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Administration => Infusco Archives => Archives => Old Roleplays => Topic started by: Existentially Odd on September 11, 2007, 08:54:38 PM

Title: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Existentially Odd on September 11, 2007, 08:54:38 PM
Kerr slumped gracefully back onto his pillow, moaning and stretching a little as the post-coital bliss ebbed through him.  His eyes were closed, his lips smiling dazedly as he lay back on his bed and took... a moment.  \'Moments\' were becoming bountiful, the longer he was with Ben; it was intoxicating.  Addictive.

Their waking together and feeding - followed by a tumble back to bed because Kerr was still drinking from Ben for at least one of the men he fed from each night - had definitely become a pleasant pattern.  It hadn\'t been going on long enough to be labelled a routine, in the Irishman\'s eyes.  How long would that be?  He wondered many such dreamy, idle things as he lay there, entwined with his love and taking his time while the climax settled.

After a while, he opened his eyes and turned onto his side so that he was facing Ben properly.  "So... I was thinking," he murmured, a smirk now twisting his lips both because he felt incredibly smug to be able to look at the beautiful face on the pillow beside his and also because he anticipated that he might earn a joke at declaring himself thinking - after an act that had clearly not been motivated by thought at all.

"How about I call Mandy and then we throw some clothes together and hop on over to Europe?"

They\'d been to visit the mortal the night before and it hadn\'t gone well, thanks to Ichabod\'s presence.  Kerr had decided that a phone call to notify the mortal of their departure would be best, considering the circumstances.  He saw no reason to delay their trip now that that had been clarified.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Trillian on September 11, 2007, 09:04:00 PM
Ben was dozing.  Perhaps not such a romantic thing to do, drifting on the verge of sleep after orgasms both of them had worked hard toward, but there it was anyway - sleep, calling to him, luring him to its hazy edges, and then Kerr spoke and it snapped him awake like a fine mist blown away by the subtle turbulance of a jet engine.

"Hnnh?" he asked intelligently, pale eyes opening wide and seeing every bit of light that poured into the room (which wasn\'t much, but his vampire sense was still fairly new to him, even after some months, and the most light was cast by the eerie red glow of the luminescent clock whose numbers Ben couldn\'t read from his position on the mattress.

hop on over to Europe was the most Ben heard, but vaguely knew Kerr had been talking about calling Mandy.

"You make it sound like we\'re going to jump on a plane tomorrow," Ben joked, speaking very softly in the room - so much that his voice didn\'t register and it was softer than a whisper.  Kerr\'s sense would hear it though, and Ben could clearly hear it, so it was all that was needed.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Existentially Odd on September 11, 2007, 09:11:24 PM
Kerr chuckled and repeatedly brushed the backs of his fingers against Ben\'s stomach, his hand resting on the mattress between them.  "No, not tomorrow.  Tonight.  You said you didn\'t want to do much shopping before you left, didn\'t you?" he enquired, fairly certain he had that memory correct.

He hadn\'t told Ben everything about the jet he owned, he knew, but he was pretty sure he\'d mentioned it so that the blonde should know they didn\'t have to fuss about here any longer than was necessary.  They could go with a couple of hours\' notice.  On second thought, he didn\'t think he had told Ben enough.

"I only need to give the pilot an hour or so\'s notice," he pointed out reasonably, "but if you wanted bit longer than that to get ready, it\'s no problem."
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Trillian on September 11, 2007, 09:27:12 PM
Now Ben really was awake, rudely awakened in fact, by information that made his stomach tense beneath the fingers that were brushing over it, muscles firming and gut knotting - or so it seemed.

"What?" he asked, not quite shrieking as his voice was still not over a whisper, but it certainly was a lot louder than his first spoken words.  "Tonight?" he asked, not really comprehending and thinking Kerr was making a joke, but inside him knew it wasn\'t any such thing.  "But... we haven\'t planned anything," he said, not knowing what to plan right now because his mind had stopped working, but he was sure that there was something to figure out before they jumped on a jet and set off for another continent.  Where would they sleep?  Accomodation!  That was something to plan.  And packing!  And... it was his first time overseas, it shouldn\'t happen so quickly.  Should it?
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Existentially Odd on September 11, 2007, 09:32:09 PM
Kerr\'s eyebrows knotted together and he blinked, half smiling because he was slightly bewildered by Ben\'s apparent angst and half thought he was joking.  There was a tension in him that was suddenly palpable though, and that told Kerr that his fledgling wasn\'t kidding.

"Uh... what did you want to plan?  Did you want to go and see Arles before we left?" he prompted, his voice automatically soothing, as if he thought Ben was getting a tad hysterical.  The fledgling hadn\'t been all that keen on communicating with his other sire but for all Kerr knew, he might have changed his mind.  Kerr had got his visitation with Mandy, after all.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Trillian on September 11, 2007, 09:39:26 PM
Mentioning Arles made Ben feel a little guilty for he\'d been putting that off now that he was with Kerr.  It would make him feel guilty seeing Arles also, considering the two of them had been lovers before Ben moved out and then in with Kerr, his other sire.  It would be awkward.  Even if Arles was okay with it, Ben would feel awkward.

"No," he said, somewhat defensively, then covered with a: "That\'s not what I meant."  Then he had to explain what he did mean, which he wasn\'t sure.  "It\'s... a long trip.  We\'re going to be... gone a while.  Planning, you know?  What to take, what to leave behind, what to see, where to stay... planning," he finished lamely, feeling like he was summarising a spelling bee after using planning in a sentence.

Frowning now, and shifting so he could also lay on his side facing Kerr properly, pale blue eyes burning his intense ice into Kerr\'s warm brown gaze.  "It\'s..."  he shrugged.

It\'s not right, he thought, though not in a coherent sentence that was readable, it was just a feeling, it\'s not right to steal the planning of the trip and the excitement and anticipation of the trip away from me.  I want to do it like normal people do.  I want to count down the days - the nights, whatever - and have however many sleeps to go, I want that nervous tingle in my belly, that growing excitement.  I don\'t want to just go.  I want to wait and feel the \'can\'t-wait\' feeling.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Existentially Odd on September 11, 2007, 09:57:39 PM
"Oh," Kerr said dumbly, blinking again.  "I\'m rushing you," he stated, feeling a bit awkward about that.  He\'d done it so often, travelled all over the world on a whim, that he\'d lost his understanding of what an important thing it was, to travel abroad for the first time.  He struggled and tried to remember what it had been like for him... so long ago.

"It\'s just... I have houses and... apartments in most of the capital cities so... I figured we\'d stay in one of them - in whichever city you wanted to visit first.  There\'s... a castle, as well," he added sheepishly, proud of his fortress but feeling a bit silly talking about it out of the blue.  "In Scotland.  But look," he carried on hastily, raising himself up onto his elbow so that he could peer down at Ben, his expression concerned, "we don\'t have to stay in any of my places, we could just go to hotels?"

Even as he said it, he realised that this was the sort of planning Ben was talking about.  He\'d done far too much assuming, based on prior experience.  He was stripping the journey down to bare essentials, rather than savouring the building of it.  That definitely had to change.  He adopted a frown for his fledgling\'s benefit and took the necessary step backwards.

"Hang on, first things first.  Where do you want to go and how long do you want to be away for?" he enquired, starting with the basics - letting Ben do some dreaming.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Trillian on September 11, 2007, 10:03:34 PM
A castle?  Kerr might\'ve felt silly mentioning it, but it brought Ben around a little, he could almost feel his ears perking up, and certainly any sleep robbed from him was not missed now - not when there was mention of a castle.

Now things were turned around to him and this was the kind of conversation that he\'d thought they were going to have before Kerr started talking of private jets and living in his many houses.  They could still do the latter, just that he\'d like to hear more about them, like knowing what kind of hotel they\'d be in, what they\'d be close to, and so forth.  He settled a little more rightly on his pillow and snuggled up against Kerr, moving his sire\'s arm around his shoulders in a peculiar position unless Kerr moved and made it more comfortable for the both of them.

"I\'d like to see your home.  Ireland.  I\'d like to see the country you came from.  And I\'d like to go to Scotland and stay in the castle."

Now he felt like a little boy, so he looked to Kerr for acknowledgment, to see if he was attracting a look that might have him being treated like one as well.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Existentially Odd on September 11, 2007, 10:11:40 PM
Kerr was genuinely touched that his origins would be prioritised and his soft smile reflected this.  His gaze became a little distant as he contemplated what he would show Ben first, what the fledgling might be interested in seeing.  After a  few moments he realised he\'d zoned out and attended to the conversation here and now, beginning by settling himself close enough that his arm about his lover\'s shoulders felt more natural.

"Alright.  I\'d like that, too.  Where I grew up is all ruins now but there are bits of Angus\' castle still there.  Would you like to see where I was sired?" he asked almost secretively, Ben\'s childish wonder reflected in his tone because he was beginning to realise that this trip would be a first for him - and that was exciting.  He\'d finally have someone to share things with (as opposed to Sawyl who tolerated about ten minutes of conversation that didn\'t involve him, before he wandered away to find something more interesting to do).
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Trillian on September 11, 2007, 10:19:13 PM
"If it\'s not too... painful for you," Ben said, hesitating for wanting to find a better word and forced to use painful because upsetting just sounded too girly.  He knew the circumstances of Kerr\'s siring had been unpleasant, but just look what he\'d done with it, where he was now - in bed with Ben (which Ben greatly approved of).  "It\'s like tracing my bloodline, I guess.  It\'s my heritage because it\'s yours."  Like a weird familial line, though it sounded a little incestuous, Ben was happy to adopt the line of siring over his actual family line, due to the nature of his ignorant and estranged family.  "And it\'d be like my own personal documentary."

Ben, who mostly watched the History Channel on the numerous channels to choose from on Kerr\'s wide-screen tv, had always been a sucker for history and research - the normal and mundane human tales as well as the supernatural ones were something he adored hearing the stories for.  He liked watching Antiques Roadshow with Kerr as well, much to Kerr\'s delight.  It was something they could share - the history of the world, some of which Kerr had lived, and some even before his own time.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Existentially Odd on September 11, 2007, 10:34:03 PM
Kerr chuckled and rolled his eyes playfully, a sudden and very different line of thought sparked because of the way Ben phrased himself - even though his immediate reaction was to downplay the words first.

"Bah, it\'s fine - besides, if I can cleverly get you to focus on the Ancient part of my bloodline, you might be more prone to forget the Sawyl side of it," he laughed, lifting a hand to waggle his fingers as if he were hypnotising the blonde, showing he was teasing.  Still, he knew that subject was still rather touchy (for they\'d not really discussed he and Sawyl - well, only as much as they\'d delved into the Ben and Lazarus side of things... which was minimal, at this stage... despite curiosities) so he shifted the coversation rather rapidly sideways.

"Speaking of bloodlines, would you be interested in learning about my children?" he asked, his voice growing noticeably hesitant by the end as he attempted to maintain a casual front but nerves got the better of him.  He didn\'t see how it would change anything between he and Ben but... it was possible the fledgling might not like having such information suddenly revealed to him.

If they were going to Ireland to see where he\'d come from, though, he wouldn\'t be able to leave the area without discussing with Ben the legacy he\'d left behind.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Trillian on September 12, 2007, 05:06:23 AM
Ben was silent for a moment, thinking about the word \'children\' and what that meant.  Kerr had been a mortal man in his thirties when he\'d been sired, and he\'d always been into women.  Unmarried, but Ben remembered something about him being a philanderer, told to him that very first night they\'d met in Risk when Ben had been after stories of Kerr\'s past.  So, there\'d been a pregnancy.  Or pregnancies, more rightly, if there were children, not a child.

"You\'ve kept up with them?  With your children\'s children?" he asked curiously.  "Have you met them?"

It was funny, thinking about Kerr having kids or being a parent.  Ben wondered how many kids he\'d had, or how old they\'d been when Kerr had known about them.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Existentially Odd on September 12, 2007, 05:28:22 AM
Kerr opened his mouth to answer, hesitated, licked his lips and... closed his mouth again.  Interesting that Ben should take that slant on things straight up, considering he\'d just been trying to avoid the topic of Sawyl.

"No.  I did, I followed their lines for a couple of hundred years but then... Sawyl got upset one night.  He claimed all I ever did was look at the stupid bible - I have a tree recorded in my family bible, you see, which is in the study - and cared more about people I didn\'t even know than I did about him and his mothers.  He ranted for a while about how diluted their blood was compared to his and then he went out and... killed the three children of one of my descendants," Kerr explained slowly, attempting a smile but obviously saddened by this tale, for he was noticeably sombre.

"He slaughtered them in their beds and... left them there for their parents to discover.  I didn\'t find out for two more nights, even though I\'d wondered why he\'d looked so smug and had stopped arguing with me.  It was devastating - a horrible tragedy no-one in the village could understand, though it fed all the vampire mythology that had ever abounded, for he left them with their throats torn open and blood everywhere, considering he couldn\'t drain all three properly with his size.  It was hideous.  I stopped filling in my tree after that, as you can imagine," he said with a soft laugh, the smile he managed to bear wry.

It had been a while since he\'d thought about such things, but it always saddened him, and he hated the futility of it all.  He hadn\'t spoken to Sawyl for a year after that, and they\'d moved on to another country besides Ireland hastily, in order to avoid suspicion.

"I suppose - now that I\'m away from him - that I could complete it easily enough, but I\'ve not got around to it.  There were three children originally, two boys and a girl - though none of them ever bore my name, it was all very illicit," he explained with a giggle, wanting the mood to be lighter and warmer.  He hugged Ben just a little bit closer and his hand swept languourously up and down his back a few times to this end.  "But there are likely thousands that have come from those three children that I know about, by now, so it won\'t be a quick project!"
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Trillian on September 12, 2007, 08:56:08 AM
Ben was horrified, aghast at Kerr\'s tale and wondering

Why the fuck did you stay with him so long?

in a coherent sentence that was projected at Kerr but blocked at the tail end of it, so that it might\'ve leaked through, and Ben suddenly got a very guilty look on his face though it wasn\'t enough to overshadow the horror of Sawyl\'s doing.

The little freak-childe might be a part of his bloodline via Kerr, but as far as Ben was concerned he was going to ignore that part.  Kerr\'s transfer of vampire blood from two sick fucks hadn\'t changed Kerr\'s kindness or stability any, but now Kerr was more of a mystery.  Why stay with Sawyl for so long?  He supposed Kerr could counter him with Lazarus, but... there\'d been a purpose to their getting together and it hadn\'t lasted long at all, there\'d never been any intention to.

He wanted to make a comment about some of the things Kerr had said but didn\'t trust himself, he was too aghast.  Kerr\'s attempt at lightening the air hadn\'t worked a bit.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Existentially Odd on September 12, 2007, 04:57:49 PM
Kerr\'s gaze lowered to Ben\'s lips as the silence stretched uncomfortably around them and his mind scrambled, debating whether he should answer the sentence that had been voiced in his mind as clearly as if Ben had spoken it - well, up to the end where it seemed Ben had cut it off at \'so\', and he could guess the rest - or ignore it.
"I don\'t know," he answered softly, not particularly wanting to discuss Sawyl but aware that he\'d brought him up. His gaze had slid even lower, to Ben\'s chest, but was unfocussed as he sought an answer. "Habit. Guilt. Faith. Fear," he said rapidly, then expanded. "Habit because they trained me and helped me with my talents; they created me. Guilt because they need someone to... clean up after them and because Sawyl chose me to be his fledgling. Faith that I could fix everything that was broken about them. Fear that if I left they\'d just... murder without conscience. Incessantly."
Kerr frowned and cleared his throat, knowing his body had stiffened but he forced himself not to pull away, for he wasn\'t wanting to close off to Ben - just to this topic. "I\'m sorry," he said sincerely. "I don\'t mean to make things awkward. You want to go to Ireland and Scotland so... shall we say this trip will be devoted specifically to the United Kingdom?" he asked, wishing desperately to change the topic back.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Trillian on September 12, 2007, 05:09:06 PM
The trip was somehow soiled now, what with Kerr reminding Ben of the holiday in the next breath after speaking of Sawyl and his mothers.  He resented Kerr\'s mixture of the two topics, stirring them together somehow like a malevolent casserole.  It wasn\'t his fault, of course, that his history had those people in it (at least, at the start it hadn\'t been his fault), but Ben had been wanting to go to Ireland to visit Kerr\'s homeland to see how he\'d lived his life, not what had happened after that.

There was no use explaining, he felt, not with the strong vibes of not wishing to discuss the topic resounding through him, through the blood bond.  He knew Kerr wanted to turn away, he could feel that need in his bones somehow, but he was glad Kerr had fought that instinct - though now Ben was shying away from the taint.

"No, maybe next time.  France might be more interesting first up."

It was a lie, of course.  He would find France interesting but he hadn\'t wanted it to be the first country in Europe he stepped on now.  They would leave Ireland and the United Kingdom for later.

"Then we can go north, to... Holland or somewhere."  He looked studiously at Kerr.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Existentially Odd on September 12, 2007, 05:25:39 PM
Kerr was desperately disappointed.  He finally looked up into Ben\'s eyes.  "Are you upset about the... children?  That I didn\'t tell you before now?" he asked quietly, knowing there was a quagmire of emotion surrounding them and wanting to just be sure about what it was there for.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Trillian on September 12, 2007, 05:34:48 PM

The answer wasn\'t about to be received as simply as it was given, so with a sigh Ben had to explain himself when he hadn\'t really wanted to delve into it.

"I wanted to see where you were born, where you grew up, where you lived, how you lived, stuff like that.  What it was like in that period.  You talk about Sawyl like you don\'t want to talk about him, but you bring him up anyway.  I thought you\'d had enough grief."

It was cruel, to say it like that, and it was Lazarus\' influence to be so direct, though Ben didn\'t know it, and Lazarus wouldn\'t have cared enough to mention it, so it was like a mixture of the cruel Ancient with Ben\'s heart.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Existentially Odd on September 12, 2007, 05:53:30 PM
Kerr\'s eyes fell closed and he shuffled forward, seeking to rest his forehead against Ben\'s, reasserting his grip on the fledgling in a way that showed he was wanting comfort.

"I know," he admitted miserably "It\'s just... I\'m aware that we have this... unspoken agreement that the topic of Sawyl and Lazarus is off limits until... we can cope with talking about them, I guess, so that\'s why I don\'t want to talk about him.  It doesn\'t grieve me to talk about the little asshole; he pisses me off and I hate that he hurt you.  I\'m quite content to talk about him in my past because he\'s... part of it, that doesn\'t bother me.  Upsetting you bothers me.  I really want to show you where I was born and grew up and tell you everything I can remember," he admitted, opening his eyes and pulling back to look into Ben\'s eerie gaze.

"Definitely before we go to France," he added wryly.  "If I promise to keep the sire references to a minimum, do you think we could go to Ireland first?"
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Trillian on September 12, 2007, 06:15:24 PM
Ben\'s eyes had narrowed in the seriousness of the conversation, but then he relaxed and they fluttered closed to enjoy Kerr\'s closeness.

"If you promise," Ben said, smiling a little.  He supposed it was finding out Sawyl\'s atrocities that was bothering him more than it was Kerr, but it was more so because Kerr had put up with it so long.  What atrocities could Ben perform before losing his sire?  Would the tolerance be as much, or none at all because of what he\'d gone through?  He wouldn\'t really know, that blurred line of not stopping Lazarus from killing those boys had been enough perhaps for Kerr to accept Ben back into his heart.  If Ben had...

"I won\'t be like them," he said firmly, because he\'d tried.  Now he knew better.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Existentially Odd on September 12, 2007, 06:57:01 PM
"You... won\'t be like Sawyl and Lazarus?" Kerr queried slowly, seeking clarification of Ben\'s final statement.  When he received a nod of confirmation, he smiled crookedly, emitting a breathy laugh as he nuzzled closer again.

"God, I would hope not.  That would kill me - it just about did, when I thought you might have been helping him kill," he admitted, thinking of Lazarus even though he didn\'t define it.  They both knew which \'he\' was being talked about.  "I tried and tried and tried for so long to change Sawyl and the twins - and I\'ve not even told you some of the really horrid stuff they did - and got nothing more than years of empty promises that there\'d be change, only to be freshly humiliated each time.  I know I wouldn\'t cope with that personality type again.  I\'m pretty thick," he snorted, tapping the top of his head with a fingertip, "but even I eventually saw what an idiot I was.  I couldn\'t have that happen again."

Deciding he was speaking negatively again (not to mention harping back to references he\'d promised to try and avoid!), Kerr spontaneously gathered Ben close and rolled onto his back, pulling the fledgling with him and positioning him atop his body.  Such a disturbance reminded him of stickinesses that still needed to be cleaned up but he ignored it for the time being.  Sheets could be washed; bodies would be.  It still felt like he should be treasuring every moment with Ben like it might be snatched from him, for there were still so many layers he daren\'t broach.  Plus, he had something else to say.

"Thankfully, I fell for someone with whom I can trust my heart," he grinned, leaning up to deliver a brief kiss.  "Hell, someone I trust with the rest of me, too.  You should marry me," he grinned (for, oddly, it had been on his mind quite often since he\'d mentioned it flippantly, and he couldn\'t help himself - especially now they\'d decided they\'d go to the U.K.), "might as well make your possession of me legal and binding as well."
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Trillian on September 12, 2007, 08:07:07 PM
Ben didn\'t know how to respond to Kerr\'s joke for the subject was one he had no interest in nor ever thought about, so he merely smiled and pillowed his cheek upon Kerr\'s chest.  When next he spoke it was after a brief pause, allowing for a new subject to rise as he felt his own voice travel up his chest and out of his voicebox, sending little vibrations against Kerr too, he figured.

"I\'d like to see the little towns as well," Ben commented, thinking that Kerr might be assuming he wanted only the most well-known cities and places Kerr had lived himself to be on the itinerary.  "The ones that have old people with accents so strong I won\'t be able to understand them, and dodgy crooked English teeth, and tiny white dogs on leads.  And warm beer," he added as an afterthought, then smiled as he anticipated Kerr\'s reaction.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Existentially Odd on September 12, 2007, 09:15:48 PM
Kerr mulled through just how flat his suggestion had fallen - yet again - and resolved to forget it.  There were other ways he could make Ben a permanent fixture in his life.

He laughed at Ben\'s descriptions, brushing some hair aside affectionately - though it did nothing for his view of his beloved, due to the angle from which he was looking.  "You don\'t drink beer anymore," he scoffed, "though I suppose we could hunt down a drunk or two, if that\'s your thing.  Assuming we\'ll be able to wade through the sea of little white dogs, of course," he smirked.

"We can buy a car anyway," he added offhandedly, growing more serious again.  He was pretty sure he didn\'t have one at any of his places, but he could have been wrong.  "Then you can drive on the right side of the road - I mean the correct side - to any village or pub filled with crooked-toothed inebriates you like.  Shall we get a map and plan an itinerary?" he murmured, believing that was what Ben wanted.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Trillian on September 12, 2007, 09:26:51 PM
Ben shifted his head so Kerr was no longer looking at his crown and placed his chin on folded fingers.

"I\'m not into beer," he said and screwed up his nose to reinforce his statement.  "Never mind weird warm beer."  At the statement that the left side was the correct side of the road on which to drive, he scoffed.  "Everybody else drives on the right!" he argued, thinking of the other European countries and those south of the US border.  And Canada too, come to think of it.  He could\'ve added a \'so there\' due to his tone, but didn\'t.  He got caught on the comment previous to the one that had made him argue.

"What do you mean buy a car?"
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Existentially Odd on September 12, 2007, 09:31:04 PM
Kerr gave him a disbelieving grin, his manner becoming that of someone talking to a very young (and dim-witted) child.

"Okay, well buying is something you do with money," he stated slowly and clearly.  "When I say we\'ll buy a car, I mean we\'ll go to a place where they sell vehicles, pick one and give them money for the one you like the best."

He then smirked, looking very proud of himself as he gazed at the very cute picture his fledgling made, peering down at him like that.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Trillian on September 12, 2007, 09:38:20 PM
Ben\'s eyebrow cocked and he followed suit.

"There\'s a magic place called car rental, where you can rent one for a few weeks to save you from buying one that you\'re not going to keep."  Then he poked out his tongue and smirked right back.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Existentially Odd on September 12, 2007, 09:48:30 PM
Kerr raised a single eyebrow right back.  "You poke that out at me, you\'re going to have to use it," he growled warningly, watching Ben\'s tongue slide back between his lips.  He blinked and looked up at silvery blue eyes then, mentally shaking off the minor distraction.

"Rental places... yes, I\'ve heard of them.  Those are those annoying stores where they ask for multiple forms of identification that I haven\'t had updated recently and charge exhorbitant prices for insurance I won\'t need - as opposed to dealerships where they ask no questions when confronted with cash," he said airily, as if the memory was just returning to him.

The charade was dropped almost instantly, as he became vaguely haughty.  "And who says we won\'t be needing the car again?  We\'ll be going back again before too long.  We\'ll just leave it at the Dublin house and always start out from there," he announced, the left side of his mouth lifting in a smug grin as he brushed the tip of Ben\'s nose with a finger and then ran both hands - firmly and exultantly - down the fledgling\'s muscular back to cup his ass.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Trillian on September 12, 2007, 09:54:16 PM
"I suppose," Ben said, tucking himself against Kerr again when the trembles and shivers accosted him after Kerr\'s sliding hand moved across his skin.  He closed his eyes and felt the flutter of excitement about the trip in his belly.  This was what he was after, that nervous sense of impending adventure.  "We can drive under that famous tunnel and then around Europe proper."  He was declaring this dreamily, for sleep was calling and beckoning to him again, after being so rudely awakened not long ago.  "And go to Oktoberfest in Germany, which isn\'t in October, but I don\'t know when, and go to Switzerland and eat chocolate."

He was forgetting he couldn\'t.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Existentially Odd on September 12, 2007, 10:01:34 PM
Kerr chuckled.  "Can\'t say I\'ve ever had the pleasure," he admitted, knowing that Ben wouldn\'t be eating chocolate any time soon, either, but he could tell it likely wouldn\'t be worth arguing about just then.  Apparently his fledgling had fallen back to being dozy... after an arduous night of... feeding and sex?  The boy obviously had very little stamina to speak of... or perhaps he was just inestimably cosy and content.

"So when do you think we should leave?  I\'ll call the pilot and let them know that we want the jet.  I lend it out when I\'m not using it, so it\'s possible we wouldn\'t have been able to use it tonight, anyway," he said congenially.  It wasn\'t true, for his jet would come to him and be available as fast as flight plans could be posted, but he wanted to make Ben feel better about enforcing a delay.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Trillian on September 12, 2007, 10:04:50 PM
Ben shifted off Kerr, sliding away from him but tucking himself against his sire\'s side.  If Ben had caught the thought Kerr had about his stamina, it would\'ve earned the older vampire a poke in the ribs.

"Mmmm, how about Friday?"  Then his eyes opened and he peered up at Kerr.  "Is it Tuesday or Wednesday?" he asked, as if it was suddenly important.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Existentially Odd on September 12, 2007, 10:08:38 PM
Kerr gave it a moment of thought.  "Wednesday," he answered, wondering if that meant Ben would require an extra day.

"Do you think I should just call Mandy and tell her we\'re leaving or should we invite her over?" he mumbled, pressing his lips to Ben\'s forehead affectionately.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Trillian on September 12, 2007, 10:26:18 PM
Ben gave Kerr a look beyond definition and then squeezed himself to Kerr with a hug.

"Your decision," he said, stopping himself from saying \'your call\' in case Kerr decided that it was Ben\'s way of saying either way.  He didn\'t mind Mandy, he wanted to get to know her, but not if Ichabod was around.

He knew Ichabod hadn\'t really done anything to him (prior to the last time they\'d met), but that resentment had fuelled into hatred.  Now that he\'d stopped blaming Kerr for that night he\'d caught the pair of them in bed, he could start blaming Ichabod - that wimpering snot who could be cruel enough when pressed.  True colours.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Existentially Odd on September 13, 2007, 05:39:47 AM
Kerr grumbled nonsensically about Ben being a fat lot of help when he asked for advice as he shuffled position so that he could easily nip kisses along the fledgling\'s jaw and down his throat, where he sucked with more ardour.  He used his tongue very deliberately to provoke sensual memories of his drinking there, then pulled back.

"I think you should drink from me sometimes, too," he announced seriously, as if he were oblivious to any effect he might have had with his actions.  "I think, if we do that, our connection will grow stronger - but it\'s only a theory."
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Trillian on September 13, 2007, 05:48:29 AM
His suggestion lit up Ben\'s eyes and he nodded, though lightly, containing himself from displaying such eager excitement.  He\'d been feeling warm and shivery at Kerr\'s licks and kisses, but the interruption hadn\'t been unwelcome, not when Kerr delivered such information.

"I think so too, over time."

He was very pleased that the bond with Kerr would be stronger, but a little bit sad about Arles, who he\'d basically used as a stepping stone to get where he was now.  It hadn\'t all been one-sided, Ben had given more than just his body, but Arles... wasn\'t really connected.  It had been difficult to bond with him when compared to the quick and easy bond he\'d had with Kerr over a matter of days.

"I want that," he admitted, not mentioning Arles and pushing the blonde from his surface thoughts to somewhere much deeper down where he didn\'t have to think about him.  He was tired of feeling guilty.

The doziness had properly left him this time.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Existentially Odd on September 13, 2007, 05:58:40 AM
"Me too," Kerr murmured, smiling beatifically at his love before leaning in to kiss him seriously.

It was fair to say that Kerr regretted not just siring Ben alone when he had the chance, but hindsight was twenty/twenty and he hadn\'t been able to take the leap of faith it took to leave Sawyl then.  Stupid, really, and a fire of angst burned brightly in him if he thought about it too long.  There was no point torturing himself... but he did, anyway.  Ben could be all his right now, if only he\'d had the guts to go for what he really wanted.  He was weak, and he knew it.

"What\'s your full name, again?" he asked with a light frown, once he ended the kiss and pulled back.  He was back to thinking about the other way he could claim Ben as his.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Trillian on September 13, 2007, 06:20:41 AM
Ben shifted his arms higher up around Kerr and mmm\'d into the kiss, grinding himself against his lover before smiling like a satisfied cream-filled cat before the question caught him by surprise and he chuckled.

"Benjamen James Samson."  He announced.  "Very plain.  What about your full name?"

They\'d both heard each other\'s full name at the court hearing with the Oligarchy, but Ben couldn\'t remember if there\'d been a middle name for Kerr either, though he remembered Galvin.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Existentially Odd on September 13, 2007, 06:25:41 AM
"Kerr Donahue Galvin," he chuckled back, revising his earlier thought about his lover having no stamina.  It just depended on the stimulation, obviously.  "My father\'s name - also rather simple."

He gave Ben\'s initials some thought while he shifted up onto his elbow, in order to lean more upon the fledgling while he delivered another kiss.  After a few moments, he pulled back with a wicked grin.  "Has anyone ever called you B.J. and does it bother you that your first two initials reference a lewd sexual act?" he asked mildly, eyebrows raised cheekily.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Trillian on September 13, 2007, 06:30:32 AM
Ben screwed his nose up again at the mention of B.J. and then commented.  "People have tried," he said wryly before his brows lifted.  "It doesn\'t bother me when my main initials are B.S." he said, then laughed.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Existentially Odd on September 13, 2007, 06:33:54 AM
Kerr laughed heartily, leaning back to do so and tilting his head so he wasn\'t literally laughing in Ben\'s face - but he hadn\'t thought of that.  When he\'d finished, he looked back at the blonde, still smiling.

"I\'m gonna\' get your name tattooed on me," he announced, "and I was going to get your initials but... that could be a bit... controversial, I see now."  He winked to show that he was teasing.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Trillian on September 13, 2007, 06:38:09 AM
Ben was floored.  He gaped at Kerr for a long moment before he closed his lips but remained wide eyed.  He wasn\'t into tattoos for himself, seeing as how he wasn\'t much of a show-off-the-body person, but he liked Kerr\'s tattoos and thought they made the vampire edgy and sexy.  For his name to be there was... complimentary.

"Ben\'s three letters," he said helpfully, and a little bit quietly.  Then he moved his hand from around Kerr\'s side and touched his sire\'s lips with cool fingertips.  After a moment, he came to his senses enough to smile.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Existentially Odd on September 13, 2007, 06:46:59 AM
"Yes," Kerr agreed, still chuckling as his lips pursed to kiss Ben\'s fingers.  "I\'m going to put that right here," he announced, tilting his body away from Ben so that he could run the tip of his index finger along the line of muscle going from his left hip towards his groin. He meant his love\'s name to follow that angle, too. Once he was sure Ben had seen where he meant, he rolled back against his partner, sliding a leg between his.

