WARNING: Scene includes some degeneracy, scroll down to after the SECOND line break to get to the plot-relevant stuff.
Great stars above was Eris tired
. Dame Patel was a sadist and no one was going to convince him otherwise--he had dedicated as much time as he possibly could to her training and she reveled in kicking his ass nearly every day. He was starting to think he definitely took up the wrong offer, but he had to admit, whenever he didn’t feel like his muscles were on fire or wasn’t collapsing face first into the couch because his bed was too far, it was fun. Combat learning was great exercise and it was actually nice not to have to worry about anything else.
That said, it took up more time than he wanted. Dame Patel was a great conversationalist, yes, but he was neglected in an area he wasn’t used to. This was probably his longest dry spell and now he knew for a fact that anyone that decided to wait until marriage was so full of shit. It was exceedingly easy to get some in this campus, usually taking a smile and a lift of his eyebrows and it was on, but even that felt like too much effort. And ever since the post-practical fiasco of his little outburst, he hadn’t really approached the redhead that way. Not that there hadn’t been any effort, but it was always dismissed with a wave of the hand or an eyeroll that told him ‘not now’.
What didn’t help matters was that Eris still had Ailsalia’s comment in the back of his mind. He’d be lying if he said he was surprised that a Traditionalist ended up falling for a mage--actually, that sounds exactly like something that would happen to a younger vampire--but it bothered him for a multitude of reasons. For one, it showed just how little he actually knew Varis, which wasn’t something he really thought of until now. Then again, maybe that was the best way to go about it without getting himself too entangled. And yet, there he was, dying of petty jealousy that somehow the emotionless being had somehow gotten wrapped up in a mage
but wouldn’t give him the time of day. Figures as much.
And so he stared at the slim part of Varis’ neck that hadn’t been covered, eyes trailing up his jaw and landing on his lips. He was in a neutral mood, which was as good as you could get with a Sinnenodel. He had seemed pleased with that weird dinner, even if he did bitch Eris out for a solid four minutes afterwards. Who knew Starag blood was actually good? It wasn’t like he was chummy with the royals! But even that didn’t stop Eris from letting his eyes wander, and eventually, he had enough of waiting.
Rising from his seat, he walked around the desk and stood behind Varis, scrunching his nose at the papers. Ew, schoolwork. He could interrupt that. Eris leaned down and wrapped his arms around Varis’ shoulders, taking a quick nip at the exposed part of his neck.“You should take a break, rifling through trash for too long isn’t good for you,”
He muttered, hand working on turning Varis’ head towards his.
Varis fully intended to flay half his class alive for making him read through this utter nonsense. He didn’t even have to nitpick at them. They were truly abysmal. He just didn’t understand why these students couldn’t wrap their heads around some of these concepts. Others he just wondered how they communicated. If they spoke anything like they wrote, it must just sound like garbled nonsense. When this was all over and he could leave this mockery of an institution, Varis was either going to do everything in his power to see it razed to the ground or open his own and teach Ryner how to mold minds.
He wasn’t sure what Eris wanted when he first arrived, only waved the whimsical actor away so Varis could finish his work, but it made sense now. Eris had seemed relatively busy. He was probably suffering from a lack of attention. Not that he didn’t get much wandering the school grounds. While the endless murmurs and whispers in his wake finally vanished, people still watched him pass but that was something Eris was accustomed too. Varis gave a quiet sigh at the nip, his hand pausing at the promise it held, and only resisted for a brief moment before following Eris’ hand. He’d been brushing off the actor in the wake of the weirdness after Eris’ revelation but Eris returned to his usual manner of annoying without hesitation. He must have enjoyed the gift and finally understood the purpose of their relationship; Varis clearly made the situation more complicated than it needed to be. He put his pen down and gave Eris his full attention.“True. I’ve had enough of their idiocy today.”
Varis turned into the hand Eris had on his cheek, letting his fangs drag across the blond’s hand as he pressed a kiss to it. “Did you have something in mind or should I find a way to distract myself?”
Eris clucked his tongue in mock disapproval, albeit he did stare at his hand for just a second. His mind unwillingly went back to the practical, but he waved it off--no weird mark on his hand, no need to think about that. “I’ll borrow you for just a moment,” He promised, fingers running over the soft material. Shit, it really had been a while, he had almost forgotten about the gloves. They had been consistent since the practical for some reason, though he had initially assumed that he had a scratch that hadn’t healed or something.
Nope, he was thinking too much, he needed to stop that and go with his whims. Wanting to feel more skin, he did make an attempt to get Varis to stand as his hands looped around his wrists and pulled. “Avoiding my touch?”
He joked, his right thumb stroking under the glove."Avoiding your touch?"
Varis crowed into Eris' space, forcing the other vampire to sit on his desk and smirking. Varis stood barely a hair's width away. "Quite the opposite. And if you behave, I plan to be away for much longer than a moment. It's been too long since I've heard you beg properly."
