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30 September 2011 @ 06:19 am
FIC: The Kebab Killer, Chapter three, Part one – The Rising Storm  
Author: Osiris Brackhaus
Story Title: The Kebab Killer
Part: 3/10 (wip)
Rating: R
Configuration M/M
Warnings: violence, angst, borderline fairytale romance
Word Count: 2.100 / 25.000
Setting: 'Phoenix Empire' verse, see Phoenix Empire Timeline & Index
Characters: Sam/Yaden
Summary: Sam takes Yaden to the Psions’ Guild to have him registered, but their visit does not work as smoothly as they had hoped…
Feedback: Yes, please!

“Can't we just do something nice instead? Like, go and have some tea and cookies somewhere posh?”

Yaden's question was almost drowned out by the din of the tram they were sitting in. It was one of those rare steam-driven ones, smelly and loud but much faster than the usual donkey-pulled versions.

“Darling. Please.” Sam put his arms around Yaden's shoulders, trying his best to seem confident. “It's just a short visit, and once we have you registered, we'll never have to go there again.”

Silently, Yaden nodded, snuggling closer to his lover.

Even though the psions' guild worked openly in the empire since two generations now, they still weren't exactly trusted. Most of it surely was mere superstition, but then again, how much trust can you feel towards someone who could be planting that very trust into your mind right now? At least, Sam was very sure that they wouldn't keep Yaden and lock him up. Well, reasonably sure, at least.

Both men watched the city pass by while they silently waited for their exit station to come up. The headquarters of the psions' guild was located in Opera, the expensive, old city quarter on the other side of the city. Soon enough, they passed the Old Opera itself, a sprawling monument to the entertaining arts that was the namesake of the whole quarter. Some people even said it was the oldest building of the entire city, older even than the palace itself.

Sam shrugged inwardly. He had never cared for those stories, nor for the opera. To him, it was a pompous playground for nobles, and a place he visited only once a year for the annual police ball.

Beyond that, the tram huffed along one of the quarter's many parks. Underneath the trees, Sam could make out people in their finest outfits, strolling around leisurely, probably on their way to an art-gallery or one of the ridiculously expensive restaurants that littered the area.

Sam definitely preferred Downtown.

With a shrill whistle, the tram announced their next stop, and Sam gestured Yaden to get off. From here on, the tram would take the steep uphill-climb that led to Embassy Row, the cluster of noble embassies and guest-houses on their cliff facing the palace across the bay. But they were headed for another corner of Opera, and would manage the last piece of the trip on foot.

On the main road, there were enough people milling around to make Sam wonder if there was a special occasion today that he had no information about. But swiftly, he realized that it had been merely the usual crowd of tourists, trying to get onto the tram to spare them the walk up to Embassy Row on their own.

Whatever one might want to say about the empire's capital, the public transport worked impressively well.

Careful not to lose his lover in the milling throng of people, Sam gently ushered Yaden along. For a while, they followed the remaining tourist towards the embassies, then turned to their right, deeper into the quarter. It was still a busy street, but much less crowded than the main they had left behind. The huge trees lining the street offered a welcome shade from the still-shining sun, and a heavy floral scent hung in the air.
It took Sam a moment to figure out that they were walking down an alley of illeiya trees, their giant leaves each sheltering a large, delicate white flower against the usually omnipresent rain. The surrounding mansions were impeccably clean, the gardens minutely tended, no trace of moss or algae that slicked the broad pavement.

Definitely not a place Sam felt at home, and by the looks of it, neither did Yaden. Especially walking down the road barefoot as he was, Yaden looked out of place here. Sam wasn't even sure if his lover even owned a pair of shoes. He hadn't seen any in his room, so far, either.

“Are you sure it's here?” Yaden asked in a hushed tone. “It's not a corner of town I want to be found loitering around, you know?”

“It's here, and we're not loitering.” Smiling despite his own queasy feeling, Sam gently nudged his lover's side. “What do you think I am wearing my uniform for? And besides, we're a young couple, madly in love and just strolling around, just in case someone asks.”

