to gather any dignity, any agency.  And when the birds began warning that dawn was near he had one small idea.  Not hope, but an idea.  If it was going to end he could be the one to end it.  He would not be manipulated any more.  If his destiny were going to be this unyielding he would walk into it on his own power.
Scott woke slowly to the feeling of being touched, softly, slowly and all over his body.  It was one of his dreams, his favorite, most embarrassing dreams.  He didn’t want to open his eyes because then it would end.  It always ended, but he also couldn’t keep his eyes closed, on the off chance- Scott opened his eyes and they met the deepest pools he had seen.  Soul was looking up at him kneeling between his thighs.  It was his dream come true- almost. 
Soul didn’t look like he should. He was beautiful but his eyes were almost empty- deep still, but like a dead sea, there was no life in them, and there were deep bruises under them.  His touch was gentle, almost loving but Scott sighed.  Opening his eyes had ruined it again.  As much as he wanted this he couldn’t.  He couldn’t have Soul hate him and if he went through with this he knew something out be irreparably changed, and not in a good way.  Any progress they had made would be gone and Scott would be alone again.  He held Soul’s face in his hands and gently tugged him upward.  He wrapped Soul in his arms and pressed Soul’s face into his shoulder.  At first Soul was still rigid, but he melted soon enough and from the slightly shuddering breaths and wetness on his shoulder Scott knew that Soul was crying.  Scott tried to keep his own tears from falling but he couldn’t.  Once again he was unable to comfort his man.  Once again he was not able to solve the problems Soul was dealing with, once again he was a failure. 
Scott held Soul for hours while he cried and then when he slept.  Neither of them had much of an appetite.  Scott had begun to hope that everything would be okay but he couldn’t see it being okay now.   He rubbed Soul’s back and tried to think of anything that would make Soul feel better, to make him feel the same way Scott felt about him.
Soul dreamt of the end of everything.  He dreamt of his own death, and it was comforting, beautiful.  No one could hurt him there; there was only one problem.  In all the scenarios he imagined there was always Scott, devastated.  Soul dreamt of the picture he had drawn, of Scott crying over his dead body, and even through the picture had meant nothing to him just a few days ago, it now haunted him and ruined all his fantasies. 
Soul woke slowly but when he woke he had another idea.  If he could show Scott how he felt Scott would understand.  If Scott could feel the desolation he felt, the loss of everything he had ever thought he had known, he would know why Soul had to end it.  He would know why he needed to have one last act, his only truly autonomous act.  Soul knew that Scott would never finish the bond if he thought Soul didn’t want it.  But Soul had a plan for that as well.  He would just have to fake it- and with all his recent practice Soul was sure he could do it.  He could ignore the house, Sylvia, all of it, and just focus on Scott, and once it was over, he wouldn’t have to pretend or hide anymore he would have what he had always really wanted- complete understanding and then quiet, peace. 
When Soul finally opened his eyes the first thing he saw was Scott.  And Scott looked almost as bad as Soul felt, his skin looked dull and his eyes were rimmed with red, he had to have spent a lot of the time Soul spent sleeping, crying.  Soul tried to smile at him, but even with his plan firmly in place it didn’t quite come out.  Giving up and figuring it was unrealistic for him to feel better after one good cry Soul wrapped his arms around Scott and tried to offer the comfort Scott always wanted to offer him.  Scott didn’t respond for a moment but then hugged back, and for a moment it was like they were the only two people in the world. 
Soul and Scott showered separately but spent the next hours attached at the hip.  They didn’t go anywhere without each other, even if they hardly spoke.  Sylvia stayed out of the way, Soul guessed it was because she figured nothing she could think up would compare to the punishment he had brought upon himself, and if she couldn’t detect any happy emotions what was there for her to take away?

