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    Nephylim
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.
Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 

My Brother Daniel - 1. Chapter 1

“Rayn, there’s something you should know. My brother Daniel is…not like other people.”

“What do you mean?”

Sara is my best friend in the world. Well, my only friend. I used to have friends but, well, since it happened…. I came here, to this town, to get away from the pressure and the people, especially the ones who used to be my friends.

To be entirely fair to them, it’s not their fault they’re not my friends anymore. I was the one who isolated myself, who pushed them away and I guess if I called them, even now, they might be my friends again. But I don’t want them to be. I don’t anyone who was around then anywhere near me. I don’t want any reminders of that time.

This is a completely new start in a new town, in a new country, far, far away from anyone or anything that might remind me of the worst time of my life. Yes, a new start and Sara is my first new friend. Who knows, maybe her brother Daniel will be friend number two.

“He’s…different, special.”

“Oh.” I have images in my head that disappoint me. I guess not friend number two then. “That’s okay. I don’t have a problem with…people…like that.”

“People like what?” Sara flared at me. “You haven’t met him yet. You’ve no idea what he’s like, so how can you––”

“Whoa. Look, I’m sorry. I said a stupid thing and I didn’t mean anything by it, but you have to admit you’re being very mysterious.”

“I…. Well you’d better not say anything to him.”

“What? Not even ‘hello’?”

Sara gives me a hard look and opens the door. I’m really nervous now. Way to go Sara for making a drama out of…well whatever it turns out to be. A quick trip home for lunch is turning into a bit of a nightmare. Mental note to remind myself that when people try to be nice to me it always ends in disaster. So, maybe Sara isn’t going to be my first friend after all. Maybe it’s better not to have friends. When I get close to people it just makes everything more— Holy shit.

Sara has led me through a messy but homely living room into a much more organised and spotless kitchen. Every surface gleams white or chrome and the appliances all match, and look brand new. Someone is making a sandwich, the ingredients spread out around the chopping board he’s slicing cucumber on. When Sara breezes in, the person looks up and smiles at her.

I can’t breathe. Is this Daniel? It really doesn’t look to me as if there’s anything wrong with him. Special, yes; wrong, no. God, he’s beautiful. He has the same sparkling blue eyes as his sister, and the same honey coloured hair, that’s long and straight and looks like it would feel so good to run my fingers through. Uh oh. Dangerous thought. Don’t let any more slip through. My armour is usually pretty good at deflecting them, but I was caught unaware.

“Rayn? Are you still with us?”

“Huh? What? Oh, sorry, I was far away.”

“Rayn’s a…strange…name,” Daniel says, tilting his head to the side, and I see what she means. He forms his words very carefully, his lips trembling around the form before he allows the sound to escape. I swallow hard. I find trembling lips very appealing and Daniel’s are beautiful. Dangerous thought number two finds its way through the cracks in my armour.

“Is it? Um… It… It’s the only one I have. I’ve always kind of liked it.”

Daniel frowns, thinking deeply. “I…like it…too.” He smiles a bright smile that makes my stomach flip, and goes back to making his sandwich.

“Can you make a couple more, Daniel? Don’t be long, we’re on lunch and only have an hour.”

“Ok.” Daniel shoots a smile over his shoulder and I have to work hard to stop my mouth gaping. Jesus, he’s gorgeous. “Rayn,” he says in his voice that sounds like a shower of sweet rain. “You like…salad?”

“Yeah. Thanks. I like it fine.” But not as much as I like you. Daniel smiles again and my legs tremble as I follow Sara into the lounge. She sits on the sofa, moving a pile of books to make room. I look around and find myself a chair. I lower myself into it and leap back out after the cat I almost sat on complains loudly. It shoots away across the room, grumbling in a rather un–catlike manner.

Daniel’s head appears around the kitchen door. “Shadow?” he says and Sara smiles at him.

“It’s okay, Daniel. Rayn almost sat on him, but he missed.”

