Jump to content
    Nephylim
  • Author
  • 5,641 Words
  • 5,658 Views
  • 14 Comments
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 - 3. Chapter 3

As I walk further into the village I see there are stalls laid out around the entrances to the houses. I wander over to one and find it set out with artefacts. I’m fascinated with the display. I’ve read about these things, seen photographs, even seen them in cabinets in museums, carefully catalogued and labelled, but to see them lying here, higgledy piggeldy as if someone had just thrown them down, is just about blowing my mind.

A woman in full kit is explaining to a lady with a couple of kids how tablet woven belts are made. They’re not interested. All they’re interested in, is pawing the items on the table and trying to get finger marks on a rather beautiful bronze mirror. I manage to snatch it off the table just as a small, sticky hand is about to descend on it.

It really is a beautiful piece, surprisingly heavy, with one surface polished so highly it’s very nearly as good as a modern mirror. Apart from its weight, it reminds me more of a fan than a mirror. It’s shaped like a lily pad with an intricate handle. Turning it over, my breath is taken away by the beautiful decoration on the back. Spirals and swirls, hatching and polishing….

“It’s amazing isn’t it?” I look up to find the woman smiling at me.

“Breath-taking.”

“It’s a copy of the Desborough mirror.”

“Ah, I knew I’d seen it somewhere. I think I saw it in a book about La Tene art.”

“That would be about right. It’s often cited in articles about art. You sound as if you know what you’re talking about.”

I laugh. “Oh, not really. I’m studying anthropology and art. The Iron Age is my period but I’m still very much a learner.”

“As are we all. At the end of the day, who really knows?” She shrugs and I feel an immediate sense of bonhomie with her. “Take a look at this.” She reverently accepts the mirror from my hand and sets it down on the table, then selects something from the display and put it in my raised palm.

It’s a cloak pin, a brooch that looks like a large, triangular safety pin. This one is quite big, maybe three inches long, and the raised side is bright with colourful enamel in red and deep blue.

“Wow, it’s beautiful. Is it Roman?”

“It’s of the same period, but thought to be Gallic, brought to this country by traders.”

The bright enamel flashes in the sunlight and it’s truly beautiful. “It’s a lovely reproduction.”

The woman grins as she takes the pin from me. “It’s not a reproduction,” she says. “You’ve been holding something that was made around about 50 – 100AD.”

“Oh wow,” I breathe, genuinely stunned. “Do you have any more actual artefacts?”

“Not as good as that one, but yes, we do.”

The woman directs me to a section of the table where a number of brooches, pins and rings are set out. It makes me shiver to think these were worn by people who have been dead for two thousand years.

“These are reproductions, but they’re pretty good.” She shows me items that are basically the same as those we’ve been looking at but whole, un-rusted and brighter. They have their own beauty but compared to the originals, as tarnished and frail as they are, they seem crude.

“Yes, they are good, but to be truthful I don’t think they have anything like the craftsmanship of the originals.”

“You’re not wrong there. We tend to think of our ancestors as being crude and uncivilised but the Celts really did have art pegged, in all areas of their lives. Everything was decorated from their clothes, to the walls of their homes, the wooden furniture they carved—even themselves.” She nodded to a small knot of warriors who, like Cadfael, were painted with swirling blue patterns all over their faces, arms and torsos.

“I’ve often wondered about that. I mean, a lot of civilisations use body paint or tattoos for religious purposes but that doesn’t seem to be the case with the Celts.”

“Oh really? What makes you think that?”

“Well, the wore it to go into war.”

“And?”

“Well, war is hardly a religious ceremony, is it?”

“There are some who would disagree, but even so, the purpose of wearing it may not be for religious purposes but the way they wore it certainly was.”

“What do you mean?”

“Well, when you hear that the Celts went into battle ‘painted blue’ people tend to think about solid blocks of blue, like in Braveheart, but that wasn’t the case. Every design, group of designs, symbol and position had a meaning. The meanings all had religious significance and the act of painting them on the skin was a religious experience. I suppose it was almost an unction.”

“Hmm. I can see that. I’ve seen pictures of lots of religious symbolism and I imagine some of it can be transferrable to war imagery.”

“I think it was simpler than that. The Celts went into war naked because they believed it was an insult to the Gods to try to divert the fate they had in store. To wear armour was to show lack of faith. Being naked had practical purposes, too. If they were wounded, there was less chance of fibres from their clothing being driven into the wound and causing infection.”

