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“Okay, fine.” This was a fair enough request. “I will answer all of your questions if you come with me, about the house, Logan, but if it’s proof you require, then we’ll simply have to do that first.”
And with that, he stepped away from the counter, opening the cabinet to find a jar of salt. When he turned away in the next moment, he offered not a single clue as to what this was about. He made a circle and arranged bits of the salt, letting the grains fall to create symbols.
It took him no more than ten minutes to create, oriental rolled out of the way, and before long, he had ventured out of the house, returning with a stray cat.
“We need this guy for our purposes. Please join me in the salon. I have your test for you.”
It would be nice to put this nonsense aside once and for all. He’d formed a trapping circle, and he knew for a fact that this was the quickest way to prove anything. There were more intense feats he would have to overcome if he chose to go with him, but why frighten the man? Best to leave all of that for later.
“Since you’re so keen on insisting I’m wrong, prepare to be proven wrong.”
Okay, that was a little of his own bias showing. Mortals could be so cocky sometimes. The fact that they truly believed that nothing beyond them existed in this universe was one of the largest crimes of ignorance he had ever witnessed in his entire existence. But it couldn’t be helped. Not all of it, anyway.
He only had to care about one mortal in particular - and he was thankfully only half that.
Silveus rubbed his forehead again. What was this man saying? The shadows were because of Logan? Him? A--what? He frowned at the man. His parents had given him no indication of any of that. "I'm magic. Which part of me? My mother was a librarian and my father was an accountant," he scoffed. There was nothing magical about him or his family. He hadn't gotten a letter on an owl or flown on a broomstick or used a magic wand. This had started ridiculous, and was only getting more so by the second.
The house--"What do you mean, return to the earth?" That didn't make any sense. It was a house, not a living being. What about his stuff? His studio?
"A seal. So what's the point of all this anyways? Even if I am a... magician, I can't do anything, can I? I'm a mere mortal."
Back. To the manor. He stood up and paced the room, agitated. What was this? What on earth was even going on? Back to the manor. Like they were goddamned nobility or something. Non-negotiable. He snorted at that. Ha. HA. Good one, that. Sure, they wanted him to be a part of the family. That's why they'd been so warm and friendly to him until now.
"Safer? I've been fine so far, haven't I?" he challenged Faustus. He crossed his arms and glared at the man. "Lived my whole life a mere mortal, so why stop now?"
He couldn't accept this. He'd lived a normal life with Logan with absolutely no indication of any of this. And now this Faustus guy thought he could come in here and take over his life? He had never seen anything to show that he'd had magic. If he had, then maybe, maybe he'd believe the guy. But if Faustus really expected him to believe that he had magic, with absolutely no evidence, he had another thing coming. Hell, maybe he just wanted their house or something, he didn't know.
He crossed his arms and gave Faustus a challenging glare. "If you can prove that I have magic, I'll come with you." But there was no way the man could do that, was there?
[center “Dont take this the wrong way, Silveus, but my younger brother entrusted you to me in the event something should happen to him, because he knew something about you at the time that I suppose he had assumed you didn’t. You’re only a half-blooded warlock, but a warlock all the same. And yes, those things are here because of Logan. More so the grief he triggered and his lack of presence. There is a likelihood he had binding magick that kept the house and grounds safe. It is no longer in place now that he is gone.”
“Unfortunately, this house will not be here much longer. It will return to the earth, as he did. I will banish the... vermin, of course. But clearly much of him lived in this house.”
It was difficult to accept such a thing about one you’d loved. To accept such a thing about yourself? He wasn’t sure how Silveus would manage as much.
“If I had to guess, any active power you might’ve had was likely bound when you were still a child so that you lived out a mortal existence. Perhaps not immune to all things, but at the very least no freedom to get yourself into trouble. Besides, unchecked magick can drive one mad.”
He had seen it too often before. A youth with no guidance and no control. “I’m here to ask you to come back with me... to the manor, to learn more about the family and... explore what it is to do next. You’re still family, and that’s non-negotiable. When you married Logan, you did marry us, too. We just... respected his wishes. He didn’t want... or, as he put it, couldn’t risk anything.”
Though Faustus was unsure what could have frightened him so much. Perhaps prejudice? Witches could be the vengeful sort, and some were not above scorning a half-blood.
