Mhaorkirran Hadrayad venom is one of the strongest paralytics the Underdark knows. And in the shadow world of secrets and blades, that says a great deal. Dark elven assassins never fail to include it in the repertoire of tricks they play upon the senses, and in the last and most cruel of tricks, to cheat a body of life itself. Only its rarity prevents it from being used in conventional clan warfare.
That same rarity accounts for the fact that, despite the centuries of dark elven history from the fall of Lloth herself, no cure has been found for the aftereffects of the Hadrayad bite. Which often proves to be distressingly - or attractively - fatal, depending on which side of existence you’re on at the moment.
Eleris Amneth remembers all this as calmly as she can while watching a singularly impressive Hadrayad sink its fangs into her wrist and send three heartbeats of venom coursing through her blood.
Reflexively she clamps her fingers around her elbow until they go white, despite knowing what comes next.
She doesn’t make it ten steps in front of her before her vision fails.
<< this is how much it is worth to be me >>
Amarus finds her first.
By then, even he can no longer detect her breathing.
By the time he gets her to Eldior, she no longer has a pulse he can feel.
<< all that I am is all they couldn’t take from me>>
“She’s exhibiting all the symptoms of a Mhaorkirran Hadrayad bite,” he says, although he is sure the elf knows it already.
Eldior probably does, but looks up anyway.
“She had to be one of three things,” says the apothecary, studying the girl’s still face. “Very careless. Very unlucky. Or very stupid.”
Eldior shakes his head once, wordlessly. His damaged fingers - broken in a dark elven attempt to wring his secrets from him - seek out the girl’s own, and curl around hers as if he could bring her back to life.
Amarus doesn’t miss the gesture.
“Then she was that desperate,” he says, quietly. He turns away.
“Get her out of here as soon as you can,” he says. “Death never becomes those so young.”
<< hehitmeanditfeltlikeakiss >>
There is a heartbeat of silence before Eldior draws his arm back and strikes Eleris with considerably more force than his withdrawn countenance belied.
“You will never do that again,” he hisses, as the girl’s eyes slowly and painfully open. “You - make a poor corpse. And the venom of eight D’al’hy’ran would have sufficed. And been easier to control. Instead you had to get yourself bitten by a Mhaokirran Hadrayad. Lloth’s children! Of all the creatures of the Underdark! A Mhaokirran Hadrayad! You idiot of a child. Desperation does not countenance stupidity!”
The girl’s lashes flutter. Almost casually, Eldior strikes her again. Eleris’ eyes widen in outrage.
“You’re not going to fall asleep,” says Eldior, quietly, but very firmly. “I told you you should’ve gone for the D’al’hy’ran. Fall asleep under the Hadrayad bite and you’d never open your eyes again. I won’t always be around to save you from your own stupidity.” He shakes his head. “Well, at least it wasn’t the Magenthan breed you chose. You’d have to be bled every hour on the hour did you wish to survive that particular choice.”
<< this game of you >>
Every moment the paralysis takes to wear off is agony. Eleris realises she has her voice again the eighth time Eldior brings up the stupidity of what she’s done.
“It… would…” says Eleris, “If I… had been… in the habit.” She pauses for breath. “Of being. Bitten. By spiders. In such… numbers.” She intends a smile, but an awkward twist of mouth is all the venom will allow her. “Couldn’t. Explain. Eight… Hy’ran… bites. One… Hadrayad - ” The effort of that word costs her. It is several moments before she can speak again. “Would. Was. Easier.”
“So you heard me,” says Eldior. He doesn’t look particularly happy. “I’m surprised,” he continues. “Especially in light of your persistence in disregarding everything I say. Was this the only way you could get Yris to leave?”
“The… apparent… death… of… this… body. Yes.” Eleris says, and this time her wild joy gives her enough strength to shape her unwilling mouth into the semblance of a smile.
“You’re right,” says Eldior, as he brushes the hair out of her eyes, “You’re nobody’s assassin.” There is a smile in his voice. “Not even your own.”
<< the end >>
And because I suddenly feel like letting everyone see what I write. Which is painfully awful. But I feel reckless tonight.
Because. nescienx's Eight Plot Bunnies that Should Never Be Written (warning. Peter as a cat fic ensues) inspired me to write
Peter’s never allowed himself to watch Harry like this while he was sleeping.
This, of course, is not to say that he didn’t want to.
So Peter rests his chin on his paws, and watches Harry sleep.
Harry’s inherited Norman Osborn’s features. There’s strength in the curve of his jaw, and Peter thinks Harry will come to resemble his father very much. Peter wonders how Harry will react to having his father’s face looking out at him every time he catches himself in a mirror, what it will do to him to be always reminded of what he believes Spider-man took from him.
Norman Osborn was working himself out of Harry’s life long before that glider ended his. But Harry won’t believe that.
But those are not problems for Peter. Not now, at least. Now he’s part of Harry Osborn’s life without the complications of being Peter Parker and Spider-man.