A lightbulb pops as a small, but useful line of thought is triggered. I make a note to write it down as soon as I can. I’m sure it will be useful to my studies somewhere, and I know I haven’t read anything like this. “I never thought of that. I can’t imagine what it would be like to fight in a battle, with slashing swords and grappling in the mud. Sword wounds and mud don’t really have a good symbiotic relationship.”

I’m totally enthralled by this conversation. I’ve never spoken to someone who ‘lives’ the things I’ve only read about. Of course she doesn’t live it as the ancient Celts did, but her eyes are shining with excitement that transfers through her voice into me. She knows her stuff and loves to share it. Talking to someone like that is an experience I enjoy thoroughly.

“The woad preparation is not just a dye. It had herbs mixed in with it to help fight infection.”

“They knew what they were doing.”

“They knew a lot of things.”

“Rayn!”

The yell has me spinning. Daniel sounds so distressed that all thoughts but finding him and making everything alright again disappear from my mind.

Daniel’s standing near the fire pit, turning round and round, clearly looking for me. He seems close to tears.

“Daniel?”

As soon as he sees me he flies across the grass and throws himself into my arms, holding on tight.

“Hey. What’s up? What’s wrong?”

Daniel clings to me, shaking with his attempt to not cry. I have no idea what to do, so I do nothing but stroke his back and pat his hair awkwardly. He doesn’t seem the slightest bit uncomfortable with the physical contact.

“What’s happened?” I stammer at last, getting acutely embarrassed by the attention we’re attracting, and manage to prize Daniel off far enough to be able to look into his face. He’s been crying. I want to hurt someone. I want to punish someone for making my beautiful Daniel cry. “God, Daniel, what happened?”

“She…she would…would…wouldn’t let me…me speak to…to…to him. She said…said I was…was dan…ge…rous. Shouldn’t be…be on…on my own. She…she was go…go…going to ca…call se…curity. They were go…going to…to ta…take me away.”

“Whoa. Stop right there. No one is going to call security and no one is going to take you anywhere. What the hell happened?”

“She...she…said….”

“Who said?”

“The…the lady.”

“What lady.”

“With the…the little boy. Listening…to the…the story.”

Gradually, as he calms, Daniel’s speech becomes clearer and I’m able to get the gist of the story. It seems that the mother of one of the children who’d been listening to the story, had made comments to Daniel. I instantly want to slap her face.

“Wait here,” I say sternly.

“No.” Daniel instantly clings to my arm and shakes his head, looking scared.

“I won’t be long. Stay right here and I’ll be back before you know I’ve gone.”

“No, please. Please Rayn, don’t leave me. Don’t go.”

Much as I want to give that ignorant bitch a piece of my mind, Daniel’s been hurt enough already and I don’t want to distress him any longer. In any event, it’s not going to make any real difference whether I speak to her or not. All it will achieve is to make me feel better. Ah well.

“Come and see this. I think you’ll like it.”

I take him by the hand and lead him back to the stall with the artefacts. “May I?” I ask touching the handle of the mirror. The woman smiles and nods. “Look, Daniel. It’s a reproduction of an Iron Age mirror. Take a look in it.”

Blinking away tears, Daniel takes the mirror carefully from my hand and stares into it. The tears disappear and the expression of distress turns immediately into one of absolute wonder.

“I can see,” he says delightedly. “I can see…see me.”

“Well I hope so. I’d be worried if you could see someone else.”

Daniel gazes at me with a serious, worried expression which is almost instantly dismissed by one of his quick, bright smiles. “You’re teasing me.”

“Just a little. Put the mirror down and come look at this.”

Turning the mirror, Daniel spends a few moments cooing over the design on the back then is finally persuaded to put it down and look at the other artefacts. The woman is wonderful. She’s so patient as she explains one item after another to Daniel, allowing him to hold and examine each one.

Daniel shocks me again. He’s familiar with many of the items and asks intelligent questions, one after the other until they get to questions the woman can’t answer. She takes out a small pad and pen and writes down all the things Daniel would like to know, along with his email address.

“I’ll find out these things for you and email you what I find. Are you studying ancient history too?”

Daniel thinks about it, frowning. “I…try. I have…books and…things. I want to…to go to…school. I’m sure I can. My sister won’t let me.”

