The Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter series belong to Laurell K. Hamilton. The plot (what little there is) is mine, although heavily based on hints and ideas from the books, especially Cerulean Sins
Right after Cerulean Sins
To Mhalachai for the beta.A/N:
Ok, here’s the drill. I figure that through all the books, especially the last ones, Anita has basically been walking around being scared more or less all the time
. That would certainly explain her often too-bitchy attitude. Also, Laurell’s kinda said this out loud a few times. (Cerulean Sins
, the Jason/Anita conversation, being the biggest hint.)
This is me defending Anita from all the fanfic writers saying she’s the queen bitch just because she wants to be. Or just because, no reason given. She’s not like that. Would we be reading the books if she were?A/N 2:
I started writing this before Incubus Dreams
came out, and since I just acquired said book I have to finish this before I can start reading it. At the start it was only dialogue, and I fleshed it out afterwards. If it seems weird that’s probably why. Also, it might be a bit… flowery, and I blame that entirely on Jean-Claude. :~)Emotional Trauma
“I will no longer put up with this, Anita. If you can have more than one lover then so can I.”
She looked at him, her voice betraying her rising anger. He was angry as well, but right now she didn’t care.
“You mean Asher.”
“Don’t you see? That’s different!”
The outburst surprised him; he had expected her to leave, or to just dismiss him. But this problem had been between them for too long, and they were both getting tired of it. They had to find a solution sooner or later – preferably sooner, before their own relationship was destroyed in the process.
“You love him.”
Her tone was almost accusing.
“You sleep with Micah,” he countered.
“He’s my Nimir-Raj. We’re a mated pair. And with the ardeur
… But I don’t love him. I don’t love Jason either, nor Nathaniel. Not like that. Not like you.”
“You love Richard.”
Another problem. Even though Richard had left her for good – or so they both claimed – he was still very much a part of their lives. Although they seemed to be adjusting, Jean-Claude knew that both Richard and Anita longed for the other. Even though lately it seemed that Anita had resigned to the fact that they were no longer a couple.
“But I’m not sleeping with him, now, am I? I love you. I sleep with you. I go out with you.”
“And still you will not let me feed from you.”
The third problem, and something that hurt him very much. She would let him feed his ardeur
, but not his blood lust. And he could not understand why.
“No,” was her only answer.
“You have fed Asher. You have no excuse anymore.”
“You still refuse?”
“Fuck, Jean-Claude, I don’t want to do this now!”
No, she never did. She made a move towards the door, and he grew angry. Grabbing her arm, he answered her.
“But we shall! You will have your argument, Anita!”
It was the closest he had ever been to yelling, and she was clearly taken aback.
“You don’t understand!”
There was something desperate in her voice, but he ignored it. She had walked away from this conversation too many times before.
She shook her head, not looking at him.
“Anita!”“I’m scared, ok?!”
It was a scream, a loud and defiant yell into his face. And it was far from what he had imagined. For once, he had nothing to say.
She was glaring at him, but there was something vulnerable in her eyes, something she always did her best to hide from the world. Something it always surprised him to see. And now it worried him.
“Scared… of me?”
“Yes! No! I don’t know. Of… of loving too much. Of… losing myself. Losing control.”
“To me,” he guessed, trying to understand. She had never revealed any of this before, and although he knew that she was more than slightly obsessed with controlling the world around her he had never realised that it went this deep.
“To anyone! God! Is Jason the only one who’s figured it out? I hold back from everyone, Jean-Claude. Not just you.”
“Everyone. Richard too?”
“That’s not an issue, is it?”
“Not him, then.”
It was not really a surprise.
“And see how well that worked out…”
Her voice was soft, vulnerable. He’d known that their break up had wounded her deeply – and Richard too – and his leaving must have made it harder for her to give herself to the others.
For what seemed to be the hundredth time he silently cursed Richard for his squeamishness, then cursed Anita’s reluctance to talk about her problems for good measure. Was it too much to ask that he would ever love someone without emotional trauma?
“So you love me, but you hold back from me. What prevents me from seeking what I need elsewhere? Why are you so against this?”
She was actually trembling now, he noticed. When she spoke, her voice trembled too.
”Asher… you love him. If you go back to him… you won’t need me anymore. You’ll leave me.”
“Is that what you fear?”
He had also lowered his voice, as if he were talking to a frightened animal. Or a jumper on a rooftop. As if one wrong step could bring it all down, all her walls and defences. Everything she was, the strength and anger she depended on.
“If you sleep with anyone but me… love anyone else… you’ll leave me.”
“I know it’s not fair! I know I’m being a hypocrite, I’m sorry!”
For once the anger in her was a relief. She wouldn’t break. And even if she might… a perverse need to know spurred him on, provided him with more questions.
“Would it be better if it were a woman?”
She shook her head.
“I don’t know.” A jerky nod. “Yes.”
“Then I could be angry at you. Then I could hate her.”
“But you love Asher just like I do.”
His voice was puzzled. He
was puzzled. She shook her head again, smiling slightly as if against her will.
“Not like you. No-one can love him like you.”
“And so you fear my leaving. My loving him.”
“Your loving anyone
else, I think.”
“And if I told you I would not leave you? That I would not love you less? That I would… perhaps love you more for this gift?”
With each question he stepped closer. She stood straight as an iron rod, in control of her own body even when her thoughts and emotions were in turmoil. Tonight, more than ever, he realised how much he loved her, even though she could drive him into despair and rage. He was starting to realise why.
“I don’t know,” she answered, anger in her voice.
“I know how hard it is for you to admit your feelings, ma petite
. Please, tell me – I want to understand you!”
Swiftly, he caught her hand in hers, and her other hand was halfway to her gun before she noticed it. Not looking at him she touched the holster gently.
“It scares me. I… I’ve been scared from day one, I think. My powers, the triumvirate, the bonds I have with others… All the things that remove me from myself. Make me a monster.”
“What if it is not a removal? What if you are just now finding who you really are?”
“I think… I think that scares me even more.”
He had never thought that she’d admit to being scared by anything. It was a fantasy of his, though. To be able to be strong for her, to carry her burdens. He had imagined it would satisfy him in some way… make the whole situation a little easier to bear, on those nights she weren’t with him. Or on those nights she were, for that matter. But the world didn’t work that way. And now all he could feel was sadness.
“You must learn to accept yourself, ma petite
,” he whispered, pulling her close to him. “Do not end up like Richard.”
She winced, before relaxing into his embrace.
“It’s getting better. I think. I hope. The pard… we’re doing better now.” A slight pause. “With Asher… I just don’t know. We’ll work something out, I suppose.”
“You are already on your way. Do not fear.”
The stubbornness was back in her face. Just as well, he thought, smiling a little in spite of it all. She despised being afraid. And she’d do what ever it took to destroy that fear. Perhaps even if it meant letting go a little.
“It’ll take time.”
“We have time. All the time we need to work things out. He has been in our bed once, and he will be there again.”
He loved to watch her blush. It was still much too easy. And right now, maybe exactly what they needed.
“You know he will. So maybe someday…”
“Maybe… but it’ll be my decision.”
She gave him a hard, determined look. The effect was slightly ruined by her hands running over his back.
“Well!” he laughed softly. “It’s a start.”