Daniel smiles. “Sometimes, I…almost…sit on cats,” he stammers and disappears.

“How many cats do you have?”

“Three.”

“What’s wrong?” She’s staring at me and it feels uncomfortable.

“Don’t even think about it,” she says with real hostility in her voice.

I’m lost. “Think about what?”

“Whatever you were thinking about when you were looking at Daniel.”

That would be absolutely nothing then. My brain was too frozen to think about anything. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” But, of course, I do.

She leans forward and glares at me. She has a very expressive face, with large eyes and a plump mouth, which at the moment is compressed into a disapproving line. “I’ve seen people look at Daniel like that before. Mostly women, but still. He doesn’t understand that kind of thing. He can’t read signs and he loves everyone. He’s got very hurt and I’m not going to see him like that again.”

“I have no idea what you’re talking about.”

“Yes you do,” she snaps venomously. “You’ve seen him. You’ve seen what he’s like, and that’s only the smallest part. Daniel is the sweetest person ever. He’s not retarded.” She practically spits the last two words and it shocks the hell out of me.

“Did I suggest for one moment I thought he was?”

“No, but––”

“Now who’s making assumptions?”

“Well just make sure you don’t… hurt him.”

“As if I would.”

We fall into an uncomfortable silence and I deeply regret ever agreeing to come here in the first place. Sara is scowling at me and I know I’m scowling back. I’m good at that. I’ve had a lot of practice.

I take advantage of the silence to look around. The room is quite big, with a high ceiling and wooden floor. In fact my entire flat would probably fit in it, well if you count the kitchen. There are two comfortable–looking but mismatched sofas and three equally comfortable–looking but mismatched chairs, as well as a handful of tables. Some of the tables have plants on, some have really pretty porcelain sculptures that look like spun sugar and some have dirty coffee cups, biscuit wrappers, empty crisp packets and other general detritus.

There are books everywhere, on every possible surface including the floor. They are piled, thrown, and shelved. Some are coffee stained and all seem generally well used. I pick up a book and glance at the cover. It’s quite a surprise. It’s really dense. Practically a textbook on ancient history.

“Is this yours?

Sara glances at it. “No, it’s Daniel’s.”

“Is he into history that much?” I’m impressed. I’m a history major and a freak as far as books are concerned. I would never have expected someone like Daniel to read the kinds of books I read. Wait. Someone like Daniel?

“He’s into everything. He’ll read anything he can get his hands on. He likes to make things, too.”

My eyes are drawn to the sculptures. “Did he make those?”

“Yes, Rayn…I…did.”

I jump a mile. I hadn’t heard Daniel come into the room. He hands Sara a sandwich and sits on the arm of my chair. Jesus he smells good. Delicately, he takes the book out of my hands and replaces it with a sandwich.

“I like…this…book. It…it doesn’t….” He thinks for a moment. “The people are… treated with…respect. Not…like ignorant fools. They weren’t. They…made beautiful things and…they lived in nicer places that…people…some…people…think. I have seen…pictures of… how the inside of round houses could look. I would…I would…really…like to see one but…there are none nearby. I think…people from that time were happier.”

“You do? Why?” I notice Daniel’s words are coming far more fluently and confidently. I have— had, a friend with a bad stammer. He had a beautiful voice and when he sang there was no sign of the stammer. He used to act, too, in school plays and such. He never stammered then either. It was if the part of the brain that made him stammer could be distracted by things he loved to do. Maybe Daniel’s brain is distracted by a love of history.

Daniel thinks carefully and his lips move as he sifts through the words seeking the best ones to convey what he’s thinking. “It was…simpler, I think. The life. They had…less…but did more. Do you understand?”

“Yes, actually I do. The Iron Age is my area of study. I’m doing a PhD at the university. My dissertation is about how the way they lived and their religious beliefs were more… closely linked than they are now. There was no separation.”

“Yes, that’s it,” Daniel says with a blinding smile. “No separation.”

