Friday, 18 October 2013

FB3X Drabble Cascade #31 - Evolution of Love (m/m romance, PG)

Suitable for All

Fantasy Boys XXX Drabble Cascade

This is Fantasy Boys XXX flash fiction entry for the 31st Drabble Cascade.

Author's Note

This was one of those times when my word count went nuts, but I felt the story needed it to tell the tale. It's an exploration of what independence means.

Evolution of Love
by Sophie Duncan

“If you leave this house now, you will never be admitted here again!”

Kieran had been expecting those words since he had come home and told his parents what he was about to do. He had tried to prepare for them, but they still tore his heart to pieces and he looked down self-protectively at the small satchel that now held all he possessed. His eyes stung with tears and he couldn’t hide them all as he looked up at his mother and his father standing very closely together in the centre of the room. It had been his mother who had delivered the ultimatum, her eyes blazing with fury that was only being held in by his father’s calmer hands on the woman’s shoulders. His father looked sad, but was his usual silent self.

“I must go, I have the genetic marker, I am called and I want to do this,” Kieran spoke quietly, knowing his words would not help, but needing to say them anyway.

“And there are another hundred who also have the marker,” his mother objected instantly, stepping out of his father’s hold and waving her hand dismissively. “It is that dead-eyed Dhazi who has turned your mind to this.”

Kieran shook his head rapidly then and moved towards his mother, but she stepped back from his approach and he came to a stuttering halt.

“It isn’t like that, I know, I feel it inside, I always have,” he tried desperately to explain, but as he was faced with a stony glare of incomprehension, just a little defensive fire heated his words as he countered, “Raith had nothing to do with my decision and you could at least be happy that I am not going to face this alone.”

Kieran knew he had lost his mother as soon as he mentioned his lover, because she turned away from him, hand going to her mouth as she stifled whatever emotion was there. There was nothing left for it, Kieran gave his father one last glance, not knowing what he saw in those placid eyes looking back at him, and then he turned to the door. As he left, he heard his mother sob, but he steeled himself to it: this is what he wanted, and, resolutely, he stepped outside, where the transport was waiting for him.


“I’m scared,” Kieran murmured, shivering violently and leaning heavily back against Raith’s chest.

It could only have been minutes since the doctor had injected him with the serum that would awaken the power in his genes, but already his body felt like he was facing ice and fire simultaneously and he needed the supportive embrace that held him close. 

“Just breathe,” Raith’s confident tones soothed, “your magic will do the rest.”

“What if the tests were wrong? What if I’m not one of you?” Kieran whimpered, the world going round as his panic rose.

“Shh, lover,” Raith cooed and began to rock him gently, kissing him on the shoulder before he carried on, “You are one of us, I feel you waking.”

It was not enough, though, and, hysteria under his skin, Kieran struggled to sit forward and tried to turn. He wasn’t all that co-ordinated, but Raith patiently helped him without objection and eventually he was looking into his companion’s coal-black eyes. Others called them dead-eyes, but Kieran had never thought that, he saw life in the inky pools, always had done, which is why he had not shied away that day when he had met his first Dhazi. Everyone he knew had shuddered at the thought of talking to one of the mostly silent warrior sorcerers, so he had kept the fact he was falling in love with one very secret. He had only felt the call six months later and, of course, no-one would believe him that the two happenings were unrelated. Dhazi were respected for the good they did, but they were feared, and now all those fears came bubbling to the surface in Kieran. He grabbed onto the loose robe that Raith was wearing and begged an answer, “I won’t swallow souls will I?”

Raith smiled, a sure gesture in the swimming world that was taking over Kieran, and then shook his head. Kieran wanted to relax then, feeling foolish, but he shuddered instead as a wave of freezing fire swept through his body. He gasped and closed his eyes for a moment, trying to contain the pain that came with the sensation. However, Raith’s hold tightened where he was holding him up by the shoulders.

“Kieran, look at me,” Raith ordered, trying to sound as calm as before, but there was a tenor in his voice that made Kieran instantly open his eyes again.

His lover’s jaw going slack and eyes glistening with instant worry did not help Kieran’s equilibrium and he wanted to ask what was the matter, but another wave of pain shook him from his core, and with an incoherent mumble he slumped forward. Raith pulled him close, but the hug was no longer reassuring as his companion yelled to anyone in hearing, “I need some help in here!”

