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Flavor of the Day 101 // Home Sweet Home

Author: Olram
Challenge: Flavor of the Day [101 // Camelot]
Extras: None
Word Count: 1.813
Rating: PG
Story: Forever // The Directory
A/N: It's been a while...again. Uh. I guess you don't have to know a terrible lot of anything for this piece. Just a bunch of mindless fluff to try to get me going again. -___-



It wasn’t anywhere special.

No ley lines crossed under it, no guardian deities resided in the woods or marsh around it, no sites of particular beauty lurked in the vicinity, even. The property was large, but almost remarkably plain.

Still, it was perfect.

Genesis had decided on it for three reasons. First, it was in the middle of nowhere. At least, as far into the nowhere as one could get in England. Second, it had a hill. A tallish specimen, free of trees, which would make things much easier for him in the long run. Third, the former owner of the property was an elderly bachelor, the sort of fellow the authorities wouldn’t be surprised to find crumpled in a lifeless heap below his bedroom window.

All in all, a good deal.

Now all that remained was the matter of the House.

“…messire?”

Genesis had just decided to dust off the top of one of the foundation stones and rest for a moment when the healer stumbled into the clearing, robes torn in places, hair thick with brambles and burrs. He reeled over to the stack of stones nearest him and collapsed onto it, breathing heavily.

“I…believe I told you there was…no need to accompany me here.” Though, if he was honest with himself, Genesis knew that such an admonition was only likely to encourage Mirk.

“Mordecai…looking for you…”

“Is…it important?”

“I…methinks…”

“Be honest.”

“No, not terribly.”

“Ah.” Genesis watched with dismay as Mirk fished a blood-stained purple handkerchief out of one of his sleeves and mopped at his face with it. “So. You have…come on what business?”

Mirk ignored this question, looking at the piles of stones that dotted the hillside, at him. “How did you get all this up here, messire? It’s…it’s a long way from the road…”

“Various methods,” he replied, with a dismissive wave of his hand.

Tucking the handkerchief away again, Mirk slowly regained his feet, walking over to the edge of the hole. Genesis glanced back into it, frowning. A moment ago it had been only two stories deep, shallow enough to drop down into with only a touch of magical assistance. Now it had deepened into a chasm, apparently intent on impressing the healer, the bottom of it only a suggestion in the gloom. “Um. How did…er…where did all the dirt go?”

“Ah. Yes, that was a bit of a…trick…”

“Don’t you think this might be a little big for one person, messire?”

Genesis arched a skeptical eyebrow at the healer. “Are you…suggesting something?”

Mirk stooped lower over the hole, tucking his tangled hair behind one quickly reddening ear. “Methinks you could fit the whole First inside a house this big.”

He snorted, shaking his head. “The entire purpose of this endeavor is to…separate myself from the First as much as is practical.” Genesis stood, looking out over the woods that separated the property from the distant road. When he’d begun, the woods had been teeming with life in a thoroughly disgusting manner. Already, however, they had begun to quiet down into the breathless silence he’d been searching for, only the bravest birds attempting to weave snatches of song with one another. “I am of the opinion that…after over a hundred years of service…one is entitled to a bit of peace and quiet.”

Genesis turned back to the healer, sighing, feeling almost content. Still, Mirk looked a bit unsettled, ripped clothes and wild hair aside. Almost as if the prospects of living alone worried him, somehow, instead of filling him with relief.

“Wouldn’t you agree?”

After a moment, Mirk turned to face him fully, the smile returning to his face as he picked a seedpod out of his bangs.

“I suppose you’re right, Genesis.”

♦ ♦ ♦

It was perfect.

It had taken him weeks to sort all of it out, to coax the spells into order and keep the rooms from devouring one another. It had been worth every bit of chalk and every splintered divan. Now, as he sat before the fire in his study, book in hand, he couldn’t hear a single groan of protest from any of the distant floors. In fact, he couldn’t hear anything, aside from the faint settling of wood on the grate and the slow, distant beating of his own heart, if he strained himself hard to pick anything out of the silence. With a tight-lipped smile, he opened his book and began to read.
One page. Two. He glanced up, staring hard into the shadows, searching for any sign of disorder or buckling about the corners.

Nothing. He went back to reading.

Three pages later, he closed the book along with his eyes, listening hard. He thought he’d heard a creak somewhere far below him. He held his breath and waited for it to come again.

Silence. It must have been his imagination. Or only a slight problem, one that seemed to have fixed itself. More likely the later than the former. He opened the book again, searching for the proper paragraph.

