Falling

Chapter 02

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Cris waited for his father to leave the observation room before he finally decided to enter the room Jacyb was in. Cris carefully opened the door and slipped inside. Jacyb was still crying and clinging to the dead girl's body. Cris walked over and slowly sat down next to Jacyb. Ever so carefully Cris put his arm around the crying boy. Jacyb jumped a little but feeling that he wasn't in pain he didn't even look up. Cris could feel the pain that Jacyb was feeling just from touching him; he could feel just how horrible Jacyb felt. So Cris closed his eyes and ever so skillfully Cris transferred some of the pain that Jacyb felt away from Jacyb and onto himself.

Jacyb gasped, "Please don't do that. I've lost everything else; don't take my pain from me."

Cris opened his eyes and frowned, "I'm sorry, I just wanted to help."

"Oraculum save me, what grace I had has passed from me," whispered Jacyb. "If you have any mercy at all then kill me. I want dawn to bring nothing but death for me. Please let me go, please let me die. Have I not paid enough?"

"I'm sorry for your loss Jacyb," Cris said softly. "I wish it was in my power to let you go but I can't do that. I've never killed anyone, outside of feeding, and I won't kill you. I've been watching over you Jacyb, these last four and a half weeks. I've been waiting for you to wake. I hope you'll forgive me but while you were changing I've been searching your mind. I didn't think that I could because you weren't really alive or dead and you're a Founder but I wanted to try. And what I found I'm afraid I could never be responsible for killing."

"Should I care? I have nothing else left other than my pain and my thoughts," sobbed Jacyb. "I can't take this back; I can't undo what I just did. I killed her, I murdered her, and I don't even know who she was. Watching over me you say, then I'm afraid you've done a poor job. What do I have left to live for? I see the waking dawn in my mind, the Founders will fall, the Moroi will fall, and man will fall. Mistakes can't be undone, not anymore, not if others don't listen."

Cris sighed, "I have done a poor job but it wasn't my choice to make what happened to you happen. My father is told by no one what he is to do with his captives. And as much as I hate him for it he'll probably kill all that your people helped create."

"He can't be your father," replied Jacyb. "If he is then where's your Taser, where's your threats and pain, to what does your hate point to?"

"I'm afraid he is my father but please don't hold that against me, a father's sin don't always reflect his son's," Cris answered quietly. "Some people do reflect their fathers and for some of them I'm glad they do, for others it's better that they don't. This world only needs one tyrannical ruler; I don't need to be like my father. I've learned better values from yours."

For the first time Jacyb looked up at Cris, tears streaming down his face. "You knew my father?" Jacyb said in a quivering voice.

Cris smiled as he remembered his friend, "I did. He was a good man, he tried to save us from our own downfall and yet he was ignored by most. He was kind of subtle in his methods when it came to trying to save us. I can see why now, it was his job to turn us into monsters. I don't hold that against him though because he tried to warn me and even I didn't heed his warning."

"I was eight when he left. He knew he wasn't coming back," cried Jacyb as he began to look down. "He said goodbye to me before he left. I wanted so much to make him proud of me and now I've done nothing but shame him. I am the last of my house; your people have killed the rest of my family. And with me having killed, my honor is gone and my house has fallen. I'm the last Shifs and because of what I've done I should be."

Cris lifted Jacyb's chin and looked him in the eyes, "Your father would still love you regardless and as long as you're loved then your honor isn't gone it's just hidden. If you can't see it then I'll be willing to help you find it."

"Why?" said Jacyb. "You don't even know me."

Cris leaned closer and let his lips gently press against Jacyb's. After a few seconds Cris pulled away and smiled at the shocked look on Jacyb's face, "But I do know you Jacyb. I'm sorry but I've let myself fall in love with you these last few weeks as I watched you sleep, as I watched your thoughts. You're a far better person then I could ever hope to be, you're like your father in some ways and better than him in others. I don't expect you to ever feel for me what I feel for you but I'm willing to help you bring down my own father if that's what you wanted. Just please, stay with me."

