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[personal profile] decadent_david
[Takes place a few days after this trip to chase down the Weaving's wayward sheep. Not NC-17, amazingly enough.]



David: *Leaning my weight against the beam, bracing it in place as it rests against the new rafters in the main barn. The debris has been cleared, and seeing fresh new wood going up does my heart good, as I hope it also does for Hugo* Okay, it's snug, you can secure it! *watching as Hugo begins to hammer bracing pieces into place, he's sweating from the day's exertions, shirt long since abandoned and draped over a sawhorse*

Hugo: *finishing securing the beam, I sit on the rafter, finally swinging down to stand next to you, looking up at the forming roof, more than relieved to see order returning to my family's barns, I can hear the dull echo of hammers as my brothers work on another barn, father watching from the house* Will be in rights very soon, aye. Especially wit' yer 'elp, Davi'. *smiling, I flick wood-dust from your shirt*

David: *glancing upwards smiling in approval at your handiwork* I'm glad to help. Nice to see your family all working together, to work alongside them. It just feels... good. *brushing away some dust from your bare shoulder, more to feel your skin than to clean you up, happy for an excuse to sneak in a touch* You're good with a hammer, and stronger than I gave you credit for.

Hugo: An' ye be more a handiman dan I 'ad given ye credit fer. *winks, poking your lightly in the ribs, chuckling* Me family always 'as been as one, e'en iffen we be a' odds wit' eachother. Yer family no' be like dat, I assume? *voice softens, watching you*

David: *shakes my head in the negative* My family always hired others to do any work needed about our house or property. We had gardeners and housekeepers employed full-time. Father would hire painters and other workers as needed. *laughs lightly* The gardener was quite a character, would tell me some of the most outlandish tales when I was young. *pulls mind back to present* Perhaps this is one of the reasons your family is close. You not only live together, you work together.

Hugo: *shrugging, I spin the hammer in my hand* Possibly, Davi'. Bu' some bonds be stronger dan others because o' whot dey be, no' because o' whot custom says dey ought ter be. *smiles, grabbing my shirt again*

David: *nods, quietly smiling a moment before speaking* Family customs and my current life seem to exist in separate worlds, lately. *glancing around, noting that everyone is still occupied on the other barns, and leaning in for a lazy kiss* Bonds are what they are, love.

Hugo: mmmmm...*grins, putting a hand on your shoulder, leaning into the kiss* Aye, dat dey be. *brushes sweat from your forehead with my shirt, tossing it aside* Do ye miss de family customs wit yer current life? *asks curiously*

David: *considers, wants to give you an honest answer, not sure if I've ever really thought this through myself* I miss some aspects of life in New York. Miss my sister, Claire the most of all, I think. Paris is very nice, in fact, it feels like my second home now, but it doesn't hold the lifetime of memories for me that New York does. *realizes I'm rambling, not sure if I'm answering your question* I don't miss the arguments and conflicts with my brother and father. Paris is distant enough to give me some peace. I could learn to call it my home.

Hugo: *nodding slowly, I rub my hand over your shoulder* I loiked Paris, a lo'. Actually sumtimes miss me job dere. *snickers softly* Least Rhea di' no' reveal whot de clothin' boutique is. Tink ye will go 'ome again? Ter New York? I know whot i' means ter be away from family...*smiles thinly*

David: *pit of my stomach feeling suddenly tense and I want to change the subject, but I take a deep breath, reaching my hand to lay over yours on my shoulder* I honestly don't know. I suppose I might, someday, if circumstances changed. *clearing my throat, glancing at the unfinished roof, speaking a little more quietly than usual* We should keep working, we're going to lose the light very soon...

Hugo: *eyeing you a moment, I finally nod, wishing we had some quiet time together, I feel as though our night in the grass along the banks of the creek were months past it's been so long since we've touched more than passing, but my home has been madness since I arrived with David, my father showing two days later with things to rebuild the barns, and so the work began, but I miss the time just spent with you the most, never thought I'd hear the day when I begrudged my family, but they have the most horrid talent of dropping in when we finally get a moment alone* Work...one woul' tink ye'd be enjoyin' yerself.