Five minutes later he found himself on his feet, prodding at the fire with a poker. If he was honest with himself, he might have admitted that the fire didn’t need tending. Still, it was a bit uneven. And it wouldn’t do to have anything uneven, misplaced, out of kilter. Not in the House, not in the still and the clean and the quiet, not in his haven of order within the sea of chaos that was the K’maneda.

Everything had to be perfect.

♦ ♦ ♦

It was a disaster.

He couldn’t even quite put his finger on what the problem was, which only made it even more infuriating. Genesis had begun to think it might be a sort of ticking, one that only made itself evident to him when everything was perfectly silent and that went away as soon as one focused on it. It seemed like the sort of thing the chaos magic would do, when forced into anything even remotely resembling order.

Whatever it was, Genesis was determined to find the source of it.

He’d carefully removed and replaced every wall. He’d rewritten every spell bit by bit, so that the House didn’t come crashing down around him while he slaved away at the chalkboards in the third basement, searching for an answer. He’d searched for a reason. For that faint, horrible feeling of unease, that tickling at the edge of his senses, that ticking

He’d started staying at the office longer. He’d started not even bothering to at least try to go back to the House and relax, instead staying up in the Commander’s Lounge, or, worse, out on the streets, working, anything to get away from the accursed noise. And when he was at the House, when all the paperwork had been filed and all the day’s magic had been spent, when he had absolutely nothing left that absolutely needed to be done…that was when it was the worst. That was when he spent the hours in the basement, pulling fruitlessly at the spells that wove together to make the House, when he paced up and down the halls countless times, pausing at every door, at every corner, hoping against hope that the source of the ticking would finally make itself evident, or, better yet, finally stop.

But nothing could erase that faint feeling of unease. Nothing.

All he could do was lay in bed, exhausted, staring at the ceiling and straining his senses, working the problem over and over in his head until he passed into a dark and restless sleep.

A sleep full of ticking.

♦ ♦ ♦

Exhausted, he turned over onto his back and stared up at the ceiling, straining to hear it. It was faint, at the very edge of perception. A sound that gave him chills. That tightened all the muscles of his back and stomach. A ticking.

A clacking.

Footsteps on the stairs, three stories below.

Genesis let out a relieved sigh and retrieved his book from the nightstand, returning to his reading.

One page. Two. The doorknob rattled for an instant before the door flew open and a burst of sound and color stumbled in to the room, the lamps flickering on. Mirk continued to hum to himself as he crossed over to the closet, dropping his bag against the wall beside it before opening it.

“…there are…hooks for that purpose, you know.”

Mirk gasped and whirled about, surprise turning into laughter as he shook his head and picked up his bag. “Don’t scare me like that, Gen…you didn’t say you’d be home…”

“It is…my House.”

Or, it had been, before it’d gotten filled up with all of…Mirk. He seemed to take up more space than any one human should—no matter how often he scolded him, he found evidence of him everywhere. A bottle of wine hidden behind a row of books on a shelf. A plant on a windowsill where there had been nothing before. Dishes in the sink, extra shoes on the mat instead of in the closet, errant socks under the sofa. Even when he was alone in the House, it seemed as if the healer was still there, somehow, in all his myriad things cluttering up his otherwise perfect and orderly domain.

“It’s only polite, dear,” Mirk said, interrupting the stream of his thoughts. He hung the bag on aforementioned hook inside the door, considered the mountain of clothes that dominated his side of the closet, then dismissed it and instead backed himself onto the end of the bed, flopping down on it.

“It is…only polite…not to wear one’s work clothes in a clean bed.”

Mirk rose up onto his elbows, turning halfway and shooting him a wide smile. “Methinks I’m a little tired for that right now…but if you insist…”

Genesis closed his book with a grimace. “That…was not my point.”

The healer sighed, sitting up. “So cold…”

“It is…summer.”

In response, Mirk wriggled out of his shirt and tossed it haphazardly on the floor.

“Mirk.”

Ignoring him, he took off his socks, dropping them in different directions.

Muttering to himself, Genesis opened his book again and tried to ignore him.

He had to stand up to take off his pants. Which meant that he could drop them even further afield, on the arm of a chair. And the shorts…

“…Mirk.”

“What? It is summer.” Without pause, the healer drew back the blankets and slid into bed next to him. Genesis closed his book again, searching for a reply. Before he could do so, Mirk leaned over and kissed him, laughing. “Good night.”

“I…you…”

Mirk didn’t wait for him to formulate a reply. Instead, he wrapped his arms around him, nestled his head against the side of his chest, and promptly fell asleep.

“…hopeless.”

No reply.




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