“What do you mean she won’t let you.”

“She…she doesn’t think I can.”

“How will you know unless you try?”

“Yes. Yes that…that’s what…what I say but….” He shrugs helplessly. “She thinks I’ll get hurt.”

The woman smiles. “Maybe you will, but that won’t kill you, babe. Trying and failing is better than not trying at all, in my book. Throw your whole heart into it and if your heart gets broken—patch it up and throw yourself right back in there. That’s the only way you’re ever going to learn, and grow.”

“Yes. That’s what I think. Sara…” he ponders. “…loves me too much.”

“I don’t think she loves you too much,” I said stifling the laugh in my voice as best I can. “I don’t think it’s possible to love too much. She just underestimates you and think she knows what’s best for you. It’s not that she doesn’t think you can do it. It’s just that she’s afraid for you. She doesn’t want you to get hurt.”

“She….she doesn’t….think I can….do it. She doesn’t think…think I can…do…anything.”

“I’m sure that’s not right.”

Daniel gives me a look. It’s the kind of look parents give children when they’re talking nonsense. “She doesn’t think…think I should…read, Rayn. She…doesn’t think it…does me…any good.”

“Well, when we get back we can talk to her, both of us. We can tell her about all the things you’ve seen and done and hopefully if she sees how happy it makes you, she’ll make it easier for you.”

“I don’t care,” Daniel says, an unfamiliar, closed expression coming over his face. “I…I’m going to do it any…anyway. She….she can’t…stop me. I’m…I’m all grown up now.” Suddenly he grins. “Well almost. Can I…can I get…my face painted. I…I saw people with…their…faces painted.”

“Why are you asking me? If you want to get your face painted then we’ll go do it. Just don’t expect me to have mine done.”

“Aw Rayn, you’ll… look….awfully cute with…with warrior ma…marks.” Daniel lightly brushes my face with his finger, painting invisible likes on my cheek and nose. I can’t stop myself jerking back from the jolt of electricity that seemed to have zapped out of his finger at the gentle touch. Daniel seems hurt, but doesn’t say anything.

“Let’s find the face painter and see what happens. How much does it costs?”

“No charge,” The woman said with a smile. “No excuses.”

“Thanks a bunch.” She shrugs and laughs as Daniel tows me away.

The queue for face painting is long and full of kids. Daniel chats the whole time at a breathless rate—for him, astonishing me with the depth of his knowledge and how unselfconscious he is about sharing it. He has the whole queue enthralled, and by the time we get to the re enactor who’s doing the painting, even he’s smiling and looking impressed. In fact, he’s looking more than impressed. He’s very young, very pretty and obviously very interested in Daniel. Over my dead body.

“I don’t think I’m going to have to explain too much about the meaning of the symbols to you, am I?” the boy asks with a smile.

“I don’t…know them…all.” Daniel says in his hesitant but eager way.

“But you know that each symbol has a meaning, mostly with religious significance.”

Daniel nods solemnly. “Yes. I…like the animals. To….to make you have…the spirit…of the animal. That’s ca…called sham…shamanism. Native Americans do it.”

“People all over the world do it. Native peoples mostly. Would you like to be a shaman today?”

Daniels thinks deeply, then shakes his head. “No. I want…want spirals and…swirls. To help…me speak…better.”

The boy’s eyes widen and meet mine briefly. I bite my lip and look away. “I’ll see what I can do, he says brightly, but with a catch in his voice.

“Hurry up, will you,” a sharp voice cuts in. “We haven’t got all day to stand around while you discuss nonsense with retards.”

Daniel stiffens and I know he recognizes the voice. It doesn’t take a genius to work out from where. I turn, struggling to keep my temper.

“Excuse me?”

She’s pretty much as I expected – blonde, brash and brainless. What a cliché!

“You heard,” she snarls. “You should keep that boy on a leash and not let him wander around on his own. He’s dangerous.”

“And just how do you think he’s dangerous?”

“He was talking to my son.”

“Oh my God. I can’t imagine how you refrained from calling the police.”

The woman opens her mouth to respond but the little boy, a cute kid of about eight chimes in first. “His name’s Daniel, Mam and I don’t know why you chased him away because he was going to tell me why the man had a special necklace. No one told me that.”

“Don’t be ridiculous,” his mother snapped. “Someone like that can’t tell you history things not real ones.”