"I think on the front so it\'ll stand out and there because - well, my heart\'s dead so tattooing over that would be somewhat pointless and you stimulate my mind the most but I don\'t want your name on my head so... I figure that\'s close enough to the heart of me, where you\'re concerned," he grinned, hoping Ben understood he wasn\'t saying only something lewd (because it was close to his sexual core, that was part of it) but also that his name would be inked close to Kerr\'s stomach, which Ben generally had knotted or effected in some way or other.

"Unless you find that insulting and I should go with the heart?" he added placidly.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Trillian on September 13, 2007, 10:29:25 PM
Ben wasn\'t really sure how he felt about Kerr\'s decision making for where his name would go.  The place Kerr had chosen was fine, but the reasons why gave the fledgling hesitation.  If not his mind then his groin?  Was that how Kerr perceived him?  The dead heart comment wasn\'t something Ben agreed with either, because nobody loved with their heart, they loved with their head, the heart was merely a representation.  Even after being sired Ben\'s chest had felt hollow thinking he\'d lost his chance to be with Kerr.  Wasn\'t that why the heart?

"Where you\'ve chosen is fine," he said finally, after mulling over Kerr\'s words.  Did Kerr expect him to do the same?  He didn\'t want to ask because it would seem like asking someone if they wanted a surprise gift.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Existentially Odd on September 14, 2007, 12:02:02 AM
The fact that Ben took his time to comment gave Kerr second thoughts and even though he said he agreed with his sire\'s plan, Kerr didn\'t completely believe him.  He watched the blonde with a thoughtful half smile, fingertips reaching up to brush along his forehead and down the side of his face.

"On second thought... I\'ll go with the heart," he said softly, smiling from his eyes as well as his lips.  Anything that gave his beloved that much thought was obviously not the right course of action; Ben was far from indecisive, and never without good cause.

"I just have to go to Risk and check the address of the parlour first - I\'m sure I saw one advertised there that did supernatural tattooing, so the ink will stay.  Do you want to come with me or... do your own thing?" he asked, thinking that Ben might like to just see the finished product and maintain the mystery of the process, rather than watching it unfold before him.  It was a strange offer, for they hadn\'t been apart yet... but that was silly, for it had to happen sooner or later... right?
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Trillian on September 15, 2007, 05:10:46 AM
Ben blinked at Kerr\'s change and his eyes asked why but his lips didn\'t.  He didn\'t understand why after all of Kerr\'s dialogue about where and why the tattoo would be on his hip, he would suddenly change to his heart after an affirmative answer from Ben.  Instead of questioning he let it go.

"I\'d rather see it finished," Ben said, explaining the reason why he didn\'t want to go with Kerr on that particular errand instead of just saying too simple a no.  He wasn\'t thinking about what he\'d do the night Kerr was away for he wasn\'t thinking that far ahead.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Existentially Odd on September 15, 2007, 03:57:02 PM
Kerr chuckled, despite wondering if he\'d read Ben\'s hesitation incorrectly, since he looked confused.  He leaned forward and kissed him soundly, before pulling back.  "Right then; I\'d better go wash you out of me and get going," he sniggered at his own cheekiness, rolling back so that he could spring off the bed and head for the shower.  He would need to be clean before he dressed to go out to Risk.


Interlude: \'Cornered (\'


Kerr returned to the apartment around four in the morning.  He\'d called during his visit to the tattoo parlour to confirm the unusual spelling of Ben\'s given name and been surprised that the phone hadn\'t been picked up, meaning Ben had gone out.  Frowning, Kerr had gone ahead with the tattoo anyway - the gigantic woman who\'d performed the inking had assured him that she could weave the magic to fix any mistakes, just like she\'d magicked the tattoos to stay fixed in the first place - but he was very curious to know what his lover had got up to in his absence.

It was stupid, really; he\'d been gone hours and shouldn\'t expect Ben would stay put when he\'d gone out... it was just that he\'d assumed his fledgling would and so he wondered, as he closed the door behind him, whether he\'d walk into an empty apartment or not.  "I\'m home!" he called, focussing on placing his keys on the high kitchen bench by the door and removing his coat.  He\'d not dressed up for his little jaunt, he was only wearing his Colorado boots, a pair of dark blue jeans, a caramel-coloured turtleneck jumper and his coat.  Once the long item of clothing was off, he paused where he was (near the doorway), looking around as he draped it over his right arm and waiting to see if he would get a response before he moved into the bedroom to hang the coat up.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Trillian on September 28, 2007, 06:19:47 AM
Ben had time to shower after his interlude in the street, washing the scent off himself with a great deal of scrubbing, spending a long time in the shower because he was paranoid that the smell would linger.  His clothes hadn\'t even gone into the hamper, he\'d thrown them straight into the washer.  Coming out of the small glass booth in the bathroom still hadn\'t had him feeling clean but he knew why.  It was very confusing though, and he spent some time looking in the mirror over his shoulder, at the scars cut into his back into a pattern of ownership by a man who no longer did.

Not wanting to be discovered wet and nude, he towelled dry and put on silky pyjama bottoms that Kerr had purchased for him, ignoring the top because he was warm enough from his hot shower.  He spent a lot of time brushing his teeth before going into the lounge and watching television to have time pass and wait for Kerr, feeling his stomach clench and unclench depending on which way his constant thoughts turned.  Eventually the television was turned off because the trivial pursuits of the actors on screen annoyed him.

When Kerr came home and called out, Ben\'s head popped up from behind the sofa and he scrambled to his feet so he could stand and look at his sire, his gaze drawn to Kerr\'s covered chest and figuring there were probably bandages beneath it anyway - unless the supernatural tattoos didn\'t need such things?

"Hey," he greeted, moving around slowly towards Kerr, not knowing if he should press himself against the other.  "That took a long time."
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Existentially Odd on September 28, 2007, 06:32:10 AM
Kerr chuckled as he met Ben halfway and wrapped his arms about his fledgling, pressing his face down into his nape and inhaling the clean scent of him as he left a kiss there, then pulled back, grinning.  His fingers linked in the small of Ben\'s back as he tilted his head to regard the blonde.

"I got a bit more work done than I intended, originally," he said mysteriously, making no move to remove any part of his clothing to show it all off just yet.  "I called you to check something but there was no answer - where did you get to?" he asked mildly, deliberately changing the subject away from his body art because he was in a playful mood and wanted to tease Ben.  He figured playing it cool about the tattoos would provoke a response and the smirk he wore likely declared this fact.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Trillian on September 28, 2007, 07:36:33 AM
"Went out for a walk," Ben said brightly, a little too brightly perhaps but he was supposed to be excited about the tattoo anyway - and he was, there was just an odd feeling that accompanied it.  "Show me!" he demanded, tugging at Kerr\'s shirt and pulling it away from his body, nimble fingers working at getting Kerr undressed.

He wondered what it would look like, what colour it would be, what font Kerr had selected.  Even something plain would have Ben satisfied, and now the genuine desire to see the tattoo began to overtake that peculiar feeling from before.  He wondered if Kerr would comment on his still slightly-wet hair.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Existentially Odd on September 28, 2007, 08:45:33 AM
Kerr laughed and doubled forward, fighting Ben\'s advances off as he howled a protest about his dignity being threatened and no respect being shown to the slow reveal.  His cheek contacted that wet hair as the two of them wrestled but it registered subliminally, as he was far more focussed on keeping his jumper on and finding his own space so he could show Ben in his own time.

Unfortunately, the elder vampire (amazingly) lost; his coat was eventually dropped on the floor and his jumper soon followed as Ben gleefully yanked it off.  Since he\'d not got his way (which would have been to stand back at a dignified distance and remove his garment grandly), Kerr did the next best thing he could think of, to keep his new addition concealed; he hugged Ben close, attempting to hide it.

Since Ben was only slightly taller than his chest, that was rather difficult but he played at it briefly anyway, liking the way his fledgling wriggled against him, trying to pull back to look.  His laughter was joyous, despite getting more than one firm dig to the ribs.  Eventually, Kerr let him see, running the fingers of his right hand through his tousled hair and resting his left hand on his hip as Ben pulled back and got a good look at the black ink on his left pectoral muscle.  It said, simply,Ben in an elegant, curled font that was decorative but didn\'t make it hard to read.

The B was about five centimetres high, the other two letters smaller, meaning that it stood out quite noticeably, although his chest hair did a good job of camouflaging it (Sabrina had suggested they thin the hair a bit and seemed to have taken great pleasure in plucking what seemed to be an entire patch out - though, in reality, she\'d not taken as much as Kerr had felt she had, because the tattoo would have stood out hideously on a white background amongst his curling chest hairs then).  The Irishman hoped that the hairs were complementary rather than hindering but he supposed his lover would let him know; he smiled rather shyly at him as he waited for a comment.

Although his right hand had dropped to the skin of his hip, he kept his other hand very carefully positioned on the denim over his left, hoping Ben would also notice the curling n visible on his skin there, just above the waistband of his jeans.  It was nestled on the flat of the bone, nudging the fold of muscle that led to his groin - exactly where he\'d originally said he\'d get the tattoo, though probably a bit higher up than initially described.  There was a reason for that of course, but he waited for Ben\'s response first, before he made any attempt at explaining anything.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Trillian on September 28, 2007, 10:52:19 AM
Ben quietened once he saw the tattoo and stared at it for a long moment, ingesting its presence on Kerr\'s body.  His name.  His name.  His name.  It was a fixture on Kerr\'s skin, and he was surprised that it had been placed upon Kerr\'s chest without any loss of hair.  He\'d been thinking about whether Kerr would return with a bare chest.

"It\'s... lovely."

The word didn\'t seem appropriate somehow, but \'lovely\' was all that sprang to mind, for it was a marking borne of love and that was how Ben saw it.  He reached out a hand to trace the letters with his finger, staring at it and getting to the \'n\' before he shifted his gaze up into Kerr\'s eyes and offering a tentative smile, feeling small before this grand gesture.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Existentially Odd on September 28, 2007, 11:02:18 AM
Kerr merely smiled and pressed his lips to Ben\'s forehead as he embraced him loosely.  "Do you think it shows up well enough, in amongst the hair?" he asked idly, nuzzling against his love\'s temple and frowning at the fact that his nose came away wet - enough for him to wipe it dry with a free hand.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Trillian on September 28, 2007, 11:06:56 AM
The motion of wiping dry registered with Ben and he immediately knew why.

"Yes!" he said brightly, pulling away from Kerr to identify the tattoo again.  "It shows up really well," he said enthusiastically, his gaze dropping to the script.  There were more reasons to moving back away from Kerr, but he told himself it was just to admire the new tattoo.  "Did it sting?"
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Existentially Odd on September 28, 2007, 11:25:14 AM
"Yes, but not nearly as much as it did when I was mortal - and I have to say, technology\'s come a long way since those times, too," he chuckled as his hands went to the fly of his jeans.  "There\'s more, though," he sang alluringly, distracted from wet hair now that Ben had given him the little bit of space he felt he needed to make his next revelation.

His hips swayed a little as he made a show of undoing the snap and zip of his jeans by degrees, eventually tilting his left hip slightly forward and pulling the denim downward gradually, a sultry smile accompanying his movements.  He watched Ben\'s eyes steadily, to be sure he was looking in the right place as, letter by letter, his hooked thumbs slid his pants and underwear down (over his ass) until the name Benjamen was revealed in its entirety.

It was angled and seemed to be quite the living part of him as it jauntily rode the entire left side of his groin - again, in black ink but at a smaller size.  Considering the length of the name and exactly where he\'d wanted it put, it was lucky to be as large as it was.  The fact that the B almost nudged the top of his penis and that some hair had definitely been... well... trimmed from this area (on both sides so it would look even) wouldn\'t go unnoticed by Ben - nor would the understanding of how intimate a thing it had been to have a woman tattooing him there, but he felt that less relevant.

"I rang to check I was spelling it right," he said, the saucy smile still on his lips as he held his model\'s pose.  "But Sabrina says she can fix it if it\'s actually \'in\'."
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Trillian on September 28, 2007, 02:29:33 PM
Ben\'s first thought wasn\'t


anything he was going to send to Kerr, but he did let his surprise through that Kerr would have two tattoos made.  He favoured the one on Kerr\'s chest, it had made him swell inside, but the second one lost that charge in him and he was left not knowing how to behave.

"Wow," he said after a moment, "you got two done," he declared, eyes lifting from revelation number two and looking at Kerr\'s face, into his eyes and wondering why his sire had thought two was better.  The question was on his face and he hoped it was masking anything else there.

He could get used to it, it was just shock of seeing it.  It had to be.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Existentially Odd on September 28, 2007, 02:43:10 PM
Kerr deflated immediately, seeing that expression.  It was much the same as the one he\'d seen on Ben\'s face during the original conversation and made him see that he should have quit while he was ahead.  Now, he felt embarrassed and... like he was trying too hard, even though he\'d had his reasons.  Sprouting on about Ben being his mind, body and soul right now - with the tattoos to match - didn\'t seem appropriate, however.

He lowered his gaze to Ben\'s mouth and cleared his throat, sheepishly tugging his pants back up and rezipping them.  "No, not just two," he said quietly.  "Seven.  But it doesn\'t matter," he said, snapping the jeans closed and leaning down to grab his jumper and coat from the floor in a smooth motion that was partly helped by telekinesis.  It gave his mind something else to do, besides feel small.

"I\'ll just go hang this up," he said, lifting the garments vaguely in Ben\'s direction (though meaning his coat) and then hastening towards the bedroom.  The sooner he got a shirt on, the better he\'d feel, and some space to process wouldn\'t go astray, either.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Trillian on September 28, 2007, 02:49:35 PM
You fucking genius
You hurt him
He wanted to show you his devotion
And you hurt him

Ben was still frozen to the spot upon hearing the word \'seven\' being uttered from Kerr\'s lips and the fact his sire had retreated to the bedroom without showing him the rest.  Obviously his expression had given something away or else Kerr would\'ve continued stripping and showing.  What was he doing now?  Hiding and regretting?

This inspired Ben into motion and he moved after Kerr after a full minute had passed, hastily making his way into the bedroom and blurting:  "I want to see!" before his gaze had even found his sire, but located him a second later.  "I want to see," he said again, "please."

Ben was a great deal more receptive now, though he was worried that he\'d already lost Kerr\'s faith, hoping that Kerr wouldn\'t think he was patronising him, that he would see it all before he said anything else.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Existentially Odd on September 28, 2007, 03:14:31 PM
Kerr had pulled a mottled green T-shirt on by that stage, hung up his coat and just headed into the bathroom to drop his jumper in the hamper.  When Ben entered the bedroom, he was frowning down at the dirty clothes, wondering why he wasn\'t looking at his fledgling\'s neatly-folded offcasts (Kerr hadn\'t seen him dressed to go out but he knew there was no way Ben had gone for a walk in what he was currently wearing) on the top.

He\'d thought he\'d heard the dryer going as he\'d stalked down the hall but it hadn\'t really registered; now he was at the stage where he was wondering if Ben had actually done a full load or just his stuff - there didn\'t seem to be enough gone out of the hamper.  But why would Ben only wash what he\'d worn and nothing else?  His raw emotions were getting in the way of him thinking clearly, though, which was evidenced by the way his heart leapt when Ben finally came after him.

He dropped the sweater and walked out to the bedroom, hands on hips and a suspicious twist to his lips.  "You probably don\'t," he said at length.  "They\'re not all about you."  It was a leading statement and he knew it.  He wanted to be sure Ben really did care enough to see it all (and hopefully not be dismayed again).
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Trillian on September 28, 2007, 03:22:14 PM
Ben felt better about the fact that they weren\'t all about him but hadn\'t liked the way Kerr had said so.  Swallowing the retort that had come to the surface he kept looking steadily at Kerr and waited for the silence between them to grow before filling it with something else.

"You don\'t want to show me?" he asked, hiding his hurt that Kerr couldn\'t be placated with his desire to see, a form of apology.  It was like his sire was telling him too little too late, and that he was done showing him anything.  It was childish and Ben still felt guilty, for a number of reasons.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Existentially Odd on September 28, 2007, 03:59:36 PM
Not like this, no

Kerr gnawed on his tongue stud and kept his thoughts to himself, pondering.  In the end, he felt petulant and more stupid than when he\'d first sighted that look of near-derision on Ben\'s face and he knew it would only be more foolish to keep it all to himself.  So what if the pride and excitement in obtaining his cathartic gestures had ebbed away by now?  They still meant something to him and he was proud, regardless of Ben\'s views on the subject.

When he spoke, his voice was constrained and his manner defensive in his abruptness, but he wanted to get through it smoothly.  Being business-like and not wearing his idealism on his sleeve was certainly the way to accomplish that.

"The last of you is here, near my mind," he stated succinctly, spinning on the spot and lifting his long hair to reveal the initials B.J.S.tattooed onto the back of his neck in the same black ink and curling font.  The letters were as small as those on his hip but he didn\'t hold the position long before he turned back to face Ben and make his point.  "Mind, body and soul," he said, touching his neck, hip and heart in that order.

He didn\'t linger on explaining the connections he\'d stewed on for a while now, however.  He didn\'t want to drag everything back into his unique and maudlin state of idealism, so continued at a brisk pace, lifting up the left sleeve of his shirt to display his flexed bicep.  "Here," he said, leaning toward Ben and pointing at the right spot with the index finger of the hand that was also holding the material back, "is Mandy\'s name.  On my left arm because of the memories and the prominent position she holds in my life."

This time, the font was the same but the letters were quite a good deal smaller and done in an ink that matched the woad that already stained his skin there.  The mortal woman\'s name was blended seamlessly into one of the knots at the top of his arm, curled around snugly within it, as if it had always been there and had, in fact, been part of the original design.  Like it belonged.  Once it was pointed to, it stood out but unless someone knew what they were looking for, the ornate Mandy blended perfectly.

"And finally, at my back, behind me where they belong... " Kerr murmured, turning again but not finishing his sentence as he let go of his shirt sleeve in order to reach behind him and lift the back of the thin material up to around his waist.  He held it up with his left hand at the back of his shoulders, while his right hand snuck around and pushed downward on the waistband of his jeans to reveal the sleek curve of his lower back.  The position was awkward because he was trying not to block what Ben was supposed to be seeing, but he couldn\'t properly tell if he was achieving that purpose or not.  He simply hoped he was.

At the bottom of his old tattoos (but a good five centimetres above the curve of his buttocks) were three more names, again in green but far more Celtic and ancient looking, in terms of font - they were much harder to decipher than all the others.  Over his spine stood the word Sawyl, with Dei to the left and Meinwen to the right, a name over each  of his kidneys.

Once Kerr believed Ben had had enough time to take in the names of his sire and progeny, he turned back to face him, concentrating on keeping his expression neutral and fussing with straightening his shirt and his hair.  God alone knew how Ben would react to all this; he hoped he might like to hear Kerr\'s reasons - or even be able to understand them - but he wondered.  Either way, he was steeled, expecting the worst, hoping for better.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Trillian on September 28, 2007, 04:08:32 PM
As Kerr had felt small in the face of Ben\'s initial reaction, so now Ben felt small in the complexities behind the concept of the tattoos.  It all had meaning, the mind, body and soul explanation did everything to placate Ben and have him no longer thinking that such a thing was tacky, but rather how wonderful it was that Kerr would put such thought into it and mark his body with Ben in such a way.

Mandy\'s name on his arm, however, produced a different result.  He blinked at the letters upon Kerr\'s arm as it was shown him and the fact that her name looked like it belonged there all along drove a jealous knife into him for his own name stood out starkly on Kerr\'s body, very obviously added after everything else.  It was stupid, it was childish, it was jealousy, but there it was.  At least he could blank his expression on that one.

He didn\'t much like Sawyl\'s name on Kerr\'s back either, so he looked away at a wall once Kerr sought his reaction, thinking about what it would be like to roll over in bed and be faced with that name.  Much like Kerr rolling over to look at the scars on Ben\'s back - but Ben hadn\'t sought to put them there.

"I like what you\'ve done with my name," he said finally, and his gaze found Kerr once more.  He figured there would be a tainted version of the memory of the tattoos, for Kerr had done everything in one night, marking himself with everyone so there was no special day for Ben to focus on - it was all merged and melded together.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Existentially Odd on September 28, 2007, 04:22:27 PM
The specific wording said more in terms of what was left out than what was actually stated.  Ben liked what was done with his name, but didn\'t approve of everything else.  Kerr hadn\'t expected him to, but he\'d done it for his reasons and he could only hope that, with time and age, Ben would come to understand that.

If life weren\'t filled with complexities and wrenching twists, he wouldn\'t want to still be living it after so long and he\'d done it to show that he was part of his past but none of it was the sum of him.  Not even the only person he\'d ever fallen in love with.  He was labelled, he wasn\'t owned.

"Fair enough," he uttered, giving a curt nod.

It\'s all only skin deep, if you want to look at it that way, but there are depths that nothing physical could ever touch and that\'s where I hold you

The thought was fleeting and heartfelt and he projected it at Ben, wanting at least some of his sentiment to have impact, even if most of his gestures had been, for the most part, unwelcome.  As soon as it was released, though, he felt nervous again and frowned, wanting to distract.  His right hand crossed his body to scratch at his left elbow and stayed there, unconsciously defensive.

"You can go to bed if you want," he offered, "it\'s almost dawn so I figured I might as well stay up and call Mandy to see if she can come over tonight.  I\'d say she\'ll be up soon anyway, think she\'s an early riser usually.  Did you do a load of washing?"  The frown was similar to that of someone woken hastily from a deep sleep, more confused than surly, but it didn\'t abate, nor did his arm drop.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Trillian on September 28, 2007, 04:31:43 PM
Ben didn\'t miss the way Kerr was speaking to him, looking at him, holding himself.  Ben was disappointed and so now Kerr was disappointed.  It was strange though, that Kerr would do it all in one night after trying to proclaim how special Ben was to him.

Jealous, am I being jealous?

The thought came at him and he received it through his natural block of secrecy and defensiveness and his expression flickered upon hearing it.  It went toward making Ben feel better but didn\'t cover it all.

He nodded at getting to sleep, for he was suddenly exhausted - as though the mention of bed was a trigger.  The question about his clothes came up, and it was something he\'d been worried about but very smoothly answered.

"When I went out I ended up drinking from a smoker," he said.  "It got in my clothes."  He screwed his nose up and was looking away from Kerr as he said it, for he busied himself with preparing for bed.  Nothing was mentioned about Mandy.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Existentially Odd on September 28, 2007, 04:37:32 PM
"You drank again?" Kerr asked, obviously surprised by this news.  He had got into the habit of almost feeding Ben like a parent bird might, to the point where it startled him greatly to think of his fledgling finding sustenance on his own.

It wasn\'t that he thought Ben couldn\'t, it was just... well, Ben never had to so he\'d somehow blocked off all thought of the new vampire hunting for himself.  It also staved off thoughts of how it had been when the youngling hunted with Lazarus, frankly, and Kerr was disturbed by the frisson of unease that thinking about his love drinking from someone he hadn\'t screened caused to pass through him.

"How did that go?" he asked warily, his frown deepening.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Trillian on September 28, 2007, 04:41:32 PM
Ben frowned at Kerr\'s pursuit on the topic, not hiding his annoyance at being asked.

"It went just like when I was on my own," he replied, reminding Kerr that he\'d not relied on anybody else to help him feed.  He also thought of Lazarus but refused to travel down that path, hoping Kerr wouldn\'t or he\'d see another side of Ben\'s emotions.

His temper.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Existentially Odd on September 28, 2007, 04:46:25 PM
Kerr shuffled his feet, wanting to say more on the subject, wanting to drop it.  Ben obviously felt much the same way, for he was indignant at being challenged... the problem was, the elder vampire couldn\'t understand why his fledgling had fed.  Had he not supplied him with enough sustenance earlier in the evening?

"If you were still in need, why didn\'t you say something earlier?  I would\'ve got you someone else," he offered after a few moments\' hesitation, his hand releasing his elbow in order to swing towards Ben in a gesture of appeal.  His tone was congenial and genuinely baffled; he needed Ben\'s answer in order to know better next time.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Trillian on September 28, 2007, 04:48:42 PM
Ben shot Kerr an icy stare but moved it back to the bed, which he drew the covers down in order to prepare it for crawling into, then did exactly that, drawing the covers up to his chest and wriggling in further.

"I can take care of myself," he said in a tone that brooked no argument.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Existentially Odd on September 28, 2007, 04:59:47 PM
Again, Kerr felt humiliated, though this time he definitely believed he\'d been chastised for his intrusion.  That\'s what it felt like; like he\'d intruded on Ben\'s sensibilities by offering to help him.  He floundered momentarily, wondering if he should apologise for sounding condescending - even though he\'d tried his best not to, he obviously had - and debating whether it would only sound more pompous if he did.

"Sorry," was all he muttered, needing to say it but desperate to make it not such a big deal.  "Sleep well.  I love you," he said, repeating the phrase he said every dawn as they settled down to sleep together, though it was odd not to accompany it with a kiss and to be out of the bed, across the room and not hugging Ben when he said it.  It was a first and not one that he liked, but it was his own doing and somehow... he didn\'t feel particularly invited to approach and touch anyway.

He stood where he was, waiting for his response in kind, debating whether him not approaching the bed and kissing Ben would be construed as offensive regardless, and if they were both too tired to think straight.  His brain had very recently contemplated some ridiculous highs and lows, leaving him feeling ravaged and wishing he could easily backtrack and just fall into bed beside his love anyway.  But he had to call Mandy and... he didn\'t think he could just shrug everything off without some processing, in all honesty.  He felt like he\'d been walking a tightrope ever since he arrived home and it was not a pleasant state of being, let alone conducive to relaxing sleep.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Trillian on September 28, 2007, 05:04:03 PM
It took but a fleeting moment:

"I love you too," Ben said, tired and grumpy, hating himself for making Kerr feel like shit but unable to take it all back, it was too much.  Perhaps Kerr would just write it off against Ben\'s youth - something else he hated but right now it would work in his favour.

Without ulterior motive, he turned his head on the pillow in order to see Kerr away from him and reached out a hand for his lover to come over to him and plant a kiss.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Existentially Odd on September 28, 2007, 05:14:25 PM
Such a wash of relief travelled through him that Kerr felt almost ridiculous.  If he\'d been a dog, his tail would have wagged, he was so glad to be welcomed to be close to Ben.  Thankfully, all that showed was a little half smile - though his fledgling was likely assaulted by the sensation of his happiness and return to equilibrium through their blood bond as he crawled onto the bed, took Ben\'s hand and enhanced the opportunity presented by laying atop his love and hugging him.

He kissed him wordlessly, breaking the contact gradually by pressing smaller kisses to Ben\'s lips, then his cheeks and forehead.  "I love you," he repeated once he was satisfied, "I\'ll use the phone out in the lounge so I don\'t disturb you.  I\'ll try not to be long," he promised, disentangling himself from his draped position so he could wriggle off the bed (with far less grace than he\'d got on) and head out to the other half of the house, as promised.  His smile was far more genuine as he left the room at last.

The shutters had long since come down and dawn was about on them, meaning that Ben would likely not be able to resist sleeping anyway, but it was a courtesy he felt compelled to offer.  Besides, though he felt better about getting back into bed once his phone call was done, he still had some things to think through and it felt right that he should retreat for that to happen.


When Kerr\'s eyes opened, he lay still and gave some thought to why he wasn\'t feeling like he always did when he awoke... why he wasn\'t... content.  He\'d begun to get used to waking up happy with Ben in his arms but for some reason tonight... and then it came to him, quite suddenly.  He glanced down at his own chest to where Ben\'s name was visible at an awkward angle and recalled the events of the evening past, followed by the tiring morning of rumination.

He hadn\'t come to any earth shattering conclusions (unfortunately), for he couldn\'t be entirely certain about Ben\'s motivations behind the way he\'d acted, but he\'d made some guesses anyway.  Regarding his tattoos; Ben didn\'t feel he was special enough, despite the fact that Kerr had put most thought and effort into his namesakes (he was gradually becoming a hairless creature with all his body art and his request to keep some chest hair - rather than shaving as had happened with all the rest - had made the one tattoo take longer than all the rest combined, meaning Ben got more than his share of attention from them).  Regarding their spat before bed; it was likely a carryover from the tattoo awkwardness but Kerr felt there was a lot of unspoken Lazarus stuff beneath it, too.

Therein lay his dilemma.

Just because Ben could feed on his own... he simply didn\'t.  Until last night, when left to his own devices.  He\'d not answered any probing Kerr had done with regard to hunger, which led the sire to conclude that perhaps his fledgling had sought something else in feeding again; some independence from him... or was there more to it?  It scared him that perhaps Ben was looking for a thrill in feeding alone that he didn\'t get with Kerr supplying him with placid victims, even if he participated in an effort to strengthen their bond.

That was what worried him and was the one conclusion he\'d drawn while sitting through the sunrise, waiting to call Mandy.  He was going to have to grit his teeth (figuratively, for it wouldn\'t do to advertise his reluctance over the whole thing when he was trying to be fair) and offer Ben a bit more freedom.  He also desperately wanted to know the connection that offer might have to Lazarus and Ben\'s experiences with him, but he would do his best not to ask, since they still hadn\'t broached the subject at length - and he wasn\'t keen to, the day before they left for Europe, either.  Unless his mouth got the better of him.

With an impatient frown at his own uncertainty, Kerr rolled over in the bed - he\'d been laying on his left side, facing the balcony - to see where Ben was at.  True to his prediction, he had woken later than usual - almost an hour later - and he was fearful that his fledgling would have left the apartment and gone to feed without him having a chance to talk about it.  After all his thinking, that would really suck.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Trillian on October 08, 2007, 06:39:07 AM
Ben had woken first this time and lain in bed for a few minutes before deciding to have a shower instead of waiting for Kerr to wake up.  He managed to have it, brush his teeth, dry his hair, get dressed and stare at Kerr for a bit before he could feel a kind of double awareness, and knew that his sire was coming into consciousness.  He closed his eyes and focussed on that sensation, for it was new to him - he\'d never really paid attention to it, and couldn\'t because he\'d always ever woken second.

When Kerr shifted, the sheets made a subtle whisking sound of flesh against cotton and he opened his eyes to look at Kerr looking at him.  He supposed it was a bit odd for him to be standing next to the dresser staring at his sire without movement or motivation.

"Evening," he said, in replacement of morning, then hastily left the room to sit out in the lounge.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Existentially Odd on October 08, 2007, 06:56:57 AM
Kerr blinked, opened his mouth and then Ben was gone.  His frown deepened and he was disappointed to note that the awkwardness with which they\'d fallen asleep was characteristic of their behaviour some ten hours later, as well.  He got up and made the bed, debating about going after his fledgling immediately or showering... or even dressing.  Finding he was barely patient enough to get the bed made by himself though, he finished the task hastily and walked out to the lounge naked.

"Evening," he said as he entered the large room, smoothng his expression so that he wasn\'t frowning so darkly.  Spying Ben on the couch, he went and sat beside him, watching the blonde intently to see where his gaze travelled, to try and read from his body language what his opinion on being joined was.  If he was too obviously opposed to his presence, Kerr decided he would go and take that shower after all.

"Sorry I slept in; it was late before I spoke to Mandy.  She\'ll be around in a bit over an hour, I\'d say," he informed his fledgling, sliding an arm along the back of the couch and swivelling his body slightly so that he could face Ben and keep watching him all the better.  The fact that he was sprawling along the leather seat in all his glory was certainly the last thing on his mind.  "Are you... " he began but hesitated, unsure whether he should phrase his question subtly or blatantly, "very hungry?" he finished, opting for subtly in the end.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Trillian on October 08, 2007, 07:06:12 AM
Kerr being naked didn\'t surprise Ben at all, but waiting for a minute had.  He\'d expected to be followed immediately after and was grateful for the moment alone that he\'d had.  More would\'ve been nice too.  If Kerr had showered that would\'ve given him enough time to collect himself.

When Kerr sat Ben glanced over at him and took in his naked form momentarily before meeting his eyes again, that pale stare driving deep into Kerr\'s brown eyes.  Ben had always been one to stare unblinking and now with his eerie gaze it was a lot more obvious to those he watched.  His position remained unchanged on the sofa - facing forward, feet apart, hands in lap holding each other, though now his head was turned toward Kerr instead of facing forward.  He didn\'t tense up but he didn\'t open up either.

Ben blinked at him when the question was asked.  Inside him he could feel his stomach lurch at Kerr\'s insistence over this topic.  It both upset him and infuriated him - this was much worse than the tattoo issue.  No longer was it about hiding the truth about Ichabod either, for Ben had shoved that matter all the way down in the back of his mind and locked it up so that he didn\'t even have to see it.  No, it was the fact he\'d fed on his own that was apparently so devastating.

