Title: Faizel II
Author: Harper Kingsley
Characters: Faizel/Charlemagne, Ewing, Isadore, Ives, Jenny Deacon
Genre: vampires, mm, slash
Summary: Picks up where Faizel left off. Faizel is fitting into his new world like a shark with lasers on its head. There’s blood in the water. He’s closing in.
Sometimes Ewing wondered if they had invited a devil into their midst. Because there wasn’t a doubt in his mind that Charlemagne was possessed. And the devil was named Faizel. Charlemagne’s darling love. The mysterious vampire that had appeared from nowhere to steal Charlemagne’s heart and rearrange the natural order of the world.
Ewing personally thought of Faizel as a booty call gone wrong, though he would never say it aloud. He valued his life too much.
Charlemagne wanted to keep Faizel secret, and Ewing was willing to go along with it. Because honestly, how could he even explain someone like Faizel? The guy scared the ever living fuck out of him, and that was no lie.
“Are you certain this is how you want to do things?” Deacon asked in her “I’m a complete hard as nails Law Officer” voice.
Ewing fought to keep still where he knelt on the hardwood floor along with the other low level vampires. It was pretty boring, but he wasn’t one to battle the status quo. He didn’t want to get tortured and killed.
Isadore had been summoned by Prince Lucian, which meant they’d been forced to accompany her to display her level of awesome to the rest of the Lords and Ladies. They were each showing off how powerful and bad ass they were, which meant uncomfortable outfits and unnatural poses for their followers.
It was a revelation to look across the banquet hall and see the other retinues; some of those guys had it really rough. Ewing didn’t even want to think about what was up with the guy with the weird metal clamps on his face or the chick with the fish hooks through her nipples. All he had to do was wear old fashioned clothes and serve imaginary tea; that didn’t seem so bad in comparison to what those other schlubs had to put up with.
Seeing that everyone was focused on the drama unfolding in the middle of the room, he risked stretching his back and cracking his neck before getting back to his frozen position. He even dared to lick his dry lips a minute later.
Back when he’d been human he’d fantasized about what it would be like when he was Turned. He’d imagined lounging around wearing cool clothes. He’d imagined driving fancy cars and owning the city and everyone in it. Instead, he dressed like a complete hose-bag and catered to a woman that made his testicles shrivel. She was hot, with long waves of inky black hair and eyes that seemed to have been permanently rimmed with heavy black kohl. She was also hardcore pathetic, though she expected them to do whatever she wanted.
He’d thought being a vampire would mean freedom. Instead he’d been forced into the life of some old lady’s permanent bitch-boy. His place in the Hierarchy was so low he didn’t even get to sit in a chair–he spent his time kneeling with his palms to the floor.
He wasn’t jealous of Charlemagne’s higher rank though. That guy was in a much worse position: he actually had to sleep with the old broad whenever she wanted. Isadore was sexy, but Ewing had no desire for her. Which was probably the reason why he was kneeling on the floor rather than standing behind her throne-chair all mannequin-faced like Charlemagne was doing.
Stuff was getting loud and there were angry words being said. Law Officer Jenny Deacon was looking for some missing girl and she’d requested that Prince Lucian gather all the master vampires in the city so she could question them. She seemed to think the girl was in an Enclave somewhere, and of course all the vampires knew which one because none of them could keep a secret.
Ewing had never realized Deacon was so arrogant. Storming the Prince’s Citadel and demanding answers as though Lucian were a peasant. She was lucky Prince Lucian had the hots for her, because Law Officer or not, he would have torn her apart if she were anyone else; Ewing had heard the stories. But she was so raw to the job that she probably thought she could take on a Prince.
Charlemagne thought she was an idiot, and Ewing couldn’t help agreeing.
Ewing risked a peek to his right, and there that expression was on Charlemagne’s face. He had to muffle a snort. Most people would have thought Charlemagne’s face was blank, but Ewing knew the guy better. There was an extra bit of arch to Charlemagne’s brows and a barely smoldering flame in the back of his eyes. He was holding back a sneer through sheer force of will.
Charlemagne played his role perfectly, but Ewing knew how much he hated to have his time wasted. He had to put up with it from Isadore, but Deacon was only human. Charlemagne would never be indecorous enough to step out of line in public, but Ewing could tell he wanted to.
