Date: Thu, 13 May 2010 09:37:36 -0600 From: Katya_Dee <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: The Year of the Salamander, chapter 21 Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction. All the resemblances are completely coincidental. All the characters, situations, and everything else in the story is owned by myself beloved. Contains descriptive sexual scenes between males. If you are not supposed to read it, do not read it! Feel free to e-mail me. This is a sequel to Specter' Gamble </nifty/gay/sf-fantasy/specters-gamble/>. You don't have to read the first one in order to get this one, but it would make it easier to understand the characters in this story. - XXI - Gabriel almost said something several times about Desmond's driving, but he would bite his tongue right before he opened his mouth. Desmond's jaw was locked very tightly right then, and Rayhe was quite positive that he *would *throw him out of the car if he said something. Not when it was moving, of course, but still... He had no desire to end up on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere, under that blasted rain. Finally, after two hours or so, Desmond's jaw relaxed somewhat, and Gabriel let out a small, relieved sigh. "What were you muttering about the fire guy?" he asked carefully, and Desmond shot him a quick glance. "A month ago," he said unwillingly. "On the day when Tess told me about the sacrifice... I went for a drive and ran out of gas..." "Yeah," Gabriel nodded with a small frown. "I remember. You never said what happened that night." "I got stuck in some dead-end street," Desmond's eyes were fixed on the road in front of him. "Then some car pulled in... At first, I thought it was someone who would actually help. Turned out to be two asswipes who started blabbering some shit... I thought they mistaken me for someone else, but then one of them mentioned the fact that some `blond shit' broke his nose on Saturday night after he was trying to `help out' with the tire problem..." "Tire problem...?" Gabriel frowned deeper. "Hold on... Didn't Sam say that your tire blew that one night?" "Uh huh," Desmond said darkly. "I knew right then that the assholes did something to him..." "Desmond," Gabriel said very calmly. "Did they..." "No," Desmond interrupted him. "That's what I thought, but then the asswipe said that some `fire guy' showed up..." "And you believed him?" Rayhe asked in the same very calm voice. "Yeah," Desmond nodded shortly. "He wasn't lying. I know that not just because I can fucking sense lies, but also because it is very easy to speak the truth when you have a key shoved in your ear..." "Go on," Rayhe nodded after a few seconds. Now he sounded convinced. "Well, that damn fire guy apparently burned their asses," Desmond continued. "So when they saw my car, they figured they could get their revenge. Sam broke one dick's nose and knocked out a couple of teeth from the other one..." "What did you do with the bodies?" Gabriel asked in the same calm manner. "I didn't kill them," Desmond said evenly without taking his eyes off the road. "You didn't?" Now Rayhe sounded thoughtful. "Why?" "Because Sam never told either one of us about the incident," Desmond reached for the cigarettes. "Just drive," Rayhe grabbed the pack and pulled out a cigarette. He lit it and handed it to Desmond. "That means," Desmond gave a small `thank-you' nod. "That means, he didn't want them dead. Therefore, I did not kill them." "I see..." Gabriel lit another cigarette for himself. "I knew that Sam was probably seeing that damn fire guy," Desmond said darkly. "I figured he didn't want us to know about how they've met... But I did not see this one coming... The Fire-bloody-Guardian?! Shit!" He slammed one of his hands onto the steering wheel. "I fucking hate them...!" "Desmond, this is not about you," Rayhe said quietly. "You can hate them all you want, but that `fire guy' makes him happy, all right? You can bitch and moan about it for as long as you need, but Des..." He took a drag on his cigarette. "Don't even think of ruining it for him. Don't give him any shit about it..." "Oh, I will give him plenty of shit about it," Desmond said slowly. "Believe me..." "Right..." Gabriel muttered. "But don't try to make him choose between you and Blair, do you understand me? Because if you do that..." "I am not *that *selfish, Rayhe," Desmond said sharply. "When did you find out?" "A couple of hours before you came home," Gabriel sighed. "I saw them in the coffee shop. Then I lured Sam home, and made him spill everything..." He remembered about the dog food. "Literally," he nodded. "Goddammit..." Desmond muttered in less hostile voice than before, and Gabriel relaxed a little. "Let's go home, I am tired. I want to go to sleep." Gabriel glanced at the gas meter. "Stop by the gas station," he sighed, avoiding looking at the speedometer. ...They came home at 1:30 in the morning and Sam's car was parked in its usual spot. Desmond muttered something under his breath. "Just..." "Shut up, Rayhe!" "Desmond, just..." "I said, shut up, Rayhe!" Desmond pushed the front door open, walked inside, and kicked off his boots. The dog wagged his tail and started towards them, but then he saw Desmond's expression and changed his mind, wisely deciding to retreat behind Sam's chair. Sam looked beyond tight. "Went for a drive?" He asked in a small voice. "Yes," Desmond nodded energetically. "The weather is simply charming, isn't it? Nice and warm... Well," he continued after he walked into the kitchen. "Not for the rest of us, naturally, since we don't have our own heat-producing-fire-spitting human radiator, but it's not a problem for you, is it?" "Desmond..." "Shut up, Rayhe!" "Desmond..." "Yes, Sam?" "Sorry about lying to you... I just... I didn't know if you... I couldn't figure out how to tell you and... I mean, you hate them, and I didn't want to... I just..." Desmond sighed and opened the fridge. "Don't sweat it, kid," he said tiredly. "Yes, I do hate them, and yes, I don't like being lied to, but..." He shrugged. "I am not the one who has to deal with one of them, so it's all