"I\'m always thirsting.  I\'m a fledgling.  You won\'t ever slake it."  He kept his statements short and his tone as bland as possible, as though this was something that Kerr might not have known for himself.  He shook his head as if to reinforce the fact that such a thing could not be done.  Ben had learned to live with it by now though, and the blood provided to him was always enough to take the edge of for the whole night, but Ben spoke truth - there was always that nagging requirement for more.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Existentially Odd on October 08, 2007, 07:11:05 AM
"Am I... " Kerr began, then broke off.  Deciding it wasn\'t the way to begin, he revised to: "Do I... " but found he\'d met with another false start.  His frown was back and he hated the way things were so strained; he wanted the awkwardness gone.

"Do you want to hunt on your own?" he blurted out, settling on the core of it.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Trillian on October 08, 2007, 07:21:29 AM
Ben\'s perspective changed a little on this question.  Was Kerr maybe feeling inept or unnecessary?  Ben didn\'t think he was but at the same time there was an opportunity to talk about the direction they were headed.  There was training, practise, learning... what was the difference in hunting?

"You make it really easy, and I appreciate it, but I can\'t be a baby bird forever."

Ben shifted a little, so that he was turned slightly towards his sire.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Existentially Odd on October 08, 2007, 07:42:13 AM
"So I\'m crowding you," he mumbled, lowering his gaze in an attempt to hide the hurt Ben\'s words roused.  Sure he couldn\'t be a baby bird forever but fuck... it\'d only been a few weeks they\'d been together.  He and Sawyl had hunted together for years, until Kerr couldn\'t stand the occasional lashes of violence any more.

The thought brought images of Lazarus forth to further lash at him and the wave of helplessness - buoyed by rage - he experienced was savage enough to keep him staring downwards and clenching his jaw together (literally, after all) until his teeth ached.  He didn\'t understand why Ben wanted to hunt separately from him and confusion floated the whole boat of his emotions; they had different enough interests as it was, the one thing they definitely had in common was feeding, why did he want to spoil that already?
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Trillian on October 08, 2007, 07:52:36 AM
"No," Ben refuted, twisting properly now and looking at Kerr staring downward.  Because of their blood bond he could feel the anxiety in the air, but he\'d never been blind to body language either and he could tell that Kerr wasn\'t happy about things.  "You\'re just... it\'s like... you\'re cutting my meat for me instead of showing me how to do it myself."  He managed, though the simile was innocent it had connotations behind it that Kerr might misinterpret - though Ben didn\'t know Kerr was travelling down the Lazarus vein.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Existentially Odd on October 08, 2007, 11:36:59 AM
"Fine," Kerr said stiffly, lifting his head and meeting Ben\'s gaze with glittering eyes (though whether it was anger or hurt swimming in them was likely not clear), "then we\'ll work more seriously on your mental domination capabilities so you\'re entirely self sufficient."
His words had a bitter edge to them and they were challenging in tone because that was how he was feeling.  Ben hadn\'t said specifically that he wanted him nowhere near him - though the implication was there - so he wanted to hear it for certain.  "And then you can always hunt... alone," he said evenly, though his final word carried the weight of some of his convictions.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Trillian on October 10, 2007, 06:44:53 AM
Ben blinked, surprised that Kerr would take his desire to learn so badly.  Hadn\'t Kerr known all along that Ben wanted to be trained in everything?  Didn\'t that also mean hunting?

Instead of sniping back, he pointed something out that he hoped would find Kerr\'s reason.

"I thought you wouldn\'t want someone dependant on you.  That I want to be with you and not that I\'m forced to."  He tilted his head, hoping Kerr wouldn\'t take it the wrong way.

Thoughts of Ichabod - the secret that had led to this discussion - never even entered his mind.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Existentially Odd on October 10, 2007, 06:54:24 AM
Kerr looked steadily at Ben now.  "There\'s a difference between dependent and sharing time together.  I like feeding with you, I like sharing that time with you... and I don\'t understand why you\'re so keen to be away from me to do it, when I see it as an opportunity to strengthen our bond - you even agreed to feed from me to do that!  Now, suddenly, you\'re wanting independence and making me feel like some overbearing fuckwit just because I don\'t want to give it up?" he asked, pulling a face that declared his confusion and hurt openly.

He fell quiet after his little outburst, his tongue stud rubbing against the roof of his mouth thoughfully as he tasted his next question, debating whether he should voice it or not.  After a few moments of hesitation though, he figured he\'d come this far, he might as well get it all off his chest and be done with it.  "I don\'t mind not providing you with victims, that\'s not the part I care about.  I just... I\'m worried... does this have something to do with... Lazarus?"  God, the name was like pepper on his tongue.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Trillian on October 10, 2007, 07:01:07 AM
The emotion was too strong for Ben to understand it.  Calling himself a fuckwit was something that made Ben blink.  He felt like the connection Kerr had with him over feeding from others was something imagined on Kerr\'s side because it was just something they did, it wasn\'t as important.  Feeding from Kerr himself was different, he didn\'t want to lose that and obviously they needed to feed together, but it didn\'t have to happen every night or it would lose its lustre.  Just like sex every night wasn\'t possible or else they\'d both wear out the specialness (he believed, not having experienced a longterm relationship of love before).

Hearing Lazarus\' name on Kerr\'s lips Ben could pick up on the distaste of it, and it was a surprise.  Now he thought of Ichabod, but he wasn\'t sure if it was a Lazarus thing or something to do with himself.  It was the latter, wasn\'t it?  Lazarus had influenced only as much in Ben as he\'d wanted.  The death stuff was a bit freaky, but it hadn\'t been as shocking to him as it was to Kerr.  That was just... who Lazarus was.  An old world vampire.  Weren\'t all Ancients just that little bit violent?  Look who Kerr had lived with all that time, and he was crapping on about Lazarus?

"I don\'t know.  Does your issue with me have to do with Sawyl?" he shot back.  It was cruel, but in being attacked he became defensive.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Existentially Odd on October 10, 2007, 07:31:52 AM
Kerr didn\'t take the question as a snipe, he took it at face value and saw validity in it; it got him thinking and his frown was thoughtful as he let the silence stretch and gave it some attention, in order to give an honest and processed answer.  For a little while, all he could focus on was the fact that Ben had said he didn\'t know what was motivating his desire to be free of Kerr at the start of every evening, but that eventually led into thinking of Sawyl and, soon enough, he was speaking slowly and huskily in response.

"It does, yes.  As you know, Sawyl is my only basis of comparison for our relationship, the way I did things with him is the way I suppose I keep expecting to do them.  I guess that\'s why... I make things so hard on you, even if I don\'t mean to.  Although I was never in love with him, there was a strong connection between us that was almost as close, parental; he was a fledgling when he made me and we had such a tumultuous beginning that it was natural for us to stick together and learn together.  The twins just... made the bond thicker.  I never questioned how much time we spent together, but it was constant.  It took years for me to find the courage to break away from feeding with them, because of the violence.  I was never very violent," he explained, thinking of the way he\'d paled at killing even livestock as a child and offering a watery smile that showed his embarrassent over that ineptitude.

He\'d never been \'normal\' amongst his peers when growing up, certainly not the typical farm lad and he\'d suffered cruel teasing because of it... though that was what had got him children and a vast sexual education, so it never worried him, in the end.  It was still ingrained in him to shy away from killing, though it had taken a very long time for it to come to a head with Sawyl, considering.  He\'d not been in a position to have the strength to break away earlier though, given his flailing at being turned.  Fuck, he\'d spent four hundred years with the boy, when he should\'ve been gone in half that, frankly; it shouldn\'t surprise Ben how weak he\'d been at the start.

"You\'re stronger than me.  Younger, more experienced, more resilient, more savvy.  Even now, I sometimes feel lost because the pattern I participated in for four hundred years is broken.  That\'s a hard habit to break and I... flounder, I guess.  I panic, sometimes, and I suppose I\'m clinging and you find that strange but I... I know it\'s different to Sawyl - you and me," he amended, tilting his head downward so that he was looking up at Ben, through his lashes and gesturing between them, "and I\'m glad of that in some ways but in others... it scares me to feel so much for you, to not have complete control over myself or every situation with you.  I\'ve never been in love.  I don\'t think I\'m very good at it... considering," he said, with a little, self-deprecating laugh (for the more he talked, the more embarrassed he became at confessing all his insecurities, despite the fact that Ben needed to know) and another gesture in the air that took in Ben, him, the apartment and implied their relationship - that Ben should realise he was hopeless at these things, considering the way he was acting.

"I\'m sorry.  It just seems so soon for us to be going our separate ways and I know it\'s not the end of the world and you probably think I\'m overreacting because, to you, it\'s one little thing but I... I take it personally, when, to me, the formative stuff should happen nightly and... cloyingly close, I suppose.  It\'s the way I did it and I realise that it\'s not your way and I should respect that, it\'s just... hard.  So yes, it is about Sawyl but it\'s mainly about me and my insecurity and the stupid way I feel... " his frown returned momentarily as he struggled to find the right word to fit his feelings.  The one that came to him didn\'t seem right, didn\'t seem comprehensive enough, really, but it was the best he could do on the spot so he went with it, "divided when you\'re not with me.  I\'m sorry," he said again, feelish sheepish but meaning it.  He was sorry.  "I\'ll get used to it, I will, I just... need a little more time to adjust to things than you do, okay?  I\'m pretty bloody old and set in my ways, don\'t forget."

He smiled a shy, charming little smile at his lover then, hoping Ben wouldn\'t continue to feel so angry at him for being so... himself.  Usually, it was Kerr reminding himself that Ben was young and he would understand one day but right know the sire felt it was important for his fledgling to consider things from the opposite perspective instead; he wasn\'t just young, Kerr was old and there was a shitload of baggage and knowledge that came with that (even if he wasn\'t even close to Lazarus\' age).
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Trillian on October 10, 2007, 05:55:35 PM
There was so much to say in reply but Kerr continued talking and Ben let him.  Fleeting thoughts moved through his head of comparing his own youth and inexperience to Kerr\'s inability to grasp his new relationship, to point out they were more on an equal footing because they hadn\'t been in love before - but then more was said, added onto a wave of a speech that Ben felt swallowed up in.

There was no anger at the end of it, but at the same time he had a loss for words.  After a very long moment, five minutes passed by in fact, Ben moved on the cushioned seat to wrap his arms around Kerr and press his face into his neck, breathing in Kerr\'s scent and squeezing him tight.  That one simple action would hopefully tell Kerr all he needed to know, and after being there for a moment it finally came to him what to say.

"I want to be with you, I\'m just used to being on my own when I\'m around others.  I never connected with my family or my roomies, or Declan or Arles or Lazarus.  When I was on my own it was just more of the same.  You\'re the only one I want to be close to, I\'m just not used to it either and sometimes I have to do my own thing."

Like when Kerr was on the net looking through ebay for antiques, or if Ben was watching a movie Kerr wasn\'t interested in, or if they each had a book.  It was time spent together but also alone.  Couldn\'t Kerr see it that way?
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Existentially Odd on October 10, 2007, 09:18:50 PM
"Okay," Kerr said softly, taking comfort in being hugged and hugging in return, nodding against Ben\'s temple, loving him and feeling better about getting everything off his chest.  "That\'s fine; I\'ll get used to it.  I\'m glad you know where I\'m coming from, it makes me happier."

He simply sat then, half-smiling as he felt Ben breathing needlessly, and contemplating making a magnanimous offer.  It seemed to stick in his throat a little, but he got it out after a few moments.  "Well... do you want to head out and get something to eat while I go shower and get ready for Mandy\'s visit, then?"
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Trillian on October 12, 2007, 04:46:28 AM
Ben was about to decline the offer but the thought of Mandy coming over stopped him.  He wanted to be friends with her, but hovering around while she and Kerr caught up on things didn\'t seem like a friendly thing to do.  He would give them a little time together to talk and catch up, after all Ben would be spending an unknown quantity of time with Kerr during their trip.

"Thank you," he said, recognising the gesture for what it was.  "I might also walk around a little and say goodbye to the neighborhood, \'cause in Europe I\'ll be sticking to you like glue," he promised, and he was positive he would.  Even though he was excited, he was also somewhat apprehensive.

Ben\'s tale continued at \'Unknown Motivation\' (
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Existentially Odd on October 12, 2007, 07:36:32 AM
Kerr chuckled and gave Ben an extra squeeze of appreciation, a sudden surge of affection leaving him with the awareness that they\'d not been intimate yet this evening and the strong desire to be so - in a very specific way, in fact.  Still, he settled for a kiss and telling his fledgling that being stuck to like glue sounded fabulous to him; the rest could wait \'til later.  He\'d already overslept substantially and Mandy was likely to be arriving any time.

After their kiss concluded, Ben left and Kerr went to the shower.  He washed his body and hair with a little extra care and when he got out, he dried off and then wrapped the towel around his waist to apply deodorant.  Since he had the place to himself, he took his time in front of the enormous bathroom mirror to admire his new tattoos, because he hadn\'t felt right about doing that after he\'d received mixed reactions from his lover.

He looked them over with a vague smile on his face, turning and twisting before the expansive glass, eventually hanging the towel up so he could see his hip tattoo properly as well.  He was quite happy with them all, even if Ben wasn\'t; Kerr was convinced it was simply the presence of Sawyl\'s name that had soured everything.  Kerr didn\'t blame him, but just as Ben needed time to do his own thing some nights (every night?  Damn, he didn\'t know), the Irishman had needed to acknowledge his roots and his entire life up until the dramatic change it had taken.  It was important to him, and he was confident Ben understood that now.

Besides, it was hard to go past the very obvious declaration of his name upon Kerr\'s chest - the sire\'s smile broadened even as he looked at it.  After admiration of his body art, Kerr fussed with his hair, considering cutting it, combing it multiple ways... generally being distracted and time-wasting.  The knock at the door threw him for a loop, because he hadn\'t been paying attention to how long he was taking and he was still naked!

He rushed to the end of the hallway and mentally probed to check that yes, it was Mandy out there waiting to be let in, so he did it telekinetically, using his mind to undo locks and pull the door back.  He caught a glimpse of her face before he retreated out of her sight, calling out his message to her.  "Come in, Mandy!  Sorry, I\'m not dressed yet but make yourself at home, I\'ll be out in a minute!"

Feeling foolish, he then hastened back into his bedroom to dress.  He\'d been debating what to wear (in amongst preening) but he didn\'t have a lot of time to think about it now - he grabbed underwear, pulled on jeans and a white T-shirt.  Simple and practical.  He didn\'t bother with shoes, ended up finger-combing his hair after pulling on the shirt (so much for fashion) and headed for the main room still tucking the shirt in, a ready smile and an apology on his lips as he looked to find where his guest had got to.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Mandy on October 13, 2007, 05:11:11 AM
She`d missed him, catching only the briefest glimpse of Kerr`s arm before he disappeared behind an adjacent wall. Which was fine if he wasn`t fully clothed. To see him naked in any capacity at the moment, would have been more than Mandy felt she could bear. The female had just missed his presence so much…

“I can come back,” She called out in a sweet voice, clutching a rectangular frame (affixed with stretched canvas) to her chest; a denim bag slung loosely over her left shoulder. The framed object - a painting - faced inward toward her, which managed to conceal it`s detail from immediate view. How regretable that she`d not thought to pick up some parcel paper in which to wrap it properly. “I think I`m a little earlier than we discussed anyway.”

Mandy had been less than private about her plans with Kerr, a fact which left Ichabod visibly distressed and appearing at odds. The teen found her earlier that morning (when he woke), engrossed in a peice of artwork featuring her and the immortal in question. It was the painting she`d started the night Kerr first came to her apartment, but hadn`t had the heart to complete since Ichabod`s arrival in her life. And if that weren`t indication enough, Mandy`s outright admission that she was going to see the vampire later that evening left no unnecessary room for doubt. The remainder of the day was spent in uncomfortable silence; little more than fleeting glances passing between the two house mates as the female prepared for her long awaited visit with the man she loved.

There was just so much that she had to do.

In addition to her painting (which turned out rather well, if Mandy did say so herself), she also wanted to complete a sketch for Ben – a peace-offering of sorts – and make herself look nice. Happily, the sketch took only an hour, and her primping and polishing managed to conclude in even less. Unhappily however, Ichabod had refused to see her out. But this was probably for the best...

Shifting in her gathered, cotton-white skirt (accented by a flattering sleeveless top of the same color and a pair of slip-on cork sandals. Of course, her hair was as pink and spiky as ever.), Mandy glanced curiously about Kerr`s apartment, waiting for his response. It didn`t seem right to sit until he answered - in case he could use another hour to prepare. She failed to notice him as he reappeared around the corner...
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Existentially Odd on October 13, 2007, 02:56:10 PM
"Nonsense, you\'re here now and you\'ll stay," he chastised with mock sternness as he left the hallway that led to the rest of the apartment and passed the dining table.  Mandy was standing just inside the doorway and he rounded the extension of the kitchen benches with his hands behind his back, tucking the shirt straining across his broad chest into the back of his jeans as he approached her, grinning.  He stopped a couple of feet away from her, his arms returning to his sides as he placed his hands on his hips and tilted his head to look at her.

"Well.  What have you got there?" he enquired playfully, his eyes lighting up as he looked the canvas over pointedly.  His gaze then flicked to the door to be sure it was closed (he\'d do it mentally if she hadn\'t, when she walked in) and then up to her face, his grin broadening automatically.  He was happy to see her and it showed in his relaxed body language and face.  He didn\'t move any closer to her, assuming she\'d want to present whatever she held (which he could only assume was the artwork of them he\'d requested) to him.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Mandy on October 13, 2007, 03:25:55 PM
Mandy blushed attractively beneath the weight of Kerr`s stare, stepping forward to offer him the gift cradled within the keep of her arms. She could only hope he wouldn`t be too offended by the nature of it`s content.

The painting itself was simple in technique and done entirely in acrylic, leaving the overall feel of the piece decidedly intimate. Even more so than was originally intended. It`s focus was of Mandy and Kerr (as he`d previously requested) from the bust up; Mandy positioned in the forefront of the space with Kerr located just behind. They were naked, or at least, appeared to be (what with exposed shoulders), their skin brushed on pale, like sculpted marble. They were set against a stark black background, the only real splash of color being Mandy`s vibrant pink hair. Which was really, more than enough.

As usual, she`d chosen to employ realism in her arsenal of artistic execution.

She looked to be peering down. Into her lap? Unto the floor? It wasn’t entirely clear; her long lashes managing to mask her direction of focus like a feathery curtain. And behind her (with his body visible just beyond her own) was Kerr. He too appeared to be looking down, though with obvious reason as his lips were pressed tenderly to the graceful curve of her shoulder. Like Mandy, his eyes were masked by a screen of fine lashes, his wonderful hair capturing some unforeseen light, just so. It was beautiful - how she felt when she thought of them being together. When she thought of them at all. Hopefully Kerr would come to appreciate it and not attempt to downplay it`s significance.

“This… well, this is for you.” Mandy`s whispered and handed him the painting with care, suddenly quite nervous about what his reaction might be, “It`s the first painting I`ve done in a while… so, you`ll have to be kind.”
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Existentially Odd on October 13, 2007, 04:17:59 PM
Kerr\'s expression softened as he took the painting off her and turned it so that he could see it, his gaze roving over the artwork appreciatively.  Knowing nothing about art (which he\'d always professed to her) except what she\'d managed to teach him, he could still see that it was an exceptional piece, created with great skill and care.

"It\'s beautiful," he eventually breathed, having been caught up in looking the piece over from corner to corner, noting every detail and brushstroke with his superb vision and finding none of it lacking.  He adored the way it presented them as a loving couple - though he did wonder, fleetingly, if Ben might take some minor offense at that.  Sure, it looked as if the two of them were naked (it almost looked post-coital, in fact) but that didn\'t mean much.  He felt that the overall message to the painting was love and comfort.

Looking up at her, he smiled into her eyes.  "It\'s just beautiful; thank you.  It\'s exactly what I wanted - and there\'s no need to be kind just because you haven\'t painted in a while, you\'re excellent!"  He turned and placed the painting so that it was leaning against the kitchen bench at his back, then spun and stepped forward to embrace her, not paying much attention to anything else she was holding as he wrapped his long arms about her slight body and pulled her into a gentle bear hug.  His lips brushed tenderly against her temple before he rested his cheek against the top of her head.

"It\'s a wonderful surprise, thank you.  Plus, it reminds me that I really should check on the other pictures you gave me.  The framing place seems to be taking far too long to call me and tell me they\'re done.  I think I\'ll look for a different company when I get that one framed.  Do you want to see where I think I\'ll hang them all?" he asked enthusiastically, pulling back so that his hands were gently gripping her upper arms and he was smiling down at her.  "Or just... sit down and I\'ll give you a tour later?" he offered belatedly, finally noticing that she was holding something else and thinking she might want to just rest and chat before he dragged her around the apartment.  He had plenty still to tell her, so he didn\'t mind either way.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Mandy on October 13, 2007, 10:21:11 PM
“I`m so happy you like it,” Mandy said with relief, a deep sigh racing through her lungs when Kerr enveloped her in his powerful arms. She seemed to fit perfectly against him, as though they were puzzle piece made to interlink for all time. This was were the female longed to be most – entwined with a man who haunted her dreams and had captured her heart. God but he smelled so good. Naturally, she was just the slightest bit disappointed when Kerr finally pulled away.

At the offer to see where the drawings she`d given him would eventually hang however, her eyes lit with a sense of unreserved pride.

He actually followed through and sent them to get matted and framed! And he still planned to display them in his home, though - why wouldn`t he? Oh yes… that was right. Kerr no longer lived alone. This flat housed two immortals now, not one. Speaking of which; someone appeared to be missing in action…

“Where’s Ben?” She asked after a moment of hesitation, grateful that she and Kerr could be alone, but nervous about visiting in the apartment without at least achieving Ben`s approval first. Mandy wanted to be friends with the fledging and for a variety of reasons (as much self-serving as they were of pure intent). Reasons that all involved his endorsement, which was difficult to achieve when the man in question was nowhere to be found.

Adjusting the denim bag slung over her left shoulder (which contained Ben`s drawing), she waited patiently for Kerr to call out and invite the other vampire into the room – assuming him to be hidden somewhere else in the flat. It would be rude of her to start visiting in earnest until the third member of this twisted triad was present as well.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Existentially Odd on October 14, 2007, 02:16:19 AM
"He\'s gone out for a while.  To get something to eat and give us some time to catch up," he smiled, his hands running the length of her arms until they reached her hands, where he carefully worked his fingers around hers so that he was holding them lightly.  His thumbs slid back and forth across her knuckles as he waited for her to tell him whether she wanted a tour or to sit.

"He won\'t be out too long though, he wants to see you as well," he added, sounding proud because he was.  He liked that both of his... loves.... were willing to be friends.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Mandy on October 14, 2007, 02:45:22 AM
She felt a great deal better about her time alone with Kerr knowing that Ben would eventually return, and apparently – wanted to visit with her as well. Mandy could only hope that that was a good thing. For all she knew, Ben may want to see her for the sole purpose of telling her to back off for good.

Only time would tell.

“Well, lets sit then and catch up a bit. We can always look around before I leave, after Ben gets back.” Mandy smiled as the words left her lips, inwardly delighting at the way Kerr`s thumbs caressed her hands. She wanted desperately to kiss him and hold him tightly in her arms, but not at the cost of looking foolish or pushing him away. Perhaps in time, she might be… permitted to indulge some of those more intimate impulses with him? Of course, that was something the three of them would have to discuss together.

But certainly, not now.

Waiting to see which piece of furniture Kerr would lead them to, she pressed a quick I`ve missed you into the vampires mind, adding a quieter; I love you just for good measure. It may not be appropriate for her to say such things out loud, but surely in the privacy of their own thoughts, it would be all right.

“Your apartment is wonderful… very modern.”
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Existentially Odd on October 14, 2007, 02:55:42 AM
Kerr smiled at her and squeezed her left hand in his right as he dropped the other in order to lead her over to the couch that had its back towards them.  Although he normally sat in the one opposite because he preferred to sit that way to watch the television mounted over the fireplace between the two, the one he sat in now had the best view of the city\'s skyline through the expansive windows.

I\'m glad you\'re here, he told her as he tugged her down on his right, releasing her hand in order to wrap his arm about her, pressing her in against his chest with his hand now snug at her waist.  He hadn\'t actually missed her, so he couldn\'t say that in return, but he had been looking forward to seeing her, so he didn\'t tell a lie with his response.

"Thank you.  I wanted as great a change as I could get, when I left the mansion, and this place is pretty much it.  Ben thought it didn\'t look anything like \'me\' at first, but he hasn\'t said anything else since he moved in, so I guess he\'s got used to it.  I needed a change of image once I left Sawyl, it just took him a while to see that, I s\'pose," he mused, still smiling as he looked down upon her from an intensely close distance.  "How\'s Cub?"
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Mandy on October 14, 2007, 04:51:13 AM
Mandy experienced a terrible wash of nervousness as Kerr made mention of his sire, thrusting a dilemma she`d been struggling over for the past week back to the forefront of her mind...

Should she tell him about her encounter with Sawyl now, or later?

Regardless of when she did it, Kerr would likely be staggered by the admission (and no doubt - upset), but she couldn`t keep it from him. He deserved to know. Unfortunately, the vampire`s added query regarding Ichabod, did little to improve the female\'s diminishing confidence. She felt cowed – small. Not the best way to start an evening, but Kerr could hardly be blamed.

He simply didn`t know.

Grimacing, Mandy peered up into her companion’s handsome features and forced a weak smile, deciding it best to leave the Sawyl issue alone (for the moment) and address what was presently happening between her and \'Cub\'.

“Well..." She began - pulling a face,  “… it seems he`s developed something of a crush on me.” Yes, ‘crush’ was a fitting word, “Which has made living together a little difficult, as you might imagine. At least... since the night you left my apartment. For whatever reason, he`s been acting this way ever since you and Ben visited."
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Existentially Odd on October 14, 2007, 11:58:17 AM
Kerr gave her words a little thought before he responded, frowning and surprised to feel the stab of an emotion that was possibly close to jealousy but more likely resentment, when thinking of Ichabod and Mandy as... a couple?  Could that really be what she meant?

"You mean... an emotional crush, whereby he\'s dependent on and protective of you?" he asked slowly, staring into her eyes as he spoke.  "Or a... sexual crush?"

The final part was added with a good deal of skepticism dripping from his words, showing that, even though he\'d said it, he didn\'t believe it.  Ichabod was gay, he thought, the teenager was obviously just resentful of Kerr and Ben invading his territory - even his emotional territory was very hard-won, considering all the shit he\'d been through with Lazarus - and he was being over-protective of Mandy.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Mandy on October 14, 2007, 12:41:55 PM
“I thought it was emotional... at first,” She answered, tenderly cupping her right hand over Kerr`s broad chest, “But then he tried to kiss me. Kiss me deeper than usual. I brushed it off, assuming he was just upset about your stopover and looking for attention. He took it kind of personal.”

Mandy shook her head (recalling how hurt Ichabod had seemed at her refusal of his affections) and licked her lips. She certainly didn`t feel comfortable having this conversation with the man she professed to love. But if he wanted clarification, “We sat down to talk about it more last night, unfortunately... it didn`t seem to help. In truth, I think it may have made it worse.”  She sighed, disappointed at the direction their visitation had gone. This wasn`t exactly what she had in mind by going there tonight. “But I`m confident that we`ll work things out.”

The last was added quickly in hopes of salvaging the mood, Mandy`s face twisting into an unconvincing smile, “He`s just confused. With a little time and understanding, I`m sure it will pass.”

 She gazed expectantly into Kerr`s painfully beautiful eyes, waiting to see if the answer she`d supplied would be enough to satisfy the vampire`s curiosities or if he would require further elucidation on the matter. Naturally, she hoped he would drop the issue entirely so they might move on to less awkward matters of interest.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Existentially Odd on October 14, 2007, 10:22:28 PM
Kerr continued thinking, frowning lightly down at her as his tongue stud made circuits of the roof of his mouth.  In reality, he and Ichabod had never discussed his sexual orientations so it wasn\'t such a stretch that the teenager was bisexual, not gay.  It just annoyed Kerr exponentially that the mortal should have an interest in Mandy - yet another youngster he\'d helped out that showed more than just a passing interest in his friend - though that was completely logical at the same time.  She was alluring and delightful; her nature was automatically welcoming and loving.

It was no surprise Ichabod had developed a crush on her within a couple of nights, it had only taken Kerr one, after all.  It was a rare and incredible gift that Mandy had, the power to draw people to her.

"I asked you over tonight because I wanted to tell you that I\'m going away for a while.  A couple of weeks, most likely, though it could be more.  Ben and I are going for a holiday in Europe, so I can show him where I come from and we can tour through the United Kingdom," he told her, far more smoothly than he\'d anticipated he\'d be able to.  He hadn\'t known whether he should prepare her for this news steadily or simply surprise her with it, but saying it now felt natural and made it seem not such a big deal.  Besides, her words had given him an entirely different purpose.

"Perhaps, while we\'re away, you\'d like to stay here, to house-sit for me... it might be the perfect excuse for the two of you to have some time apart, the situation is obviously an uncomfortable one for you?" he enquired kindly, his frown disappearing as he watched her sympathetically instead, eyebrows now raised.  He didn\'t like seeing her distraught and he didn\'t want to not do something to help her - especially since he was going out of the country the next night.  It the best he could come up with, for the moment.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Mandy on October 14, 2007, 11:09:08 PM
Europe?” Mandy repeated, her voice torn between shocked distress and envious want. She sat up suddenly in his arms. How did one respond to a bombshell like that? “Wh – when are you leaving?”

She`d always wanted to travel, a point the female was almost certain she and Kerr had talked about in passing before their untimely separation. To think that he and Ben would be doing that very thing – together… without her. Well, it sent pangs of sadness ripping through the center of her heart. He would be an entire ocean apart from her. She would miss him…

Would he even miss her?

The offer to stay at his apartment was the only saving grace to this unexpected news, keeping Mandy from hyperventilating over the anguish at having Kerr gone. Naturally, she would have offered to come sort the mail and check up on his flat while they were away anyhow (despite how much having Kerr gone wounded her inside), but this was infinitely better.

Be strong. Don`t get upset. He`s not leaving forever, just… a while. With Ben. Alone. At least this solves the debate on Sawyl – you have to tell him soon, or he may not find out for weeks... months! Depending on when they plan to leave…

Mandy looked dejectedly into the valley of her lap as these thoughts (and a dozen more like them) cycled through her mind - letting her bag slide quietly to the floor. Could this evening possibly get any worse?
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Existentially Odd on October 14, 2007, 11:20:45 PM
Damn.  Maybe he should have prepared her a little more after all.  He felt terrible (even though he\'d certainly entertained this reaction from her) and squeezed he closer to his, pressing his lips to her temple.

"I\'m sorry to spring it on you like this.  We\'re leaving tomorrow night.  We\'d have been gone sooner, except Ben was a bit shocked that I\'d call my pilot and fly us out immediately, so we\'ve taken our time... preparing, I suppose.  I was going to tell you when we came around to your place the other night but... well... we both know how that night ended up.  I simply couldn\'t tell you after that, but I really wanted you to know.  In a way... I feel like I\'m abandoning you and that\'s not my intention but... I feel bad about it nevertheless.  I\'ll miss you and I\'d love to take you on a trip one day as well, when you have the time."

Everything was said in a hushed and rapid tone, against her skin, the warmth of it causing his lips to tingle, the tips of her hair tickling his nose.  He fought off the shivery sensation in order to get everything he wanted to say out.  If it weren\'t for the fact that he and Ben desperately needed some time away to cement their bond, he\'d have offered to take Mandy this time but... that was something best left to the future, when things had settled a lot more.  Still, it wasn\'t a lie when he said he wanted her to go with him, one day.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Mandy on October 14, 2007, 11:34:31 PM
She blinked fiercely, fighting off… tears? No… she couldn`t be crying! Not over something like this! How preposterous! How absurd! It wasn`t the end of the world, though it did place Mandy in a rather compromising position. She`d have to bring up Sawyl now, or loose the chance to tell Kerr for an incalculable length of time (which could make things exceedingly uncomfortable when he and Ben finally got back). Damn it all! Why did things never come easy for them? She couldn`t even enjoy his wonderful promise to take her away someday as it was marred by obligation.

 Mandy had to tell him, and it had to be now.

Just breathe...

“Kerr... I saw Sawyl last week.”

It sounded so surreal... so abrupt. But there it was, and she felt infinitely better for having told him - tactless as her approach may have been. At least the truth was out, which was half the battle. Now came the other half...

