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    Aditus
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Caesura - 3. Chapter 3

Noël sat behind Diarmad’s desk rolling a paperweight around in his hands: a perfect ivy leaf captured in glass─its beauty conserved forever─yet dead. The dark study felt oddly cold, deserted. Diarmad was touring the Seraei settlements up north. A trip he had originally planned to make during spring break, so Noël could accompany him.

Suddenly, quiet laughter bubbled up inside him, a strange sound in the empty room. It was either that or fall apart.

Kristof had done an admirable job of distracting him during the last weeks. Only once had he asked what was wrong. When Noël remained vague, he never talked about it again, instead he'd urged him to work on their presentation, and study for the upcoming exams until late at night.

Still, one night after a few too many beers, the open concern in his Kris’s eyes had finally broken down Noël‘s walls. He could not talk about his mate, the king of an alien species, but he could tell Kristof about the fight with his lover.

Kristof being Kristof, he commented the fact that Diarmad was not Noël‘s father with an ‘Ooops’ and a giggle, while making him hot cocoa, then decided they needed to do something nice to take Noël‘s mind off things.

“I have the perfect idea. You and I are going to Darryl’s party tomorrow!” He practically bounced in his seat.

“Nah… Sorry, Kris, but I’m not exactly in the mood for partying.”

“That may be so. At the moment. But there’ll be food, music, booze, and lots of silly people to talk shit about. Plenty of stuff to distract you. And if nothing helps, you can always get drunk.”

“I don’t know… What if Diarmad gets back and tells me to come home and I’m drunk?”

“Well, fuck’em!”

It took Kristof the entire next day, until Noël finally gave in and agreed to go with him. Fuck’em!

***

The party was at one of the frat houses and as Noël had half-expected, it was mostly jocks-preppy-girl-frat-boy society, but he’d figured as long as the music was loud and the beer was cold, he’d just have fun. With that thought in mind, he didn’t oppose when someone grabbed him by his arm and pulled him into a circle of dancing, sweating bodies.

Then Kristof was suddenly in front of him, whispering in his ear, “Feel the music, let it go.” They locked gazes until Kris closed his eyes, and started gyrating his body to the beat. Blond locks clinging to his forehead, he lost himself to the music, showing Noël how it was done. Noël watched him for a few moments and then slowly imitated his moves. Concentrating on his friend’s serene face, he gave himself over to the thumping beat, his mind went to another place, where no pain, no unanswered questions could reach him, only thump, thump, thump and empty, soothing space. His last clear thought was: ‘How much did I drink?’

Waking up entangled with another body in a too-small bed, Noël‘s mouth felt as if something had died inside, and he ached everywhere. Then Kristof lifted his head from Noël’s chest and looked at him with bleary eyes. Somehow, they had made it to Kris’s dorm room.

***

Noël still had a slight headache as he leaned back against the cold leather of the desk chair, its mechanism creaking an eerie sound in the empty study. He shivered. Simon had called him earlier, telling him Diarmad would be back soon.

***

“Come in.” Diarmad pointed at the chair in front of his desk. The paperweight was back at its usual place on top of a black, lacquered box, not beside the laptop, where Noël had left it last night.

Noël’s tongue stuck to the roof of his mouth, and he had to clear his throat before he could answer. “Okay.” It was to sit in the visitor chair, the petitioner chair, not the comfortable sofa in the corner by the window.

“What I will tell you now is not up for discussion.” Diarmad’s eyes were fixed on a spot somewhere over Noël’s left shoulder. “I have come to realize that fate was wrong choosing you as my final mate.”

Noël suddenly couldn’t get enough air into his lungs. Whatever he had thought he would hear, it wasn’t that. “What?” For a while, Noël didn’t hear a word of what Diarmad was saying.

“…despair dictated my action. I believed my life was at stake, my people wanted─needed stability McGill could never provide, and I─never mind. Now that things have calmed down, I can see that it just took too long to find you. Centuries are between us, Noël. You have seen nothing, are at the beginning of your human life span. I have seen plenty, maybe too much.”

Noël leapt from his chair so fast it tipped over. “I am not human anymore! Remember? You made me Seraei!”

“You are right.” Diarmad’s voice was calm, almost detached, which riled Noël up even more.

“You watched me for eighteen years! Not exactly a spur-of-the-moment decision, wouldn’t you say?”

“I thought I was ill─”

“You weren’t ill! You were dying!” Noël paced in front of the desk, raking his fingers through his hair repeatedly, trying to compose himself.