“Wha’s,” Kieran tried again, but his tongue didn’t move properly and the pain just grew.

He screamed, but his own sound died in his ears as a rush of heated ice wiped his senses and the world went white. 


“Remarkable, the first - I thought it would be more impressive,” a disdainful tone slipped into Kieran’s hearing and he opened his eyes to the indifference reluctantly.

The physical part of him was expecting to ache, but there was nothing, no sensation at all in fact, and the only reason Keiran knew his eyes were open was that the world in front of him came into focus. Well, there wasn’t really that much to see, just a swirl of silver and light, nothing that really formed any shape, but, being human, his eyes began to make out humanoid blobs and faces anyhow, and an uncomfortable feeling began to creep up the back of his neck that he was being watched - only he slowly realised he didn’t have a neck either.

“Oh how it clings to its body,” another voice sounded into the miasma, quite an excited tone quite unlike the first aloof derision, “not ready, it’s not ready.”

“It’s here, isn’t it?” the other voice countered with something that sounded like a sniff.

“Where is here?” Kieran thought and then realised he had actually asked the question, at which he shrank a little before the immense nothingness, but his thought carried on, “Is this a dream?”

He’d had fever dreams before, they could be very bizarre and he didn’t want to think about what his last bodily sensation had suggested. 

“No, you are not dying, child,” a third voice slipped into his head, this one sounded almost feminine.

He was of age, a man, and he would have ruffled at the term in life, but he was catching on quickly that this was not life, even if this was not death either.

“As best I can describe it, this, that is to say, we are a construct between your mind and your magic,” the useful feminine voice continued.

“You can’t cope with what we really are,” the dismissive tone added unhelpfully.

“Not yet anyway,” the expectantly observant voice took up the conversation.

“Yet?” Kieran didn’t really want to ask, but his voice sounded out into the silvery hue anyway, it was a slightly uncomfortable feeling.

He hugged his arms protectively round himself, at least that is what it felt like in his head, even though he didn’t have any arms, and he stared into the swirling shapes, pointlessly trying to make something human out of what he was not seeing.

“You how shall we put this...evolved...broken the bounds of your existence,” the helpful voice told him, reminding him a bit of a school teacher, an infant school teacher.

If Kieran had had a jaw, it would have dropped.

“And yet it still hangs onto a corporeal link,” the observer summarily cut right through his shock.

Kieran tried to look behind himself, which was silly, because there was no behind, no front, nothing but the slowly moving iridescence, but he did feel something, a vague shadow of sensation that he knew was not in his mind, it was in his body.

“Let go, child,” the female, somewhat motherly voice coaxed gently.

Kieran had never been one for meekly obeying orders, though, and he settled into the physical suggestion, realising it was the icy, fiery pain that had wiped his senses in the first place.

“What happens if I do let go?” he tested, wary of what was behind and what might be in his future.

“You become,” came the quip of an answer from the disdainful tone.

Kieran frowned, or at least he thought of a frown. His teller laughed.

“Autonomy, power, complete independence from your limited existence,” the woman told him more clearly and there was just a note of superiority in the explanation.

That brought all Kieran’s thoughts to a momentary stop. Into the silence, the pain crept again, a ghost in the back of his being, but along with it came something else, a whisper of concern and a touch of love: he remembered Raith. 

“Don’t be stupid, a mortal cannot match us,” the female voice snapped, sounding less motherly and more like her aloof companion by the moment.

Theirs had been a strange love, a slow burning thing tied down by society’s expectations at first, but the memory of Raith rose in Kieran’s consciousness and his magic responded - the world around him pulsed and Kieran gasped as a sharp spike of heat shot through him.

“Impossible!” the observer snapped, clearly annoyed by the disturbance.

Yet the pain clarified Kieran’s thoughts and they spread into his world as, “I don’t want to be alone.”

“There is no such thing as alone, only free,” the non-mother told him condescendingly.

“I am free,” Kieran objected instantly.

The silver mist convulsed around him and his mind shuddered with shock as agony lanced through it. Yet, along with the searing hurt came a half-memory of touches, of soft, worried words and the thought of losing that defied all the pain.

“You know nothing of freedom, child,” the scornful voice cut into his thoughts, dragging him back into the alien little world. “You have walked from the arms of parents into the arms of another human trap and you cannot even see it.”

“I chose my path, I am Dhazi,” Kieran argued, struggling with tendrils from the physical world that made him want to curl up into a ball, but he didn’t dare let go of them.

