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Moths rest with their wings folded...
Gankutsuou RP (1x1): Rebirth and New Beginnings
Duration: 1-17-2013 > 2-24-2013

Edmond Dantes, Gankutsuou, Haydee, etc = Me

Albert Herrera/de Morcef = MpregAngel

***

The sound of silence.

He had never thought that it would bring him such calm and peace, one he had never experienced in his lifetime. Even more so during the tenure he served as the host of the demon.

Restless dreams, vile murmurs of devilish intent and twisted feelings of agony plagued him constantly.

There was not a moment's rest for him from the noise of the world. All that noise competing for his attention, raising in volume against one another and all demanded to be attended to. There was so much that a man could handle till he would go mad.

Swimming in the deep blue ocean, free movement through the waves and brave stunts of leap through the air... Never did the sun feel this warm, this inviting and so refreshing than before.

The fish of the sea were free. He was chained no more.

Gush. Gush. Gush.

The sound of the currents.

In this silence, in this floating, buoyant and carefree nothingness...

He felt content.

Should the chance be open up for him, Edmond would have willed to stay here forever. Where was here? It mattered not anymore.

But...

-thump-

"Eh?"

The man turned his head towards a direction. What was that...

-thump-

It. Was. Sound.

For the first time in what felt like an eternity of quiet and solitude, he felt a presence. He was no longer alone. He felt threatened. Who was this fiend? How dare they intrude his moment. They had no right...

-thump-

And suddenly sight.

A flurry of images and sound overload that sent him nearly over the edge. He screamed in pain, confusion and fright. What was going on? Why was this happening?

Then those familiar eyes... Those all too familiar purple eyes.

'So this is where you have been... I had been searching for you, to fulfill your end of the bargain. But in my hunt for you, I have lost interest in your soul, Edmond. I have found something much more enticing, much more seductive than your once pure soul.

Nonetheless, I am thankful for the time you showed me the darker side of humanity: anger, revenge, filth and terror. You satiated my boredom, as expected.

Now, it is time for me to move on and seek other thrills.

This time, I shall learn of love.

You may keep what is yours, Dantes. I no longer seek it.

Once again, I am in your debt. Thank you.'

-thump-

-thump-

-thump-

Now the series of beats doubled, one slightly weaker than the other.

Another flash of images. A young man, beautiful and innocent with a hint of a child's mischief and an adult's calm, with the deepest cerulean of eyes and a messy mop of brown hair. Ah, that distinguishable beauty mark. It couldn't be anyone else.

"Al---Bert?" Edmond could barely say his name properly. He was if anything, choking the name out, forcing the sound like it was his first time to speak in awhile. Tears flowed down his cheeks, warm and wet, as memories returned to him---his feelings for the young charge, yes.... It was all coming back to him.

-thump thump-

The darkness swirled into a mass of eyes and purple, a much smaller figure and from it bellowed echos of high pitches laughter. A child's voice, but not quite.

'Father...'

And then he woke up.

"ALBERT!!!"

Sound and light, cloudy and blurry greeted him as he gained consciousness after what seemed like an eternity of peaceful slumber. Edmond woke to the sight of doctors perching over him as he laid ensnared in a garden of medical equipment, countless chords and tubings all around.

"I MUST SEE ALBERT!!!"

***

Albert had been distraught over the loss of his loved ones. So many people died, and for what? Franz, his father, and the count, All of them were gone. Since the funeral he'd locked himself up inside his room. He didn't want to be bothered by anyone. He needed a chance to recollect himself, and right now Neither his mother nor Eugenie could help. His heart ached in a way he didn't understand.

The days passed by far too slowly for his liking. His mother lefts meals in his room, but he never talked to her. Then one day as she set a plate down for him it downed on him. She left the room and he began crying. "I loved the Count." Not just as a father figure, but as a life companion just as his mother had. Never could he tell anyone, he couldn't face their judgement. He'd just have to eventually move forward with his engagement to Eugenie.

The young aristocrat ate his supper before it got cold then returned the dish. It was the first time he'd left his room besides going to the bathroom. "Mom, I'm going out for awhile." He left the house without awaiting a reply and made his way to the cemetery. They'd made a grave for Edmond Dantes along with Fernand after the incident. On the way he bought a bouquet of flowers, roses to be precise. It was probably inappropriate for someones grave, but he wasn't here to mourn The Count's death.