She fidgeted with a ruffle on her skirt, waiting timidly for Kerr`s reaction. No doubt he would want additional information, and there was much she had to explain.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Existentially Odd on October 15, 2007, 05:35:07 AM
Now it was Kerr\'s turn to blink and look befuddled, taken aback by the sudden change in topic.  He didn\'t know why his admission that he was heading away on a holiday prompted her to bring Sawyl up but he stiffened against her automatically.  His expression, however, remained fairly impassive.

"Where did you see him?" he asked warily, thinking she meant she\'d accidentally passed the boy on the street or something.  But then, why would she be talking like that?  Like she was confessing to something... intimate?
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Mandy on October 15, 2007, 06:47:09 AM
This was the part Mandy had been dreading even more than having to tell Kerr she`d seen Sawyl in the first place, though the female knew she had no reason to feel guilty for it.

 She hadn’t done anything wrong.

“Before you and Ben came to visit the other night,” Mandy began softly, appearing to change the subject yet again (though nothing could have been farther from the truth), “Before I knew that you were safe and the hunter hadn`t found you… I was so worried. You never called… you didn’t stop by. I didn`t know if you were all right or… or slain.” She turned atop the sofa, tempted to crawl into Kerr`s lap, but settling for his hands instead – pulling them to her breast. “I didn`t know what to do. So... I decided to call you up. Make sure that you were safe.” Of course, Kerr would have no recollection of such a call, for it had never materialized. She squeezed his cold fingers at the thought (hoping she didn`t sound overly-dramatic as she continued to explain). This was where it would all begin to make sense,

“I forgot that I had your old number on speed dial, in addition to your cell…” She swallowed hard, “I ended up calling the mansion instead.”

Her voice trembled as she spoke, frightened that Kerr may hold the error against her. What’s worse, she hadn’t gotten to the really bothersome part yet. He`d warned her about being alone with Sawyl in the past… what would he think hearing that she`d willingly visited him on her own?

“I was scared. I didn`t know if he had caller ID… if he would take offense if I hung up and search me out. So… I talked with him.” So far so good. Now came the answer to Kerr`s original question, “He ended up inviting me over and well… as I said before, I didn`t want to risk upsetting him. So I went.”
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Existentially Odd on October 15, 2007, 07:03:07 AM
"You went to the house?!"  Kerr exploded, aghast and swivelling more fully to face her.  "Alone?  With them?!" he cried, the thought of it more frightening with every vision that came to him.  Of course, the fact that Mandy was here with him registered, but it was secondary to the fear that she might have been hurt, could have been left helpless to Sawyl\'s whim.  "Why on earth would you do that?" he finished incredulously, gaping at her in wonderment more than anger.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Mandy on October 15, 2007, 07:12:47 AM
“I just told you! Because I was afraid!” She cried out, startled by Kerr`s sudden emotional outburst. Surely he`d heard her the first time? “I didn`t want to run the risk of him coming to my apartment… not with Ichabod there. I couldn`t put someone else in danger for my mistake.”

Mandy`s heart hammered hard and fast as she struggled to reply, bringing a pleasant tint of red to her cheeks. She`d known he`d be upset, however Kerr almost appeared mad. Mad with her? But… she`d only done what she thought was right.

“He acknowledged my fears over the phone and promised to behave if I came. I didn`t believe him, of course, but at the time… I couldn`t see any other way. I went over after work that following night. He… “ She hesitated, wondering if it were wise to elaborate more, what with how upset Kerr already was, “He and the twins treated me well.”
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Existentially Odd on October 15, 2007, 07:28:48 AM
Kerr shook his head, his mouth literally hanging open as she explained further.  He was shocked, to say the least, unable to understand how someone who was scared had the gall to go towards what scared her, rather than away, all because she felt it was best to protect those she cared about.  She was an amazing woman.

"He didn\'t even know where you lived," the vampire eventually uttered, his tone rather higher than usual, simply because he was so stunned.  "You didn\'t have to... but then, they always liked you so... I suppose he would... but what did you do there?" he asked, frowning anew as he tried to consider what Sawyl could possibly have wanted Mandy to visit him for.  To draw him some more?
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Mandy on October 15, 2007, 08:09:08 AM
I didn`t know he couldn`t find my place!” She protested in her own defense, “I had no idea how powerful he was, if his telepathy was capable of seeking me out... if he would come to drink me dry. All I knew for certain, was that if I went - Ichabod would be safe.”

It wasn’t fair.

Mandy`s knowledge of vampires extended only as far as what she had learned from Kerr, and he hadn`t exactly explained his species to her in fabulous detail. Call her ignorant, but she figured that compliance with a being who was obviously stronger and undaunted by mortal ramifications, was far wiser than outright refusal. And in this case, it had obviously worked to her advantage. Surely, he could see this?

”… but what did you do there?"

“Well… visited, I guess.” She explained, peering up into Kerr`s deeply probing eyes, “They seemed lonely.” But it was so much more than just socialable banter. “Meinwen and Dei levitated me." She declared after a moment (and with perhaps a little more enthusiasm than Kerr would have appreciated), "It was like I was flying – swimming through the air! Then Sawyl showed me how he can turn into mist. I didn`t even realize vampires could do such things. After that, we headed outside and took me around the stables… “

Her features melted into an exceptionally solemn expression, the latter of her tale deserving a seriousness Mandy was just barely able to achieve.

"Sawyl told me about Lazarus... what he did to the city - the ‘Apocalypse’." She shuddered visibly at the thought, squeezing her companion`s hands, "Kerr… did you know that the Oligarchy altered my mind? Not during your trial. I mean... back then. Before. They covered up several of my memories...”
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Existentially Odd on October 15, 2007, 07:57:33 PM
Kerr\'s eyebrows were high as one fact above all the others stuck out at him.  As much as he wanted to comment on the fact that Lazarus had ripped the city a veritable new one and then the Oligarchy had covered it up, he couldn\'t get past her mention of the twins by name.

"You actually saw the twins?  You met them?  And they deigned to interact with you?" he asked flatly, feeling like an idiot to be asking such obvious questions but... he couldn\'t quite get over it.  She\'d actually met the twins and they\'d not drunk from her or hurt her?  Wait... he hadn\'t asked that.  "Did they drink from you?" he added suspiciously, his voice now only concerned.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Mandy on October 15, 2007, 08:17:58 PM
“Yes, I met them,” Mandy answered quietly, “And no, they didn`t drink from me… they never even asked.” Her mind whispered tender promises of offering herself only to him, promises she had no real intentions of him hearing, but was powerless to contain. Not that she was confident he would ever accept.

As something of an afterthought, she added, “I didn`t visit with them long. Apparently lifting me with their minds wore them out. They hugged me goodbye, and Sawyl and I went outside.”

She was disappointed that of all the information she`d just provided, Kerr chose to linger on that particular point above all else (having anticipated he would be more concerned over her mind being toyed with than the twins). As though to accentuate this point, she looked miserably back into her lap. “I used to have a dream, about a man covered in blood. When we first met and I learned what you were, I rather believed that man was you. But in reality, it was just a memory they had tried to erase, attempting to make it`s way back to the surface. Sawyl uncovered it for me.”

Mandy frowned as she recalled the recently revealed scene, frightened by it`s images even now.

“I was attacked by demons! On a bus, of all things. And the man was some kind of slayer – the blood was from the flying ones.” She tugged at Kerr`s wrists, wanting him to acknowledge her fear above his disbelief surrounding Sawyl`s mothers, “They manipulated my thoughts… does that not upset you at all?”
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Existentially Odd on October 16, 2007, 06:36:35 AM
"Uh... " he hedged, attempting a frown of concern as she yanked on his hand to get his attention.  Obediently, his gaze swivelled to meet hers and he attempted to rein in his thoughts.  Truthfully, he\'d been rather more interested in her tales of spending time with the twins and Sawyl than anything that had happened to her post-Apocalypse but he quickly realised that this was not the attitude she was expecting of him.

"It is an upsetting thing," he agreed placatingly, "but I have to say - I\'m not surprised.  That sounds like something the Oligarchy would do, considering the chaos they had to clean up after Lazarus was done with the place, it makes complete sense, in fact.  On the plus side, it was done to help you forget something traumatic.  I imagine quite a few mortals had to be thusly treated after what they experienced at the hands of demons - well, supernaturals - who\'d overrun an entire city," he pointed out reasonably.  Citizens attacked on a bus was... nothing close to the worst he\'d seen.

A gentle frown marred his forehead once more as Sawyl determinedly entered his thoughts and he did his best to avoid the child\'s influence over him - by criticising him.  "Sawyl probably shouldn\'t have stripped away that barrier, because it was your protection from fear.  You say he did it for you?" he enquired, the frown deepening.  He couldn\'t understand why she\'d want to be exposed to a terrifying memory willingly - though she hadn\'t known that was the case when she talked about the man dripping in blood, he supposed.  Plus, she was the type to want to be in control of all her faculties, so, to that end, he could understand her insistence that she should know everything about her past.

Mainly, it was the fact that Sawyl was involved that irked him, he realised.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Mandy on October 16, 2007, 07:19:45 AM
She was hurt by his apparent lack of empathy. By his matter-of-fact way of justifying the Oligarchy’s methods for altering mortal minds…

By how he seemed hell-bent on focusing on Sawyl.

This wasn`t about any of those things. She`d just confessed a great violation of the very thing that made her her, and he`d played it off to be nothing more than what was expected. How could anyone be so heartless?

Sniffing back a new wave of tears, Mandy twisted her hands free from Kerr`s and climbed to her feet - turning her back on him as she contemplated whether or not she should simply leave. She wasn`t exactly feeling very welcome anymore. What’s worse, the man she loved didn`t appear to understand her in the least. Kerr sounded as uncaring for her condition as the luminary who`d preceded his trial and sentenced her to be humiliated and flogged on his behalf.

“I would rather know the truth – frightening as it may be  – than to have my mind toyed with as though it didn`t matter at all. I`m glad that Sawyl removed the barrier.” She stated firmly, eyes drifting to the side where her bag lay idly on the floor. “How would you like it if someone poked around in your head and changed things at random? Things they deemed necessary to mask.”
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Existentially Odd on October 17, 2007, 06:50:21 AM
Kerr watched her for a moment, gaze drifting over her stoic form thoughtfully, gnawing on his tongue stud before he spoke.  She was obviously quite upset, or she might have been listening to herself more closely and realised the ludicrous irony behind such a question.  He needed to settle her down.

He stood to walk around in front of her, realised that the coffee table would make that awkward so gently gripped her arm to turn her towards him instead.  When she complied, his hands remained there, cupping her delicate shoulders - well, they seemed delicate in the hold of his large hands - with respectful tenderness, fingers stroking her bare, warm skin instinctively.

"Mandy, I do see where you\'re coming from but the truth broke a lot of people.  I know you\'re feeling manipulated and like you don\'t matter but the truth couldn\'t be farther from that.  The Oligarchy protected people\'s minds because they mattered; because what a lot of people experienced was horrific for them and that needed to be masked for sanity\'s sake.  It may not be what you want to hear but... I have had my mind toyed with plenty of times, by Sawyl and the twins, in fact, so I understand the helplessness you feel but, faced with the alternative, the Oligarchy probably did the best thing in covering up the nightmares, so people could continue to lead relativelu unscarred live afterward."

His words were quiet and steady, his expression heartfelt as he explained his point of view.  He knew her perspective and empathised with the righteous victim in her, but he was also able to see the work done for the greater good.  He\'d have thought she would, too, but it may still have been too fresh a realisation for her to step beyond herself and consider the other side of the argument.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Mandy on October 17, 2007, 07:42:19 AM
She didn`t want to hear this, not from him. After all, she had learned the truth and it hadn`t ‘broken’ her, as Kerr so eloquently put it. Mandy was grateful to know what happened; to be free, as it were. And obviously, no amount of mortal reasoning was going to change Kerr`s mind on that. But it didn`t matter. She hadn`t gone there tonight to receive his approval. The only reason it`d come up at all, was because he wanted to know what had transpired between her and Sawyl. And with how poorly Kerr reacted to her account, it would probably be wise not to bring up the favor she was currently preforming for the tiny vampire.

At least he knew about the encounter.

Deciding it best to change the subject (or risk becoming further agitated), Mandy peered wearily down at Kerr`s feet and swallowed hard. All she wanted to do right now, was to curl up into a tiny ball somewhere, and cry...

“Well, I thought that you should know about what happened with Sawyl… before you leave,” She amended, that part having materialized only within the last half hour. It was still so hard to believe that Kerr was going away. She bit her bottom lip, wriggling gently from his grasp before kneeling next to her bag and removing a sketchpad from it`s hidden depths. Mandy had intended to stay until Ben returned (touched that he would want to see her), but her heart wasn`t exactly into a lengthy visitation anymore. Better to give Kerr his fledgling’s gift  now and call it a night.

It`d be easier on her heart that way.

“I should probably head out… will you give this to Ben for me?” She asked and handed Kerr the drawing that took most of the morning to complete.

The sketch was done completely in graphite, very dark… very emotional. And again, realism proved to be the driving foundation of the entire piece. But while the technique involved was less than unexpected, the focus of the image was. It appeared to depict not only Mandy, but Ben as well, the pair sitting next to one another - holding hands. They were set against a stark, black background (Mandy on the left, Ben on the right) the angle, head-on. She was looking down into her lap while Ben peered unflinchingly forward; either friend offset, so the edge of the page looked as though it cut them perfectly in half on their respective sides… all for dramatic effect, of course. It was Mandy`s rendition of the trial – the moment where Ben had unexpectedly taken her hand and forever tied her to him in an unspoken bond.

She could only hope that he would perceive the personal meaning it held without a lengthy explination.

“Would you like me to come by tomorrow for your key? Or, do you have a spare?” Perhaps she shouldn`t offer to house-sit now, what with the indifference she presently felt toward him, but who was Mandy trying to fool? Angry or not, she still loved Kerr. Christ, but she was hopeless.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Existentially Odd on October 17, 2007, 04:32:00 PM
"You probably shouldn\'t leave, actually," he argued determinedly, his tone bordering on angry and his expression concerned.  He glanced at the sketch, recognising immediately what it depicted (for had he not sat and watched almost that exact scene just over a year ago and lost his heart to the two of them in that moment?) and the significance of it, and did not take it from her, his hands remained by his sides, where they\'d fallen when she pulled away.

"I want to talk with you, now that we have a chance without distractions, and it\'s not like you to shy away from that simply because we have two different perspectives on one thing.  I can accept and understand your viewpoint but you\'re so determined to be the victim, that you\'re not looking beyond the act, yet.  I accept that, too.  The ironic thing is that you\'re getting all worked up about the Oligarchy messing with your mind, yet you declare you had a great visit with Sawyl and the bit-twins," he hastily corrected himself, having tried to get out of the habit of calling them bitches when they\'d somewhat redeemed their crimes against him by saving his life.

"I can guarantee they did nothing but monitor your every thought and feeling the whole time you were there.  But because you went to them, rather than someone coming to you to alter your memories, it\'s... okay?" he asked, his voice high in disbelief.  Suddenly, he closed his eyes and shook his head, waving two hands briefly before himself in a dismissive gesture.  "I don\'t mind that you went there though, and that\'s not the point!" he cried, his voice raised as if he was disputing her loud objections when, really, he was only shouting his inner voices down - voices that wanted to tell her that her visit with Sawyl may not have even transpired as she remembered it, for he could have manipulated her thoughts and memories without her even knowing - she didn\'t want to hear that, though.

"If you\'re happy you know the truth, I\'m happy, too," he told her, his brown eyes focussed sincerely on hers.   "Neither of us have any great love for the fucking Oligarchy, let\'s face it, so I share your antagonism, too.  But what I want is for us to sit down to talk and for you to let me hold you so you feel better than miserable, which is the emotion I\'m being swamped with, from you, right now, okay?" he pleaded hopefully, his expression the purest of entreaties.   "Oh, and I want to see you give that to Ben, because it\'s your message to him, not mine," he added almost as an afterthought, nodding at the drawing she still held and which he\'d refused to take.

In a perfect world, he\'d talked so fast he\'d dazzled her with his logic, made her think a little bit beyond the fact that she believed he didn\'t support her and so she would drop the drawing on the coffee table in order to cry it out of her system and she would thereby let him make her feel better.  Or she would argue him down and get her unhappiness out that way.  Either one he\'d be happy with... but he was well aware of the fact that he didn\'t live in a perfect world and so he waited for the actual result of his fast-paced lecture to manifest, rather hoping she\'d let him hold her properly sometime soon.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Mandy on October 17, 2007, 07:59:51 PM
Mandy blinked; overwhelmed and overpowered by the sentiment in which Kerr reprimanded her, his every word cutting into her heart like a glowing hot knife. She may not necessarily agree with everything that he was saying, but the fact that he was saying it (and at last, appeared to give a damn about her), left the female breathless. Not to mention moved. He didn`t want her to leave? He wanted to talk to her… to hold her? For her to give the gift to Ben, in person.

For the first time since their reunion, she felt the old (familiar) bond beginning to return again.

Swept away by emotion, Mandy finally broke down; depositing her drawing on the table at Kerr`s feet before throwing herself dramatically into his arms. Great pearly tears flowed from her eyes as she wept against him, sobbing his name as well as promises of love that made her feel pathetic... but there could be no stopping the onslaught now.

It just felt too right to be back in his embrace.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Existentially Odd on October 17, 2007, 11:31:03 PM
Relieved - even smiling tenderly above her head at how cute she was - he folded her in his arms and drew her back with him onto the couch, settling her in his lap.  He had his right leg along the couch so that her bottom was actually on the seat but her legs were curled over his and his long arms were wrapped around her.

"God, you feel so soft," he said contentedly, letting her cry and marvelling at how wonderful she felt.  His lips found her temple and stayed there, her pulse beating through the veil of her skin and into him like the resonation of a ringing bell.  Not only was she warm with mortal life, she was a woman, which he hadn\'t felt in such a long time.  He hadn\'t realised he\'d missed it until it was within his reach; his hands strayed up and down her arms, gently caressing, and he tried to dispel images - memories - of her softest bits and how he\'d never fully appreciated them.

So he was interested in both sexes still, despite his feelings for Ben.  This was both a good and a terrible thing to realise, considering how alluring she was at such a proximity.  He did his best to move the conversation ahead, clearing his throat as if to dismiss the last statement he\'d made - or downplay it.  "I\'m glad Sawyl didn\'t hurt you," he admitted, internally debating how safe it was for her and eventually deciding (reluctantly) that she was in a pretty good position as far as his sire was concerned.  She\'d always been a favourite of his.  "Do you think you\'ll go and visit again?"  He fought back the urge to argue against this course of action, knowing she\'d follow her own mind anyway and that she\'d probably be kept safe, too.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Mandy on October 18, 2007, 03:21:40 AM
It`d be a lie if she said she didn’t reel to hear Kerr whisper about her mortal softness… to feel him pressing in against her and receiving his kiss. Mandy had dreamt of such things for so long, that it seemed utterly surreal to experience them now. Not that she was complaining.

Entwined together on the sofa was far better than battling it out with words on their feet.

Nuzzling Kerr`s chin with her nose, she inched forward in hopes of prompting an innocent kiss (well, maybe not so innocent), listening as he attempted to continue their conversation. And despite her previous reservations about keeping her promise to Sawyl a secret, the female found herself suddenly willing lto let her immortal love-interest know. Perhaps he might even offer her a viable suggestion?

“I promised to help him find a caretaker.” Mandy explained, her voice like a whisper against Kerr`s bare neck (where she`d eventually snuggled in), “He suggested a couple – called them servants. But what he`s really looking for, is a replacement for you. I`ve no idea where to even begin looking for people like that though... and Risk is definitely out of the question.”
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Existentially Odd on October 18, 2007, 06:36:09 AM
Kerr chuckled, remembering her last foray into Risk, acknowledging the tingling shivers her breath and lips against his throat sent through him and hoping to the Gods that he was holding himself as still through them as he believed he was.

"Yes, not so many servants hanging out in Risk," he agreed with a smile at the skyline he was now staring at, since she\'d tucked herself in against him.  His right arm was around her back, his hand on her waist or drifting up to touch her arm, his left hand resting on her thigh and she felt amazingly small, compared to Ben.  He was somewhat relieved that his lover didn\'t feel so... breakable.

"Ah, I suppose the mansion is a rather large responsibility for them - especially considering their cleaning ethic, which is nonexistant," he thought out loud, his tone suggesting he felt a mixture of bemusement and exasperation for them and their situation now.  "Ideally, they should be in this apartment and I should have stayed in the mansion but... things didn\'t work out that way."  He frowned, his emotions giving a wrench as he thought of the night he\'d fled, the circumstances... but he was past it enough now to mourn everything he\'d left behind.

"Everything will be covered in dust and suffering," he said forlornly, picturing the rooms full of antiques he\'d collected and lovingly maintained for over three hundred years, then callously abandoned, only taking (or having moved out) what was most precious since.

"I\'ll have to do something about that - I\'ll find them a cleaner, don\'t worry.  There are some vampire-friendly contacts out there, who run businesses that cater to vampiric needs - after hours versions of regular companies that are... aware.  There\'s bound to be a service that provides servants that could live in that house and take care of it - though I don\'t know how long they\'d last.  Hopefully even Sawyl would recognise that it\'d be detrimental to kill the hired help."

He gnawed thoughtfully on his tongue stud as he considered the logistics of having someone come in to look after what he still considered to be his house.  "Or, I could just offer to swap them the mansion for this place and see if they go for it," he said, a small laugh following his statement into the open air, though he was half serious about it.  He didn\'t think Ben would go for the idea of moving into the mansion, though.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Mandy on October 18, 2007, 06:50:22 AM
Mandy listened quietly as Kerr spoke, stilled by the sound of his voice - satisfied to simply take it all in. He was obviously thinking out loud. She probably wasn`t intended to respond. Which was fine.

She was just happy to be there in his arms at all.

“I offered to come and pick up for them a couple times a week.” She explained softly, believing that the topic of Sawyl and his mothers was no longer off limits and they could discuss the trio with relative civility. “But he didn`t think it would be enough.” And Sawyl was almost certainly right. “Don`t think they`d want to move into a smaller place though."

Mandy paused, stealing a kiss from Kerr`s neck before continuing her thought, "Was there anything you wanted me to bring back for you the next time I`m over?”

It was strange. He mentioned items being covered in dust, in such a way, that it led Mandy to believe he may be missing something of serious importance... or value. Did vampires care about materialistic things? Could he still have belongings at the mansion he longed to have… or was it just an overall reflection of the situation at large?

“Do you miss him?”
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Existentially Odd on October 18, 2007, 07:05:04 AM
He gave a snort of air that could be construed as laughter or scorn, forcing himself to get past the instinctive answer he


wanted to give and reason it out a little better.  Window dressings mattered to people, right?  He couldn\'t give the bones of an explanation without the dressing, for the rawness would be significant and say a little more than he wanted.

"No, there\'s nothing I need from there, thank you anyway.  I took everything that would fit in here when I left.  As for missing Sawyl... I don\'t, actively.  I certainly don\'t miss his moods and his attitude.  But there\'s part of me that still... feels lost without contact with him.  I don\'t think you\'d classify it as missing, per se, it\'s just... like the itch people who\'ve lost limbs experience after the amputation.  Part of me\'s gone and I don\'t quite feel whole yet.  Does that make sense?"
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Mandy on October 18, 2007, 07:17:48 AM
Strangely enough, it did.

“It does.” She answered simply, not feeling the need to probe the vampire for further elucidation. Not when things were going so smoothly again. That besides, his rational seemed to make perfect sense.

Cuddling in close, Mandy pressed another, subtle kiss to Kerr`s skin - this time, to the pale column of his muscular throat.

Perhaps it would be viewed as blatant, but the affectionate token hadn`t been met with controversy the last time. She saw no reason not to do it again. Unexpectedly however, the gesture did manage to inspire an entirely different course for their conversation to follow…

“Have you fed yet tonight?” She asked, her voice soft and humid against his neck.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Existentially Odd on October 18, 2007, 07:35:49 AM
He smiled as she kissed his throat again, still thinking about Sawyl and the way he felt about his sire after being parted from him after four hundred years.  It still didn\'t feel right and part of him thought that it never would, not after being together so long.  Ben couldn\'t fill that hole in him, either, for it wasn\'t right for him, by design.  A sire and a fledgling were both significant but in a mutually exclusive way, as far as Kerr was concerned.

Her question dispelled all such thoughts like water quells fire.  He blinked, not answering immediately, wondering if she was about to offer what he thought she was and considering how he would respond to it if she did.  The one stipulation Ben had (in a manner of speaking) put on his seeing Mandy again had been over feeding and Kerr knew why.  Between the two of them, it would be an intimate act, one possibly more significant than sex, and he wasn\'t comfortable with that knowledge

Nor was he comfortable with how much he wanted to drink from her.

"I... don\'t feed every night, and I haven\'t tonight," he admitted, thinking about how he and Ben had argued the night before and how hurt he\'d been that his lover wished to establish a solitary feeding routine.  He doubted that would include him having permission to drink from Mandy, though, and the flush of guilt he felt when thinking about going ahead with it without telling Ben convinced him that it would be wrong.  Gods but he wanted to.  "I can\'t drink from you, though," he continued, his tone reluctant and clearly displaying his regret at having to confess this fact.  "Not without Ben here, not without him... well, not without him being okay with it."

He neatly skirted the word \'permission\', he thought.  "Because I know he wouldn\'t be."
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Mandy on October 18, 2007, 07:59:27 AM
Mandy hated to be a virtual mood-swing in motion, but it was difficult not to feel crestfallen at Kerr`s outright refusal of what she`d planned to propose. Like him, she believed it would be a deeply intimate exchange. A bonding activity to further strengthen their growing relationship. After all, Kerr had drunk from Ben prior to the fledgling being sired, and look at them now.

But her hopes were quickly dashed.

She shrank miserably within his arms, closing her eyes in defeat. She would not be allowed to offer herself to him in that decidedly human way. Though Ben was no longer mortal and this was the last possible thing she could offer of herself, he`d turned her down. So that was it then? No being intimate, no making love… no giving her blood. Mandy would not even be permitted a proper kiss.

So much for Kerr`s promise to let her love him. He appeared to want it in thought alone.

“I understand.” She whispered after a moment, peering down unto a nonexistent place on Kerr`s shirt, “Forget I brought it up.” Though she hadn`t. He`d squashed the offer before it could even materialize on her lips.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Existentially Odd on October 18, 2007, 06:43:45 PM
He was quiet for a moment, wanting to say something else but unsure about whether it would make things better or worse.  In the end, he decided it would likely be both but at least she\'d understand where he was coming from.

"Mandy... I want to," he began quietly, cupping her cheek with his left hand and leaning back so that he could look down as he tilted her face up towards his.  "Likely too much.  That\'s the thing though, knowing how close we were and how close we\'d get... if I were to feed from you I... well, I\'m not sure I\'d be able to stop at just feeding from you," he told her truthfully, staring rapidly from one of her eyes to the other to gauge how she was taking this news.

"I\'m not stupid and neither are you; you and I both know how close we were to sleeping together.  There\'s part of me that\'s still very aware of how we didn\'t get that closure and I think, if I tasted you, it would be difficult to resist those urges.  You\'re so beautiful and desirable and... well, you, that one taste would likely see all reason out of my mind and my instincts taking over.  I don\'t want to cheat on Ben and I have no interest in anyone else in that way... but you... you\'re different.  I have an emotional bond with you and a physical desire for you that means... well, that I need to be very careful how close I get to you, put it that way," he told her with a wry grin.

It felt good to speak openly about their relationship, now that he wasn\'t distracted by anything else, he felt it was important that they put all their cards on the table.  Now was the best time for them to discuss boundaries such as these, in private; he\'d have felt stupid and oversensitive if Ben was in the room while he tried to talk to Mandy so frankly.

He was entirely devoted to Ben - mind, body, soul - but Mandy owned a piece of his heart and a yearning that would likely never be quenched and somehow... that made her all the more alluring.  They say you always want what you can\'t have... Kerr wanted what he should have had and he wanted to lose the regrets over it, to answer the questions about her, but he wasn\'t so badly off that he would jeopardise the fabulous things he did   have.  He loved Mandy; he was in love with Ben.

It just meant that he would always wonder, sometimes wish things had turned out differently and do his best to focus on what mattered in the here and now.  Who he loved the most.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Mandy on October 18, 2007, 07:55:17 PM
She experienced a wash of joy followed by a terrible sinking pain at Kerr`s words, his confession making her feel at least as though she were desirable (and confirming that he still cared for her) but not desirable enough to come between he and Ben. But that’s where he was mistaken. She didn`t want to come between them… just… to be a part of them. Sadly, it looked as though Ben would forever hold the final say on that matter and it would obviously do no good to try and overstep that detail now.

If they were ever permitted to do the things they so clearly wanted to do with one another – it would have to be with Ben`s consent that it occurred. Which meant, it was probably never happen at all.

Mandy bit the inside of her cheek, lost for words (an uncommon thing for her) and stared back at Kerr with deeply conflicted eyes. She knew that it would be wise to simply give up on her love for him – be satisfied with being nothing more than a friend… but how could she, knowing that they both longed for more? The next words she uttered, were spoken with a pain akin to loosing the most precious thing in all the world…

“I… I don`t know what to say. I love you. I would like to be with you, with… with Ben`s blessing, of course. But, I realize it`s likely I won`t be around long enough to earn his \'okay\'.” She faltered, pinching her eyes tight in order to curb a new onslaught of tears, “I don`t want to be a burden to you, Kerr, but... I love you so much. Would it be better… would you prefer… if we don`t see each other anymore?”
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Existentially Odd on October 18, 2007, 08:11:46 PM
He frowned.  "That\'s not what I want," he said immediately, then fell quiet, thinking.  "However... " he added, falling silent immediately afterwards once more, continuing to contemplate things from all their perspectives.  Unfortunately, though he didn\'t want it, he could see that such a consequence would be the right choice for her.

"I can see how that might be the best thing for you.  For you to... move on," he said, tongue roving restlessly in his mouth as his teeth bit down on the stud within it.  "Find someone else.  I\'ve told you before that I would understand such a thing.  You should protect yourself."  Even if he didn\'t want to be completely without her in his life.

Still, he couldn\'t imagine being with her and being with Ben at the same time.  That would be... weird and just confuse his emotions.  He was surprised she even thought that way but... in a sense he wasn\'t, either, because she\'d been feeling like this a long time and put a lot of thought into her position.  All he\'d done was continue to love and selfishly desire her, while falling in love with and having a relationship with Ben.

"Fuck.  It\'s a complicated situation," he admitted dejectedly, the only thing he could be certain of, even after all his thinking.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Mandy on October 18, 2007, 08:25:07 PM
“I know.” She agreed quietly, adding in a much more certain tone, “But I refuse to find someone else! Not when my heart has already been spoken for. I only suggested we part – for you. Either way, my emotions are unavoidably yours.”

Perhaps this was the part where an uncomfortable silence would spread between them and things would become strange?

“I love you.” Mandy repeated firmly, her eyes roving the handsome peeks of Kerr`s features with care, “I`d do anything for you…” A thought... one the female had been contemplating quite a lot lately, “If… if time were not an obstacle and my life not limited, like yours… do you think Ben would eventually warm up to the idea of sharing a part of you with me?”
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Existentially Odd on October 18, 2007, 11:27:15 PM
He frowned, really not seeing Ben sharing a \'part of him with her\' willingly, ever (and frankly, he couldn\'t see himself agreeing to share Ben with anyone, either, so that was perfectly acceptable).  "No, I doubt it," he answered honestly.

Suddenly, the penny dropped and the part she\'d said prior to that leapt out in his mind.  His eyes widened in shock.  "Wait a minute," he said breathlessly, body stiffening automatically, "do you mean... by unlimited life... that if you were a vampire?" he asked incredulously, stunned to think she could possibly mean that.

Mandy... undead?  He couldn\'t fathom it!
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Mandy on October 19, 2007, 07:44:32 AM
She looked away at his unabashed surprise, not entirely certain if she was serious about the prospect or just throwing around ideas. Desperate as she was however, she`d be willing to try anything to earn back a place in Kerr`s heart. It would be a means to an end, so yeah… she might consider it.

Mandy shrugged indifferently, gnawing at her bottom lip. “Maybe.” She whispered, knowing that Kerr was likely not to take the admission well. But it didn`t really matter. He`d all but assured her that they could never be together anyway.

Why should he care what she did with the rest of her life?
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Existentially Odd on October 19, 2007, 06:34:55 PM
Stunned, he gazed unseeingly out the expanse of windows across the room from him, registering vaguely that it was raining heavily now - for the distant lights were blurred by the rivers of water flowing silently down the huge glass panels - but not allowing it any more thought beyond that.  His mind was too caught up in what Mandy was proposing.