That brought a soft snicker from Yaden.

“Public indecency is so much preferable to loitering...” he quipped, wriggling his eyebrows suggestively.

“I said nothing about...” Laughing at his own blush, Sam shook his head. “You're impossible.”

“But inspiring, you can't deny that.”

“I think that's called tempting, not inspiring. And yes, you are. But no, not now, and definitely not here. We've come all the way and the guild should be one of the next houses. And I really don't want to issue myself a fine for harbouring a non-licenced psychic. That would be ridiculous.”

In reply, Yaden only gave him a caustic look. He still didn't really like to hear himself being spoken of as a psion. Well, he would have undeniable proof of his talents or respective lack thereof in black-and-white soon enough.

The psions' guild headquarters turned out to be just another mansion, the guild's stylized eye logo prominently displayed in brass on both wings of the gate that lead onto the property. The gates were wide open, leading onto a wide path of white gravel under a filigree wrought-iron-and-glass walkway that was meant to protect from the usually incessant drizzle. But today, the glass roof only helped to keep the hot and humid air from moving.

Sam forced himself to smile as he felt Yaden walk more and more gingerly.

“Hey. It's gonna be all right. I promise.”

Yaden took a deep breath and braved a similar smile.

“I'm sorry I'm acting such a fool.” he said almost inaudibly.

But whatever Sam would have said was drowned out as suddenly, the mansion's door was flung open from within. Instantly, a squad of noble guards flooded the path, giving Sam and Yaden only the merest moment to step aside onto one of the small garden paths. Fully professional, their tasselled sabres and shining metal breastplates were almost obscuring the fact that they were also carrying state-of-the-art blasters and heavy energy-shields.

Both Sam and Yaden instantly adopted the typical stance of any commoner when faced with a noble – a polite but non-committal smile, head slightly bowed, eyes on the ground and hands where the guards could see them.

Sure enough, right behind the guards a man in billowing yellow robes stepped out of the building, surrounded by a gaggle of servants. Sam didn't even have to see the flock of shrouded women following him like a soundless procession to identify him as a member of House Jehanni. As a member of the Ducal Crescents, he had learned almost more about etiquette than about fighting. Which, considering that the place where he worked was crawling with irritable nobles, made absolute sense to him.

Silently, he bowed deeper, gently pulling Yaden's arm to make him do the same. Jehanni expected to see deference in commoners, Dracons fear, Castella admiration, and so on. Each noble house had their own ideas of what was proper behaviour for a commoner, and Sam really didn't want to add this kind of complication to his already complicated day. He knew he had some kind of protection through the purple uniform he was wearing, but Yaden had none.

Maybe it wasn't such a bad idea to have his lover registered with the psions, Sam thought as the noble and his retinue passed. That would at least confer Yaden some level of standing, and some protection in the process.

As swiftly as he had appeared, the Jehanni boarded a small glider that had landed on the street, his entourage and guards following efficiently. The last guard even acknowledged Sam's presence with a collegial nod and a tip to his helmet before closing the glider's door behind him. Apparently, it wasn't their first visit to the empire's capital.

“You okay?” Sam asked his lover, who was still standing next to a manicured moss-hedge, a frozen smile on his face.

“Don't the psychics have another office somewhere else, for normal people? I mean, this is probably where all the nobles travelling to P2 via teleport are arriving, and we're going to stand right in their way all the time!”

“Then better let's get out of their way as fast as we can.”

With gentle insistence, Sam led Yaden the last steps up to the entrance door of the psions' guild. The wide door was still standing open, the hall behind it cavernously huge and dark.

Careful not to stand in another Noble’s way, Sam entered the mansion, looking around the hall for some kind of reception desk. But except for several people busily rushing around, he couldn't find any place that looked like anything where a clueless, mundane first-time-visitor like him could find any assistance.