Varis purred, pulling Eris down to claim his mouth fiercely.
Oh, yes. It was never a good thing to give in too easily, but fuck it, the dry spell ended tonight
. Eris was all too happy to indulge himself, a low groan of approval at the back of his throat. He was tempted to throw them both on the floor, but last time he was spontaneous he ended up getting a lecture, so instead he ended up wrapping his arms around his neck, shifting himself closer. He got a little impatient with the feel of Varis' glove, his left hand slipping underneath with the intention of pulling it off. As corny as it sounded, he wanted to hold his hand to feel closer, but as his fingers trailed down the back of Varis' hand, there was something off about it.
Varis' felt a smug sense of satisfaction rush through him at the noises Eris made. He was so easy and responsive when he was needy and Varis relished the ease with which he could read Eris when he was like this. Varis moved with Eris, pressing them together as Varis pressed another kiss to his mouth and down his throat, savoring the willing man under him.
He blamed it on his lack of control, on the trust Eris managed to earn despite everything Varis was, but he was caught completely unaware when Eris went for his gloves. He hadn't even considered it an issue; Eris knew the rules and Varis didn't have any issue dumping Eris out on the street if he broke them. He hadn't even considered that his gloves were usually the exception, how the touch of his hands was usually a reward for good behavior. So when Eris started playing at the edges, he'd ignored it.
It wasn't until Eris crept further and he felt Eris' fingers slide along the back of his hands that he realized his mistake. He bared his fangs as he snatched his hand away and jumped back against the wall, hand cradled protectively against his chest. He tried to keep himself steady and still, fighting the urge to curl up into himself, but he couldn't keep it all under control. His shoulders trembled, his eyes were dark and wide, and Varis struggled to find words."Why… Wha…"
Varis stammered, everything inside screaming at him to run. Someone found out. Everything he worked for, everything he'd done was gone. As soon as it got out, she was going to kill him. "Why did you do that?!"
The demand came out weak and trembling.
Eris was stunned at the sudden shift in mood, jaw dropped as he saw the terrified vampire in front of him. He hadn’t even realized his mistake, a teasing question on the tip of his tongue when Varis had backed out. But he knew him well enough to know that he had done something very wrong--he could handle a hiss and lashing, but seeing the redhead look frightened of all things felt like he was seeing something he wasn't supposed to. What happened
to his hand? What happened to him
Raising his hand in a weak effort to calm him down, Eris shook his head as he slowly approached him, doing his best not to set him off. "I-I’m sorry. I'm--I got overzealous,"
He admitted, still trying to wrap his head around Varis, Sinnenodel heir and King of Emotionless Beings, being scared
of all things. "Are you...are you okay?"
It was the stupidest question, yeah, but fuck, what else was he supposed to say?
Eris’ approach had him trying to press further into the wall and scatter what few thoughts he managed to piece together. For a moment, he wasn’t in the dorm anymore but back at his Lady’s home, trying not to beg for mercy, knowing that it would only make it worse. He could only whimper as he slid down the wall and crouched, going deathly still as he tried to keep himself grounded. She wasn’t here, she wasn’t here, she wasn’t here. Ryner would keep her away, Ryner would keep her away, Ryner would keep her away. Even she wasn’t confident enough to cross Ryner directly like that. He was safe for now. He was okay. Everything would be okay.
His eyes were trained on the ground and he scowled. The boy must have gotten injured during his training or something. That’s the only reason he could find why there would be blood stains on the ground. It escaped him that more were appearing in front of his eyes and that his face felt oddly wet. He stared up at Eris, eyes vacant and emotionless despite the familiar downward tilt of his mouth. “Why did you do that?”
He asked again, his voice robotic. “Everything was fine, everything was going so well, we had something pleasant. Why did you take that away?”
Unfortunately Eris was doing more harm than good. It reminded him of one of the first times he had his old tiger, how low to the ground and frightened she had been when he approached her. He had broken some invisible line of trust, and as amusing as it was watching his mages trip over the line, he'd be damned if he
was going to lose everything over one slip up. "Everything is fine. You're fine,"
Eris tried a different approach, remaining where he was. "Nothing is going to happen to you. There's nothing that can hurt you here. The last thing I would ever want to do is make you feel unsafe."
Everything sounded muffled and distant, like he was underwater. He saw Eris’ mouth move before he heard it and it almost made him laugh. Unsafe? Unsafe?
He hadn’t been safe in sixty years, this had nothing to do with safe.
This had everything to do with his Lady finding out that he slipped up. He knew exactly one person she couldn’t drag information out of and it wasn’t Eris. Eris was unsafe. Eris was a problem, his problem, a problem he’d sunk decades of resources and time into, decades of trust into, and now it was ripped away from him like everything else he wanted. He fucked up. He’d grown attached. He broke the number one rule: Don’t get attached to people less powerful than himself. Use them, abuse them, break them, and dump them. That was how it went. And yet here was a walking testament to his own failure. “Nothing is fine. You know.”
