“This is torture” is how Claire chose to start her and Sean’s post-coital conversation on a particularly warm winter night as 1756 began.
Sean lifted his head and looked down at her skeptically from his place lying above her as their bodies cooled from their last encounter “what exactly is the torture you’re referring to, love?” he asked warily.
“Not this” she allowed a small smile up at him.
“Ok, good. I was going to say, you seemed to have been enjoying us making love to each other like it’s our last night together for the last….six years” he finished after taking a moment. Sean then smirked as he grudgingly moved off of her to prop himself on an elbow and look down at Claire from his new place beside her.
“Six years. That’s what I was referring to” Claire offered as she looked up into his still questioning blue eyes.
“Six years of…?” Sean coaxed, still not completely following her train of thought, at least not without peering inside her head again, which he tried to avoid doing at all.
“Six years since Awsha woke up and disappeared” Claire stated, her eyes moving down as her tone became understandably darker.
Sean sighed slightly “I’m assuming you’re not referring to her being gone as the torturous part in and of itself?”
“I’m referring to the fact of us knowing the first part has already happened; and now we’re just waiting helplessly for the second part to happen. But we never know when or how it actually will happen. So it’s hard to even breathe” Claire attempted to explain her exponentially increasing anxiety with each of those long years that had passed.
“Good thing we don’t actually need to breathe” Sean made an attempt at humor, though it was obviously difficult.
“You have to know what I mean” Claire scowled slightly.
“Yes, I do know what you mean. But I don’t know how to make things any better or any easier to understand or guess at” Sean sighed once more as he moved from laying on his side to laying on his back “I mean, short of going and trying to force a clarification of some kind out of Minna. And honestly, I don’t know if I even want to risk hearing any more prophecies. This one has been impossible enough to live with as it is” he added with another sigh, those fingers moving up to comb through his long locks again in another obvious clue to the stress he felt about it all as well.
That was when Claire let her thoughts wander back to other conversations since Awsha had retreated back to her serpent “And you really want to inherit all of this worry?”
“Pardon?” Sean said as he turned his head back to look over at her again.
“You really want to be the one who has to try and deal with all of this and make all the final decisions about how to even try to keep everyone safe… and undevoured” she added more quietly, eyes down again.
Sean allowed another sad sigh at what he honestly found to be the most troubling part of the entire prophecy. He then addressed the first part of her statement “and when have I ever said I wanted to be that at all?”
“So you don’t want to be Prince?” Claire asked as she turned her eyes up to his again.
“Why would you honestly ever think I did want to?” he returned with surprise.
“Well, can’t you, you know… just tell him no?” she asked, though her words were a whisper.
“Tell him no?” Sean returned, his tone showing that the thought hadn’t even occurred to him before hearing her speak it.
“Griffyn chose to give his throne to Hollister. Marcus is supposedly choosing to give his throne to his other childe. At any moment, Haven could just choose to give you the throne. Even before the second part comes true. And that’s equally terrifying” she added.
“I don’t think Haven would ever do that” Sean denied “plus, the prophecy kind of insinuates that he actually will be killed before I become Prince. Remember?”
“That somehow doesn’t make me feel much better” Claire sighed “but the point I was making is that Kindred Princedom doesn’t work the way the human throne does. Yes, it often goes to the former Prince’s childe, but it doesn’t have to. Hell, I’ve even heard of other Princes being succeeded by someone who wasn’t even a member of their clan, let alone their line. It’s rare, but it happens” Claire insisted.
Sean was quiet a moment before responding “assuming I let Haven down like that, who other than me do you honestly think he would or could give the throne to?”
“Wouldn’t that be his problem?” Claire stated, though quietly.
Sean furrowed his brow “wow. I didn’t think you had that much animosity toward my sire” he stated quietly.
Claire sighed again “I don’t. Not really. But I just know that I don’t want all of these problems to ever become your problems, Sean” she attempted to explain.
“They already are, Claire” Sean declared, though gently “I’m his Primogen and his childe. That makes them my problems too, already” he added in the same gentle tone.
“But you’ve already served him in those capacities for over half a century. When do you get a break? Why do you have to volunteer to take all of these horrible things onto your own shoulders? Where’s it written that just by being his childe, you’ll never get to have any life but his?” she asked as her voice broke a bit.
Sean thought on all of her words for a long moment. He finally responded, though sadly “I do get why the idea of me being Prince upsets you as much as it upsets me. But…” he paused another moment “I honestly don’t think I do have any choice in it, Claire” he finished quietly.
Claire just scoffed “or you could just go over there and tell him that you don’t want it and to give it to someone else. You could just make that choice! Hell, I’m sure Radek or any member of his whole unbearable clan would take the job in an instant” she argued.
“You really want to live under a Ventrue Prince?” Sean couldn’t help asking.
Claire sighed again “not the point. I just don’t want all of this hell to permanently become our…” her mind then quickly returned to the next part of the prophecy “your hell.”