From the minute he Woke for the first time as a lesser vampire, Ewing had known the best he could hope for was being a master’s lackey. His place in the Hierarchy had been set by his biology and there was nothing he could do to change it. Charlemagne though, he was one of the lucky ones. He was of the master class and Ewing had never seen him hit his limit. He was strong enough that Ewing wondered why he took orders from some masters that were obviously inferior. Yet Charlemagne would just bow his head and do as he was told. It was weird.
There was a loud crash and a load of screeching and Ewing found himself caught up in the show. The boring posturing was over and it was time for some action. He was reluctantly entertained.
The nobles had broken up into various cliques encircling the room, leaving the main floor open. The first time Ewing had seen it happen, he’d felt like he was back in high school being herded into the gym.
Isadore was next to Felix, as he was her Patron. They were seated on large throne chairs with their personal entourages around them. The lower level vampires were arranged in neat rows bracing the thrones, Isadore’s followers to the left and Felix’ to the right.
Ewing was supposed to keep his head facing forward, but that didn’t keep his eyes from moving. Being near the end of his row gave him a clear field of view of most of the room. He just had to be careful not to catch the eye of any of his “betters.” He wasn’t fond of being punished.
Deacon was standing facing Prince Lucian with one gloved hand knotted in the hair of a vampire man, her gun pointed at the side of his head. “Are you gonna try anything stupid when I pop this guy?”
There was an amused lift to Prince Lucian’s lips. “You may do as you wish. You are the Law. It is your job to punish him, is it not?”
“Good. As long as you remember that, I won’t have to come for you next time.” There was a slight ripple of outrage through the room; she had dared threaten their Prince.
Lucian’s laughter was a rich, touchable thing. “You are bold,” he said, like it was a good thing and not something that regularly got people killed. Ewing wondered if Deacon knew how much the Prince indulged her and how rare that was. Probably not. People like Deacon usually took adoration as their due.
“You are bold, Jenny Deacon, like a well-honed blade.” Prince Lucian waved his hand. “Take him as you like, my gift to you.”
Her snort of derision wasn’t exactly subtle, but Ewing didn’t think she cared. She had been disrespectful before and the Prince had never said anything about it, so now she acted as though it were her due.
That was a stupid kind of ballsy right there, but from what little Ewing knew of Jenny Deacon, she wasn’t the kind of person to ever back down. She was the lunge-lunge-lunge forward kind of woman that always thought she was going to come out safe on the other side. She didn’t realize she was jamming herself headfirst into a meat grinder, and Prince Lucian controlled the crank.
“Who’s that guy?” Ewing asked out of the corner of his mouth. He’d never seen that vampire before in his life, and he’d made it his business to know anyone even the least bit important.
“No idea,” Paris said. He was a tall redhead with dark bronze skin that looked like he was covered by one giant freckle. He could be a funny guy, but there were shadows in his blue eyes that spoke of the kind of life Ewing didn’t even want to think about.
Paris had belonged to several different masters before he’d found himself in Isadore’s control. He’d even said it before, that he didn’t mind her as a master because things could be so much worse. The look in his eyes had made Ewing understand more about where he was coming from than he was ready for.
“Glad you’re not going to stop me,” Deacon said, and pulled the trigger.
There was a dull pop and the splash of shattered brain and bone being sent across the marble floor. The vampire she held didn’t even have time to realize what was happening before he was dead.
“Well, that certainly was very… messy,” Prince Lucian said, completely unbothered by the death of a vampire he didn’t even know. “Are you happy to have gotten that out of your system?”
Deacon’s smile was shark-like. “It felt good.”
“Ah, and did you get what you wanted? Did you somehow figure out where the girl you’re looking for is, before you killed him?” Prince Lucian sounded amused. He was sitting on his throne with his legs crossed. The cut of his trousers made his legs look about three miles long. He had neatly trimmed golden blond hair and an intelligent looking face, though there were depths to his hazel eyes that showed his age.
“I’ll find the girl,” Deacon promised. She turned an accusing stare toward the other nobles. “If you know anything, you’re better off telling me where she is now. I wouldn’t want to have to cut my way through to the truth of the matter.”
“Well.” The Prince clapped his hands. “I hope you have fun finding your truth.”
“This is going to be messy,” Paris said, low-voiced.
Ewing jerked a quick nod. “Might be a great time to take a vacation somewhere far away.”
Paris snorted. “A woman like that would chase you across the world.”
Watching Deacon threaten a whole room full of vampires, Ewing had to admit that Paris was right. There was no hole deep enough to hide from her vampire slaughtering ass–she enjoyed her job way too much.
“Do you think we’re going to be here much longer?” he asked.