"You...you're playing to my weaknesses," Jacyb almost moaned. "That's not fair; you know that I have to stay if you ask me to."

"If you believe me then can you blame me?" asked Cris. "Look for yourself, I know you can."

Jacyb closed his eyes and a few seconds later he opened them again. He looked Cris in the eyes and sighed, "No, I can't blame you. I can see what you would do and have done to save me. But what am I supposed to say to that? You love me? I don't really know what to tell you."

"Then don't tell me anything," grinned Cris. "Will you at least help me take my father down?"

"Can...can it be done before I have to feed again?" asked Jacyb.

"You tell me," replied Cris.

Jacyb hung his head, "But I don't want to have to feed again and all I can see is years before it's possible."

"We'll get through it," said Cris. "I know you don't want to but I need your help, you can see when he'll be where and who he'll be with; I need your help if I want to pull that off. And...I'd like your company, I'll help you get through this in any way that I can."

Jacyb began to cry again but nodded his head.

Cris smiled and put his arms around Jacyb, pulling him into a hug, "Come on, let's get you cleaned up and in something a little warmer."

~~~

"You're gonna turn into a prune if you stay in there much longer," Jacyb heard Cris say.

Jacyb opened his eyes, reached over, and turned off the hot water, "Sorry, it just feels like I can't get her blood off of me."

"Well don't shut it off on my account then," said Cris. "Just don't hurt yourself by scrubbing too much."

Jacyb turned the water back on and quickly lathered up again, "Thank you."

"No problem," replied Cris. "Do you mind if I sit in here and talk to you while you shower?"

"I...I guess not," said Jacyb as he grabbed the washcloth and started to scrub himself in various places that he might have gotten blood on.

Jacyb heard Cris sit down and get comfortable, "So how do you feel?"

Jacyb stopped scrubbing for a second, "I feel empty, thanks for asking."

"You know it's not your fault, right?" asked Cris. "I mean, my father is a twisted man; he planned what happened tonight. It's not your fault you lost control."

"Can we talk about something else maybe?" said Jacyb as he closed his eyes and sighed as he let the water wash over his face and head.

"Yeah, sure," replied Cris. "I don't get to talk to people that often anymore so I'm kinda rusty on my people skills. These days I just end up giving out orders or fighting with my father on something I want from him. It's ever so much fun."

"I can imagine," Jacyb said softly as he relaxed against the shower wall. Suddenly the room seemed to go dark and water seemed to be falling from the ceiling.

"What the heck?!" called Cris. "How is...Jacyb are you doing this?" There came no reply, "Jacyb?"

Cris opened the shower door a little and looked in, "Jacyb?" Jacyb was still leaning against the wall but it looked like he was asleep. Cris sighed and reached over to turn off the water but suddenly the wall seemed to be covered in ice and the shower had a foot of snow in it. Cris looked really worried, "Jacyb, you're scaring me. Say something!"

"Who are you talking to?" said a voice behind him. Cris turned to find a little boy standing in the bathroom. He had light brown hair and looked to be dressed in Founder robes.

"Who are you?" Cris whispered.

The boy smiled, "I'm Jacyb." Then he looked around Cris and into the shower, "Well so is he but he's dead I think, well he kinda looks dead. I think I'm the only one left for the moment."

"Only one left?" Cris asked in a shaky voice.

"Well there are normally others in my mind to talk to but I can't seem to find any of them," said the boy.

Cris looked around a little, "Is Jacyb's mind doing all of this?"

"Yeah, it's a Founder stress reliever," grinned the boy. "We lock ourselves in our minds and sort out our problems with the different parts of us. I'm the Jacyb that learned how to control my mind and how to do this."

"You mean Jacyb was your age when he learned to do this?" said Cris.

"Yep," giggled the boy. "You know you ask a lot of questions. So who are you? Are you a friend of Jacyb?"

Cris looked confused, "You don't know?"

"I wouldn't be askin' if I knew who you were and what was wrong with myself," replied the boy.

"Well, my name is Cris. I'd like to be Jacyb's friend," Cris replied and then lowered his voice. "I'd like to be more than that eventually."

"Ahh, you like him," grinned the boy. "Well I think we're a nice guy, we'll probably give ya a chance." The boy tilted his head, "You're a Moroi, aren't you?"

"I..." Cris frowned. "Yeah I am."

The boy looked back into the shower, "Is that what happened to Jacyb, you made him a Moroi?"

Cris looked down at his feet, "No, my father did. He doesn't like Founders; he thought it'd be funny to do this to Jacyb."