He’s just a cat, now. Just Harry’s. Completely and unreservedly.
The city waits on the edge of dawn, and light begins to slant in through the curtains.
Harry begins to stir, and Peter marvels at how well Harry does when he’s not been drinking.
Harry opens his eyes, and gazes right at Peter. Peter wonders how he manages to be awake in less time than it takes him to blink.
“ ‘Morning, Pete,” Harry says, voice still half-asleep. Peter miaows back at him.
“I’m talking to a cat,” Harry says, half-amused, half-incredulous. He sits up slowly, then reaches out and casually ruffles Peter’s ears.
Harry picks the purring kitten up and deposits it on the couch.
Gazing into the kitten’s tiny face, he says, seriously, “He’s got eyes like yours.”
Peter miaows in protest and begins his attempt to scale the largest overstuffed cushion on the Osborn couch.
Harry laughs, and Peter grows still, because he realizes that it’s been far too long since he’s heard Harry Osborn laugh like that.
And he realizes that he’s missed it more than he knew.
It’s been far too long since Harry’s smiles didn’t somehow have an edge of bitterness or malice to them. But when Peter turns around, Harry’s smiling. It’s rare because it’s real, and Peter’s so startled he loses his balance and tumbles off the cushion.
Harry’s there to catch him before he hits the floor. The reflex action finds Peter curled up in Harry’s hands, blinking at how fast Harry is.
Harry cradles him in his hands. And then, unexpectedly, he drops a kiss on Peter’s forehead.
“Not losing you, Pete,” he says. The tenderness in his voice catches them both by surprise. Harry shakes his head and smiles.
“Even if you’re just a cat.”
“Pete’s not returning my calls,” said Harry, almost to himself, as he cradles the tiny kitten. “I don’t know,” he says, to himself.
Peter doesn’t dare put into words what he thinks when he looks on the sleeping Harry in the morning. Harry at peace is so different from the Harry he knows, edgy with frustration and always thisclose to fury. Harry turns over, and almost the same happens to Peter’s heart. Harry opens his eyes, and smiles sleepily at him. “’Morning, Pete,” he says, then closes his eyes again.
And no matter how tired, angry, or upset Harry is, he always has time for Peter. Peter always knew humans needed cats, but he never knew cats could need humans, too.
“I can’t stay angry at you,” sighs Harry, and he smoothes Peter’s ears.
Quietly, he says, “You have his eyes.” A laugh.
Peter washes his paws and looks up.
“Only I wish he would look at me the way you do.”
And while I'm on Spider-Man 2, here's something nescienx has seen, and... Well, suffice to say that there are far better uses of your time than reading
Peter knows all there is to know about equal and opposite reactions, and yet he can’t explain how Harry turns his no into a yes, how his pulling away drives Harry to crush him close, and how a stifled protest becomes a wordless cry for more.
“I still love her,” Peter gasps. Harry crushes Peter’s mouth to his as if it would make those words untrue. Peter almost breaks away, but he hesitates, an opportunity which Harry seizes to kiss him again. There’s never been any gentleness to Harry, and there isn’t now.
“This doesn’t change anything,” Peter tells him, almost as if his words can will it to be true. Harry almost laughs in his face. Of course it doesn’t, they both know. It changes nothing, and it changes everything, and Harry Osborn cannot believe how stupid the both of them have been.
As the sun rises behind the curtains, Peter untangles himself from Harry, who curses under his breath. Peter speaks for the both of them when he says, not looking at anything, "That was a mistake." Harry chokes back his laughter, and leaves. He doesn’t even bother to slam the door
also. read Patricia McKillip. Especially if you like descriptive imagery.
<< and dance the edge of sanity >>
You will die for her with a smile upon your face.
++ There is a promise in an assassin's eyes. ++
"This grief is the price of that joy," he says, his dying fingers warm against my face. "And all is as it should be."
<< somewhere in the night, the stars fall for you and me >>
"No," he says, and he holds my gaze. "I was young. I was hurt. And I was very angry because I couldn't understand why he had decided that he did not love me any more.
"I think I never shall.
"But you don't need to understand why something happens to learn to live with it."
<< accept, and endure >>
He reads a question in my eyes that he does not answer.
"It was strange. Ironic, even. That he, the human, should love as an elf; and that I should love as a human. A lifetime of him would not have been enough for me. My father told me that I had spent too much time among men, to love one of them as one of them."
<< tell me I don't love you >>
He takes a breath.
"I was destroyed."
It is all I can do not to drop my eyes. To look unflinchingly in the face of suffering is a gift I do not possess.
"I would not have hurt him for the world," he whispers, and his voice catches on an ancient hurt that time has done precious little to heal. "Few can grieve as elves can, and among my people fewer still can grieve as I did."
<< this isn't love >>
There is a smile in his eyes that holds more pain than the most bitter of tears.
<< then say goodbye | no moment lasts forever >>
And for kannazuki, because you inspired this line:
For being hurt like that is worth every second of pain | When you showed me what it was like to be loved.