David: It's work, Hugo, but I am enjoying it. It helps you and your family, and that give it a certain.... *stops to ponder, hasn't really felt this particular feeling before this day* ... a certain meaning, beyond the value of the labor. I do this for you, and for your kin, *struggling for the words, not sure how to express this fully to you, having never had these feelings pulled from me by my own family's concerns* Besides, work is good for a city boy like me. I'm sure I can use the exercise.

Hugo: Me family appreciates e'vrythin' ye've done ter 'elp, Davi'. *watching you a moment longer, I smile, kissing you lightly before grabbing a clean shirt from a hook* Labor be goo' fer e'vryone. Though... ní hé lá na gaoithe lá na scoilbe. *gestures to the bare ceiling, showing the late afternoon sky* A windy day be no day fer thatchin'. Come, we can do no more today here, p'raps me brothers are no' as far along on dere buildin's as we.

David: *Walking out of the barn into the open yard, looking towards the other buildings your brothers are laboring on. Shading my eyes against the lowering sun, nodding in agreement* Quite true, and I would think your brothers might be ready for a rest, and perhaps some food.... *voice trailing off as I notice a small form cresting a near hill, wandering in an erratic pattern towards us* Hugo? Is that... one of your sheep coming home?

Hugo: *frowning, I follow your eyes, scanning the hills and finally catching the motion you speak of, taking off in a sprint once I do finally agree that it is a sheep, my odds are on the one we could not find yesterday morning, Maggie, racing towards her, skidding to a halt once I reach the poor thing who collapses at my feet, bending to check her eyes which are wild and dialated, cursing a storm in every language I know as I try to find what is wrong*

David: *watching in alarm as you frantically try to help your sheep, feeling utterly helpless myself* Hugo! Should I get anything? Anyone? *feeling my heart sinking as this poor failing sheep looks at Hugo with recognition and confusion in its eyes*

Hugo: *shaking my head sadly, I watch the ewe for a moment more, speaking to her quietly and calmly in gaelic, still trying to figure out the cause of her condition when I see the small tie of yarn around her back leg, from the spin and the coloring, the shoddy craftmanship, the same coloring at her mouth, I know who is responsible, and I know what fate holds for this young ewe, so I ease her from life, standing grimly, rubbing my hands on my pants as though to wipe the sickened feeling from me* Dis will end now.

David: *quietly coming up beside you, having kept my distance while you tended to your sheep and grimaced when I saw what you had to do. Eyes meeting yours, anger reflecting back on anger, nodding my agreement*. It needs to end. What is in your mind, now?

Hugo: I ride. Ter de O'Brian's farm. *stalking towards the fenced pasture where the horses, I first stop at the house, grabbing the rifle from just inside the door, leaving before anyone inside knows I've been or left, face set and determined as I saddle my horse*

David: *standing stock still as you move about, but when I see you mount and prepare to leave, I finally break my trance and find myself another horse. As you take off at a gallop, I swing into my own saddle and urge my steed to catch up with yours, taken aback a little by the fact that you've left so suddenly without a word to me.*

Hugo: *movement from my peripheral catches my attention, realization dawning that you have followed, in the moment, I'd nearly forgotten you were there so focused I was on a plan and ending the feud between my family and the O'Brians. A plan? A plan would be a priority, but I have none other than confronting Auley, armed of course, I would be daft to do otherwise, I know this is a set up, I know I am being manipulated, but I can do no other than play along* Davi', whot are ye doin'?

David: I'm doing the same thing I've been doing since that night in Billy's club, love. I'm seeing this through, with you. Remember what I said back then, when you asked me what I was doing?

Whot are ye doin', Davi'? ... Yer goin' wit'....ye canno' go wit' me, Davi'. ... I' be no' safe back 'ome. Me family's no' safe. Yer puttin' yerself in danger joinin' me. And I said... I know. And I know you wouldn't ask me, but I want to do this. You're not safe at home, and that's precisely why I can't stay here and wonder about you when I could be right there making sure how you're getting along.