"Ashamed of your father?" asked the boy.

"Yes," said Cris.

"Hmmm, well we gotta figure out how to fix me," the boy thought out loud. "Well the place has turned to ice, that means something."

"It does?" Cris said in a confused tone.

"Well ya, normally there are clouds around because he's confused and needs to sort out what he's thinking," said the boy. "Me and the others are normally around to help him sort that out. I've never seen ice before though, this is kinda strange. And the Jacyb behind you isn't talking to us and I can't find the others."

Cris turned back to the shower and looked at Jacyb, "I want to help him."

"Yeah well when you figure out how let me know," said the boy. "What exactly caused this? You said your father turned him what else did he do?"

"He made him feed," replied Cris.

The smile fell from the boy's face, "He made him kill? Oh no, if that's true then I...I really am the only one left..."

"What do you mean?" Cris said as he watched the boy back away from the shower in fear.

The boy looked up at Cris, "You have to help him! I can't do it on my own, if I can't find them and they're gone because he's killed someone then all of the rest of them are dead! He can't tell the difference between right and wrong, who is and isn't his friend! He's not confused; the ice is showing us that he's dead inside! That...that I'm dead inside, oh my God, I don't know what to do!"

"Calm down, I don't think either of you is going to die," Cris said as he knelt down and pulled the boy into a hug. "Just calm down and lets think a little. Maybe you can't find anyone because your head is reorganizing itself."

The boy took a few deep breaths and put his arms around Cris, "Right, you...might be right."

"Have you ever seen him do anything like this before?" Cris asked softly.

"Once, after our father died, he did something like this but with fire instead," replied the boy. "He was angry."

Cris thought for second, "Do you think that the ice might mean he's scared then?"

"I don't know," said the boy as he let go of Cris and looked over at where Jacyb was in the shower again. "If he is, do you think he just needs someone to hold him?"

Suddenly Cris smiled, "Did your father ever hold you when he was your age? I mean where you were scared did he..."

"Yeah but you're not our father and I can't hold him, he is me," said the boy.

"Exactly, I can hold you," said Cris as he picked the boy up and held him close. "If you're him then you have to know that you're not alone."

"But I am alone," Jacyb whispered from the shower.

"Jacyb?" Cris said as he turned to completely face the shower again. As he did the room was suddenly back to normal and the boy that Cris had been holding was gone.

"I'm sorry Cris, I'm just having trouble dealing with all of this," Jacyb said softly as he stood back up. "I didn't mean for you to see any of that."

"Jacyb, you're not alone though," Cris said as he stepped into the shower and pried the soapy Jacyb from the wall, pulling him into a hug. "I can't really say that I completely understand what you're feeling, I wasn't a Founder. I was human though, I lost a lot when I was turned too; I just didn't have to go through what my father put you through, I just got a virus. But if you're feeling afraid that's normal, if you're feeling alone I can relate. I'm here if you need me."

"Cris, I don't know if I can stay here as long as you want me to though," sighed Jacyb. "It's going to take us over three hundred years to get your father into a position to bring him down. That's a long time, that's...that's over three thousand times I'll have to feed."

Cris pulled Jacyb into the water and started rinsing him off, "You'll get used to it...well sort of used to it. You just have to look at it from a different point of view."

"A different point of view?" Jacyb said in a confused tone. "How can a different point of view justify murder?"

"It doesn't, but think of it this way if my father were to be left to his own devices how many more people would die," replied Cris. "And not all humans are good people either, if you find the right kind of person to feed on then it's like doing the world a favor."

"But killing the killers just makes me one of them," Jacyb said sadly as he finally started to look around and regain his senses. "You got yourself wet getting in here."

Cris looked down and smiled, "Yeah I did, I'll change later. We should probably get you ready for bed though, starting tomorrow I'm going to be teaching you and it won't be easy stuff to learn."

Jacyb sighed, "I can't say I really expected anything to be easy from this point on."

"It'll get easier, but it's going to start off hard," replied Cris. "I imagine that some things, like feeding, you'll never get used to but I know you'll excel at others. It won't be so bad."

Jacyb turned off the water and then leaned against Cris and closed his eyes, "If you say so."