The next days passed similarly, almost in silence, and with few interactions with anyone other than Scott.  It was almost as if the house had been abandoned.  All the new guests seemed to have vanished and the siblings were only seen in passing and only around meal times.  They looked subdued, or determined but Soul paid them little attention.  He had only one goal at the moment and it only required his own powers of deception.  He had to convince Scott that he was feeling better, and that he wanted to finish the bond.  He didn’t mention it at all the first day, but began answering Scott’s queries to how he was feeling with variations of loneliness.  And as time went on Soul realized it wasn’t a lie at all, he was lonely, he did want to feel a connection with someone he did want at least one person to really understand him, to stay with him.  He found that the more he spoke to Scott he began to believe his own words.  Maybe everything really would be better with the bond in place; maybe all of Sylvia’s plotting would mean less to him.  And logically it made sense, Scott had survived her and Soul was only a promise of a future.   Soul did most of his talking when they were alone and in bed, right before sleeping with all the lights off and with the lurid color of the room hidden Soul found it was embarrassingly easy to spill his feeling and insecurities.  Scott was a wonderful listener and crying himself to sleep ensured that he slept without dreams. 
On the fourth morning after discovering his mother was only a shadow Soul woke feeling almost hopeful.  He knew that when he opened his eyes he could look into Scott’s and the feeling warmed a small piece of his heart.  He still felt disconnected and alone, he still felt like nothing would ever be okay, but his plan was working in ways he hadn’t imagined.  And soon it would be complete. 
Soul opened his eyes slowly and found Scott already awake, looking down on him with the strangest expression in his eyes.
“You were smiling in your sleep.”  Soul blinked sleepily. 

“You were smiling in your sleep.  You haven’t smiled in days and you looked like you were dreaming of happy things.”
Soul smiled again and it didn’t feel forced.
“I was just thinking of you.”  And it was the truth. 


Soul sat up and gave Scott a kiss, when Scott sat up too; Soul wiggled himself into Scott’s lap facing him and looked into his eyes.  He had never thought that he had really been able to see anyone’s soul but Scott’s seemed to be shining out of his as surely as the early morning sun shone through the windows.  It was bright and sweet and full of love, and Soul wished he could reach inside and touch it.  Instead he brushed a finger against Scott’s eyelashes, and when Scott closed his eyes in response it was as if a bit of the light in the room had been turned off.  Soul brushed the lashes as they sat on Scott’s cheeks then kissed them.  His mind was made up.  Tonight was the night, he just had to convince Scott that he really wanted it, and in that moment Soul didn’t think it would be a difficult task because it was the truth, he did want the bond, he wanted to touch Scott’s soul.
Scott couldn’t understand what was happening.  Just days ago Soul looked like not only had his heart broken, but that his spirit and soul were gone.  And today just four days later he was smiling in his sleep.  Scott had been preparing himself for years more of torture, of knowing Soul was hurting and not knowing how to help him.  But it was like the devastation had opened something in him.  He talked to Scott, really talked to him, about all kinds of things, about what his dreams had been, and about how worried he had been that he would never find anyone to be with, about how alone he had always felt even with the twins.  Soul had cried but he was finally sharing himself, and now he was smiling.  Scott couldn’t stop smiling himself even though he was still wary of the change.  He listened to Soul humming softly to himself in the shower and Scott wondered if he would ever understand Soul even with the bond. 
“I’m finally hungry, starving really, can we make breakfast?  I feel like creating something.  Something yummy.”  Soul had just stepped out of the shower and still wrapped in towels flopped onto the bed next to Scott.
“I think probably.  There is probably breakfast made already though.”  Scott smiled at the bundle of towels wrapped around Soul and was rewarded with a bright smile in return.
“But I want to make something.”  Scott shrugged but in his mind he was going to make sure that Soul was able to create to his hearts desire, even beyond breakfast.  Scott hadn’t spent any time in his studio since returning home and he missed it.  He had a sudden urge to share it with Soul, to make something of the day, literally.  Something told him that today was going to be a special day.
“Okay then we will make something.  Put on something you don’t mind getting dirty.”  For a minute Scott thought Soul would put on one of the outfits Sylvia had gotten for him, just for the sake of ruining it, but he turned from the wardrobe after a minute of considering it and began to dig through the bag he had first brought with him.  Scott wanted to stay and watch the towels come off one by one but he dragged himself to the shower.  It wouldn’t do to ruin the day before it even began.
Scott was surprised when he saw what Soul was wearing.  When he had seen Soul dress before it was always in dark neutral colors, but this- Soul had a soft well worn t-shirt with a sunflower in faded ink on the front and soft green corduroy cut offs.  He looked like he had just been in an art studio, and he looked perfect.  The colors suited him, as did the careless feel of the outfit.  Sylvia would hate it and that just made Scott love it all the more.
Soul had a blast making the kitchen a complete mess.  It was spotless when they entered and didn’t seem at all homey like a kitchen should feel.  Soul had a moment of deep sadness when he realized the kitchen he compared it to, his mother’s kitchen, wasn’t really homey either, but this was sterile.  Even a fake mother infused a kitchen with more life than Sylvia, but in a way it’s clinical cleanliness and strictly ordered implements made it even more fun to play in. 