“I am not sure about that anymore. I am actually more inclined to believe Moira McGill gave me something, poisoned me, made me weak, and I clung to the old lore. They were trying to force my hand into approaching you before your eighteenth birthday, doing something illegal to get rid of me without having to initiate war. ”

“That makes no sense, Diarmad! Listen to yourself! It’s a known fact that the king of the Seraei needs a third mate, his final mate. You needed me! Need me, can you not feel it? I balance you. You said so you yourself!”

“You are my mate. I thought I loved you. Now, I cannot help but notice the only connection we have is sex. It is not your fault you are so young and inexperienced, Noël. Or that Luis and Tristan failed to give you the depth I need. I should have anticipated this before I initiated the bond. I am the only one to blame.”

“What about the ritual? My blood would have killed you if you hadn’t loved me!”

“I believed I loved you, with all my heart. Obviously the ritual can only judge what we feel, not the actual truth.”

“You’re wrong!”

Then Diarmad turned his head and their eyes finally met. Noël’s breath caught. There was no apology, no regret in Diarmad’s gaze, only cold distance, and resentment. “It’s the only explanation. True love won’t die. Mine did. If the ritual really could detect the truth, it would have killed me that day.”

“No!”

Diarmad shook his head. “You might not see it today, but in time you will, and you will be glad to be free.” He rubbed the mark on his chest, an unconscious gesture Noël had learned he sometimes made when he was agitated and needed reassurance. “The bond cannot be undone, at least not completely. I’m sorry about this.”

“Diarmad! You will die without me!”

“For the unlikely event that I indeed need your presence to survive, I will hold no grudges if you decide not to see me after today. I believe there is enough time to find a suitable and able successor for me.”

“Are you out of your mind? I would never let you die! How can you even think something like this?” With tears prickling behind his eyes, Noël’s voice broke. “I don’t understand what brought this on, Diarmad. I know I love you.” Staring at his lover, waiting for something that never came, Noël finally sighed. “But I won’t force myself on you. As soon as I find a place in the dorms, I’ll be out of your hair.”

***

Simon stared at the suits, shirts, and pants still hanging in the closet. He turned slowly and saw it was the same with the dresser: Half-opened drawers still showed plenty of socks, boxer shorts, and tees. “Honestly, Noël? You said you’re finished with packing your clothes!”

“Those aren’t mine.” Noël came through the door of the bathroom, zipping up a toiletry bag.

“What do you mean, those aren’t yours. I saw you wearing these pants when─”

“I won’t take anything he bought me, only the things I had when I came here, my things.” He threw the small bag with much more force than necessary in one of the open cardboard boxes standing on the floor.

Simon raised his eyebrows. “Isn’t that a tad petty?”

Becoming rigid, Noël turned around. “Petty?” His hands clenched into fists as he narrowed his eyes. “You don’t get it, do you? He wants me out of his life! I’ve been a mistake!” Trying to control his temper by taking in a deep breath, Noël continued, “Do you think I want to be reminded of being a mistake every day I wear a shirt or a sweater he bought me? Use the phone he gave me for Christmas? Listen to the songs he put on it? It’s bad enough that I can’t get rid of the fucking tattoo.”

Simon wrapped Noël into his arms. Tucking his head against his shoulder, he stroked over Noël’s hair soothingly. “It’s okay, I understand …although… well, I understand.”

“Okay guys, I parked the car at the front door, the rear hatch is open so we can start loading boxes…” Landyn stopped mid-sentence. “Hey, everything okay?”

“Totally…”

Hearing Noël’s muffled answer against Simon’s shoulder, Landyn smiled ruefully. “Shit, sorry man, dumb question.” He scratched his head awkwardly and looked at the few boxes standing beside the door. “That’s all? Guys, what have you been doing this whole time? I thought you’d be done with packing by now. I can’t leave the car standing open at the front door longer than half an hour, and I already called Kris telling him that we’ll be over soon.”

“We’re almost done here. I only have to tape these two boxes. You can start with those standing beside the door.”

“But…” Landyn gestured around the room. Shelves were still filled with books, a brand new laptop was sitting on the desk, the dresser and closet were still full.

“That’s all he’s taking with him, there isn’t much space in Kris’ dorm room anyway.” Simon looked at his mate with a clear ‘don’t-ask-any-more-stupid-questions look’ on his face.

“But…”

Simon rolled his eyes. “Shut up, will ya darlin’?”

Between the three of them, they managed to carry the boxes into the waiting elevator in less than ten minutes. Noël briefly considered going to Diarmad’s study to say goodbye, but then simply closed the door of his room carefully behind him, placed his keys in the bowl standing on top of a small table near the front door, and left.