“Of course, no one is going to force you to come back with me. If it’s you’re choice to remain on your own, separate of us, then it is so. But I will say, it is much safer that you do come with me.”
Especially when who knew what else might attempt to prey upon him in his absence. He’d be damned if he let some lowly hell creature feed upon his magick and drain him to the brink of death.
“I can understand why you might refuse, but it is worth considering, at the very least. Regardless, I’m bound to uphold my word, one way or the other.”
A warlock. Ravencraft? What was that, some kind of video game? Their whole family played it? If he thought of it like that--but no, then waht about his house? Vermin?
"The hell are you talking about?" he asked, angry. Vermin. He kept his house clean. Even now he kept it clean. There were no rats or mice. Had Faustus just come here to insult him and his house?
"I said--" The tea? He looked at it, steaming away in the cup. Touched the cup. It was hot. But the kettle wasn't on the stove, nor was the stove on. He turned. The album... how? He'd knocked it over, and he hadn't seen Faustus reach for it. "Sleight of hand," he muttered. No way. How could he get tea leaves into the kettle and heat it by sleight of hand alone? It wasn't possible.
He sat heavily back down, one hand wrapped tightly around his teacup. "So they're here because of him?" he asked. The things. The shadows. The weird phenomenon that kept flitting around the corners of his eyes. He'd been married to a warlock without knowing it. Whatever that meant. Apparently that weird things were going to happen after Logan died, clearly. He rubbed his brow. If he'd known--
No. It wouldn't have changed a thing. Having had Logan in his life was worth such a minor annoyance.
He wasn't sure how much was because of Logan, though. He'd seen things his whole life. Never much. Only from the corner of his eye. Little flickerings in the night. They were worse now, of course. But it wasn't as though they had never been. Even if this man had magic, and it wasn't all a grand sleight of hand, there wasn't anything he could do about all of them. The man had some kind of angle, he knew it. He just had to figure out what.
"What do you want to do, then? Supposing I was to believe you," he said, gesturing vaguely. "What's the next step?" There had to be something this man wanted to do. Something he wanted from Silveus.
[center “No.” Faustus remained ever calm, his gaze even. He knew mortals were prone to skepticism, and he had expected no differently. “And Logan was not a Wiccan, he was a warlock, part of our coven, that of the Rävenkroft, and he lived a mortal life in most recent years, sheltering you from the truth of that which was all around you.”
Narrowing his gaze, Faustus lifted his steaming cup, sipping very calmly at his tea.
“I, too, am a Warlock, but I’m older. And the moment I arrived at this property, several things became apparent to me: one, your home is infested with vermin who had been feeding from your grief, two, you’re cleaely succumbing, and three, this house will soon wither from within. I’m sure they’ve been calling for your attention, playing their games because they know you’re not capable of banishing them.”
It had never been his intention to be so cut and dry, but this one was stubborn, and the only way to make him see reason would be give him facts.
“So if I’m lying to you... who made the tea?” His eyes cut to his, fingers delicately replacing his cup atop the counter. He preferred more subtle measures... extreme instances of magick could be traumatic after all.
“And who picked up the album from the floor?” A subtle head tilt and a glance was offered toward the time that had very nearly replaced itself nearby, not an inch off from where it had been just moments before.
“My brother was a warlock, and as difficult as this may be for you to even begin to accept, I assure you, we have time enough.”
Silveus stared down at the page. Glanced at Faustus. Looked back at the page. His heart panged. That was undoubtedly Logan. Young. Handsome. So terribly alive. His eyes at last travelled to the other people in the photo. Faustus, too, he could recognize him as well. What, had they gone to one of those nice photo places where they could dress up? Faustus flipped the page. Another. A different outfit. A different style of photo. Was this some elaborate prank? He wasn't laughing. It wasn't funny.
His expression tightened by a hair as Faustus continued. How long was this joke going to go on? Didn't he know how painful he was being? Even the most tasteless joke had to stop sometime.
Coven. "You're--he was Wiccan?" he asked. Logan had never seemed particularly religious, regardless of what religion they were talking about.