Varis whispered. It was all he could manage, struggling to force himself to breathe. “You know how disgusting I am. You know what she’s done. You’re a target now. You’ve ruined everything. Nothing is fine, nothing.”
For fuck's sake, what was with all the crypticness? Eris had half a mind to smack the guy in an effort to get him back to himself. He could handle getting yelled at, getting belittled, getting scolded, but having to play nice and have patience
was so foreign it made his skin crawl. But even as he listened he still felt like he needed to give an effort to correct things. Years of work weren't going to up and vanish over something as stupid as a mistake. He refused to let it be so."I don't know what you're talking about and I'm not going to ask. That's what we agreed on,"
Eris decided on a different approach, offering his hand. "Come on. You can yell if you'd like, you can come hit me. You know I'm not going anywhere no matter what happens, right?"
Varis started at the proffered hand for several long moments. He struggled to think about anything but the terror and dread boiling in his chest. Taking that hand was dangerous. Vampires only cared about themselves, only cared about how they could benefit. Eris would leave as soon as Varis stopped being useful to him. He’d flutter away and land on some other flower that would grow taller and reach higher. Taking that hand meant trusting Eris, meant shifting his entire world view, ignoring every instinct and experience. Could he do that?
At this moment, he needed it. He’d been alone for half his life, standing on his own, suffering on his own, fighting the constant pressure to break on his own. And still it felt like his hand was heavier than ever before, that moving it was like trying to move a castle. Could he do that?
Varis put his hand hesitantly in Eris’.
The blonde scarcely moved, unwilling to let the other vampire shrink back into his shell. But there was an odd satisfaction watching Varis reach for him, a slight disbelief as he realized what was actually happening. It was definitely a good ego boost, but there was something else to it. Something almost intimate.
No, he was just overthinking things.
Eris moved painfully slowly, making sure to keep his grip on Varis as he placed a kiss on the back of his hand. “I’m yours completely. Don’t ever forget that,”
He told him. “I don’t care about anything or anyone else. If you see it fit to toss me aside the second I’m no longer of any use, then fine. Until then, I’m here.”
Varis tensed as Eris moved, eyes tracking every movement the other vampire made. He wanted to laugh at Eris’ declaration. How stupid, how idiotic it was to put yourself at the mercy of another, much less a Sinnenodel and the heir at that. But he couldn’t because it felt...nice. Reassuring. Something he desperately craved and Eris was here, willing to give it to him.
Varis stood up, not willing to take his hand away just yet, and stared at Eris, brow furrowed. He felt like his thoughts were slipping through his fingers like sand and Eris was an anchor in the confusion. Everything seemed muffled and distant, like it was underwater.
Eris was steady and firm and, in that moment, perfect. Varis took a step closer and closer and closer, until they were a hair width apart, and just stared. Stared and stared and stared until he pressed up to Eris. Eris claimed he was his. Eris claimed he wouldn’t leave. Something darker curled inside him and a possessiveness tugged at his gut. Then it was time for Eris to prove himself.
Varis didn’t speak, instead scooping Eris up like he weighed nothing, and moved across the dorm in a blink, slamming his door behind him. He didn’t even think about the boy; after all, he was just another piece of furniture and no one considered the furniture. He tossed Eris on the bed like a rag doll and was on top of him in an instant. Varis’ eyes were still blank, staring through Eris rather than at him, as he tugged off one glove and then another. Crisscrossed scars, raised and red, crossed the back of his hands. Next came his shirt, unbuttoned slowly to reveal the patterns that ran down his chest and stomach, crossing around to his back.
All the while, Varis himself felt nothing. He felt detached and floating as if his body wasn’t his, as if he was watching all of this from an outsider’s view. He was free and emotionless and yet all the while, he knew this was a mistake. This was too vulnerable, a weakness like this would destroy him, and yet he was helpless to stop it.
They watched Eris intently as the shirt hit the floor.
The movement was unexpected and Eris wasn’t proud to admit that if it hadn’t been for him forgetting to breathe, he definitely would’ve let out an unflattering yelp. It wasn’t until he practically bounced on the bed that he had any sense of his surroundings, but it wasn’t like he could do anything, almost nervous that any sudden action would spook Varis. To his shock, he revealed his hands, no longer the usual, perfect ones he had been used to seeing. But he wasn’t sure which surprised him, those or the marks on his body.
He didn’t even realize he had lifted his hand upwards, fingers looking like they were going to touch, but they barely grazed--had they any warmth, maybe then it would have been felt. His eyes eventually made his way to Varis’ golden ones, propping himself up on his elbows in an attempt to get closer. He felt like he should say something, but the words never came, getting stuck in his throat as he stared back at Varis for a moment.
