Hellfire: Bloodborne - A Weekend Affair

Savage

Frenzied Beast
Real Name
Arthur John Savage
Missions
115
Hellfire -- The Great Hall

Zach came over, diplomatic with being devious. His timing couldn’t have been better, as it gave AJ and Juliette a reason to be distracted from forcing themselves to say polite goodbyes. Bretta was back too, and there was talk of a party for the newly inducted European Inner Circle members. AJ didn’t envy Zach one bit on that account.

His Ashley’s focus shifted from the European guests to Zach, which was fine by AJ. Zach, at least, could be trusted, even if he was alone with the Red Queen. Sure, there was some ancient history between the two, but just the other day at the Red Hunt, Zach and AJ had spoken about it. AJ was confident the matter was settled, so he hardly even watched his Ashley.

Instead, he was left to stand here awkwardly, as the Europeans spoke amongst themselves. Bretta introduced Cassandra to the rest as her Princess. Liam smarmed something about a weakness for pretty princesses while he kissed the girl’s hand. AJ noticed the European Black Queen looked like she might cut one or all of them, and he almost smiled, feeling a similar sentiment himself. In the background he could hear most of what his Ashley and Zach were saying, so he knew when they were coming back.

“Take care of yourself, man.”

He told Zach on his return, starting with a handshake that Zach made into a half hug. AJ hugged him back.

Zach: And you as well, old friend. Watch out for Ash.

“I always do. Who will have your back?”

He asked, and Zach slipped behind the woman in Black, his arms sliding around her.

Zach: My new Queen, of course.

AJ nodded, a smile on his lips. He didn’t much know the woman, but by default she seemed better than the rest of the Europeans. Maybe it was just his instincts. At any rate, the breakfast was over and the goodbyes were done, so AJ escorted his Ashley back to their suite in tense silence. The second the door closed behind them he grabbed her wrist, checking her hand carefully to make sure it was healed. When he saw that it was, he released it with a huff.

“What would you have me do, lie? I tried to be friendly, they kept pushing me!”
 

Valkyrie

War
Birds of Prey
Real Name
Ashley Oldenburg
Missions
541
Ability
Ability to instill self-doubt, turmoil and intimidation
Saying Goodbye

Ashley returned to the group, saddened by the fact that Zach was leaving them. He and AJ shook hands and did that man hug thing, and Ashley felt a bit of a pang when Zach said Brienne would now have his back.

Not fucking likely.

She also had expected AJ to be at least a little bit jealous, which he clearly wasn't. Goodbyes all said, it was time for the Europeans to leave, leaving the American branch free to go their separate ways.

Ashley walked back to her suite, silently thinking. A lot had happened - more in that morning than in the rest of the weekend combined. The door shut behind her, and her body visibly relaxed into the blessed peace...until AJ was grabbing her wrist roughly.

"What-"

At first she thought he was being forceful as foreplay, but then she saw in his face his annoyance and that he was examining her hand. When he was done he let it go, nothing gentle about it.

"It's fine."

But he wasn't.

AJ: “What would you have me do, lie? I tried to be friendly, they kept pushing me!”

Ashley sighed. She felt so tired. Dejected. She crossed over to the couch and sat down, resting her elbow on her thigh and letting her head sink into her palm. She spoke quietly. Uncharacteristically quietly.

"No, I don't want you to lie."

She picked her head up and turned to look at him.

"But you shouldn't have suggested sitting with them if you couldn't handle it. You aren't a king, Savage. You can't speak to regents that way! We are lucky it was Juliette and Liam at the table and not Brienne. Or Archer. Or even Bretta. What if Alek had heard you? They could have said it was a threat. They could have called for your head!"

Her voice broke on the last part.

"I know it's not important to you, but this alliance is important to me. And it's important to every soldier it's our responsibility to take care of. Not to mention that I like Juliette and Liam. It's nice to have someone else to talk to who understands what it's like to live more than one lifetime, whose been there when one is a regent and the other not, and have it work out. They gave me hope."