Soul made pancakes and they were a horrible mess.  They didn’t even taste very good but the act of making made the day feel even better.  They ate the pancakes right out of the pan and the syrup crystallizing in the pan made it impossible to cook the later cakes correctly, but it didn’t matter.  The only things that mattered were the smile on Scott’s face and how thoroughly debauched the kitchen looked when they were done.  Soul felt a hint of guilt about not cleaning up, he knew it wouldn’t be Sylvia that did it, but it quickly faded as Scott lead him through a door he hadn’t been through before and down a very narrow flight of stairs to his studio.
Soul had imagined anything underground in this house to be damp and full of monsters but he couldn’t have been more wrong.   The room was filled with light. Two of the walls were a rich cream and the other two were covered in beautiful murals they seemed oddly familiar to Soul but he was quickly distracted by the rest of the room.  There were hundreds of small statues, some ceramic, both glazed and not, there were also racks for drying paintings, some full, some still waiting for paintings to fill them.  There were tall shapes that were covered with drop cloths, and in one corner there was a large kiln.  Soul was stunned by the number of pieces as well as their quality, and by the sheer size of the studio.  It was magnificent and Soul felt like he was seeing another part of Scott’s soul, of his life.  It was obvious that this was the place where Scott felt the most comfortable in his house, the space was filled with bits of him from the murals to the hint of his scent mixed with the smells of oil paint, clay, heat, and stone.  It was beautiful.
Soul spent hours looking through the racks of paintings careful not to smudge the paint even though it had been drying for ages.  He picked up the tiny figures amazed at their detail, he gazed at the murals trying to figure out why they were so familiar, but even though his fingers ached to uncover them he left the covered pieces covered.  As an artist himself he understood the need to keep some things covered.  Plus there was so many other things to look at he didn’t need to see more.  Scott didn’t say a word and just let Soul look, but even with the silence Soul felt closer to Scott than he ever had.  Seeing the studio reinstated the feeling Soul had had before of what could have been if things were different.  He felt a twinge of sadness that even just a few days ago he could have thought of it- however subconsciously- as what could be. 
After Scott led Soul out of his studio they went outside to the garden where Soul had met the twins to discuss their escape.  In the daytime the garden was even more beautiful, the flowers were open and their buds were magnificent, the colors were more vibrant that Soul could remember seeing.  Their perfume filled the air and though it should have been overwhelming it just smelled like paradise.  Even at the short distance from the house the oppressive feeling was less overwhelming.  The whole day was like a vacation from depression.  Soul knew it was waiting for him later but each moment felt like a gift.  Soul still felt a bit guilty that they were having such a lovely time and he was going to stick to his plan, but he also felt resolved. If this was going to be one of his last days it might as well be one of his best days, and it was a good way for Scott to remember him when he was gone.  Plus he hoped that Scott would be able to feel the happiness Soul had felt through the bond.  Maybe then he would be able to give up on his guilt that he had never been able to make Soul feel better. 
They went inside when the light was starting to fade, and even though they sat down to dinner with Sylvia, Scott’s father, Josie, Nova, and a few others, the meal wasn’t enough to ruin Soul’s mood.  And when Sylvia mentioned that she would be out that evening his spirits soared.  Not only would he get all that he wanted he wouldn’t have to worry about Sylvia listening in and peeking through keyholes.  Even her cutting comments about his outfit, which was now covered in soil and flower petals, did nothing to ruin his mood.  The only thing that came close to upsetting Soul’s levity was the desolate look on Josie’s face but he told himself that he couldn’t help her, that he couldn’t take on any other problems.  He could only focus on solving his own and hope that somehow it would make some things easier for the others.  Sylvia made it seem like he was the key to her plans, and if he was no longer around maybe the others would be able to come up with a better plan.  She would at least be distracted.  
Dessert was cleared and Soul didn’t spare a thought for anything other than getting Scott upstairs and naked.  After enduring Sylvia’s seemingly endless goodbye and list of instructions for taking care of the house Soul nearly dragged Scott upstairs.  Scott seemed surprised, but willing and Soul was willing to use anything to his advantage.  His excitement almost overcame his nervousness but when the doors of their suite were finally closed he couldn’t help but pause.  To finish the bond they had to have sex, and Soul really didn’t know what he was doing. 
Soul knew that he would have to initiate, he knew that Scott was terrified of pushing him too fast, but he hoped that Scott would take over.  Soul was second guessing himself and considering how he could somehow manipulate Scott into taking the lead.  Scott seemed to notice something had changed and was beginning to lose his glowing reflection of Soul’s happiness.   Soul reached into his limited knowledge of romance and blurted the first thing that came to mind.
“Do you want to take a bath with me?”  He cheeks flamed once the words were out of his mouth but the idea didn’t sound half bad, it was relaxing and he was a bit dirty, and it was an excuse to get Scott naked that Scott wouldn’t consider threatening manipulative- he hoped.  As the moment extended in silence Soul considered for the first time day that his plan might not work, that Scott might say no.  Soul felt the bubbly warmth that had filled his chest all day begin to fade, he ran a hand through his hair and waited for the rejection. 
