Chapter Thirty

Remembrance: written by Kora Knight & Raven Foxx 

Bittersweet Mercy

JAZZ
It’s been a week since Jazz last saw Seth or gotten a fix off the dark vampire’s blood. His body is really starting to feel the pinch. Huddled in the corner chair of his room—the very seat Seth had sat in when he came to visit through the balcony—Jazz groans. He’s sweating profusely, shaking so hard his teeth are clattering. He clenches his jaw as he clenches his fists. His insides feel like they’re clawing at him. Scorching and shredding him. The pain nearly unbearable, he stares at the open doorway, tempted beyond reason to seek out relief. He’s so incredibly close to giving in…

No.

He shakes his head fiercely. He has to be strong. Has to break the cycle. He can’t live like this. He needs to endure.

 

JANEL
Janel has been in the shower for a while now. Just standing there with her eyes closed, she lets the spray rain down on her head. When the water finally runs cold, she turns it off, then bites her lip and leans her forehead against the tile. Through her bond with her brothers she can tell Jazz is in pain. But he’s yet to let anyone near him.

Unable to stand it any longer, she steps out of the shower, dries off, and throws on a robe. Heading into the hallway, she approaches Jazz's bedroom. “Jazz?” she calls, knocking quietly on his door. “Jaziel? Brother? Are you ok?”

 

JAZZ

Jazz freezes.

Oh, fuck.

Janel can’t see him like this. What would she say? What would she think? He can’t—won’t—lie to her. Even if he was capable, she'd know. Their link, along with their ability to detect deceit, makes that kind of business impossible.

She knocks again, and he can tell by the strength of her rapping that she’s got no intention of leaving until she seed him. She’s worried. He can feel it. His frown deepens. It isn’t fair to keep her in the dark like this.

Ugh. When did he become such a thoughtless asshole?

A humorless chuckle breaches his lips. He probably knows the answer to that.

With a pained grunt, he calls out weakly, “It's unlocked.”

The door opens slowly and she steps into the room. “Jazz? I know you're in pain. I can feel—” She gasps sharply, her eyes going wide when they find him. “Jazz!” She rushes over to his chair and kneels down in front of him. Meeting his gaze, she presses her hand to his forehead. “Oh no, Jaziel. You’re burning up.” Abruptly, she frowns. “I don't understand. Angels don't get sick. What's the matter, brother mine? What's causing your pain?”

Jazz opens his mouth, but before he can respond, she stands up and quickly heads into the bathroom. Returning with a wet washcloth, she gently wipes his face. “Let me call Jared so we can heal you.”

Jazz groans and tries to swallow. His throat feels like sandpaper, but he’s pretty sure if he drinks anything his stomach will shove it right back up again.

Miserably, he shakes his head. “Th-There's nothing you can d-do, Nel,” he croaks. “S-Same for J-Jare.”

He shifts in his seat. The slight action makes his entire body shriek in pain. He pants, watching as Janel rises up on her knees to wrap her arms around him.

He clings to her instantly, like she’s some kind of life line. “I j-just have to r-ride it out, I th-think.”

His sister growls, clearly not happy with his response. A weak smile curves his lips. “F-fine. You w-want to help m-me so bad? Help m-me to the b-bed. I'm g-getting s-sick of this v-view anyway.”

 

JANEL
Janel doesn't have the heart to argue with him. Not when he is so ill.

Standing up, she tugs him to his feet, then wraps his arm over her shoulders, swaying when his knees give out on their way to his bed. Not so gracefully, Jazz flops backwards onto his mattress. Janel picks up his legs and gently lays them down. He’s barefoot, but she strips him out of his jeans and tee shirt, too.

He moans and curls into a ball. Fresh tremors wrack his body. A pitiful sound leaves Janel’s mouth.

Sinking onto the bed behind him, she pulls him close. There isn't much more she can do than provide him with her warmth, her touch, but by God, she wasn’t leaving him to suffer alone.

Tenderly, she brushes the hair from his face. “Shhh, beloved Jaziel,” she whispers. “All will be well.”

 

JAZZ
Jazz honestly doesn’t know how he’d been managing before Janel got there. With her arms surrounding him, and her body heat sinking deep, it feels as if she’s breathing for him, too. Keeping his heart beating by her will alone. Like without her there he would expire. Cease to exist.

