29 January 2013 @ 01:19 pm
fic: Alphabet of Destruction  
Fandom: Vampire Chronicles
Disclaimer: Don't own nuthin'
Rating: Explicit
Summary: A study in words, as Louis strives to pay for what he perceives as his first murder. Set shortly before his meeting with Lestat. 
A/N: Wow. It feels so weird to be writing this stuff again. But this small (and very dark) plot bunny hopped up, and wouldn't hop away. I've also never quite written anything in this format before, so... whoo. Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] overlimits and [personal profile] fanged_angel for looking this over for me, and encouraging me to post it.

 

A is for Absinthe. That most exquisite green beverage, bitter taste laden over with sugar. Ghosts and visions lurk deep in the viridian depths of the bottle. The more romantic of the young ladies at the Chat Noir say it matches his eyes. The one time they mentioned it to him, he smiled mirthlessly – more of a grimace – and said he'd take their word for it. He hasn't looked in a mirror since he was sober last. That's a long time.

 

B is for Bourbon. Lots and lots of bourbon. That one needs no explaining, does it? The doctors say it will poison his system and burn holes in his stomach. The doctors say he won't make it to 30. But these are the same quacks that keep trying to bleed him like so many god-damned leeches and the same quacks who advocated insanity for his brother, and he doesn't give a horse shit what they say to him.

 

C is for Cards. He'll play them, gladly. Any game, any time, any price. He favours poker: says he was born under a lucky star; that Fortune kissed him on the forehead. He never fails to say that with a dark, acidic smile, as if laughing at a joke only he understands, and even so, doesn't find all that funny. He does have incredible luck, though, at least at the playing table. Though that might have more to do with the marked cards, and the ace of spades not-that-cleverly ensconced in his sleeve.

 

D is for Danger. The young man courts it. It's not that he's not capable of cheating well; it's not that he's so drunk that he's too sloppy to properly cover it up, either (though he is, in fact, astonishingly drunk). No, he wants to be found out. He craves it. He waits for it with the same sort of agonising bliss a masochist would feel on a rack. Perhaps words will fly; perhaps blows will. Perhaps this time someone will actually pull out a knife and gut him like a rat-- God, anything, anything, to feel something. Anything to hurt.

 

E is for Ego. It is, and has been, his ruin, no matter how viciously he tries to crush it underfoot. His own self, before careful consideration. His family name, before lending an ear to madness. His own lucid mind, before a foolish boy's ramblings. And look where that got him. His brother: gone. His ego: still far too present. And that hateful ego is what got him to back out of two duels, throwing his honour and his own darkest desires to the winds. There is always that one damnable part of him that pulses, pounds, refusing to stop, imprinting that world-old, atavic message into his brain and blood: “I will live. I will not be crushed underfoot. I will not die without a fight. I will survive.” I, I, I. A maddening sound, best dulled down with liquor, until he can believe, once again, he's ready to die.

 

F is for Fault. It's his, and there's no questioning. He's the one who laughed. The enlightened bourgeois, too cocksure and comfortable to allow for the supernatural. Too frank and naive to pretend to believe, at the very least. It was his fault, and no soothing words about ill fortune or his brother's hysteria can ever confute the incontrovertible evidence of blood spattered on stone.

 

G is for Gun. He's often found himself staring down the barrel of one. That happens, especially when one keeps consistently and carelessly cheating his way out of every poker game. (See above). Each time, he reacts the same way: by issuing a cocky grin and presenting his undefended chest. The sound of the trigger being cocked never fails to get a small, delighted laugh out of him. Maybe this time. Maybe this time. There's no component of fear in the slightly unhinged glow of his green eyes. Only a defiance, and a plea: Do it. Do what I have not the courage to do. Pull the trigger for me. Do it, I wish you would. But they never, ever do. Cowards, the same as him, perhaps. Or just afraid of being hanged. His family is well-reputed about town. They have money - or they will until he's done squandering it.

 

H is for Hell. Surely, this must be it. And how disappointing. Louis finds himself yearning for flaming sarcophagi, for racks and wheels, for bloody torture and eternal torment; a biblical Hell, such as the one he's always been told about and never quite believed in. It would be a mercy. It would be a fitting punishment, finally; better, infinitely better than this-- the gray landscape of his existence, full of ghosts and whispered accusations-- drowning himself over and over in Lethes, desperate to forget a guilt that keeps resurfacing time and time again, afloat on black water like a bloated corpse.

 

I is for Isolation. There are two levels to his loneliness. One is the one he chose for himself: he cast away all his friends, offended his business partners, completely severed ties with any girl from a good family he might once have considered marrying. Success should be out of his grasp. Why would he deserve any of it? The other is the isolation that was cast on him in his own home. The servants: they refuse to look at him. His sister spends the days locked away in her room, mourning and crying. His mother... well, his mother tried to have him hanged. And no matter how he may agree on his culpability, that is too bitter a chalice to swallow gladly.