good." "Desmond, I..." "Okay, kid, start crying right now, and the amount of shit that you are going to get from me about this whole thing is going to double itself, understood?" "Uh huh..." "What the hell is this doing here?" Desmond frowned and pulled a bottle of coffee creamer out of the fridge. "Oh," Sam sniffled. "I got it today, it's really good..." Desmond rolled his eyes and shoved the bottle back into the fridge. "That crap should be illegal," he muttered. "Butchering perfectly good coffee..." He shook his head, and Sam's expression became funny. "What?" "Nothing," Sam quickly shook his head, and Desmond rolled his eyes again. "Right... I am going to bed. Good night!" "Night, Desmond..." Sam called after him. He waited until Desmond slammed the bedroom door shut and looked at Gabriel. "You know," he said thoughtfully. "They are so much alike, it's creepy..." "Who?" Gabriel asked absent-mindedly, digging through the fridge. "Desmond and Blair," Sam said, and Rayhe looked at him silently. "Seriously," Sam nodded. "I am not talking about the way they look... The personalities... Blair said the exact same thing about the coffee creamer when I got it today... And they drive the same way... Hell, they even listen to the same kind of music!" He shook his head. "And don't get me started on their tempers... Creepy," he nodded once again. "Just don't tell that to Desmond," Gabriel said quickly. "Keep it to yourself, okay?" "Right..." Sam smiled. "How bad was it? When you told him... How bad did it get?" "On a scale from one to ten, I'd say eight-and-a-half," Gabriel nodded thoughtfully. "He didn't bitch much, which made it worse because he took it out on the speed limit, and considering the rain... Yeah, I'd rather him bitch," he nodded. "He calmed down though. Don't worry about him. He will give you crap about it, but there is nothing you can do, so just suck it up." "Not a problem," Sam said seriously. "Thanks, Gabriel..." "Uh huh..." Rayhe yawned. "Night, Sam... I am exhausted now. Dealing with him when he is in a murderous mood, always takes it out of me, you know?" "Yeah... Night, Gabriel." Gabriel made his way to the bedroom, trying to make as little noise as possible, figuring that Desmond would probably do him some bodily harm right now if disturbed too much. He slid under the blanket very carefully, trying not to shake the bed, and thought of wrapping his arm around his mate. Then he let out a small sigh and decided against that. He closed his eyes, and was startled when all of a sudden, he felt Desmond's breath on his face. He looked into those green eyes that stared at him without blinking, and carefully ran his fingers through the long black hair. "I figured you would just want to sleep..." he muttered. "Shut up, Rayhe..." Desmond murmured and helped Gabriel to do just that, cutting off his air supply with his mouth. **** It got somewhat better and worse at the same time after that night. Better, because Sam didn't have to hide anything anymore, and that made him feel almost dizzy with relief. Worse, because Desmond would take every single opportunity – and there were quite a few of them – to remind Sam (and Gabriel, who didn't share his `dislike' for the Guardians) about the fact that he was *not *happy about the situation, and that he would rather slit his own throat than to hang out with Blair one of those days. Sam brought up the topic one night, and Desmond laughed until he almost cried. "Kid," he said after he could breathe somewhat normally. "He makes you happy, that's great!" Here he gave Sam thumbs-up. "But don't think even for a second that I would be ecstatic to sit around with that guy and make some sort of small talk... Ain't gonna happen! If Rayhe wants to do it, that's fine with me..." Here he threw a very dark look at Gabriel, silently letting him know that it would *not*, in fact, be fine with him. "But I'll be damned if I go anywhere near him! I care about you, therefore, I am glad for a fact that you are happy... Just don't put me into the equation, okay?" Sam just sighed at that and silently nodded his head. Desmond never let Rayhe know that he was having those nightmares that started at the end of September, much more often right now. When he started waking up with his heart racing and his hands shaking at the end of September, it would happen once every ten days or so. Now it was happening at least twice a week. When he woke up, he would inevitably remember nothing. Not a single bloody thing, as if someone (or something) erased every single memory of the damn nightmare out of his mind. He had no idea what to make of it, so he decided that the damn `fire guy' was the reason for all of this. Him and the semester, which was coming to an end. Desmond didn't expect so many of his students to get below average 75 on all of the tests. At first, he thought that maybe he made the tests too hard; but then, noticing that Richie Zabrowski and a couple of others had no problems with the tests whatsoever, he discarded that idea. If Zabrowski could do it, so could the others. Finally, he decided to be even more strict (`pain-in-the-ass') than he usually was. To his surprise and satisfaction, it worked, and the average grade of the tests slowly crept up to a satisfying 80. However, even with that, the damn nightmares never backed down. Desmond kept waking up, choking on his own scream, sweating like a goat, remembering nothing, at least twice a week. The entire sacrifice matter was nothing but a dead-end as well. It seemed like nothing was happening to Sam (and Desmond expected at least something, since it was almost December by now); he would be spell-free (not just according to Rayhe, but Tess as well. Desmond dragged Sam to see her one of those days, making up some lame excuse for that) every time he came home; and he would spend time with Blair, and Blair alone. It was driving Desmond up the wall, and making him feel enormously relieved ("Oh, thank God he is not hanging out with anyone who could actually harm him!") at the same time. It was the very end of December (two or three days before Solstice) when Desmond felt a very strong urge to kill.