“It…it was a torc,” Daniel says in a voice filled with so much sadness I can’t decide whether I want to hug Daniel or punch the woman. “It sh…sh…shows he…he is…is a…a warrior.”

The woman curls her lip, but the little boy bounces up and down. “See, Mam? See? I told you he knows things. He knew the storytellers were called birds and—”

“Bards.” Daniel interrupts him gently. “Not b…birds.”

“Oh,” the little boy says, “bards. Do bards have special painting on them? Can I be a bard?”

“Bards do…do…don’t have paint, only wa…warriors.”

“Oh.” The little boy looks crestfallen.

“You…you’d m…make a really go…good warrior,” Daniel offers shyly.

“Can I, Mam? Can I be a warrior Daniel says—”

The woman, who’d been frozen in anger, comes abruptly back to life and snaps at her son. “I don’t care what Daniel says. I’ve told you, I don’t want you talking to people like him.”

“But, Mu-um, he’s nice. He is. He—”

“Don’t argue with me.” She clips the boy across the head, causing him to wail, and begins to drag him away.

“Don’t hit him!” Daniel yells, startling me. “You’re not…not sup…sup…posed to hit him. And…and…it’s dangerous on his head. It…it…it’s wr…wrong.”

The woman stares at him for a moment, her eyes wide. Daniel meets her gaze steadily, anger flashing in his lovely blue eyes.

“How dare you,” she spits, taking a step towards Daniel. I automatically angle my body in front of his, but he pushes me aside impatiently. “How dare you tell me how to take care of my son. Fucking retard. What do you know?”

“I know it’s wrong,” Daniel says stubbornly, crossing his arms over his chest.

“Keep your fucking nose out, fucktard.”

“Oh beautiful language in front of a little one.”

The woman glares at me. “And you can keep your fucking nose out, too. Who are you anyway? His boyfriend?”

“What if I am? Will you add homophobia to your list of prejudices?”

The woman stops, her mouth agape, then her mouth twists. “Stinking fags,” she hisses then storms off. It’s all I can do not to go after her.

“It’s…alright, Rayn. Don’t…don’t be…scared. I’m…here.”

I turn my head in surprise. “Scared?” Surprised, I realise I’m shaking. I put my arm around Daniel and hug him briefly. “It’s alright, I’m not scared. I’m angry.”

“Oh. Angry’s o…okay. It’s better to…to express it than…bury it. You…mustn’t bu…bury anger.”

“Who told you that?”

“Doctor Barnes.”

“Who’s he?”

“She.”

“Who’s she?”

“My…my d…doctor. She helps be more…more…normal.”

“Let me tell you a secret, Daniel. Normal isn’t so great.”

“It…it isn’t?”

I turn to Daniel and put my hands on his shoulders. “Tell me, are you happy the way you are?”

Daniel frowns. “Ye…es. It’s…j…just….” He pauses.

“What? Just what?”

“It…makes…my…my mother un…happy and…. And my…father….” Daniel shakes his head.

A chill runs down my spine. “What about your father?”

“He…doesn’t…like me.”

“Is that why you live with Sara?”

“No. He…he’s…gone.” Daniel is clearly finding the subject difficult, even distressing so, as much as I want to know more about the situation, I change the subject and divert Daniel’s attention back to the face painter.

Instantly cheerful, Daniel sits down and giggles as the boy paints his face.

“How does that feel?”

“It tickles.”

“Do you feel any swirlier?”

Daniel giggles again. “Definitely swirlier.”

“Good. What about your boyfriend?”

“He’s not my boy…friend.”

“I’m not his boyfriend.”

“Oh.” The boy looks mortified. “But I…. You said….”

“I only said it to shock her. I work with his sister. We only met last week.”

“Oh.” A completely different expression crosses the boy’s face and it makes me want to slap him. Not that he deserves it. Who wouldn’t look at Daniel like that? I do.

When I glance at Daniel he’s watching me with a thoughtful expression on his face, his head tilted slightly to one side.

“What?”

Daniel smiles a strange little smile and shakes his head.

“Have a stag, Rayn,” he says, an unfamiliar intensity in his voice. “Stags are strong and brave and….” He leans in and whispers in my ear. “Gay.”

“What.” I draw back and stare at him. Did I really hear him say what he just said?

Daniel shrugs. “Lots of animals are, when it’s not mating season.”