For a moment, the two men just stood there, close to the wall, trying not to look too awkward. The place was basically oozing respectability, with marble staircases and huge oil-paintings of serene people in muted colours on the walls. Everyone around here was wearing the small, golden badge identifying them as psychics, and was looking very professional.

Yaden was just about to get fidgety enough to suggest leaving as suddenly, one of the psions came directly their way, smiling widely.

“Officer Balmoral?” the psion asked politely, yet didn't even wait for Sam's reaction before shaking his hand. “We have been expecting you.”

“Really?” Sam replied, slightly apprehensive. The man greeting him was middle aged, with thick silver hair and a brown tweed suit that looked as posh and old-fashioned as the whole place. Friendly enough, but with psions, you never knew. “I didn't make an appointment.”

“Oh please!” the other man exclaimed, waving away Sam's concern with a laugh and a gesture of his hand. “This is the psions' guild you are coming to, son, not the Imperial Chancellery. As if you'd need an appointment.”

Outside, thunder rolled in the distance.

“Goodness, but where are my manners? Please, I am Doctor Reichenbach, and I am the head of the local talent recognition team. And this is your husband, I assume?”

“My partner,” Sam interjected before Yaden could say anything rash. He knew that expression on his lover's face, and he really didn't want to make a scene in the entrance hall of the psions' guild with god-knew-who walking through here. “We are in need of your expertise.”

“Of course you are,” Reichenbach confirmed with the jovial attitude of a benevolent uncle. “If you would like to come with me, we could run through the necessary tests in my office. It'll only take half an hour and you can be on your way again.”

Again, thunder grumbled outside, this time much closer. Reichenbach looked up, concentrating for a moment, then the main doors closed apparently on their own.

“Well, it was about time the weather changed,” he said, gesturing the two men to follow him. “People always complain about the weather in the capital, but actually I really like the rain. All this sunshine gives me migraines. And that smell!”

Sam and Yaden exchanged a glance, rolled their eyes and followed the doctor. Silently, Yaden sneaked his hand into Sam's, smiling despite the creepy surroundings.

“'Officer Balmoral'?” he asked, softly enough so only Sam could overhear. “You never told me you had a surname.”

“Really? I... Well, yes. Sam Balmoral, at your service.” Sam grinned down at his lover. “Don't you?”

Instead of an answer, Yaden scoffed. “How would I know? You only call me Yaden.”

Of course. Many commoners had surnames, but by far not all of them. And it wasn't usual to address commoners by their surnames, unless they held a position of relatively high respectability, like doctors and, well, DC officers. So thanks to his amnesia, Yaden probably really didn't know if there was a surname connected to him.

“I'll check your liquor license once we are home,” Sam replied with a smile. “If you have a surname, it'll be on the papers.”

“If I have a license,” Yaden returned, deadpan serious.

“Oh please. First you turn out to be an unregistered psychic, now a tax evader?” Sam tousled his lover affectionately. “What's gonna come next? You're a drug-dealer? Or maybe a democrat?”

Not quite joking, Yaden managed to bring up a smile. “We will find out together, I promise.”

“Don't worry, love. We'll get this all under control again.”

aubergineautumn on September 30th, 2011 08:01 am (UTC)
*Following* This fic is kind of fun, it feels like a Korean cop film
osirisbrackhausosirisbrackhaus on September 30th, 2011 05:33 pm (UTC)
Err, well... thanks, I think. I have positively no clue about Korean cop flics, but I take it as a compliment.

Thanks so much for reading and commenting!
littlenilittleni on September 30th, 2011 03:22 pm (UTC)
I have a weird feeling about that thunder in the distance. Twice is too much of a coinsidence. Just a theory.
osirisbrackhausosirisbrackhaus on September 30th, 2011 05:36 pm (UTC)
That is absolutely pure coincidence. Absolutely. 100% crazy random happenstance. No relevance to this or any further stories what so ever.