Her eyes closed, and she shook her head slowly, her voice becoming quiet again.

"This isn't going to work, is it?"

There was a pause, and when she opened her eyes again there was such sadness in them.

"It's not fair to you. People will come at me through you. They will use you to hurt me. They'll bait you to test me, like today. I can't risk you."

Her hand moved to cover her heart, as if putting pressure on a wound. Her eyes found his.

"I can't lose you."
 

Savage

Frenzied Beast
Real Name
Arthur John Savage
Missions
115
Hellfire -- The Red Queen’s Suite

His Ashley said it was fine, and perhaps her hand was, but there were definitely things that were not fine. He knew he had messed things up, he knew he was in trouble. He defensively asked what he should have done, and said that he’d tried. He expected her to start shouting at him, but she didn’t, she just went over to sit down with a sigh, and somehow her quiet voice was worse than if she’d yelled.

Ashley: No, I don’t want you to lie. But you shouldn’t have suggested sitting with them if you couldn’t handle it.

“I wanted to please you! I thought I could!

He huffed, but she reminded him that he wasn’t a King, that he couldn’t talk to Regents that way. She said they were lucky it was only Juliette and Liam, not the others, not Alek. They could have called it a threat, or wanted his head for it. He opened his mouth for a retort, but he didn’t have one. She was right, and he knew it. He crossed his arms, frowning at the floor.

Ashley: I know it's not important to you, but this alliance is important to me. And it's important to every soldier it's our responsibility to take care of.

“Well then, it is important to me too.”

He grumbled begrudgingly.

Ashley: Not to mention that I likeJuliette and Liam. It's nice to have someone else to talk to who understands what it's like to live more than one lifetime,

I know what it is like!

He interjected jealously.

Ashley: whose been there when one is a regent and the other not, and have it work out. They gave me hope.

He didn’t have anything to counter that, so he looked away again. When she said it wasn’t going to work, with such disappointment, he looked back at her again. She was looking down now. He went to sit on the coffee table in front of her, his hands on her knees.

“What? Of course it will work. I can do better. What happened this morning— it will not happen again. Next time I will not answer, or I shall lie, if I must.”

There was a pause, and when she finally looked up, the sorrow in her eyes about killed him. She said it wasn’t fair to him, which made no difference to him. But then she warned that people would use him against her, to hurt her or test her. She said she couldn’t risk him, couldn’t lose him.

“Well, I cannot watch you burn yourself again to prove my obedience. So help me God, if you need me to be the lapdog that Alek tells everyone I am.... then I will.”

He said, but then he got the sneaking suspicion that she had meant something else.

“Wait.... are you saying.... are you done with me?”

He pulled his hands back, standing up abruptly.

“What ever became of ‘I never want anyone to touch me but you’? Was that untrue? You want them again? They obviously still want you, even if they had not said it, they leered all morning. Yes, everyone wants you. They want the glory of bedding the Red Queen, I should say. They do not care about you, not the way I do!”
 
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Valkyrie

War
Birds of Prey
Real Name
Ashley Oldenburg
Missions
541
Ability
Ability to instill self-doubt, turmoil and intimidation
The Red Queen’s Suite

AJ was angry, and gruff, and grumbling. She said that even if he didn't care whether they had an alliance with the white court, she did. And she cared, for more than just bragging rights. The things they did trickled down to every guardsmen, every pawn. It was her duty to protect them, to provide for them. She was the general and they were her army.

AJ: “Well then, it is important to me too.”

But it wasn't. Not really. He would rather she never spoke to Juliette again. No, he would rather Ashley hated her. But she liked them. She liked being with people like her.

AJ:I know what it is like!

That had hurt him, but she hadn't meant for it to.

"I know, I know you do. But there are just us two. I thought you would like it too."

But the thoughts that had been brewing since AJ and Juliette's war of words were coming to a head in her mind. How narrowly they had escaped disaster. How easily things could have ended differently. She vocalized the realization aloud, that this wasn't going to work. AJ came and sat on the coffee table across from her. When he put his hands on her knees it killed her.

