At Fang's Point by Sandyg

Story notes: After months this is finally finished. Boy, am I happy! And I narrowed the age difference between Orlando and Viggo to only 12 years. I needed that little AU touch.

The POV switches between 1st person Viggo and Orlando. Little experiment for me. More main characters will be introduced: Elijah Wood, Johnny Depp, Eric Bana, Rutger Hauer, Sean Bean; so forth and so on. Lots of little guest roles too.

Warning: There's going to be consensual incest between cousins.

The pub's walls oozed pale moisture from the ghostly, wound-like cracks scattered across its ancient facade. A few shuffling gray forms lurked outside, their low mocking comments striking me as I slowly opened the filthy door. Yes, on this bitterly damp night I tried one last time, making one last attempt to see if this unfamiliar world's cruel dredges offered me any hope. I punished myself until the foggy air I breathed accused me in mockingly acidic tones. I didn't know if my search provided reassurance or hope... at times I wondered why I still obsessively picked through London's spectacular squalor. I fought against those dark times and pushed on, constantly searching for... a dream? A bitter memory? A specter?

Upon entering this decrepit tomb I cautiously glanced at the burly, black-haired barkeep. This would prove another useless mission yet I promised myself once back at the hotel I'd receive a generous reward: a large brandy or two... or three...

The swarthy young barkeep presented me the classically sullen stare. An impressive mental collection of such abrasive stares already existed deep in my soul. His ugly look made a fine addition to the rancid pile. Other inhabitants glanced my way, stared blankly then returned to their respective poisons.

In my haste I ignored the required small talk. My exhaustion defeated the trivial effort. "Have you seen this man?" As I spoke I offered the barkeep my sacred talisman, a tattered photo taken in a saner life. "He was sighted in this area some time ago." While the ruffian peered at the photo a despairing sigh invaded my mind. This morose hole echoed every other filthy pub in this exquisitely decayed area, built on hopelessness, spilled drink and certain death. I didn't belong here.

Neither did my lovely Orlando.

The swarthy man scratched his flaking chin. In another world he might have been almost handsome, yet here he merely blended into the suffocating rot. "I don't rightly know, sir, we get many a lost soul in 'ere, if ye know what I mean... "

There it was, the same leering, subservient grin laced with supreme contempt. His narrowed eyes examined my expensive garb; I swore I heard him calculating how much my suit would fetch in the rag market. I wondered what price my fresh corpse would fetch at a medical school? Damn, before continuing my mission I must visit a street market and purchase worn clothing. Time to stop making myself a fool in my eagerness to begin my search, not thinking ahead to the dire consequences. I looked rich and hence I must be hated. A simple, dreadful truth which I completely understood.

Enough. In answer to my new tormentor's dismissive grin my forbidding stare sharpened. Years of dealing with servants crafted my regal stare. If need be I humbled people with it. My stare is nothing I admire myself for; it's a completely inbred trait, much like insanity. In response to my sudden harsh stare the cretin whined and abruptly dropped his defiant glare to the filth-encrusted bartop. "Well, like I said, ye know so many come in 'ere not wantin' to be seen... 'e might 'ave been in 'ere but, well."

Ah, now comes the subtle bargaining. I understood this part all too well. "Maybe this will help you remember," I breathed coldly. A few coins clattered against the bartop's stained wood. How many times had I resorted to bribery over these past years? Ahh, what did it matter? I possessed enough funding to waste on this possibly useless pursuit.

The coins barely hit the scarred wood before the barkeep claimed them. I briefly wondered how many pockets had given up their meager wealth to those quick young claws. This time a fawning smile graced my bought friend's coarse lips. His fingers tugged at the photo's fraying edges. I released the image with reluctant slowness, allowing the man to bring the beloved face up to his bleary eyes. Earnest squinting occupied seconds until the filthy hand delivered the flattened memory back into my conspicuously clean grip. That's something else I must remember; make my smooth, upper class banker's hands as foul as possible.

"No sir, I never seen 'im. Although he looks a little bit like ye. Yer both 'ave 'igh cheekbones."