“Are you really trying to tell me stags are gay?”

Daniel shrugs again and smiles.

I was about to burst out laughing when a voice at my shoulder says, “Actually he’s right.”

“Sorry?”

The man must be in his sixties. What’s he doing in a queue for face painting? “Stags spend most of the year in same sex groups and certainly engage in same sex activities.”

“What does that mean, Grandpa?” An angelic girl with wide blue eyes and blonde curls gazes up at him as if he’s the lamp that lights the world. Well that explains one thing.

“Do you remember when we were looking at the wolves and we talked about how sometimes, when they didn’t need to be with a lady to make a baby, the males can sometimes pair up with each other and form life pairs.”

“Oh yes,” she says solemnly. “Don’t people do that too sometimes? You said.”

“Yes, people do that too.”

The little girl nods and smiles brightly at Rayn. “My Grandpa knows everything about animals.”

“Not everything.” He smiled indulgently and ruffles her curls. “So,” he says, “are you going to get the stag?”

“I…don’t know. I guess so.”

The face paint tickles and feels none too pleasant, but I stay still under Daniels scrutiny, struggling not to wrinkle my nose.

When I’m done I turn to him for approval and he laughs out loud. Daniel’s laugh is so…freeing. He doesn’t hold anything back. It’s light and sweet and absolutely uninhibited. I love Daniel’s laugh.

“You look funny.”

I press my hand over my heart. “You wound me to the core. I did this for you, and you mock me.”

Daniel’s light disappears and he looks on the verge of tears. “I’m sorry, Rayn. I…I…di…di…didn’t m…mean to hu…hurt you.”

I shoot out of my seat and throw my arms around him. It’s the most natural thing in the world. The only thing to do. “Don’t be sad. You didn’t hurt me. I was teasing you. I promise.” I draw back and press my thumbs against the blue paint under his eyes, blotting the moisture. “Don’t cry or your face paint will smudge.”

“I wasn’t going to cry,” Daniel says, sniffing. Then smiles his shy smile. “Did you? Did you… really do it just for…me?”

“Why else? I don’t usually make a habit of painting my face blue for no reason.”

“You should. I suits you.” His lips twitch and his eyes sparkle.

“Right.”

Suddenly, shockingly, incredibly, breathlessly, amazingly, unbelievably, Daniel kisses me. It’s a soft, sweet, brief kiss, a pressing together of our lips. Then he dances out of my arms and heads toward one of the houses, leaving me frozen. What the fuck?

“Be careful what you wish for,” the face painter mumbles.

“Sorry?”

“You said he’s your boyfriend.”

“But he isn’t.”

The boy waggles his eyebrows and I have to laugh. “I think we need to have a talk.”

“It’s none of my business, son,” the old man said, “but the world is full of people who think they know what’s best for others. Sometimes they do but I’ve discovered that, by and large, most people know, deep down, what’s best for themselves. Oh,” he adds as I begin to walk away, “and you’d be surprised how many great opportunities for happiness are lost through fear of what others might think.”

It’s on the tip of my tongue to say it’s not that easy, but what if it is? What if it is that easy? That I like Daniel and Daniel likes me and that’s all that matters? But it isn’t. It really isn’t. I have no idea how Daniel’s mind works, whether his feelings are genuine. Sara said he’d had his heart broken before so he must have had relationships, at least one relationship. He must be capable of love. But what if his attachments were fickle, unable to last? What if his love was like his smile; beautiful and blindingly bright, but as quick to appear as to pass? What if…?

My head’s full of what ifs but hey, nothing new there. What the hell have I got myself into this time. I really thought I’d learned, that I’d toughened up my heart and was immune to love, that I would never let anyone touch me again. Boy is the universe laughing at me right now. I rub my arm, absently, in a gesture I picked up a long time ago and recognize. Irritated, I thrust my hands into my pockets. Fuck.

The inside of the roundhouse is dim. There’s a blazing fire burning in the middle, but the edges are shrouded in smoke and darkness. A large, black cauldron bubbles over the fire and a middle aged woman is bending over it, stirring. As far as I can tell, she’s giving a lecture on the kinds of beans available in the Iron Age. I caught the ‘and of course there were no potatoes’. A couple of people laughed, convinced, I’m sure, she was joking. One or two laughed because they knew she wasn’t.