“Are you going to eat your sandwich,” Sara says crossly. I’m not sure who she’s talking to.

Daniel sighs. “Yes, Sara. You…eat too… Rayn.”

I bite into the sandwich. It’s delicious. I can’t imagine anything Daniel makes being less than perfect. He remains perched on the arm of my chair, seeming quite at home and is quickly lost in the book. The silence falls again. It’s even more uncomfortable now. Sara is glaring at me. Daniel remains oblivious.

“Once…” Daniel says out of the blue, startling me, “…I believed there…there was…a hole…in the roof.” He glances at me. “For smoke.”

I nod and open my mouth to explain why there wasn’t, but he beats me to it.

“But…there are many reasons why…why there couldn’t have…been. Did you know that once…in Denmark, I think…they built a copy and it burned down?”

“Yes, I knew that. I’ve read the study. It’s very interesting. I’ve seen photographs and it was quite a sight.”

Daniel’s frown deepens. “The people who…built…it…must have been…distraught. All their work…and it was…hard work…I think. All gone.”

I stop, his words taking me by surprise. “I must admit, I haven’t thought of it like that. It was an interesting experiment but yes, I suppose it must have been terrible for them. A roundhouse isn’t easy to build. I’ve helped, and it takes a lot of men working very hard, especially the roof.”

Daniel tilts his head and looks at me with that thoughtful expression that does crazy things to my insides. “I would like to see that. One day…. One day I will see a roundhouse. Sara has promised…one day.” He looks up expectantly and Sara huffs at him.

“Maybe, one day,” she says dismissively. “We’ve been through this. I don’t have time to go running all over the country looking for roundhouses and longhouses and burial chambers and all that junk you stuff in your head. It’s all in the past. You read too much about too many things.”

Daniel sighs. “You…promised. You said….”

“I know what I said, and maybe I will. This isn’t a conversation to be having in front of strangers, Daniel.”

“Why not?”

“Because—”

“I’ll take you.” I’ve no idea why I said that. Maybe it’s because I recognise the look on Sara’s face. I’ve seen it often enough on my family and… friends. It’s hard for someone who doesn’t have a passion to understand those who do, I think.

“You will? When? Will you take me now?”

Sara’s glaring at me as if she could cheerfully strangle me. Daniel’s looking at me as if…as if… I lick my dry lips. “Uh…I can’t right now, Daniel. I’m working, remember? With your sister.”

“Oh. Yes. I remember. When? When will you take me?” He looks so eager, so… passionate.

“Well,”I say slowly, my mind working overtime. “Next week? I’ve planned a visit to Castell Henllys. It’s an Iron Age hill fort in West Wales. It’s quite a long way away but they have some beautiful reconstructed roundhouses and there’ll be a living history society there so they’ll have artefacts and displays. You can come with me if you want.”

“Yes. I want.”

“Hang on a minute. You can’t just go off with someone you hardly know. It’s not safe, Daniel. You know what you’re like with people. You trust too easily and you get into trouble.”

“Rayn will… keep…me safe.”

“I… Of course I will.”

“Rayn, you can’t,” Sara says firmly. “Daniel, you can’t go.”

“Can’t? Why not? I…you don’t have… I don’t need….” He looks frustrated, as if this is a conversation they’ve had before and that he’s used to losing. “I…am…a man. I am…not…a child. You can’t…tell…me…wh…what…to…to…do.” Clearly, when he gets wound up he finds it harder to get the words out and the stammering makes him even more frustrated.

“Look…I don’t want to get between you two. That’s not what I intended at all. Sara, I live and breathe history. This is my passion. No one I know understands. It would be more than a pleasure for me to share this with someone who’s interested. I promise I’ll look after him.”

“You have no idea what it takes to ‘look after him’,” Sara snaps.

“And you do?” Daniel snaps back.