At the next line, Silveus stood up. The teacup rattled on the countertop with the force of him standing. He swept the album off the countertop. "Get out," he demanded, glaring at this stranger in his house. So that was what this was. A long wind-up to a grift. And those photos, they must be elaborate photoshops. There was nothing more disgusting than those fake psychics and exorcists who preyed on people's grief. He was grieving, but he wasn't stupid. He wasn't prey. He wasn't going to piss away Logan's money on some stupid services he didn't need. Ghosts weren't real. Psychics were just grifters. Family or not, he wasn't going to fall for this man's ploy.
The shadows darkened behind him. Strange shapes twisted in the corners of his eyes. But it was all in his head. If he needed anything, it was a psychiatrist, not a psychic. And he didn't need even that. He was strong. He could handle it. Though he struggled, he would survive.
[center As it should have been, he supposed. Something about the way Silveus conveyed this information told him Logan must have been pretty button-lipped and hard line about it. Fair enough. Didn’t exactly make for easy transitioning for the rest of them, though, did it?
“This, is our family album.” He explained, sliding it across, now unwrapped but still resting atop the cloth. It was a beautiful time, bound in leather... the works, pretty much.
“There’s a lot you don’t know about this side of the family, obviously, but I’ll start with the album.” Reaching across, he flipped to the first page with he and Logan on it, something so mundane. It felt odd to use his hands for this.
“This is Logan and I when we were children.” He explained. “This is our mother... you’ll certainly meet her at some point again. “Cousins, family friends.”
All wrapped in decadence it seemed. They looked like they belonged to one of those fantastical TV families who lived in a gothic manor and spent their evenings plotting murder. And every one of them was beautiful, Logan included, ever the mischievous glint in his eye.
“You see,” Faustus began. “We are not your ordinary family. This is why we stayed away. Logan desired it, and for practical reasons he did not closely embrace you.” He went on, straightening a bit.
“This is our coven.” He explained, flipping to the next page. “The leader of our coven is here... this is his wife, their children, Logan, myself, our two other brothers, our sisters, one of their companions here - she is a sweet girl. Et cetera.”
He was tempted to just let that... brew for a minute. And in the meantime—
The kettle whined, complaining of its state as Faustus rounded the breakfast bar to finally fix that tea. One cup was placed squarely before Silveus, and he took a second for himself, setting the kettle aside.
“Surely in the days that have passed you have experienced some oddities, strange occurences here that could only be explained as grief, or... ghosts, haunting you after what you’ve been through?”
It was viable, but it was not the case. And they would explore that in just a moment. ]
Family matters. He breathed out, looking around the room. Taking in anything, everything but the man before them. Was he a part of the family? Had he ever been? Here he was, after the funeral, finally learning the name of Logan's brother. He'd tried, but Logan had always insisted on celebrating the big events alone. There were a few gatherings, but there was always a distance between him and them. He'd always had a hard time interacting with other people. His poker face made them think he didn't like them. Logan's family always seemed so tight-knit that he never felt like he had a place. They were practically their own species, really. So he'd given up on trying to really become a part of anything.
Better or for worse. He glanced in Faustus's direction at that. Was his side, too, disappointed that Logan didn't end up with a blushing bride and his two children? They hadn't seemed openly disgusted with him, but they'd been very... inwardly pointed. Uninterested in him. He'd tried not to assume that had anything to do with his orientation--maybe it was just the way they were--but he couldn't help but wonder now.
He hid his worries in the motions of making tea. The slight tightness in his shoulders would have gone unnoticed to anyone but Logan. Tea will be handled. He didn't want to sit, though. As long as he was up and moving, he could distract himself. He turned back toward Faustus and met his eyes for just a moment before he looked away again. In the end, he obeyed the man's order and sat. The kettle sat on the stove behind him, unheated and forgotten.
"I don't know much," he said, taking the initiative. He sat tall, his fingers twined together on the countertop before him, staring Faustus in the eye. "Logan didn't talk about his past much. Nor his family. I didn't push." He gave Faustus a long look. Logan had seemed to have a good relationship with his family, but if he hadn't wanted to talk about it, Silveus wasn't going to ask. Plenty of people had a good relationship in public, and a very different relationship where it mattered. Or maybe Logan's family was very private, and that was Logan's way of respecting that. In either case, it hadn't mattered to him. He didn't want to talk about his family either, and it all seemed to matter so little compared to the present.
