Rating R – angst warning!
Summary: Set in the aftermath of Fulfilments. An attempt to break down the wall seperating Pellaz and Cal, and Pell’s struggle to step away from the Tigron mask he has worn for so long.
Spoilers Up to and including Fulfilments
Disclaimer The characters and the world they inhabit belong to Storm Constantine, I’m just playing with them.
A/N this is a fic I wrote a while back for haylzee which I thought people here might be interested in. Any cheese is entirely my fault.
Pellaz took Cal’s hand and, ignoring both the looks from the hara around them and Cal’s questions, started to make his way through the crowd. He led Cal on a weaving path between the dancing couples, all of whom stopped to watch them pass. Pellaz’s long robes brushed against the curious onlookers as he wound between them, still keeping a firm grip on Cal’s hand. Thankfully, Cal’s finger’s gripped his in return and he did not hesitate in following Pell, despite his trepidation.
Pellaz’s lifted his robes with his free hand and practically ran up the large staircase that led to the grand doors out of the ballroom. At the top of the stairs he paused as his assistant Vaysh stepped into their path. Cal assumed there would be some sort of standoff but Pellaz simply raised his head, staring meaningfully into Vaysh’s eyes with his teeth clenched. The redhaired har held his ground for a few moments before bowing slightly and stepping aside. Instantly, Pell pulled on Cal’s hand and led him out of the room.
Cal didn’t ask any questions as they hurried through the marbled corridors of Phaonica together. Pellaz slipped them through a concealed door which led to a shortcut to his apartments and their footsteps echoed lightly as they left the noise of the ballroom behind. Cal could sense a frustrated need rolling off Pellaz. It was so paletable it practically formed a dark cloud around Pellaz but Cal could not pinpoint its source, or what had caused it to manifest so severly this particular night. Tension had remained between them ever since Cal arrived in Immanion, and their relationship, though physically passionate was strained and brittle.
Pellaz had been distant throughout the extravagant function which was being held to celebrate the summer solistice and when Cal had looked into Pell’s eyes as they danced, he had seen deep and uncontained pain there. Pellaz’s expression had made Cal grimace, but the wall between them meant he could do little more than touch Pell’s face before Pell pulled away.
Cal had no time to talk to Pellaz before the Tigron mask was back in place and he disappaered to make polite conversation with the many fawning hara around him. When Pellaz reappered it was to take his hand and wisk him out of the ballroom. They still hadn’t spoken.
Pellaz led Cal to his rooms which were guarded by two statuesque Gelaming who stood at either side of the entrance to the apartment. Pellaz did not spare them a glance but looked up at Cal and caught his eye briefly, as if to gauge Cal’s reaction. Cal merely stared back at him, and Pellaz turned back to the door, appearing somewhat flustered. He hesitated with one hand on the door handle, the other still clasping Cal. Then he pushed open the heavy door, at the same time releasing Cal’s hand. He walked into the dark room beyond and left Cal to decide whether he wanted to come in or not.
Of course Cal followed and the door shut behind him with a decieving glide and a light click. He stood in the empty foyer, illuminated by dim lighting and took some deep breaths. He felt as if they were on the edge of some kind of revelation; a new door was about to open – it had to. They could not continue on the way they were, stiltedly unable to talk through the past that clogged their throats yet unable to keep physically apart. Pellaz and Cal tore at each other in the dark hours of night, finding temporary relief through aruna with each other. But daylight always ensured the wall went back up, and the mask Pellaz had perfect years ago was never fully removed, not even when they were alone. A chasym seemed to stand between them, one that their bodies could cross but their minds, their hearts could not.
So much time had passed, so much had happened, that Cal wondered if they could ever truely be together again. They certainly could never be together as they were, neither the Calanthe nor the Pellaz of Saltrock existed anymore.
Running his hands through his hair Cal exhaled forcefully and went in search of Pellaz.
He found the other har in his bedroom, seated on the side of his large bed. Pellaz’s hands were clasped tightly in his lap and he kept his head down as Cal moved tentatively across the room and sat beside him. They remained that way, silent beside each other, until eventually Pellaz took a shaky breath and raised his head. When he turned his face, Cal saw tears in Pell’s eyes, though his cheeks were dry.
Pellaz smiled faintly and abruptly grabbed Cal’s hands. “I want to show you something,” he whispered, then squeezed Cal’s hands briefly before standing up, leaving Cal where he was.
Cal watched silently as Pellaz made his way across to where a vanity stood against one wall. Above it was a large mirror framed in gold and Cal could clearly see Pellaz reflected in it. Pell kept his eyes locked on Cal’s face as shrugging his shoulders he let the peacock blue outer robe he wore fall off his shoulders and pool at his feet.