Well, may have been proposing, she didn\'t seem definitely committed to the notion - which was good, considering the way it overwhelmed him.  Why would she think such a thing was a good idea?  She with her vivacious zest for life and love of natural things... there would only be one obvious reason he could see that she\'d choose to live beyond her mortal confines; him.  He hoped she was putting a decent amount of thought into it and that the decision was based on a Hell of a lot more but realistically (egotistically), logic dictated that he was the reason behind that decision.

He looked back down at her, his expression far calmer than his insides were.  Guilt, mourning, exasperation, trepidation, fear, love... all these emotions warred within him for supreme position, but the mix was turbulent and roiling, so nothing was at the top for very long before it was replaced by the next feeling in the queue.

"Who would you get to sire you... if you went ahead with it?" he asked her quietly, wondering where her head was at and knowing it was a loaded question.  He would be able to guess a lot from her answer, he felt, about her reasons behind such a drastic change in being.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Mandy on October 19, 2007, 08:55:49 PM
“I know you would refuse.” Mandy answered, her voice soft as she buried her face against Kerr`s hair and shuddered in his arms. Of course, he would be her first preference. “I`d have to investigate the possibilities, I suppose. Are all vampires able to sire?”

She hesitated as the second obvious choice bubbled to the surface, knowing it would probably shake the forced composure Kerr appeared to be putting on. But if he wanted the truth (and she was simply brainstorming as it was),

“Sawyl would probably do it willingly.” Though it was unclear if someone his size would be capable. The mechanics of it, were somewhat lost on her. Perhaps the tiny immortal would ask her to become his new caretaker in exchange (assuming he could)? That thought had occurred to Mandy as well and was a reasonable stipulation - if she could eventually secure more of Kerr for herself. “Maybe I`d have to go to the oligarchy and plead my case? Make it official? Someone down there could probably do it.”
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Existentially Odd on October 19, 2007, 10:32:51 PM
Kerr\'s hold on her loosened and he sagged back into the corner of the couch, leaning a little more against the cushions there and less on the back of the soft seat.  Well, his instinct appeared to be correct in that, given the option, she\'d primarily invite a connection with him - via his sire if need be - but she\'d be willing to take anyone, really.  That was both startling and a relief, in that she obviously wanted to be changed for her own reasons as well (or so it seemed).

He blinked slowly and stared at her, unsure of where to begin.

"All vampires can sire except that Sawyl\'s too small to turn an adult.  You\'re not all that much bigger than him, but if he did it alone, he\'d run the risk of you becoming a thin blood, I think," he explained in a monotone that managed not to reflect the confusion he was feeling - nor did it make him sound particularly friendly, though.

The information he had about thin bloods was sketchy, really.  He and Sawyl had met one once who\'d claimed that he\'d not been able to drink enough vampire blood to turn into a proper one and so he was stuck in a horrid limbo between the two species of vampire and human.  They\'d accepted it as fact, never realising it had anything to do with supernatural blood rejection and not having come across it again since.  Still, they\'d always been glad Sawyl had had Angus there for Kerr and Kerr present when Wyl made his mothers.

"The twins would have to help him; you\'d be connected to


them all.

Another member of the twisted happy family, my sister, so to speak?  Oh, Gods.

Either way you\'d have to go to the Oligarchy to get permission for it to happen, otherwise they\'ll just kill you and punish your sire.  As to whether someone there would do it or not," he said, sounding a little more thoughtful - as if he was actually considering it a viable option, "you\'d be taking your chances.  Not every vampire wants a fledgling, it\'s a big responsibility - and you don\'t want one that doesn\'t view it like that, either."

Part of him couldn\'t quite believe he was talking so rationally with her about this.  He didn\'t want her to die, he didn\'t want her to change.  But then again, connected to that sentiment was a small, selfish kernel of frustration that couldn\'t believe she would continue to pursue him to these extremes.  He\'d told her that he loved her but she seemed determined to make more if it than it was, possibly forcing him into one day soon stating blatantly that she needed to back off.  He\'d chosen Ben; she was only making it awkward for everyone concerned by taking his words of kindness as signals that he actually might choose her instead, if given the right prompts and enough time.

As far as that went, given enough time he could choose a hundred different people to care about and be with once he and Ben broke up, but he didn\'t anticipate that happening any time soon.  Mandy seemed to want results and a regression back to the relationship they\'d had a year ago immediately, when he recognised it was impossible.  He\'d turned away from her... he\'d never lied about his feelings but she didn\'t seem to want to acknowledge the fact that they didn\'t compare to those he harboured for Ben.  Frankly, that same nasty, selfish part was holding on to the fact that she would one day suffer a mortal death and it would be a convenient scapegoat for him; he could keep the peace and love her as a friend for another eighty years or so, and then he\'d never have to virtually tear her heart out and stomp on it.  It was very confusing and irritating that she would opt to eliminate that excuse for him.

At this stage however, this kernel of resentment was little more than a frisson of feeling that didn\'t even become conscious thought, it was just something that moved through the background of his being, while his greater awareness was focussed on finding a way to react to her that wouldn\'t be amazingly aggressive, offensive or disheartening (considering what a delicate state she was already in and the fact that he didn\'t wish to see her cry any more tonight because it hurt him too much).

"I... really don\'t know... what to say about... that idea, though," he eventually admitted, his face clearly showing the conflict he was experiencing.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Mandy on October 20, 2007, 03:56:41 AM
She hadn`t expected him to say anything of course. Everything was quite impromptu as it was, though the more they spoke - the more Mandy found herself warming up to the idea.

 Even if what Kerr said about Ben were true (that it was unlikely his fledgling would ever let her become a part of their relationship), she was far too stuborn to just give up.  But the mortal heart was a fragile thing. Perhaps she would need the whole of eternity to overcome her feelings for him? To find someone who was capable of loving her the way she deserved, not just out of pity or guilt. Either way, there could be no denying the renewed sense of hope she suddenly felt… one that had not existed prior to entering Kerr`s flat.  Mandy`s options were undeniably clear...

Live out the remainder of her mortal lifetime - loving someone who would never return her affections in kind or... adopt an immortal existence whereby she would either win the man she longed for with the passage of time, or overcome her infatuation for him and move on - finding someone new.

 The latter certainly appeared the more appealing alternative.

“You don`t have to say anything.” She said after a moment, her mind sorting through all that needed to be done in order to set this spontaneous plan into motion. Sawyl and his mothers…. surly they would help her make the change? “I love you.” She repeated as an afterthought, leaning forward in Kerr`s arms to press a chaste kiss to his lips, “Thank-you for helping me decide.”
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Existentially Odd on October 20, 2007, 12:39:24 PM
"Decide?" he cried in startlement (once his lips were no longer preoccupied by how warm and soft hers had been, pressed to them).  "I helped you decide to go ahead with it?  Right now?" he asked in a somewhat strangled tone, his voice high from the constriction in his throat.

"Mandy, you can\'t go and change yourself so radically for me," he implored her, giving in to his egotistical musings at last.  Part of him wanted her to argue that he was completely wrong if he thought it was all about him; part of him wanted her to concede and agree it was a crazy idea, so she\'d give up on it.

None of him wanted to think about her going to Sawyl and getting him to sire her.  His sire and his fledglings... it was definitely the closest she\'d get to him.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Mandy on October 20, 2007, 12:50:01 PM
She said nothing in return, but simply slid from atop Kerr`s lap (to the cushion at his side) and folded her hands primly atop her knees.

Mandy didn`t want to distress Ben when finally he paved his return and it was likely (by Kerr`s previous words) that finding her curled up within his arms, was certain to cause conflict. Why burn bridges the female had yet to cross? She wanted to form a good relationship with the fledgling, so as not to rule out the possibility of joining them in the future (the much more distant future, of course). It would be rather hard to win Ben`s approval if he thought she was attempting to seduce Kerr right there in front of him.

Forcing a strained smile, she attempted to change the focus of their conversation one more time - hoping to calm Kerr`s nerves before his immortal partner returned to the flat. “I think I should have brought my violin tonight,” She commented (in an off-hand way), giving a slight laugh, “I`ve been meaning to show you what I`ve learned. Ichabod seemed rather impressed – not that I`m bragging.”
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Existentially Odd on October 20, 2007, 01:09:06 PM
Kerr merely stared at her, curling his right leg back so that she had the room she needed to sit close to him and not all the way at the other end of the couch, taking her change of proximity as his cue to sit up and shuffle his ass back into the corner a little more, too.  His right knee was pressed against her thigh, resting on the seat bottom as it was, his hands now dropped listlessly into his lap as he gazed at her.

She obviously wished to change the subject, even though he had so much to say to her about it.  Had she considered that she\'d never be able to work through the day again?  That might even see her lose her job, as far as he knew.  Had she processed that she\'d never see daylight or visit people she liked or used to work with in normal hours?  That she would likely have to change her apartment or at least alter it permanently if she wanted to avoid sunlight - and that could prove expensive?  And what about Ichabod?

Of course, if she went ahead with asking Sawyl to sire her, she\'d likely move into the mansion.  She might even have Kerr\'s old room, and of course the whole place was sun-proofed upstairs (though he\'d never boarded up his windows like the others did, he just relied on heavy tinting and thick, double layers of curtaining).  He supposed that that would mean Sawyl and the twins would support her - which meant him, given that he controlled all the funds and they\'d always been his from the beginning anyway - and so she would feel she wouldn\'t have to work.  Fuckit.

"Do me a favour?" he asked, completely ignoring her inane comment about the violin (which he interpreted as her way of just changing the subject and something he would speak about in a moment).  He was frowning at her, looking deeply concerned.  "Don\'t do anything... about this... until I get back from Europe?  Promise me you\'ll take some time to think every aspect of it through and that you\'ll wait for me to get back?"
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Mandy on October 20, 2007, 01:19:51 PM
Mandy faltered - thrown by the nature of Kerr`s unexpected request. Not only was it unforeseen, but utterly unfair. How could he ask her to wait? He hadn`t waited for her.

“I can`t,” She whispered, looking down into the space between her hands and her thighs, “You don`t know how long you`ll be gone, and I…”

I don`t know how long I can wait.

Every minute Mandy hesitated on this transition, her body grew just a little bit older. Lost just that much more youth and vitality that could eternally become hers. And being as Kerr could supply her with no definite timeframe for his absence, it would be unreasonable of him to request such a thing. Besides, she got the distinct impression that he asked only out of his own guilty resolve, not any real feeling or concern for her.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Existentially Odd on October 20, 2007, 01:31:46 PM
"It\'s likely to be a couple of weeks!" he exploded, aghast that she wouldn\'t listen to reason and that she likely wouldn\'t wait for them to come back.  They could return and find her a vampire, for fuck\'s sake!

"It\'s not like we\'re going over there for six months!  Nor are you in any desperate rush, beyond the fact that you\'ve thought it might not be a bad idea, tonight I somehow convinced you it was a great one, and now you\'ve decided you have to hurry out and get it done!  Have you even thought everything through?" he pressed, lowering his voice and looking earnestly at her.

"Have you thought about what you\'ll do about your work, about what will happen to Ichabod, about where you\'ll live?  Have you even considered how hard it will be to walk back into that bloody building to ask for permission to be sired, after what happened the last time you were there?" he almost pleaded, firing the questions that had immediately occurred to him rapidly at her, to make her see how doing everything quickly was a mistake and that taking a little time surely couldn\'t hurt.

"At the very least, I want to be around when it happens - if it happens!"
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Mandy on October 20, 2007, 01:45:51 PM
Why?” She shot back, her eyes focusing on his with unrelenting intensity, “Why should you care? You have Ben - you have the one you love. I`m just an ineffectual mortal! Some foolish thing that’s fallen in love with you and never stood a chance. It doesn`t even matter that I was beat for you, or devoted every shred of my affection to you. That I loved you regardless of what you were!”

Mandy looked away with frustration, refusing to cry in front of him now that she`d somehow decided her own fate. She was an adult – a \'big girl\'. She had to be tough, if only for herself.

“I don`t care anymore. Life is worthless if it is without you. I might as well be dead. Perhaps an afterlife will hold better results?” She clutched her fists, finding Kerr`s gaze once more, “Who cares about my job? About a place to live? I`m sure I`ll manage something – Sawyl would likely ask me to stay. He needs help, after all. And Ichabod… he`d probably be the only mortal who would understand and accept me for what I`d become.”

The words came pouring out like so much water from a broken dam, any attempt she`d made at curbing her emotions, effectively lost in Kerr`s unnecessary outburst. “As for the Oligarchy… if they kill me when I go – then fine. If they grant me permission - even better. I don`t care anymore, Kerr. Life isn`t worth living without you in it.”
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Existentially Odd on October 20, 2007, 02:15:26 PM
Arguments against her words flew through his head as she shot back her retorts but she was as quick as he\'d been and he didn\'t get a chance to voice anything at the right time.  His mouth opened and closed and he uttered a few bits of noise as he tried but he obediently fell quiet as she launched into her next point.  At the end of it, he was left flabbergasted to the point that he still couldn\'t immediately say anything.

"You know you\'re not a meaningless mortal to me," he eventually said, frowning darkly but his voice greatly subdued.  "I do love you and I want what\'s best for you.  We both know that you not being in love with me would be that - yes, because I fell in love with Ben, not you - but... if you really think that you can\'t change your feelings and if you really think your life will be better if you\'re undead... even if I can\'t see how... it\'s... your decision, I suppose," he admitted resignedly.

Impulsively, he sat forward on the couch and then swivelled so that his left shoulder was towards her (it was an awkward position, but not one he intended to hold for long). He lifted the small sleeve  of his T-shirt and exposed his whole arm, to show her her named tattooed into one of the knots on his arm.  It was only a few inches long and curled like a rainbow inside the knot (at the top) but it stood out.

"I got this for you last night, in fact," he told her sombrely.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Mandy on October 20, 2007, 02:24:48 PM
If he was trying to deter her from her decision, he was failing miserably. The only thing his reveal of the tattoo managed to accomplish, was solidifying her determination to change. It showed that he cared about her enough to imprint something decidedly her upon his body.

All was not lost.

“You did that… for me?” Mandy asked breathlessly, leaning forward into Kerr`s lap to examine the delicate winding. She placed her right hand on his thigh as she inclined, using her left to reach out and trace the name imbedded on his pale flesh. It was an utterly touching gesture – making her wish that she could get one with Kerr`s name pror to her impending change.

“It`s beautiful…”
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Existentially Odd on October 20, 2007, 02:34:17 PM
He smiled, happier with her reaction than he had been with Ben\'s, overall.  "I\'m glad you think so," he told her softly, leaning forward impulsively to press a kiss to her cheek, because it was the closest thing to him in her current position.  "There\'s a tattoo parlour in the city that does supernatural tattoos with... I don\'t know, some sort of magic, the tattooist said.  She was an amazing woman.  But the tattoos will stay until the magic is broken, so they\'re there forever and my system\'s not able to repair them.  I got some others, too," he admitted.

He wasn\'t sure if he wanted to show her the rest, considering how badly Ben had taken them all.  He rather liked the fact that she was impressed and happy with what she saw now, and didn\'t want to spoil the mood.  "I got your name on my left side because that\'s the side memories are stored on, I believe, and we have a lot of memories together.  I made it blend in with my old tattoos to signify that you\'re a part of me.  It does matter to me, the way that you were punished for me," he whispered, looking intently at her.

That comment had slipped in with the rest of her backlash, but it had had a great deal of impact on him.  He hated the way she still bore scars for him - and eternally would, it seemed.  He\'d never get over that guilt.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Mandy on October 20, 2007, 02:43:44 PM

Mere words would never convey how deeply touched she was by the thought he`d put into the simple addition of her name. And this, to his most beautiful piece of body art to date. It was as though her name had always been there – blended perfectly with the knots and ropes of his Celtic creation. Beautiful hardly did it justice...

And before Mandy registered what was happening - she`d closed the space between them... leaning into a kiss.

 If Kerr pushed her away, she would understand, but Mandy could resist the temptation no more. He`d kissed Ichbaod, after all. If he cared for her so much, surely she deserved a kiss of her own... no matter how brief.

Prepared to be thrust aside at any given moment, the female braced herself tight - willing her tongue to slip tentatively from her mouth and run along the vampires supple, upper lip. All the while, her mind uttered sublte words of love and apology, aching to feel him reciprocate her affections - if only this last time…

At least before she died.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Existentially Odd on October 20, 2007, 03:04:30 PM
He tensed initially, when she kissed him, but her mental projections, her warmth, her gentle tongue caresses... she overwhelmed him soon after and he couldn\'t fight her off.  He struggled to keep his wits about him, his hands came up to hold her upper arms as he turned into a more comfortable position facing her.  He was very deliberate about keeping his tongue to himself, but he did allow his lips a fair amount of mobility, opening them slightly to enclose her tongue and slide gently against her warm, moist lips, his head dipping slightly with his movements.

He was conflicted by his own response, knowing he shouldn\'t but compelled by her yearning to comply at least this much.  He didn\'t know how long it last, his head twisted a few times to better feel her mouth, but when her tongue made it inside and touched his ever so slightly, he pulled back instantly, unwilling to deepen the kiss (even if part of him was raging for that to happen).

"I can\'t," he told her softly, watching her with a gentle frown and a conflicted expression.  But it was more than that, and he needed to elaborate.  "I don\'t want to," he admitted, for that was the greater of all his feelings.  That little niggling part of him was small by comparison to the rest of his heart, which was devoted to Ben.  The desire to be with Mandy was easily quelled when Kerr considered what it meant to be with Ben and how far they\'d come together.  He wasn\'t about to throw that away.

"You... understand... right?" he asked, feeling awkward now, and hoping she didn\'t get upset again.  The roller coaster of emotion she\'d had him riding was beginning to tire him beyond endurance; she was certainly not what he was used to, though his thoughts on this were wry and indulgent.  If their circumstances were different, he knew they wouldn\'t be experiencing these highs and lows and he would be able to enjoy her company completely, but as it was... the two of them seemed best in small doses.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Mandy on October 20, 2007, 03:19:56 PM
Surprisingly, Mandy met Kerr`s abrupt halt with a gentle smile and a silent nod, pulling free from his body to sit very lady like at his side once more.

She recognized that he`d permitted her at least a partial kiss (even if it would not be an all out, ‘French’), and despite his insistence that he didn`t want it, Mandy couldn`t help but wonder if he was trying to convince himself more than her. Which was also very reassuring. It was possible that this may all work itself out. If she became a vampire, the three of them – someday – could eventually be together. Delusional as that may or may not be.

It was a prospect worth waiting for however - that much was for certain.

“What time are you leaving tomorrow?” She asked without warning, aware that their conversation had become jagged with constant twists and turns (but now happy with the overall feel), “If I bring you a disposable camera, will you take pictures of the odd building and European art for me? Anything you and Ben find of interest would be fine.”

Her hand reached out for Kerr`s - holding it in a friendly (rather than romantic) manner, “Would you still like for me to apartment-sit for you?”
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Existentially Odd on October 20, 2007, 03:37:31 PM
Pleased that she wasn\'t upset at all - though somewhat miffed why she wasn\'t, at the same time - Kerr sat himself more squarely on the couch once more.  He wasn\'t as close to the corner, he was sitting flush up against her, in fact, holding her hand in his and resting the entwined pair on his denim-clad thigh.  He took a moment to switch his thinking back to this latest topic, before responding.

"I don\'t mind if you do or not - I only have one plant that needs looking after," he told her ruefully, his eyes flicking towards the kitchen where the plant Ben had given him as a housewarming present was flourishing.  He didn\'t turn and look at it, it was more of a reference glance than anything else.  "But I was thinking that if you wanted some space from Ichabod, it would be a convenient excuse for you to come here and stay a few nights.  You can even bring Artemis if you like, it\'s all up to you."

Of course, if her earlier conversation were to be considered, she\'d be changed into a vampire and living with Sawyl by the time he and Ben got back - something he truly couldn\'t process just yet and so he pushed it aside.  "Apart from developing a crush on you and wanting to see what it\'s like sleeping with a woman, is he doing anything else annoying?" Kerr prompted, grinning cheekily as he made light of Ichabod\'s behaviour.  Mandy possibly wouldn\'t appreciate it, but he hoped she\'d take it in the manner the joke was intended.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Mandy on October 20, 2007, 03:47:33 PM
You have a plant?” She gasped, the disbelief obvious in her voice as she peered in the direction Kerr had motioned, “I didn`t expect a vampire to keep something that prospers in the light.”

It was her own, unique attempt at a joke, complimented nicely by Kerr`s effort with Ichabod. There`d be no sense in souring the mood any longer, not now that her mind was made up. Might as well enjoy Kerr`s company for all that it was until Ben came back, at which point she would relish in his as well.

You could attract more flies with honey, after all… not that she thought of Kerr nor Ben as flies…

“He buggers off a lot – usually after I`ve lectured him on his behavior.” Mandy explained, tapping their clasped hands playfully atop Kerr`s leg, “I know that boys mature a little slower then girls, but sometimes, I think he likes to take that to an entirely different level.” She straightened, reminded of his most recent conduct, "Actually, he`s been acting a little strange since last night. After I fell asleep, he took off - again. But when he returned, I could see that something was wrong... and he wouldn`t tell me what. Said that he wished he could share it with me, but couldn`t. Odd, no?"
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Existentially Odd on October 21, 2007, 03:07:16 AM
Kerr pulled a face, trying to fathom why such a thing would be said - and unable to.

"Yes, that is odd.  I suppose that means he was out on the town getting himself into more trouble, though, and feels he can\'t say anything because you\'ll criticise his behaviour again.  Hopefully there were no hunters involved this time," he said with a pointed look, his sternness directed at entirely the wrong person but he knew Mandy would understand where he was coming from and it was for her benefit.

"I have to agree with you on his maturity front; he does seem to find new levels of avoidance when it comes to growing up.  Ichabod\'s very self-oriented all round, I\'ve realised.  Thankfully, he\'s innocent and loving enough that there\'s still a great amount of charm about him, too," he finished, smiling fondly at her as he thought of his \'pet\' and gave an indulgent shake of his head.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Mandy on October 21, 2007, 12:02:53 PM
On this position, Mandy had no choice but to agree. It was those qualities (and a dozen more like them) which made it possible to enjoy Ichabod`s company, even when he was being difficult. She loved him despite his obvious downfalls…

What were best friends for?

“Well, whatever it is, I hope it`s nothing too serious.” She commented, staring out the window adjacent them (still trying to figure out what the big secret could be), “At first, I thought he might have gone to Risk to be fed from – he looked very tired and pale when I got up… but who knows?” She shrugged, issuing an unfathomable sigh and glanced back at Kerr, “I`m probably just over-reacting though.” Only time would tell.

"Do you think Ben will be back soon?"
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Trillian on October 21, 2007, 03:38:14 PM
Continued from Unknown Motivation (

The rain was heaviest after Ben got into the cab, and though he was a little bit wet from running down the block away from the apartments, he was drying fairly well by the time they rounded the last corner.

There was nothing to see outside the windows, just blur as streams of water attacked the metal hollow of the cab and gave Ben many tones of drumming sounds to listen to.  He was still and quiet until an idea struck him with such velocity that he shouted out in a manner that startled the driver enough for him to brake quite hard.

"Let me out here!" he yelled, thinking that he didn\'t want to be delivered to the front door of Capital Building in a cab.  It wasn\'t that Kerr would see him, or know it, it was

something else entirely.

"There\'s not too much traffic," the cabbie said, thinking that his guest was trying to jump the fare.  "It\'s just there," he said, pointing out the windscreen through the squeaking wipers at the outline of a building that had the obvious shape of Capital Building, where Ben lived.

"I won\'t be able to pay the rest of the fare," Ben lied, pointing at the twenty-two dollar charge that was ticking its way to twenty-three.  "I don\'t have that many coins in my pocket."

At the risk of being shortchanged, the cabbie pulled over and Ben gave him exactly twenty-two dollars, even though there were some cents, apologised and hopped out of the cab into the chill night air, almost instantly drenched because the cab had pulled over immediately instead of moving up ten more feet to where a shop awning would\'ve provided Ben some cover.

Not that he wanted it.  The rain was refreshing, cleansing.  It soaked up his troubles and problems and seemed to dilute them, taking them off his body and clothing and washing them down the drain, which could\'ve been a rapid river depending on whether you were a vampire fledgling or a tin soldier.

He walked the rest of the way and earned himself a mixture of looks upon entering the apartment building, some of them pity, others were offended that he would wet the floor, and he even received some rippling thoughts as they came to the tips of strangers tongues.  Someone asked him if it was wet enough out there, which he thankful to have elevator doors cut off his reply, which wouldn\'t have been polite, though he was feeling pretty good.

The top floor dinged and Ben squelched his way across the carpeted hall to Kerr\'s door, letting himself in to greet Kerr and Mandy in his state.

"I got caught," he said with a bashful smile, and put a vice-like block on his thoughts and memories after that, because swimming underneath the surface was a desire not to get caught, to clean off smells of blood and familiar mortals with a hefty showering of rain.

He missed the fact Kerr and Mandy looked cosy yet strained on the sofa together.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Existentially Odd on October 21, 2007, 05:15:02 PM
Kerr quirked an eyebrow at Mandy - as if to ask her if she was able to summon Ben by simply asking such a question and if she had some sort of magical ability in that area - then turned to look over his shoulder at his lover.  He smiled indulgently at Ben\'s state of saturation, looking the teenager up and down appreciatively.  He did admire how well wet fabric clung to the blonde\'s body.

"I gather the neighbourhood had a little more to say than good-bye, then?" he asked, bemused as he referred to Ben\'s earlier statement that he\'d walk around and farewell the area before he started sticking to Kerr like glue.  "I suppose you\'d better go and get into something a little more dry before you join us, or you\'ll be leaving puddles."

He looked into Ben\'s eyes, his smile softening.  He was immeasurably glad that he was home, all of a sudden; likely because of the turbulent conversation Mandy had been instigating.

It was difficult for him to consider her becoming undead, especially when they were sitting so close that her warmth seemed to radiate all over him.  Her hand was still clasped in his, upon his thigh, though Ben wouldn\'t see that until he came to either sit beside Mandy (there was plenty of room there), squeeze in beside Kerr (he\'d likely have to sit half on the chair arm and on one knee and drape himself around Kerr) or position himself in the armchair or the couch opposite.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Trillian on October 21, 2007, 05:22:21 PM
"Hi Mandy," Ben greeted belatedly as he nodded at Kerr\'s question and suggestion.  "I\'ll be back in a moment," he said, though it would take him decidedly longer than a moment to strip off wet clothes.  He jumped under the spray of the shower for a couple of minutes as well, if only to warm himself up - not that he felt the cold, but he didn\'t like thinking about how cold his skin would be if he touched Mandy or hugged her.

He dressed in underwear, shorts and a t-shirt, none of which matched but it was just a grab and dash as he entered back into the lounge and approached the sofa where Kerr and Mandy sat, now regarding them and their positioning to one another.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Mandy on October 21, 2007, 05:45:12 PM
She managed to offer Ben a cheerful \'Hello\' before he utilized Kerr`s suggestion and disappeared from immediate view; returning several moments later (apparently showered and in a drier set of clothes), though not before Mandy had an opportunity to reclaim her drawing from the coffee table nestled near her knees.  

"You should probably turn that over or pick it up so he doesn\'t see it when he walks out, and spoils your presentation," Kerr explained, when his fledgling exited the room.

It was definitely a valid idea.

Observing his well-intended advice, Mandy gathered the 11X14 page (facedown) atop her lap - waiting out the remainder of Ben`s absence in virtual silence. Of course, this process required her to release her immortal hosts hand, but perhaps for now, that change would be for the best. At least until she and Ben could secure a slightly stronger affiliation with one another. Speaking of which...

 She perked up (hearing him reenter the room) and waited to see where he would eventually come to sit. If left to her devices, she fully intended on embracing him in a customary show of affection.

“Did you order the weather then?” She asked playfully, watching the blonde as he finally appeared in her line of sight.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Trillian on October 21, 2007, 06:09:08 PM
Ben gave her the beginning of a smile at her words but it didn\'t reach its full potential, nor did it touch his eyes as his stare drifted down to the drawing upon her lap.  He couldn\'t see what it was, couldn\'t even guess what it could be (though in hindsight he thought he should\'ve known), but he picked up on her body language that it was important.  Curiosity overran any friendliness that might\'ve shown, not because he was withholding himself from her, but because he was withholding himself at all.

"Something like that," he said, a piece of nothingness offered up in order to comment back to her, to not be rude and silent in the face of her humour.  He liked that she was warm to him, that there was something they could connect with.  He didn\'t want to alienate himself from everything Kerr held dear - and she was one of them.

She looked like she was about to bounce up and greet him (maybe hug him?) but he\'d already walked up and sat before she had the opportunity to do anything but shift.  It was the second after he was sitting down on the cushion of the armchair opposite her that he realised how effectively he\'d cut her off, and it would be weird to stand up again just to embrace her.  Perhaps it would be awkward to.

He didn\'t look over at Kerr even though he wanted to, for various reasons - most of which were about not being impolite to Mandy when greeting her.  He shuffled on the chair to get comfortable and his gaze dropped to the item in her lap once more before he picked it up.

"Writing letters?" he asked, and really, he\'d kick himself later for being so dense.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Mandy on October 21, 2007, 06:24:10 PM
Mandy blinked for a moment as Ben settled down upon the armchair across from her; her plans to hug the blonde, effectively defeated by not only distance, but the table now resting between them. In fact, so unprepared for the likelihood of this scenario had she been, that it took her several seconds (staring blankly ahead) before she registered his question and followed the focus of his reflective gaze.

Letters? Oh, he meant the paper in her lap. She shook her head.

“Actually, this is for you.” She revealed, her voice sounding a little more routed than what had been originally intended. But there was nothing she could do about that now.

Mandy was as transparent as the breeze.

Following the natural flow her statement supplied, she leaned forward on the sofa and held out the drawing for Ben to take – her left arm stretching the expanse of the coffee table while the right used the furnishing for support.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Trillian on October 21, 2007, 09:24:51 PM
Because she didn\'t flip it over when she held it out, Ben could only see the back, but now that it was stretched out to him, he could see it was thicker than letter paper and he made the connection that it was drawing paper.

Of course, he made a soft sound at his own stupidity, and offered her a half-smile of appreciation, touched that she would draw something for him.  It was unexpected.  When he took the paper he hesitated for a moment before flipping it over and revealing the subject.

It was a scene that initially slapped him with shock.  He blinked down at it, feeling a chill travel his spine, tingling his fingers.  Mandy had captured the moment perfectly, when Ben had held her hand beneath the table, out of sight except for the viewer of this piece.  That was her connection to him, the moment they\'d found union when facing a mutual enemy.

It was hard to say how he felt, because he didn\'t know yet.

"Mandy, this is..." he struggled for an appropriate word, "stunning."

Well, he was stunned.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Existentially Odd on October 21, 2007, 09:38:47 PM
Kerr beamed, pleased that Ben was as impressed with her work as he was - and also proud that he had the ability to understand the gesture for what it was.  The scene wasn\'t exactly the best memory in their lives as far as the content of the trial went, but it was an important moment in the existence of their trio.

"It is, isn\'t it?" Kerr enthused, unable to hold himself back from commenting - even though it was Mandy\'s place to accept her compliment, really.  He cast her an apologetic look while he brought his own gift from where it rested behind him, across the room.  They\'d left it leaning against the kitchen bench\'s base when they went to sit down, Ben obviously hadn\'t looked at it when he walked in the door.

Kerr caught the painting neatly as it hurdled the couch and appeared to leap into his hands.  He held it so that it was facing him and rested upon his knees, not so impolite that he would completely cut Mandy off but eager to show Ben his present as well.  His gaze shifted between his two companions while he awaited his chance - a small smile on his lips that showed he thought nothing of paintings flying across a room and into someone\'s grasp.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Mandy on October 21, 2007, 11:03:58 PM
She was pleased with Ben`s reaction – her talent with art the one real facet Mandy took pride in above all else. She enjoyed watching peoples expressions change as they viewed her work… as they often saw themselves (or something they could relate to) captured in perfect detail on canvas or paper.

It was even more rewarding than receiving a gift herself.

“I`m glad you like it,” She said quietly, second-guessing the comment as he hadn`t actually stated he liked it. “I hope you don`t mind that I drew you. Some people are particular about that sort of thing. If there’s anything you would like changed, I can do it without a problem.” She`d never had anyone ask her to modify something she`d drawn, not yet. But if it would make Ben`s appreciation of the piece more absolute (and seeing as she`d captured his image without permission), well, Mandy was willing to entertain a ‘first’.

Unfortunatly, she would not be permitted to linger on this possibility long.