 

J is for Judgment. So swiftly meted out, and in so many different forms. One: he judges his actions, and regrets them everyday. Two: his family judged him before-trial, seeing malice where there had been only stupidity. Three: the townsmen judge his behaviour harshly; big and sweltering as it may be, New Orleans is still only a colony, and people talk, and people condemn, and anyone who wastes time in brothels and opium dens is as good as a devil, really. Four: he judges his own behaviour in turn, and far more harshly. He downs the twentieth glass of port and would like to spit in his own face; buries himself in a whore's body, and wishes to die of shame. (The next night he does it all over again.) Fifth: the Lord's Judgment. On this, Louis has no doubt. He shall be found guilty. He rejoices. He's terrified. He waits.

 

K is for Knuckles. Louis's are often bloodied. For some reason, fist-fights don't incite the same passive acceptation that the threat of a shotgun does. Perhaps it's just harder not to react when someone punches you in the jaw. And Louis is an apt fighter, though not as apt as he is a shooter, so he often gives as good as he gets. He doesn't mind pain: he'd rather hear his own bones crack then replay the sound of cracked skull over and over in his dreams. Anyhow, blows and kicks don't hurt nearly as much as the look in his sister's tear-veiled eyes when she bandages his scraped hands.

 

L is for Loathing. For himself, of course; who else? He takes the blame. And if he did not, then his own family would be all too happy to cast it on him. Sometimes it escapes him, and he tries to direct his own hatred towards others: like that priest he almost killed. Oh, he would hit him again. His brother was not possessed by the devil. His brother was good and pure and blameless. But deep down, that was never the reason for his pummeling and screaming. Oh, no. It was only that it would have been good, so good, to be able to hate someone else, just for one moment.

 

M is for Mud. New Orleans is full of it, especially the parts he frequents lately, and he doesn't mind that one bit. After all, he's figuratively been dragging himself through mud for weeks. Drunkard; whoremonger; good-for-nothing: he invites all of those monikers and more. None of them can touch him, not after being called a murderer.

 

N is for Numbness. He invites it, does his level best to bring it on. Drown the pain in alcohol; light it on fire in a hash-pipe; smother it in mercenary kisses. Louis strives to be numb, only to hate himself all the more when the blessed state is achieved. Then comes the cheating, the courting death, the flirting with disaster. Bringing dry bones back to life, only to remember why he was trying to kill them in the first place.

 

O is for Opium. Insubstantial smoke leaving his parted lips in whorls and whirls. A blessed respite, opium. A journey, but a dangerous one. It is a bet, all in all: only trickier than the ones he usually wagers on. Garden of delights, or worm-filled graveyard? Sun-kissed utopia, or grief and death and anguish? He takes his chances regardless. Can't be worse than the waking world.

 

P is for Paul. I'm sorry, Paul. I'm sorry, Paul. I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I am sorry. Paul. Paul. Forgive me. Paul, brother. I am sorry.

 

Q is for Quay. Louis always liked water, whether it came in the form of rain, ponds or rivers. He especially loves the great river of his town, the glorious, murky, ever-flowing wilderness that is the Mississippi. This is partly why he favours the brothels near the quays, where he can hear the murmuring water. Abandoned against the tavern wall, a painted whore kneeling between his legs, he closes his eyes and listens. His head tips back as he thinks of dark waters and treacherous banks, of mires and swamps and alligators. How easy would it be to trip and fall? How easy would it be to take a wrong step, his pockets full of stones? He wonders what it would feel like to have the air crushed out of his lungs. He wonders if there would be a measure of peace in the sinking. And then oblivion sets in and he just feels, his fingers sunk deep in long hair as his hips start to move in tandem with the ebb and flow of his river; and sink he does, over and over, feeling the warm, wet slide of lips against his sex, until he finally spends himself into a paid mouth.

 

R is for Remorse. Like gnats, or maggots, or woodworms: implacable. Picking at his brain silently, incessantly, barely taking up space but oh, so very, very much present. That's during the daytime, whether he's drunk or sober. At night, it's worse. He can't control his dreams, or the way these niggling parasites turn themselves into ravens, vultures, jackals of the worst kind. You'll never be at peace, their sharp claws sing out in his flesh. You'll never be saved.

 

S is for Sin. He does sin, and often, and in increasing degrees of baseness. Perhaps if he insists hard enough, long enough – though he greatly doubts it – perhaps he'll commit a sin that will make him feel more damned than he already does. Yet what sin could be heavier than the one weighing his heart down? Cursed be thou by the earth, which has opened its mouth and drunk the blood of thy brother.

