28 November 2012 @ 10:29 am

Ellis had his blissful doubts. He is ever the optimist, and he has to admit that he's tried to blind himself to Aidan's faults. It wasn't idealising him, really, not from what he thinks. Oh, he knows where Aidan's downfalls lie, but he didn't focus on that because he likes to see the positive in people, particularly when they won't see it in themselves.

And God, but he loves Aidan. It hurt a lot, but it seemed like Aidan was opening up to him. There were so many signs, primarily starting with Aidan telling him about Melanie. Then, they kept coming. People continually told him, "Ellis, that man is bad news. He's going to leave you and break your heart."

He didn't believe them. Maybe a part of him didn't care, or maybe most of it was just his desire to hope for the best from people.

It was the little things; kissing was good, sex was great, but he would have traded it all for the occasional hug. He always felt so comfortable in Aidan's arms. He felt like the luckiest person alive during those few times Aidan let him stay a little longer, and would let Ellis curl up beside him, their skin just touching. He would run his fingers through Ellis's messy hair and give soft, tender kisses, and Ellis was so content. Even moments when they argued, they always seemed to be able to get through it somehow.

He wasn't about to tell himself that it was perfect, but then, what is? They both have their flaws, but Aidan... He loves Aidan. That much he could say for certain.

And he thought that maybe, maybe Aidan might grow to love him as well.

Ellis remembers it as the week after Ramses kissed him. It wasn't anything, really. If anything, that kiss was more a goodbye. Ellis can understand. It must have hurt Ramses to watch Ellis love Aidan so fully, and be hurt in turn. Ramses connected with Ellis at that point to illustrate a point and because he wanted to see Ellis free from Aidan for a few minutes. Then he realised that it wasn't the same. It wasn't fair, and it wasn't something he wanted to do to Ellis. He could have had Ellis so easily, but the priest gives his love freely, and this was not Ellis's will. It was wrong. He cupped Ellis's cheeks in his hands and kissed his lips chastely, and Ellis can remember how sorrowful Ramses' eyes were.

He told Aidan because it was the right thing to do, but he must have still been slightly under that spell. When it wore off, he tried all he could. "Aidan, I told you because I didn't want to lie to you," and "it meant nothing to me" and the begging. He hated the silence and the coldness that came from Aidan. He tried to reach for Aidan and was pushed away. He tried to apologise for something he had no control over and to beg forgiveness when there was nothing to be forgiven.

Aidan never sought him out after that. He was distant, though Ellis tried all he could. One night he went to the barracks all by himself and knocked on the door. Aidan closed it the second he saw it was Ellis. His face lit up and he hoped, but then the door slammed shut again. "Aidan, please talk to me," he begged, his voice breaking. "I don't want to lose you."

I don't want.

Ellis never expresses what he wants in such an obvious manner. "I'm sorry," he finally said, and he walked away. He stuck around the barracks a few more minutes, paced outside for another hour. He went back to the cathedral alone and finally allowed himself to weep.

He waited two days because he didn't want to be pushy.

Then he found that Aidan was gone. He left the day before. He could not find Essa to ask her any questions, but after a while he accepted that Aidan didn’t want to be found.

First, Ellis was sick with worry. What if something had happened?

Then, he grieved. The man he loved had left him, just like everyone said he would. He pulled himself together and continued with life even though he felt like nothing again. 'It's just a relationship,' he told himself. 'It's not the end of the world.'

His broken heart never really mended. He tried, but things would remind him of Aidan. He took his focus away and put it on the research for the Order. Then Ramses dies. Ellis tries to lay low for a while. He tries not to let his grief and loneliness overwhelm him, but he is one person.

He knows and prepares himself for what is next.  

A few months later, he runs into Aidan. His heart seizes in his chest and his face lights with a smile for a moment before he realises that nothing has changed. The smile fades into a look of pain. “Aidan,” he breathes. The hunter looks almost surprised to see Ellis, and is clearly intending to walk away, but Ellis grabs his hand. “Please. Please talk to me. Just for a few minutes.”

Aidan’s jaw works. He obviously doesn’t want to, and Ellis hates asking for this. He keeps a firm grasp on Aidan’s hand and they walk somewhere a little more secluded. “I’m not asking for any answers, really,” Ellis lets go when they’re somewhere they can talk. “I… I don’t know exactly what I did, and I’m not trying to get you to explain yourself in detail. I understand why you left, or at least, I’m trying to.” His voice shakes and he struggles to get the words. out. “But why… why didn’t you say goodbye? It was the least you could have done.”

“It’s been months, Ellis, you should be over it by now.”

Ellis’s face falls. Over it? “You… Aidan, you disappeared and broke my heart!” His voice breaks; he blinks against the tears in his eyes.  “I am a simple creature; I cannot lose someone I love so wholly and be expected to forget the depth of my feelings in the next moment.” He pauses. “I never once asked you to love me. I was content to keep showing my affection when you would allow, and I really did not expect anything in return. Then you left, and Ramses was killed, and I know you had some part to play in that, but how’s this for fair? Had you still been there for me, I would have run to your arms regardless. I never asked to feel anything for you, and I ignored the warnings everyone gave me because I trusted you, and because you deserve love.”

He reaches into one of the pouches in his belt and pulls out a paper and pencil, and quickly scrawls something on it. He offers the piece of paper to Aidan. “I found him, by the way. The vampire who killed your sister. He’s still there.” Aidan slowly takes the paper from him. “You should know that now Ramses is dead, I have nothing protecting me from Felix. I figure he is going to do something about me very, very soon, and I’m probably not going to make it out alive. I don’t expect you to do anything about it. You deserve to have your own life. But you were there at the beginning, so I suppose I should tell you the end of the story. Goodbye, Aidan.”

He walks away, this time, and he goes out to a tavern after, drinking until the ache in his chest is less acute.

 

In a month’s time, none other than Sophia Lark hunts Aidan down, and the moment she gets close enough, she hits him hard in the face. While he’s still reeling a little, she shoves the paper at him. Then, something very unexpected happens. Sophia Lark begins to cry. She presses her fist over her mouth for a moment and doesn’t even bother to brush the tears from her cheeks. “Look at it, Bramley.” It’s open to the obituaries. Aidan scans them and he exhales quickly, feeling like she just kicked him in the chest.

Ellis Wellington. 1862-1887.

Sophie takes a moment. “Felix got him,” she says. “And by the time I’d decoded his message, it was too late. They don’t tell how he died, so let me tell you. We found his body in an old crypt turned into a sort of vampire prison. They had turned him, and do you know what he did? He blessed the water they gave him, and he drank it.” She lets that sink in. “He left us all of his information, so at least the High Priest has that, but now Ellis is dead. As far as I’m concerned, we’ve lost the war.”

Sophie has to breathe for a few moments, but the animosity still seeps through when she speaks again. “It’s your goddamn fault, Bramley. That,” she points to the paper clenched in his hands. “was your responsibility. He never fucking asked you for anything, but you stepped in as his protector, and he needed you.” The tears start coming again, and her voice rises. “But you let him down when he needed you the most, and now look at what’s happened. Ellis is gone, and it’s all because you were too selfish to at least see him through another few months. He still tried, obviously, because he was a damn good person, but now he’s dead, because he always tried so, so hard, and wanted so badly to do the right thing.”

 

She scrubs the tears from her eyes and stands straight. “The least you can do is attend his funeral.” She spins and stalks away, leaving Aidan with the newspaper.

 



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