“That sounds really nice, I haven’t taken a bath in ages- do you want candles?”  Soul almost cried his relief was so complete, even though the whole interaction took only around a minute it felt like his whole existence rested on it. 
“I would love candles.”  Scott’s smile brightened and the glow was back in Soul’s chest.  Everything was going to be all right.
Scott was surprised by Soul’s request and almost suspicious for a moment, but his happiness had remained steady all day.  Maybe his opening up had just been coming all along and finding out about his mother was just the key.  Scott wanted to believe it was real and with the option of just leaving gone he couldn’t imagine a reason why Soul would be faking.  Scott barely dared hope but something told him that not only could tonight be as special as the rest of the day, it could be the best night of his life, the night that would free him from the pain that had been his constant companion for his whole life.  Finally Soul would see- would feel what he had felt for so long.  Scott tried not to let the hope overwhelm him but it was almost impossible.  He could feel a tremor beginning in his hands as he searched for candles and matches.  He started the bath in the claw foot tub and spent an inordinate amount of time trying to determine what the perfect temperature would be.  He decided on just this side of lukewarm and added honeysuckle bubbles.  The smell reminded him of Soul and he figured with a neutral temperature it would be easy to adjust.  He hung towels on the warmer and finished lighting the candles but was unable to leave the bathroom for a few long moments.  What if none of it was what he had imagined?  What if they still didn’t finish the bond? What if?  The questions would have continued if there hadn’t been a soft knock on the bathroom door.
“Can I come in yet?”  Soul’s voice was soft, and further muffled by the door.
“You can come in- come now!”  The words were more forceful than Scott intended but when the door opened and Soul stood there with not a stitch on he forgot all of the things he was worried about.  Even if they only took a bath and went to sleep it would be worth it for the image of Soul’s pale skin and luminous eyes lit by the candles.  Scott didn’t want to stare but he couldn’t help it.  He wished he had his paints so he could immortalize the moment, but something told him that his memory would have to do.  There was no way that he could capture such perfection and if he really thought about it he wouldn’t want to ruin his memory by trying to produce what was bound to be an inferior rendering.  Scott willed his mind to quiet so he could really focus on the image, and as he did it was just made better by the blush slowly crawling up Soul’s body.  Scott stared for a minute more, then realizing that Soul couldn’t- yet- read his mind and he rushed to reassure him.
Scott stripped himself of his own clothes and invited Soul into the water.  And when they were safely in the water, Soul cradled between Scott’s thighs Scott was happy with the temperature he had chosen, if wasn’t cold enough for Soul to shiver, but it was just cool enough that Soul pressed himself against Scott’s chest.  It was heaven and Scott wanted it to never end.
The water felt wonderful, Soul would thought it would be warmer, but the temperature gave him an excuse to settle back into Scott’s arms.  Scott was always warm and with the water just slightly cool he felt amazing, especially because his skin was slick with bubbles and water and the candles flickered against the bubbles and the walls magically.  Soul couldn’t imagine a better last night.  He sighed happily and almost dozed off, forgetting his plan.  It wasn’t until the last of the bubbles had faded into the water and Scott began to wash the soap from his hair that Soul remembered that he was the one that was supposed to be doing the seducing.  But Scott was just so good at it.  Soul relaxed and enjoyed the feeling, there was no need to rush- they had all night.
When they were both wrapped in towels and Soul was sitting on the bed watching Scott rummage around in his dresser for something to put on Soul realized it was time to make his move.
“Scott, come here please.”  Soul had wanted to say something seductive but his worry about timing and the distraction of Scott’s naked back had robbed him of intelligent thought.
“Why?”  Scott turned and Soul was again robbed of words, Scott had brought the candles into the bedroom, unwilling to blow them out and the light played off his body in the most distracting way.
“Because… I- I want to touch you?”  Soul couldn’t help but sound unsure, he knew what he wanted but he was unsure of Scott’s reaction.  There was, however, no need for worry.
Scott grinned and pounced onto the bed crawling slowly up to meet Soul against the headboard.  His bounce didn’t quite match the mood Soul had imagined, but it was so indisputably Scott that it was perfect.
“You can touch me whenever.  But I want to touch you.”  Scott reached under Soul’s knees to pull him away from the headboard.  Scott began to kiss his way from Soul’s ankle and up his leg. Soul was stunned for a moment.
“Oh, that’s nice, but, but I want to touch you.”  Scott paused and for a moment Soul was worried he wasn’t going to stop and as much as Soul loved being in Scott’s mouth he had a different idea for tonight and he didn’t want to be distracted any more. 
Luckily enough for Soul, Scott placed a kiss on the inside of each of Soul’s knees then flopped down next to him against the pillows, placing his arms behind his head, and closing his eyes.  Scott hummed softly and Soul took a moment to just look at him.  From the soft waves of his hair to the crescent of his eyelashes against his cheeks, then lower across his collarbone and his sculpted chest, to his peaked nipples and slowly rising and falling stomach, Soul caught his breath as his gaze stopped at Scott’s cock, slowly filling beneath his navel.  It was beautiful and intimidating.  Soul knew it would fit but he felt his insides tingle with a new wave of nervousness.  He gazed at Scott’s long legs, falling gently open and finally finished at his feet.  Soul didn’t particularly care about feet, but Scott’s were like a stature’s feet, and fresh from the bath they almost looked sculpted, they were flawless.  