I bit back bitter words before they filled the stifling air. How clever the barkeep was to notice such an minor detail! I murdered my frustration and managed a calm reply. "Yes, he's my cousin... Orlando Bloom. He's been missing for a few years but now he's been seen in London. I'll check back later. If you see him I'm sure you'll remember his face. He's, well, noticeable. Oh, and there's a extra reward for finding out where he lives."

What might pass for an intelligent expression sharpened the man's grimy countenance. "Well then, my fine sir, I'll keep me eyes peeled as potatoes!"

"I'm sure you will." As peeled as that rotted potato you call your brain cruelly tripped through my bitter mind. Some strange part in me, the part that found anthropology fascinating in college, now wanted to ask how could human beings could sink so low? This decrepit creature contained my same basic genetic make-up but what went so miserably wrong? This cloying area contained similar dismal creatures and I couldn't accept them as my human kin. The rich banker within me screamed get the hell of here before someone killed me due to my well-bred looks. Yes, I recently read the Dutch reporter Jacob Riis' book on New York city slums, and read Thomas Henry Huxley's words on these very London slums but the words never prepared me for the appalling reality. Never. Words could never truly expose humanity's desperate rot.

Of course when in New York City I avoided these dangerous areas. Instead I contributed to the proper social charities. Here I had no choice. My London search drove me straight into the teeming filth. Ha, once I thought myself open-minded but lately my travels proved me quite wrong. I hated, God, I totally detested the ignorance. I hated these miserable people with an instinctive ease, yes, I loathed everything they represented. No wonder they hated me with equal ease. In their needy eyes I was a repulsive, wealthy monster. Were they wrong to hate me? Of course not.

Darkness' advent inflated escaping to my civilized hotel. Quick steps across filthy cobbles strewn with unimaginable rotted scraps carried me to the more civilized street where my carriage and hired driver anxiously awaited my return. "Mr. Mortensen, at last! I was worried about ye, sir! 'Tis almost dark and no one of good breeding should be around this area after dark. It's bad enough you're here in the light," scolded Ian, my elderly coachman.

"I lost track, Ian... I lost track of the time," I murmured. Damn, if only I could loose track of everything.

Once I rested safely against the cushioned seat a frustrated sigh tore free. "Four years, damn you, four years of chasing! Where the hell are you?" I whispered to the dark night, my eyes morosely gazing at the desperate scenery crawling past the carriage's narrow windows. "Where the hell are you?"

The stately old hotel's appearance jarred me from my despondent reverie. The servile bell cap and staff proved as annoying as the crooked young barkeep for the opposite reason. Since I wanted refuge in my expensive room I rebuffed the bell captain's bowing overtures with a rudeness that would normally appall my over-bred senses. No, fine breeding didn't enter this grim picture.

Wait. A grimace twisted my lips. Before I mounted the stairs I realized I needed their fawning services. After offering the bell captain a tight smile I requested a simple meal be brought to my room as soon as possible. He bowed in his overwhelming gratitude to serve their wealthy American guest, yes sir, thank you sir. Yes, their rich guest wanted solid British food in his uneasy stomach before he succumbed to his dreamy brandy.

Once secured behind the ornate oak door I stretched out with my promised massive brandy. I offered my glass a flawed grin and downed a healthy gulp, welcoming the liquid's stinging song. Over the past few months its seductive song had become much too welcome. After another sip I mockingly saluted the beautiful, dark-maned vision taunting my soul. "Perhaps if I drink enough I'll see you again, eh?" I breathed. Brandy number two danced its way into my glass with alarming ease.

After brandy number two I paced back and forth across the suite, an activity that helped my tortured mind review the past week's fruitlessness. The mere thought of returning into the Whitechapel morass filled me with dread, yet the grim task must be done. I knew Orlando hid there: I knew my cousin lived somewhere in that teeming mass of decadence and poverty. What truly bothered me was why did Orlando remain there? Why would Orlando, a gently-bred, spoiled heir, hide in London's dangerous slums? Of course Orlando had lived with my Aunt Ada and Uncle Emerson in London until he was six but still, my Uncle Emerson's post as head archeologist for the British Museum let them live in wealth. Once he moved in with my family after his parent's tragic death Orlando grew up in supreme luxury. He adored being a rich boy. I of all people knew my lover was a sensual, coddled, naturally regal brat.