If only he'd known how quickly that present would get ripped away.
He shook his head. "I didn't know your name. Take that as indicative of how much I know about your family." Nothing, in other words.
[center Fates help him. It was pitiful. He was virtually wasting away. Body and soul, it seemed. It was fortunate he’d agreed to let him in, but whether or not he would be open to actual conversation was another thing. He could sense Silveus’ reluctance, and for that he internally apologised.
Crossing the threshold, he caught the faintest hiss, troublemakers curling away from him as he entered the home, ducking beneath the threshold to stand at his full height within. Yep. Definitely looked like Logan’s home. Had him written all over it. Faustus had never often visited, himself. A means of ensuring there wasn’t too much spillage when it came to the other half of his brother’s life.
“I’m Faustus, yes. His brother.” Elder, at that, but he felt no need to specify.
As they made their way into the kitchen, his gaze wandered. So much filth here. It was making a home for itself. Easy to do when there was grief to feed off of.
“Only if you are fixing it for yourself. There’s no need to tend me.”
He set the album down atop the breakfast bar and shifted his gaze to his brother’s widow once more. “I came here to discuss a few things with you. I figure at the very least, you deserve some sort of preface. It has to do with my brother, but I assure you I’m not here to torture you with fond memories, and I’m certainly not seeking comfort. I’m here to discuss some family matters, and as it so happens... you are family. For better...” he breathed, glancing toward the near corner where some minor night creature hid. “Or worse.”
“Please, have a seat, Silveus. I have some questions for you that I’ll need to ask before we proceed. Because it will confirm for me just how much Logan disclosed to you about our family.”
Faustus was nothing if not utterly different from his brother. He was direct, made unflinching eye contact, and there was nothing that wasn’t deliberate about his manner. If he spent very much time smiling, it didn’t show. Not that he wore a grimace, but he had very rare moments demanding of one.
This certainly didn’t feel like the time for smiles, anyway. And there was nothing funny about the weight of the responsibility he now held.
The platinum blond waited patiently for Silveus to seat himself, eyeing the kettle. He would be cautious for now, he supposed, but one way or the other, it was going to come out. “The tea will be taken care of. Leave it.” ]
He wanted to come in. Silveus flicked his eyes up and down this pale imitation of his husband. He didn't even remember the man's name. Doubtless he'd been told it, once, but those things mattered less now. Everything mattered less. There was very little he wanted to live for anymore. Some days, he struggled to find the motivation to even climb out of bed.
Rather than stand aside, he stood where he was, door cracked open six inches, body blocking the way in. He didn't want to chat. He didn't want to discuss anything. He understood that this man was also mourning, but couldn't he find someone else's shoulder to cry on? Silveus was struggling just to hold himself up right now. He couldn't support anyone else.
"I'm faring fine, thank you," he said curtly. He was struggling, but successfully. He could support himself. No one could help him, and even if they could, he didn't need help.
Getting much sleep. How could he, when the bed smelled like Logan? He couldn't bring himself to wash the sheets for fear they'd never smell like Logan again. Couldn't sleep because he woke up and forgot Logan wasn't there, and it hurt all over again. Sometimes he tried the couch, but then he'd feel the ghost of a hand on his face, the ghost of a weight settling into the couch beside him, and it would hurt anyways.
He stared up at the man for another few seconds. Let him in? Close the door? It was tempting to just shut the door, push him out and forget about him. But no, he was Logan's family, wasn't he? It would be rude. Unspeakably rude.
Silveus let out a long sigh, then stepped away from the door to let the man in. He wasn't short, but this man towered over him like Logan never had. "Are you his brother?" he asked. It was the only logical conclusion. They were so close in age. "I'm sorry, but I've forgotten your name."
He led the way to the kitchen, one of the rooms he'd carved out for himself since Logan's death. So much of the house belonged to Logan. He hadn't realized how much before the man had died. There was the siting room, where he only went when Logan wanted to watch the TV or play a game. There was the piano room where Logan practiced. The basement. The attic. The bedrooms. Even the dining room. All of it decorated in Logan's style, all of it strewn with his things, all of it full of memories that Silveus couldn't bear to recall.