I apologize for the long gap between chapters. I didn't know I'd be traveling this long. I'm still not home, but I hope the next chapter will be out next week.

A big thank you to Lisa and Val for all your help and input. :)

Copyright © 2017 aditus; All Rights Reserved.
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Chapter Comments

I guess he can date Kristof and lead a normal human life until he's exprienced enough to suit the king's taste. :pissed: It will probably tale Lord D half a century to work his stupid head out of his stuck-up arse. :rolleyes:

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Nice but much too short, Adi! You need longerererer chapters, no pressure tho!

 

Seriously, D is being a total, cold, bastard. No need to be so nasty.
Waiting for more.....

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On 08/13/2016 05:54 PM, Timothy M. said:

I guess he can date Kristof and lead a normal human life until he's exprienced enough to suit the king's taste. :pissed: It will probably tale Lord D half a century to work his stupid head out of his stuck-up arse. :rolleyes:

*hugs Timothy* Yes! Exactly. :)

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On 08/13/2016 09:11 PM, Mikiesboy said:

Nice but much too short, Adi! You need longerererer chapters, no pressure tho!

 

Seriously, D is being a total, cold, bastard. No need to be so nasty.

Waiting for more.....

I know, I know. I'm trying but somehow they're all either too short or too long. :( Maybe I update every two or three weeks, and then they be 4 to 5 k?

Anyway, thanks, Tim! Yup, cold bastard sounds about right.

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Oh wow. This actually brought tears to my eyes... I feel so sad for Noel. What the hell is going on with Diarmad? Would serve him right to get back to his dying, for being such an asshat. If there's something threatening Noel, he should tell him. But maybe he really thinks it's a mistake... I can't help wondering if the poisoning isn't taking place now...

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Like I said before, with the powers these people have it should be a concern for everyone when someone's behavior changes this drastically. If someone is being influenced king or not, temper or not, there should be people who will look into the matter and check for outside influence. Of course this person would object, they're being influenced. Again D's staff and bodyguards are doing a terrible job. Enabling the king's own destruction because they want to pussyfoot around the issue is ridiculous.

 

Now we see Noel apparently being influenced by Kris, as that bizarre dancing scene illustrated. How much did you drink, well unless it was a psychotropic ecstasy lsd cocktail, you didn't drink enough to cause that to happen. Kris is some kind of plant and part of whatever this outside plot is that's happening. Noel should maybe start using his newfound abilities instead of being pushed in whatever direction those around him decide for him to go.

 

I will say that at this point i don't really care to see Noel and D get back together anyway. A year after their union, and it's clear that even before this started they still weren't in a relationship of equals. D has all these buffers between him and Noel. All this staff that handles Noel and hides D's activities. Noel doesn't really have the loyalty of anyone there, and it's more like he was D's ward than a member of the household. He didn't really live there, he was just occupying space there. He wasn't free to go where he wanted when he wanted, and apparently D treated him like a subordinate instead of his partner. Noel has to knock before entering the study and needs permission to sit? Yep not the guy's partner in a relationship. When D decides that their relationship is over (for all those bullshit reasons) it's not "open for discussion" again not equals. Noel can and should do better. Go get the special Seraei version of laser tattoo removal and move on.

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I agree with everything spikey said, and said well.

 

... ??? Am I the only one who wonders if Kris and Noel had sex? And if so, how does Noel feel about that?

 

Also, there's no such thing as "too long," aditus.

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After all Noel did in the first book, something is terribly wrong. For all D's power, after he fawned over Noel, the sudden turnaround is bizarre. I don't buy the whole falling out of love thing, the man was and is besotted.
I feel he's trying to protect Noel somehow, but doing it in a clumsy and offhand manner. Whatever is on D's mind, pushing his mate and in turn everyone around him away will lead to disaster.
Was the first chapter a premonition, was that D scattering Noel's ashes? Is he now, in his own way trying to protect him?
You have me hook and line. MORE NOW. :worship:

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On 08/14/2016 03:28 AM, spikey582 said:

Like I said before, with the powers these people have it should be a concern for everyone when someone's behavior changes this drastically. If someone is being influenced king or not, temper or not, there should be people who will look into the matter and check for outside influence. Of course this person would object, they're being influenced. Again D's staff and bodyguards are doing a terrible job. Enabling the king's own destruction because they want to pussyfoot around the issue is ridiculous.

 

Now we see Noel apparently being influenced by Kris, as that bizarre dancing scene illustrated. How much did you drink, well unless it was a psychotropic ecstasy lsd cocktail, you didn't drink enough to cause that to happen. Kris is some kind of plant and part of whatever this outside plot is that's happening. Noel should maybe start using his newfound abilities instead of being pushed in whatever direction those around him decide for him to go.