That didn’t really stop him from acting, however. Both his hands cupped Varis’ face as he managed to get himself in a seated position, his gaze turning into something intense. Yeah, he was speechless, but he had honestly never seen anything like this.
Finally, he choked out a word: “Beautiful,”
He mumbled, not letting the moment slip past him as his lips attacked Varis’ neck.
Varis flinched at Eris’ raised hand but didn’t look away; Eris’ eyes drew him in and held him there, not letting him move an inch. A sob tore out of him when Eris spoke, so horribly at odds with how he saw himself: disgusting, repulsive, revolting. A walking testament to his own failures, forced to relive every single one anytime he saw himself in a mirror. He could feel the tears rolling down his face as he snapped back into himself and he needed. He didn’t know what but he clung to Eris desperately, desperate whimpers escaping as he dragged Eris back to his mouth and shoved him down, slipping his hands under his shirt in a desperate attempt to get closer, closer, closer without breaking the kiss.
Eventually, he gave up and the shirt was shredded as Varis tore it off him. He wasn’t willing to break away from Eris, his mouth everything he needed in that moment, as his hands wandered and explored a body he’d mapped a hundred times but felt so new and forgein now that he’d bared a part of himself he’d hidden for so long. He felt like he couldn’t get enough of this vampire who told him he was beautiful even if it was a lie, that was devoted enough to pretend. Eris couldn’t leave him now; Varis would make sure of it. He’d kill the vampire before he let him.
Of course, that thought drew Varis up short and he froze. “Oh no. Oh no no no.”
Varis whispered. “Oh no, you know. Fuck, I’m an idiot.”
But still he couldn’t bring himself to move away from Eris, just staring at him with wide eyes. “Sybil can’t find out. She’ll kill you.”
It was confusing and thrilling and satisfying and overall just something new. No, that wasn’t right. It was something Eris hadn’t felt since Rosaline. Even if the thought should have caused him to curl up and cry, it was too good to pass up. Fine, he could end up cold and alone later so long as he got to have this now
. He was fine with that. He was getting something he had been desperately craving for so long that he wasn’t preoccupied with the consequences.
Once Varis broke away again, however, he had to consider that there was more to it. Just hearing ‘Sybil’ was enough to make any vampire run for the hills. His hand reached for a piece of his shirt and wiped away Varis’ tears, his head slowly working. There was no fighting the Lady, no real escape if she chose to turn her eye to him. But for once, he not only accepted it, but he just didn’t care.“I’ve been doomed for a while now. Nothing’s really changed,”
Eris replied, the smallest touch of bitterness in his voice as he spoke. With Varis’ face clean, he tossed aside the cloth. “No one else will know. And when she finds out, that’s when you throw me away to save yourself. Same as always, right?”
Varis stayed still as Eris wiped his face. It was a confusing experience, the tenderness behind the action and the words coming out of Eris’ mouth clashing in Varis’ mind. Varis hadn’t stumbled across a vampire ever that was okay with simply being tossed to certain death like they didn’t matter. He couldn’t decide if he was annoyed at Eris for not caring or annoyed at the idea that he’d ever throw away his property. He grabbed Eris’ chin roughly, searching Eris’ face for something that suggested anything other than what nonsense was coming out of his mouth.“And you’re fine with that? It isn’t a pleasant death. She’ll drag you through whatever sadistic pleasure has her attention this decade and then she’ll slowly burn you alive, drinking a glass of blood all the while. That doesn’t make you care more for your own skin than this?”
Varis gestured between them with his free hand, not intending to let Eris go anytime soon.
His life wasn’t pleasant, either, so having an unpleasant death wouldn’t surprise him at all. Eris couldn’t really shake his head, but he could suppress a laugh. Maybe he was just overconfident and promising something that wasn’t true. Maybe he’d end up regretting everything after all as he was tortured. “If it ever comes to pass, it means that I failed. It’ll mean that I wasn’t good enough for you, that I was careless or overplayed my hand. And I’d rather be dead than be a failure,”
He replied, a weird emptiness in his voice that could be mistaken for him being serious. “And...I don’t know. I just think it’s worth it for you.”
So Eris was being honest. What a strange concept. He’d rarely see the vampire without something behind his words, even if it was usually just a trick to be played. Varis wasn’t used to vampires being dedicated to another; it was a foriegn concept to any Sinnenodel. They were taught to turn on each other from a young age, that dedication to anything other than yourself was a weakness. Varis certainly wouldn’t claim he felt the same about Eris. He doubted he’d ever feel that way about someone but he certainly felt possessive after that declaration. Maybe it wasn’t so bad to have someone love you.“You said you were mine, mine completely.”
