Title: The Begining of the End
Warnings: Misuse of biblical canon, sort-of-Satanism, abuse, m/m slash, possession.
Summary: In the Begining was the Word, and the Word was God...But someone just didn't listen...
Imagination is magic. Magic is imagination. It is the ability to dream, to create, that is the mark of the gods.
God gave imagination to his favourite children – not the angels with their wings of shadow and hearts of heavenly fire, born from silence and the peppermint wind that encircles the Three Realms. But to humankind, with their seashell fingernails and the plum-softness of their skin, shaped from stardust with the breath of honey and woodsmoke – to them, God gave real magic. To them, he gave imagination.
And there were some angels who feared for their places, and some who simply disapproved, and the loudest of these was Lucifer, most glorious, most beautiful, the Morning Star of the heavenly host. It was he who argued with God face to face rather than muttering in corners, for, he said, why should these mortals be more powerful than angels? For though all the host had the power of Creation, they had not creativity, and so could only bring into being that which already was, and could not make anything new.
And God said ‘With magic, that I have granted them, humans will be the guardians of my world, and the angels shall guard the guardians, for which they need no magic.’
Lucifer thought about what God had said. He looked at humankind, and the world which he and his brethren loved so much, and he did not think that these weak mortals could look after it, or were worthy of it. They did not love the world as he and his did.
So Lucifer said ‘No, God, I will not guard them. They do not love the world, and they do not understand magic. They will treasure neither gift, and abuse both, and I cannot help them do it!’
And in a rage God threw Lucifer down from Heaven, and he Fell.
But he was still the greatest of angels, and in the darkness he made his own, he swore an oath of hatred against humankind. He swore to turn their magic, that greatest of God’s gifts, against them. And to do this, he spent millennia watching, waiting, learning all about them and theirs and the gifts God had bestowed upon them. He slipped into the dreams of humankind and seduced many of them away from their wrong and abusive ways, and gathered his own following in the shadows, sects of humans he taught to care for their world. What he learned about their magic he taught back to them, and so his chosen were the greatest of humans the world over.
When he had learned all he needed, and set the rest of his plan in place, he bound the knowledge of magic into a single volume, and called his favourite acolyte to him, a golden-haired mortal man, and entrusted the book to him.
‘Keep this always,’ Lucifer said to him. ‘Pass it down from hand to hand within your family. Keep it secret, and safe, until one is born to your bloodline with eyes flecked with the silver of Heaven’s stars. That shall be your sign that I am ready, and he is mine, and for me, and you will give him the book when he reaches manhood. And when the time is right I will take him, and possess him, and wage war on the guardians who do not guard.’
And the acolyte bowed, and took the book. And Lucifer was pleased. He kissed his acolyte on both cheeks, the first human to come to him and his favourite, and sent him away forever.
For Lucifer melted into the darkness, and waited.
Until the day a boy was born, to that most ancient and favoured bloodline, with flecks of silvery grey in his blue eyes.
The only special thing about Damien Lord was his eyes. They were, everyone had to admit, utterly stunning: the deep, rich blue of a summer sky, starred with delicate flecks of the most perfect silvery grey. His family paid them such reverence, commented on and complimented them so often, that it was almost a relief when his constant reading resulted in glasses.
The dark, thick rims hid them.
Even with the glasses, he should have been a beautiful boy – almost androgynous in the smooth sweep of his jaw, the tilt of the famous eyes, the soft silk of his sunlight-bright hair. He wasn’t heavily muscled but his skin was a creamy gold, ribbed with steel, at once subtly strong and delicate. He was of a comfortable height.
And yet – and yet his personality seemed to get in the way of his beauty, in the same way that his glasses turned stray glances away from his eyes, like some kind of slippery mirror. No amount of grooming, from his parents, his siblings, his aunts and uncle and cousins, could shape him; from birth he was meek and mild, quiet and intense, studious and bookish. His father taught Damian and his brothers how to use a knife, a gun, how to kill a man with your bare hands – but Damian avoided the lessons when he could, generally to be found reading in some shadowed corner instead. He exclaimed over the newest advance in computer technology rather than the articles of bloodshed and war in other parts of the world. On his fourteenth birthday, he quietly announced that he wished to become a vegetarian, though his uncle Richard placed a gun in his hands and took him shooting in
He was not what they had expected. But in the arts of Imagination, that greatest of gifts, he excelled. He saw shapes in the clouds, in ink and water and shadow, that even his family could not see. Words flowed like a gushing river from his pen and keyboard, words so exquisite they could make you weep or laugh, smile or scream or sing. His hands shaped stone, clay, cloth, as if each material were part of him. His feet danced as autumn leaves dance in the wind.
Inside becomes outside. That secret, passed down from father to son, mother to daughter, for thousands of years, Damian embodied.
At school, he kept mostly to himself. He answered questions flawlessly when called upon and earned himself the best grades with little effort, even when he won a place at the prestigious Blaksey High in London. He was not well-liked. His quiet, sweet, fumbling manner made him prime prey for the restless bullies too smart to be left to other schools, and where before his family had defended him viciously at his public school, there were none to side with him at Blaksey.
He was told to fight them off. To use his powers against them, to shape a reality in which they suffered, vanished, let him alone. To use his skills with weapons and fists to smash them into the ground.
He did not. Those beautiful eyes shuttered to their insults, and those quick feet dodged their blows or skipped over their out-flung ankles. When he was not fast enough, he bore the bruises – and the deeper, invisible wounds – in silence, though he bled.