 

I will say that at this point i don't really care to see Noel and D get back together anyway. A year after their union, and it's clear that even before this started they still weren't in a relationship of equals. D has all these buffers between him and Noel. All this staff that handles Noel and hides D's activities. Noel doesn't really have the loyalty of anyone there, and it's more like he was D's ward than a member of the household. He didn't really live there, he was just occupying space there. He wasn't free to go where he wanted when he wanted, and apparently D treated him like a subordinate instead of his partner. Noel has to knock before entering the study and needs permission to sit? Yep not the guy's partner in a relationship. When D decides that their relationship is over (for all those bullshit reasons) it's not "open for discussion" again not equals. Noel can and should do better. Go get the special Seraei version of laser tattoo removal and move on.

Let’s address the formal aspects first: Knocking on someone’s office door before coming in is only polite. You don’t simply barge into a room when you know the person inside could be working, being on the phone, concentrating on stuff. I do it when my mate [ ;) ] is in his office, at least when the door is closed.

The seating. Diarmad is certainly distancing himself from Noël by being this official. Why ? There could be several reasons I could think of, but I am sure you can come up with some, as avidreadr put it, he could just be a cold ass, or as you said wanting to treat Noël as a subordinate. And pointing at a chair isn’t giving permission to sit, merely showing where.

Now to everyone’s behavior. We got to know Diarmad in The Holly and the Ivy when he was dying. And even after he meat Noël, he was still recovering. He was dependent on his advisors, his friends, listened to them because he had to and he trusted them. Simon mentioned he was more self-reliant or should I say kingly? – in the past, before he became ill.

And that’s exactly it. Diarmad is king. Let’s imagine the President of the USA wanted a divorce. His advisors would be strongly against it, but in the end, it’s his decision to make. If Diarmad isn’t as friendly as he was before, doesn’t seek advice from Landyn, Simon, or his other former confidants?- it’s his call, because he is king. If they started to spy on him, as powerful as he is, that wouldn’t be healthy for them. And, as far as we know, no one can read the King’s mind.

This isn’t a democracy, the council can advise, observe the law but they can’t do anything against the king, if the law hasn’t been broken. No one questions the king if he doesn’t want to be questioned.

Do his friends worry? Of course. Will they try to solve this conundrum? Certainly. But they have to do this following their law, this isn't pussyfooting.

This isn’t the Diarmad we know. The story will answer why.

I liked the idea of a special Seraei version of laser tattoo removal.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us/me, spikey! :) I really appreciate this.

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On 08/14/2016 04:41 AM, Geemeedee said:

I agree with everything spikey said, and said well.

 

... ??? Am I the only one who wonders if Kris and Noel had sex? And if so, how does Noel feel about that?

 

Also, there's no such thing as "too long," aditus.

Gee, as you fully agree with what spikey said, please read my answer to his comment.

There certainly is 'too long' when you take my slow writing speed into consideration. You would have to wait much longer for the next chapter. :)

And no, Noël and Kris didn't have sex, they just drank too much and danced. Never forget everything around you while dancing? There is nothing bizarre to that IMO.

Thank you for your comment, Geemeedee! :)

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It'll serve Diarmad right if Noel decides to start dating someone, despite the bond. I agree with everyone else. I vote for Noel to slowly find his own way, mourn the lost of D and only help when necessary. If D is doing this to protect Noel, this was a piss poor way to do it and he's gonna rue the day!!!

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Hmmmm. Cold, imperious bastard. Oops, made a mistake thanks very much though for the use of your body and soul now could you kindly vacate the premises.

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so I wonder how D would feel once Simon and maybe even Landyn start hanging around Noel....I don't think Simon will be able to give up that part of Noel that is his brother easily

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On 08/13/2016 11:20 PM, Puppilull said:

Oh wow. This actually brought tears to my eyes... I feel so sad for Noel. What the hell is going on with Diarmad? Would serve him right to get back to his dying, for being such an asshat. If there's something threatening Noel, he should tell him. But maybe he really thinks it's a mistake... I can't help wondering if the poisoning isn't taking place now...

Yes! After everything they went through...I felt actually really bad writing this.Of course I can't comment on your speculations, but I love reading what you think! Thank you so much, Puppi! :)

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On 08/14/2016 04:45 AM, DragonFire said:

After all Noel did in the first book, something is terribly wrong. For all D's power, after he fawned over Noel, the sudden turnaround is bizarre. I don't buy the whole falling out of love thing, the man was and is besotted.