She found herself fill with an overwhelming level of dread as Kerr produced the painting she`d created for him, a realization that may have become apparent by the change in her carriage. That (or if one was receptive enough), her change in mood.

It had always been Mandy`s intention to give Kerr his painting first – in the presence of both he and Ben – then offer the fledgling his drawing. She`d wanted it this way, in hopes of softening any jealousy or resentment Ben may develop toward her at the content of Kerr`s piece. Letting the blonde view his sire`s gift last however, well, it may not only sour him toward her for the remainder of their visit, but take away from the importance of his own sketch as well.

Needless to say, Mandy was not looking forward to his reaction.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Trillian on October 22, 2007, 07:07:02 AM
Ben tilted his head slightly as Mandy offered to change her artwork for him.  Not that he was an expert or anything, but Ben was pretty sure that art was art and the viewer shouldn\'t be the one deciding to change it.

"There\'s nothing to change," he told her, thinking her offer was a rather unusual request, but what would he know what usual was when he\'d never been given something like this before.  Had he even thanked her yet?

"Thank you," he blurted, feeling a little inadequate now.  First he\'d come in and hadn\'t said hello to her first up in order to describe his getting caught in the rain, and now he hadn\'t thanked her immediately after receiving his gift.  He was feeling a bit surreal anyway, and wondered if it was obvious to the both of them.

Be calm, he told himself.  There was no point acting a bit off today - except Kerr might think it was Mandy\'s presence making Ben squirmy.  He settled in the armchair and gripped the arms of it so that he wouldn\'t fidget, while the drawing was in his lap and could be glanced down at.

The canvas caught his attention and he looked at it with interest as Kerr presented it to him.  For someone that didn\'t need to breathe, his breath caught quite solidly in his throat as he stared at it, eyebrows raising ever so slightly as he looked it over.  He didn\'t say anything for a long moment before his gaze shifted to Mandy and he managed to say quite smoothly: "You\'re quite talented."

He was glad that she\'d only painted the busts of that piece, and hadn\'t gone beyond the implication to outright paint her and Kerr naked in bed (artistically, of course), but still, his stomach clenched but the rest of his body language remained relaxed, hiding his surprise quite well.

"You capture intimacy well," he said after another moment, in spite of his telling himself not to elaborate further.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Existentially Odd on October 22, 2007, 07:29:47 AM
"She does, she\'s very talented," Kerr enthused, sliding forward in his seat to use very mundane means of moving his painting now - he placed it on the coffee table, expecting that Ben might put his picture on top but not saying as much.

He couldn\'t signal this subtly, however, for he was aware that Ben wasn\'t making eye contact with him and hadn\'t since he walked in the door sopping (not even then, truth be told, despite his warm welcome).  Kerr wasn\'t sure what he\'d done, exactly, but he was struggling with not becoming upset by the fact that his love\'s unusual gaze kept... sliding off him like so much butter in a hot pan.  It obviously had to do with Mandy\'s presence and the subject of her painting, so he couldn\'t talk about it now.  Ben was speaking nicely enough with Mandy herself, what did it matter if he wasn\'t even looked at?

"I forgot to tell you that I have a picture that Mandy\'s already drawn for me away getting properly framed," Kerr continued, returning smoothly to his seat, Mandy pressed against his right side once more.  He clasped his own hands in the gap between his thighs this time, rather than reclaiming hers.  "We\'ll have to get these done as well, though at a different place to the first lot I chose, they\'re taking ages!"  His every word had been delivered watching Ben, looking for a response or a glance in his direction, but now he addressed Mandy.

"Perhaps that\'s something you can do while we\'re away - though it hardly rates as a good excuse to get away from Ichabod, it\'s something," Kerr chuckled as he smiled down at her.  "You could hassle the framing place and go and visit them in the daytime, maybe that\'s why I haven\'t had much response from them, because I contact them at closing time or something.  Either way, the place\'s details are on the kitchen bench, beside the phone, because I have tried calling," he explained, sounding slightly frustrated with the situation.  Thinking about how much longer she\'d be able to walk around in the daytime - if she went ahead with her plan - hurt his heart however, so he quickly turned to look back at Ben.

"I asked Mandy if she wanted to have my key to here while we were away, in order to get some space from Ichabod," Kerr told his lover, lifting his hand in a gesture that swept from Mandy to Ben, as if he was trying to connect the points in conversation for the fledgling.  "But looking after one plant isn\'t much of an excuse to house-sit, so I\'m trying to think of something more," he smiled, unsure who would speak next (though his gaze lingered hopefully on Ben).
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Mandy on October 22, 2007, 07:38:26 AM
“I already told you that I`d stay." Mandy said with a teasing frown, glancing from Kerr to Ben (relieved that the blonde hadn`t seemed overly upset over the focus of the painting).

If he was, he hid it well.

 “But I would be happy to get these matted and framed for you - in addition to expediting the others, while you`re gone. I actually know a guy downtown that does wonderful work. Just let me know if you have any color preferences, and he can do the rest.” As an afterthought, she wanted to accept Ben`s previous thanks for the sketch... though it seemed a little late in the game to say so now. In a three-way conversation, one had to be quick on their feet, or loose the opportunity to respond at all.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Trillian on October 22, 2007, 07:43:34 AM
Ben was thoughtful, his gaze moving to Kerr as he mentioned that there were paintings already out for framing (and he wondered what they looked like), before he glanced back at Mandy and gave another polite smile.  At the mention of Ichabod\'s name Kerr caught his attention and he stared at his sire, somewhat confused by the relevance of the comment.  When something similar about \'getting away from Ichabod\' was mentioned, he blinked and considered prompting for more information, but wasn\'t sure how that would look.  By the time Mandy spoke, his curiosity got the better of him and he addressed her.

"Why are you getting space from Ichabod?  I thought you two were friends?"

Friends enough for her to let the teenager live with her.  Why would you invite someone into your home and then go out to avoid them?
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Mandy on October 22, 2007, 07:48:44 AM
It was the obvious question to ask (as Kerr hadn`t exactly elaborated on the matter) but strangely enough, Mandy felt no embarrassment or reserve about sharing her reasons. She was becoming rather fond of Ben, despite the fact that he already possessed the thing she wanted most. It only seemed fitting to share her woes with him as well as her triumphs.

Friends did that sort of thing, afterall.  

“He`s developed something of a crush on me,” She explained, her face flushing faintly at the implication (hands fidgeting in her lap), “It`s become a little… awkward between us because of it.”
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Trillian on October 22, 2007, 07:55:07 AM
Her admission grated Ben in a way he hadn\'t expected.  A crush on her?  A crush on her?  What had she done with Ichabod to make the teenager swap his sexuality?  It wasn\'t a long moment for him to reach the same conclusion that Kerr had, to think that Ichabod must\'ve been bisexual.  Mandy had obviously won Ichabod over with kindness and warmth, and upon thinking that it was attention that was unwanted, he began to loosen up on his initial tense reaction of gripping the armchair arms just a little too tightly, and actually chuckled in a way that sounded easy and calm.

"He\'ll have anyone that pays him attention," he said, not unkindly but certainly not in the most friendly manner either.  His tone was true of Ichabod, and he wanted to prove that the sentence was as well.  In fact, Mandy\'s desire to stay away from Ichabod made sure that the teenager wouldn\'t go blabbing around and giving everyone Ben cared about the wrong impression.  His perspective would be skewed, and Ben didn\'t want to be the bad guy.  It was merely circumstantial, how he viewed the relationship between himself and the mortal.  Their destinies had been tied together a long time before Ben had stumbled across him in the alley the other night.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Mandy on October 22, 2007, 08:02:37 AM
Mandy frowned at Ben`s comment, taking it a little more personally than what he may have originally intended. Saying it like that, made it seem as though Ichabod had no perceptible reason to develop feelings for the female – that she wasn`t pretty, nor funny or kind enough to warrant his sway of affections. She wasn’t worthy.

What a disappointing thing for Ben to imply, and this after she`d brought him a gift that signified their special bond together, and had been nothing but pleasant with him thus far...

“Well… I suppose.” She answered softly, diverting her hazel brown eyes back toward the floor.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Trillian on October 22, 2007, 08:15:35 AM

Idiot, you\'re an idiot

With hindsight he saw how his words had hurt her, and she looked very obivously wounded by the phrasing.  Glancing an apology at Kerr, he rapidly amended his response, hoping that his sire would grant him a moment to fix what had been said - though with that small look over at Kerr he\'d seen that he hadn\'t won his approval with that comment either.

Nicely done

"That came out all wrong," he said hurriedly.  "I mean, it seems really quick for him to develop feelings strong enough to make you feel awkward.  He fell for Lazarus, you know?  That\'s what I mean.  You, I can understand because you\'re fun and warm and generous, but his history... that\'s why I said that.  You know.  Not because he fell for you, but... how fast."

Lame.  Lame.  Lame.

"Sorry."  He was fidgeting now, one hand with the corner of the drawing she\'d given him, another sweeping through his hair, before pressing fingers at his nape.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Mandy on October 22, 2007, 08:28:53 AM
Mandy forced a smile - not entirely convinced by Ben`s apology, but appreciative of the effort nevertheless. At least he valued her presence enough to try and smooth things out…

“It`s okay,” She began, her voice warm and reassuring as she spoke, “What you said is probably true.” Probably, because Mandy couldn`t fathom talking down about her best friend, especially with someone she believed him to dislike, “He`s a bit high-strung and emotional… but maybe that’s why we make such good friends? I`ve been accused of being overly-dramatic myself, at times.” She exchanged a glance with Kerr, knowing full well that the vampire would appreciate her remark for all that it was.

If anyone knew of her mood-swings and theatrical nature, it was him.  

“He`s a good kid, just… a little confused. I hope he comes to realize this quickly. I miss the way things used to be…”
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Existentially Odd on October 22, 2007, 12:33:40 PM
Feeling Mandy look at him, Kerr shifted his wide-eyed gaze from Ben at last (he\'d been rather stunned to hear the way he\'d spoken of Ichabod - not to mention the derogatory phrasing) and managed to give her a reassuring smile.  "I hope it all works out as well, and giving you some excuses to be here should help things calm."
Especially if he\'s going back to Risk and generally keeping things from you Kerr added into her mind, not interested in saying it out loud because he didn\'t want to continue the discussion about Ichabod any longer.  Ben was only likely to say something worse if they continued to talk about Kerr\'s previous lover and it would only increase the tension that had sprung up.  He needed to diffuse the situation, not provoke it.  He kept his eyes trained in her direction specifically for that purpose.
"I don\'t believe I answered you before when you asked what time we\'re leaving tomorrow night," he continued brightly, having cast quickly around in his mind for something else to say that wouldn\'t be controversial.  He\'d considered prompting Mandy to tell Ben about her plans to become a vampire but couldn\'t actually decide if she\'d want to or if this was the right moment.  The way she talked, it would have happened by the time they got back from Europe so it certainly should be a discussion for tonight but... perhaps not yet.
"We\'re supposed to take off at ten o\'clock here and should be arriving in Ireland around eight hours after that, I think.  We\'ll likely have to spend the day in the plane, depending on the timing.  My mobile phone is international and I\'ll have it with me, should you need to contact us for anything at all, though.  Anything," he told her meaningfully, giving her a pointed look that, in his opinion, pretty clearly stated he was interested in knowing if she started having second thoughts about dying.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Trillian on October 22, 2007, 01:21:12 PM
The anything caught Ben\'s attention and his brow furrowed as he looked first at Kerr, then glanced at Mandy before directing his attention to the painting that was leaning not-so-innocently in his line of sight.  It seemed to mock him, especially after Kerr\'s prompt that he wished Mandy to call should she wish to check how to turn on a lightswitch.  He was sure that Mandy wouldn\'t do such a thing, but Kerr seemed to invite it.

Jealousy rumbled uncomfortably in his stomach before he turned his head and shifted in his seat, moving the drawing from his lap to the coffee table where he placed a knick-knack on it so it wouldn\'t blow away, and stared out the window at the rain which seemed to be pounding silent turmoil against the soundproof glass.  He could relate.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Mandy on October 22, 2007, 08:01:54 PM
She was relieved that Kerr invited her calls (even after he and Ben had left the country), but Mandy doubted that she`d bother. Unless an emergency arose – there wouldn`t be much need. And perhaps this was a good way of thinking.

Her eyes combed over Ben nervously, his entire demeanor seeming to convey a general unhappiness of the situation at large. Whether it was the painting or now - talk of her staying in their mutual home, she couldn`t pinpoint the cause, but there were several.

Not exactly how she`d planned to win the blonde over.

“Ten  o` clock,” She repeated suddenly, her gaze remaining fixed on Ben, “Well, that’s great! It`ll give me a chance to bring that camera over.” At this she craned her neck around in hopes of grabbing the fledglings attention. She intended the next thing she said to be for him, “It`s only a disposable, but I`d be honored if you would use it to take random pictures of your travels. I`m partial to art, as you already know, so that would always be a wonderful place to start.”

She hoped that her inclusion of Ben would serve to ease his angst, and in a way that was decidedly important to her. Mandy had always wanted to travel.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Existentially Odd on October 22, 2007, 08:55:56 PM
Kerr followed her line of sight and saw Ben staring determinedly out the window, ignoring her - or perhaps simply lost in his own thoughts.  The sire was tempted to steal a peek into his fledgling\'s thoughts, just to see which it might be so that he could smooth things over but... he didn\'t.  It wouldn\'t be right, despite the fact that he disapproved of his love\'s behaviour.

"That\'s fine - although, I do have a digital camera that we\'ll be taking photos with, or we can buy some disposables over there if it\'s too much trouble for you to make the trip tomorrow night," Kerr assured Mandy, thinking that it was incredibly sweet of her to make the gesture of bringing a camera over to lighten the supposed burden of her requesting photos, but it was entirely unnecessary.

He reached over and covered her hand with his, giving it a squeeze as he smiled sweetly at her.  "It won\'t be a problem to get you a whole slew of things at all, I promise.  It\'s just that we\'re not really heading into the great art centres this time, just touring the United Kingdom.  When we do go to Italy, perhaps you could come, and negate the whole risk of us taking shots you don\'t even like," he offered, chuckling good-naturedly and repeating his earlier sentiment, this time for Ben\'s benefit.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Trillian on October 22, 2007, 09:05:39 PM
On the heels of telling her to contact him over anything, the offer to take her overseas with them did more than simply catch Ben\'s attention this time.  He could feel his insides flipping over at the offer and gaped at Kerr for a long moment before he thought to shut his mouth.

Thanks for speaking to me about it first, he thought, but his block was in place and not a lick of that got through.  He wasn\'t about to let it get through, though he suspected Kerr would pick up on the waves of resentment and anger that boiled through him.

Kerr had wanted to be looked at by Ben, and now the fledgling was looking at his sire, in a manner that spoke volumes, even if he said nothing.  Before Mandy could reply he stood up and distracted the pair of them.

"Thanks for coming by, Mandy."

He stared at her for a moment while she figured out that he was summarily dismissing her before excusing himself and disappearing into the bedroom, where he stood and stared at the wall, waiting for Kerr to see her out (however long it took) so they could have their fight after she\'d gone.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Mandy on October 23, 2007, 06:32:18 AM
Her stomach sunk at Ben`s words, effectively tarnishing Kerr`s renewed promise to take her along with them one day, for it was obvious that this was the straw which broke the camels back. Perhaps it would be best if she took this opportunity to leave.

Feeling less than low, she offered Kerr a sidelong glance - projecting feelings of sincerest apology and regret toward him. She hadn`t meant to cause so much animosity there tonight. All she wanted was a place in both their lives. It was what drove her now… what inspired her decision to change. She would do anything for Kerr – for Ben as well (being as he was such an important piece of the man she loved).

Hopefully one day soon, the blonde would come to realize this.

“I`m sorry,” Mandy whispered after a moment - climbing feebly from the sofa to her feet, “I never meant… I only wanted…” She pinched her eyes and retrieved her bag from the floor, “I guess I should head out.”
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Existentially Odd on October 23, 2007, 06:43:22 AM
Kerr emitted a soft, "Fuck," as Ben exited, staring at his lap rather than his lover and knowing that things were about to get decidedly unpleasant.  He turned to watch Mandy get up, automatically rising to his feet to accompany her.

"I\'m sorry," he told her sincerely, embracing her tenderly and speaking against her hair.  "I guess it was just a bit much, a bit soon.  I\'m sure it will get better, though," he assured her, placing a kiss upon her temple before withdrawing and leaving her her own space.

He didn\'t fight her leaving because it was obvious that he had to follow through after Ben - and, frankly, if he stayed to chat with Mandy any longer, it was likely they\'d end up arguing again anyway, given her sudden penchant for becoming undead and his disapproval of the act.  Still, he couldn\'t help but add a final admonishment to that end before she disappeared.

"I\'m glad you came, thank you for the drawings, they\'re beautiful.  Please think about what I said.  This decision you\'re making is not something that can be reversed and I don\'t want you making a terrible mistake that you\'ll regret for... well, forever."  After giving her a sincere look, he stepped away and walked over to the kitchen bench, where his house key was.  They would have Ben\'s to get back in when they returned, he intended to give Mandy his key for the duration of their holiday, so he began working it off his key set.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Mandy on October 23, 2007, 06:56:29 AM
All Mandy could do was quietly nod, words no longer seeming appropriate (given the gravity of the situation). Ben wanted her gone and Kerr wasn`t about to prevent her departure.

Not that she felt welcome enough to stay even if he had.

Is it still all right that I stay? She asked, pressing the question into Kerr`s mind (suddenly uncomfortable that Ben may hear what they were saying). If things did not go as planned with Sawyl, she may need to stay at the flat to get some much needed time away from Ichabod – as it was intended. Mandy held out her hand as the key was deposited into her palm. I`m going to miss you so much. I`m sorry I upset Ben… and for any argument my being here may have caused.

She pocketed the key and stepped forward, lacing her arms about the column of Kerr`s. I love you, her mind whispered emotionally, leaving her free to press an innocent kiss to the vampire’s mouth.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Existentially Odd on October 23, 2007, 06:58:44 AM
He kissed her back gently, hugging her again.  I love you, too.  Be safe and take care until we return - spend as much time here as you want.  I\'ll tell the staff downstairs to expect you.

That said, he pulled away and smiled at her again.  "Do you want me to call you a cab?" he asked, the thought suddenly occurring to him.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Mandy on October 23, 2007, 07:04:03 AM
“No,” She answered with a crooked smile, “I think I`ll walk, actually. I rather enjoy the rain at night… and I have nothing left to worry about getting wet.” Meaning the drawings. "Please tell Ben that I`ll miss him too. I`d really like to spend some time with him when the two of you get back."

With that (satisfied by Kerr`s admission of love and all that they had discussed), Mandy offered her immortal love-interest a final, lingering stare then quietly - let herself out the front door.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Existentially Odd on October 23, 2007, 07:07:58 AM
Kerr closed the door behind her, leaning against it while he locked it, ruminating for a moment and gathering his thoughts.  Once he\'d steeled himself, he turned out lights that having a mortal in the house had necessitated and walked into the bedroom, frowning and gnawing agitatedly on his tongue stud.

Finding Ben standing, he tucked the tips of his fingers into his front jeans pockets and stood facing him as well, watching his fledgling.  "What\'s wrong?" he asked, his tone bland enough, considering how tense he was.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Trillian on October 23, 2007, 07:12:51 AM
Ben found himself staring at Kerr coolly, still able to be angry, not losing the emotion even though he\'d been waiting for a bit while the pair of them said their goodbyes.  There was a strange choking sensation at the base of his throat, as though he hadn\'t swallowed something properly, and spat out his main issue.

"I\'m surprised you didn\'t invite her to join us tomorrow."

Damn, he was sounding like a whinging little kid.  Even though he didn\'t like how it sounded, he felt his argument was just.  It wasn\'t like he was inviting people to interrupt their time together.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Existentially Odd on October 23, 2007, 07:17:33 AM
"It was a vague invitation for some time in the future, when we\'ve done it a couple of times.  Surely you can see that it wouldn\'t have too much impact then?" Kerr argued, his words reasonable but his face still covered by a scowl.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Trillian on October 23, 2007, 07:20:38 AM
"Oh, so you didn\'t say next time, when we go to Italy, she could come," Ben spat back.  He wondered when he\'d be accused of being jealous, or if Kerr would point out that Ben had told him already that he was going to try and be friends with Mandy.  It wasn\'t so much Mandy that bothered him, so far as how Kerr was acting with her.

Like he didn\'t mind how badly she seemed to want him.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Existentially Odd on October 23, 2007, 07:25:53 AM
"Yes, I said that, but I hadn\'t intended on going to Italy when next we travelled, necessarily.  That\'s completely up to you, of course, but I assume now that you know I\'ve issued her an invitation to come to Italy with us, you\'ll likely never visit the bloody country, right?" he spat, growing angry at Ben\'s determination to be contrary.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Trillian on October 23, 2007, 07:32:30 AM
Ben glared at him.

"Correct, because I\'m petty like that."  It was meant to be said in a sarcastic tone, but his snappy one overrode it.

Ben moved away from the centre of the room and sat in the armchair in the corner, still able to see Kerr easily from his new position, slumped.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Existentially Odd on October 23, 2007, 03:11:47 PM
"What is wrong with you?" Kerr demanded, his voice high with exasperation.  He took that last statement sarcastically anyway, believing that Ben wouldn\'t really block Mandy from accompanying them in the future - not once he\'d calmed down, anyway.
He sauntered towards his lover, too restless to sit on the bed, knowing he would likely have to go out soon - but dreading delivering that little nugget of information.  Instead, he stood a metre or so in front of Ben, fingers still in his pockets, right leg thrust towards the blonde as his left supported his weight, a disgusted look on his face.
"She said to tell you she\'ll miss you too, by the way," he said sternly, as if this should humble Ben and his attitude should immediately change.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Trillian on October 23, 2007, 06:08:47 PM
"What\'s wrong with me?" he asked, giving himself a moment to think about how best to phrase it.  "I\'d like to be talked to before you start inviting people on trips we take.   I\'d like to know why Mandy\'s giving you paintings of you both naked.  I\'d like to know what kind of paintings she\'s given you before that you\'re having framed."

It came out of him in a rush, delivered deadpan, emotionlessly, though there was a lot of emotion behind it.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Existentially Odd on October 23, 2007, 06:38:50 PM
"Okay.  I\'ll ask you before I make any such offers again," he conceded immediately, then fell quiet.

Kerr also needed to take a moment to think through his other responses before he said anything, tongue stud working overtime against the roof of his mouth.  Really, the answer to the final question led very obviously into the answer for the first but he was still hesitant to jump in without thinking.

"It was a drawing, actually.  Of me - my profile to be exact.  Done in sepia, and really quite lovely.  When I... was looking for you and I met up with her, she showed me some of her art.  Four drawings - my tattoos, my eyes, my face, my profile, and offered them all to me, but I told her I\'d feel stupid having all those pictures of me around and I\'d prefer it if she did something that had the two of us in it.  So she has.  I didn\'t dictate how the two of us should be in it, just that it not... be all about me," he admitted, feeling awkward.

He was completely aware that everything Mandy did was all about and for him, though, and that was what made this whole situation unbearable - and likely what Ben was focussing on.  The fledgling didn\'t even know the whole story - yet - but this was uncomfortable enough.  "I told her I had a lot of empty walls here in the new place and that I\'d like some of her art to fill it," he added, feeling defensive and protective at the same time.  She\'d only done what he\'d asked, really; Ben shouldn\'t be so critical.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Trillian on October 23, 2007, 06:45:51 PM

Ben wasn\'t absolutely okay with it though, and he voiced his reasoning why.

"You\'ve got to realise that she\'s your ex.  I mean, I want to be friends with her, and it\'s cool you\'re friends with her, but she was with you before you were with me."

There.  It was out and Kerr could tell him he was just being insecure and stupid, which would make him feel worse, but this was one secret he wasn\'t going to keep.  Not if he wanted peace with Kerr and Mandy.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Existentially Odd on October 23, 2007, 06:55:31 PM
Kerr blinked, his frown not abating.  "I was never \'with\' her, though.  She grew attached too quickly and it always made me uncomfortable enough that I never wanted anything formal with her I... oh, fine," he conceded n a huff of air, hearing himself speak and knowing it would be refuted easily.  He was doing it himself.

Agitatedly, he ran a hand through his hair, smoothing his thumb and fingertips down his beard afterward, as he spun and took a few steps back to go and sit on the corner of the bed that faced Ben.  His legs were splayed, his elbows resting on his knees and his hands clasped defeatedly in the space between.

"I just... never thought of it like that.  We were never lovers - close, but not actually - never committed, just... friends.  I don\'t regard her and you in the same way, even if I have love for her; she\'s my friend.  I don\'t... " he broke off, his face animated as he weighed and rejected numerous ways to end the sentence.  In the end, he discarded them all and went down a completely new path.

"So you don\'t want me to hang that painting, is that it?"  His head was slightly tilted to the right, his brown-eyed expression earnest as it reached Ben\'s from beneath his lowered brow.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Trillian on October 23, 2007, 07:01:54 PM
"You can hang it in the wardrobe," Ben said, then smiled winningly.  He was beginning to relax now, a little because Kerr was admitting to him that Mandy wasn\'t as much to him as Ben was, but mainly because Kerr wasn\'t fighting him too hard on this one.  He supposed it was because Kerr was now realising how it must look, hanging up an intimate painting from a friend who wanted to be more, in a home shared with his current lover.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Existentially Odd on October 23, 2007, 07:07:19 PM
"I can\'t do that!" he cried, aghast.  "Not after she went to all that trouble!  I could at least hang it in the spare room, surely?  With your picture and the other one she drew of me in the study - once they\'re framed?"

Not exactly his original plan, but Ben would likely not be interested in thinking about Kerr gazing thoughtfully at that painting of him and Mandy every night as he tooled around in his study.  He spent far too much time in there alone as it was, really, he didn\'t need to give Ben something else to worry about.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Trillian on October 23, 2007, 07:11:20 PM
Ben frowned and withdrew from the conversation, though it was more of an air rather than a physical or communicative thing.

"I\'m... not going to hang mine."

He understood why she would choose that moment, and it wasn\'t as though he considered it tasteless, it just made him uncomfortable, for that night he\'d been made into a possession, marked and owned.

He shifted in the armchair, rubbing his back against the furniture, squirming.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Existentially Odd on October 23, 2007, 07:16:44 PM
"Oh," was all Kerr was able to say in response, for it was Ben\'s prerogative and not something he was going to attempt to influence one way or the other.  He could see that Ben might be uncomfortable about being reminded about that night, for numerous reasons... none of which he wanted to discuss just then.

There was something else he needed to address and, as nice as the silence between them was, he had to broach it now.  He cleared his throat in order to prompt himself to begin.

"There\'s something else," he said tentatively, not quite sure how to phrase it, really.  "I need to go and see Sawyl."  His mouth twisted nervously as he watched Ben.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Trillian on October 23, 2007, 07:19:40 PM
Ben frowned darkly, not liking the fact that Kerr was seeking out a vampire who\'d threatened to kill him and was actually leaving them alone.  Why would Kerr invite trouble by stirring something up with him?  What did he need to say to the pint-sized demon?

"What for?" he questioned, knowing that there had to be some motive behind it.  He was subdued right now, thinking that maybe Kerr needed to see him for something so important that it couldn\'t wait - why else would he risk their peace?
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Existentially Odd on October 23, 2007, 07:29:18 PM
"To... ask him not to sire Mandy when she asks him to... sometime in the very near future.  While we\'re away," he told Ben, having braced himself and said it all at once.

It wasn\'t said hastily, for he knew it would take a little bit of time for his words to sink in, so he paced himself carefully and kept his voice even but... nevertheless, the words felt rushed.  He hoped Ben would understand all the implications and not make too much of a fuss.

"I\'m not sure he\'ll be willing to do me any favours, but I have to ask," he said with a shrug, his manner becoming slightly more appealing.  He was begging Ben\'s understanding, as well as his permission.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Trillian on October 23, 2007, 10:24:17 PM
This was not something that Ben had been expecting to hear.  Was this the reason why Kerr had invited Mandy to call him about anything at all?  What the hell did something like that mean?

Mandy had told Kerr that she wished to be sired.  This fact, of course, told Ben a great many things, all at once.  There were many strong connections to be made at the sharing of such information.  This was a woman, he remembered, who had a place on Kerr\'s body, looking like it belonged there while Ben was placed all over, like he was stamped on.  She wend her way into Kerr\'s skin, weaving a togetherness that Ben felt he didn\'t match.  He didn\'t like the fact he resented Kerr\'s choices for his tattoos, but there it was, and it was Mandy who had usurped him.  He was wanting to be friends with her less and less.

It was a very long time before Ben spoke, and he began with only one statement.  Questions were battling for supremacy but didn\'t manage to fight their way to the priority list, of what came rolling off his tongue.  He felt like it was scripted, as though his words sounded wooden and false.  Of course they weren\'t, he was just in shock, and it was still resonating through him in waves.

"Last you were with Sawyl he tried to kill you."

In case Kerr had forgotten, he\'d thought he\'d point this seemingly unimportant piece of information out.  Was Mandy worth dying for?  Or rather, was her imminent death worth being destroyed over?  If Sawyl wished to finish the job on Kerr, what would stop him?  What could stop him?  Ben was very scared.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Existentially Odd on October 24, 2007, 05:07:36 AM
Kerr ran his hand through his hair again, scratching his scalp halfway through, in agitation.  It wasn\'t that he hadn\'t considered this fact but... it seemed to have little weight, in comparison to everything else.

"I know that," he answered resignedly, "but he should be over it by now.  She\'s been visiting with them and had a fabulous time.  She says they\'re lonely," Kerr spat, his words bitter in the extreme.  It was hard to tell who he was most upset with, with the way he said it - his family or Mandy.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Trillian on October 24, 2007, 05:14:26 AM
"I don\'t care."

It was simple, it was blunt, it was the truth.

"If you go over there, you\'ll be attracting his attention, to us."

And what the fuck is Mandy doing anyway?  Stupid fucking clingy bitch.

It was likely a thought that seeped through, his strong emotions unable to cap all of his thoughts now as he stared at Kerr and worried that his world was going to fall apart.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Existentially Odd on October 24, 2007, 05:26:51 AM
"It\'s not like he doesn\'t know where we are!" Kerr exclaimed, receiving the pounding emotions Ben was emitting like a lighthouse and so worried by it all suddenly that he wasn\'t rightly focussed on the words.  It was like he absorbed them but stored them to think about later.

"It\'s not like I don\'t keep in contact with them," the Irishman pointed out, straightening from his hunched position on the bed so that his spine was now stiff and his right hand made a gesture in the  air as if it was very reasonably pointing the way to a logical conclusion, for Ben.

"But it\'s not getting Sawyl\'s attention that I\'m worried about; it\'s the fact that Mandy would become part of my bloodline!  I mean... sired by my sire and my fledglings?" he scoffed, now pressing his gesturing hand to his chest, his voice high and showing how offended he was by the notion.  "I don\'t think she should be dying at all - except by natural causes, in a very long time - but if she\'s determined to do it, I\'d rather know I\'m not going to be feeling her like I feel you for the rest of my days as well!"

It wasn\'t the diplomatic way to say it, and was far more raw than anything he\'d expressed to Mandy, but he knew that it suited Ben\'s thinking and feelings, even if he didn\'t consciously process it.  She was designing to be around Kerr long enough for him to fall back out of love with Ben, the vampire was certain that she didn\'t understand the connection she\'d also be gaining if she was sired by Wyl and the twins, but he wasn\'t going to forgive her her ignorance, not this time.  Things were difficult enough between them all, managing her emotions.  It wouldn\'t get any better if she shared his bloodline, as far as he was concerned (though she\'d love it).
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Trillian on October 24, 2007, 05:36:12 AM
He was breathing hard, the panic was now at the fore of his mind, in how Kerr had voiced his concerns.  Yes, if Mandy was sired by Kerr\'s bloodline, it would mean a connection that nothing Ben could do would be able to break - in fact he\'d be connected to her as well.  She was disrespecting the bond Ben had with Kerr and forging her own, forcing her way in.

He very suddenly and very surely no longer wanted to be her friend.  She pretended that she cared, that she respected their union, that she was warm and friendly and generous and loving.  It was a front.  She was a snake that was worming her way in between them, her motivation to do anything that would drive her into their bond.  It was all a front, all a lie, and she\'d had Ben fooled.

He would not trust her ever again.

"Then I\'m coming with you," he said, suddenly very calm but still feeling scared and queasy at the thought of facing Sawyl again.  He couldn\'t let Kerr go alone though, and not know what he would be going through when asking a favour.  Perhaps Sawyl would demand something that Kerr would not give, not knowing Ben\'s opinion, he would be able to be there to let it be known.