Jazz clutches her hand to his chest then, trembling, brings it to his lips just as another violent tremor racks his frame. When she gasps at the force of it, Jazz winces. He hates her seeing him like this. So weak and useless. A pathetic excuse for a brother…

His stomach vises, sending his body jack-knifing from the pain. He howls and wrenches into a ball. Shallow pants resound, as visions of Seth fly through his brain like a mass of startled bats.

“Thank you, J-Janel,” he rasps, “f-for staying with m-me.”

 

JANEL
Janel pulls him closer and closes her eyes. From deep within, she calls on her healing powers. The room is filled with light as her body begins to glow. But Jazz jerks away from her as if her illumination burns. Another violent shudder sends his whole body quaking.

Abruptly, she stops her healing, choking out a sob as tears stream down her cheeks. “Oh Jazz, my beloved brother, tell me how to help you.”

He doesn’t reply. Seems too busy clenching his teeth so they don’t shatter from slamming together. Her tears come in torrents, even as she comfortingly fingers his locks.

Stilling suddenly, she sucks in a breath. “I know how to help you, Brother! I can take you back! Back home!” Jazz goes rigid, then groans. Another sob catches in her throat. “I just… I just want your pain to stop.”

Panting, he turns around and grabs her arm. “No, N-Nelly, No. That is the l-last place I can g-go.” He shakes his head frantically. “I c-can't go b-back home now. N-not now.” His face pinches miserably. “Maybe n-not ever.”

His words make Janel only cry harder. Physical and emotional agony seem to assail him. Burying his face in her neck, he drags in another pained gasp. “This m-my problem th-that I alone need to f-fix.” His hand stays locked on her arm as he drops weakly back onto his pillow. “Please, just... Please, just stay.”

Janel brushes at her tears, then kisses him on the forehead. “Okay. Okay, Jazz. If you don't want to go back, then we won't.” Gently, she lays her arm across his chest, her thumb slowly stroking his eyebrow. “It'll be okay. I'll stay with you. As long as you need me, I'll be here.”

Her touch visibly soothes him. He closes his eyes.

She kisses his temple and that, too, seems to comfort him. “I love you, Jazz,” she whispers. “There's nothing you could ever do to make me stop loving you. So just relax. Sleep and be well.”

Softly humming, she strokes his beautiful face until his body stops quaking and he falls into restless sleep.

 

* * * * *

 

SETH
Hours have pass into days, and days slowly into a week. Hell, with the way Seth feels, it might as well be a lifetime. To make things worse, he can feel his angel’s pain so many miles away. An agony so strong, it feels like his own. Each breath is a tightening in his chest, until his breaths come in broken pants. He can see Jazz’s face—as if the male stands before him—tears streaming down his beautiful face. He’s in torment like none that Seth has ever allowed Jazz to feel before.

He groans. “What have I done to you? Why should you suffer because I want you to desire me?”

Lying on his bed, he stares at the stormy seas outside his rain-splattered window. Slowly exhaling, he lets himself go, fading into the darkness, only to reappear within his angel's bedroom.

“Jazz,” he murmurs, his voice heavy with regret.

Quietly, he moves toward his beloved, eyeing him sleeping atop his tangled sheets. He is beautiful, perfect in his torment, even as his sweat-covered body writhes and shudders.

Indeed, the mere sight of him takes Seth’s breath away, his scent an aphrodisiac that makes him instantly hard.

“Look at you,” he sighs, slowly shaking his head.

In all of the world, he’s ever sought one thing, just one simple thing to give him peace and let him feel joy. And now that one thing lies in tatters, thanks to Seth.

With a trembling hand, he reaches out and lightly strokes Jazz 's cheek. Even in sleep, the angel turns into his touch, like a cat seeking affection. Seth groans, sliding first his shirt off and then his shoes. Slipping onto the bed, he holds his breath as he pulls Jazz into his arms.

His angel instantly stills.