“Why don’t the two of you shut the hell up?” Gladys whispered. She’d been Turned in the 1940s, and though she was smoking hot, her name was still very retro. “I don’t want to have to stand around while you get your asses reamed out by the Mistress. I’ve got plans for later.”
Ewing pressed his lips tight together and Paris jerked his back straight where it had begun to sag at the shoulders. Neither one of them wanted to end up on the receiving end of a bunch of bad feelings.
It was one of the worst things about Isadore’s idea of punishment. It felt like being trapped in his crotchety grandma’s house, standing in a line with his sisters and cousins as one of their number was yelled at while they were forced to listen to the crazy. Isadore didn’t get quite as frothy at the mouth as Grandma Hillary Robinson, but that didn’t mean a whole lot when the discomfort was about the same. Getting lectured at was bad enough, but afterward there was the ragging from the other minions. Depending on the seriousness of the misdeed and the amount of time lost, there could be weeks of hard feelings.
Embarrassing Isadore in front of the other nobles was the kind of screw up where he would be better off running for the hills because it would be a never ending torment. It was better to just behave until they could finally get out of here.
Ewing glanced toward Charlemagne and caught him subtly checking his watch. He wanted to get out of here as much if not more than the rest of them, as Faizel was waiting for him at the secret apartment for their regularly scheduled booty call.
There was no trace of impatience on Charlemagne’s face, he was just as blank as always, but Ewing knew the guy was probably counting down the seconds until he could flee the scene and get back to his little love nest and the psychopathic killer waiting inside.
Faizel made Ewing’s skin creep, but Charlemagne loved the guy to a terrifying degree. It was hard to tell how far Charlemagne was willing to go, but Ewing had a fear that it was all the way.
Ewing winced and held back a yelp as a lash of pain shot through his nerves. He forced himself not to move, to hold himself completely still and put a look of attention on his face. Desmond would give him another nerve lash if he made a wrong gesture, and no one else in the room would see anything happen.
That was the thing about vampire life he didn’t think he was ever going to get used to, the fact that everything was about appearances. It was all posturing and looking good in front of crowds. It was like dealing with the worst parts of high school and not having a graduation day to look forward to.
The guys in the trenches with him were trying to keep their heads down and not make waves, while the higher ups were clawing at the ladder, desperate to get to the top. He’d learned to meld into the background and keep his mouth shut unless he was asked a question. And he was grateful not to belong to some of the other masters.
He’d asked Tamlin if he’d wanted to have a spike implanted in the head of his dick. The guy’s response had involved the words “fuck” and “no,” and Ewing had walked away with the knowledge that if he was ever traded to another master, there was no way he wanted that master to be Benton Lamoux. The sick fuck.
Isadore was more annoying than anything else and he was happy to stay off her radar as just another nameless minion. He was available for fetching and carrying, but it was nice not having to worry that she was going to call him up for sex and violence.
Being called in to face all the other minions and their masters put his life in perspective. His worst nights didn’t involve even a quarter of the horror that some of these guys faced every minute. The body mods alone were nightmare inducing.
He zoned out on Jenny Deacon smacking around a female vampire he’d never seen before. As a method of intimidation it didn’t do much for him, and all he felt was annoyance that his time was being wasted.
I can’t wait to get out of here, he thought. This is awful. And afterward the Mistress is going to want to “discuss her feelings” for another two hours. Ugh.
Stepping out of the hotel Isadore used as a headquarters, Ewing practically danced down the steps. He had the next three days to himself and he wasn’t coming back to this place a moment sooner than he had to.
He froze and turned to see Charlemagne hurrying down the stairs after him. “What’s up?”
Charlemagne reached the bottom of the stairs and stepped closer to Ewing, lowering his voice so no one else could hear. “I can’t leave just yet, but he’s waiting for me. Do you think you could stop by with a Donor and let him know I’ll be by later?”
Ewing sighed. “He’s gonna be pissy.” Which was probably the understatement of the century.
“It will be fine,” Charlemagne said. “He likes you.”
Like that even meant anything to someone like Faizel. He probably orgasmed every time he saw something die. He was definitely creepy.
There were times when Ewing was desperate to tell Charlemagne that he needed to dump Faizel for the good of everyone. But he knew that Charlemagne would take it badly.
He was completely obsessed with Faizel, to the point that Ewing was thinking there was some creepy alien ability involved. Part of Faizel’s otherworldly strangeness included mind control. It was the only explanation for how Charlemagne had managed to lose his shit so completely.
There were some hijinks afoot and it gave Ewing the creeps.