I have a small derringer, Hugo. If you have a better weapon you can spare, I'd carry that. But don't think for one minute that I would come with you all the way from Paris and then let you face this alone. I'm here because I love you, not just in the good times, but in the bad. *my horse seems anxious to run, but I hold him in check* Do you know where we're going tonight?

Hugo: Bu' Davi', I... *stopping my protests, I focus on the trail, urging my horse east towards the O'Brian lands* O' course I know where we be goin'. I jus' do no' know where we be goin' after tonigh'. I do no' know iffen I will be able ter stop dem. Bu' I canno' sit back an' do no'thin'.

David: Then, let's ride faster. We can't know the answers to those questions until we face them down. *nudging my horse to pick up the pace* This is a hateful thing to have to do, but it won't grow any less distasteful with time. *glances at you, sees the determination, anger and fear all layered in your expression, wishing that such a young face didn't have the need to carry such burdens, but you do, and so I must as well*

Hugo: *nodding, wishing you didn't have to share in whatever consequences may come from the day, but you are determined, and I can't say that I do not appreciate your presence, it strengthens my resolve, gives me the added edge I need to actually face the demons, paces falling away quickly, too much time to think and contemplate, but before long, we are at the homestead, dismounting and tying the horses to the rail, grabbing my rifle before I turn to look at you* Are ye sure ye want ter do this?

David: *wanting to grab you by the shoulders and kiss you hard and deep, not knowing if I'll get the chance to ever again, suddenly it's getting through to me that we've come armed to a place where Hugo and his family is despised. My heart is thudding hard, it feels too low in my chest, very strange* It's not a matter of want any longer, we need to do this. *holding back that need to grab you, not wanting to give your enemies any kind of edge or power over you, who knows if they are watching us this very moment.*

Hugo: *biting back a protest, it is not "we" that needs to do this, it is I, but one look at your face and I know that any attempt to get you to stay will go unheeded, grabbing my rifle with shaking hands, giving you a last look, hoping you gather everything I try to say without speaking, not sure of who will overhear now, I do not want them to know how much I care for you, how I would do anything to spare you, that would be far to great an advantage for Auley, walking up the porch and opening the door, not bothering to knock, knowing I, at least, am expected*

David: *stopping in the doorway, determined to watch your back for you, glancing back outside quickly to see if any forms lurk outside, but I cannot see any sign of life from the yard. Turning back to look at you, past you, into the home we have just invaded, the muscles of my arms aching as I grip my gun, I didn't realize how tightly I had been holding it. And there, sitting smugly in an overstuffed chair, is a harshfaced man with the audacity to give Hugo a friendly smile. I hold my place, my eyes never leaving the man.*

Hugo: *watching your eyes focus on something in the parlor, I turn, eyes locking with the man's whom I've been running from for months for no other reason that I can fathom except we are in competition* Auley... *I grit out, raising my rifle to aim directly at the heart I doubt even exists, stepping into the room, again relieved you are here with me, I think your presence surprised him, yet he smirks, angering me by the victorious look in his eyes, the casual flip of the ball of yarn...dyed the same color as that which poisoned my sheep, taunting me with her death...at his hands...*

David: *eyes darting between the two men, trying to read both faces at once. I've been noticed, so I step a couple of paces deeper into the room, no need to hide in the shadows any longer. I say nothing as this man speaks, but my gaze is drawn by the yarn he taunts Hugo with. As my eyes follow it up and down, my hand slips up the shaft of my gun till my fingers rest within reach of the trigger. Finally he drops the yarn onto the floor, and watches with a smirk as it rolls away. Amazingly, he then looks directly at me and smiles broadly, and before I realize what's happening, my gun is level with Hugo's, aimed in the same direction as the barrel of his own.*

Hugo: *temper rising to boiling as I watch the yarn roll away, such careless abuse of life, human or not, makes my stomach sink to my feet, rolling and twisting till I think I will be sick, the feeling only steadying my gun, still aimed at the smirking man, courage faltering when I hear of his plans, the way he's manipulated and set up everything to see me hanged and ruin my family if he were to be killed*