Varis said slowly, trying to remember earlier events. Everything was a little fuzzy but now wasn’t the time to think about that. “If you mean it, look me in the eye and say it again.”
Eris never did find a reason to look away, but as always, did what he was told with enthusiasm. The blond stared up at Varis, a hand touching Varis’ as if it was meant to be comforting. “I am yours completely,”
He said. “Everything and anything I have is only for you.”
Varis released Eris and immediately patted his pockets, clicking his tongue when he couldn’t find his. He must have left it at his desk when Eris distracted him. He fished out Eris’ instead and held it out to him. ”Unlock it.”
Varis demanded. He snatched it back as soon as Eris did, tongue sticking out as he typed furiously on the phone and then tossed it to the side. A smug little smirk tugged at the corner of his lips again. He still felt odd, like he’d spent three nights dealing with inane vampires and blundering mages all at the same time, but he felt light too. Someone else knew his secret and hadn’t run screaming. And he was very interested in showing exactly how grateful he was about it.“Stay the morning with me.”
Varis demanded, leaning down to press a short, chaste kiss to him.
Eris’ eyes did follow his phone, but there wasn’t any time to question it, his interest gone as soon as their lips clashed again. He’d spend the rest of the week if he could, though that wasn’t what was asked of him. His initial response got caught in his throat again, a slight groan escaping him instead. He couldn’t say no at this point, especially as he was at the redhead’s mercy.“Y-Yes,”
His response was more for show than actual acceptance, easily giving into the demand. “I’ll stay.”“Perfect.”
Varis purred. “That deserves something special. Stay right there. I have to get something.”
Varis sauntered into the closet, pushing aside the clothes on the right side to reveal the colored rope. He hadn’t shown these to anyone and he certainly wasn’t ready to explain the real purpose for these to Eris―one emotional discussion was enough for the next few centuries, thank you very much!―but since the rules were changing, it only fit that his favorite toy changed as well. He considered a few ropes, picking them up and considering how’d they look against Eris’ skin, how’d they make his eyes pop, and put them back, until he finally settled on a blue. He’d play with color combinations later; now was to change the rules of their relationship and Varis was far too excited to deliberate further.
"Join me for a bath?"
The request was a simple one, and coming out of anyone else, it would’ve been expected after the deed. But hearing it come out of Varis had caused Eris to do a double take. They’ve never done that
before--and now he knew why--and that look and that gentle tone of voice was just...it was all new. It was all tender and everything he wanted and everything he wished for and he was almost expecting to wake up at any moment now.
Giving the redhead a nod, Eris had to stop himself from bouncing over to the bathroom, taking a second to search for the chest. Those things freaked him out, but for some reason, Varis loved them. He still remembered the first time he had stumbled onto the discovery, having offered him one after receiving some samples some time ago. Silly, but he supposed they all had their quirks. Once he found it, he avoided picking any of them up, fearful of accidentally breaking one. His hand absentmindedly ran over his shoulder, fingers stopping at a groove from where he had been tied. He was used to the rope, but this was the first time it was colored blue, now that he thought about it. Eh, no need to think about that now, he needed to pick up one of these things
Once his mind was made up, he pulled up the stopper for the tub, turning the faucet. Once the water had collected somewhat, he placed the bomb in, withdrawing his hand as it fizzled and spread. He avoided making any commentary, though he did let out a small noise of surprise as a few petals floated along, not dissolving. They must have come included--he still remembered accidentally slipping on a little frog that had come with the bomb he had tried--but he ignored them as he tested the water.
He looked over to the bedroom, taking a second to let everything sink in. He still couldn’t believe this was happening. This was probably the first and only time he still felt like he hadn’t quite climbed down from the high, usually after sex he’d wind down but he felt like he was just floating along. What if this was just for tonight? Well, it would be worth it. He probably wouldn’t go forgetting it anytime soon.“It’s ready,”
Eris ended up calling out, poking a flower petal floating in the water.
Varis closed the door to the closet and made his way to the bathroom, pausing to admire the view. His bath bombs, his lover, in his bathroom… it all fit so perfectly. He'd have to make this a more permanent arrangement but that was a thought for another time. He carefully avoided looking at the mirror and covered it as usual with the sheet under the sink. The fear and self consciousness crept up again and he fought the urge to cover himself, instead focusing on getting Eris in the shower with him so they could rinse off. He made it quick, dragging Eris into the warm water.
For once, he was quite pleased at their height difference. He pushed Eris into leaning against the back of the tub and settled down better his legs with a pleased sigh, relaxing with his back against his chest. He instinctively reached for his phone to pull up his playlist but realized he'd left it out in the study and was content just to hum, his fingers tracing patterns into Eris' thighs. "You're good at that. What a shame I hadn't let you take the lead for so long."