The only spaces that belonged to him were the kitchen, the studio, and half of their bedroom. He'd always been the cook. Today, he'd neglected breakfast and lunch, but the countertop had dinner's vegetables lined up already, ready for him to start. Or maybe they were from yesterday's dinner. He couldn't always bring himself to start cooking. Sometimes he just wandered instead. Like a ghost himself, wandering this house that barely belonged to him.
"Tea?" he offered, because it was his duty. When he opened the cupboard, the kettle leaped at him, spout-first like some kind of tiny lance. He caught it at the last second and closed the cupboard. It would probably stop happening if he organized the drawer, but he couldn't find the motivation to do that when he rarely even found the motivation to eat.
[center Too bad that was never going to happen. Faustus was nothing if not stubborn. When it came to promises, though - well, in keeping them he was most devout. The figure that answered the door struck him the moment it came into view. This really couldn’t be the same man Logan had married. He seemed so lifeless now - nothing like the man he’d glimpsed in previous years.
“Hullo, again. I, uh, was hoping to talk to you for a little. May I come in?”
Damn, this place just reeked or dark energy. He’d glanced up at one of the windows as he’s approached the house. It was evident there was a lot going on with this property, and it was clearly taking a toll on him.
“I know it’s odd, and I’m probably the last person you really want to see, but I thought it rather important we discuss a few things. Plus, I did want to see how you were faring.”
He was betting there would quite the fuss once he crossed that threshold - assuming he even decided to let him in. Lower creatures were generally threatened when a more powerful presence appeared. Banishing was easy, anyway. Well... if you knew how.
“Are you getting much sleep... lately?”
Because no offence, he looked like shit.
Even as he stood there, he could hear protests to his presence, and that alone gave him all the cause he needed to try to convince this man to let him in. He walked away and it was questionable he would actually see him a next time.
This time he was dressed more casually - still smart, with that wrapped time tucked beneath one arm. His long hair was pulled back into a neat Dutch braid.
The only thing that might’ve really made him stick out was his height, and it was part of the reason he stood with a slight hunch. He was taller than his brother, so peering into this doorway was awkward to say the least. And... uncomfortable.]
Home seemed darker than he remembered it. Lonlier. He trudged around the house, day in and day out, only leaving for his jobs or to grab groceries. Half of them went uneaten. He couldn't shake the habit of cooking for two. When he cooked at all, he cooked too much. Couldn't bring himself to eat the leftovers, either. Just put them in the fridge, all wrapped up, as if Logan might come home and grab a bite to eat at any moment. At least then he could pretend, just a little, that maybe Logan might come back.
In the distance, something toppled over.
Silveus stood and turned toward the sound. [i Not again,] he thought, dread seeping into his soul. He already knew what it would be. What had fallen.
Before he could stop himself, he was already moving. Drawn toward it, ever toward his misery. Deeper into the house. Past the empty sitting room. He couldn't bear to enter the room anymore. It felt alive with the past, the shadows flickering as though someone else was in the room with him. The room teased him with the possibility that Logan was there, just out of sight, the flickering shadows his quiet movements.
Onward. Deeper. Past the dining room, where Logan's chair was always pulled out a little, even though he knew he'd pushed it back in last night. Past the clock that only chimed on the hour of his death, down to the second. Past the piano he heard playing itself at midnight, as though Logan were up late practicing again, though he knew if he went to take a look, there would be no one on the seat and the keys would be still. Over the wood floor that creaked whenever he didn't look, as if Logan were walking down the hallway and about to turn the corner.
The house was alive, and it was alive with Logan's ghost.
At last, he arrived at the studio. It had once been his sanctuary, but now, it felt more like his asylum. Near the door, his old works were cluttered, turning bright, sunny faces to greet him. Portraits in bright slashes of warm colors, orange sunsets and golden sunrises, a dog leaping into a river, water trickling down a leaf. Further in. The landscapes darkened, purples and blacks dominating the color scheme. The setting sun became an explosion, a deadly ball of heat and light and fire that burned anything it touched but failed to pierce the night. Smudged portraits in muted blues and blacks turned sorrowful eyes toward the viewer, watched him as he waded deeper in, deeper yet.