Cal watched as Pellaz shakily untied the second, lighter robe – this one golden- and let it fall to his feet. Pellaz now stood bare from the waist up, his skin glowing softly in the dim light. His body was firm, no longer the soft young one Cal had known in Megalithica, but still smooth. Cal had intimately learned the plains of Pellaz’s new skin since his arrival in Immanion.
Dressed only in loose, draping pants, Pellaz reached up to remove the clasps holding his elaborate hair style in place. Ebony satin fell about him as his hair was released and tumbled down his back. Cal still marvled at the length of it. It flowed over Pell’s shoulders and down his back like liquid and shon even in the soft lighting. Like all of Pell’s beauty, it was surely the stuff of Gods’.
Cal looked back up at Pellaz’s face and saw the other har’s eyes still trained on his. The darker har then began to systematically remove the many piece of jewelery he wore, starting with the golden chain which encircled his throat and hung down to his belly. Rings, bracelets and earings followed, then he removed the gold which lay across his forhead and had sparkled so brightly earlier that evening in the ballroom.
The jewelery lay piled on the dresser and Pellaz rested his hands on it for a moment, finally lowering his head. He appeared to be physically shaking and Cal wanted to go over to him and comfort him. Something held him back however, and he knew this was Pellaz’s moment. The Tigron was on his own threshold, and Cal could only wait for him.
Pell looked up again and Cal saw a single tear on the other har’s cheek. He shifted uncomfortably but before he could say anything Pell reached for a cloth on the dresser. He didn’t look at Cal now, but instead studied his own reflection as he wiped the cloth across his face, deftly removing the makeup that decorated it. Gold powder, dark kohl and shimmering gloss came away, leaving Pell’s face bare and exposed. Maskless.
Finally Pellaz lowered his hands, leaving the cloth on top of the abandoned jewerly. He refused to meet Cal’s eyes for a moment, and Cal could see Pellaz swallow hard before he raised his head. Their gazes locked and Cal could see a measure of the Tigron still remaining in the way Pell held his chin, though now it was plainly mixed with a har who was entirely more familiar.
When Pellaz spoke, his voice was little more than a whisper. “Now you see.”
Pellaz slowly turned to face him and Cal took a deep breath as he rose and looked into the face of his chesnari without its mask for the first time since their reunion. Pellaz’s self lay bare to him, all traces of hegemonic control gone. Tears glimmered brightly in his eyes and his hands were shaking. Cal doubted if anyone had seem Pellaz like this since he had been crowned Tigron.
Cal took a few steps forward, stopping directly in front of Pellaz. His close proximity seemed to scare Pell, as he shut his eyes and virtually gasped for breath. When he opened his eyes again Cal reached up and gently, gently touched his face. Tears fell from Pell’s eyes as Cal gently framed his face with his hands. Pell’s hands reached up of their own accord and wrapped around Cal’s wrists.
Cal smiled faintly, his eyes flickering across Pell’s features. “Pellaz Cavarro…”
The words undid Pell and he groaned aloud as his knees buckled and he slid to the floor. “No…”
Cal crouched beside him and took Pell’s face in his hands once more. Pell stared at him through his tears, at once relieved and revolted at his emotional outburst. “Not anymore, Cal. And never again.”
Cal smoothed his hair back, his thumbs tracing away Pellaz’s tears. “No,” he agreed which only made Pellaz convulse, tears flowing harder.
Cal pulled his face up. “You are not Pellaz Cavarro,” he said softly. “But who am I? Certainly not the Calanthe you knew.”
Pellaz grasped frantically for Cal, clutching skin and cloth. He wanted to pull Cal closer and at the same time, shove him away as the words he had dreaded hearing fell from Cal’s lips.
“I don’t know you,” Cal whispered.
Cal gripped him fiercely, forcing Pellaz to meet his gaze. “But one thing remainds,” he hissed. “One thing, Pell. It sustained me through years and nourished my soul when madness took me and I wasn’t aware of who I was, where I was. Us, Pellaz! Our love was a living creature I couldn’t abandon even when I thought I wanted to!” He pressed his forehead painfully against Pell’s. “We remain.”
Pellaz shook, unable to speak as he gazed into Cal’s eyes which were shining with purple fire.
Abruptly he pulled Pell to his knees and held him flush against his body. He pressed their lips together, tipping Pellaz’s head back as his breath flooded through the darker har. Pellaz seemed shocked for a moment, but then his breath flowed into Cal in return in a spiral of both love and hate. Emotions swirled around them, wrapping them up tightly together. When they finally released each other, Cal was shaking too. What he felt throbbing through him was not simply the physical desire that had filled all their previous encounters in Phaonica, it was more than that.
Cal smoothed his hands over Pell’s hair as the other har gripped him closely, peppering Cal’s face with kisses.
“I wanted you to see,” Pell murmured raggedly. “I wanted you to see me…”
Cal stilled Pell, looking into his eyes and tenderly caressing his cheek. “I see you.