AJ: “What? Of course it will work. I can do better. What happened this morning— it will not happen again. Next time I will not answer, or I shall lie, if I must.”

He would do anything to please her. Sacrifice everything. But she didn't want him to. She looked up, the sadness overwhelming, and she told him. How he would always be used to get to her, as long as they were together. A target. And she couldn't bear it, losing him.

AJ: “Well, I cannot watch you burn yourself again to prove my obedience. So help me God, if you need me to be the lapdog that Alek tells everyone I am.... then I will.”

She reached out and pressed the palm of her hand against his cheek.

"I won't have you be someone you're not. Or change for me. Not ever. Not my wolf."

But then he seemed to understand what she was saying.

AJ: “Wait.... are you saying.... are you done with me?”

He stood, and the shock of his hands leaving her felt like plunging from the sun into cold darkness. Her head shook, tears in her eyes. How could she make him understand. She would never be done with him.

AJ: “What ever became of ‘I never want anyone to touch me but you’? Was that untrue?"

Her head shook more forcefully no.

"No, I don't want anyone else but..."

AJ: "You want them again? They obviously still want you, even if they had not said it, they leered all morning. Yes, everyone wants you. They want the glory of bedding the Red Queen, I should say. They do not care about you, not the way I do!”

She raised her voice then, as she stood up, and looked into his eyes.

"I know that!"

She started to reach for him, but then pulled her hand back.

"Who ever could?"

And then anger flashed in her, anger at the world they lived in, the one where she had to give up the only good thing in her life to protect it. Because having something you loved made you a target. And she had somehow got herself mixed up in this fucked up place, and now he was too.

Her hands beat at his chest.

"I don't want anyone else, least of all them. You could die! And then I would die. Because I can't live without you! I won't! I won't be the reason you die!"
 
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Savage

Frenzied Beast
Real Name
Arthur John Savage
Missions
115
Hellfire -- The Red Queen’s Suite

When he understood what his Ashley was telling him, it was as if he’d been kicked, and he recoiled. He stood up and started snarling at her then, because after seeing the Europeans fawn over her all morning, it didn’t take a genius to figure out what was happening. He made sure she knew the truth then, that everyone wanted her but not for any meaningful reason. None of them cared about her, not like he did.

Ashley: I know that!

And now she was yelling too, getting angry. Her hands hit his chest repeatedly, as she said she didn’t want anyone else, but he could die, and it would kill her, and she didn’t want to be the cause of it. He wrapped his arms around her, and pulled her to his chest, his mouth dropping near her ear. He wasn’t shouting anymore, and he wasn’t angry, but there was a gravelly desperation in his voice.

“Then do not kill us, My Ashley. If I was ordered to be without you now, I would become as dead as an immortal could ever be.”

He said, and he was not above begging.

“Please, My Queen. I will do anything else you ask of me, but please, do not ask that.”

He loosened his embrace a bit, pulling back some to look into her face.

“You said Juliette and Liam gave you hope. We are in no more danger than they ever were, or Zach-Brienne, or John-Ava, or Jack-Heidi, or Alek-Haleigh-Cameron-Everyone. Not a single one of them is foolish enough to throw stones in a glass house.”

His hands rubbed her back slowly.

“If they are, then they are foolish enough to provoke retaliation.”

His eyes pleaded with her as much as his tone.

“I will be better, I will be less feral, around your friends. I swear it, upon mine own grave.”
 

Valkyrie

War
Birds of Prey
Real Name
Ashley Oldenburg
Missions
541
Ability
Ability to instill self-doubt, turmoil and intimidation
The Red Queen’s Suite

She was hitting him, with all her pent up frustration. He didn't understand. He didn't know what would happen to her if she lost him. How it would kill her to have both men she'd ever loved die because of her. And it wasn't fair.

And then his arms came around her, and she was crying, not even trying to stop it now.