~~~

A few minutes later Cris had Jacyb back in his room, dried and dressed. Jacyb let Cris lead him around, still seeming like he was lost.

"We've really got a month until you can learn some of the stuff that I know but that'll go really quickly," said Cris as he got the bed ready for the two of them. "We'll use this month to get you acquainted with all of our agencies and practices."

"You mean your father doesn't do everything?"

Cris grinned, "Actually, he's losing more and more of his power to the Moroi directors. No one but me and them know, not even my dad is aware of the loss. He's kind of getting lost in his own struggle."

"Who are the Moroi directors?" Jacyb said sounding almost interested.

"They're a group of Moroi that lead the different agencies within the government," replied Cris. "Rather than report to my father they actually keep him in the dark about it because it means he won't mess with what they are working on. He's becoming more of a figurehead, striking fear into the hearts of every human rather than doing the real work."

"And what part do you play in this government?" Jacyb asked as Cris sat him down on the bed. "Are you a director?"

Cris smiled, "I am but don't laugh when I tell you what department I am the head of."

"What, food services?" Jacyb said almost sarcastically.

"No, the director of food services is an evil man," replied Cris. "I'm Director of Human Affairs."

Jacyb looked up at Cris with a confused look, "Human Affairs?"

"Yeah, I know, it looks like I do a very poor job but it doesn't sound like what it is," said Cris as he pushed Jacyb, forcing him to lie down. "The Human Affairs department is what keeps the rest of the government from going on a killing rampage. It keeps the other directors in line and reminds them why we need humans."

"What reasons, other than food, do your people have for humans?"

Cris sighed, "Humanity is the species that will outlive all of the others. Even if we were to go around killing as many of them as we could they would still outlive us. We are using them, and the moment they realize they don't need us and that there is no threat then that is the day we fall. But humans are the ones that created the Founders, humans are the ones that built this city and every other city. Humans are what make this world livable, not us. We wouldn't have anywhere to keep us from burning before the sun if it wasn't for them. In fact our culture wouldn't be able to take shape until it had the back of humanities to build on. Humans are important in more ways than I could ever explain, they are not just cattle to be eaten."

Jacyb suddenly grabbed Cris' hand and stared deep into his eyes. A minute later he finally replied, "You have very honorable intentions and looking into your future I see no doubt that you'll see them through. The only question I have left about you is concerning me. I know what you want of me, and after seeing your values and what you intend to do I know that you're a good person."

"What question are you asking then," Cris said softly.

"I...I'm not sure if it's a question for you or for me," Jacyb replied as he let go of Cris' hand. "I'm so confused right now, I..."

Cris smiled, climbed over Jacyb and laid down on the bed next to him, "It's almost sun up, just rest. We'll talk more in the night."

Jacyb stared up at the ceiling for a minute before nodded his head and then scooting closer to Cris, laying his head against Cris' arm.

Cris grinned, "Is that what you're question was?"

"I'm not sure yet," replied Jacyb as he closed his eyes.

Cris smiled for a second and then his face went expressionless as both he and Jacyb slipped into a deep, dreamless, sleep as only a Moroi can.