By the time I woke up, I was praying that Line had forgotten about my promise to explain why I’d gotten so drunk the other night. But, just as I’d expected, he hadn’t. He gently prodded for the promised reasons for drinking. Needless to say, I was unwilling; I pulled my pillow over my face, pretending that the outside world didn’t exist.
"I can't help you if you won't tell me what's wrong,” he said innocently.
"I'll be fine once Fate's better and out of the house," I replied through a mouthful of pillow, sort of attempting to hint a little bit at what’d been on my mind lately.
"And who knows when that'll be."
"Look, Fate's the one that needs help, not me. I'll be fine.”
“Please, Lazarus,” he played with the hair that poked out from under the pillow, which I pulled off, giving him the best puppy eyes I could manage. I didn’t know how to tell him, even if I wanted to. How were you supposed to put words to something like that? He kissed the top of my head as I tried to think of how to tell him.
"Fate isn't the only one in this house that's been raped," I said eventually, very, very quietly. I avoided looking at Line as I spoke; I didn’t want to see the disgust or disappointment that would probably be in his eyes. "I just... know how he feels, I guess. Seeing him like that brought it all back." To my surprise, Line wrapped me in a cuddle, holding me a little tighter when he couldn’t think of anything to say. I buried my face in his neck, getting another kiss on my head. I sniffled a little. “It was ages ago, I'm just being stupid because I've never had to talk about it before."
"You don't have to talk about it, if you don't want."
"I told you I'd explain why I broke my promise to you. You've heard more than anyone else ever has," I mumbled, going on to tell him about how it happened on a depressingly regular basis during the century I was a whore and how fucking pathetic it made me feel to remember the last time it happened was in 1915. That was nearly a hundred years ago now and it still had the power to emotionally cripple me. Line told me I wasn’t pathetic, but I didn’t believe him. I thought it was pretty fucking pathetic to still be upset by something that happened so long ago. Once it was all out, I felt a little weird. I’d never told anyone about all that before. It just stayed in the back of my mind, locked away somewhere it couldn’t hurt me.
It didn’t take me long to start insisting that Line should be looking after Fate again. I told him that Fate was supposed to be his priority, but he didn’t seem to care, and he didn’t let go of me. He told me that I could talk to him about stuff in my past if I ever needed to and I managed to mutter some kind of thanks. He smiled.
“I think that was probably the worst of it,” I mumbled.
“I was born in the Victorian era sometime. I was the firstborn son in a regular German family, went to school, did well enough to study to be a doctor, and obviously succeeded,” Line told me. I looked up at him, not too sure where he was going with that. He flashed me a smile. Maybe he wanted me to share more with him about myself.
“I think I was born in the early seventeen hundreds, youngest of three. My family were... I dunno, I guess we were normal for that time. Poor as fuck, though,” I laughed a little. “Nothing’s changed there. We found this old abandoned piano that some rich folk had gotten rid of and mended it up so my sister could learn. I learnt, too, when I was seven. I got good, and noticed by people. Particularly Gabriel.” He nodded a little, so I sort of carried on. “He was terrible at music, but since his father was paying for piano lessons anyway, I ended up taking them. In the end I spent more time with him than anyone else and we got... close. I can’t remember if he knew I liked other guys before I kissed him. Anyway, we spent about ten years together after he got his head around it, before I got turned and ended up killing him.”
"I was turned at the height of my career. I was one of the most well known doctors in my city, and was well on my way to opening my own practice. I married young, to a girl named Alice. We had been married little over a year, and we had a child on the way. We were on our way back from a meal, I think, and decided to walk through the park, when these two giant wolves appeared out of nowhere and attacked us. Alice didn’t stand a chance. Neither of us did. Someone heard the commotion and scared them away, but it was too late for her.” I couldn’t think of anything to say. ‘I’m sorry’ didn’t seem like it would be enough. I had lost Gabriel through instinctual self preservation. Line had lost his wife and unborn child. That was without a doubt harder. "I did my grieving all those years ago, I'm just glad she's at peace.”
“I killed Gabriel by accident. I was changed on the first night of the full moon. On the second, I changed and the idiot tried to shoot me. My instincts took control and I attacked him. It took a hell of a long time to accept what I was after that.”
"I can imagine."
“Mostly, I stayed in London. They never suspected it was me that killed him, and after he was buried, I hid out in the city, doing whatever I could to survive. I tried to stick to the usual trades. I worked in a brewery, as a shoemaker like my dad, helped out in shops, did deliveries. But the easiest job was just to sell my body,” I shrugged a little, “I’d discovered drinking, so I could just go back to the room I had above an inn and drink myself to sleep. A habit that no one’s seemed to care enough about to break ‘til you came along.”