If Mandy wanted to be a vampire, then she would be one without their bond.  And Ben would be very surprised if she still wanted to be if they threw a spanner in the works.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Existentially Odd on October 24, 2007, 05:43:05 AM
It was Kerr\'s turn to be fearful and his expression folded into a frown of concern immediately.

"No... I don\'t think you should.  Your presence would bring negative attention onto us; it would be like I was throwing it all in his face and I think he\'d be more likely to get angry in that case.  He\'ll definitely not listen to reason about Mandy, either.  I already think my chances are extremely slim, considering that he likes her so much."

Kerr looked at Ben appealingly, silently begging him to agree to his rapid little argument.  Inside, the thought of being able to protect himself but not being able to stop Sawyl or the twins - who had no loyalty to Ben whatsoever - from hurting his fledgling left him terrified.  He could bear it if they attacked him, he was quite confident it wouldn\'t be fatal; Ben had no such guarantees.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Trillian on October 24, 2007, 05:51:35 AM
He could understand Kerr\'s appeal, but it left him feeling knotted up inside.  He hated Mandy purely at this moment, wished her nothing but evil and harm, wanted to ask Lazarus to do him a favour concerning her...

Very suddenly, he covered his face with his hands and tried his best to control himself from crying.  He wanted to curl up into a little ball, to collapse and wail and be dramatic, though he fought that.  He would remain in control, he would be strong for Kerr, who was going to face what could be a dangerous foe in order to stop Mandy from snaking her way into their lives where she wasn\'t wanted.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Existentially Odd on October 24, 2007, 06:00:23 AM
Kerr leapt from his position on the bed and knelt before Ben, doing his best to embrace him, pressing his lips to the back of his fledgling\'s hands, and then his face against them, trying to nudge his way through with his nose.

"It\'ll be okay," he whispered, "you\'ve got to not worry so much.  I love you; I\'ll be fine."

Just because Sawyl was a murderous little bastard who\'d schemed and destroyed his own sire from the outset, didn\'t mean he\'d turn on his beloved fledgling after four hundred years.  Again.  Kerr was pretty sure, anyway.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Trillian on October 24, 2007, 06:04:15 AM
"Why is she doing this to us?  How were you not screaming at her when I got home?  Why don\'t you hate her for this?" Ben sobbed, his hands leaving his face and palms moving to cup Kerr\'s cheeks, pressing his forehead against his sire\'s.  "I don\'t understand why she\'s doing this to us."

He\'d never understood Lazarus\' hatred for women, he\'d been friends with girls in his past, but the Ancient had told him that all women - even if they were nice on the surface - were manipulative cunts beneath.  Ben had been amused by Lazarus\' vehemence at the time and hadn\'t shared his opinion, but Mandy was helping to bring him around.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Existentially Odd on October 24, 2007, 06:23:29 AM
"I didn\'t know what to do," Kerr admitted, obviously anguished as he realised Ben was crying.  He attempted to place reassuring kisses upon his red lips as he continued speaking.

"Everything I said somehow seemed to convince her that it was the right decision - she wants to be around long enough that you\'ll maybe share me with her, even though she knows how I feel for you.  It\'s like... she doesn\'t see that, though, like she\'s so devoted to me that she can\'t ever see herself being out of love with me and she thinks that, with time, I\'ll change my mind.  I\'ve told her it would be best for her to move on, but she says she can\'t," he said, feeling rather like he was whining, not explaining.

He was guilty, too, for not being harsher with her, for caring for her and respecting the sacrifices she\'d made for him.  Ben was likely disgusted with him and couldn\'t see why he didn\'t let go of that loyalty and slam her with the reality of his feelings but... he just couldn\'t bring himself to break her like that.  It was his weakness, and he likely deserved to suffer for it.

"I\'m sorry I... caused this," he admitted, pained.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Trillian on October 24, 2007, 06:49:41 AM
The worst thing about everything was that last apology.  Kerr was sorry he caused it, and he had, hadn\'t he?  Mandy had to have been encouraged by him, or at the very least not discouraged.  He wasn\'t letting her know that in no uncertain terms that Ben would not share him and that he did not wish to be shared.

And this was what hurt Ben the most, that there was a possibility that Kerr hadn\'t done this because he didn\'t really want to.  Perhaps he was kidding himself into thinking that a male lover was for him, that it didn\'t matter what gender Ben was, it was the person Kerr loved, that time had broken such barriers.  It was hard to believe.  After all, had Ben not stolen Kerr from Mandy\'s grasp?  Had the two of them not spent time apart, would Ben even be with Kerr now?

It pained him to think so, and it was easier to hate her a little bit more.  He found it in himself to draw comfort from Kerr, however, to let himself be cuddled and soothed, though after a bit he pulled away.

"Tell him.  Tell him not to do it."
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Existentially Odd on October 24, 2007, 07:13:13 AM
Kerr sat back on his heels, hands lowering to rest atop his thighs as he watched Ben sadly.  It was easy to see that his lover was extremely distraught and knotted up with emotion and he felt like absolute shit for being the one who\'d started it.

Because he was always in the middle and he didn\'t push hard enough in either direction to make it matter.  That was exactly what had lost him Ben in the first place and he was a fucking idiot if he was going to let it all idly swing by him and happen again.  Ben was right, he had to fix this, it was the first step in the right direction.

The final step was a ways off and wouldn\'t occur until they came back from their trip, but he could see that he was going to have to take Mandy up on her offer.  He should have agreed immediately, when she\'d offered for them to not see each other any more, earlier that night.  He\'d thought it would be alright, though, that it wasnt anything he couldn\'t handle, that Ben wouldn\'t have to be too effected by her love.  What a fool he was.  As soon as vampirism entered the picture, everything went south.

"I will," he promised, getting to his feet and leaning down to kiss Ben\'s forehead.  "I love you.  I\'ll have my phone.  I\'ll be home as soon as I can," he vowed, wanting to reassure his lover as much as possible.  Still, his gaze was lingering and it hurt much more than he\'d ever admit to turn away from his beautiful, teary love, seek out some shoes, his car keys and phone and leave their home to go and see his sire.  He was sliding in the wrong direction and the rending deep in his heart screamed out this fact clearly... but he pushed forward nevertheless; there was too much at stake for him to stop now.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Trillian on October 25, 2007, 04:24:36 AM
* * * * *

Time passed and Ben worried, knowing Kerr would be arriving at the mansion by now, or already had.  He was moving through the house - prowling, even - like a large cat in a small cage, always moving.  He was filled with anxiety and was startled to hear a knock on the door - so much so that he jumped in surprise.

It couldn\'t be Kerr.

It couldn\'t be a neighbour at this hour, for there was no urgency behind their knock and therefore no emergency to detail.  Perhaps someone had locked themselves out of their apartment and needed a phone?  Why not then use the phone in the lobby, for the elevator still worked?

It could be Lazarus.  This thought prevailed, and he wasn\'t good enough with his mental abilities to probe who it was at the door.  He could feel it wasn\'t Kerr now that he was open to reception, but who was it?

He moved to the door, opened it, figuring if Lazarus really wanted in he\'d likely knock the door down after knocking politely on it.  He was stunned to see Ichabod before him and stared at him blankly.

"What are you doing here?" he asked through numb lips.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: pinkroses on October 25, 2007, 04:30:23 AM
Now that he was here he felt nervous about the fact that Ben might be there, but hopefully he would be able to just talk to Kerr. Kerr would understand, she’d said he hadn’t been keen on the idea, he just had to do something to stop it. The teenager had been let through downstairs as they recognized him at the desk from when he’d lived here for a short time, although he’d received a few scowls for dripping all the way through the lobby. He wasn’t as wet as he might have been, he’d managed to find a taxi, but he was still soaked, wearing just a T-shirt and jeans and he ran a hand through his wet hair anxiously as he waited for a reply to his knock.

He blinked a little in surprise as Ben opened the door rather than the dark haired vampire he had expected to see.

“I… uh, I need to see Kerr. Quickly,” he said, his fingers twisting together anxiously as he watched him, hoping Ben would allow him in, rather than just slamming the door in his face.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Trillian on October 25, 2007, 04:35:53 AM
Ben\'s eyes narrowed as he regarded Ichabod, seeing that he was wet and dripping, refreshing Ben\'s puddles from earlier.

"Why?" he prompted, moving the door open more, knowing that Kerr would be a while but not letting Ichabod know that his sire was out.  The request for seeing Kerr quickly was one that Ben figured had nothing to do with his setup with the mortal, but he wasn\'t comfortable with the two of them speaking anyway.  Not that it mattered right now, because Kerr was out.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: pinkroses on October 25, 2007, 04:41:56 AM
Ichabod’s eyes flickered over Ben’s shoulder, trying to see if Kerr was there. He couldn’t see or hear him, but that meant nothing, he knew how quiet vampire’s could be when they wanted to. At least Ben had opened the door a little more, he wasn’t telling him to just fuck off

“It’s about Mandy. And her wanting… to be one of you. He has to stop her,” he explained quickly, a note of desperation in his voice. He didn’t want to see Mandy change like that and that mattered more to him right now than Ben and the blonde’s worries that he might tell Kerr what had happened. Ichabod wasn’t sure if Ben knew or not what Mandy had planned, but she had said Kerr knew and that was what matter right now.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Trillian on October 25, 2007, 04:45:55 AM
It took Ben a moment to realise that Mandy must\'ve gone straight home after being told goodbye, and either cried on Ichabod\'s shoulder or lamented her concerns to him.  He knew now, and he didn\'t want her to insert herself where she wasn\'t wanted either.

"Stay here a minute," Ben said, and shut the door in his face.  He went to the bathroom to get a towel, figuring Ichabod would think he was getting Kerr, and once the large bath sheet was in his hands he moved back to the door and opened it again, handing it over.  "I don\'t want you dripping on the floor," he said, gesturing for Ichabod to wrap it around himself, before opening the door wider and letting the mortal in.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: pinkroses on October 25, 2007, 04:56:24 AM
The human frowned as Ben shut the door in his face, but he waited patiently. Ben was right, he did guess that the other teen had gone to get Kerr and he could see why Ben wouldn’t want him coming in or getting comfortable. He folded his wet arms across his chest, trying to keep warm as he stared down at the floor, trying to work out what he wanted to say. Maybe he should have thought about this a bit longer, but they were leaving the next night, he didn’t have another chance.

He lifted his dark eyes again as the door opened, once again surprised to see Ben there, but he took the towel without comment. He did as Ben instructed without hesitation, he just wanted to see Kerr quickly, and if that meant doing what Ben said for now then that’s what he would do.

Ichabod slipped off his wet shoes once he was inside, not wanting to leave wet footprints on the floor (strange the things you thought of at stressful times).

“Where is he?” he asked, glancing around as he stood near the door, rubbing a corner of the towel over his hair to soak up some of the water before pulling it around his body again to warm himself up a little. He didn’t think that Ben would have invited him in if Kerr wasn’t here, why would he? And so he looked around expectantly.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Trillian on October 25, 2007, 05:22:22 AM
Ben shut the door and leaned against it, folding his arms across his chest and regarding Ichabod with a thoughtful expression.

"He\'s not here."

The answers were truthful, but short.  Ben wouldn\'t volunteer any more information than he had to, wanting to know if Ichabod would prompt more and more in order to find out where Kerr had gone.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: pinkroses on October 25, 2007, 05:31:51 AM
“Oh. Right,” Ichabod said, suddenly feeling more nervous than he had before. He hadn’t wanted to let Ben into his home, but now he had just walked straight into the lion’s den and Ben was between him and the door.

“Um… where is he? Will he be home soon?” he asked with a frown, hoping that the answer to the latter would be that Ben was expecting him any second. Unconsciously mirroring Ben’s pose Ichabod folded his arms across his chest, still with the towel wrapped around him as he watched Ben nervously.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Trillian on October 25, 2007, 05:49:18 AM
"He\'s gone to see Sawyl," Ben replied after a moment, wondering if \'where is he\' could be answered any other way.  "I don\'t know if he\'ll be home soon.  Or at all really, if Sawyl tries to kill him again."

Ben was taking his anxiety out on Ichabod, but the delivery of his comments was deadpan, expressionless, emotionless.  He wanted to know what Ichabod\'s reasons were for not wanting Mandy sired.  He knew why he didn\'t, but Ichabod?  Surely he\'d like the thought of being best buddies with a vampire?
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: pinkroses on October 25, 2007, 05:58:51 AM
Ichabod stayed silent, a look of confusion on his face as he stared at Ben, not sure how he was supposed to react to that news… and the unfeeling way Ben said it. He wanted to ask if Kerr had gone to convince Sawyl not to turn Mandy, as that had been who Mandy had said she would go to, but after Ben’s mentioning that he didn’t know if Kerr would survive Ichabod didn’t feel like that was really the right thing to say.

“Did… did he go about Mandy?” he said after a brief pause. He guessed that Ben must be worried about Kerr and simply didn’t want to show his emotion to Ichabod, but there was always the chance he was just trying to fuck with him again.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Trillian on October 25, 2007, 06:06:21 AM
Ben\'s expression soured at the mention of Mandy\'s name, his lips pursing in an obvious pout and his jaw set.  He couldn\'t keep staring at Ichabod like he was so looked away towards the kitchen before he answered.


Ben was tense; shoulders pressed against the front door, arms folded stiffly across his chest, bare feet slightly apart, looking to his left.  After a moment he looked back at Ichabod, to see what the teen made of this brief response.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: pinkroses on October 25, 2007, 06:22:51 AM
Ichabod shuffled his feet uncomfortably when he saw how Ben’s expression changed at the mention of Mandy. She had said that Ben hadn’t taken to well to her that night, but he hadn’t thought she meant it was quite this bad. And if Kerr was already there talking about Mandy then Ichabod needn’t have come at all, Kerr had already thought of it. Of course he had.

So there was no need to be here. Ichabod knew he should leave now, or at least try to, there was no point being here and Kerr probably wouldn’t want to see him anyway. But he couldn’t help feeling a little sorry for Ben. He was so obviously worried and trying to hide it. And he didn’t look like he would co-operate too readily if Ichabod tried to leave.

“I’m sure he’ll be fine,” he said quietly, glancing down at the floor. Ichabod didn’t know much about Sawyl apart from what Mandy had told him, which was very little, but if Kerr had got away alright before then surely he could again. And they were talking about Mandy, and she was convinced that Sawyl liked her, so maybe that would stop him from doing anything to Kerr?
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Trillian on October 25, 2007, 06:35:41 AM
"How are you sure?" Ben blurted out, irritated by comfort words rather than soothed by them.  He frowned then, staring at the carpet near Ichabod\'s feet, not wanting to say any more.  He knew he was being hostile to Ichabod and bullying him, but he didn\'t want to be alone right now, even though he was acting in a way that would make the mortal want to leave.  "I\'m not so sure."

And you told him to go anyway, Benny-boy

Ben\'s gaze lifted and he meant to make a request except it came out sounding like a statement.  He certainly talked to Ichabod differently than he would anybody else.

"Wait with me."
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: pinkroses on October 25, 2007, 06:50:45 AM
Ichabod almost flinched at Ben’s words and once again had no idea how to react to them. No, of course he wasn’t sure, he knew almost nothing about Sawyl and his family, he hadn’t even known that Kerr had almost been killed last time he saw them. It was just wishful thinking.

He chewed on the inside of his cheek as he heard Ben’s request, no demand it sounded more like. It didn’t sound as though he had a choice in the matter. He should at least try to leave… but where was he going to go? Mandy obviously didn’t want him around right now, although for all he knew she might have already gone to try to find someone to sire her. Maybe he should go look for her… But he was also a little curious about staying. He doubted Ben wanted him to really be here when Kerr arrived home… so he either wanted to take out his anger and fear on Ichabod or her just wanted some company… or both.

“I…” don’t know. I shouldn’t. Why would I? “Okay,” he said in a quiet voice. What was the point in arguing against it when he would probably just end up staying anyway? He wanted to add, ‘But don’t drink from me’ but that might just put it in Ben’s head and Ben probably would either… not when there was a chance Kerr would come home… right?
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Trillian on October 25, 2007, 07:01:16 AM
Ben blinked at Ichabod\'s agreement and then moved away from the door.  The lock had already been flicked on it, but all Ichabod had to do was go to it and turn it before pulling on the handle.  It was a habit, to lock a door, and moreso after there had been news of vampire hunters lurking about.

He nodded at the other teenager instead of saying thanks and went to the sofa, looking expectantly at Ichabod before sitting down.  A glance at the large windows revealed that the rain was still thundering heavily, not that it could be heard.  City lights glazed and rippled behind it in a pretty way that Ben couldn\'t appreciate right now.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: pinkroses on October 25, 2007, 07:14:34 AM
Ichabod gave a quiet sigh as Ben wordlessly moved away from the door, then, after catching the glace Ben gave him, he followed him to the sofa. He sat down in the other corner from Ben, although there were other chairs he could have chosen. Unlike earlier in the evening he didn’t curl his legs up underneath him, because the bottoms were wet and he didn’t want to mess up the sofa, but he sat angled a little towards the vampire, still with the towel around his shoulders.

He felt uncomfortable, but he’d agreed to stay so he would, for a while at least.

“Will you tell me about Sawyl?” he said quietly, following Ben’s gaze out of the window. “I’ve only heard his name… and he lives with his family… but I don’t know anything else,” he added, glancing back at Ben, hoping he would agree to tell him something, anything. Why was everyone so scared of him? Apart from Mandy… Mandy wanted to be connected to him.

Maybe it wasn\'t a topic Ben would be keen on right now, given his present worries, but Ichabod wanted to know why he was so worried, what it might be that Mandy liked about him, when Kerr had been so happy to leave that house.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Trillian on October 25, 2007, 05:41:22 PM
"Sawyl is Kerr\'s sire.  He\'s a child vampire.  He\'s not... right."  There wasn\'t something terribly wrong with him, so that it could be noticed, but there were tendrils of insanity or something that didn\'t mesh correctly with him.  "A murderer.  Twisted.  Evil.  He blasted me once and tried to kill Kerr already."

Funny how such a thing could be said so flatly.  Ben felt something slipping in his grip of a calm exterior when he said the last bit though, and his voice wobbled a little but he glared at Ichabod in order for the mortal to not point it out.

Ichabod might not have put his feet up on the chair cushion, but Ben did, hugging them and resting his chin atop his knees.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: pinkroses on October 25, 2007, 09:27:13 PM
Ichabod watched Ben with eyes wide with mingled surprise and horror. A child? As a vampire? Who would do that? How could someone be so sick? Maybe that would explain so much why Mandy liked him, she just seemed to want to take care of the world and a child would cater to those needs perfectly. It also explained why he would need taking care of. He could easy hear the anxiety in Ben’s voice, but glanced down as he received a glare as a warning not to say anything. He had no idea what he would have said to it anyway.

“A child? Like, how old does he look? Teenager, or… like… little?” he asked, desperately curious now. There were so many other questions he wanted to ask, and he wanted to get them all out before Ben decided he’d had enough, but first of all he wanted the picture in his head right. Right now Saywl was fluctuating from being a young teenager to a toddler, the latter image was distinctly more creepy and Chucky-like. How could Mandy possible want anything to do with something like that? Didn’t she know about what he had done to Ben and Kerr?
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Trillian on October 25, 2007, 09:41:21 PM
"A boy.  Not even ten, looks like a girl."

It was the hair that lent itself to Sawyl\'s androngynous appearance.  Not to mention the whole dress-up thing.  He didn\'t comment to Ichabod that the first time he\'d seen Sawyl the vampire had dressed up in a costume fitting for Halloween.  Ben had laughed because he\'d been shocked, and the outcome hadn\'t been good then either.

He watched Ichabod warily.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: pinkroses on October 26, 2007, 12:01:56 AM
“Fuck,” Ichabod murmured, more to himself than Ben. He really didn’t know how else to react to this news, he still couldn’t really believe that it was possible, that someone could do that to a child, and then Kerr had taken care of him for so long. Which led to another point he’d been thinking about.

“Mandy said… he has family, why does he need other people to take care of him if he has them?” he asked, a little nervous to hear if the rest of his family was as messed up as this sounded. Maybe there were more children vampires out there. For some reason that scared the teenager more than the thought of full grown vampires. At least with them you kind of knew what you were getting yourself into; he knew he should be scared of Ben and was wary around him, but with a child... He was still confused about how Mandy could want to be a part of this. His dark eyes were fixed on Ben as he spoke, still wide with interest and disbelief. It didn\'t occur to him that Ben could so easily be lying to him about all this, after all, what need would there be to lie?
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Trillian on October 27, 2007, 06:38:18 PM
Ben paused a moment, thinking about the women who Kerr had described, knowing they were conjoined twins and that even in this day and age they\'d be stared at.  He hadn\'t seen them personally, but Kerr had been quite descriptive about how they\'d been joined at the head.

"They\'re... uh."  The best way to describe it was to just say it, he supposed.  "They\'re conjoined twins.  They\'ve been considered freaks by society since forever, so they\'re not exactly ready to face the public.  I never saw them, I don\'t think they were comfortable with me either."  He shrugged, figuring a strange human in their house was likely quite intrusive.  He\'d not really given it too much thought, for Kerr had all his attention.  "So they need someone who can deal face to face with the public and not be memorable, I guess."
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: pinkroses on October 28, 2007, 02:43:29 AM
“Oh,” Ichabod said quietly, again, not really sure how to respond to that information, which really didn’t answer some of his questions. He’d seen TV shows about conjoined twins before, joined at the hip, the shoulder, head, torsos, so he had a difficult time imagining still who Sawyl’s companions were… he still didn’t even know if they were male or female, adults or children. He realized how frustrating it must be for them not to be able to go in public easily, but that didn’t make him feel any better about their using someone else to be their public face, especially not when it was Mandy.

“So… they’re Sawyl’s… what? Siblings? Parents? Or are they just… like, vampires, and they consider each other family?” he asked with a frown, running a hand through his hair which was thankfully drying quickly, although it would just get wet again once he went outside. He didn’t comment on their being more comfortable around Mandy than Ben, Ichabod definitely was and he could see why so many people would be.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Trillian on October 28, 2007, 09:24:11 PM
"They\'re his mothers," Ben said.  "Well, one of them is but I don\'t know which one.  I don\'t think it matters when they both raised him."  He shrugged.  "It\'s an incestuous... family."  Ben\'s fingers linked together as he thought about all the relationships.  Really, he was the only one without any real mixed ties, but now Mandy was going to try and take some of that purity away, by including herself into Kerr\'s bloodline and involving Ben further by degrees because their lives had paralleled.  "It\'s not healthy, anyway.  Mentally."

He\'d promised Ichabod more questions next time, and next time had come sooner than expected, but he hadn\'t counted on answering all these questions so frankly. Still, he saw no harm in it, not when Mandy was trying to involve herself anyway.  As far as Ben was concerned, if Ichabod was here because he didn\'t want her sired by Sawyl, then he was on the same side.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: pinkroses on October 29, 2007, 01:32:55 AM
Ichabod wasn’t entirely sure what Ben meant by incestuous, in a situation like this it could mean just about anything, but he gave a small shiver at the thought as he pulled his knees up to his chest, curling his arms around them and resting his chin on his knees. This was all so fucked up. Sure, Ichabod had lived with vampires and been fed from them, but becoming one was a completely different matter. And Mandy knew how messed up all these relationships Ben was describing to him were, so why would she want to get more involved in that then she already was?

Maybe he could have done more to try to stop her. Maybe he could have stayed and tried to convince her that it was a bad idea. Maybe he could have stopped himself from being quite as blunt in his rejection of the idea… but she’d had to know how he felt. He couldn’t have just kept it to himself and watch as it happened. No, really he wouldn’t have been watching. She would have just gone off, left him in the flat, now that she knew he ‘could take care of himself’ and he might not have seen her again for God knows how long.

“She wants to go live with them and have them change her. I don’t understand it,” he murmured, shaking his head a little and staring at the spot between them on the sofa. “I don’t understand why someone would want to kill themselves and have to…” His eyes flickered upwards to look at Ben as his voice trailed off. Ben had wanted that, like Mandy did. He wanted to be immortal, to have to drink from humans to survive, to never see the sun again.

“Why did you want to change into a vampire?” he asked quietly, pushing his glasses up his nose a bit before pulling the towel around his body firmly again. Maybe there was something so amazing that he was just missing seeing.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Trillian on October 29, 2007, 05:43:48 AM
"My whole life I wanted it, even before I knew it was real," he said, then justified.  "Not just some kid\'s daydream either, I\'d weighed all the pros and cons.  There was no benefit staying human, I was on the fringe of it anyway.  I would never have been someone, or made something of my life."  It was all said quietly, soberly.  "There was never any option.  I didn\'t just wake up one day and decide it was a good idea, like her," he finished bitterly.

He took a moment, staring at Ichabod.  "Do you know why she\'s doing it?" he asked, but didn\'t expect an answer because he continued right away.  "Because she wants to get between me and Kerr, and this will give her the time for it.  She wants a connection to him which I currently have and she doesn\'t.  She wants it regardless of Kerr, because he doesn\'t want her to.  She knows one day Kerr and I won\'t be together and it might not happen in her lifetime.  She calls it love," he sneered the last word out, recognising that her wants were selfish and had nothing to do with love.  "I thought I could be friends with her, but she\'s the worst person I\'ve ever met."

And he\'d met Lazarus, but at least the blonde Ancient hadn\'t been two-faced and obvious in his manipulation of others.  He would accept the willing, Ben noted, not force himself upon others.  Mandy, in Ben\'s opinion, was a rapist - forcing herself into a place without consent.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: pinkroses on October 29, 2007, 03:34:16 PM
Ichabod wanted to defend Mandy, his best friend in this world, but how could he? Everything Ben was saying was true. Mandy just wanted this so that she could be with Kerr, a man who clearly didn’t love her and would never love her as much as he loved Ben. Even if he and Ben ever fought, Mandy would always be second choice. Ichabod had wanted that for a short time, he had wanted to be a part of Kerr’s life, but now he saw how much Ben meant to him and he knew he could never rival that. And he didn’t want to become a vampire to even attempt it.

Selfishly, the teen couldn’t help being a little pleased that Ben had changed his opinion of Ichabod being bottom of his favorite people list, to Mandy, as much as he hated to admit it to himself.

“She might think better of it. She’s never mentioned it before, it’s probably just a fleeting decision,” he said quietly, in a hopeful tone of voice. “Yeah, she’ll change her mind. She’ll see sense,” he added, nodding slightly as he tried to convince himself that Mandy would see that her staying human was for the best. Kerr would convince Sawyl not to change her, and then Mandy would see how silly this whole idea was. His words weren’t defending her, but at least he wasn’t bad mouthing her or agreeing with Ben openly.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Trillian on October 30, 2007, 05:21:00 AM
Ben stared at Ichabod, having nothing to say to the teenager\'s semi-agreeable noises that Mandy was doing the wrong thing, and telling Ben what he most wanted to hear; that it wouldn\'t happen.

It was a long and silent moment before he spoke again, on a different topic.

"Do you want food?  There\'s a takeout open late a few doors down.  I can call them up," he said, thinking of the small shop that seemed to open all sorts of odd hours.  It didn\'t say it was a 24 hour place but it didn\'t have any times listed either, and he\'d never seen it shut, even when coming home late with Kerr.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: pinkroses on October 30, 2007, 05:34:34 AM
He should be back at home with Mandy, making sure she didn’t do anything stupid, or stopping her from being so angry at him, Ichabod really didn’t have a clue why he was still here with Ben, other than that the vampire had asked him to stay. And that in itself made no sense to Ichabod, he’d thought Ben hated him, surely he’d rather have no one here than be making small talk with someone he disliked so much? Answering questions he really didn’t have to? And now he was offering him food?

“No, thanks. We had dinner just before you… came over. Before,” he said quietly, biting on the inside of his cheek. He was feeling too anxious to eat anything right now, even if he was hungry. This whole situation made him uncomfortable and he couldn’t help thinking about Mandy.

“She’s my best friend,” he murmured, sure that Ben wouldn’t care about what he was feeling, but he just had to say it. “I don’t want her to hate me, like you, Kerr and Lazarus. If she changes she might start… she might change.” He knew Ben had said before that Lazarus still liked him, but he’d chucked him out, left him outside Kerr’s and not contacted him since. It felt like he hated him. And Kerr had cared about him, at least a little bit, but Ichabod had fucked that up and Ben… God only knew what Ben was thinking.

"She wants me to stay in the flat, but I might never see her again," he added, lifting his glasses a little to rub his eyes as he frowned. "Did you change a lot when you were sired? Like... your personality?" he asked, settling his worried gaze on Ben once more. He wasn\'t sure if Ben had purposefully been trying to change the subject because he no longer wished to talk about it, or just to fill the silence, but he guessed the blonde would let him know if he wanted him to shut up about the whole subject.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Trillian on October 30, 2007, 06:04:30 AM
The subject changed back to Mandy, but he figured it would.  The offer of food had only been a way for Ben to get off the topic, but even though he didn\'t want to talk about her, he did.  He was disappointed, he felt betrayed, he was angry and he wanted to discuss things with someone that knew her.  Kerr wasn\'t around, so Ichabod was the next best.

He considered Ichabod\'s question before answering, making a murmuring sound in his throat that was commonly associated with thinking something over.  It was a noise of acknowledgement before he frowned and stared at the coffee table a bit.  After a short time he looked back up at Ichabod and shook his head.

"No, I didn\'t change when I was sired.  Things were pretty stable for me."  He thought of gentle Arles who\'d started arguing with him towards the end of his time living with the vampire, and eventually Ben had turned away from him, seeking independance, only to be sought out by Lazarus who had been after something Ben still hadn\'t been able to figure out properly.  Revenge on Kerr perhaps?  Who knew, but it hadn\'t worked and the blonde had respected Ben enough to leave him alone after he\'d paired up with his sire.  "People only change when something in their lives change, or when they were hiding something and eventually it\'s too much," he said, figuring that change was usually brought about by something.  "If nothing in her life has changed, then I think she\'s not been honest with herself, or with you or Kerr, or me."  He shrugged, as this was his best guess.  He felt like she\'d just spontaneously come up with this idea, which meant she\'d been nurturing some kind of negativity for a while.

Ben suddenly really wanted to tell Ichabod that she was going to be looking after the apartment to get away from him, to get some space and time, and that maybe he shouldn\'t be defending her so much.  He knew that this would interfere with too many things, so held his tongue and waited for the other teen\'s response to what he\'d just said.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: pinkroses on October 30, 2007, 10:31:24 AM
Ichabod was at first relieved at Ben’s words. Mandy wanted to change, so surely it would be stable… but then his words began to sink in as he realized what Ben was saying.

“You mean, you think she’s hiding something?” he said with a frown, trying to think of what it might be. Maybe it was something to do with what he’d told her about having feelings for her, but then why would she be hiding something? Mandy always seemed to be so honest with her feelings, rarely hiding anything and she’d been so offended when Ichabod hadn’t wanted to tell her what had happened the nigh before. How could she act so indignant about his having secrets when she had her own?

“Did she say anything when she was here earlier? Was she still here when you got back?” Ichabod asked, leaning forwards a little and staring intently at the vampire across from him, lowering his knees to either side and just crossing his legs rather than hiding behind them. He hadn’t wanted to keep things secret from her, and if she was keeping things from him then he wanted to know. Especially if she had deemed Kerr and Ben worthy enough to tell, just not him.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Trillian on October 31, 2007, 04:41:44 AM
Ben, who\'d told Mandy more or less to leave the apartment because of the way Kerr had been fawning over her (and wasn\'t he even more angry now, knowing that Kerr had known about her desire to join his blood clan and had STILL been so nice to her?) had learned of the discussion after the woman had left - luckily for her, or she would\'ve faced a much less tolerant fledgling vampire, who would\'ve felt justified in his dislike of her.

"When I got back the conversation hadn\'t been about her being sired.  Maybe Kerr does know her secrets, I don\'t know, but I bet she asked him and he refused."

Because he refused me
But... what if he refused her only because of me?

There was a nagging doubt now.  If he\'d been free of his sordid little \'family\', and she\'d asked him to sire her, and there was no Ben... would he have done it?

"Everybody keeps secrets."

He looked pointedly at Ichabod now.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: pinkroses on October 31, 2007, 07:30:17 AM
The human blinked a little in surprise at Ben’s comment and the look he gave him. What the hell was that supposed to mean? There was only one thing he\'d purposefully been keeping from Mandy, and he was beginning to regret that he\'d kept that from her.