Upon his arrival he kneeled in front of the the grave of his beloved, not that he was sure who it was he'd fallen in love with anymore, the Count or Edmond Dantes. Still Albert set down the dozen roses onto the ground just under the headstone. "I-I love you... I just wish I had said it sooner." He knew there was not a body in the ground, but still he hoped the other was watching from somewhere far beyond this world.

***

She would be lying if she had not wished for the former noble for her own. Partly driven by her own hopes, Haydee turned to her long forgotten magic and technologies of Janina origins to save what was left of her one sided love.

The heiress then proceeded to live up to his adage "Wait and hope."

Using her royal lineage and the mesmerizing power behind her song, the young woman summoned a djinn, who was originally in her father's servitude. The said entity of fog and shadow was familiar to her and gladly accepted her as its new mistress. Under her orders, the soul of Edmond Dante's was seized and trapped in a vessel, maintained by the said vapor-like being at the princess' command. Any later would have been too late and he would have already passed on to the world of the afterlife. Under the spirit's watchful eye, the Count drifted into a blissful nothingness that dragged on for as long as necessary, for as long as Haydee willed for it.

Alongside this, an artificial heart made from the original genetic material of the Count was created, transplanted and pumped life back in Edmond's body. However, he refused to wake...seemingly choosing to continue on with the looping bliss of a dream.

And so she waited and hoped some more.

It caused a great heart ache to have heard that upon his waking, he would be screaming and kicking to behold Albert de Morcerf at that. She was not physically present then, being away at the imperial court and serving her duties as the new ruler of her fledgling planet. Haydee continued on, choosing not to seemed bothered by the news that had been delivered to her. She would see him later and confirm for herself if it was true.

Indeed it was.

Haydee willed herself not to cry and give in to her emotions as she beheld him alive after all her efforts. Moreso when they began to speak.

Though looking much more human than before, Edmond remained an epitome of noble grace and poise. He stood tall and proud, radiating an air of charm and magnetism that made him the Count of Monte Cristo.

They spoke in her private chambers, accompanied by the rest of the former household of Champs Elysee. They were the first to beheld and speak to their former employer when he was finally freed of the facility he was held in. Bertuccio was there. Baptistin could barely contain himself.

And Ali? Quiet as ever.

"My dearest Haydee...," he started, clasping her smaller pair of hands in his, "I did not expect this turn of events. I was prepared to die then, having already achieved my aspirations, you knew of this and yet..."

She looked guilty.

"I was weary. Tired. Being host to such emotions was such a heavy burden. I was more than happy to relinquish it all and simply rest. But I realized that my work is not yet done."

Confusion.

"But I was not host only to my own personal demons of my creation."

"Gankutsuou..."

"Yes. I served as its vessel during my time as the vengeful Count of Monte Cristo. It was my greatest friend and most feared enemy all at once. But with my departure, it lacked incentive to remain as it would no longer be able to fulfill its ends with my corpse."

...it's ends? To this day, Haydee never did quite understand why the demon chose to aid the Count in his quest for revenge. She was never quite told why either.

"What end would that be?, she asked, finally after all those years of wondering.

"It wanted to understand human nature. It wanted to learn of the depths of human nature: anger, despair and hatred. But it was hardly a charitable offer as the original deal had it that I would offer my soul in exchange." The older man then released her hands and stood up in full height, gesturing to his person. "If that were the case, you would not have managed to revive me had he truly taken possession of my soul, am I right?"

The princess nodded. Then how....

"I believe my death meant that I had released a monster, of no shape and form out into world. Gankutsuou did not die with me. He left my body. He is still out there and only the good God knows what he may be doing right now."

Everyone in the room's good spirits dwindled at the reality that Edmond had so kindly pointed out for them. Even Ali's expression changed, seemingly like a frown at that.

"He woke me from my slumber...actually. He spoke to me. I had initially felt fear, that he was there to collect what was his but to my shock, no. Instead he said he was off to learn more of human nature. And for reasons I do not understand, I saw Albert. He showed me Albert. "

The Count cast his eyes downward, clenching over the chair's backrest, "I fear for the worse that he may be after Albert."

---

Yes, it was suspected by the recently revived noble. Gankutsuou was truly in pursuit for Albert. He had been following the boy for quite some time, from the cover of darkness and shadows. Originally enticed by the intensity of darkness of the human soul, the purity of love called out to him like bee to nectar. Never had he bore witness to such brightness and resolution. It piqued his curiousity a great deal. As such, Gankutsuou lost interest in his former charge's soul, seduced by Albert's light and warmth.

It had been very difficult to get the boy alone, as his loved ones seemed to be constantly around him. They wished him well and willed for his better disposition but their babying only served to remind him of what he wished to move on from, worse it suffocated him. The demon decided to bid his time and wait.

Wait and hope, as Edmond would lovingly put it.

In his case, wait and see.

And now his waiting finally pulled off.

"I love you! I just wish I had seen it sooner," declared the boy in half sobs, bearing roses over the empty grave. Albert's voice was laced in sorrow and regret, quite clearly.

"I know," the demon whispered in a voice similar to his former vessel, "And he loved you as well. Only he never acted on the for both your sakes."

***

A gentle breeze blew and in it he swore he heard the familiar voice speaking to him once more. It sent shivers down his spine as he worried that he might be going insane. Had everything been too much on his delicate psych. please, count-... I mean Edmond, dont torture my soul anymore. I must move on now. It is for everyones sake. He then choked on a heavy sob as more tears spilled over wetting Edmonds grave. even still he remember that final encounter. The kiss that freed Edmond fro the demons grasp. Had that meant hed been loved back all along. Was this voice trying to tell him that. I dont know what you want. he declared. Im sorry. he then turned away to leave and was frozen in place. He felt an overbearing presence weighting on his soul. whos there?! he looked about frantically as he could for another person. Could his mind really be playing tricks on him? He had to wonder. A part if him hoped that maybe his mother had simply followed him here, even though her seeing his display would be incredibly embarrassing. At least it would confirm he was perfectly sane still. That the loneliness in his heart hadnt yet corrupted his mind.

***

Gankutsuou chuckled, resting his form against a tree not too far from De Morcerf. He folded his arms across his chest, one hand, folded underneath his chin and a smile on his handsome face. Now free of his mortal host, the demon decided to take a form of his own creation, one that was not only beguiling but seemingly familiar to his new object of curiosity. He had the galls to morph his form into one that resembled Edmond Dantes in his youth, a younger Dantes before the tragedies of betrayal, envy and abandonment sowed the seeds of hatred in the man's soul. Choosing to assume this form would help him woe the young De Morcef into his plot, surely.

Rather than dressing himself like a noble and make himself a dead ringer for his former vessel, Gankutsuou donned red on his temporary form, selecting a red leather duster and a suit of midnight. It was much more casual and relaxed than Edmond's leanings of elegance and pose: a clear dileanatinon of taste. It was his intention to resemble but not completely copy the mortal, in the hopes of establishing his own identity to Albert.

But he would make himself apparent to him at a different time. There was so much to be enjoyed while in the shadows.

"Who is there, you ask?," He even borrowed Edmond's voice, but overlapped it with his own, giving the former Count's voice a darker, deeper and much more sinister tone to it. Adjusting his red cravat, the demon continued, "Who am I indeed... I am but an old friend who cares for you, as much as your beloved Count of Monte Cristo. You poor, sweet child... Hush now. I come with good news."

***

Albert was on guard and swiftly spun into the direction of the demon's voice. "Good news? The voice of the devil bears no good news, only pain and sorrow." Who else could have such a cold and dastardly tone, but a Devilish messenger. He couldn't find the man which only confirmed his suspicion. Something wasn't right here. Instinctively his hand gripped the hilt of his sword, He'd learned to always have it on him. It made him feel like the count was protecting him in a way. It was a gift from the older man after all. He was more than willing to use it and he knew how.

***
"You break my heart, young man. How can you look upon me with such mistrust. I saved Edmond from himself and cleansed him of his sins. I became instrumental to the fulfillment of his plans. You should thank me!"

The demon laughed. One could hear echoes of a much deeper, darker and booming, laughter alongside that borrowed voice: it was no less than the cavern king's true voice.

"I loved you, as much as the man himself. I seek no harm upon your person of any kind. Believe in me."

Mock tenderness.

Oh?, thought the demon to himself seeing the brunet poise to draw the sword on his scabbard, As if such mortal instruments could harm me. He couldn't have been more amused at this interesting turn of events. Was Albert serious about wishing to attack him?

Gankutsuou sighed, lacing his voice with pout and shook his head, "Dear Albert, where does the concept of pain, yet alone sorrow lie upon being informed with regards the man you weep for so ardently? The body was never found after that fateful summer's day, after all. Where did it go, Albert? Haven't you ever wondered?"

He chose to speak in riddles, not willing to give in the meat of the matter. The demon woud be a fool if he were to do so, too easy... No, this is not how he willed to see his plans unfold.

***

The teen shuddered when he heard Gankustuou's voice. He's only heard it on one occasion, but it stung in his memory for many reasons. "G-Gankutsuou... What do you want from me? You already took the Count didn't you? Have you come to rub it in?" He didn't buy the other's talk of love, no one bit. Demons couldn't possibly love anyone but themselves. Surely the demon was simply enjoying his spoils and creating more sorrow where ever he went.

Albert didn't need this, not now and not ever. He then turned on his heel and made his way to leave before he got pulled into the demon's game. He'd not soon forget the many lessons he'd learned from everyone. Franz died because of his foolishness as did many other people. He wouldn't allow that to happen again.

***

He shook his head. As if the other could see him. Not just yet.

"I want nothing from you, Albert. Rather, I am here to offer you a gift of knowledge, one I am fairly sure you would take delight in having."

Bright pink eyes glistened in the ascending darkness of the setting sun. The temptation to reveal himself grew larger as they conversed further.

As for the Count... ," Gankutsuou paused dramatically before proceeding to continue, "You would be surprised I had a change of heart and decided otherwise. I decided to be much more charitable than usual and relinquished my claim for Edmond's soul. It was a difficult thing to do as he was quite a beautiful thing... His agony served to amplify his appeal and even when he was freed of such darker desires, he did not cease to be pleasant to my eyes."

Having foreseen the possible retreat, he extended his hand and released a blast of energy that sent a tree falling in Albert's path. "This conversation is not yet over. I have not yet give you permission to leave, Albert de Morcerf. You will remain until I bid you farewell."

***

Albert stumbled back at the loud crashing of the tree hitting the ground. "s**t!" He growled and looked back. "I'm not playing your games! I won't believe a word out of your mouth either! When you relinquished his soul he died from his wounds! Let me leave here at once!" Anger flared up in the boys eyes as they glared in the direction of the demon's voice. He was in no mood to have this thrown on top of his emotional distress. His head was hurting and he wanted to puke he was so stressed out from everything happening all in such a small time frame.

***

"This is not a game."

The belittling of his plans staked his pride and made Gankutsuou angry. What did this child know of the depth of what the demon had in store? Such blind arrogance. If the brunet was not important this hat he had in mind, Albert de Morcef would have long nosedived into the dirt, bleeding from every orifice of his body till he died. Alas... Alas...

He retracted his hand and pushed the spectacles on the bridge of his nose, as he took a deep breath and continued.

"Go to Janina. Seek Haydee out. And oh, before I forget..."

It was then that the demon finally decided to appear before the boy. The cavern king reached into his breast pocket and took out an exquisite velvet ring box. Inside was a platinum band, encrusted with tiny, finely cut diamonds with an engraved phrase on the hidden side. It was Latin and looked like they were based from someone's handwriting.

"Si vis amari, ama, Albert. Ama..."

After revealing the box and its valuable contents, the demon handed it to him.

"He would have liked you to have this. But his mind was clouded and heavy with too many thoughts. Edmond often bit more than he could chew and clearly, he had." He laughed a little. Gankutsuou had a tender, almost loving expression on his face as he towered over the younger man. "Heed my words. You will be surprised at what you will discover once you arrive."

Then he tipped his red satin top hat and bowed slightly, signaling his departure.

---

Si vis amari, AMA = if you want to be loved, love

***

Albert took the box and inspected it's contents closely. This couldn't possibly have been for him, but then his engraved name told him otherwise. He tucked it away safely in the inside of his jacket pocket. Everything the demon told him left him confused. He didn't know what to do. He'd needed planned to become a soldier to support his mother, but now he felt like that had to wait. He went home to pack his things and boarded a ship to Janina leaving his mother a mere note of his departure and uncertain time of return.

In a day's time he'd reached Janina as he'd been told. He wanted to know what was going on, and Haydee could most likely answer his questions. He'd managed his way to the castle and announced himself an acquaintance of Haydee. "I need to speak with he at once! It's an emergency!" He pressed this issue with urgency, worried of what the demon may do. "Tell her it's about Gankutsuou!"

***

"...signed, Albert Herrera."

The princess lowered the notice on her lap and turned to Ali, then Bertuccio who was now her personal bodyguard.

"Princess..", trailed off Bertruccio with a forlorn expression on his face. "Things are sure progressing faster than we thought."

She nodded in response, smiling with an obvious sadness in her eyes, "It was bound to happen. They have a bond that transcends space and time, fate permits their reunion."

Ali remained quiet, yet painfully aware of her pain. All he could was pour her a cup of tea to calm her nerves. She took it graciously, taking a few sips before ordering the entire castle to prepare for her young, distinguished guest: a feast in his honor, a fully furnished room that would provide for all his needs, perhaps his own set of servants to wait on him during his stay and of course... A most suitable reunion.

"We will not inform the Count of his return. Nonetheless, we will groom him for Albert's visit," declared the heiress as she bowed, silently mouthing her gratitude to Ali.

With a single clap, her will was set in motion.

Elsewhere, Baptistin spared with his former employer, as part of his daily routine to get the Count to be accustomed to movement and rigorous activities. Since his revival, Edmond had been experiencing difficulty returning to regular human activities such as eating, speaking and movement. The duration by which he was in a comam rendered his sense quite numb and as such, frequent exercise was necessary.

As such, he took voice lessons, engaged in debate with philosophers, and played the piano when he was not sparing with his former bodyguard. While Baptistin was under Haydee's payroll, the two were reunited, with the former serving him like the good old days.

He looked so much different than his former self, smiling and sweating out under the Janina sun.

They were interrupted by one of the royal tailors who informed them that Edmond was to be groomed for Haydee's function the following day.

"interesting. So I guess the princess does not fancy an idle man and wants me to stretch my legs a little," The man chuckled and nodded towards the tailor who came to fetch him, "Very well. Let us go. Baptistin, kindly look after our belongings, I shall have my measurements,"

"Yes, Your Highness"

***

Albert had said he'd had something else to take care of as well and he would arrive in the evening to talk. He wanted to give Haydee time to prepare after all. He was sure she was a busy person. Since he was here he'd decided he should do something nice for her. It was the least he could do for her help. Unfortunately he didn't know much about the Princess from Janina or about Janina in general. He felt at a loss. Then he remembered something. It would work quite nicely, a smile spread on his face.

That evening he returned as promised bearing a small gift for his host. It was something He'd kept with him as of late. Something she may be interested in. He'd managed to get take it before they ran that fateful day as the world crashed down around them. He had the ring now so he felt like he should let he have one of his memories of the count. It'd been his pocket watch. The one that had led up to their meeting.

***

It never failed to astonish him how quickly these tailors could concoct a suit in less than a day for ready wear. Then again, they already knew his taste in clothing having played the escort for the princess more than once since his revival: suits of the finest cotton fabrics and soft, silk for shirts and expensive gold cuff links.

Taking up once again his old aliases, Haydee introduced him as Lord Wilmore, a handsome gentleman from England, and a mutual friend of the princess and the fallen Count of Monte Cristo.

"You look very handsome tonight," remarked Haydee, already dressed and prepared for her guest to come.

Edmond bowed, quietly thanking his host as servants buttoned him up and attached what had to affixes on his person, "Today seems to be quite different than most of your dignitary dinners. This person must be very special to you."

She nodded, languidly leaning against the door frame. "Quite."

He felt bothered by today's suit though. It made him quite a dead ringer for his former self: the dark fabric, the motif of flames and the overall decadent feel to it. Was this even intentional? The Count took a deep breath as he turned his gaze on the Baptistin.

"I suppose you know something?"

The servant shook his head, all too quickly.

Suspicious.

After leaving Edmond's quarters, the princess gathered her skirts to wait for Albert at the reception hall.

***

Albert slunk in, his heart was pounding in his chest. He didn't know how the princess would react to his news. He was being escorted inside by a servant to show him the way. His eyes watched his feet and his knees felt like they might buckle. When they stopped he bowed down to the princess. "I thank you for making time for me, your highness." Still on one knee he looked up and he froze. The man by her side, his familiarity squeezed Albert's heart.

***

The princess welcomed him graciously, taking his hands into hers and gave him a warm smile. "I would like to introduce you to someone, a dear friend of mine. I believe you would like him as well, Albert."

Haydee turned to her handsome escort and then to Albert. Said handsome escort looked equally frozen and surprised as the younger brunet. Like he had seen a ghost.

"Albert Herrera, this is Lord Wilmore, a close friend and confidante of mine and the former Count. He is here on a vacation and has only recently heard of our dear friend's demise. There is much to discuss."

Edmond turned towards his host and was practically glaring at her. What in the world...

She ignored him and motioned for the two gentlemen to have a seat as she had, while sipping her tea. "Come, come... No need to be shy both of you. We are all here bound by a common thread, are we not?" Haydee was up to something and it did not sit well by the Count. But. Very well...

He cleared his throat and took the boy's hand in his, helping up on his two feet, "It is a pleasure to meet you, my good sir." Dinner after dinner of usage, his English accent was impeccable. Passable even to the trained English ear even. "I hope that you would welcome me into your circle as much as the dear princess had, monsieur Herrera."

Sipping her tea innocently, the princess watched the two as they made way towards the table where the tea and a variety of appetizers awaited them. It had been her intention not to properly inform the couple of each other's existence. She wanted to see how good their bond was, if they could still recognize one another even after all this time.

It looks could kill, the monarch would have dropped dead. The Count had been set up. He had not been told that the guest was Albert! Worse... Introduced as Wilmore.

Women.

"So... Monsieur Herrera, what brings you to Janina?"

***

The young man couldn't believe his eyes nor his ears. That voice... those eyes... every bit made his heart ache. "I was advised I should visit by a demon bearing a gift. He said that I'd learn something shocking, and I think I already have." He didn't know what else to say so he moved to seat himself.

"A demon we should all know too well, Gankutstuou." He couldn't touch a bite of food at the moment, there was too much to discuss, too much on his mind. He set the ring box on the table between himself and Haydee for her to examine. "I was visiting the grave we'd had made for the Count. That was when the demon showed himself... He-he was playing mind games with me, speaking in riddles. Then he gave me this ring and left." He leaned back and sighed. "He said it was from the Count... who couldn't bring himself to give it to me."

***

The room's cheery atmosphere evaporated as soon as Albert had laid down the ring box and revealed its contents. Those who knew of what exactly it meant and it's possible repercussions iced over as their glances shifted from Albert and the said ring.

Gankutsuou...

Haydee paused, lowering her cup as she did so, "As I said, there is much to discuss."

In its place a heavier, more serious ambience took over. As such, Baptistin politely asked the musicians that were to perform at the reception hall to retire for the night, The rest of the servants also took their leave, allowing only those who were intimate with the royal crown to remain.

"I did not think you would go so straight to the point. But very well..."

Ali handed her a folder which she opened to select pages. She pointed out a man in the crowd with slick back brownhair and similar features to Edmond, to be specific a tounger Edmond Dantes. Then she flipped the next page, similar shot only the said man was now sporting those eerily familiar demonic pink eyes.

"I have long known that the demon is on the prowl. Yet with all my power and resources on hand, attempts at capturing Gankutsuou have failed. Alongside this..." The princess motioned to the Count.

"It is as you have assumed, Albert. I see your eyes are not easily deceived." She sounded both pleased and displeased all at once.

Edmond took the ring box and examined its contents closely, a sad smile graced his features as he nodded, "I had hoped to give this during our trip on the Pharon... It would have been my farewell gift as after I turned the crank and made the wheels turn, there was no more chance, no more turning back. It warms my heart somehow to see it found its way to you nonetheless..."

He closed the box and returned it on the table.

"A moment," his mood shifted from poignant to serious, "...Are you saying that the demon asked you to come here and... Gave you this?"

***

Albert was unsure of how to express the onslaught of mixing emotions weighing on his chest Happines, relief, and shock the most prominent. His suspicions were correct then. This man was indeed Edmond Dantes, his beloved Count. "Yes, Count, Gankutsuou appeared in your image with these exact instructions. Though he did not tell be why... but I now know he wanted me to find you. I just don't know why. It makes me fearful that he has something planned."

Albert then retrieved his ring with his shaky fingers and slipped it on his ring finger. "Count... you and Gankutsuou were one weren't you? Soo could that mean that he's... fascinated with me as well?"

***

If it wasn't such a bad idea, Haydee would've laughed at the proposition.

"Demons do not know love. It is a foreign feeling to them. Only the people of the world of flesh know what is love. They only know desire and lust. While it is true that they were sharing the same vessel, Edmond's, they were separate entities," she explained. "They harbor curiosity, yes... But it ends there."

His lips pursed into a thin line at the report. The demon was definitely up to something. Gankutsuou woke him from his months long eternal slumber, then shortly appears to Albert and orchestrates their reunion. Edmond would not deny that he was nothing short of thankful and eroded at this progression...

The princess stood up, laying her hand over his shoulder and smiled adoringly, "I will now take my leave. Dinner and entertainment has been provided. This evening is yours, my Lord Wilmore."

Edmond nodded, laying his own gloved hand over hers as he bid her goodbye. "All my love and gratitude for everything, Haydee."

Once they were left alone, the Count eagerly took the boy's hands and clasped them together, holding them and pressed his lips upon them.

"Dear Albert... You..."

He was at a loss for words.

***

"I see..." He felt a fool in front the others, but still he believed maybe Gankutsuou's time with the human's had changed him a little. Still he refused to push the subject further for now. "Goodnight, your highness." He bowed his head slightly as she departed.

Suddenly the only other man left in the room pulled him close. Tears the boy had been holding in now flowed over. "C-count... How are you here? You died!" His whole body trembled. Before he could think he threw his arms around the other breaking into gentle sobbing. "I-I thought I'd never see you again... I knew that when I held your corpse."

This man was definitely the one that had so clearly passed away in his arms. He now looked the healthiest he ever had. His skin was a dark tan color like human... the color reminded him of the people in Marseilles where he and his mother now resided, and his eyes where now both the same color of blue, and lastly his long wavy hair was now a healthy brown color. He loved it so, that his count was a human now.

***

"I am well and----"

Silence fell over the former Count of Monte Cristo when he felt those all too missed arms encircle his form. He felt his pulse quickened and his heart beat faster right then and there. That blissful feeling then after... Quickly, Edmond returned the loving gesture and tightened their embrace, wishing to relish this moment. Something as simple as an embrace... It had been far too long since an embrace could tug at its heart strings and make him feel this way.

"...Very much alive now. Never been this full of life until this moment."

The older man then released him, grasping his hand and continued, "I thought myself a dead man as well. But ah, women and their wiles. Sometimes I do wonder if Haydeee could read minds... It turns out she had prepared some method as a fail safe and revive me should the worse come to past."

Yes, maybe... It must have been the magic and mysticism of Janina. Or simply womanly perception. As it was, as the Count drew closer to the edge of death, the more he realized he wanted to live. The man was growing empty and longed to do more with life beyond revenge. His soul sang for life as he lay dying in Albert's arms.

I want to live!

Whatever gave Haydee the idea to try her magic, he was thankful.

Edmond smiled at him, warmth emanating from his person.

"Since my awakening, the princess has been keeping me on my toes! I barely get a forty winks with all the lessons and routines I must follow." He feigned annoyance then leaned over to continue, a joking expression on his face and belied his words, "My dear pirate, you must take me away from this cruel mistress. We must set sail as soon as possible!"

...and he didn't even realize the implication of such words until much later on. A faint blush of embarrassment showed, as he cleared his throat, "Well. Haydee means well. I have been asleep and my senses need their exercise..."

***

"O-oh... I see..." The other's gestures made him feel shy and and embarrassed. He moved to wipe the tears from his eyes. He had to ask the count a hopeful question. "Will you come back home to Marseilles with me? I'm starting over, and I want you by my side. We can finally live our lives!" He gave the count the best smile he could muster. "I'm afraid I can not stay here for long. I need to return soon so I can care for my mother." Albert had no idea what to do with his life, but he'd figure something out for sure."

***

He withdrew from the embrace, a mournful smile graced his features. Edmond stood up, putting some sizable distance between them. Folding his arms across his chest, the Count shook his head, "Marseilles. Home. Yes, home to many memories. But just that. Nothing awaits me there but memories."

Not even good ones at that.

***

He withdrew from the embrace, a mournful smile graced his features. Edmond stood up, putting some sizable distance between them. Folding his arms across his chest, the Count shook his head, "Marseilles. Home. Yes, home to many memories. But just that. Nothing awaits me there but memories."

Not even good ones at that.

***

Albert hung his head at the negative reaction. He hadn't thought his proposal would be met this way. He's wanted to run off with the Count now that all their cards were on the table. He'd thought nothing was holding them back. "O-oh... I see." His chest felt heavy and aching. "You have a new life here don't you? I shouldn't have intruded." The Count must have been happy here... maybe he was even with Haydee now for all he knew.

Timidly, Albert backed away putting more distance between them. "I should just go home alone shouldn't I? I don't know what I was expecting, or why I came all the way out here." Tears pricked at his eyes but he wouldn't show that to the man standing before him.

***

Albert misunderstood.

He signed to himself, turning on his heel and held the boy by the shoulders before he could flee his presence. No, this was not how he wanted it come off. Not like this. Edmond shook his head, squeezing the younger man's shoulder and looked at him in the eye.

"It's not what you think for it to be. Listen to me, Albert."

Too late. The panicked expression on the brunet's face told him more than enough that he was deep into what he was assuming right now. Were those tears forming on the corners of his eyes? By the gods, no...

"Nothing holds me back here either. Not even the princess."

Suddenly, something crossed his mind as the worried expression on Edmond's face faded into a smile, a smirk was more like it as he closed in on their distance and dropped his voice into a low whisper.

"Are you jealous of her?"

He sounded like he was teasing him.

***

When the other pulled him close his heart race. The blood rushed into his cheeks turning them a rosy red. Then a voice whispered to him, the hot breathe teased his ear. It sent shivered down his spine and make his knees feel week. The fact the other could do this to him, it was kind of scary. "O-of course not... I wouldn't be jealous." He pouted. "A-after all... It would only be natural for you to want to be with a woman instead."

He sighed deeply and looked back into the count's eyes, his real eyes. He was soon lost in them. "I was starting to think you planned to keep me as your mistress. It was a bit unsettling." Looking back on that thought it was just silly, but he felt so on edge right now. He just really wanted the count all to himself. He didn't want to share, but he didn't feel like he deserved this man either. Why was that... he didn't know yet.

"Please... Just tell me what you want." He leaned in and his lips brushed against the other's cheek.

***

A low throaty chuckle bubbled from the Count's throat as he shook his head, smiling widely now. "You ARE jealous. Oh my." Edmond raised a hand to his face, as he sighed, "Albert... Albert, it's cute how your youthfulness affords you both charm and energy but sometimes, you need to exercise restraint and heel." He placed a hand on the brunet's shoulder and squeezed it.

"I don't plan to stay here at Janina forever. My spirit is too restless to stay planted in one place. Now that I'm void of all my inner demons and feel no more spite for any of the living, I want to make use of my second chance to live. To fulfill my dreams. Haydee and I have been working on recovering the rest of my wealth and transfer it to my current identity as 'Wilmore'. I plan to open a shipping company and travel the galaxies. As I had always wanted, had always intended."

One could see the growing excitement in the man's eyes and tone as he slowly unfolded his plans to Albert. "Before the wheels of fate turned, I was meant to be the captain of the Pharon. I was to be promoted and realize my dreams of sailing through the stars. I was going to be married with the love of my life... Such dreams no longer live within me... In their stead are bigger dreams, much more than being a captain of a ship, I want to be at the top of it all."

Edmond gave him a forlorn smile, "In the same way that Marseilles is too small for my dreams. And so many people who still remember me remain there, while I hold no more contempt, what of them? I would like to grant them some time to move on before I appear again and make peace with them." He hoped the boy now understood his reasons for not wanting to return to Marseilles and how he couldn't also stay in Janina either.

After giving a nugget of his plans for his second lifetime, he planted a kiss on Albert's forehead.

"My mistress? Do you truly see yourself in such low regard? I'm disappointed..." The elderly noble shook his head and took one of the brunet's hands, pressing his lips against the back of the hand and looked up at him, "Do you want to walk beside me rather than behind me? I can't sail the seas of stars alone."

***

The youth decided to brush off the other's comments. He didn't know if the Count was right or not, but he wasn't going to win the argument either way. If Edmond had run off with Haydee... then maybe he really would've felt jealous. He'd maybe grow to hate Haydee for it.

The Count's plans... they sounded wondrous and adventurous. It brought back that memory of sailing the stars with his beloved and it made him excited all though and through. He wanted so badly to fly along side the other once again, and hopefully on better terms next time.

"I-i want want to be by your side. I'll go with you where ever your Journeys take you!" His voice was filled with youthful ambition. "This is what I've been looking for, a direction for my life to take. This is perfect don't you see?" He beamed happily that the other wanted them to be together as part of his dreams. He'd even be able to work to send money back to his mother this way, what could go wrong?





 
 
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