Settling into a comfortable position, Eris let out his own hum of approval. The aroma was divine, setting the mood and making everything so much more pleasant. His right hand was settled on the edge of the tub, the left moving the water so it swirled before them. At Varis’ comment, he couldn’t stop his laugh, having to bite down on his lip to stop himself.“I aim to please,”
He replied, slicking his hair back and off his face. “There’s always the possibility of more opportunities in the future.”"I'd certainly hope so."
Varis smiled along with Eris' laugh, closing his eyes as he rested his head against Eris' shoulder. He could feel himself relax even further, muscles he didn't realize could untense ease in the warm water. "I guess now's the best time to discuss how we proceed forward as I'm very interested in seeing what else I've underestimated you in."
This discussion could turn uncomfortable but the fact of the matter was Varis wouldn't rest as easily as he'd like unless he knew how everything fit together. Delaying it was nothing less than moronic and Varis wouldn't let himself be called that.
Tonight was just full of surprises. Considering that he had just gotten rejected not even two months ago, however, one couldn’t blame Eris for being too wary. Even as he felt Varis’ weight as a comfort, he had to consider the next step. He was willing to go whatever way possible, but he needed to be smart about it. He had been burned before, he wasn’t sure if he was willing to go through that again.“Can’t I be selfish and just keep the moments to myself?”
He couldn’t help but whine, fingers trailing through red locks. “Call me sentimental if you want, I’d like to enjoy you more without having to worry about any red tape or interviews or any of the hassle.”
Of course, that wasn’t realistic. Neither of their positions could keep something like this under wraps for too long. That said, the answer that did pop in his head wasn’t one he was fond of. “You can’t afford a weakness. Not such a public one, anyway. A fling, maybe, but more than that would be a hassle,”
He said, though he didn’t bother hiding how dissatisfied he was with it. “Though I’d think to proceed business as usual on the outside.”"Able to withstand me for 32 years and a few measly interviews scare you off commitment."
Varis teased, tilting his head into the soothing feeling of Eris' fingers in his hair. It was a problem and Varis wasn't going to be satisfied until he'd gotten everything arranged how he wanted. So how to balance keeping Eris close without getting him caught up in his awfully complicated situation?"Realistically as long as my Lady doesn't find out you know what you know, she won't care about you. Just anytime she decides to visit us, stay near me and you'll be safe from her wandering curiosity."
Varis started counting off the list of threats. "I think Ryner wants this to happen for some reason so I don't think she'll leverage you against me. The other Sinnenodels are already plotting my death but none of them is stupid enough to think I'd let anyone get away with touching one hair on your head. So really, there isn't much more to do other than expand your security detail. That little metal rat Ryner gave you isn't very intimidating as much as poorly raised. I guess I'll pick up some new mages for home as well. Maybe a few Astorio trained ones."
If it was only interviews then Eris wouldn’t have bothered trying to be serious. But even in throes of happiness he had to consider the possibilities. At the mention of Ryner, Eris actively rolled his eyes, the smallest click of his tongue leaving him. If he was going to be serious about this, he needed to be honest. Holding certain cards to his chest was useless if they could very well be turned against him.“I agree with your assessment of Her Highness,”
He ended up admitting. “And at the risk of having everything blow up in my face, I have some potential proof for that absurd claim. As well as a confession.”
Varis was going to laugh at Eris' clear disapproval of the woman. He agreed, she was awful to deal with but she was a useful ally and a downright nuisance as an enemy. But Eris continued and fear started bubbling in his stomach. Confessions were never a good thing and the fact that he'd just revealed his biggest secret to someone who wanted to confess concerned him."That is more than a little concerning."
Varis didn't move from his spot, hoping that at least he could enjoy the head rub for a while longer before this little bubble of peace and relaxation came to an end. "But by all means continue, darling."
It honestly was concerning and, frankly, stupid. The possibility of him even finding out was close to zero. But it wasn’t zero, and he would rather have everything come out now to give Varis the out than have everything come crashing down later on. He was not going to let this happen the wrong way. If he told him to leave and never come back, he’d accept it.
Of course, nothing he could say wouldn’t sound like an excuse, so he took the plunge. “There was an odd mark I had inherited after the practical that wouldn’t go away. I didn’t bother bringing it up for some time because I didn’t know what it was, but it turned out to be some form of blood manipulation and it dissolved after some practice,” He explained that much first, testing the waters before continuing with, “Ryner seemed to know exactly what it was. And it was connected to you.”
Varis frowned at that. "It was a strange experience but no one else had any sort of mark as far as I'm aware. I didn't know you knew any forms of blood manipulation and certainly not any that erased marks from your skin."
And Varis wasn't even going to mention the fact that Eris hadn't told him but instead went to Ryner. What was with the people around him trusting her over him? It was something to deal with later. "And how would some mark pertain to me? I can't erase marks off my skin. Seems like a useless skill considering how long it takes to master them."