I’m truly shocked. For one thing I never thought I’d hear anything so angry come out of Daniel’s mouth and for another there wasn’t the slightest hint of hesitation. If feels as if this is an argument he’s rehearsed many times.

“Let’s not get into this again, Daniel. Not in front of Rayn.”

Daniel glances at me and sighs. “Wh…when will we…we go?”

“Daniel you’re not—”

“I’m talk…ing to…to Rayn,” Daniel says dismissively and I feel as if I’m caught between the two of them. If I say no I’ll hurt Daniel. If I say yes Sara will be steamingly angry with me and my life at the coffee shop will be hell. Ah well. It’s a shame. I was enjoying working at the shop but it’s only part time and I’m sure I can ask for shifts that don’t coincide with hers.

“Next Saturday. Not the one that’s coming, but the one after. I’ll pick you up at nine because we have a two hour drive.”

“I’ll m…make…lunch,” Daniel says happily, as if the argument never happened. “I’m g…going to see a r…ound house, Sara. And…and real history. I’m excited.” And he really does look excited, like a child promised an outing. His eyes are sparkling and he can hardly contain himself from bouncing.

Sara narrows her eyes at me. “That’s wonderful, darling. Have you finished your sandwich, Rayn?”

“I…er…” Truth is I forgot about my sandwich. It’s resting on my knee practically untouched.

“Don’t you like it?” Daniel asks, sounding hurt.

“Yes, I like it a lot. I just got caught up with talking.

Daniel grins at me and it feels like warm sunshine. “I do that. S…ara gets…cross with me.” He turns his sunshine smile on Sara and she thaws a little, returning it.

“I don’t get cross, Daniel. A little frustrated maybe.” The smile disappears. “Come on, you’ll have to eat it on the way. We’ll be late.”

I get to my feet so fast I almost knock Daniel off the arm of the chair. Automatically, I reach out to steady him and get a full-watt smile complete with sparkling blue eyes. I have to swallow heavily before I can speak. “I’m so sorry, I was clumsy. I’m like that. It was really nice to meet you, Daniel.”

“I’m like that…too…Rayn. Sara gets…cross...when I… break…things. It was…very…nice to meet…you…too…Rayn.” He looks pleased to have come to the end of the sentence. It’s clear that speaking doesn’t come easily to Daniel. Smiling, though; that comes easily.

Sara sets a fast pace and we walk in silence. I can sense the animosity and have no idea what to say.

“I feel as if you’re waiting for me to apologise but I’m damned if I can understand why.”

“Why? Why?” she splutters. “What do you think you were doing taking advantage of my brother like that. You should be ashamed of yourself.”

“Taking advantage?” I splutter. I have half a sandwich stuffed in my mouth. “I don’t see how giving your brother an opportunity he’s clearly wanted for ages, is taking advantage of him.”

“That’s not what I mean and you know it,” she snaps.

“No, actually, I don’t. Why don’t you explain.”

“I saw the way you were looking at him.”

“And what way was that? He’s beautiful, Sara. Did you expect me to ignore it, or poke out my eyes so I couldn’t see it? He’s beautiful and sweet and, amazingly, interested in the same things I have a passion for but no one else seems to care about. Yes, I like him. I like him very much, but I’m not stupid. I know he has problems and I’m not going to take advantage of him, Sara. I’ve no intention of going after him.

“Do you think that just because I’m gay, and I know you’ve worked that out, that I’m incapable of keeping my hands off? That’s bullshit. I like Daniel. I like him a lot, but strictly as a friend. End of. I have no romantic designs on him in any way. He’ll be safe with me.” I hope.

She stops dead in the middle of the street. “Swear it.”

“I swear.” She stares at me for a while, through narrowed eyes, then nods and starts walking again.

“I believe you, but if you screw with my brother I’ll cut off your balls and stuff them down your throat.”

“Charming. You’ve got your hands on my balls and I haven’t known you two minutes.”