I look around, trying to peer into the shifting smoke, searching for Daniel. Where’s he got to? I jump half out of my skin when a pair of cool hands cover my eyes and a voice whispers in my ear. “Guess who?”

Daniel is delighted at my reaction and peals of silvery laughter fill the building. Everyone stares, but I don’t care because my Daniel’s laughing and looks so happy. My Daniel?

I’ve no idea what he sees in my face, but Daniel stops smiling, and taking my hand, leads me out of the house. He walks in silence to the edge of the field, where we can look out over the patchwork of forest, hills and fields that spread out from this beautiful place. We stand in quiet companionship. Daniel doesn’t let go of my hand and I have absolutely no desire to let go of his, although a tiny corner of my mind is nagging that maybe I should.

“I’m not…completely…retarded you know,” Daniel says after a while, something indefinably different about his voice.

“No one ever said you’re retarded, Daniel.”

“Sara…uses that word a lot. Only to say I…I’m not but…. I hear it…a lot.” He hangs his head, the beautiful golden hair falling like a curtain. As if to reassure me he’s not really cutting himself off, the grip on my hand tightens, although I’m not really sure if he’s aware he’s doing it.

“She only wants what’s best for you.”

“She doesn’t…know…what’s best f…for me.”

“She wants to take care of you.”

He lifts his head and shocks me with the blaze of anger in his eyes. “She wants to keep me a child, and I’m not. I’m not a child, Rayn. I…know my own mind. I’m not…not the same as everyone else, but…but that doesn’t mean I don’t…feel, I…don’t…” His eyes wander away then back. “…love.” The anger’s gone now, leaving a kind of weary sadness I hate to see.

“Love’s a strong word,” I say carefully. This conversation is wandering close to a line that once crossed can’t be uncrossed.

“I know. It’s a strong feeling. I have it all the time.”

“Oh.”

“People say… they say there are lots of…different kinds of love. I don’t agree.”

“You don’t?”

“No. Love is love. There are just different ways of….” He waves his free hand in the air, looking for the words. “...expressing it. Thinking it. Shaping it.” He breaks of and gives a deep sigh, then goes quiet again. I don’t know what to say to I remain silent, too. We stand still, side by side, holding hands.

“I was in love once.”

“Oh?” His words take me by surprise. “Just once?”

He turns his head to look at me through his hair. “You’re surprised.”

“I…um…”

“That I was…in…love at all? Or…only once?”

“It doesn’t surprise me in the slightest you were in love. Someone as full of love as you are couldn’t possibly have got to this age without being in love. But I am surprised it was only once.”

Daniel sighs deeply. “Well…when I was…young I used to…to fall…fall in love all the time, but it…it wasn’t…real. And then…. And then….” He sighs again. “His name was Mark and he was a complete bastard.”

“Did he hurt you?” The words slip out, hot and angry, before I can stop them.

Daniel beams and shakes his head. “Not like…like that.” The smile vanishes. “He was…was…playing…with me. Laughing at me…with his…friends. He… We… I thought…th…thought he l–loved me. He was…. I l–let him…” He stops and takes a big breath. “I’d never done it before. You know?” He gazes at me and I nod with a sinking heart. Daniel nods too.

“It was…was a g…game…to him. Fuck the…the…retard. He…. They laughed…at…me.”

“Oh God.” Daniel’s lips are trembling. He’s trembling all over, I can feel it through his hand. I yank him towards me and put my arms around him, hugging him tight. He hugs me tighter, his body shaking with silent sobs.

“Hey,” I say after a while, breaking his hold and holding him a little away so I can look into his eyes. “He was wrong. You know that, right? He was the retard. He was cruel and mean and it was him not you who was wrong.”

Daniel nods, his swirling blue face paint smudged and blurred where he’s been crying. It must be all over my shirt, but I don’t care. “Yes,” he whispers.

“It must have hurt you very much.”

Daniel nods again, licking salt tears from his lips. “I…tried to…hide but…Sara wouldn’t let me.”

“I see,” and I do. I see surprisingly well. No wonder Sara was so mad at me. If I’d been there. If I’d seen Daniel hurt like that I’d be fiercely protective too. I stroke damp hair out of his face and wipe the tears away with my thumbs. There’s no chance of protecting the face paint this time. “Have you been hiding all this time?”

