Humanity in Silence
A/N: Once more, muchos thankos!
+Humanity in Silence
Damien disappeared with his rustling sheets after he had copied every single rune on them, checking and rechecking to make sure he had everything right. He didn’t want to translate anything wrong. He knew that this was important to Elisabeth. Knew it like he knew his name. The why didn’t matter to him.
Once Asher and Elisabeth were alone he watched as she pulled her clothes back on, deftly doing up the clasp of her bra with no sign of a blush.
“What are you?” The question was out before he could stop it but there was no evil intent behind it and he knew she heard it. I was honest puzzlement over all the bits and pieces of her he had managed to gather through others, through watching and talking and wondering. He needed to understand her.
She shrugged carefully as she turned to face him, unfortunately fully clothed once more. Even though her teenaged body was too thin for his tastes, there was a coiled energy right under the skin, a hidden power that drew him like a moth to a roaring bonfire.
“Tired, mostly,” she offered with a smile that he couldn’t help but return.
“You tease me, ma chére.”
She snorted. "Mostly, I just don’t like talking about myself.“
“Purquoi?” He asked, not really surprised to see that she seemed to understand the question. He knew she spoke some Italian or maybe Spanish and he knew that she had spent time in Britain. It seemed he could now add French to the wild mix of languages she was familiar with.
“Why?” She repeated his question with a laugh. It wasn’t a very happy one. “Why don’t you tell me about those scars you hide so well?”
Automatically, his hand flew up to the scarred side of his face, checking that the hair was still in place, covering his disfigurement. It was. He narrowed his eyes at her but she seemed immune.
“I’ll make you a deal,” she offered. “You tell me about your scars, I tell you about me.”
There was a long moment of silence before he whispered, “Priests. They attempted to burn the evil out of me.”
The look of surprise on her face was entirely unguarded and real for a moment. Clearly, she had expected him to shut down and thus end the conversation. She did not understand the extent of his need to know her it seemed.
Then she gave in. “Once upon a time, I was one girl in all the world.”
He leaned back in his chair, content to let her talk. She fidgeted for a moment, pulling her scrunchy from her shock of white hair, before pulling it into a messy bun at the nape of her neck. “The one with the power to fight the vampires and demons and keep the world safe. Things went downhill from there.”
“You killed vampires, ma chére?”
She nodded, then shook her head. Her hands stilling in her lap as she realized she was fidgeting. “My vampires were different. Soulless. They were demons possessing a dead human body. Well,” a smile flittered across her tiny face, “Most of them anyway.”
“Not all?” He asked quietly, not daring to speak louder in case he broke the moment and her flow of words.
She shook her head, one hand going up to her neck in a gesture Asher had seen many times before. She was feeling for a vampire’s marks. Marks that were not there because this body was not hers. And for the first time he realized the extent of her presence in this room. She had jumped across worlds to be here, against her will. He had not thought of what she had left behind.
“Did you,” he didn’t know how to phrase it, “Did you leave behind a lover, where you are from?”
She seemed to jerk back into reality, her hand immediately leaving her neck. “Two,” she said. “But they left me long before I left them.”
She was on her feet the moment she realized what she was saying, already formulating a lame excuse as to why she had to leave and Asher understood just how lonely, how desperate she had to be if she so willingly told a stranger her secrets, let down her guard so easily.
She was as starved for a bit of humanity, for someone to listen as he sometimes was because even Jean-Claude rarely listened to him. He heard, but he did not listen.
“Please,” he said as he jumped to his feet, “Do not leave. We can talk about other things. Or not talk at all.”
Later, he wondered whether it was his words or the raw expression on his face that made her sit back down silently.
I'm not ticklish.