“Forgive me,” Seth whispers. Cupping Jazz’s chin, he guides the angel’s lips to his. With the brush of a tender kiss, Seth calls on the darkness deep inside of his angel. “Return to me,” he breathes, lips parting to draw forth his essence. With a sad smile, he begins the process of reabsorbing what was once his. But now it carries with it the taste of his angel, the only taste of Jazz that Seth will ever have again, and the only thing that will get him through the bleak days ahead.

 

JAZZ
Jazz stirs restlessly in his sleep.

Is he dreaming?

He peels open his eyes and looks around a strange, hazy room.

Yep. Definitely dreaming.

Yet… he suddenly doesn’t feel alone.

He turns, wincing. Dream or not, his body’s still tender. He frowns, stilling. What’s that strange warmth against him? It’s too large, too hot, to be Janel. He scans the room but still doesn’t see anything. His heart is pounding, though, like it knows or sees something his eyes can’t see, like it’s aware of something that his mind can’t perceive.

He turns in a circle. "Who's there?"

From the darkness, Seth steps forward, seeming cautious to keep a safe distance away from Jazz.

Jazz freezes. "What- What are you doing here?"

Seth says nothing, only frowns, yet his dark, sad eyes speak volumes. He lifts his arm, stretching his hand out toward Jazz. Jazz blinks, confused.

Does Seth want him to come to him?

He takes a step forward, then stops. His face twists, his body jerking. Grimacing, he doubles over in agony. “Oh, fuck. What’s—What’s happening to me?"

Abruptly, he recognizes the feeling. Less intense than the first time he experienced it, but still the same nonetheless.

Heading snapping up, he locks eyes with Seth.

Seth doesn’t want him to come. He’s merely extracting his essence from Jazz. Taking it away. Severing their connection.

For good.

Forever.

Something inside Jazz shouts in panic.

He doesn’t want this!

Wait. Yes, he does.

No! He really fucking doesn’t!

He shakes his head miserably. "Don’t do this, Seth. Not yet. I'm not ready. The pain, it's my only connection to you now.” His face twists in despair. “Please, don’t take that away from me!"

 

SETH
Seth exhales heavier than ever before. His angel is in a dream, a dream where they’re together. He can feel Jazz’s profound turmoil, wanting to keep Seth close, and yet, needing also to be free.

His warmth seeps into Seth’s chilled flesh. Seth struggles not to groan. Here, with his angel, he feels at home. At peace, like he’s never felt before. Free to let down his shields and be the man he aches to be.

Seth snarls. Fuck, who is he kidding?

Jazz makes him want to be a good man. But he isn’t, nor can he ever be. He’s a cold-blooded killer that will never change.

He will continue to be who and what he is, but deep inside there will be a place that holds a seed planted by his Jazz. A little ray of light that Seth will cherish and protect.

“Shhh. Just rest. Sleep and heal,” he whispers, gazing into Jazz's eyes. A sad, haunted smile curves his lips.

Jazz moves to speak, but Seth presses his thumb his mouth to gently silence him. The darkness has begun emerging, seeping slowly from Jazz’s mouth like a dark velvet mist, seductive and rich.

“Yes… Give it all back to me,” he murmurs.

Eyes hooding, he watches Jazz give in, allowing every bit of Seth’s essence to leave his aching form. The last bit departs with one last kiss.

Reluctantly, Seth unfolds himself from his sleeping angel and rises from the bed. With a wave of his hand, he tucks Jazz warmly beneath the covers. Heart heavy, Seth slips on his shoes and grabs his shirt, then heads for the balcony. Jazz has siblings to look after him when he wakes, to help console him with his new-found emptiness.

 

JAZZ
The sudden departure of Seth's presence has Jazz jerking awake. He frowns and sits up, looking down at his body. He isn’t trembling or sweating anymore. Nor does his whole body ache. Nevertheless, he still bares the soreness of a profound pain that’d been there just minutes before. His wet-lashed eyes turn to the balcony, locking onto the sheers blowing in the doorway. A door that’d been closed when he’d fallen asleep.

Seth had been there. To finish what he'd started. Just like he had in Jazz’s dream.

Jazz groans, grateful and heartbroken all at once.

With a full-body shudder from an entirely new kind of withdraw, he drops his face into his hands.

It’s done.

 

Oh God, it’s over...

 

Hallelujah 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wXxqWkJIUnQ

 

*Guest writer for Janel: Jaden Brielle

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