impertinences: (so I ran faster)
you're too young & eager to love ([personal profile] impertinences) wrote on April 16th, 2014 at 07:43 pm
This might be crap, but I don't caaareeee. I'm just excited to write something.

A little Roman warm-up thing!

--


Roman has had too much to drink. He knows this intellectually and feels it physically; he should care, but he doesn’t. And while the finest of whiskeys (at least of the remaining limited supplies) can’t quite satiate his real thirst, he’s learned to appreciate the distraction, even after all these years. More importantly, he’s still the most sober of Harrow’s elite inner council – a sorority of the affluent and privileged, a circle of yes-men for the compound’s young president – but, he supposes, that isn’t really saying much. Harrow, three feet away, is hardly sitting straight, his half empty drink dangling from his fingers, his eyes bloodshot and cruel. His savagery is more apparent whenever he’s drunk too much; it comes out in his unbridled gaze, his slack madman’s grin, his boisterous voice. The other three men are in various states of intoxicated undress – a crumpled suit jacket is on the floor, ties are hanging from their necks or slipping from their once meticulous knots, and dress shirts are unbuttoned more and more. This, Roman knows, is thanks to the companions.

They’re a small group tonight, only five or so, including Harrow’s swan. Ita is the only claimed companion; the others are desperate prospects, hoping to attach themselves to one of the councilmen. They have accepted their roles in this world, and they cling to the delusion that affiliation and ownership will bring them some level of comfort, some veil of privilege and safety. It’s a blind dream, but Roman has seen it before in the eyes of many dying souls. Their flames are all but burnt out. He can smell that much on them.

There’s a coppery haired girl fidgeting with her dress in the corner, the gossamer material translucent, mesh-like, and meant to highlight her budding curves. All Roman can see is a child, barely thirteen, trussed up like a five-cent trinket. Yesterday’s trash. But he opens his arms to her anyway, his predatory grin diluted from the whiskey, and he turns his face into the crook of her neck when she crawls into his lap. She is dainty, delicate, and he still has the deep, sinister urge to break her bones, to drink her marrow, to swallow the current of her life. Instead, he nips at her prominent collarbone, the bristle of his beard scratching her peach skin, and runs his calloused palms down her naked arms, feeling the downy of her hair rise with his touch.

She smells like ripening fruit and fear – it’s a potent combination and it goes straight to his head.

He palms her thin calves, tugs at her makeshift dress, moves his mouth to the delicate spot where her jaw meets her ear. He murmurs something to her in German, all brutish, drunken charm, and she giggles. A flair of innocence in an otherwise tarnished husk. He had forgotten how much he missed broken, easily bruised things. He wants to tear away her clothing, bite at the underside of her prepubescent breasts, cup the backs of her thighs in his large hands, and bury his teeth into the pulsing vein at her neck. He wants so much that he groans, audibly, and the child laughs again, a silvery, tinkling laugh as she twists his hair between her fingers in feigned affection.

It’s the groan that ruins it. Roman isn’t known for revealing much – vulnerability, desire, anger – he’s a stoic, part of Harrow’s foundational architecture, as smooth as stone. When the veneer cracks, it’s enough to catch Harrow’s attention. Something in the air stills, thickens with tension, and Roman sees the outline of the other man’s body from the corner of his vision when he opens his eyes. He slides one hand to the inside of the prospect’s thigh, keeps the other on her hip in a gesture of territorial claiming, and uses his solder’s voice to grumble a bemused “Fuck off, yeah?”

Harrow sways. He barks a laugh, but the noise is harsh and bitter and he kicks at Roman’s foot like a petulant toddler seeking attention. “Apologize. You’re overstepping. What do – what do you have here, hmm?” He’s slurring, grabbing the top of Roman’s chair, making the girl cringe and curl closer to the other man, already feeling, foolishly, safer in his arms. Harrow notices and the whiskey causes his dangerous temper to curdle; he snatches her by the coppery length of her hair, pulls her from Roman’s lap, and slaps her across the mouth until she bleeds. When she makes the mistake of trying to run away, one of the others on the council trips her, laughing at the cry she makes when she hits the floor at a hard, awkward angle.

Like a lion attacking prey, Harrow is on her, kicking at her exposed sides and then her arms when she tries to cover herself. He yells till he froths at the mouth, cawing about respect and the impertinence of beasts. He rages until he stumbles backward, losing his balance, and it’s Roman that catches him by the arm, Roman that claps him on the back in a mock-salute, Roman that tells him enough is enough. Harrow, wild-eyed, shrugs free from the brunette before meeting his gaze. They stare at each other for a heavy moment, weighing the tension between them, before Roman laughs and turns away, picking up his discarded whiskey. “If you wanted to share, all you had to do was ask.”

It’s enough to make the room laugh, and the men’s mirth almost covers the sounds of the girl’s hitching, pained breaths.

“Kim!” Harrow barks towards the closed doors, stepping back towards his second in command, laying a hand on the back of his neck in a surprisingly forward gesture of intimacy. Roman gives Harrow the rest of his whiskey, distracting him when he tries to yell for his striker once more.

“I will handle it. Just bring me a replacement, yes?”

His hand has the cold feel of death when he grasps the shifter’s arm and yanks her, unkindly, to her feet. She has the rasping, wheezing cries of someone with a broken rib. Roman can smell the blood inside of her and the closer, fresher blood smeared across her mouth. He keeps his eyes forward and steels his resolve, pushing through the door with his shoulder, ignoring the glance of pity that he catches in Ita’s eyes.

He doesn’t look back. The girl is dragging her feet, hardly walking, an empty bundle of weight in his hold. Part of him thinks it would be best if he found some dark corner, some midnight alley near the loading docks, and soothed away the pain of her existence with a quick rip and deep swallow. But Kim has already seen him – she of the expressionless gaze, of the cold blood and merciless whip – and is taking the offensive whelp away.

She gives Roman a curt nod, but he doesn’t return it.
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