"Lucky you, falling for a doctor, eh?" He let out a chuckle. "I stayed where I was for as long as I could, and travelled around when people started to get suspicious. I stuck to mostly German speaking countries, since I could barely introduce myself in English, but eventually I stopped caring. My experience was enough to get me by, and my patients were usually in too critical a condition to do much speaking anyway. I made my way back to Germany after a while, and after meeting up with one of my father's friends, we arranged a sort of secret deal; every few years, he would add my name to the birth register, since that was his job, and would save me from having to flee the country."
“What was your name? Originally?” I asked curiously.
He actually had to think about it for a moment before answering: "Alaric."
I hummed, “I prefer Line.” Maybe it was just because that was all I’d ever known him as, but it seemed to suit him better.
“I should be offended,” he laughed and I pressed my lips to his, admittedly a little relieved when he returned the kiss.
"Well you can slate my name all you like. I've never been fond of it,” I said with a slight chuckle.
"It suits you."
"I just associate it with my Catholic past, since Lazarus is a biblical character," I shrugged, smiling as he kissed my cheek, smiling back at me.
“I’m not sure what else there is to tell you about my past,” I mused, “I spent far too long selling my body to desperate people and then I’d saved up enough to buy a small place on the edge of London. Except then the First World War started and I had to leave it to go fight.”
"Well, what happened after the wars? As you already know, I volunteered during the First World War, and through some luck managed to stay away from the front for the most part. As for the Second... I wasn't so willing to join up, then."
“I spent a very long time being shell-shocked. The first war fucked me over enough, given that I spent it pretty much on my own being used as a secret weapon. The guys that... y’know, they didn’t survive the first, so the second one was sort of a fresh start. I got promoted pretty fast when they realised I actually had some sense. I still got used. The ones that sat around in offices remembered me from before and told me I had to do it again. That house I spent so long saving up for got bombed in the air raids, so I spent a lot of time homeless, too.” Line wrapped his arms around me, and I snuggled into him, grateful for the closeness.
"I spent a few months being the plaything of the Russians, but they let me go for some reason. One of them seemed to recognise me, though I'm not sure how. After that, I travelled for a while again, but, like always, ended up back in Germany. I spent a few years learning new medical procedures, and tried to settle back into normal life. I even married again,” he paused and I looked at him, curious to know about this other marriage but he just shook his head a little. "It wasn't meant to be. And then I came here. I didn't speak English that well, and almost everyone thought I was there to start some kind of Nazi revival, but eventually I found someone kind enough to take me in and teach me the language. I found the pack not long after, and you know the rest,” he chuckled.
I nuzzled his shoulder a little, still wanting to know about this other marriage of his. I didn’t want to ask, though. It was in the past now, and despite how much I wanted to know about it, I knew better than to ask. He seemed to guess that I wanted to know, though, because after a moment, he carried on, answering my unspoken question.
“Her name was Leondra. Her name was very fitting; brave as a lioness. She found out what I was, and instead of calling me a monster or a lunatic, she sat with me, asking questions with this curious look on her face. She'd asked me to turn her, and I'd agreed, but our plans were put on hold when she found out she was expecting. Something went wrong, though, and she had a miscarriage that ended up killing her too. Over the years, I've noticed I don't have much luck with children or wives,” he chuckled a little, even though what he’d just said wasn’t funny in the slightest. I cuddled him, wondering what I could say to lighten the mood a little.
"I won't ever suggest getting married or adopting then,” I let out a little giggle, relief flooding me once again as he laughed.
"Y'never know. You're not a wife, and it's only my own children I seem to have bad luck with.”
“Touché,” I said, earning a smile from him. "M'really sorry I broke my promise," I said after a while.
“It’s fine,” he told me, planting a kiss on the top of my head.
"Even so, I should be looking after Fate, not wallowing,” I said with a tiny smile. I wanted to look after Fate, even though he did leave me for Brody, but knowing what he was going through was almost forcing me to relive and deal with what had happened to me all over again too.
"You're allowed to wallow all you want," he told me.
"Why? It was all so long ago." I didn’t feel like I should care about it anymore. It all felt so recent, but in reality, nothing had happened like that since 1915.
“Just because it happened a long time ago doesn't mean you're not allowed to be bothered about it."
"I s'pose. But it can wait til Fate's better. I'll try and get my head together for him. And you," I added, snuggling in as close as I could to him as he cuddled me. I didn’t know if I could say that I loved Line yet, but I sure as hell cared, and he didn’t deserve to put up with so much crap from me. As I rested my head on his shoulder, I resolved that I’d try harder to get sober and be as much of a normal human as I could be for him. I owed him that much at least.