The Presence of the Past
Summary: Anita is away from home on a business trip and Jean-Claude is left on his own. Trouble abounds when a figure from his past makes an appearance in St. Louis. Can Jean-Claude survive this unexpected and unwanted visit or will he drown in the sorrows of his history as the past transforms into the present?
Disclaimer: I don’t own anything but the story plot. Everything else, recognized characters, situations, and places, are copyrighted to Laurell K. Hamilton and I am using it only for personal writing enrichment and educational purposes as well as to entertain. This is a tribute of sorts to Mrs. Hamilton’s work. I am not receiving payment for this.
Author’s Note: I keep having a dream with this plot in mind. JC is my second favorite Anita Blake character, after Edward. I wanted to do something specifically for him and involving his mysterious past. There will be spoilers up to and including Danse Macabre. However, most of the minor characters in Incubus and Danse won’t be mentioned. There will at least be references to rape and heavy violence. This is not a happy fic.
All the foreign languages found in this story are from babelfish and if there is something wrong please tell me because I don’t want to offend someone over something like their language.
I encourage feedback of all kinds as long as it is constructive in some way. Tell me what’s right, tell me what’s wrong, tell me if you think this story is a lost cause. Thank you!
Now on to the story!
The Presence of the Past
France, In the Year of Our Lord, 1431 Anno Domini:
Cries echoed along the courtyard; screams of unrelenting pain. They tumble from my lips without pauses in between as if they were racing to be released from my pain racked body. The expulsions of sound were interspersed with a strong forceful voice, “One…Two…Three…” My shoulders ached from my arms being stretched between the pillars of the stable situated at the right of the worker’s square. Scorching fire danced along my back and licked the sides of my ribs. The pain ran down to my bared backside and skated across my thighs. This was only the fifth stroke. Fifth of twenty to come.
I was fortunate really. During the fall and winter season I lived in one of the largest mansions in Paris and during the summer I was taken to the Duke’s country estate to escape the inevitable stench of the poor lying in the streets of Paris. I was fed daily and plentifully. I learned science, history, Greek, Latin anything and everything a scholar could want to learn. I was taught fencing, dance and the proper way to hold my fork while eating. And of course I was best friends with the Duc d’Lionrepos’ one and only heir. But fortune was a devious mistress and she made sure I paid for her good humor with even more frequent glimpses of her frowns.
The tenth score lashed my back and I screamed once more. Blood had begun pouring during the seventh strike. I would have even more scars now.
Only a few years before I would not have understood why I was still being beaten nearly once a week. Surely Philippe had learned to stay quiet in his history lessons, or to leave the house stallions alone during their mating season and to absolutely never touch the Duc d’Lionrepos’ diamond and ruby encrusted rapier gifted to him from the King of France himself. Maybe he just didn’t understand that those things were wrong and his friend would be punished for it?
But then I remembered the gleam in his eyes as he grabbed the hilt of the Épée de Victoire from the library mantle and pulled me with him to duel with him in the gardens with my own plain rapier only a scant two hours before. He knew what he was doing and perhaps he always had since we were six and I had had my first lashing for Philippe smearing his new tunic with dessert.
I was fourteen when I finally began to realize that Philippe was not my friend and never had been. He was an enemy I could never think to fight let alone win against. He was the Duc’s son and I was the peasant gutter rat plucked from the filth of my parent’s home. It did not matter how cleanly I washed up, how silkily my hair gleamed or my skin glowed. I would always carry the stain of being a commoner and Philippe would always torment me with his misdeeds and I would be ever obedient to my masters.
My eyes began to mist over. It was almost finished. The word “Eighteen” rang out clearly and I could feel myself loosing consciousness more from the anticipation of my punishment’s end than the pain I was feeling. Before feinting my head flopped to the side and my eyes caught Philippe’s. They shined as if seeing heaven in his grasp and his lips curled at the ends to form the slightest smile. My closest friend indeed…
AN: What do you think? Keep it? Scrap it? Rip it from my hard drive and pulverize it in my garbage disposal? Later chapters will be much longer, this is just an intro.
I had originally started this without the Prologue you see here. Then I decided to make this to set the atmosphere of the plot. Sorry if it’s depressing. I spent some time coming up with the Duc’s name. It means the Duke of Lion’s Rest. I found a website that explains French name structure. Usually the name involves the nobleman’s holdings or property but I decided on making this Duc a landless Lord who came to power by the King’s favor for valiant deeds during the Crusades, the Third one that occurred from 1189-1192 A.D. He acquired land through his deeds and named it Lion’s Rest. This also allows me to keep from having to impose on any factual person’s holdings. If I’m butchering history, tell me. I will attempt to fix it as best I can.
The date is so old because in Danse Macabre, Jean-Claude makes a reference that says he is nearly Six hundred years dead. Which I didn’t know. Maybe in was Laurell K’s typo or blurp or not, either way I decided to go for it.