Familiar shapes were gone. This far back, the paintings were slashes of black and gray on backgrounds of pitch, half-seen grotesque shapes, unknowable creatures glimpsed for only a moment. Inhuman. Unreal. What portraits there were, were distorted. Eyes drooped from faces. Features were scrambled, the nose a little too high, the ears off-center. Heads contorted into necks. Jaws gnawed, teeth glistened. Landscapes danced with half-seen figures, such that there was nothing when he looked directly at the painting, but horrible monsters when he turned his head.
And in the very back of the room, one painting laid face-down.
Silveus knelt. Reached out.
A loud sound ricocheted through the house. He jumped, missing his grip on the painting. Distracted, Silveus craned his neck over his shoulder. What was that? The sound came again, high-pitched and grating, a keening note that wore at his ears like nails on a blackboard.
The bell. The doorbell. The sound was soft once again, familiar. Silveus stood and started for the door. He had a guest.
Behind him, the painting laid face-down, forgotten.
With a faded smile, Silveus answered the door. Logan stood there, that easy smile on his face.
No. It was another man. The man from the funeral, the one with the passing resemblance to his husband.
"Can I help you?" he asked politely, trying not to sound tired. He was done with it all. The well-wishers, the nosy neighbors, all the people who'd never spoken to him before who suddenly thought they knew exactly how to fix him. But there was nothing to be fixed. No way to fill in the void in his life. [i Just leave me in peace,] he thought, annoyed.
[center “Ensure he reaches home safely.” It was an order, not a request on Faustus’ part. “I must remain here until it is done.”
The younger warlock nodded, hurrying off, however discretely, to stick with Silveus until he returned home.
In the meantime, they would take care of arrangements here. In fact, it seemed to take no time at all, to move Logan and to gather the coven. This was something they had done so many times before. Goodbyes were always more like ‘catch you around’. The dead never really left where they were from.
The drive had been awful, though. Several hours there because he had arrived by car. Flying was too bothersome. He wasn’t a fan of being trapped in such space with mortals thousands of miles above the ground. Teleportation was easier. However, having anyone question how he’d come and gone was not an option, so it was the lengthy process of driving for him.
In the following days, meetings had been held, arrangements made, and as the hours slid by, Faustus already knew it would be happening.
Silveus would be unable to hide from them. As much as Logan may have tried to shield him from such things, they would find him. Beings who would seek to siphon off his magick. Half-bloods were vulnerable to that sort of thing. Especially when they didn’t belong to a coven. And there was no Logan to protect him from that.
They would lurk, always at the edge of his vision, or showing themselves in the place of mortals. Just a glimpse into the ugly depths of their souls. Enough to make their presence known. Those sorts of nasties always got more bold when it came to a derenseless halfling.
Already, two had followed him home, lingering on the property, waiting for the magick to fade. Less threatening entities would have made themselves right at home, offering whispers to coax him out of the walls.
Magick could be so ugly sometimes. And even knowing this, Faustus has to wonder if it was truly better to bring him into all of this. There was a chance he would reject their world, and there was no telling how that would end. He definitely couldn’t just leave him to those vultures, though. It would be a painful demise to say the very least. One that always ended with madness, and it would mean breaking his word.
“The boy. You will fetch him?”
“Take care to see Harriott before you go. She wanted a word before you set off to fetch him. And the album you requested.”
“Thank you.” He respectfully inclined his head, rounding the table where she happily consumed her breakfast to cross over into a hall and seek out Harriott in the parlour. She was nestled in a large armchair that faces their hearth, swathed in fur for added warmth.
“Here, as requested. Be sure to bring it back, yes?”
“No, I planned to bury it.” He rolled his eyes, lifting it from her delicate palms.
“You know the library would simply call it back, silly. Now off you go.”
“Where’s Mags? And Ingram?”
“Off with Briar and Drake.”
“Typical.” He tucked the time beneath one arm and made his way for the door, eyes rolling as he crossed the threshold. It would be a much shorter trip this time, and just as he’d thought it He was before their door.
Well... Silveus’ door. Logan no longer lived here. Or anywhere, for that matter. He rang the bell and patiently waited, unsure of what to expect. How badly had they plagued him? Had the games already begun? Was he paranoid enough to not answer the door yet? All of those potentialities sounded horrid. Hopefully, he was right on time.]
