tanjetea: (hso2012)
[personal profile] tanjetea posting in [community profile] hso2012_collabs4
Summary: Kanaya was immortal. Rose could be. Jade would never be.

Characters: Rose, Jade, Kanaya, Vriska
Ships: Jade<3Kanaya<3Rose, Kanaya<3Vriska


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It was a darkness Rose had rarely experienced. She stumbled forwards, hand tangled in Jade's long fur, trusting her to sniff out the path. The tall, leafless trees and deafening silence were nothing new, for being in a relationship with a vampire and a werewolf had long since acclimatised her to a life spent asleep during the day and awake at night. Nor was the anticipation of imminent danger unusual – her magic studies had progressed far enough that Rose scoffed at it, challenged it. But mistakes, she supposed, were ultimately unavoidable. For the first time, she had not won the battle, and now she was paying for it.

There was pain. There was so much pain, and it wasn't stopping, and-

When Rose knocked on the door, Kanaya was there instantly. She took one look at the two of them – Rose hobbling and clutching her right arm with a wince; Jade's fur matted with blood – and then guided them inside as smoothly and gently as possible, slamming the door behind them with startling force.

In the lounge room she knelt down by Jade, checking the gashes across her front legs.

Don't worry about me. Help Rose.

Rose sighed. For a moment she hesitated, stubbornness taking over her, but there was no point. Jade's telepathy didn't work on Kanaya – not only were werewolves and vampires opposed in practice, but all three know from too much experience that the two species rejected each other even at such a basic level – so it was up to her to relay it.

“Sh-...she's fine.”

Kanaya nodded, turning immediately to Rose and looking carefully over her.

“Could you make yourself fall asleep?”

Rose shook her head. “I...dropped them. The Thorns. In the forest.”

Kanaya bit her lip. “Do you still have the wool?”

Rose nodded jerkily and Kanaya rushed for it. As she waited, Rose felt a soft wet nose at her hand and turned her head tiredly.

Thanks, Rose. I couldn't have done it without you.

Rose smiled weakly. Then, everything went black.

*

Rose woke up slowly. Her body felt dull and sensationless – Kanaya must have found someone to cast a spell on her to nullify the pain. Her sister, maybe. It didn't matter. It was a little light outside – probably just after dusk. The thin, dying rays of remaining sunlight were a memory of the past. She could hear humans outside finishing their daily duties. Hers, now, were just beginning.

A fire crackled quietly, warming the house to a temperature more suitable for a human. Kanaya was sitting beside her, knitting quietly. On the bed next to her, Jade dozed sound asleep, her wounds fully healed. That was one of the positives of being a werewolf. However, as a consequence Jade's night would have been one of unbearable pain, enough to make her immune even to Rose's enchanted wool. At least it was over now. If allowed, she would sleep for days.

“What was it?”

Rose turned. Kanaya was leaning over her, voice soft. Even then, Jade's ears twitched, attuned instinctively to the voices of her second pack.

“Humans?”

Rose shook her head. “The werecats – Nepeta. They were encroaching the wolves' territory, apparently.”

Kanaya nodded, looking back at her knitting. Rose closed her eyes again, trying to recover her energy. She breathed deeply, trying to orient herself. It felt strange – the spell had muffled all feeling, to the point that she could barely tell where her limbs were without looking. It was like she was floating in space somewhere. She swallowed, struggling to control an instinctive desire to grab something, anchor herself down. Beside her, she could hear Jade shift, yawning and rubbing her eyes.

“Why didn't you get me.”

Well. There was pretty much no way this wasn't going to happen, anyway.

Rose blinked her eyes open, sifting through her memories of the night before. “It didn't seem like it would be too much trouble. Nobody knew they'd be so determined at first. I didn't want to bother you.”

“But it could have been.”

Rose pursed her lips. She opened her eyes fully and looked away from Kanaya only to find herself face to face with Jade, wearing that same sad, concerned look she always had whenever they had this fight.

“I can take care of myself, Kanaya.”

“No. You can't. You can hurt people, yes, but you can't defend yourself. Sometimes they're the same thing. Sometimes they're not.” Kanaya's needles slipped; her fingers were shaking.

Rose shifted, fingers flexing for her Thorns, but of course they were gone, and even if she had them she wouldn't be able to move properly. Not for a long time now.

“...I agree.”

