impertinences: (a crimson future)
you're too young & eager to love ([personal profile] impertinences) wrote on July 15th, 2014 at 07:00 pm
This is unfinished, but I sometimes wait too long to return to a piece and then I have difficulty picking things back up. Blah. I blame working and grading lackluster papers.

Anyways, I wish this could be longer and have an actual ending! But my wifey-poo wanted more Chason and Ita desert moments, so here. Since they exist in the same universe as Roman and Lene, I figured it wasn't cheating on our current storyline.

--


Gone.


Disappeared.

That is what the watchmen and guards must tell Harrow, although the official report of the incident will say: escaped (abduction possible but not probable).

It doesn’t seem likely, even with the power outage and thus the failed footage from the security cameras, that two of the compound’s occupants managed to escape so quickly (they’re never labeled prisoners - in fact Ita’s file clearly marks her as a companion and all the receipts for her various legal transactions, ending with the one baring Harrow’s father’s signature, are included. Chason is merely called a donor but of what his file does not say). The desert surrounding the area is vast but hardly impenetrable; there is little protection from the environment and even fewer places to hide. It is true that the confusion that night lasted for hours and struck a panic in every human heart, making the blame difficult to place. Some of the holding cells’ automatic locks were released when the power broke and rumors of half-human beasts, grotesquely frozen in mid-change, clawing the throats of every civilian they encountered, spread like wildfire. The affluent hid behind their prized and paid for guards, too ignorant to fear the possibility of anarchy, while the armed men fired their guns at shadows too quickly and too often.

In Harrow’s arrogance, he had never thought to check on Ita, so it is only when the power is restored that he finds her missing.

An eight-hour lapse in judgment.

When she is not found in a week, it is only Roman that will dare to say to him – perhaps, perhaps she should just be let go. There will be others. There are always others.

But Roman does not understand, cannot understand, for how, Harrow demands, how can he let go of what is clearly his?

--

Chason knows this world. He has prowled and hunted for years, surviving on sweets hidden within the barren lands. He knows how maps can be made by the moon and stars, how to follow the light on the horizon, and he remembers all the dilapidated shacks that still exist as icons from a different time.

Eight hours is enough – half of it spent as beasts, the other in human skin, and all of it cloaked by the deception of night.

The human’s drugs (forcibly injected twice a day – he has the marks to prove it) make it impossible for him to keep his dog-like form for very long. When they stand on two legs, he must drag Ita up the dunes by the elbow, persistent and overbearing. Her body gets tangled in the burdensome layers of her heavy skirts, her scarves that do not shield her from the burning rays of the sun once the day breaks above the horizon.

She is tired and wounded, but somehow not as wounded as he. Or so he thinks. He feels the old terror drilling inside of his heart – the constant rhythm of fire and storm and ash, half anger and half despair. Chason does not know what he has done or what his future holds, and he finds himself uncertain on the grimy, barren precipice of tomorrow.

When they finally stop to rest, Ita’s hair is thick with sand and his mouth is dry with worry.

She says, “It’s like you’re the wound, open and raw, and I am the fist full of salt.”

Chason laughs, barking and bite-like. “And here I thought I was the salt.”


--

He thinks it must be easier for her, in so many ways. He holds this like a bitter taste on his tongue, a prickle of cactus leaf that he’s half addicted to. A sense of self-righteousness.

But he loves how the light gets caught in her hair and the taste of the salt on her skin when he licks her collarbone.

She laughs so easily at times that it startles him.

“Is this it?” Ita asks him over a scavenged dinner against a burning desert fire.

“What?”

“How freedom feels?”

He shrugs his dark shoulders, sprawled comfortably against dry wood. Freedom to him is the cackle of pack mates, the thrill of a hunt, the smell of Austin’s sweat and the somehow cruel look of her approving smile. “You tell me. Do you miss your silver platters? Your scented baths?” He sounds harsher than he means to.

Ita bites her lip, runs her fingers nervously against her knee. She has her legs tucked close to her body but she’s still cold. She doesn’t know how to tell him that all cages are not gilded and freedom is more internal than external. That now is the first time her heart feels full and flooded and that she would prefer his harshness to Harrow’s most gentle of days.

Some things take time.

--

During their third week, they get caught in a lightning storm. The sand around them swirls, and Ita heads for cover. Chason watches the bolts of fire and feels a laugh erupt like a threat in his chest. He forms trenches in the sand, pacing with worry. The arid heat prickles his skin, makes his hair stick up and his fists clench. He wants to shed his clothes and bury himself into the night, slink like a feral beast against the weather, bowing his head to the will of the storm and a fate that he finds unbearable to fight.

He goes to her instead and tries to lose himself, to tangle his fingers into her hair, to cradle her head within his palms and bruise her mouth with his. She is pliant and willing and too easy to mold. He thinks he can hear the beat of his heart and hers in his ears, her palms against his chest and the small of his back like irons that scald his skin, the slick crevice between her thighs acting as the anchor between their bodies. He bites her shoulders and the tender spot beneath her ear. She drags his nails over his spine in an attempt to claim him, and he laughs her name against the pale column of her throat.

Afterwards, she draws lazy circle across his chest with his fingertips and asks about children.

He does not tell her that the compound’s medicine may have sterilized him or how Austin had tried for months, craving that particular feminine need, an attempt to fill a certain void, or how her disappointment manifested in the sharpness of her bite. Instead, he nips at her ear and snickers.

“Fatherhood,” Chason says, “is best left for brutes.”

“It could have your spots.”

“With your wings?”

“The better to shock them with,” she says, laughing with mirth. A sound that rumbles against her chest.

Outside, the lightning continues to strike.

--
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