It went on for years. The harsh bullets of their words drove him deeper and deeper into silence; their twisting fingers and biting fists herded him into the corners of their world. The products of his mind – his words, his statues, his dances – became darker and darker, more and more twisted, bleeding the pain he could not voice. Of all the Great Gifts, Damian had not song, and without it there was no hope to express the burning loneliness, abandonment, misery, that he felt.
It took him by surprise, then, when the worst of his tormentors asked him, out of the blue, for a date. His raven-wing hair and harsh jaw brooked no refusal, and Damian agreed before the thing was thought through.
He had never been on a date before. He did not find it a comfortable experience, nor one he particularly wished to repeat. The fact that someone – anyone – had finally seen past his glasses to the sheer, stunning beauty beneath did not please him. He would have been far happier if no one had ever noticed. Particularly when that person was Leo Martinez. Damian was accustomed to being looked at with fond exasperation and inexplicable respect (by his family), pleasure and approval (from his teachers), boredom and disinterest, sometimes dislike (his peers), and cruel amusement (his tormentors).
The hunger, then, in Leo’s gaze unnerved him. It was not something he had experienced before; and it was a raw, primal thing, unbound by common concerns – like reciprocation, for one. Damian certainly did not lust after Leo’s body, and his mind was a cruel thing he wanted to stay as far away from as possible.
Leo didn’t seem to care. He pulled Damian around as if on a leash, like a trophy. The older boy stole his glasses when they went out, refusing to give them back until he dropped Damian home in what Damian suspected was a stolen car. Without the glasses – and in clothes Leo all but forced him into – Damian was rained with compliments, more lustful looks and heated glances. Leo revelled in the praise, and Damian realised that it was all about status. His body made him a prize, and by winning it, Leo had gained points with these other people.
It worried him. As it should have done. Tugging Damian around on a leash was not enough, not for long. Leo’s mouth was as hard and bruising as his fists, left Damian red-mouthed and panting, and not in a good way. Leo liked to hold him, pin him against the back of the polyester booth in the bars his gang liked to frequent, so that Damian – smaller, weaker Damian – could not escape, though Damian never tried to. It would have been futile.
Leo’s hunger seemed to grow deeper rather than sated with each kiss, each touch. And it was a rough hunger, a lion’s hunger for prey. It was not something Damian desired, and yet he could see no way to get out of it. He was no fleet-footed gazelle, to escape a lion. If Leo hunted him, Damian would fall beneath his claws in a bloody, shredded mess.
And so he tried not to resist when Leo’s teeth bit into his lip and spilled blood through their kisses. He used his Gift to explain away the bruises Leo left on his neck, his nipples, the finger marks imprinted on his hips. He was creative; he came up with excuses. He could explain everything, but how the quiet intensity of his eyes – his beautiful, glorious eyes – began to fade.
His family tracked the dying glow worriedly, but their efforts at building up the fire once more were all in vain.
It was, of course, Leo’s body that snuffed out that last spark. It was unclear whether it was smothered under his devouring mouth, or if the flame were pinched by his grasping hands. However it happened, the night he lost his virginity – in the backseat, Leo’s fingers around his wrists like handcuffs – was the night his light flickered out.
The day after, it became apparent that his family had not been the only ones tracking that fire. Because at first break on that Thursday school day – giving anyone watching a good few hours to see the hollow emptiness in those eyes – Alexander Michael, Alex to all and sundry, threw Leo’s lunch tray on the ground and did his best to break the older boy’s jaw with his fist.
He failed. But the mark had been struck. As he lay on the ground, spitting blood and cursing, bright green gaze burning with hatred, Alex had done what no one else could have, not if they’d been given centuries to try. The light of him, the raging, burning spark of him, golden and righteous, broke through Damian’s broken-glass numbness and set alight the sodden ashes of his soul. Alex was not a skilled fighter, and yet he would not give up, refused to lie down and be beaten; he snarled and spat like a feral thing, determined to do Leo damage.
Even when Leo’s cronies held him down by his arms, the blonde kicked up viciously between Leo’s thighs, and his wild, fey laughter rang out over the cafeteria like the bells of Faerie as Kronos toppled.
Damian stared and stared, frozen in his seat. Those green eyes shone like jewels – emeralds, beryls, the scales of dragons – even when Leo dragged himself upright, and the punch to Alex’s chest sounded with a resounding crack.
His Gift was the most powerful ever seen, yet he could not imagine someone taking such pain for his sake.
The sight of those green eyes – wild, fierce, sated with satisfaction even as they blossomed with raw pain – haunted him. They bled into his sleep, his dreams, painted themselves over the backs of his own eyes until he felt certain that his blue-and-silver must surely be stained with that rich, electric green. The emotions that had run through them – righteous anger, sorrow, helpless rage, laughter and a fierce pleasure to cause Leo pain – echoed within the still mostly-empty space inside him. They replaced the emptiness. Filled it.
Alex’s fire was like a song, the music of fire and earth, sky and sea, and it filled Damian’s mind as a true song does a cavern.
Gradually, it bolstered him. It grew in him. The song filtered from his mind to his ears, and then to his fingers. Words sprang up for it, a tune, notes and scales that lent themselves easily to paper. He found himself humming it at odd moments, singing snatches of it under his breath, conducting an imaginary orchestra with just a fingertip whenever his mind wandered.
When Leo finally snapped at him to stop, Damian surprised them both by saying No.
To Part II