“You are no more Dhazi than we are,” the cool observer replied.

“Then what am I?” Kieran snapped back, gasping in mind and body as his two worlds united again for a brief, agonising moment.

“New,” was not a very helpful reply from the feminine aspect of his hosts, but she ignored Kieran’s grunt of distaste and continued again, “let go of your pain, child, you do not require that body anymore.”

“I don’t want to leave him,” the crux of the matter came out into the ether without Kieran’s conscious consent, but he did not want to retract the objection.

The sniff of disdain was unmistakable this time and it came from all three facets of Kieran’s mind magic.

“You would sacrifice eternity for a feeble-minded mortal?” the question came threefold from each source at once and Kieran almost buckled under the weight of their revulsion at his claim.

“That, that is why I would sacrifice,” Kieran snarled, the incursions of bodily pain into his experience making him short. “My feeble-mind doesn’t want your freedom, not if it means never touching him again.”

“Incomprehensible!” the withering judgement came, but Kieran had already heard enough.

Another wave of pain hit him and this time he sunk into it with every part of his being. His mind reeled, but he clung onto that reality, forcing through it until he heard his own scream in his ears. Kieran writhed with the white hot agony, fighting hands and bodies all around him that were trying to push him down, but that was not his only fight as the silver mists of his mind followed him back into his body, pulling his spirit away again.

Senses spinning and body convulsing reactively, Kieran quickly weakened, the pain becoming almost everything in his torn world. Yet, within the torment, for just a second, something touched him, something familiar: Raith’s magic slipped into his being and desperation led him as Kieran latched on. The link wavered at his strength, but Kieran reached out, sense and soul, for the only chance of salvation he had, and something beyond his natural instincts led him as he pushed everything else out of the way. There was brightness as bodies and the iridescent wisps parted in front of him, and then Kieran found his focus. 

Raith was standing against a wall of the small medical room in which Kieran had begun his journey, arms crossed, body taut and face dark with worry. Kieran reached out to him and begged, “Help me, please.”

In a heartbeat, Raith had crossed the distance between them, and Kieran sighed as arms came around him. His lover was shaking as he pulled him close, and Kieran did not have the coordination to control the embrace, but his magic leapt as body to body, Raith’s strength surged to join his. Kieran closed his eyes and buried his face in Raith’s shoulder as, in tandem, he sank into his lover’s magic. He had felt spells before, enjoyed the magical intimacy Raith had shared with him in the bedroom, but this touch ran far deeper. He was breaking in two and Kieran needed his Dhazi to pull him back together. 

Raith held nothing back and, when another searing wave of pain wracked him, with a sob, Kieran felt it shudder into his holder as well. Yet, Raith only gripped him harder. Kieran lay weak against Raith’s chest, each attack draining him more, the silvery tendrils wrapping around the edge of his consciousness, trying to pull him back out of the physical. Instinct told him he was dying, that he had to act and survival won. Putting all the energy he had left into one effort, Kieran wrapped himself around Raith, both magically and physically and let his senses go. The world whited out, and fear gripped Kieran as he sensed his hosts close by, but his lover and anchor gripped him back and in another wiping moment, the silver place was gone. 

Kieran had no strength left, his limbs were like water and his mind closed down, but as he slid into a safe, quiet blackness, he felt Raith’s strong hold cradling him inside and out.


Coming round was a much slower process that his descent into blackness and the first thing that impinged on Kieran’s aching senses was the buzz of magic. He’d only ever experienced it from the outside, as an uninitiated human before, so the sensation of a new current of awareness running through every fibre of his body was a unique and vaguely arousing feeling. Maybe that had more to do with his lustful associations with magic thanks to Raith’s influence, but Kieran drifted in a pleasant and horny haze for a long time as his body and mind adjusted to his new state of being.

However, as he lifted nearer to full consciousness, other instincts and emotions kicked in, and he slowly began to realise the arms that had held him in his worst moments were now gone and that added a taint of loneliness to his loose thoughts. It was seeking that lost comfort that finally forced Kieran to emerge from his stupor and, as reality settled, he opened his eyes and the reason he was alone became apparent. For a second, memories of the silver world came back to him, because all around him the air was shimmering, but then the very real feeling of his body aching at a mere intake of breath grounded him and another blink meant he realised he could see through what was some kind of shield.