Gathering himself Soul took one finger to trace the path his eyes had taken.  Scott shivered as Soul’s hand traveled whisper soft across his skin, and when Soul got paused at Scott’s navel Scott’s eyes opened.  Soul looked up immediately sensing the small change.  Scott pushed himself up on his elbows looking down as Soul who was now kneeling between his legs.  Soul smiled taking confidence in Scott’s slightly dazed expression and enormous pupils, and still smiling took Scott into his mouth.
Soul found himself missing the smell of Scott, he smelled like honeysuckle and tasted like clean skin and soap, but the musky Scott smell was gone.  Soul tickled Scott with his tongue thinking of all the things that he liked the best and learning from Scott’s subtle movements and soft sounds.  Soul wanted to continue, wanted to test his skill but he wanted more.  As much as he took pleasure in Scott’s pleasure, his body was throbbing, and his skin ached with his desire to be touched.

“Do you have…?”  Soul trailed off, hoping his inexperience wouldn’t ruin the moment, but Scott was too far gone to care.  He flung an arm to the side indicating the bedside tale on what had become his side of the bed.  When Soul let go of him to look Scott moaned like his heart was breaking and sat up fully.  Once Soul had found the small bottle and turned back Scott had recovered somewhat. He still looked thoroughly debauched and on the edge of his control but his eyes focused on Soul and his expression was guarded.

“Soul are you sure?”  Soul didn’t trust himself enough to answer with words; he hoped his body and his actions would speak enough for him.  He felt goose bumps crawl up his arms as he crawled back to Scott and straddled his hips.  Soul opened the bottle of lube and poured some on his fingers.  It was slipperier than he expected and cold, especially when he reached back to apply it to his hole.  It was more difficult that he had expected it to be, and the angle hurt his wrist.   What he had intended to be a sexy show of his desire was just awkward, but Scott saved him, again.  After very obviously stifling a giggle Scott flipped Soul onto his back and somehow took the bottle from him at the same time.

“Let me, I want to.”  Soul tensed at the initial movement but relaxed with Scott’s comforting warmth surrounding him.  It seemed like Scott wasn’t going to argue with him, and his plan was going to go off without a hitch. 

Scott circled Soul’s hole with just the tip of a finger, and the almost tickling feeling made Soul want to scream.  He could feel his muscles clenching and relaxing, wanting- needing something more.  Soul grabbed Scott’s wrist with the intention of making him do something.  Scott took that moment to gently press his finger inside Soul.  Soul gasped and dug his nails into Scott’s wrist.  It was a strange feeling and exactly what he needed.  It wasn’t a completely foreign feeling but his intentions made it so much more intense, he knew that this was just a taste of what was coming and the thought sent shivers rushing through his body.