David: *wavering at the man's words, shook to the core by the thought of Hugo dead and hanging, mind racing to find a better way, some sort of sane solution. Maybe if they talked a little, he would accidentally let slip something useful, anything we could turn against him. Slowly, I lower my gun, looking towards Hugo to see if he will follow suit.*

Hugo: *swallowing protest and dread in one gulp, I catch David lowering his gun from the corner of my eye, and I do likewise. I knew this would not be easy, but I came to end the feud, I'm just not sure how we're going to accomplish this feat, his hatred runs so deep, for things we could not control, his failing business, how we're responsible for their downfall? But we would never ruin a family...we would rather help one regain their footing if they were faltering, it is as one does, you look out for your neighbor, not...I cannot comphrehend...I stand amazed and confused at the levels he went to*

David: *As Auley speaks, I find myself looking at Hugo in a new light. He's grown up in the shadow of this man's jealousy and malice, yet Hugo and his family thrived. But will today be that day when he finally snaps, reaches low enough to stoop to his enemy's level? I can't let Hugo die, and now I wonder if I can do anything to stop him from killing another and dying inside a little himself*

Hugo: *my rage grows at the lengths I hear from his own lips that Auley has gone to regrow his lost fortune, everything he has done to destroy my family, my god, and to kill his own son, I cannot begin to fathom the bitterness of which he speaks, so intent on maintaining appearances and the comforts his family has known for generations, my finger tightening on the trigger of the gun at my side even as he raises his own to aim at David and I...to lose David...now...but if I kill Auley, my family...I am hardly listening now to Auley speak as internal debate rages, I can't lose David, I can't let my family suffer, I can't lose David...*

David: *I see Auley out of the corner of my eye, gun raised to me, and oddly enough, I feel no fear, just a sense of relief that he's not aiming at Hugo. But I know now that Auley won't hesitate to kill me, and I do NOT want to die. He's not a novice to the task, he's killed before, and I beging to wonder if a quick lunge forward to grab his gun might be enough to catch him by surprise. I start to plant my feet to be ready to push forward quickly at the right moment*

Hugo: *throwing an eye at David, I can see him tensing, with a weapon aimed at myself, I would be tense too, and I know after David it will be aimed at myself, I can't let this happen, I can't stand and watch David be harmed in my family's fight, trying to bite down my disgust and anger at the man's hatred, what he's doing for money and never has he stated his desire for family or love, I just cannot grasp not living for love, for your family, to have such little respect for yourself or others, and that makes me pity him nearly as much as I hate him as he describes how he killed his son, how he made it look as though I had done it to bring down my family, and I know now this will never end until he is stopped, certainly not for myself, not for my family, and how -dare- he threaten David, so I raise my rifle, yelling at Auley to grab his attention*

David: *Hugo's voice startles me, and somehow I take that jolt inward, muscles tightening, and I channel it into a lunge forward. My eyes focus on Auley's hands on his gun, and as quickly as is possible for me to move, I push to his side, out of range of his shot should he take it, and brings my hands straight down on his gun, knocking it sharply from his grip. It clatters to the floor, and I half expect it to go off on its own, but it does not. And then the room skews and veers as I'm slammed backward and to the ground myself, Auley atop me, hands on my throat.*

Hugo: *shouting as I see Auley fall atop you, aiming the gun at him, demanding him to get off you but he just laughs, ignoring me, I tighten my finger on the trigger, waiting for a clean shot, I cannot let him strangle you, no matter the future cost, I cannot stand to watch the one I love die for a fight not his own, finally I have a shot, but before I can fire my weapon, a sharp crack fills the room, the smell of powder thick and I manage to switch from calm to panic as I struggle to find out what happened and where and to whom*

David: *his hands jerk on my neck, and tighten, and I want to breathe and cough and get out from his grip but I can't. And then the sound and the smell and his hands go slack, he slumps against me, and coughing and spluttering, I shove him off of me in disgust. To my surprise, he falls to the floor, still, unmoving. I try to push up on my elbows, coughing till I can't cough any longer, my full breath finally returning to me* Hugo, are you all right.... *my words are harsh and raspy, and I look around quickly for him*