I feel he's trying to protect Noel somehow, but doing it in a clumsy and offhand manner. Whatever is on D's mind, pushing his mate and in turn everyone around him away will lead to disaster.

Was the first chapter a premonition, was that D scattering Noel's ashes? Is he now, in his own way trying to protect him?

You have me hook and line. MORE NOW. :worship:

Diarmad certainly behaves diametrical to before. Is this his true self? Is he protecting Noël? I can't answer those questions, but I love reading them! When I see readers defending characters of my story, being loyal to one or the other, it's proof they connect to them, which is the greatest gift to me.

Thank you for your comment, DragonFire! :)

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On 08/15/2016 08:58 AM, LadyDe said:

It'll serve Diarmad right if Noel decides to start dating someone, despite the bond. I agree with everyone else. I vote for Noel to slowly find his own way, mourn the lost of D and only help when necessary. If D is doing this to protect Noel, this was a piss poor way to do it and he's gonna rue the day!!!

Nothing happened between Kris and Noël. If Noël decides to be someone else in the future, no one can blame him. I find it interesting that you're saying 'despite the bond' and 'help when necessary'. That would be an interesting future you're developing here.

Thank you for your comment, LadyDe! :)

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On 08/16/2016 04:43 AM, dughlas said:

Hmmmm. Cold, imperious bastard. Oops, made a mistake thanks very much though for the use of your body and soul now could you kindly vacate the premises.

That about sums up what Diarmad is depicting. Is the King showing his true feathers? It certainly looks that way.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts and feelings, doughlas! :)

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On 08/16/2016 05:16 AM, JayT said:

so I wonder how D would feel once Simon and maybe even Landyn start hanging around Noel....I don't think Simon will be able to give up that part of Noel that is his brother easily

I think I can say you're right without revealing too much of the plot.

Thank you for your comment, jt! :)

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I'm so not buying D's new act. Cuddly kitty he is not. He's choosing his hurt deliberately to wound his mate. Something is way up and I'm sticking to my thinking that he thinks he's protecting Noël. But from whom? Still, will it justify him treating Noël like crap? Talking and coming up with a plan together works! They're more powerful together no? Ahh...
So many questions .. Did the bonding not go right? Is the council involved? Could Keelan be operating outside of exile? How are Simon and Landyn so calm about this? I can't imagine that separation will be a good thing. Is D that strong now he doesn't need Noël to be close?

 

Kriss is is a big question mark fo now and I'm not inclined to trust him just yet. D could be playing right into the threat and delivering Noël.
Clearly im reaching Adi, so feel free to answer any or all of my questions.. It would so put my mind at ease.. Hehe...

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On 08/25/2016 06:39 AM, Defiance19 said:

I'm so not buying D's new act. Cuddly kitty he is not. He's choosing his hurt deliberately to wound his mate. Something is way up and I'm sticking to my thinking that he thinks he's protecting Noël. But from whom? Still, will it justify him treating Noël like crap? Talking and coming up with a plan together works! They're more powerful together no? Ahh...

So many questions .. Did the bonding not go right? Is the council involved? Could Keelan be operating outside of exile? How are Simon and Landyn so calm about this? I can't imagine that separation will be a good thing. Is D that strong now he doesn't need Noël to be close?

 

Kriss is is a big question mark fo now and I'm not inclined to trust him just yet. D could be playing right into the threat and delivering Noël.

Clearly im reaching Adi, so feel free to answer any or all of my questions.. It would so put my mind at ease.. Hehe...

I'm actually awed at your thoughts and speculations and humbled one of my stories can do this. The Kris question will be answered in the next chapter, but as I am so very late with answering your review, you know that by now. Simon and Landyn...I guess they're just as blindsided as Noël, which only shows how absurd the whole thing is.

Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and questions, Def. Awesome!

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Yes. I had tears in my eyes too. For Nöel and of rage ! :pissed:

I really hate D right now. And I hope Nöel finds someone who is absolutely spectacular, and kicks D's ass, so deep, he will be tasting leather. 😡 🤬 🤮 🖕

 

The one thing that crossed my mind, that could make some sense, was that maybe D was being blackmailed - he would either stop seeing Nöel, or he would be killed. But then I thought Nah ! Too cliché ... too easy. :thumbdown:

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5 hours ago, Bookjunkie56 said:

The one thing that crossed my mind, that could make some sense, was that maybe D was being blackmailed

Yes, I hated him while I wrote him...I'm still glad you'tr trying to find a reason...not only he's an a**hole.

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