He was treading on dangerous ground, but there wasn’t any going back. Nicking his thumb, he reached over to his left hand, drawing the symbol to the best of his ability. “I had no idea, either. But this is what it looked like. At the time I was...dejected by your rejection and didn’t consult you first. Not that I thought it had anything to do with you--if I had, I wouldn’t have resorted to asking her about it,” Eris told him. “I initially went to complain to the princess because the thought of any mage putting anything on my skin was ludicrous. She informed me of my ‘innate talent’ and implied that I would find the meaning of the symbol with you.”
Placing his hand in the water, he let the suds make work of the blood. “I guess in hindsight it could have been a result of the practical, but I hadn’t seen anything like it before. I’ve been in your room more times than I can count. I don’t know, for a while I thought it was some inane way to get me to act like a crazy ex and go through your things. But once it was gone, it didn’t matter anymore. I never found anything else that matched, and put it out of mind.”
Eris moved his hand around until the mark disappeared. “It was an error in judgment. Despite dismissing it, I never brought it up to you, and that could have been a mistake,”
He admitted that much. “I want to be honest: I don’t trust Her Highness. Of course, there is nothing I would do that would jeopardize that relationship, but things like that...it’s hard to say. Regardless of the outcome it’s something I should have brought to your attention and I regret not doing so sooner.”
Varis let Eris get out his confession and he let out a sigh of relief, relaxing back into Eris. Here he thought it was going to be something terrible, not something stupid. "You're right. You ought to have brought it up to me. I could have waved off all your concerns easily enough. At least this explains Ryner's weird behavior recently."
Varis resumed running his nails over Eris' thigh as he considered. "I seriously thought she was trying to kill me but now I just know she's being a meddlesome hag with nothing to do but play matchmaker for favors. I don't trust her anymore than any other family but she is useful and we have a mutually beneficial business relationship. As soon as that's over, I'll wash my hands of her and I can make sure to put some distance between the two of you if you don't like her that much."
It was strange that she knew that he was connected to that mark, not to mention how she figured out how to get Eris to put it on without teaching him the technique, but something told him it wasn't the important part right now."The important part is that you came clean about it now. The symbol is an old glyph from my mother's family that they used to seal personal objects away from detection spells. I have one on my trunk; it used to be hers."
Varis explained. "I'll open it for you one of these nights; honesty is important in a relationship I understand though this is my first time trying my hand at it. Was that all you had to confess or should I mentally prepare myself for a slew of issues?"“It’s a slow slew. It’ll happen gradually and I don’t think you’ll care about half of them,”
Eris couldn’t help but joke, giving Varis a squeeze. After a second he fell quiet, clicking his tongue as he deliberated. “I have another confession but it isn’t anything serious. It’s more of an...apology offering.”
Letting out a groan, he put it off before finally talking. “The last relationship I have didn’t go too well. Despite coming out and denying any rumors and another relationship being revealed, I did in fact date Rosaline Blackdale,”
He admitted that much. “I know. Who cares? But I’m not proud to admit it broke me when she decided to fuck off with another. And now you have the most humiliating moment of my life in your repertoire. I’m afraid you can’t go far with it, but it puts me to shame every time I think about it.”
Varis considered the information he was given and then turned to look at Eris with a grave look. There was a long pause."Who is Rosaline Blackdale? And what is this an apology offering for?"
Varis frowned, sincerely confused. “For not telling you about the mark,”
Eris had to stop himself from rolling his eyes. “She’s the main chick from The Blood War. You said you’ve watched it!”"Well, yes but why would I care about anyone but you in them? I don't have much spare time and I certainly don't want to spend it watching frivolous nonsense. The only reason I watch anything is if you play a role."
Varis scoffed, settling back into his spot. "Everyone else is just an extra."
Holy crap. This is the man he wanted to spend eternity with, and he didn’t care about celebrity gossip?! Even at the thought, Eris couldn’t help but laugh, wrapping his arms around Varis as his entire body shook. He honestly hadn’t laughed like that in a while, placing a kiss on his cheek before he calmed down.“You’re right. My apologies,”
He chuckled, settling back down.
Vaeis grumbled at the extra jostling but was content to stay in Eris' arms still. The water was starting to cool past where he liked it but Varis was comfortable and he was loath to disturb the peace just yet. "Now that you've unburdened your aggressively self sabotaging conscious, can we return to this thing between us?"
Varis asked pointedly. "Good. Though on a side note if you lie to me from now onwards, I will take it personally and use all my available resources to ruin you. Not that you'd expect anything less I'm sure but just to keep the air clear. That being said, do I need to ask if this experience with Black whomever is going to affect your behavior in our current situation?"“No, but usually in relationships exes come up as a topic in one way or another. I just figured I’d get over that hump sooner than later,”
Eris outright admitted that much. “And I want this to work.”"Excellent."
