Return (Coming Home)

Challenge SubmissionReturn (Coming Home)
By Ninzini

Story Notes

Short summary: A song-fic based around “Return (Coming Home)” by the Cruxshadows. Off their great album Wishfire.

Character: Thiede, Velaxis.

Spoilers: Everything up through Ghosts.

Song: You can sample a bit of “Return (Coming Home)” on the Cruxshadows “Downloads” page — use the little built-in player to scroll down to “Return” and double-click. I’ve always loved the triumphal quality of this song.

Author’s Notes:  This little fic is strongly inspired by “And The Flowers Bloom Like Madness in the Spring” & “After the Rains,” a pair of exquisite post-Ghosts fics by Camille Sinesis, focusing in on Thiede and Velaxis. That relationship, which made instant sense to me, is filled with so much poignancy and bittersweetness, to the point I wanted to touch on it a little myself.

Return (Coming Home)

Thiede gazed out across the rooftops of Immanion, out towards the harbor and deep into the distance, where the sun was quickly sinking beneath the horizon. The balcony terrace was tinted with orange-pink light. Thiede idly tapped his fingers on the arm of his chair as he waited. Waited for Velaxis to come home.

I’ve seen the terrible hand of struggle,
And felt the pain that hubris brings.
I have tasted the wisdom of divinity
And the horror of its sting.

Velaxis had spent the afternoon with the Hegemony, which was in session, and afterward, Thiede supposed, had kept himself busy working out details with individual Hegemons, striking deals and smoothing out problems as only he could. Thiede, meanwhile, had taken one of his periodical walks through the city, having lunch in an ordinary, simple restaurant and sitting on one of the city piers to watch the boats come and go. Then he’d enjoyed  long bath and a glass of wine on the terrace. There was nothing else that needed to be done.

And though they tell you I am lost,
And their words report my death is come,
The Fates have left me breathing still –
And very much alive.

Thiede decided to cast out his mind in search of Velaxis. No, he was not yet in this wing of the palace. A pity. Thiede had finished a bottle of wine and had nothing to do but wait. Such a waste of time, really, he thought to himself, although how he was wasting his time, he really couldn’t say. It was just a habit of mind, thinking that he had things to do. The days of running Immanion, plotting intrigue, puppeteering – charting the fate of the Wraeththu race –  were over. Now it was his turn to simply enjoy life and its simple pleasure. Thiede was still learning exactly what that meant.

The sun was nearly sunk below the horizon as Thiede turned his mind to Velaxis. Not where he was at that moment, but where he had been the night before: in Thiede’s bed, just as he’d been almost every night that week. Just the slightest brush of his mind on the memory triggered a rush of energy through his body, from the roots of his hair to his toes. Thiede leaned back and shifted in his chair, attempting to alleviate the sudden tightening of his groin. He groaned and closed his eyes: It had never been like this for him before. Never.

And thought my mind is cut by battles
Fought so long ago,
I return victorious –
I am coming home.

And if the paths that I have followed
Have tread against the flow,
There is no need for sorrow –
I am coming home.

He relaxed and drifted off into a half-doze, half-trance, thinking on it. So long he had scorned the longings professed by other hara, above all love and all its dependencies. It was pure selfishness, it was an aberration, a distraction from the real point of being Wraeththu. But now that he’d felt those longings himself, he could understand. Especially when his longing were so very strong.

For the distance I have traveled
Upon and ocean of despair
Has led me back into your arms once more,
An answer to a little prayer.

A tingling sensation, like a bell, snapped Thiede back to full awareness: Velaxis, entering his apartments. He didn’t hear a sound and didn’t need to, because he simply knew it was so. Another rush of desire flew through his body. Thiede gripped the arms of his chair and sighed, grinding his teeth. It was a good thing he didn’t have anything to do because the only thing he could think about was aruna, and how soon he might get some.

And though they tell you I am lost,
And their words report my death is come,
The Fates have left me breathing still –
And very much alive.

A few moments later and Thiede felt warm hands caressing his shoulders from behind. Yet another rush of energy assaulted him. Unconsciously, his right hand traveled down to his groin, where the situation was becoming nearly unbearable.

“I’m back,” Velaxis said softly, unnecessarily. Dropping a valise to the floor, he lowered himself onto Thiede’s lap and placed a kiss on his cheek. “Did you miss me?”

Thiede responded with a arch look. “What, me? No, of course I was busy – too busy to think of you.” He flexed his body to rub his evident arousal against Velaxis’ backside. “No, I wasn’t think of you at all.” Thiede was astounded at just how quickly his desires were becoming even more uncomfortable.

And thought my mind is cut by battles
Fought so long ago,
I return victorious –
I am coming home.

“I’m glad,” Velaxis commented, smiling and throwing and arm behind Thiede’s neck. “Away all day, I kept hoping you’d be all right. I almost came back here to check, but I got caught up in business and usual and you’re very much a grown har, so—”

Thiede’s patience gave way and he roughly turned Velaxis around in his lap, so they were facing one another, groin to groin. “Thank you, I was quite all right. But now—” he gestured his head towards the bedroom, just off the terrace – “now I’m thinking of you quite a lot.”

Velaxis dipped his head and suckled Thiede’s throat, just at the meeting with his collarbone. Thiede curled his toes and shuddered. “You have no idea what you do to me,” he muttered.

“Oh, but I do… I do,” Velaxis breathed.

And if the paths that I have followed
Have tread against the flow,
There is no need for sorrow –
I am coming home.

A minute later, after moments Thiede could not later recall, they were on the bed, hands, lips and tongues exploring, caressing. Items of clothing lay scattered across the floor. Candles were lit, although no matches were to be seen.

Thiede lay soume, groaning and panting as Velaxis expertly worked his sikras, one by one. He bit into Velaxis’ shoulder, which he loved to do and which Velaxis seemed to enjoy himself. The pleasure was reaching the nearly unbearable level when Thiede felt Velaxis’ hands begin to do something different: He was working on his ouana-lim.

Yet another overwhelming pulse of energy thrummed through Thiede’s body. Again. And again. Soume and ouana, he flowered into Vexaxis’ talented hand. Darque had told him about this pleasure and Thiede of course knew of it from other hara, he had seen it through their minds, but he had never experienced it for himself.

“I feel so complete,” he moaned raggedly. He was beyond trying to control, trying to rein in his emotions. “So complete.”

Velaxis continued with his rhythm and nodded. “I know. As you should be. You have come home.”

Thiede arched his back as a shower of stars shot out of the ethers, into his body and out through every pore. Fires consumed him without and within, and when the blaze had gone, Thiede found that indeed, he had come home, and he was glad to be there.

The End



  1. elfscribe5 said,

    April 2, 2009 at 4:15 pm

    Enjoyed your depiction of Thiede’s desire for Velaxis and their relationship. Especially liked: “I’m back,” Velaxis said softly, unnecessarily.

  2. niennaainur said,

    April 6, 2009 at 11:24 am


  3. dolciana said,

    April 12, 2009 at 1:46 am

    Nice. And I’m happy that Thiede has somehar who cares for him 🙂 Velaxis and Thiede seem to be an even match.

  4. July 8, 2009 at 6:48 pm

    […] “Return (Coming Home)” by Ninzini […]

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