Kieran was lying curled on his side in the centre of a soft, wide mattress, a sheet tangled and gathered around his midriff being his only covering and he was in no condition to move right then, even if his state suggested otherwise in his recent past. Thus, he lay still, staring at the part of his world he could see, which was plain white wall, a blinking machine which was responding to a sensor pinching one of his fingers, and a door. 

Apart from the iridescent wall over the bed, it was all very ordinary compared to the surreal nightmare that had left him so weak, and Kieran was still too weary to think much. He was therefore drifting again, but this time with his eyes open, when the door opening interrupted him. He did respond at first, they could come to him as far as his exhaustion was concerned, however, eyes and instinct kicked in as the door swung in and Kieran recognised Raith. Instantly, he tried to sit up, which hurt quite a lot, but still he wobbled on one elbow and reached out with the other hand to such a welcome face. His hand bounced off the shield like he had touched jelly, but with an added shiver of magic up his arm, so he flattened his palm against the surface, and choked his lover’s name.

Raith’s hand quickly mirrored his own and everything that could have been said passed between the two men in one look. Kieran soaked up the concern and relief from those dark eyes, but he also read something else from Raith’s gaze, something that reminded him of his reaction to the Dhazi serum.

“What is it?” he asked plainly, “Why is this here?”

He nodded to the wall between them.

“Just a precaution,” Raith replied, smiling convincingly. “The medics weren’t sure how to handle things.”

“Did I do something bad?” Kieran checked, remembering the flash of light and the falling of bodies.

However, Raith shook his head and laughed, a confused sound somewhere between relief and disquiet.

“Not you,” he replied, “but your friends.”

“Friends?” Now Kieran was confused.

[How corporeal!] an almost disgusted voice announced from behind him and swiftly, Kieran rolled onto his back, seeking the source.

[So low,] the non-mother sniffed as three small balls of gently pulsating, molten silver floated up from the mattress into his view.

[The physical does, however, seem to be providing certain distractions,] Kieran’s observer construct made three and he felt his cheeks colour as he connected the information with the lovely sensations he had been enjoying before waking.

“They appeared as you passed out in my arms,” Raith told him, “and they sting.”

[Poppycock: we merely defended ourselves when these oafs attempted to remove us,] Disdain, as Kieran’s brain now labelled that voice, replied haughtily.

Before it had finished speaking, Raith carried on, “They took out two monitors and dowsed three spells before we managed to get up the shield. They don’t like me much, either -”

[Messy human thing,] Non-mother, who also now had ‘her’ name, added her own opinion even though Raith was still talking too.

“ - which is why I’m out here.”

[This realm is so limited,] Observer continued, but seemed quite enthused if its tone was anything to go by.

[You should have come with us, child,] Non-mother chastised, but not too harshly.

After the pain and the struggle, such complaints sounded so petty, Kieran laughed: it was that or his brain was going to explode.

“Are you alright, Kieran?” Raith checked, leaning onto the shimmering wall.

“Hmm,” Kieran replied, surreal and real mixing into a slight daze.

[Instead, you bring us to this restricted place,] Disdain barked, pulsating angrily.

“Me?!” Kieran coughed and sat up in alarm, much too fast for his senses or muscles.

“Kieran, don’t tax yourself,” Raith warned, but could only watch as Kieran steadied himself and focused on the three orbs that floated across in front of him.

[Yes, you, New Thing, you called us here,] Observer replied, still sounding absurdly excited. [We have being once more.]

“I’m sorry,” Kieran confessed his guilt immediately, as his own fight to remain mortal struck a chord.

[What’s done is done,] Non-mother countered, tone softer.

[And we remain in the other plane also,] Observer explained.

“Kieran, are you talking to the orbs?” Raith asked cautiously and finally it dawned on Kieran that the Dhazi could not hear his acquaintances.

He nodded.

“I dragged them here from the other place when I refused to evolve,” Kieran answered slowly deciding on words that sort of captured what had happened.

“Evolve?” Raith checked, his eyebrows almost hitting his hairline.

“Beyond your primitive existence, Human,” Disdain revealed he could make himself heard and scooted towards Raith.

Shield in the way, or not, the move felt aggressive to Kieran’s still slightly addled brain and, as Raith reactively shied away, instinct took over and Kieran reached to protect.

“No!” he warned and pulled.