“Claire, I know you’re scared about the next part, and who could blame you, but…”
“You really think I’m scared just because I might be the next one to die after Haven?” she shook her head as she bit back more emotions “I’m scared for you, Sean. It sounds like I won’t even be here to endure much of your Princedom. You’ll have to inherit all of this hell… and do it without me” she choked a bit as his eyes then moved down “now, do you really want to just accept fate giving you this position at all, if that also means that you have to endure it alone too?”
That evening, Haven found himself taken by a long-buried desire to indulge in some of his own creative abilities, which all Toreadors possessed some kind of. And Haven had long ignored his own artisanal abilities due to a life spent trying to endure the hardship of life in the colonies itself, and more recently, life as a Prince.
He moved into the studio in his own home which had fallen into disuse since Sean’s house had been rebuilt. Inside, he located the store of clay that Sean had kept there on the rare occasion that he chose sculpting over music, prose or painting. He had only been working with the clay for under an hour when he sensed another approaching the studio door. He assumed that it had been Sean, but was a bit surprised that the tall beautiful redhead, Karin, was the one peering in at him through the doorway that night.
“I didn’t expect you here” he smiled up at her.
“And I didn’t expect to find you in this room” she returned as she stepped inside with a smile, allowing the door to fall shut behind her “I haven’t see you in here in…” she then checked herself “I don’t think I’ve ever seen you in here” she decided on.
“Well, my forays into the world of art have been rather scarce since coming into my wonderful throne” he admitted, only allowing a slight discontent to touch his tone.
“Well that sounds terrible. Especially for a Toreador” Karin returned as she moved to take a seat on the opposite side of the rounded metal platform the clay was resting on as he molded it.
“Heavy is the head” he stated in a quiet tone as he couldn’t help noting the way her long skirt slid up to her knees as she assumed that spot on the floor near him.
“You don’t sound like you’re quite enjoying your own position, my Prince” Karin pointed out as she moved her hand to her lips, gnawing slightly at a nail as her eyes moved over him once more.
“Well, the neighbors do make my Princedom slightly less desirable than I had originally hoped it would be” Haven admitted, forcing his attention back to the clay rather than allowing his eyes to return her open gaze.
“The settlers?” Karin asked with a raised brow.
“No, that other neighbor. Wherever he may indeed be hiding” Haven added more quietly.
“Sounds like this serpent or whatever has you a bit tense” Karin allowed as she watched him.
That was when Haven readjusted to watch her aura. He always found something odd about Karin’s aura, but could never put his finger on it. Though, upon seeing the clear desire that it was showing him that night, he found it more difficult to dissect the matter further.
Then Karin tilted her head at the way he had narrowed his eyes to look back at her “are you reading my aura, Prince Haven?” she smiled back at him.
“Automatic habit when speaking about my nemesis” he couldn’t help returning.
“Does my aura look like I’m thinking about your nemesis? Or just about how to try and soothe some of that tension of yours?” she nearly purred the question.
Haven swallowed a bit, his fingers easily forgetting the clay before him “and how might you plan on doing that?” he returned at the sight of that desire in her.
“Mmm, how might I?” she purred as she moved to crawl slowly across the short distance that still separated them.
“You appear to have some thoughts on the matter though, don’t you?” Haven returned with his own desire coloring his tone as she reached him and began unlacing the front of her dress.
“One or two” she smiled back as she finished her task, allowing the top portion of the dress to fall to her waist, exposing her breasts to him as his eyes stayed glued to every inch of her pale skin that was now being revealed to him.
It didn’t take long before Karin was wearing nothing more than her high boots. She then moved to place a leg on either side of Haven’s hips and begin unbuttoning his shirt as his eyes continued to take in her nude form while a grin graced his lips.
Once their lovemaking finally ended, the two lie together on that cold floor as their bodies slowly recovered and dropped to meet its temperature. Karin’s leg was still draped over his hips, her arm across his stomach, as she lifted her head from his chest to look up into his face “Marcus has good taste apparently” she teased.
Haven couldn’t help laughing at her appraisal “I was thinking the exact same thing, oddly enough” he chuckled again.
“I take it that means that I’ve pleased my Prince?” she smirked.
“I take it you’ve been pleasing Princes for a long time, darling” he chuckled again as he moved to brush a long brownish red strand from her pale cheek.
“We all have our skills I guess” she allowed a slight giggle as she moved to cover his lips with her own, silently promising even more pleasure if he wished it.
“And you are very, very skilled” Haven stated as the kiss ended and he moved to flip her onto her back again, his body moving to a place above her once more.
“What? Again?” she giggled up at him.
“I have been very lonely, for a very long time” Haven whispered next to her cheek as he let his body harden once more.
“Well, we can’t have a Prince feeling so deprived? Now can we?” Karin grinned up at him, not needing to give him any more encouragement as he moved to enter her once again.
“With you here, I somehow doubt I’ll have to worry about feeling deprived at all anymore” Haven added in another whisper before beginning to move above her once more; allowing himself to drown out that loneliness in the best way he could think to right then.