 

T is for Terror. It comes at night, whether he dreams in a fitful sleep or lies in a stupor. The door creaking ajar, and sightless blue eyes staring him down, mute and accusing. Brain matter drips down blond hair to the floor and a bloodied finger points at him, while parched lips mouth silent words: Frère. Traître. Meurtrier.

 

U is for Unnatural. He's sensed the presence twice already, and that's the only word that comes to his mind to describe it. Cold and intense, like an ice cube sliding down his spine; yet both times it seemed to light an intense fire in his blood. His skin was set crawling, his mouth dry. Both times he turned around, just a little too late, he thought he'd seen a shadow moving, slightly more luminous than the other shadows. He'd thought he'd seen the glimpse of an eye. He'd thought he'd seen a moon-ray shining down over a feral smile. A presence. Not of this world. Unnatural. But then, both times, he'd been drunk off his feet.

 

V is for Vampire. The word flashed across his mind during the latest of those two encounters; abruptly, oddly, as if someone had planted it there against his better judgment. It floated on the murky waters of his intoxicated brain for a few moments before sinking, forgotten.

 

W is for Weeping. He doesn't do it often. In fact, hardly ever: perhaps once or twice. It is not the done thing, and besides, his heart seems too heavy and injured and hot for his eyes to be able to wash it out. But sometimes, when he's not intoxicated, or violently angry, or courting death in the slums, he sits down and weeps. Because it wasn't supposed to be like this. Because he didn't know. Because he never meant to make his sister cry and his mother hate him. Because he was just trying to provide for a family his father had entrusted to him on his death-bed. Because he was so young, and he used to be in love with life. Because he's only 25 still, and all hope escapes him in wracking sobs.

 

X is for Cross. We all have to carry one, don't we? He wouldn't help his brother carry his; and now he has one of his own, and no redemption can ever come from it. Only the weight of memory. Only the bruises of shame.

 

Y is for Yes. That's what he'd say if he could spin back the clock. If he could undo it. Destroy it. Tear it up and redo it differently. Yes, I do believe. Yes, I'll sell the plantation. Yes, I will listen to you. Yes, I will endeavour to have faith. Yes, just yes.

 

Z is for Zeal. Ask anyone, and they'll say that's what Paul had. Well, the kind ones. The polite ones. The ones who will not refer to him as odd, touched in the head, delusional. The impartial ones who will not, like his mother, call him a saint. But all nuances aside, nobody could deny that: Paul was zealous. His faith was nothing but. Yet for all his conviction, he could not move his older brother to comply with his vision, his design. And now that brother repents for it in all the darkest ways he knows how. It's a downward slide, hurtling towards death and madness, but he doesn't seem to care. See, the truth of the facts is-- Louis de Pointe du Lac is meticulously, doggedly, zealously destroying himself. His zeal can't win him Heaven, but that is all right. Ask him, and he'll tell you: Heaven was never, never in his cards.

 



 
 
 
 
( Post a new comment )
rebness[personal profile] rebness on January 29th, 2013 07:29 pm (UTC)
Absolutely wonderful. I love mortal!Louis and you capture his cynicism and his desire so well here. Really well done.
Ambra: Aquarius[personal profile] starsandgutters on January 29th, 2013 10:29 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I was a bit nervous, not having written him in so long, but it's nice to know some Louis is still under my skin. It was one of those must-write-this-right-now thing; I blame my Baudelaire studies for setting the decadent mood.
mumsisdaughter: You OK?[personal profile] mumsisdaughter on January 30th, 2013 01:25 pm (UTC)
This is marvellous! Each section, cleverly linked to the alphabet, builds in tension and despair to that pre-climactic moment just before he meets Lestat. Even V for Vampire fits exactly where it should in his downward slide towards his death. T is for Terror, about his being haunted by Paul, foreshadows the time seventy years into his future when another blue-eyed blond will feel betrayed by him. Wonderful. Thank you.
Ambra: Overworked[personal profile] starsandgutters on January 30th, 2013 05:07 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much for reading and commenting! This was indeed intended to convey Louis's dangerously fast slide towards his ruin, so I'm glad it came across well. And yes! Even though it wasn't originally intended to read that way, I thought of Lestat as well while I was writing. Oh, Louis, your guilt is just beginning...
Leah-Belle: Louis de Pointe du Lac[personal profile] seraphfim on February 1st, 2013 05:27 am (UTC)
Well done! Love reading about Mortal!Louis.
Ambra: Thumbs Up[personal profile] starsandgutters on February 5th, 2013 05:20 pm (UTC)
Thank you! Mortal!Louis is just about my fave Louis as well.