Hugo: Davi'! *rushes to your side, restraining the urge to kick the body of the man beside you as I check you for injury, noting with irony the color of Auley's shirt matches the wool and dye used to poison my sheep* Be ye okay, Davi'? *asks frantically, missing Máirín's arrival, blinking when she stands above us with a smoking gun*

David: *eyes darting back and forth between Hugo and the wild-eyed woman standing there, grabbing Hugo's arm both for balance as I get to my feet and to reassure myself that he's fine, unharmed* I'm all right, and you are too? But he's... *eyes lowering to regard your rival, now no threat at all to anyone, and I step back away from the body*

Hugo: Aye, 'm fine. Yer no' 'armed? *continues looking you over, but you seem to be okay, still I worry despite what my eyes tell me, I'm not going to be convinced until I've inspected every inch of your body, once I'm certain you're not going to pass out, that you're not bleeding, you are coughing every now and then but it's not a struggle, I turn, all jittery and shaking from nerves to face Máirín, standing between her and David, not sure what her intentions are until I spy Eibhlín standing in the stairway where she and her mother must have hid, a small smile and a nod from her reassuring*

David: *finally calmer now, I give Hugo a small smile and suppress another cough for his sake. Now that the situation has been resolved, not in the way I'd hoped for but still, I can accept this, especially since Hugo still lives, thank god. Turning my focus to the woman with the gun, then following Hugo's gaze to the younger girl, it finally dawns on me just what's taken place here today.*

Hugo: *looking between Máirín and Eibhlín, confused, making doubly certain we are not in danger before introducing David to the mother and daughter, not missing the spiteful glares directed at the body on the floor by either of them, waiting patiently for an explanation*

David: *Suddenly feeling that my family isn't nearly half as bad as I had always thought. Not by comparison to the O'Brians. One of their own lies dead, and we are politely thanked for coming, telling us we can go, they will take it from here? These aren't hysterical New York females, these are women who have apparently lived through harsh times, and from the looks on their faces, they are happy those days are over. I nod as they speak, keeping a calm face, but inwardly, I just want to be with Hugo, out in clean air again. This house feels closed, tainted*

Hugo: *standing slack-jawed and wide-eyed, I look from David to the two women and back to my lover, I can't believe that this could be over, my family safe, David and I alive and well, Eibhlín not looking sad at all for the death of her father...I cannot believe....but I stutter a thanks and a goodbye, not knowing much more to say as I tug on David's shirt sleeve, backing us out of the room, out of the house, hands trembling as I grab the reigns of my horse and yours, handing them to you, everything feeling like it's drawn to a close yet sprung so widely open that I don't knnow what to say, what to think*

David: *stunned, moving in a daze, taking deep breaths of clean night air, gripping the reins tightly in my hand as I finally speak in a low voice* Can we just ride, quickly, away from here? We can stop in a mile or so, we need to talk, but just... not here.

Hugo: *nodding, moving without thought, just...moving, swinging up onto my horse, riding as quickly as I can away from the farmstead, away from the shot still ringing in my ears and the metallic cling of powder in my lungs*

David: *following you, blessing every foot we put between that farm and ourselves, riding hard and thankful for the cool air in my face, it feels fresh, cleansing. When your horse finally slows, I pull mine up and we turn off the road, dismounting and tying the horses as quickly as possible before falling into each others arms, both of us seemingly determined to hold each other close enough to block out the rest of the world.*

Hugo: *clinging to you as desperately as you cling to me, I crush my lips to yours between gasps for air, pulling you as tight against me as I can, so enthralled we are both alive it is overwhelming, knowing my family is safe, I'm safe, you're safe...* Och, Davi'...I love ye....gráim thú... *pulls myself until I'm nearly sitting atop you, I can feel you tremble as I do*

David: *finally, this is what I needed, to convince myself you are well and truly still alive, to feel your lips and arms and waist and press my hands to your back, feel the breath coming into you, the warmth of your skin, just... needing this affirmation that you are here, with me, and healthy* Love you too, Hugo, and hope we never have to go through anything like that again.

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decadent_david

August 2003

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