Daniel shrugs, trying to lower his head and hide his face. “Don’t do that. Don’t hide your face. Don’t ever hide your face. It’s too beautiful to hide.” What the fuck am I saying? What the fuck am I doing? I’m staring into Daniel’s glorious eyes and it’s as if I have no will, mesmerised by the honesty and innocence that shines out of them.

“You would never hurt me like that, Rayn, would you?”

“Damn right I wouldn’t. If anyone ever hurt you like that when I’m here I’d kill them.”

“No you wouldn’t. Not kill them. Not you.”

“No, but I’d give them the best tongue lashing they’ve ever had…or the worst.”

Daniel looks confused for a moment, then smiles. “Tongue lashing,” he says, amusement in his voice. “That’s a row, right?”

“Absolutely.”

“I can think of another meaning,” he says glancing up at me through his hair. The boy is blatantly flirting with me. What the hell am I supposed to do now?

“Maybe we should go back. Get your face touched up. It’s all smudged where you’ve been crying and—.”

“Don’t you want to kiss me?”

“No. Yes. I…I shouldn’t.”

“Shouldn’t?”

“I’ve only just met you, and Sara would be furious, and I don’t want to take advantage and I….” I’m babbling like a fool but I’m desperately trying to think of a good reason not to kiss him and I’m really struggling to find one. How can I can be taking advantage of him when the very sight of him makes my heart feel as if it wants to burst out of my chest, the touch of his hand burns me and the look in his eyes…? Oh God those eyes.

A slow smile creeps over Daniel’s face. He moves closer. “Fuck Sara,” he says and buries his hands in my hair, dragging my head down until our lips meet.

This kiss is different. This kiss isn’t sweet and chaste and tantalising. This kiss is hot and passionate and needy and all-consuming and before I know it he’s in my arms, pressing his body against mine, fighting my tongue for dominance. My hands slide down and cup his buttocks, pulling him even closer and my—

“No. Stop. I can’t.” I pull back, breathless and shaking. “Daniel, I can’t, not like this.”

“Then like what?” he asks eagerly, his eyes very bright and seeming slightly dazed. He licks his lips and I almost lose it.

“We’re in a field full of people for one thing.”

“We could go somewhere else.”

“No. Not now. Not like this. I barely know you. You don’t know me.”

“I know what I see…what I…see…in your eyes.”

I take his face between my hands and kiss him softly. He reaches for me but I move away. “Consider this our first date. I like you. I like you a lot but I want to take it slow, okay? I want to spend time with you, and get to know you. I want to take you on dates and have fun. And if something else grows… well I’ll be happy to embrace it…but slowly. Do you understand?”

Daniel smiles and nods. “Will you buy me flowers?”

“If that’s what you want.”

He laughs and shakes his head. “Not really. I like going to the cinema though, and I like kissing.”

I have to laugh at that. “Okay. Kissing at the cinema it is…next time. Then dinner.”

“Oh yes, of course, dinner. And the ocean. You can take me to the ocean.” A dreamy expression crosses his face. “I love the ocean. And the wind. And the sky.”

“Freedom?”

He gives me a strange look then laughs his free laugh. “Oh yes. Freedom.”

As we walk back, swinging our hands a realization comes to me. “Daniel?”

“Uh Hmm.”

“Your speech.”

“What about it?”

“You weren’t stammering. When we were talking about the ocean.”

“Oh. No. Must the face paint.”

“Must be.”

Copyright © 2016 Nephylim; All Rights Reserved.
  • Like 52
  • Love 7
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. 
You are not currently following this author. Be sure to follow to keep up to date with new stories they post.

Recommended Comments

Chapter Comments

Interesting and engrossing. I look forward to watching Daniel as he grows, although it won't make his family happy. I also look forward to seeing how Rayn and Daniel's relationship continues. Not sure of what Daniel's problem is so I'm hoping that's one thing you clear up.

Link to comment
On 12/31/2015 12:36 PM, avidreadr said:

Interesting and engrossing. I look forward to watching Daniel as he grows, although it won't make his family happy. I also look forward to seeing how Rayn and Daniel's relationship continues. Not sure of what Daniel's problem is so I'm hoping that's one thing you clear up.