Sara, chokes, and just like that the bad atmosphere disappears. By the time we get to work she’s back to her bubbly self again and the easy companionship reaches out to me. I’m not buying it this time, though. Sara might have been worried about Daniel getting hurt, but I’m the one who was laying their heart on the line. I’ve had my heart closed for a very long time. Ever since… For a very long time and it’s not easy for me to trust. I’ve been badly shaken by how quickly things went to hell with Sara and it’s going to be a while before I can think of her as a friend again. To be honest, I feel quite shaken by the whole thing, good and bad.

Copyright © 2016 Nephylim; All Rights Reserved.
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.
Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 
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Chapter Comments

On 12/15/2015 01:44 AM, Reader1810 said:

Intriguing start...looking forward to more. :D

Thank you :) I hope you like the reset

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On 12/15/2015 03:22 AM, Gandalf said:

I am hoping to enjoy this as much as I have your other stories. Nice start.

I hope so too. It's a bit different from most of my others - less angst and more humour

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On 12/15/2015 03:44 AM, skinnydragon said:

Good characters, lots of potential

for good and bad!!

 

Anticipating more!

I fulfills the Good :)

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On 12/15/2015 05:43 AM, Riley Jericho said:

Missed you Neph, and as usual, you don't disappoint! First person POV...Ooooh you risky lady!

Riley

I've missed you all too. Where has the time gone? I've been busy getting published and trying to get a name, but I haven't forgotten where I really belong.

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On 12/15/2015 10:14 AM, Morgana_lefay said:

First chapter looks really good, can't wait for another one to find out more about the MCs :)

Thank you. Second chapter coming up :)

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I LOVED your first chapter and I am really hooked up on the story. I just recently joined GA and your story is a wonderful happenstance.

 

Your new fan from Mexico

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On 01/12/2016 12:15 PM, flamingo136 said:

Just found your latest offering.........and happy that I did.........Great start...........:)Mike

Thank you :) I'll try to be more regular in my posting. Feel free to kick my ass if I'm not

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Just discovered this story, and it looks very promising. I'm pretty sure I'm going to enjoy it. I do wonder, though. If she is so worried about Ryan with Daniel, why on earth did she invite him to lunch?

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On 01/20/2016 07:31 AM, Coastguard said:

Just discovered this story, and it looks very promising. I'm pretty sure I'm going to enjoy it. I do wonder, though. If she is so worried about Ryan with Daniel, why on earth did she invite him to lunch?

They haven't been working together for long and I don't think sara knew Rayne is gay before she saw the way he was looking at Daniel. all she warned him about before they went in was that Daniel wasn't 'normal'. I think she invited Rayne to lunch because she thought SHE had a chance with him

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On 02/08/2016 05:33 AM, Robert Rex said:

I'm late to this party...but loving the start....can't wait till I get caught up! Good job!

Glad you liked it. I hope you keep on liking it :D

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On 12/31/2015 12:12 PM, Roberto Zuniga said:

I LOVED your first chapter and I am really hooked up on the story. I just recently joined GA and your story is a wonderful happenstance.

 

Your new fan from Mexico

I'm so sorry I missed this review. I try to respond to all of them very quickly. I totally appreciate my readers, especially those who take the time to comment. I'm glad you enjoyed the beginning. I hope you will continue to enjoy as the story progresses.

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Ah, Nephy, it's been a long time since I read one of your stories. So glad to be back for a bit, and totally not disappointed. I love your writing. The mechanics are good and make it easy to read and you build mystery, suspense and atmosphere so easily. Nice work!

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On 04/08/2016 08:36 PM, Jaro_423 said:

Ah, Nephy, it's been a long time since I read one of your stories. So glad to be back for a bit, and totally not disappointed. I love your writing. The mechanics are good and make it easy to read and you build mystery, suspense and atmosphere so easily. Nice work!

Thank you :) Hope you like the story :D

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Interesting start. I don't think Sarah realises Daniel is not the only one with problems, his are only more obvious.

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