Not that he would ever say anything to Charlemagne. The guy was so wrapped up in Faizel that he probably thought rainbows shot out Faizel’s ass. He was not accepting any kind of commonsense at the moment. Ewing would save himself the bother.
“It’s going to cost extra, trying to pick up a Donor this late in the day,” Ewing warned. Plus there was the hassle of wiping some human’s memory once they came into contact with the oddity that was the vampire Faizel.
“Make it happen. You know I’m good for it,” Charlemagne said.
Ewing looked at him for a long moment, then jerked a nod. “I’ll handle it. This time.” He didn’t want to become the go-to whipping boy whenever someone had a message for Charlemagne. That way lay dragons.
The smile Charlemagne have him said that he understood. “Thank you. Please tell him that I will arrive as soon as possible.”
Ewing nodded. “Of course. I have to go now. It will take me a little while to arrange a Donor.” Charlemagne didn’t want to give out the address of his secret love nest apartment, so Ewing would have to bring the Donor himself. It would take a healthy chunk out of his evening, which he wasn’t exactly thrilled about, but Charlemagne was his friend.
“You owe me,” he said.
“Everything,” Charlemagne agreed. “One day I will repay you for everything you’ve done for me.”
“Don’t bankrupt yourself or anything.” Ewing turned and walked away. “See you later.”
There was the ghost of Charlemagne’s laugh. “Later.”
He should have expected that Faizel would be ready and waiting his arrival. Instead he had to fight down an instinctive startled panic. There was just something about Faizel that left him feeling like prey. He didn’t appreciate the sensation.
“Charlemagne asked me to let you know he’d be by later.” Ewing carried the cloth grocery bag to the kitchen counter and began putting things away. “I brought some canned soups and fresh fruit. Please make sure the Donors eat something before you let them leave. I don’t want to catch an earful from the Madame again about abusing the kids.”
Faizel waved his hand. “Whatever. Charlemagne is coming later for sure?”
“He is.” There should have been something humanizing about Faizel’s eagerness for Charlemagne, but there was something sinister to the cast of his features. “He was disappointed that he couldn’t be the one here now, but he was held back by the Mistress.”
“Really. She kept him with her.” Faizel raised his left eyebrow inquisitively.
Ewing shifted uncomfortably and edged toward the door. “Yes, and he asked me to let you know he would still be coming by and I’ve arranged two Donors to stop by in a little while.”
“You’re leaving? You don’t want to hang out with me?”
“Not tonight. I have plans,” Ewing said, trying to keep his face blank. There was no way he was prepared to show his fear in front of Faizel. That would be like blood in shark infested water.
Faizel looked at him for a long moment, then a too-wide grin stretched his lips and there was the glint of something monstrous shifting behind his eyes. “Well, I’ll see you then. You know how I enjoy your company.”
“Yeah.” Ewing flopped his hand at him and made his escape as fast as he could without running.
The last thing he wanted was to give Faizel a reason to chase him down.
* * *
There were happenings happening, he could tell, though he was willing to be patient and wait for Charlemagne. Ewing had run out as though afraid he was going to catch cooties or something. It brought a smirk to Faizel’s lips.
He’d always had a thing about bringing the fear on. Terror smelt like sweet promises.
He’d Fed and sent the human away. If he wasn’t allowed to kill them, he didn’t like to have humans hanging around. Too much temptation and he knew himself enough to know what he might do.
Boredom was not something he handled well. He’d always had a bit too much of the thrill-seeker in him. It was one of the things that had made him the Master’s favorite–no one else could match his bloodlust and sheer aptitude for violence. He was a connoisseur of the finer things, relishing the screams of agony nearly as much as he liked painting the world red.
Faizel slouched on the couch. He was tired of this sad apartment. He needed room to stretch in and breathe. It was only a matter of time before he lost control.
There was the sound of the door unlocking, then Charlemagne was giving him that look as though he thought Faizel had hung the moon. It was flattering.
Faizel started to smile, then he saw that Charlemagne’s black hair was damp from a hasty shower. There was the shadow of fingerprint bruises on his neck.
Charlemagne had fucked Isadore.
A fire was lit in Faizel’s chest. He wanted to curse and scream and cause the kind of trouble where no one could forget the scene he was making.
Charlemagne is mine, he thought. It was filled with all of the spite of his selfish monster’s heart. He’d never learned how to share, and just the idea of that old bitch touching what was his… His fingers flexed with the need to rend and tear.