AJ: “Then do not kill us, My Ashley. If I was ordered to be without you now, I would become as dead as an immortal could ever be.”

Her arms slid up around his neck like a child clinging to their parent.

AJ: “Please, My Queen. I will do anything else you ask of me, but please, do not ask that.”

He pulled away from her, and now was looking into her eyes. Her handsome wolf. She loosed one of her hands, which went gently to the hair at his temple, feeling the softness of it.

AJ: “You said Juliette and Liam gave you hope. We are in no more danger than they ever were, or Zach-Brienne, or John-Ava, or Jack-Heidi, or Alek-Haleigh-Cameron-Everyone. Not a single one of them is foolish enough to throw stones in a glass house. If they are, then they are foolish enough to provoke retaliation.”

His hands were rubbing her back, which was helping to calm her. But still she shook her head.

"It's not the same for us. It never has been..."

AJ: “I will be better, I will be less feral, around your friends. I swear it, upon mine own grave.”

She hiccoughed from her crying, and this statement made her blink up at him.

"I don't want you to be less feral. I love you just as you are. I love that you aren't afraid to tell a vampire queen you would kill her if you had the chance."

She sniffed loudly wiping her face with the back of her hand.

"I don't want being with me to change you."
 

Savage

Frenzied Beast
Real Name
Arthur John Savage
Missions
115
Hellfire -- The Red Queen’s Suite

She was sobbing, and he couldn’t be angry in the face of that. He tried to comfort her, to remind her that Juliette and Liam had given her hope. There were many couples at Hellfire, and he didn’t think any of them would be so stupid as to start the kind of war that would come from killing him, even if he wasn’t a King. Yet.

Ashley: It’s not the same for us. It never has been....

What did she mean? He couldn’t see how it was any different. Wasn’t Cameron bringing his mistress to Court? Everyone would be worried about that. AJ just needed to get his Ashley away from this place a while, give her a chance to clear her head. He promised to be better, less feral with her friends.

Ashley: I don't want you to be less feral. I love you just as you are. I love that you aren't afraid to tell a vampire queen you would kill her if you had the chance.

“I am so confused. I thought you were mad at me for that...”

He replied his head lilting to one side as he looked at her. She sniffled loudly as she explained that she didn’t want him to change in order to be with her. Females were absolutely baffling to him.

“I will still be a wolf, My Ashley. I will always be a wolf. Do you want to see? I will shift, and you can see my fangs are sharp as ever. You can pet my fur and check my paws. But I will probably lick your face.”

He said, starting to kiss at her tears.

“I can just try to be more human at parties. If you want. Whatever will make you happy. Just tell me how to make you happy.”
 
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Valkyrie

War
Birds of Prey
Real Name
Ashley Oldenburg
Missions
541
Ability
Ability to instill self-doubt, turmoil and intimidation
The Red Queen’s Suite

Ashley couldn't stop crying, especially when he started saying he would act differently around her friends. She felt horrible that he felt he had to. She told him she loved that he was wild, that he had the balls to tell Juliette the truth.

AJ: “I am so confused. I thought you were mad at me for that...”

"I'm not angry with you."

She shook her head, hiccoughing again.

"I'm afraid."

Plus she hated the idea of him putting on some act, being someone else, just to please her. When she loved who he was.

AJ: “I will still be a wolf, My Ashley. I will always be a wolf. Do you want to see? I will shift, and you can see my fangs are sharp as ever. You can pet my fur and check my paws. But I will probably lick your face.”

A tiny laugh escaped from her mouth, even as tears rolled down her cheeks.

AJ: “I can just try to be more human at parties. If you want. Whatever will make you happy. Just tell me how to make you happy.”

She put her arms around him again, burying her face in his neck.

"You. You make me happy. Just the way you are. I'm sorry."

She pressed her faced tighter against him.

"I'm so sorry. I just couldn't bear it if anything happened to you."

She pulled back, and looked up into his eyes.

"WIll you still take me away from here?"
 