Yes, Daniel's condition will be clarified somewhat, although there isn't a 'neat' explanation for why Daniel is as he is. There is for sure going to be resistance from Sara, but she loves her brother very much and has seen him hurt badly so I don't blame her at all. The problem she and her mother share, is that they haven't allowed Daniel to grow up and don't believe he can. They entirely underestimate him

Link to comment
On 12/31/2015 01:37 PM, Roberto Zuniga said:

I can't get enough of it. I hope the next chapter will be up soon

It definitely will :) I'm glad you're enjoying it

Link to comment
On 12/31/2015 03:31 PM, skinnydragon said:

This story is very interesting Neph!

 

And very good.

Thank you very much. It's slightly different to my other stories and I hope it works

Link to comment
On 12/31/2015 10:31 PM, bubby1234 said:

Such a beautiful story,keep it beautiful please,no darkness .

Umm.... I have kind of a reputation as Queen of Darkness for a reason :) Daniel is a blinding light, and the brighter the light the darker the shadow. Unfortunately there will be darkness, but nowhere near as dark as my stories usually get. No one dies and there is a HEA. Hope that is enough to see you through the darkness. There's plenty of sweetness too

Link to comment

Great start Nephy. Daniel doesn't really come off as 'retarded' but somewhere on the autistic scale, but it's odd because he can understand emotions. If I had to venture a guess, something psychological happened with his father.

Link to comment
On 01/01/2016 11:34 AM, Houdinii said:

Great start Nephy. Daniel doesn't really come off as 'retarded' but somewhere on the autistic scale, but it's odd because he can understand emotions. If I had to venture a guess, something psychological happened with his father.

Thank you :) Daniel isn't autistic, but his problems aren't psychological. As for his father... Hmm... :) I think I should say, though, that being autistic doesn't mean you can't understand emotion. My son is autistic and he understands emotion very well. He has difficulty expressing it, but he's very empathetic and also analytical of how he and others feel. IT can be quite uncomfortable sometimes as he's so honest about it :)

Link to comment

Really nice chapter, hope nothing too bad happens to them. I also hope Sara won't be too bad about them, but that would probably be too much to ask :)
Can't wait for the next chapter, please update soon :)

Link to comment
On 01/02/2016 12:40 AM, Morgana_lefay said:

Really nice chapter, hope nothing too bad happens to them. I also hope Sara won't be too bad about them, but that would probably be too much to ask :)

Can't wait for the next chapter, please update soon :)

Thank you :) I find I can't write a whole story without darkness, but this one is fairly gentle - for me :)

Link to comment

Such a beautifully moving and delightful story. Lovely the way you affirm Rayn and Daniel's feelings for each other in what others are seeing in the way they look at each other. Oh my, how are they going to get by Sara. She is going to be spitting, hissing mad at Rayn. I hope they manage to find a way round this to the point she can even see how much good it does Daniel. Rayn is pretty special too to see what he sees in Daniel and to be as protective of him as Sara is, only he is able to appreciate that Daniel needs lots more reign to be himself (oops - inadvertent pun that! Lol! But true too!) Where does the name Rayn come from? It's different and beautiful.

Link to comment
On 04/08/2016 11:24 PM, Jaro_423 said:

Such a beautifully moving and delightful story. Lovely the way you affirm Rayn and Daniel's feelings for each other in what others are seeing in the way they look at each other. Oh my, how are they going to get by Sara. She is going to be spitting, hissing mad at Rayn. I hope they manage to find a way round this to the point she can even see how much good it does Daniel. Rayn is pretty special too to see what he sees in Daniel and to be as protective of him as Sara is, only he is able to appreciate that Daniel needs lots more reign to be himself (oops - inadvertent pun that! Lol! But true too!) Where does the name Rayn come from? It's different and beautiful.

Last things first, I have no idea where the name Rayn came from. I think I read it somewhere and it stuck in my head. I needed a special story to use it in and a special person to use it with. Th thing about Rayn is that he's as flawed as Daniel in many ways. During the course of the story he acts bravely, stupidly, protectively, self destructively, ignorantly, selfishly, selflessly and all the other things normal fallible people do. He makes a lot of mistakes but he never mistakes his feelings and focus for Daniel. I loved writing this story and I am actually in the process of re writing the end because I needed to bring some of this sweet innocense back

Link to comment
View Guidelines

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Newsletter

    Sign Up and get an occasional Newsletter.  Fill out your profile with favorite genres and say yes to genre news to get the monthly update for your favorite genres.

    Sign Up
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

Our Privacy Policy can be found here: Privacy Policy. We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue..