The Black Dahlia (Die Another Day one-shot) Part II
by X-x_Deus Ex_x-X

Talon and Jyzal continued to sleep with each other for months. Neither thought too much about what Shawn might say, think, or do if and when he found out. They put it out of their minds and did their best to preserve their sanity that way, instead indulging in sleepless, sin-filled nights full of breathless whispers and thoughtless promises. Talon would never tire of the sharp gasp and the beauty of Jyzal’s body as he arched into his touches, nor would Jyzal ever grow weary of feeling Talon’s nails rake down his sides as his teeth latched onto his neck. It was about the most pain Talon ever granted Jyzal, but for what a masochist he was, Jyzal, strangely enough, didn’t seem the mind the lack of pain in the midst of their love-making. Instead, he seemed just as enamored by the gentle and the sweet, leaning into the soft caresses Talon granted him and arching into every touch. Jyzal never submitted easily, but when he finally did, Talon found himself caught in rapture as the blonde served his pleasure like his life depended on it. He was a gorgeous creature whose beauty was only heightened by the fact that he was nearly impossible to tame, and Talon was in love.

The only thing he would change was Jyzal’s resistance to affection. He would have loved to lie around for a little while after the sex, just cuddling and kissing and letting their bodies cool down while they lay in each other’s arms. But Jyzal would simply give him that crooked grin, shake his head, and slither out of Talon’s embrace and his bed, dress, and leave with a sardonic comment about “next time.” For the most part, Talon didn’t worry about this, either. It was their cute little game, and Jyzal always came back for more. He had no concerns about Jyzal’s loyalty to him, because if nothing else, Jyzal would never turn away a good ********. Somewhere deep down, Talon even liked to entertain the idea that Jyzal perhaps even had some sort of attachment to him, some manner of feelings for him. It was a nice fantasy for him as he showered off and prepared to meet the day with that usual stoic face and calm front.

For the most part, anyway.

Like any pair of lovers, they could never been one hundred percent aloof to each other when the other was around. Both being gifted assassins well-trained the art of espionage and covert operations, they could usually operate at about ninety-nine percent ignorance. But then they’d pass each other and their fingers would brush, and if one looked closely they could almost catch a glimpse of fingers ever-so-briefly intertwining and then breaking free again. Little whispered words, snatches of conversations that sent shivers down spines were exchanged; playful smirks and sparkling eyes were passed back and forth, and they shared their secrets this way. When the day was done and they had been dismissed and their personal affairs were taken care of, they often found themselves foregoing sleep in favor of each other’s’ company. For the first few weeks, Jyzal and Talon remained largely in the palace, mostly tasked with guarding Shawn throughout the day and accompanying him to various political functions that princes were always obliged to go to. This was easy; when the day was done, they slipped into each other’s bedrooms and arms after the rest of the palace had gone to sleep. And Lord knew they were experts at sneaking around.

But soon enough, Shawn began to move from defensive to offensive. He was sending out Dahlia agents on missions left and right, making sure no one was idle and no one stayed in the palace for more than a few days at a time. The palace simply became a revolving door of agents, and the efficiency of the agency skyrocketed. Shawn was swiftly rising to the top ranks of kings, both past and present. He was quickly developing a reputation as a fierce and fearless prince, one who was besting other monarchs before even officially ascending to the throne. And while his success was wonderful and Talon was glad of it, there was always that bitter taste in his mouth that accompanied Jyzal’s absence. The Ace of Spades had been turned into the Death Card, and he’d become Shawn’s favorite tool to use. He was efficient, he was silent, he was fast, and he was accurate. He’d yet to fail a mission. And every success made Shawn use him more and more. Once again, Talon was happy for someone else’s success, but was constantly reminded of the sacrifices made for it.

After every mission, though, there was a bright spot. Jyzal would always come straight to Talon first. He usually snuck in through a window after scaling the side of the building, and so Talon had started leaving said window unlocked so Jyzal wouldn’t have to knock and wait, clinging to the windowsill, for him to wake up or get to the room and let him in. Sometimes, he would come back to his room from a meeting in the middle of the day and the curtains would be drawn, darkening the room and giving them privacy, and a smile would immediately cross Talon’s face as he shut and locked the door and rushed to the bedroom. These were the days that Jyzal would be lying out across his bed, already naked, teased up, and desperate for Talon’s touch. Other days, his assassin would hide in his room, the only clue that he was there the wide-open window. It was a game of hide-and-seek then.

But some nights-and these were the ones Talon dreaded-there would be no fun. Jyzal would be sitting slumped against the wall, having barely made it back, clutching at some still-bleeding wound and struggling with a mixture of pain and pleasure. When Talon found him then he’d pick him up and kiss him, calm him down if he was excited, and take him to the medical wing for treatment. Doctors and nurses would treat Jyzal’s wounds and stitch him up and set his broken bones, and he’d have a few days’ rest. These days off usually truly were the only true “days off” these agents had, and Talon took full advantage of them, spoiling Jyzal with sex and love. Sometimes Jyzal would snap and crab about the abundance of attention, growling that he could “do it his-damn-self.” But other times Jyzal would melt into Talon’s hands and beg for more, just happy to be back in his lover’s arms for however much time they had managed to weasel out of Shawn. But Jyzal always left quickly, never tolerating any sort of cuddling even if he loved being kissed and petted and never staying longer than he was allowed. Shawn suspect something, he said, and so Talon would reluctantly let him go after a few hours, settling for quick little snatches of private time whenever they could get them. But Talon couldn’t linger either, and he knew it: as Jyzal pointed out, Shawn would suspect something.

Jyzal was always sent right back out on missions the second he was functional again. The blonde was almost never in the palace anymore, and yet Talon never seemed to leave. Shawn liked to keep him close, as an older, experienced agent and one that he knew without a doubt was loyal. Jyzal loved his freedom, constantly running around and breathing the fresh air and unleashing any amount of violence he damn well pleased. As long as the job got done and Jyzal got away clean, Shawn didn’t care how it happened. The prince didn’t need to know that Jyzal always made one quick stop before he reported to the prince. It was a vital stop anyway; or at least, Talon and Jyzal would say so. It was their only opportunity for any amount of time together, even if it was short-lived.

One night, Jyzal lingered.

It was strange to have him stay, even for a moment, Talon noted with a slight frown. Without hesitation but with suspicion, he wound an arm around Jyzal’s waist and shimmied closer across the bed. Jyzal didn’t move, simply propped up on an elbow facing away from Talon while his free hand absently traced little patterns on the bed. They’d had some of the best sex they’d ever had, as they’d had an extra hour or two this time, and when Jyzal didn’t move at first Talon had assumed he’d worn Jyzal out. But then the euphoria had faded and something like worry returned, a shadow that fell over Jyzal’s face and worried Talon deeply. “What’s wrong?” Talon asked, snaking his arm around and interlacing his fingers with Jyzal’s, stopping the motions and drawing the blonde’s eye. Jyzal took a deep breath then, briefly closing his eyes as his entire form sagged as if in defeat for a moment. Then, to Talon’s crushing disappointment, he slid his hand free and slunk out from Talon’s arms, sighing softly as he stood up and began to dress. The entire time, he refused to meet Talon’s eyes.

“Nothing,” he whispered, and then he left the room, still unable to meet his lover’s eyes.

Talon was crushed.

They found each other again later that week at yet another royal conference that Shawn was forced to attend. Both of them had been scheduled to be Shawn’s guards during that specific meeting, and they had happened to wander past each other briefly as they circled the room. Both suspected it was because Shawn feared an assassination attempt, and who better to find an assassin than the best one in the land? Jyzal had been kept close for tonight, a fact that Talon was infinitely grateful for. This way, they could see each other and have the smallest of reliefs as they milled about the room. They exchanged quick, short little messages as they passed each other, not wanting to sacrifice their duty in favor of a lover’s spat.

“He knows,” Jyzal whispered first, bending his head down and to the left to face Talon as he walked, hands clasped behind his back, around the perimeter of the room.

“How?” Talon had time to ask before they were past each other again.

“You left a mark I couldn’t hide,” Jyzal responded the next time they passed around. The next time, he added, “He’d livid. He’s sworn to separate us no matter what. I’m his property.”

The remark infuriated Talon, but he was able to keep his face smooth and emotionless as he continued to move about the room. “You belong to no one,” he hissed as Jyzal came by again. Jyzal simply snorted, and told Talon the next time,

“If you’d like to break it to His Highness, be my guest.”

Having to choose between a duty and a pleasure was a nightmare for Talon, one he’d feared from the very start. His prince and his lover were now in conflict, forcing him to choose even if they didn’t know it. Talon would serve Shawn faithfully until the day he died, without a question, without hesitation, bar none. But Jyzal…beautiful, enrapturing Jyzal. Talon was spellbound, and he wouldn’t deny it. Jyzal was captivating and otherworldly, and he and Talon always had such wonderful moments together, unlike anything either had ever experienced. To be forced to relinquish that to a prince who seemed to think that the world was his was frustrating, to say the least. Especially when Talon was so enamored by Jyzal already…

The next few weeks, Jyzal had been thrown right back into the endless missions, no doubt assigned by Shawn in an effort to keep him and Talon separated. Talon found himself as lonely as ever as Jyzal was sent away for days at a time on errands full of danger and uncertainty. Jyzal always accepted these missions with eagerness and enthusiasm, but deep down Talon worried about him. These assignments grew more and more dangerous in nature and longer and longer in time. He feared for Jyzal’s safety, as the blonde was more often than not cast directly into the fire. He could swear Shawn was trying to kill him what with some of the assignments he was giving him! Spying left and right, assassinating larger and larger political figures, all the while maintaining the illusion of still being loyal to Regime. It was exhausting for Talon to watch and no doubt worse for Jyzal to experience, but somehow Jyzal always managed to make everything happen. Talon had long been rid of the delusion that Jyzal was indestructible, as the blonde had so boldly claimed all those months ago, and he desperately wanted it back. This worry was killing him slowly.

But Jyzal always returned on time without fail, and ran straight into Talon’s arms. Perhaps they didn’t have the time or the privacy to make love, but it was enough for Talon to have Jyzal slip in and kiss him and tell him how much he missed him before sneaking back out and finding his way back to Shawn. Letting go of Jyzal got more difficult every time he was forced to do it, and Talon was sure Jyzal felt the strain as well. Neither knew how much longer they could do this, but they hung on anyway. For each other’s sake. Talon endured long nights, days, even weeks sometimes without seeing or hearing from Jyzal, struggling to get through every day past the worry and the fear. Some nights it almost came true as he found Jyzal curled up in a ball, shaking as his body went into shock. One night, when the doctors only barely managed to put him back together, Talon couldn’t restrain himself anymore and told Shawn very firmly that this madness had to stop. Shawn had only coldly informed Talon that Jyzal had known what he was getting into when he accepted Shawn’s offer, and that this world wasn’t pretty and he, of all people, ought to know that. Talon had cursed and thrown the nearest thing down against the floor, coming as close to screaming as he ever had with the prince, telling him, “You’re killing him!” Shawn had only responded, “He’s killing himself.”

That night, Jyzal told Talon that Shawn knew he went to Talon first and that this madness would continue as long as he continued to see the brunette agent. Talon begged Jyzal to stop, telling him that he could live apart from him as long as he lived. Jyzal smiled and shook his head and told Talon that he could not, and that very familiar crushing sensation of doom snuck its way into Talon’s chest again. He didn’t leave Jyzal’s side all night.

Before the next mission, a month later when Jyzal was mostly recovered, Talon begged Jyzal to go to Shawn first. “Don’t let him do this to us,” he pleaded, holding Jyzal’s hands as the blonde shook his head in resignation.

“I can’t pass you by,” Jyzal whispered, squeezing Talon’s hands. “I’ll be fine. I promise. I’ll always come back to you.”

“But look at what he has you do!” Talon cried, raising Jyzal’s hands to his chest and holding them close so Jyzal could feel his rapidly-beating heart. Strong, regular, and weeping for Jyzal’s fate, which drew nearer and nearer every time he left. “See how he destroys us!”

Jyzal had laughed then, slowly taking his hands back and in turn drawing Talon’s to his own chest. But the laugh still managed to calm Talon just the smallest bit, for if Jyzal thought lightly of this, how could there possibly be any danger? “I chose this,” Jyzal said pointedly, squeezing Talon’s hands again. “I can’t live any other way. I need to be constantly pushed, I must seek ever-greater stimulation, lest my senses grow dull. I grow bored so easily; stagnation does not suit me. I enjoy challenges and rising to meet them, and I’ve yet to fail. So why worry, love?” Leaning up kiss Talon, just like he had all those months ago when he first convinced Talon to give this a chance, Jyzal leaned back on his heels with a smile and added, “I’ll always come back to you. Every time. By midnight. That’s a promise.”

Except that night, Jyzal didn’t come back.

Talon waited up all night for the blonde, but he never came. Midnight, he had said, and he’d never been late yet. It was fine, he just had to go see Shawn first, Talon told himself, fussing with his hands and pacing as the nervousness grew. It was okay, he’d just done what Talon had asked of him. He was respecting his wishes for this madness to stop. Perhaps he had to take a different road home, or encountered some interesting people he had to stop for. He was fine. This was Jyzal-he was indestructible! Talon finally succumbed to slumber as the sun was breaking over the horizon. He was ashamed of himself for falling asleep, but he could no longer deny his aching body. The moment he sat down on his bed, his mind gave in, and he collapsed to his pillow, dead asleep.

It didn’t last long. The worry had him tossing and turning, and he awoke several hours later exhausted and groggy. Sighing softly, Talon resigned himself to facing the day, and quietly dressed and sought out Shawn. The prince had requested his presence today, the one day Jyzal was supposed to have off. Naturally. Knocking twice at Shawn’s door, Talon received no answer. Grunting once with annoyance, Talon set off for the next most likely place he would find Shawn: the throne room. Ah, nothing like a game of hide-and-seek. Just because this day hadn’t started off perfectly enough already. The entire walk, without anything else to think about, Talon’s mind occupied itself with worst-case-scenario visions of Jyzal. Missing, captured, dead. Or even worse: come home completely out of his mind, never to be himself again. For then, there would truly be no closure and no hope.

Shawn wasn’t to be found in the throne room, either. Nor the dining hall. Nor the library. Talon’s lack of sleep and excess worry was starting to make him irritable and cranky, and he was about ready to quit and storm back to his room when Nicaise appeared, out of breath and panic-stricken. He begged Talon to follow him to Shawn, that the prince was in terrible shape and needed him urgently-and then he led Talon to the medical bay.

Fantastic. First Jyzal, and now Shawn. Talon instantly assumed the worst about the prince as well. Most likely an assassination attempt, one that might turn out to be successful. So what had it been? Poison? An arrow? A gunshot? After running through the palace following Nicaise, the smaller boy quick and graceful and wraith-like as he wove through the hallways in a sharp contrast to Talon’s more aggressive bulldozing, the two of them arrived at the medical wing of the palace, where doctors and nurses were rushing around in a blind panic while machines wailed and people barked orders at each other. Shawn was seated anxiously on the edge of a chair across from a door, one that repeatedly swung open and shut to reveal an operating room that was belching doctors and surgeons and nurses and countless other medical personnel. Shawn looked semi-composed right now, but Talon instantly knew he was tearing himself apart inside. For there could only be one person inside that operating room to make Shawn sweat and fidget like he was: the blonde that both of them adored above all else.