More importantly, why would my Orlando hide from me? What truly happened to my beloved cousin? We loved each other... at least I still hoped that to be true. Yet I felt it, yes, I still felt my wild Orlando's enduring love. I didn't understand how I felt the gentle emotion but I did.

These questions burned through my mind as effortlessly as the brandy burned down my throat. After the letters ceased coming from Turkey the first two years consisted of searching and listening to the endless reports of private detectives as they combed Turkey for any small clue. God, why hadn't I gone there and hauled Orlando back home while I had the chance? You knew the answer, you cruel idiot; you still blamed Orlando for so much.

Now I also blamed myself for being a callous fool.

Bah. Yes, I waited until after Orlando vanished to foolishly visit Turkey. When I arrogantly ignored the advice to stick to civilization during the vicious Turkish night I was set upon by bandits on a remote country road. That violent phase of my search landed me in British military hospital, downed with a broken arm and a nearly shattered skull. Oh, how I hated that brutal country for swallowing my dear lover and nearly taking my own life.

After Orlando accessed our one secret joint bank account I knew he sent me a signal and I finally traced him to Paris. Now these last two years of nothing but scattered "perhaps" and vague sightings tossed my last hopes into despair's cruel maw. This time Orlando had been sighted in London, sighted where the Ripper performed his ghastly work only a few years ago. I traveled to see for myself, trusting London a little more than Turkey. Not much more, but at least I spoke the language in those slum pubs.

I should expect this bitter treatment from Orlando, the selfish brat. What more should I expect from the adventuresome witch who seduced me when he was only 18 and I a ripe old 30? Now years later I scrambled on my damnable chase around the world. I realized I slowly lost any stable perspective about the chase since my intense loss and love drove me on. Yes, my love and loss combined with the guilty memory of our last night, after... damn, no, Viggo, there's no time to remember such sad details now.

I contemplated the caressing brandy once more. Just another two glasses would surely produce the desired effects: a blessed numbness that became more and more necessary for sleep. Nothing else made sense so why not give in to my illogical need? I possessed few vices; in my mind a wicked temper and an increasing dependence on brandy headed the list. I am sure others regarded being in love with my male cousin as a shade more serious vice. Instead I accepted my consuming love. A subtle kink in my well-bred world allowed such a forbidden love to exist.

A drunken snicker parted my slack lips. Hell, it's not as if I turned into my drunken Father. No, dear Father wouldn't look for his shoes let alone search for a disgraced cousin for four years but when in a foul mood my aging Father would drink enough brandy to paralyze an elephant. I am sure his mood proved fouler these days, it fueled by my lengthy absence. Yes, if I kept this search up for too much longer Father would order me back to New York, he demanding my return to my tedious vice-president's position at the family banking empire. Only my dear Mother kept furious Father from disowning me. Poor Mother; I think she sensed something between Orlando and myself that she couldn't comprehend due to her gentle breeding but in her heart she knew I must be left alone to search. She knew. The rest of the family thought I was mad... if they only knew the real truth. If they only knew why I searched for the man who instilled a lustful disease into my heart and soul. I know Father suspected my relationship with Orlando but he would never admit the stark truth. Never. Ha, admit his stable eldest son loved another man let alone his own young, renegade cousin? No, he'd rather kill me. Poor strict Father would prefer that had I died back that British military hospital.

Damn, a new tension headache sought admittance into my crowded head. These moments occurred frequently after that damaging blow against my skull's base.

A subtle knock sounded on the door, jarring me from my tangled thoughts. I admitted the discreet waiter into my room. He served my food and after eating mechanically I grasped the brandy decanter and headed for the luxurious bedroom and blessed oblivion. Trouble was I never dreamed anymore. Being parted from my Orlando had killed my dreams.
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