Rose looked sharply at Jade. Normally she remained quiet, but now her eyes were burning and her voice, while soft, was firm. “Rose...it's just too dangerous. I can't keep asking you for help like this if this is going to happen...”

Rose grit her teeth. “So you want me to do it too, then?”

Jade and Kanaya exchanged a glance. Rose closed her eyes again, letting out a humorless laugh. Of course. This again.

“...it only makes sense.”

“I'm not going to become a vampire. Ever.”

“But...but why not?” Jade leaned closer, fists pulling at the bedsheets. “I don't understand! Why don't you want to do it?”

“Why can't I become a werewolf instead? That would solve the same problems, wouldn't it?”

“Not entirely,” Kanaya said quietly. “Werewolf healing can only go so far. You would still be mortal.”

“Not necessarily. There are still so many books I haven't read, people I haven't talked to – I've heard of things. Ancient spells, divine potions-”

“Rumours and nothing more,” Kanaya said insistently. “In all the hundreds of years I have been on this earth that has never changed, only the precise details and names. So many before you have searched for such things, but stray ideas and thoughts are all you ever find.”



Jade's head was bowed. “You know...you know I'd love for you to become a werewolf, Rose. More than anything. It would be amazing. But...I want you to live more. I don't understand why you don't want to.”

“So do I,” Rose mumbled, ashamed to feel water forming in her eyes. She closed them tightly. “I want – I want you to live.”

Kanaya and Jade were silent and Rose shook her head, calming as best she could her trembling.

That was the rule – vampires and werewolves were totally incompatible. Nature itself conspired against them touching even through telepathy. The two species could never be combined. Werewolves were mortal and vampires were not. That was the way things were.

Kanaya was immortal. Rose could be. Jade would never be.

She had wondered, once, in passing, whether it would be possible for lycanthropy to be curable, but the look in Jade's eyes stopped her instantly. To ask Jade to part with that – her true form, her packmates, her self – would be akin to letting the Jade she knew and loved destroy itself. For any werewolf, death would be preferable.

“Rose...” Kanaya said finally, her voice impossibly weary. Rose heard her stand up and sit beside her on the bed; Rose couldn't shift over, but there was just enough room. When she opened her eyes, she saw that Kanaya had taken her right hand, and Jade her left.

Rose breathed deeply. “I know. But I can always try, can't I? If there's any kind of way at all, I'll find it. No matter what it takes.”

“But...just because I'm mortal doesn't mean you have to be, too! And – while you're looking, you can-”

“Yes, it does,” Rose replied, anger and worry and guilt and mourning turning and spinning through her like clouds in some tumultuous storm. “It does, because – because...” She tried to squeeze their hands but couldn't, which somehow made her feel like crying again. “Because it's meant to be us. The three of us. Together, always.”

She tried to imagine it, but every time she did it was just too terrible. To look over their garden and see only Kanaya's work, not Jade's. To never taste Jade's delicious fruit juices or curl up next to her wolf form again. To never see Jade in one of Kanaya's creations. To sit by the side of her love and not feel her other love with them, too. To never hear playful messages from Jade while she was away, or wake up to a lick or a kiss, or hear her terrible flute playing, or...

Even this, though, she could bear. To agonise over Jade's death would be terrifying, but deep down, she knew she could hold on to Jade this way, somehow. She would still be there in her and Kanaya's hearts. In a way, they would be complete.

But how long would Rose live for? Mourning cannot last forever. After how many years would she stop feeling sad? After how many years would she stop thinking of Jade every day?

After how many years would she and Kanaya forget about her altogether?

“It has to be all of us. We have to all be together – we're a pack, aren't we?” She glared, looking at Jade and then Kanaya right in the eye. “Aren't we?!”

Jade and Kanaya shared another look, eyes heavy.

“We are,” Kanaya said.

“So it has to be the three of us together.”

“But...we can't,” Jade said, fingers shifting nervously over Rose's hand. She swallowed. “No matter what we do...it'll have to end some time, right? So...we should all be together as much as we can! And, well, if that means you two being together without me, that's better than none of us being together at all, right?”

“Precisely,” Kanaya agreed.

Rose clenched her teeth. “You don't get it. Of course you don't.” She rolled her eyes, and for one terrible moment she wondered whether Kanaya hadn't gotten over her instinctive vampiric revulsion towards Jade as entirely as she claimed.