Talon took a seat next to Shawn and daringly placed a hand between the prince’s shoulder blades. At first, Shawn seemed to start, shivering once and glancing over at Talon as if he hadn’t even seen him come in. Then, he gave a shuddering sigh and bowed his head, and it was all Talon could do to keep himself together as he comfortingly rubbed small circles on Shawn’s back. Nicaise stood close by, nervous as well, trying his best to be out of the way and inconspicuous but clearly wanting nothing more than to throw his arms around Shawn and collapse himself. Talon offered him a seat, but Nicaise wordlessly shook his head and cast his liquid eyes back towards that door again. He couldn’t calm himself enough to sit, Talon realized, and then he simply let the boy be.

Three more hours later, the activity stopped.

A doctor emerged from the operating room far too slowly, far too sluggishly. That was never good. Even if they were relieved to be out of the woods, they didn’t move like they were made of lead. Talon’s heart instantly jumped once and then sank to his stomach; Shawn bolted up from his chair, looking crazed and desperate as he seized the doctor by his shoulders, the blood spattered over his surgical gown smearing onto his hands as he grabbed the man and demanded, “How is he?!”

The doctor could only look away and give a forced exhale, like he’d been abruptly punched in the gut; Shawn’s look only grew more desperate, so much so that it bled into his voice as he pressed, “Doctor…?!”

The doctor raised a hand to his face then, wiping his brow with the back of his wrist and doing nothing more than smearing the blood droplets around. “Your Majesty…I am so sorry…we did everything we could…but he took his last breath twenty minutes ago…there is no hope of reviving him…”

Shawn looked as if it was himself that had been fatally wounded. Slowly backing away in staggering, unstable steps, Shawn only just managed to catch the arm of the chair he’d been sitting in before his legs gave out completely. Talon caught him as he fell, helping him sit down, but he could do no more. He was certain that if he himself tried to stand, he would fall as Shawn had. The doctor looked ashamed and defeated, but he soldiered through to take a step forward and tell the two men, “He had this on him,” while producing a folded piece of paper.

“Give it to me!” Shawn gasped, lunging for the paper only for the doctor to grasp it away from him. His expression screamed that he hated to do it and that he was aware of the risks of defying the prince, but he knew he could never compromise a deceased man’s wishes.

“Your Majesty…it was not addressed to you.”

Shawn once again looked stricken, and his head snapped to the side so quickly to face Talon that the agent was certain the prince had broken it somewhere. He turned very slowly to face the doctor, staring up the man’s extended arm as the piece of paper was instead offered to him. Raising his shaking hand and taking the blood-stained paper was one of the hardest things he’d ever had to do in his lifetime. The only thing proving more difficult was opening it with said shaking hands and reading it.

My Bird of Prey:

I know I won’t come back from this mission. I defied Shawn to do it. I knew these would be the days I died, and I wanted to ensure that they were spent the way I wanted them spent, and not Shawn. I have needed to kill Hawke for many months now; he has wronged me in a way he never should have. I brought an end to his wretched life, but as I expected I was ensnared in conflict on the way out. I pen this now as I lie outside the castle, knowing someone will find me but knowing it is already too late. Know only that I intended to return to you, and that I would never keep you waiting. At midnight, my dear: always midnight. At The Witching Hour, you may hold me again.


“What does it say?” Shawn asked, when Talon looked up from the paper in shock. When Talon didn’t immediately answer, he laid his hands on him again, shaking his guard and screaming, “What did he say?!!” until Talon was finally able to tear himself from his own grief long enough to answer Shawn:

“He was always mine, Your Majesty…he was always mine.”