Vincent returned to his chamber early the next morning before anyone else was stirring. He hoped, without much optimism, for a few hours of sleep, but found them interrupted by red-hazed dreams where he searched for Lisa but was turned away again, and other, darker dreams that left him aching and sweating and sticky when he awoke. Horrified by the residue of those dreams, he balled up his stained sheets and clothing and tossed them in a basket in a corner; he'd launder them when no one was around.
After a few hours tossing and turning, he gave up, and got dressed, just in time to see Father hobbling in. There was no mistaking the relief on his father's face. “Ah, Vincent, I'm glad to see you're back.” Father tilted his head, and Vincent sighed inwardly. He knew that look, and had never been able to hide anything from Father anyway. “Would you like some breakfast?” Father asked.
His stomach rebelled instantly at the thought of food. “No, I'm not hungry.”
Father came closer then and pressed a cool hand to Vincent's forehead. Before he was even aware of the touch, Vincent felt a low snarl building up in his chest. It was instinct, nothing more, but Vincent reeled backwards, horrified. “Father, I....”
Very carefully, Father sat down in the chair opposite side of the bed. Vincent noted that the chair was out of swinging range, and his shame rose to burn his face. “Vincent, you're running a fever,” Father said, as if nothing at all unnatural had happened.
Shows you what he knows, his inner demon mocked. We are unnatural. Vincent ignored it. “Why don't you come down to the baths?” Father continued. “I can't give you any medication for the fever, but the water should make you feel better.”
The thought of climbing into the bathing pool naked now, with so many people soon to be about and able to stare at his misshapen, ugly body was horrifying. “Perhaps later, Father,” Vincent managed.
Father didn't leave as Vincent thought he would. Nor did he maintain his careful distance. Instead, Father took his hand. “Vincent, I know you're going through a rough time right now. But there's no sense in making yourself sick.”
“Sick” was too little of a word to describe this feeling, with the demon clawing inside him and fever burning at the corner of his eyes. Nevertheless, it would do. “Yes, Father,” he said, as obediently as he could. The creature inside him snickered, the roiling distaste churning his stomach further.
Father did stand then and Vincent found he had no energy at all, either to continue the conversation with Father or to argue with the beast inside him. “Rest,” Father said. “I'll take you off the chore list for now, but I want you to eat something when you wake up.” He brushed aside Vincent's bangs, as he hadn't since Vincent was a small child, and left.
Vincent stretched out on his bed, closing his eyes. He was unable to close his mind to the insistent chant. Go to her. You know you want her. She is ours.
Vincent awoke to the still, quiet darkness of the tunnels at night. Restless, he kicked off his sheets, noticing again that they were soaked and sticky. A subway train roared nearby as he tore the sheets off the bed and threw them in the laundry basket. He remembered only the feel of Lisa's thighs in the dream as he---
“Oh, I just bet you did,” his dark half drawled, leering down at him from the upper alcove. “I bet you were too busy dancing with her to notice the way her leotard was so tight right there.” The voice was oily, mocking and Vincent felt the harsh fury rise within him.
“Enough,” Vincent snarled, and the creature laughed. “You think you're the only one who's ever felt this way for a woman?” The beast jumped down to stand next to him. “'Tua pulchra facies me planszer milies, pectus habet glacies.'” 
Vincent rocked back on his heels in shock. The Latin was a language he'd learned literally at his father's knee, along with the other children, and the translation came easily to him. “'Your beautiful face makes me weep a thousand times, your heart is of ice.'”
“Or if that doesn't do it for you, how about this?” The beast circled him in a rough mockery of Lisa's last dance. “'Vellet deus, vallent dii, quod mente propusui: ut eius virginea reserassem vincula.” 
The words were obscene, and the red haze of rage came roiling over Vincent in a wave more powerful than anything he had ever known. “I cannot!” he snarled, shoving his dark twin up against a wall hard enough to rattle the statue of Lady Justice.
The apparition seemed unmoved. “Sure you could have. Except you're not man enough. You could have had her at any time. All those times spent watching her dance, by yourselves. You could have taken her and---”
It was too much. Vincent slapped the apparition hard, not bothering to pull his claws in. Blood dripped from the corner of the creature's mouth. “So you can be moved to passion, eh?” he said, not bothering to wipe the blood off his face. “But you know what the real problem is? Lisa wouldn't want you, because she wants a real man, not some furry, half-beast thing who won't even come for her.”
Vincent sank down onto the cold floor, shaking, torn asunder with the force of his emotions. He sat there for a long time, and did not notice when the creature disappeared again. “'Estuans interius ira vehementi in amaritudine loquor mee menti: factus de materia, cinis elementi, similis sum folio,de quo ludunt venti.'” he murmured to the shadows, and was left alone with the echo of his voice.
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1 Lyrics and translation of the Carmina Burana from http://www.classical.net/music/comp.lst/works/orff-cb/carmlyr.php
2 “May God grant, may the gods grant what I have in mind: that I may loose the chains of her virginity” http://www.classical.net/music/comp.lst/works/orff-cb/carmlyr.php
3 “Burning inside with violent anger/Bitterly, I speak to my heart/Created from matter, of the ashes of the elements/I am like a leaf, played with by the winds.”
2 months ago