“What don't I get?” Kanaya insisted, leaning over.

Rose looked away. She hadn't wanted to mention it at all. Even now, she wasn't sure whether her reluctance was due to fear that she was wrong or that she was right. But she couldn't hold onto it any longer.

Quietly, she said, “Vriska.”

Kanaya stared, then frowned, then pursed her lips. Her face was truly quite expressive. She turned away, then turned back, looking utterly confused. “How do you know that name?”

“I looked you up, remember? When you told me the names you'd gone by? What was it – two, three hundred years ago? The books said you were very close. I'm not wrong in presuming, I hope, that it is her portrait that hangs in the upstairs dining room?”

Vriska had been a young noblewoman, much like Rose herself. The histories had contradicted each other, some claiming that she was a daring, resourceful, and intelligent woman, others that she was reckless, violent, and masculine. When Rose had first seen the picture she hadn't been able to help a small chuckle. Wild young women who cast off tradition? My, Kanaya, but you do have a type, don't you? But there was something oddly sad about it all. Even in the portrait she seemed to brim with light and energy, eyes bright. And here she was trapped in a dusty painting in an abandoned room, never to see another person except when Rose meandered to take another look. Alone. Left behind.

Kanaya, however, only looked more confused. “No, you would not be wrong. But what does she-”

“You loved her.” Rose's voice wavered at first, but she held firm. “You did, didn't you? That's why you kept her portrait. You loved her, and yet now, how often do you think of her? How often are you reminded of her? And now you claim that you love Jade and I above all others.”

Kanaya was clearly near tears. Jade stared at Rose wordlessly. “You think I would...”

“You're over a thousand years old,” Rose muttered quietly. “Anyone would.” Including me.

Kanaya stood up abruptly, pacing over the carpet. Jade looked back and forth between them, but remained silent, expression unreadable.

Finally Kanaya stopped, facing Rose head on. “I did love Vriska. But we were not...lovers as you and I and Jade are. She never loved me.” She shook her head, gaze drifting to the floor, her voice growing softer, full of more hurt than Rose could have ever expected.



“She was not who I thought she was, who I wanted her to be – she was selfish and impulsive and arrogant. I thought, at the time, that it was attractive, that I might have been able to soften her harder edges...” She looked up again. “I was wrong.”

Rose blinked, trying to understand.

“I keep her portrait, yes, because feelings for her remain. But I also keep it to remind myself of my own mistakes and not to make them again. Lately...” She stepped forward hesitantly, taking Jade and Rose's hands and looking into Jade's eyes. “...I've been needing it less and less.” She turned to Rose again. “Vriska was not like you. I would never, ever forget about you, Rose, or about Jade. And neither would you.”

“But,” Rose struggled. “After so long, you must-”

“Feelings change. That is their nature. I would not wish otherwise and neither, I am sure, would you. But memories – real memories, strong memories, memories of things that truly matter to you – they don't die. Not if you do not allow them to.”

Rose swallowed. The prickling in her eyes was returning, and she closed them.

“Rose...” Jade said softly. “I want this. I want you to do this. It would make me feel so much better – and then you really could help us so much more.”

“It will be difficult. Transformations are never easy. The hunger is nigh uncontrollable at first, the world dark and cold, and you will never be able to return to the world of the humans. And it may take over a year before you can relate to Jade normally again. I would not force this decision on anyone. But if that was truly your reason for denying yourself...”

Rose sighed. When she opened her eyes, Kanaya and Jade were right beside her, right above her. They held onto her hands, looking at her with love. She tried to hold on to them just as tightly but again failed.

She gave up.

“...yes. Yes, I'll do it.”

A sniff – Jade's eyes were brimming with tears. She buried her head into Rose's chest, shoulders shaking. “Thank you,” she murmured.

Kanaya nodded, swallowing visible, and stroked Jade's head. She leaned in, kissing Rose softly on the lips. “You can't know – how much this means to me...”



Rose shook her head. “I...think I might.”

Date: 2012-08-22 01:04 am (UTC)
asherdashery: (Default)
From: [personal profile] asherdashery
What a sweet story, and the illustrations are so lovely.

Date: 2012-08-23 01:15 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] ferrrox
really great! and gorgeous pictures! great job y'all!

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HSO 2012 Collab Round Sector 4

August 2012

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