Varis nodded as if something was settled. He stood, the water officially unpleasant and fetched towels for the both of them. "I guess I ought to be honest about my history too. I've never been intimate with anyone who I cared to permit to invade my personal space purely so I would have the pleasure of their company. So now we're both on the same page."
Varis dried himself and stretched again, this time with a yawn."I’m surprised you seem interested in keeping this quiet. I'm surprised. I expected you'd want to flaunt it everywhere."
Varis told him, propping his hand on his hip as he waited for Eris.
Listening as he dried himself off, he couldn't help but raise an eyebrow at Varis. "It's not about what I want, it's about what's smart for the situation,"
He pointed out, taking a moment to towel dry his hair. "Not to mention I don't know if you really want to deal with dating me publicly and I'm a hassle in private as it is, do you really want that in public, too? You'd kick me to the curb by the end of the week!"
Letting his hair fall in a mess around him, he looked directly at the redhead. "In addition using that information and pocketing it for the future is another strategy to be used,"
He concluded with a small sigh, pinching the bridge of his nose. "Although I suppose that does make me come off as more methodical."
Varis looked around and realized he'd forgotten his sleep wear so he couldn't even look in the mirror. "Well, I thought it would be easier for you overall. I mean, I can't imagine the rumor mills won't take notice when you're living in a Sinnenodel castle full time and if we take control of the narrative early, we can spin it so you can use it as a springboard for whatever you decide to do after this."
Varis explained, heading into his room briefly and returning in a robe he tucked tightly around himself. He pulled the sheet off the mirror and folded it, stashing it away again."But if you have a strategy for that, you're more than welcome to pursue it. Just keep me informed so I'm not blindsided by someone snooping after you."
Varis asked as he started getting ready for bed.
Eris would have to think on it. As much as he hated to admit it he struggled between what he wanted and what was for the best. He couldn't hide the small smile at the idea of living at the Sinnenodel castle--Eloise would never let him live it down. But there were a lot of things involved, assets to consider, mages to bring. Antigone was always on the road, anyway, but he would want to keep Ismene with him and he wasn’t entirely sure how she would do in that environment. The list just kept growing as Eris thought about it, watching Varis as he let his thoughts wander. He didn't have any sleepwear but it didn't matter, he was clean now and he'd figure out how to get back to his dorm before classes started."I'll think on it for a little,"
Eris said, sliding into bed next to Varis. "Need to think about a lot of things now."
Varis yawned and curled up around Eris as he slid into bed, tangling their legs together and throwing one arm over his waist. He gave another yawn, burying his face in Eris' shoulder to muffle it and nodded. "Yeah but that can wait until tomorrow. We can just stay here together for now."
Settling himself in, Eris' free hand stroked the back of Varis' head, agreeing with the statement. For now, things were fine. They could use the few years they had here to figure things out. Sleep pulled at him, comforted by the feeling of his lover in his arms, and he couldn’t resist one last squeeze despite feeling the disapproval radiating off of Varis. "Mhm. Together is nice,"
He quietly admitted, letting his thoughts wander to better things.
Stirring in his sleep, Eris moved, though he was held in place. He muttered a groan, assuming it was Sasha pinning him down. As he opened an eye, he only met red, momentarily forgetting where he had spent the morning. Varis was still asleep, and judging from the lack of alarm, Eris didn’t really have a need to get up just yet. He cautiously reached for his phone to double check the time, making sure the light wouldn’t awake the redhead, though the glint of something let him know something in the room had changed.
Despite the lowlight from his phone, Eris saw nothing but flowers all around them. A series of gorgeous bouquets all adorning what looked like at minimum forty-something vases (from the ones he could see and count) were placed all around them. The sight was topped off by a small pedestal in the center of the room holding a box. It was corny as all hell but Eris adored flowers; there was something behind getting anything from a single rose to a bouquet that he loved. They never lasted long, sure, but they were always beautiful to look at. The glint informed him something different was in the box, but for now, he would leave it for when they both woke up. He couldn’t resist giving the sleeping vampire a grateful squeeze once he tossed his phone back, happily willing to fall back asleep.You have to tell me what you would expect if someone was to sweep you off your feet, romantically speaking.
As the words echoed in his head, Eris’ eyes opened as froze in place. He had almost forgotten completely about the practical’s challenge, the unpleasant memories tucked away somewhere else. Now that he thought about it, had he ever told Varis of his love for flowers? No, it must have come up at some point in these past thirty years. Unless it really was that other Varis that remembered. But that was just magic, the princess herself had dismissed it as such. Then again, Eris didn’t trust her as far as he could throw her.
Huddling the still-asleep redhead closer to him, Eris stared off at something in the darkness. The other Varis had challenged him to find him, but was that really for the best now that he got what he wanted? He mentioned a whole slew of trouble could come from it as well. Was this how it was always going to be anytime he thought he found a sliver of happiness?