He couldn't bear to watch the man as he spoke. He looked so much like Logan that it hurt, an ache deep in his chest. Instead, Silveus cast his eyes down and watched the rain splatter into the mud.
Meaningless. The offer was meaningless. No one would be waiting for him when he got home. No one would share his bed, or wake him up with the scent of hot coffee, or whisper those stupid little secret jokes in his ear when he was sad. They would come and they would linger and they would make noise, try to make him smile, try to help, but then they would move on. Go back to their lives. Forget. And he would be left alone with his pain. Alone again, like he'd always feared he would be. He'd grow old alone in the house where they should have grown old together.
"Thank you," he murmured again, because it was a kind gesture, however meaningless.
Somewhere he could go. He laughed, just once, mirthless and cold. "No, I do not have that kind of money. There is nowhere I can afford to go." It was simple. Logical. True. An easy answer. He shook his head. There was nowhere else he wanted to go. He wanted to go home and pretend as if Logan might walk in the door any moment. At the same moment, he dreaded going home. The empty house. The dark windows. He could already picture it, because he had seen it so many times now, dark and cold without anyone there to welcome him back. He wanted to flee, but he couldn't. Logan had tied him to this place.
He stared into the hole as the rain pounded down. The crowd dispersed. The earth in the depths became mud. He didn't want to leave. It felt as though he was losing Logan all over again. This was so final, this grave, this goodbye. Being here meant acknowledging that the man was gone, that he was never coming back.
He wiped his face, just once. Then he turned on his heel and strode away. Had to keep moving. Had to move along. If he stayed a moment longer, he'd never leave at all.
He was barely aware of the man at his shoulder or the umbrella over his head. Fleeting details didn't matter. Nothing mattered, except that Logan was gone. Nothing could ever matter again.
[center This poor man. He could literally smell the grief rolling off of him. It was bitter and... mildly scented of woodlands. Different from cemetery mud. Faustus wasn’t sure how to place it. The longer they lingered there at the grave side, watching as flowers were tossed into the pit, he couldn’t help but acknowledge that this would not be Logan’s final resting place. He would be taken back to his true home and properly committed to the earth. By their rituals and rites, it had to be done.
Still, they had afforded his husband the funeral he deserved. The closure he would need. It was only fair, considering he had never signed up for this.
Minutes passed, silence filled by a symphony of raindrops as they met the scattered leaves of boughs above and the resistant panels of umbrellas, one of which hovered above Silveus a moment later as it began to pick up from a light drizzle.
“We are here for you... you will not be alone going forward.”
Just permitting the marriage had meant they had shared in Logan’s commitment to this half-blooded soul. He couldn’t have stopped his brother, though - none of them could have, so the best option had been to embrace the two. Not that Faustus had ever felt ill will or dislike toward Silveus, but they had certainly needed to keep their distance for obvious reasons. To a degree, anyway.
The way in which they conducted their lives vastly contrasted the one that he and Logan had led. They lived openly, without fear of mortals or persecution.
Logan has preferred to keep Silveus away from all of that, however, and who could blame him? Perhaps he feared the potential unrest the presence of a half-blood would cause. How ironic that now they would be responsible for him in his brother’s stead.
“Are you planning to stay at the house for now, or... is there somewhere you can go after this to collect yourself?”
Faustus was conscious of his tone, and he kept it low but even. It was as close to gentle as he could manage. Death was something that did not sadden them so much. It was simply a transition, an ascension into another form beyond this temporal realm.
He had not once shed a tear for his brother because he was very much of the kind that he was able to convene with him at any point, as he so pleased. But mortals were so attached to that which was palpable, and they had not the resources for such rituals. Nor the capacity. Another difference that very much set them apart.
A number of family members and friends had come and go in those moments to say goodbye and to offer comfort. Some came with hugs and kisses, and others were just words of comfort. Whether they helped or not was another story, but at the very least Silveus would know he would not be forsaken in wake of this tragedy.
Already, now that Logan had been lowered into his... temporary rest place... the crowd was thinning. Faustus, of course, dutifully remained, very much a sight as he towered, umbrella still in hand, attending the widowed.
He only wished there was more he could say.]
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