“What? Do you want me to tell Mandy what you’ve been doing to me? Maybe Kerr? She’d probably tell him if I didn’t. You think he’d like to know you’ve been cornering me and feeding from me without my consent… or even if I’d been willing, do you think he’d be happy about that?” he said with a scowl. He hadn’t wanted to keep secrets from Mandy, but he hadn’t wanted Ben to get more angry at him either. That was why he’d said he wouldn’t tell. And despite how pissed off he was at Kerr, he didn’t want to screw things up further for the Irish vampire than he already had.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Trillian on October 31, 2007, 05:25:27 PM
Ichabod\'s reaction wasn\'t expected

but you were goading him weren\'t you?
you wanted him to misbehave right?
just like he
wanted you to misbehave?
but he was always so reasonable

and so Ben scowled at the mortal who spat out a range of comments and questions designed to irritate.  When Ben\'s next words came they were cool and collected, emotionless and straightforward.  He said it like he could\'ve been discussing how heavy the rain still was.

"We better not find out how happy or unhappy he\'d be if he knew, okay Ichabod?  It\'d be in your best interest."
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: pinkroses on October 31, 2007, 10:29:06 PM
Ichabod physically flinched as he heard Ben’s words and he lowered his eyes again. He’d had no intention of really telling Mandy or Kerr, he didn’t want to anger Ben, but he had anyway. Yet again he’d let his mouth run away with him. That was what had got him in this whole mess in the first place.

He didn’t want to know what Ben might do if he did tell Kerr, his imagination was already working wonders without hearing it from Ben’s lips.

“Fuck this. I’m going home,” he said quietly, standing up. He dropped the towel on the sofa before beginning to walk towards the front door, hoping that Ben would just let him go. He needed to go to Mandy, he didn’t know why he had stayed here this long with someone he shared a mutual dislike with. Ichabod didn’t want to listen to Ben’s snide comments or threats any more. He was sure that if anything happened to Kerr he’d find out somehow, Ben would probably turn up to have a go at Mandy, it wasn’t worth staying here for.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Trillian on November 01, 2007, 05:11:53 AM
When Ichabod swore and then rose to leave, Ben stood up too but didn\'t move to stop him.  He watched as the mortal moved away and then went to the sofa where Ichabod had been before the other got to the door.

"Don\'t let anyone else drink from you," Ben ordered, picking up the wet towel from the sofa and frowning at the cushion with a damp patch, though that had been Ichabod sitting on it rather than the towel being left there.  After a moment he looked over at the other teenager to see if he\'d heard.  "Okay?"

He didn\'t think Ichabod would go to Risk, but he couldn\'t be sure.  If Mandy also managed to get someone to sire her, he might\'ve offered his neck to her (though something in Ben told him that Ichabod wouldn\'t, since he didn\'t want her to be sired).  Ben wanted Ichabod vital when he got back, clearheaded and grudgingly willing.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: pinkroses on November 01, 2007, 05:21:36 AM
Ichabod glanced back at Ben as he pulled on his shoes, stumbling a little in his haste to get them on quickly, but he slowed down a little at Ben’s words and when he saw that the blonde wasn’t trying to stop him from leaving.

“Why not? You want me all for yourself?” he said with a scowl. He hadn’t intended on letting anyone feed from him, not after everything that had happened, but a small, rebellious side of him was tempted to go to Risk simply because Ben didn’t want him to. “I’m not your fucking pet,” he added, watching Ben picking up the towel he‘d left behind. He didn’t want to be that to anyone again, he hadn’t even wanted to be that to Lazarus, it had just happened. But Ben had no right to be telling him what not to do and after the way he’d been treating him Ichabod really wasn’t too inclined to do as he ordered.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Trillian on November 01, 2007, 05:27:00 AM
"You\'re not my pet," Ben agreed, not thinking of Ichabod as such either, but he felt best to clarify why he\'d said what he had.  "I\'ll be drinking from you when I get back.  If you want to go to Risk in the meantime, I guess that\'s your choice, but if you want to be sensible and keep your health up, I\'d recommend that."

He looked evenly at Ichabod near the door, holding the damp towel that had been around the mortal\'s shoulders and talking to him like a parent would to a wayward child, with reason, a little frustration and somewhat patronising - for he knew what was best for Ichabod and also knew that the other might do something stupid to spite him.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: pinkroses on November 01, 2007, 05:32:05 AM
He hated how Ben made himself sound so reasonable and sensible, it always made Ichabod feel about an inch high, but he wasn’t in the wrong here. It was Ben… so how did he come up with such sensible suggestions? His stomach had plummeted when Ben said so smoothly that he would be drinking from him when he returned and Ichabod couldn’t help but shake his head a little, although what choice did he have? Ben would just turn up, force himself on him, Ichabod couldn’t fight him, he couldn’t stop him.

“When are you coming back?” he asked, lowering his glare to the floor. He wanted to know when to expect Ben to turn up again, although knowing vampires it would probably be completely unexpected and could be any time.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Trillian on November 01, 2007, 05:48:08 AM
Ben thought it over.

"You\'ll have at least two weeks, but I might give you a longer break than that," he said, thinking on how he might be in Europe longer, and might not want to go visit Ichabod right away anyhow.  "Might be a month or more."  He watched the mortal closely when he said the latter, and moved around the sofa on his way to the bathroom, but he wasn\'t about to disappear from sight until Ichabod was out the front door.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: pinkroses on November 01, 2007, 05:59:06 AM
A month or more? Ben’s reply was both good and bad in Ichabod opinion. He hadn’t given a definite answer, Ichabod was going to be tense and worried about when he might show up until he did, which could mean weeks of feeling on the edge of his nerves,  waiting to see whether Ben would or would not turn up. And it meant two weeks or longer of Kerr not being here, that long to give Mandy the chance to find a sire and become one of them.

His feet shuffled on the floor for a moment before Ichabod gave a small nod, a distinctly worried look on his face as he glanced up at Ben. “Right,” he said, then turned and pulled open the door, leaving the apartment and pulling it shut behind him without further comment. He pushed the button for the elevator and leant against the wall as he waited for it to arrive, breathing heavily. It would be two weeks or more until he saw Ben again and unless Kerr called them it wouldn’t be until then that he knew whether or not he was alright… although if Mandy went back to Sawyl then he guessed he would know whether or not his attempt had been successful.

When he finally heard the doors ping open Ichabod quickly walked inside, happy to get away from Ben, but not looking forward to going back to Mandy and facing her again.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Trillian on November 01, 2007, 06:30:23 AM
When Ichabod left the apartment, closing the door behind him, Ben put the towel in the laundry hamper after folding it and then went to the door to lock it shut.  He hoped Kerr wouldn\'t be too far away, and busied himself with tidying up, then straightening up, then re-straightening what he\'d straightened before to kill some more time.  He paced the apartment for a bit and when he heard footsteps in the corridor (because he\'d been listening), he perked up until he realised the rhythm of the steps wasn\'t right, and listened as their one next-door-neighbour (arriving home very late) let himself into the apartment further down the corridor with a light jingle of keys.

Hearing a mortal suddenly made him so ravenous that bloodlust began thumping in his ears.  It was funny how he\'d managed to squash it because of his tension, but that brief moment of mistaken relief that Kerr had come home had awakened another expectation in him.  To feed.

Ben lunged out of the apartment into the corridor, thrumming with nervous energy and cravings.  The door that belonged to the other apartment closed just as he\'d come out, and perhaps just as well because he would likely have fed too close to home.  He made himself take the stairs down instead of the lift, almost running down them, tying up his mind with the effort of having to move down flights of stairs.  He\'d never been able to tap into his celerity before, but he did it now without thinking, operating on instinct, just a blur as he progressed down the stairs and used the heavy stairs door to let himself out the side of the building, where the door closed and locked behind him as he spilled out into an alley.

He couldn\'t remember too much else after that, only getting wet as he ran away from the block the building was on and moving closer to where the quieter part of the streets were, where sometimes there were girls standing around at the mouth of an alley, and if someone were to walk further in, there were boys.  For once, he went past them all, and found a homeless man curled up near a dumpster.  There were others as well, but the smell on this guy was cleaner than the rest - no alcohol, no drugs, just a fellow on the down and out because he couldn\'t get a job.  Ben knelt down and was muttered at before he drank.  After a decent amount that would have the guy somewhat dazed and limp - but not dying - Ben pulled away and was sensible enough now in his selection of another.  A girl at a bus stop who\'d fallen asleep while waiting for a bus.  It was easy pickings for she was sedated by the bite by the time she woke up.  He talked to her for a bit afterwards, until she had the impression that he\'d been cheeky enough to kiss her and he knew he was okay about the charade when she handed him her number, thinking he was interested in more.

Coming home he hoped for Kerr but returned to an empty apartment, had another shower to warm himself up and had put on a pair of shorts while he towelled his hair, then sat down and waited, staring at the door and listening for the elevator.

Kerr arrived twenty minutes after that, and even as Ben went to the door to open it up for him, he recognised that there was something wrong about his step - though the sensation of his sire arriving was too dominating to miss.  When he opened the door and saw Kerr\'s state his expression crumpled as though about to cry, though the tears didn\'t come and he slammed into Kerr instead, embracing him, wondering what horrible things his sire had gone through at the hands of that little piece of shit named Sawyl.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Existentially Odd on November 01, 2007, 07:12:04 AM
(After interlude: \'Reluctant Allies (\')

Kerr wasn\'t quick enough to look up from the keys he was staring intently at before he was hugged, but it was a relief.  "Ben," he sighed huskily, sagging against his beloved and giving up on needing to find the apartment key.  Standing upright had been the thing that was taking all of his concentration and willpower up \'til that point, it could have been half an hour before he\'d found the right key to let himself in.

The drive home had been horrific, to say the least.  Leaving the mansion, he\'d realised that he actually wasn\'t too stable in the driving department but, because there wasn\'t a huge amount of traffic around in the suburbs, he was able to take it steadily and avoid problems.  When he headed for the city, however, that changed and he began the stop and start dance that had eventually got him home; whenever he saw lights, he pulled over to the curb and switched on his hazards.

He\'d hit the gutter more than once in this way - and rear-ended a parked car that he hadn\'t seen until too late - but, apart from some scraped tyres, fenders and bumpers, he and the car were alright (there\'d been a couple of breathtaking screeches of tyres behind him and some deafening horn-blowing that had shredded his already-frayed nerves of course, but nothing had come of any of it... luckily).  He\'d been ready to give up once his trip entered its second hour and he\'d called home to have Ben come rescue him, but no answer told him that he\'d simply have to persevere, so he had.

"God, I missed you, I love you so much," he crooned, finally having the wherewithal to squeeze his arms - which had been pinned by the embrace - around Ben\'s middle and hug him back.  His words were slightly slurred by exhaustion and relief, his smile dopey, his hair wildly untidy from him anxiously running his hands through it so much.  He couldn\'t tell if his sudden reliance upon his lover to support him caused the fledgling to stumble at all, for he was too unbalanced internally as it was - everything was always shifting, now that he\'d stood up - but he was inexpressably grateful for the support.

"I got... no... I\'m dizzy," he confessed solemnly, his accent thick in his weakened state, "\'nd\'I think I need t\'feed t\'set m\'self t\'rights but... erm... I can barely hear or see anyt\'ing, so I\'ll need you to... help me."  His eyes were closed as he rested his chin on Ben\'s shoulder, feeling soothed by his presence and awash with love but still... erratic.

If he fed from a mortal right now, the talents inside him that he\'d nurtured for four centuries would do him no good, for he was reduced to a very basic level, worse even than a fledgling, for his senses were cut off and not functioning normally.  He felt imbecilic and helpless, unable to even secure his own sustenance due to his reduced state; it was the first time in a long time he\'d been this vulnerable and although he was glad it happened in front of Ben, he hated that it was happening at all.  He was used to being in control, the sire, the one in charge; yes, he hated this sudden role reversal passionately.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Trillian on November 02, 2007, 06:07:12 AM
Feeling helpless because he didn\'t know what Kerr had gone through and thinking that the meeting with Sawyl had obviously gone badly just because of that interfering bitch, Ben did all that he could for Kerr, using his anger to focus himself to getting his sire into the apartment and helping him to the sofa because he didn\'t think he\'d make the bedroom.  He struggled, but he managed, and soon Kerr was upon the cushioned seat.  He\'d heard himself speaking to Kerr all the way, but didn\'t really know what he was saying.  Announcements of his love in return perhaps, soothing words that Kerr would be okay and all would eventually be well.  He was a vampire, right?  He\'d heal, Ben hoped.

"Want me to get someone here for you?" he asked once Kerr had been flopped onto the chair.  He was annoyed that they didn\'t have blood bags handy, and that would change soon in case of emergencies such as this and the one Ben had himself earlier tonight.  "Risk is a quick drive," he told Kerr, thinking that twenty minutes there and back and maybe another ten or twenty finding someone appropriate at the nightclub wouldn\'t be too bad a wait, though he was loathe to leave Kerr he understood that blood would heal him.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Existentially Odd on November 02, 2007, 06:26:53 AM
"I can\'t drive again!" Kerr said immediately, and enthusiastically... then realised Ben likely meant that he\'d drive and felt foolish.  He laughed self deprecatingly.  "Wait... you\'d drive, right?"  He apologised when he received an answer in the affirmative.

"Sorry... \'m\'a bit slow right now.  Oh!" he exclaimed, sitting up a little straighter and beaming at Ben.  "It\'s all fine, by the way.  He won\'t do it," he explained, belatedly realising that he\'d yet to tell his love that his mission had been successful.

Of course, with little drops of dried up blood in his ears and beneath his nose, bedraggled hair and an inside-out, back-to-front T-shirt happening, Kerr hardly looked the picture of success, except for his smile.  His words were possibly a little cryptic, too, but he knew what he meant and expected Ben would know as well.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Trillian on November 02, 2007, 06:45:18 AM
Ben stared at Kerr for a long moment, taking in his state, not smelling the blood because it had dried and his emotions weren\'t permitting him to notice small things - though he could see it easily enough.  His heart ached in his chest that Kerr had obviously gone through something horrible at the hands of the pint-sized demon, and that he\'d done it just to keep their union solid.  If Ben had ever felt threatened by Mandy (and he had), he didn\'t anymore.

"I\'ll bring someone back for you," he said softly, "to help you heal.  I won\'t be long, I promise," he declared, having knelt by Kerr on the sofa and touching his chest, fingers absently playing with the tag and then looking at Kerr\'s eyes and glad that at least he wasn\'t cross-eyed or anything.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Existentially Odd on November 02, 2007, 07:08:51 AM
Kerr blinked, surprised by the change of plans because he\'d been gearing himself up for a trip to Risk, thinking that the problem with his equilibrium was getting better insofar as it wasn\'t constant now, he had minutes of respite, which he could wait for before he walked into the club.  Risk had also seemed a good idea to him because he could safely drink from a glass but a donor... could cause issues.

Still, he trusted Ben to make the decisions right now, considering he was still fogged up - if he was a younger vampire, he might remember better what an intense head cold felt like and be able to describe his condition thus, but he wasn\'t and so he merely felt reduced on all fronts, wishing it would stop.  He was confident it would with some fresh blood in his system to aid the healing process.

"Okay," he agreed mildly, liking the comfort of the couch anyway and slouching against the back of it, since his ass was quite a ways forward on the seat.  He lifted his feet, the right absently attempting to remove the shoe on the left with little immediate success while he continued talking and gazing lovingly up at Ben.  "I\'ll wait right here," he promised solemnly, "and I\'ll tell you about everything when you come back."

He pulled a face briefly, his expression becoming a wince that likely told Ben he wouldn\'t like all of what he had to say - and that was exactly what he was openly thinking in his overworked mind - but knowing he needed to delay the telling of it.

He\'d muddle it up if he tried to talk now, anyway; he was having enough trouble focussing on getting his shoes off... and there was something annoying tickling his chin that he would be getting rid of next (Ben would return to find Kerr had taken his white shirt off and thrown it nonchalantly towards the dining area, in fact).  He had enough to occupy him for the time being without trying to explain the nuances of his meeting with Sawyl in a way that made Ben appreciate the fact that he\'d had no choice but to agree to his terms.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Trillian on November 03, 2007, 05:27:18 AM
Ben never made it to Risk.  He\'d bypassed the highway because so late at night the main streets of the city were relatively quick to go through, so there was no point to drive his car all the way out to the onramp just to travel in a vague direction to his intended one.  On the way there, on the brink of the industrial area, five minutes from Risk, he noticed a building with a light on, and a big glass shop window to see through.

He ended up pulling over, doing a wide U-turn that took up the whole road (because the turning circle of his Ford wasn\'t really so great) and came back to idle in front of the building again.  It was a butchers, and inside was either a vampire or a goth.  He\'d always wondered where Kerr had got his blood bags from and now he figured that he\'d found a supplier.

Once inside, he was disappointed to find that the customer was actually a goth, obviously human, but not dressed the goth way.  He waited a bit behind him and leaning against the wall, attracting a few stares from the very pale brunette near the counter before he finally turned back to speak with the butcher who came out from the back room.

Ben felt suddenly relieved.  It wasn\'t the customer who was a vampire, it was the proprieter himself - obviously why he was open at night.  After a short conversation between the not-quite-goth and the butcher, Ben realised that the man had been sent here on an errand to pick up someone.  Obviously he was a pet then, or a vampire\'s servant or something like that.  Were they called Familiars?  Whatever the term was, Ben felt he understood now.

He was questioned for his order next, so made his order straightforward.  Blood.  Bags of blood.  He was asked if there was a preference of animal, and Ben shrugged.  Obviously sensing the fledgling vampirism in Ben (and perhaps the odd light of his iridescent blue eyes had made things easier to identify him), the butcher helpfully supplied him the information that pig\'s blood was a little more expensive because it had a better quality to it.  Ben
 agreed to buy a dozen, which were put into a box for him to carry out.  It cost thirty dollars - a six dollar discount because he\'d bought so many at once.  Ben paid him, thanked him, and ran from the shop to his car with the carton in hand, so it wouldn\'t get wet, placing it in the back seat.

The drive home to Kerr was just as anxious as the drive away from his sire, for he worried how Kerr was faring.  The return to his apartment laden with the cardboard box filled with a dozen bloodbags (all cold, but Ben didn\'t think it would matter too much), was a lot better, upon seeing Kerr on the sofa and partially undressed.  The sight of the tattoo on his chest made Ben\'s heart pang in pain, that he hadn\'t been nicer to Kerr about it.  Of course it pleased him, but he\'d been ungrateful to Kerr and rather petulant the night he\'d been shown.

"I love you," he blurted out when he lay the box down on the coffee table and pulled out one of the bags to hand over to Kerr.  He\'d noticed, when looking at them, that the bags actually came with a little pipe attached to it, which when untaped, could release the contents - very much like a straw.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Existentially Odd on November 03, 2007, 02:27:29 PM
Kerr chuckled warmly and took the proffered bag with a besotted smile.  "I won\'t ever get tired of hearing you say that," he told Ben happily, then he dropped a playful wink.  "You read my mind," he said, before turning his attention to the bag in his hand.  He\'d reached a nice state of staus quo where things weren\'t spinning very much and certainly not often at all - aided by the fact that he hadn\'t moved since he\'d sat down - so he could see the thing just fine, but it didn\'t look like the usual bags he bought.

With a slight frown of interest, he detached the little outlet and put it in his mouth.  Instinct took over and he drew voraciously on the bag, consuming the blood in record time and exchanging the empty one for a full when Ben held it out.  By the third one, the blood had begun to do its healing job and he was able to taste properly.  He realised that something was awry but couldn\'t place it, though he finished the third bag with a wrinkled nose, licking his lips thoughtfully.

"What... sort of blood is that?" he asked, frowning and pulling some more faces.  He\'d decided that the blood wasn\'t bad, per se, just... that it was different somehow and he wasn\'t sure whether it was something that had additives of some sort in it or whether it was a different type altogether.  It was certainly nothing he\'d ever tasted before.  When told it was pig\'s blood, his eyes sprang open widely and his face froze in a disgusted expression.  He chose not to speak immediately, for he couldn\'t trust that what he instinctively wanted to say would be polite, and blinked as he took the time to smooth his expression back to one of surprise.

"Well... that\'s different.  I\'ve never had animal blood before," he declared conversationally, trying not to imagine himself cosying up to a pig to drink from its neck and avoiding all the mud and those bristly hairs they had... his imagination gallivanted a bit anyway, unfortunately.  "I know some vampires swear by it, though," he considered, sitting up and placing his third empty bag on the coffee table - surprised to see so many more full bags in the cardboard box still - and then resting his hands on the cushions either side of his ass in order to slide himself back onto the couch properly.  He tilted his head from side to side cautiously once in place, pleased with the results.  "It obviously works, though."

He sounded surprised, because he was.  The idea of non-human blood turned his stomach if he thought about it too hard, but his system obviously didn\'t mind.  Blood was blood and it had healed the distortions Sawyl had left in his mind, despite being porcine in nature.

Noticing the way Ben was looking at him, he gave a reassuring smile and reached for him with open arms, fingers beckoning in such a way that they indicated he wanted Ben to crawl into his lap or at least come within hugging distance.  "C\'mere," he instructed, feeling much better now that time had passed and he\'d consumed enough blood to heal everything that his system hadn\'t been able to get to on its own, without that extra boost.  "You look worried; you worry too much, everything\'s fine," he murmured, waiting to see what his lover would do before he began explaining exactly why he shouldn\'t be concerned.

Before living with him, he\'d never have taken Ben for such a chronic worrier, he\'d always seemed so together.  Now that he knew him better, he was beginning to see that that stoic exterior was actually a cover for a being far softer and less confident within.  He loved that about him.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Trillian on November 04, 2007, 05:57:27 PM
Ben went to him upon request, sitting on the sofa instead of upon Kerr regardless of how he might be tugged at, then lifting and bending his knees over his sire\'s lap instead, hugging him from the side and resting his head on Kerr\'s shoulder.

"Did he agree not to?" Ben asked after a long moment passed, allowing himself to relax in Kerr\'s hold and not wanting to ruin their time with a question that was going to bring back a painful memory.  After a while his curiosity was rampant and he had to know, and he justified to himself that Kerr was his normal self again and would be able to face the fresh memory and relay it to his fledgling.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Existentially Odd on November 04, 2007, 08:05:55 PM
Kerr smiled and turned his body slightly, so that he was cuddling Ben and resting his cheek upon the top of his head.  "Yes, it went very well, in fact," he murmured, and began recounting everything that had happened from the moment he arrived at the mansion - even the cat\'s remains outside.  He detailed the way he spoke with all three of them first, then was taken into his old room and questioned about his tattoo first of all.

It was somewhat embarrassing for him to recount Sawyl wanting to know details about their relationship, especially after he\'d confessed to craving Ben so desperately upon walking into his old room, but he got through it easily enough.  He was obviously effected by the recount of why Sawyl had chosen him to sire, but was clear about pointing out that it was part of his greater plan in suckering Kerr into agreeing to his terms a few moments afterward - for Kerr had realised how he\'d been cleverly manipulated.

"He was wily, as usual.  I should\'ve seen it coming, but he made valid points... and then he said that he\'d not sire Mandy on two stipulations that he believed were equal to what he was giving up.  The second was that I owed him an unnamed favour at some point in the future; the first was that you and I should... go and visit with them when we come back, on a regular basis.  About... once a month?" he said, his voice raising because he was more or less asking for Ben\'s approval, even though it was a done deal.  He lifted his head and looked down towards his love cautiously, expecting quite a large reaction.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Trillian on November 04, 2007, 08:42:51 PM
A large reaction wasn\'t what he got, though Ben withdrew into his own thoughts and behind his usual blockade his emotions and thoughts were swirling at a dizzy rate as he pondered over what such a thing meant.

Visits.  Monthly visits with Sawyl and his mothers.  That freak-show 3-ring circus where he was prone to their skilled mental abilities and could probably not hide any of his secrets.  He was fledgling, he was vulnerable, and Kerr had agreed to put him forth in order to keep Mandy out.

Was she really so important?  Ben hadn\'t wanted the bond with her, but it wasn\'t something he would\'ve risked his life to stop.  Kerr obviously felt like the risk wasn\'t that huge but he hadn\'t been there when Sawyl had threatened him and mind-blasted Arles like a paper doll.  Plus, with Kerr coming back in the shape he\'d been in - and that had been considered going well?

Thing was, the agreement had been made, the deal was already negotiated and Sawyl would no doubt be angrier if they didn\'t visit him.  He was much more unstable and unpredictable than Lazarus.  Ben put him right up there with Declan.


"Yeh, okay," he said softly, for what else was there to say?  Though he stiffened in Kerr\'s arms, this was all that betrayed his irritation and fear.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Existentially Odd on November 04, 2007, 08:50:26 PM
Kerr was watching him worriedly, frowning as his tongue stud rubbed against the roof of his mouth.  "He\'s promised you\'ll come to no harm, naturally, and if he still takes Mandy under his wing to train her - despite not being her sire - she won\'t be in the house.  My theory is that he\'ll grow bored with us after one visit so it won\'t become a big thing, though... if you\'re against it, I can renege?" he offered seriously.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Trillian on November 04, 2007, 09:32:49 PM
Ben looked at him steadily, lifting his head away so he could do so, shifting their comfortable position only slightly.

"That\'ll make things worse," he said, as though he knew Sawyl as well as Kerr did.  Strangely, his time with Declan had prepared him for doing tasks that he didn\'t want to do, to face them bravely and without real question or challenge.  This was something that needed facing, and hopefully Kerr would be right, that his visit would bore Sawyl and he wouldn\'t need to go back.  Maybe not after one visit - he wasn\'t as optimistic as Kerr - but he wouldn\'t go out of his way to entertain the child vampire.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Existentially Odd on November 04, 2007, 09:49:34 PM
Kerr\'s expression was sheepish as he gazed at Ben.  "He has a way of talking me into things... a way of making me feel like I owe it to him, to visit.  It was weird," he said ruefully, giving a slight shake of his head, as if to dismiss such thoughts.

"We shook on it and I added that he wasn\'t to tell Mandy about our arrangement - that was what got me into the state I returned in," he pointed out, going on to explain everything Sawyl had explained to him about what he was doing to Kerr\'s mind and what had ensued when he\'d tried, finishing with how his sire had exited the room.

"He had no real idea what he was doing - I don\'t know if what he was trying will ever be possible, but it just felt a different way to hurt my brain, to me," he laughed, able to joke about it now that he was fully mended, despite the hideous state Sawyl\'s strange little experiment had left him in.  "I was just glad to leave in one piece, with his agreement that he wouldn\'t sire Mandy, if she asked."
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Trillian on November 04, 2007, 09:55:06 PM
Ben couldn\'t hold himself back.

"I hate her," he blurted.  He couldn\'t even remember why he\'d so badly wanted to be friends with her at one point.  All he knew now was his resentment, the bitterness he felt at the obligation he now had to visit Sawyl just because she\'d got the idea into her stupid head that she wanted to be sired.  He felt like she\'d insulted him at the core - like his whole life of desiring to be a vampire was upstaged by a fickle whim.

There was no way the drawing she\'d given him was going to remain intact for long, and now Kerr had no chance of ever keeping her paintings in their home - let alone displaying them on any wall in the apartment.

He wondered if Kerr would defend her again, and looked at him with a challenging gaze, to see if there would be any kindness left in him for her.  Likely there was, which was why Ben loved him - his forgiveness, his softness and tenderness - but right now it was unlikely he\'d be calm if Kerr justified her reasoning.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Existentially Odd on November 04, 2007, 10:01:25 PM
Kerr\'s expression crumpled and it was his turn to look worried.  He didn\'t want Ben openly confessing hatred for a woman he cared about and respected (even if he didn\'t respect her decision to become a vampire, he understood that it was a gesture borne of love), but he wasn\'t about to argue Ben\'s feelings away.  He felt what he felt.

"I\'m just... so sorry," he said softly, avoiding the entire emotional as pect of it all.  "When she offered to not see me any more tonight... I should\'ve accepted but, as far as I knew, you were okay with us seeing each other and... stuff.  When we get back from Europe, I have every intention of taking her up on the offer, okay?"

He looked hopefully at Ben, wanting to appease his fledgling\'s angst, needing to soothe his lover\'s ruffled feathers.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Trillian on November 04, 2007, 10:06:04 PM
Ben said nothing more, not feeling secure enough to say anything further about Mandy.  It was enough that he\'d said what he said and hadn\'t been closed to the expression on Kerr\'s face.  His mind was so blocked that he couldn\'t hear his sire\'s thoughts or feel any of his conflict, but he wasn\'t blind to body-language and facial expression - he\'d always known how those around him had felt, by simple observation.  Kerr was uncomfortable with what Ben had said, and he thought he would\'ve seen that even if he hadn\'t known him so well.

"I\'ll put the bags in the fridge," he said after a long moment, not wanting to address anything further.  "I\'m tired and... I want to sleep," he said as he extracted himself from Kerr\'s hold.  The latter he explained in case Kerr tried to stop him, either with action or with words.  He just wanted to rest and forget about tonight.  About all of tonight.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Existentially Odd on November 04, 2007, 10:12:13 PM
Kerr knew better than to push for a comment by now, so he followed quietly after Ben, watching him place the bags in the fridge thoughtfully.  He had other ideas about how they could absolve themselves of the night\'s activities besides just sleeping, but he wasn\'t sure if Ben would be up for anything active.  More than ever though, he felt he needed to confirm their connection with some acts of intimacy.  He preferred to settle down with the imprint of his lover on his body and in his mind, than his sire.

"Are you planning to drink some of them, too?" he asked hopefully, leaning his elbows on the kitchen bench to watch Ben load up the fridge.  He wasn\'t sure the animal blood would be something he could permanently acquire a taste for.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Trillian on November 04, 2007, 10:19:49 PM
Ben nodded and looked over at Kerr to see if his gesture had been noticed, though said \'yes\' softly as well, just in case.  He hadn\'t even realised that animal blood would be so different but Kerr\'s face on the final one he\'d drunk and after knowing what it was had told him that he might not like it either.  Being fledgling, the idea of blood from pigs didn\'t bother him so much, for he\'d eaten pork as a mortal so what was the difference between pig blood from pig flesh?  Maybe if he heated it up it wouldn\'t be so bad to Kerr, but he had to drink from it first.  Having the bags made him feel better anyway, just in case they needed an emergency supply like tonight - with Ben hungering and Kerr hurting.

He took his sire\'s hand as he passed, leading him to the bedroom and glancing over his shoulder a few times as he did so, to make sure that Kerr wasn\'t going to keel over.  Upon entering the room he intended on letting go of his hand and undressing, to sleep naked.  He wasn\'t thinking about being intimate, so anything Kerr instigated would be a surprise.
Title: Re: Best Laid Plans
Post by: Existentially Odd on November 04, 2007, 11:09:36 PM
Relieved that Ben would help him finish off the porcine extracts in the refrigerator, he smiled as his hand was taken, amused by the fact that he was watched carefully while he walked.  He felt fine and had talked for the past twenty minutes without incident, so his fledgling should be fully aware that he was back in control of all his faculties; Ben was obviously scarred by the condition he\'d returned in, though.

Hell, it was obvious the blonde wasn\'t completely himself, for he\'d left Kerr\'s shoes and shirt strewn about the floor and Mandy\'s artwork... come to think of it, he wasn\'t sure where the painting and drawing had got to, the point was that Ben hadn\'t tidied up after Kerr, so he obviously was still upset on some level.

Watching him undress, the Irishaman did the same, believing they both would benefit from some togetherness to centre them.  The shutters closed down the apartment as he dumped his jeans and underwear in the hamper, signalling that the sun would rise in an hour.  Ben was in bed first while Kerr circled it and joined him, smiling at his love\'s habit of covering himself up modestly - or perhaps the covers over him were for comfort, he wasn\'t sure.  Either way, Ben snuggled in while Kerr ignored the blankets altogether, rolling up against him for a kiss.

Soon enough, Kerr\'s lips slid along Ben\'s jaw and to his ear, where he nibbled at the lobe and delved languourously with his tongue.  They had an hour and he was in no rush.  "I want to taste you," he whispered, making his intent clear as his hand slid beneath the blankets and trailed over Ben\'s body and down to his groin, a path his mouth would soon follow.  The images he was focussing on in his mind as he predicted what he would do to his lover were already turning him on.

"I want to feel you everywhere... around me... inside me... you\'re my everything, all that matters.  Tomorrow night, we\'ll be far away from everyone but it\'s just us now and I need you.  I love you so much," he confessed, eyes closing as he allowed himself to become swept up in the moment.  He began to move lower, attempting to nudge the blankets off Ben and give him the access he desired.  When there was some hesitation he looked up to see an expression of surprise on Ben\'s face, but some concern as well.  Kerr took that look to mean his love still wasn\'t entirely confident he was alright.

With a devious grin, he pushed the blankets away more forcefully and set out to prove, once and for all, that he was.