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[personal profile] merry_gentry
Title: Epiphany
Author: [personal profile] merry_gentry
Fandom: Neverwhere
Pairing: Pre-slash, Richard Mayhew/Marquis de Carabas
Rating: PG/PG-13
Disclaimer: Unfortunately, they do not belong to me. They do conjure up rather pretty images in one's mind, though, don't they? ^_^
Author's Notes: A missing scene set between Richard's return to London Above and the end of the book, therefore, spoilers for the last three/four chapters or so, or, the last two(?) episodes of the BBC series. This isn't what the lovely Sheamackenzie had in mind, but, then, I'm not the one who contemplated me ever writing Neverwhere fic to begin with. I'm getting to your prompt, my darling. Promise.

First posted to LJ on 13th January 2009

Summary: In which Richard realises he might have, just possibly, made the worst decision in the entire world history of utterly terrible decisions.




Weirdly, or perhaps not so much, the thing that stands out most in Richard’s memories of his time in London Below isn’t Door, and it isn’t Hunter, and it isn’t any one of the innumerable and really rather painful things that happened to him over less than a week. It isn’t even the killing of the Beast and Hunter gifting him her knife, which is strange in and of itself as the knife goes everywhere with Richard, from the mantelpiece in his new and bare penthouse flat to his briefcase, his desk at work and back again every evening.

No, the thing that stands out most in Richard’s mind out of everything that happened, and everyone he met, is the Marquis’ hand appearing out of the dark and the cold to wrap around Lamia’s white throat and the brief flash of genuine worry and panic and something unidentifiable in the other man’s eyes just before Lamia had breathed Richard’s life back into him.

He hadn’t remembered what the Marquis had said to Lamia before the ice had melted and warmth had wrapped around his heart again. Nothing except for the image of that dark, dirty hand wrapping around the long, pale throat had stayed with Richard, until he had been back in London Above – the ‘real’ London, he had to keep reminding himself – for nearly a month, and even then it was just snatches of images and sound as if Richard was remembering a dream from long ago.

Then, one Saturday, he had been wandering through the crowds in Portobello market, searching every face as he always did, and a glimpse of long, dark dreadlocks snaking down past someone’s shoulders caught his eye and Richard turned to follow, frantic suddenly.

The man had simply disappeared from Richard’s sight, but he had ended up in the antiques section of the market – mostly odd bits of jewellery and random knick-knacks – and his eye had fallen on a piece of obsidian that gleamed in the sunlight as he looked down at the stall in front of him.

Richard pulled it free from the basket it was in, and nearly bit his tongue when he found that he recognised it.

“How much?” he asked the stall-holder, and she grinned at him.

“Three quid.”

Richard nodded, and pulled a handful of loose change from his trouser pocket, counting out three pound coins into her gloved hand. He tucked the object into a pocket in his windbreaker, and was about to turn away when her other hand reached out and clamped onto his wrist.

“May it bring you pleasant dreams,” she said, dark eyes serious and wise and so very young. He laughed without meaning to, and it was a dark, unpleasant sound.

“Thanks,” Richard shook his head, pulled his arm from her grasp and turned away from Door’s eyes in a stranger’s face. He walked to Notting Hill Gate Tube station, and then onwards to home. Not once did his left hand leave the pocket of his windbreaker, where his fingers curled around the image of the Great Beast that he had once slain with his jeans covered in mud and a hunter’s blood on his hands.

***


That night, Richard stood at his window as usual, and looked down at the expanse of London beneath him, and he held the little statuette in his hands and turned it over and over, his fingers unconsciously learning every detail etched into the stone. When he went to his bedroom, he carefully placed the statue on the bedside table and when he rolled over to turn out the light, the statue was the last thing he saw.

***


He dreamed, and his dreams were terrible and frightening and Richard shivered in his warm bed as the remembered feeling of that dreadful cold stole over him once more in his nightmare.

Then the hand came reaching again, and again Richard felt that spark of hope in some corner of his mind not yet turned to a winter-scape by Lamia’s kiss.

He heard the Marquis’ cracked and raw voice, and he heard the words uttered – words that formed themselves into threats of death and pain and Richard remembered that he had never felt so safe in his entire life. And then colour returned to Richard’s vision, and the part of him still aware that he was dreaming a memory thought how strange it was that he could suddenly see colours.

Richard felt strangely numb, still, but he knew he had asked what was going on, and the Marquis’ voice had reassured him even as the other man had horrified him with his explanation. His life being sucked away…and Richard remembered the feeling of intense embarrassment when his mind ran through every moment spent with Lamia and how obvious it had been, really, how much she had been like the vampires of horror stories.

And the second threat, and the one that had really convinced Richard that, really, the Marquis was probably the only person he could trust in the whole of London Below – and what a ridiculous idea, that he trusted the one person who dealt in games and spoke in riddles and put his entire being into keeping up an impenetrable façade against the world. Richard had no idea how many of the Velvets there were in London Below, but the idea that the Marquis would take them on – all of them – if any of them violated some kind of bizarre restraining order…

And then Richard had woken up, back in his bed in his flat in Little Comden Street, and he had found himself still staring at the miniature Beast on his nightstand as the feeling that he had made the worst mistake of his entire life swept through him.




My fic masterlist is here.


August 2011

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