“Okay?”  Soul nodded and Scott leaned down to add his tongue to his finger and Soul couldn’t think beyond trying to process the sensations rushing through his body.  He vaguely registered the cool lube in contrast to Scott’s warm breath and hot tongue, and the burning, stinging, pleasure as Scott added one than two more fingers.  Then all the sudden it stopped.  Soul dragged in a few ragged breaths; the first full breaths in many long minutes but the reprieve didn’t last long.  After sitting up and cracking his neck Scott looked intensely into Soul’s eyes and crooked his fingers and Soul saw fireworks.  He didn’t think he could feel anything more intense than the last few moments but the firm circles Scott was rubbing on his prostate were mind blowing.   Soul felt unbearably full and every synapse lit up with almost painful intensity.  Soul hadn’t known it was possible to feel such pleasure without coming, but it was too intense for him to relax enough to orgasm.  When he was finally able to gasp in a breath it left him in an almost incoherent stream of pleas that he didn’t understand himself.  Scott relaxed his fingers and slowly pulled them from Soul’s body one by one.  Soul felt the loss of each distinctly and longed for the heart stopping intensity if only it would mean having Scott so impossibly close to him again.

“Are you ready?”  Scott kissed him in between words and Soul nodded, fears forgotten in the face of even deeper intimacy.  Scott placed a pillow under Soul’s lower back and gently looped Soul’s legs over his elbows, placing his hands on either side of Soul.

“I love you.”  Scott said almost silently against Soul’s lips and he gently began to push inside Soul’s body.

Soul pulled in a deep breath waiting for searing pain and felt only an overwhelming pressure and then relief as his body relaxed around Scott.  He couldn’t help but hold his breath as Scott pressed impossibly deeper, and deeper still inside of him.  Soul imagined he could feel Scott replacing huge parts of him and instead of scaring him the feeling was the best Soul could imagine.  He felt as close to complete as he ever had.  He wrapped his legs more firmly around Scott and held him close knowing that Scott needed to move, but wanting to feel him as deep as possible for as long as he could. 

Scott cradled Soul’s head in his hands and began to press hisses to as much of Soul’s skin as he could reach, when Soul realized the feeling of near completeness wasn’t all that he wanted he began to move his hips.  With nearly all of Scott’s weight pressing him down he wasn’t able to move much, but it was enough for Scott to lean back a bit, just enough to meet Soul’s eyes and begin to withdraw as slowly as he had pressed in. 

Soul felt like he could breathe again, and moaned deeply, he wanted to say something that would express the perfection of the moment but he couldn’t collect his thoughts enough to find the words, he looked deep into Scott’s eyes and tried to tell him with his soul that this was perfect.

Scott maintained the smooth slow rhythm and Soul began to meet his thrusts digging his hands into Scott’s back for leverage.  The pace was nearly killing him with its slow deliberation, but Soul couldn’t force himself to move any faster.  The slow build was driving him toward a terrifying peak and he wasn’t sure if he would survive it.

The expression on Scott’s face suggested that he too could feel the inevitably devastating end coming; he looked like Soul felt, terrified and wholly consumed by the feeling that was building. 

When the sensations crossed the boundary of excruciating and mind blowing Soul closed his eyes and held on.  He hadn’t thought his nerves could take any more but a waves of heat overtook his body in the same slow undulating waves as the rhythm his body had been trapped in his vision went white behind his eyes and he could feel every muscle in his body contract and release clearly even as every other thought and sensation was scoured from his consciousness. 

When the physical feeling began to fade into devastating aftershocks interspersed with moments of exhausted calm Soul became aware that his mind felt more expansive, thought flickered through his mind faster than he could watch them and he felt a wealth of love that was unfathomable.  His heart ached for something he didn’t know he was missing and he could feel tears of exhaustion at the never ending feeling, the feeling of loving and wanting and wanting so deeply to be wanted in return.  The fear of pushing too hard, that he had pushed too hard.  The worry that he would never get what he wanted and the mirror desire of not caring about his own feelings if only…Soul was happy?  Soul slowly opened his eyes and realized this is what Scott felt for him.  The feeling felt old and as new as it was to him it felt like a part of his being, something that had always been there, something he would never be rid of.  Soul willed his aching exhausted arms to wrap around Scott.

“I love you.”  He whispered and the feeling began to fade, Soul could feel the edges of his mind returning to their usual safe boundaries and his feelings return to his own.  He was overwhelmed, he felt known, and he couldn’t stay awake for a moment longer.