You are mine, he thought, staring down at the floor to hide his glare. He wanted to hurt Charlemagne, wanted to punish him for his betrayal, but he knew it wasn’t fair. Isadore was Charlemagne’s Master. She was powerful and old and Charlemagne was forced to do all that she wanted. Even fuck her.
There was an icy blade digging into his heart, jagged and painful, ripping at him when he thought of Charlemagne with someone else, someone not him.
“You’re mine,” he blurted.
“I’m yours,” Charlemagne said, wrapping his arms around Faizel. He didn’t know where Faizel’s thoughts had led, didn’t know why Faizel would stiffen in his arms, but more than anything he wanted Faizel to smile at him, to love him, to want to be with him forever and always.
Faizel pressed his cheek against Charlemagne’s chest, his arms limp at his sides, not returning the embrace, but not pulling away either. He could hear the slow beat of Charlemagne’s heart and it was a battle not to crack his ribs open and rip it out.
The only thing that kept him from breaking Charlemagne was the strange connection they had. Plus Charlemagne was his patron, someone that he needed if he wanted to remain safe from the strange vampires of this world.
He would rather they not know of him until he chose to show his presence. With blood and screams and a new world order.
“I’m sorry that I was away for so long,” Charlemagne said. “There were diplomats from Prince Augustine’s Court. We were forced to entertain them.
“Ah, and what were you made to do?”
Charlemagne nuzzled close against Faizel as though seeking comfort. “Things that I would much rather leave behind me. Won’t you help me forget such awfulness?”
“Hm. I hope that you washed well,” Faizel said. He pulled Charlemagne toward the bedroom. “Come with me and I will give you new memories of tonight.”
* * *
He could feel dawn approaching, an encroaching unease across his every nerve, and wrapped himself closer against Faizel, never wanting to let go. He had never loved another as much as he did Faizel.
He fretted that someone would discover his secret and Faizel would be taken from him. To be used and abused, or worse, killed as an Abomination.
For once Charlemagne wished that he was stronger. He finally had something worth protecting, and he was weak. It had never bothered him that he was the meat of stronger Masters until now. Until Faizel had given to him his love.
“I will protect you,” he whispered. He let his hands make promises against Faizel’s bare skin.
“Or perhaps I will protect you.”
Once again Charlemagne swallowed back his instinctive fear. Faizel did not understand how dangerous and subversive their enemies could be. Charlemagne had protected him from the world outside, had watered down the horrors that existed outside of the apartment’s safety.
“I think that you would try and that frightens me,” Charlemagne said. “I could not bear to see you hurt for my sake.”
Faizel propped himself up on his elbows so he was above Charlemagne looking down. “And I don’t like you being hurt at all. I don’t like how Isadore or the others treat you. I don’t like that you let them abuse you and you don’t even imagine a world where things could be better.” He leaned close, his nose almost touching Charlemagne’s, his eyes fervent. “You are beautiful and gentle, yes, but you are also stronger than you dare to show.”
Charlemagne was humbled. “You have such faith in me.”
“Because you have none in yourself. You don’t see what I see when I look at you: the strength, the spirit, the fact that you could be so much more than you allow yourself to be. If you would only fight for what should be yours, you could be great.”
Charlemagne felt hypnotized by the fire in Faizel’s eyes, the pure conviction. He had never had so much faith focused on him, raw belief that he could be greater if he only wanted it enough.
“I look at you and I don’t see a lesser master Made to serve others,” Faizel said. “I see an uncrowned king.”
Charlemagne gasped and flipped them over on the bed, pressing the fingers of one hand against Faizel’s lips to silence him. “Do not say such a thing. If anyone were to hear …”
Faizel pushed his hand away. “You are the only one here to listen and I hope that you do. Take my words to heart: you are so much more than you’ve let yourself be. You have greatness in you if you would only accept it.”
“You think too much of me.”
“And you don’t think about yourself enough,” Faizel said. “It makes me sad.”
Charlemagne wanted to tell Faizel that he was being foolish. He prepared himself to destroy the illusions Faizel had about his strength. But dawn was no longer approaching.
“It’s here,” Charlemagne whispered.
He slumped against the bed, shifting so he lay alongside Faizel as his body turned to dead-weight.
Dimly he felt a kiss pressed against his forehead and a brush of fingers through his hair. “I wish that you could see what I see when I look at you. If only you could believe in yourself a little bit.”
Charlemagne hated that hint of despair in Faizel’s voice. Hated that he had disappointed his only love by not being the well of strength he desired.
Then he knew nothing at all.
* * *
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