Savage

Frenzied Beast
Real Name
Arthur John Savage
Missions
115
Hellfire -- The Red Queen’s Suite

His Ashley said she wasn’t angry, she was afraid, and she didn’t want him to change for her. He was so lost. He told her he was still the wolf, would always be. He offered to shift and show her, though he warned he might lick her face. She hiccoughed a laugh, though still she was crying. He begged her to tell him what to do to make her happy again.

Ashley: You. You make me happy. Just the way you are. I’m sorry.

“For what?”

He asked, hugging her close when she reached for him again and buried her face in his chest. She told him again she was sorry, that she just couldn’t bear it if anything happened to him.

“It is I who is sorry, for giving you this fear and grief. Nothing will happen to me, nothing. You will watch out for me, and I for you, and we will live together until the end of days.”

He swore, and she pulled back to ask if he would still take her away from here.

“Of course, My Queen.”

He said, whisking her off her feet.

“We will go now. Well, you must pack. I have no clothes for a woman at my cabin. But then we will go. There will be a road trip, and diner food, and all the rest, just like I promised.”

He carried her to the walk-in closet with all her clothes and set her down on her feet again, pulling a duffle bag from the high top shelf. It felt weighty, and when he unzipped it and found hundreds of bundles of cash. He looked at her.

“If My Ashley doesn’t want to bring this, we should at least bury it.”

He said, before he pulled down another duffle, this one empty. He held it open for her to put clothes in.
 

Valkyrie

War
Birds of Prey
Real Name
Ashley Oldenburg
Missions
541
Ability
Ability to instill self-doubt, turmoil and intimidation
The Red Queen’s Suite

Her conviction left her the more he talked. It was the right thing to do, to let him go. So he would be safe. So he wouldn't have to be caught up in the Hellfire bullshit that came with her. But she wasn't strong enough to hurt him to save him. She needed him too much. Even though she knew it was selfish, she still did it. She put her arms around him, and kept saying she was sorry.

AJ: “It is I who is sorry, for giving you this fear and grief. Nothing will happen to me, nothing. You will watch out for me, and I for you, and we will live together until the end of days.”

When he said it, she believed it. A perfect life for the two of them, together, paired forever.

She finally looked up at him, and asked if he still wanted to go away with her. Maybe he wouldn't want to anymore. Maybe he was tired of her, and wanted to be alone.

But he made her feel silly for even asking with the matter of factness of his reply. She made a noise of surprise as he picked her up. (Obviously because he knew she liked that.)

AJ: “We will go now. Well, you must pack. I have no clothes for a woman at my cabin. But then we will go. There will be a road trip, and diner food, and all the rest, just like I promised.”

She pressed her face into his neck, finally the tears slowing, and whispered to him.

"I thought we weren't wearing clothes on this trip."

He set her down in her closet, which disappointed her a little bit. She was about to suggest he pack for her, or that they just grab her bow and forget it, when he pulled down a duffle which it turned out had a bunch of money in it.

"Oh, that's where I put that. I can never keep track."

She shrugged. Money bought stuff, she knew, but the little pieces of paper just didn't seem to mean anything. Alek used to get mad, because "Money should be in the bank! *frowny face*" but she just let him do what he wanted with the stuff.

AJ: “If My Ashley doesn’t want to bring this, we should at least bury it.”

She shrugged again.

"If you want to."

He got another duffle bag out, and held it open for her, for which she smiled at him. She wiped her eyes with the back of her hand, and then she picked up the hem of her dress and blew her nose into the fabric.

She tossed in a couple things, not really looking at them, and got her toothbrush from the bathroom and threw it in on top.

"Do you want to grab my archery case and throw the stuff in car while I change?"

She reached behind her to unzip the dress and kicked it off, choosing a red plaid shirt which she tied in front of her instead of buttoning, and short jeans shorts and hiking boots. There were going to the woods, after all. She retrieved her phone and sent Haleigh a text.

Going out of town. SORT your SHIT out.
 
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