Beryll: pic#113338433rynthjan on September 30th, 2011 05:41 pm (UTC)
If you discount the fact that *mod edited* and *mod edited* and of course *mod edited*
littlenilittleni on October 1st, 2011 03:19 am (UTC)
*puts hands on hops and raises an eyebrow at osirisbrackhaus*

Pull the other one. It plays jingle bells.
littlenilittleni on October 1st, 2011 03:22 am (UTC)
Not to mention the title of the chapter!!
How many cookies will it take to bride rynthjan for more hints??
Beryll: pic#113338433rynthjan on October 1st, 2011 06:45 am (UTC)
Hmmm... How about this: I hope you like Yaden cause you will see a LOT of him. He is the character we have by far the most stories about ;)
osirisbrackhausosirisbrackhaus on October 1st, 2011 06:57 am (UTC)
See? It didn't take any cookies at all. ^^
idolme922: Hiacynth McCawidolme922 on September 30th, 2011 08:33 pm (UTC)
Oooo! This is getting more fun by the minute. I had to leave for work and couldn't read when I first got my alert, and then I was reading it on my phone in the line at the bank, and finally I had time at work to finish it!

So, I love their relationship with no angst, at least yet. I'm preparing myself for some. I love the descriptions and can just SEE and FEEL that place. It's awesome. I have my secret hopes for Yaden and Sam, individually, and as a couple. So, I can't wait to see where you take them.

Great chapter... love the little touches like the thunder rolling.

osirisbrackhausosirisbrackhaus on October 1st, 2011 07:02 am (UTC)
I really don't want to get you in trouble for reading at work like we all do. ^^ And thanks so much for the image of you reading in the line at the bank. Made my day.

Well, I have hopes for them, too - but maybe the resolution of the story is very different from what you think right now.

And about the thunder - Yaden has a very special... connection to the weather, let's keep it at that.
idolme922idolme922 on October 1st, 2011 04:28 pm (UTC)
Re thunder: That is absolutely pure coincidence. Absolutely. 100% crazy random happenstance. No relevance to this or any further stories what so ever.

Seems you're as evil as Beryll!!! I LOVE IT!!


osirisbrackhausosirisbrackhaus on October 1st, 2011 06:16 pm (UTC)
Well, there IS a good reason Beryll and I are still embarassingly happy together after 16 years. ^^
triptyxtriptyx on October 1st, 2011 01:02 am (UTC)
And getting more nervous of who Yaden really is/was!!! :S ;)

I like this a lot! Thank you!
osirisbrackhausosirisbrackhaus on October 1st, 2011 07:07 am (UTC)
As Beryll already mentioned - I hope you like him, 'cause you'll be seeing A LOT more of him.

I am really, really looking forward to see your reactions once this is all resolved and you can look at the whole story knowing everything. *bounce*
peony_blackpeony_black on October 1st, 2011 01:24 pm (UTC)
I just read the three parts and I am enjoying the story very much. Sam is such a warm person and very much in love, but with whom? I can't wait to find out more about Yaden and I wonder whether he knows or suspects more than he's letting Sam know.

Thank you for sharing!
osirisbrackhausosirisbrackhaus on October 1st, 2011 06:18 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment! Really means a lot to me.

And about Yaden - right now, Sam knows more about him than Yaden does. But before Yaden lost his memories... let's say there's still a lot to learn for both of them.
BerthaBlueberthablue on October 2nd, 2011 08:19 am (UTC)
So cute! I love that they seem so natural together, despite Yaden not really knowing who the hell either of them are, and Sam not knowing quite a bit, it seems :)

Looking forward to more!
osirisbrackhausosirisbrackhaus on October 2nd, 2011 10:47 am (UTC)
It's making me very happy to hear you call them natural, it's what I tried to make them feel like. Thanks a lot.

And yes, don't worry, more is coming soon. It's already written apart from the last one and a half chapter, so expect a new installment every few days.
hab318princess on October 13th, 2011 03:11 pm (UTC)
that was wonderful imagery and they are really sweet
osirisbrackhausosirisbrackhaus on October 13th, 2011 07:39 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much for the lovely compliment and for commenting! Really glad you liked it.