He pulled not with his body, but with his magic and his senses were filled with a disgruntled shock as Disdain shot backwards away from the Dhazi. However, whatever power Kieran was using, he didn’t focus it very well and, as well as grabbing Disdain, it hooked onto the shield. The shimmer bowed and then, with a feeling in Kieran’s new magical sense like nails sliding down a blackboard, it broke, fading like sparks thrown from a fire. The orbs immediately rose up high, spreading out in a line towards the ceiling and Kieran could feel anger that he knew wasn’t his own. Raith was not passive, either. He was a warrior and he raised his hand above his head, magic crackling between his fingers.

“No, no, no!” Kieran yelled and threw himself across the bed, landing in a heap half on the mattress and half leaning haphazardly against Raith’s body. “Stop it, all of you.”

Kieran wasn’t really sure if he could follow up his words with any kind of action, since he was shuddering with the effort of moving and his senses were none too steady after his first attempt at magic, but he grabbed Raith’s free hand in his and glowered up at the balls. He held himself taut for a few seconds, holding his breath as well, and, eventually, he felt the three orbs relax. They floated slowly down, coming closer together, and, as they did so, Raith settled behind him, the Dhazi’s attack hand coming to rest protectively on his shoulder. Letting out the trapped air from his chest, Kieran slumped against Raith and closed his eyes for a moment.

“Are you unwell, new thing?” Non-mother enquired.

“My name is Kieran,” he replied with a small sigh and forced his eyes open again, “and this is Raith.”

“Labels, how quaint,” Observer joined the conversation. “And what shall your type be called, Kieran?”

“Dhazi, we’re Dhazi,” Kieran countered and instantly felt Raith tense.

“Oh no, child Kieran, you are not like the Raith human,” Disdain added and Kieran recognised pride somewhere in that wide voice.

His muscle power mostly used up, Kieran just tipped his head back and looked up Raith’s body at his lover’s serious, upside down expression.

“I’m not Dhazi?” he checked, his voice small as a worry of loneliness crept back into his chest.

Raith did not keep him waiting, he shook his head and half smiled. 

“You are beautiful, my lover,” Raith replied, stroking his cheek gently, “but you are not Dhazi. Your eyes are silver and your magic is none our people recognise.”

“You are new,” Non-mother repeated, floating over to hover close to Kieran and Raith.

“Unique,” Observer added, joining the first orb.

“You stand alone,” Disdain finished smoothly for the trio and settled beside Non-mother.

Kieran gazed at the three beings he had dragged into this existence, the weight of their information settling around him. 

“I don’t want to be alone,” he whispered the fear that had kept him in the physical plane in the first place.

“And you aren’t,” Raith countered that angst with a sudden, strong, warm tone and arms came hastily round Kieran, pulling him up and round into an embrace. 

Kieran reached back as much as he could, but it was Raith who took most of his weight and held him so he was looking into a determined, deep stare.

“You are different, not alone,” Raith carried on, a protective vehemence in his tone that made Kieran feel safe. “I love you.”

Kieran gasped a laugh. This is why he had come back, this is why he had denied the non-corporeal independence. Closing his eyes, he sunk into the physical comfort of the hug and his difference rose to meet it. He wasn’t exactly sure what he was doing, but it felt right as he let his magic out and his new sense opened up as his power found another, not the same, but warm and enlivening. Raith drew in a quick breath and shivered. Kieran smiled as he recognised his lover’s sorcery rising to meet his, comfort mixing with a little desire. 

“Love you too,” he murmured, drifting in the nice feelings once more as the rest of his energy escaped him, and, knowing whatever was to come, he would always have an ally, Kieran leant forward and rested his head on Raith’s shoulder. 

“How human to be so reliant on another,” Disdain remarked, but Kieran wasn’t really listening.

“Such an unfounded need for physical intimacy,” Non-mother sighed.

“Fascinating!” Observer concluded.



  1. When this showed up in my e-mail the format was centered, much like poetry is sometimes, which gave it an other worldly feeling. Affective and Effective.
    A little confusing but then that is what other worldly is and that doesn't prevent a struggle to make sense of it. It was fun and challenging. I like this. And of course it would be nice to know what happens after this. *grins*

    1. Glad you liked it.
      Hmm - I think Kieran's gonna have to work out how to get rid of his three new 'friends' before anything 'interesting' happens ;) - that could be entertaining, especially Observer, he'd want to watch!