Two days. He had been gone for just two days, on a job in Torino, Italy and a side trip to Massachusetts. And now his world was falling apart.
Sebastien Boudreaux, better known as Fifolet, was no fool. He was often quite, calm, and calculated, albeit a little oversexed at times. There were those who called him a whore, and he didn’t mind the attention. The thieves, and most of his fellow assassins, probably would’ve laughed if they knew what lay beneath that calm, sexed up exterior. He had been a hippie in his teens, complete with bell bottoms and John Lennon-styled glasses. He had experimented with drugs, and still occasionally smoked a joint or two. He had been with both men and women, but the love of his life was Jovan Neville, known to just about everyone else as Gris.
The two had been together ever since they were nineteen. They had a steady- albeit secret- relationship throughout the years. He was madly in love with the tall, dark voodoo master. Ever since gay marriage had become legal in Massachusetts, he had been planning on proposing and getting married. But that all changed when he got back from his two day trip.
He had seen the emotionally battered Emil Lapin the moment he got home. It took a while, but he finally coaxed the redheaded thief into telling him what was wrong. What the kid told him shattered his heart. All the why’s of the event ran through his mind.
I missed de signs... I did somet’ing wrong... I wasn’ dere enough f’r him...
He sat down at his desk, tears streaking down his face, and wrote a short letter, placing the engagement ring beside it.
"Jovan, I know about what happened with Emil. – Seba."
He then took out his pen knife and sliced his veins open vertically. It would take longer for the blood to clot that way.
He’ll be makin’ his nightly rounds soon... I might get t’see him one las’ time...
He had been orphaned as a child, and raised by his uncle. When Marius died, he had Jovan to love him and care for him. Now that he’d lost Jovan... he had nothing.
It had always bothered Jovan that Sebastien was away so much. Seba was always taking the jobs that required him to be away from home for extended periods of time…jobs that nobody else wanted, to be sure, but that was for a reason. No one liked being away from home. But Seba seemed to enjoy the trips away, and had no idea just how much it hurt his partner.
Jovan wasn’t the kind of person who could really openly say how he felt about things. It wasn’t in his nature. But one thing he had always made clear...to Seba if not anyone else...was that he loved Seba with his heart, body and soul. It ripped him apart every single time Seba went away.
As Jovan went on his rounds that night, all he could think about was the fact that Seba would be home soon and they could be together again. He was hoping to be able to convince his lover to stay home for an extended period of time for once and spend time with him. Visions of a possible trip to Massachusetts floated through his imagination almost constantly.
He noticed the note and the engagement ring before anything else, and his heart sank to his stomach. He had not thought Emil would talk about what had happened, but apparently he had. And Jovan knew in that moment that he had ruined everything. All his dreams disappeared from his mind in a puff of smoke.
I didn’ do it to cheat...I did it b’cause dat brat needed to be taught a lesson...an’ b’cause it was our anniversary dammit an’ he was gone! He went to Seba’s room immediately, the note and ring in his hand. He opened the door and stopped in his tracks, his already fragile heart shattering.
The weakened Sebastien looked up, seeing the man he loved there in the room.
He soon felt himself being lifted into those strong arms, blood still flowing down his arms. He started murmuring, half-conscious.
"I’m sorry I wasn’ here f’r our anniversary... I’m sorry dat I wasn’ here so much... I jus’ liked t’travel... t’see de places we could go once I saved up enough money... wanted t’get a lil’ place in Italy wit’ you."
He paused to take a breath.
"Always hated Nawlins... only t’ing good ’bout it was dat you were here... I love you so much... an’ at leas’ I get t’spend a couple more minutes wit’ you..."
He was starting to black out, and asked only one thing.
Jovan worked quickly. He ripped the hell out of his shirt and tied the parts around Seba’s injuries, while mentally chanting every voodoo healing spell he could think of, praying it would work.
"Why? He needed to be taught a lesson...although I admit I went ‘bout it de wrong way an’ I’m sorry for dat...but also b’cause it was our anniversary an’ you weren’ here...you’re never here...an’ I get lonely. I hate it when you go ‘way. Everythin’ loses its appeal, includin’ life. I don’ see de point to anythin’ if you ain’ here..."
He continued working his voodoo magic on Seba, desperately trying to save him. He would not be able to survive if Sebastien died. His very being was tied up in the other man’s life and if that life was gone...
"I’m sorry...I’m so sorry...I love you so much...please don’ die..."
Fifolet’s world went black after that.
When he woke up, he was lying on his bed, something poking his sides. When he looked over, he saw a short, blond teenage girl. It was Danielle, who had been adopted by the thieves, Genard in particular. He groaned when she poked him in the side again.
"It’s alive!" she cried out.
"Hey D," Sebastien croaked.
She wasn’t the only one in the room. Bella Donna, Questa, Singer, Genard, and Theoren were there. And right by his bedside was Jovan, nervously watching over him.
"Why’d you slice your wrists the right way?" D had an unnerving habit of being brutally honest and open about these things. The girl had scars from her own suicide attempts. She also had a very Lapin-like habit of not being able to shut up.
"It’s a long story, petite," he replied, looking at everyone.
"Well do you care to share it?" Bella Donna asked.
Seba groaned. "Do I have to right now?"
"Yes." D said promptly.
"Okay..." Seba sighed. "I did it de right way b’cause I wanted to die. I t’ought I had lost de mos’ important t’ing in de world an’ I didn’ wan’ live anymore."
D blinked. "You call that a long story? I don’t."
Jovan decided to say it for him. "Seba an’ I have...well...we’re bot’ bisexual an’...we..." He still had a hard time saying it. In fact, he couldn’t say it. But judging from the looks on everybody’s faces, they got the drift.
"Why de heck didn’ you tell anyone?!" Theoren demanded. "Dere ain’ nothin’ wrong wit’ it."
Seba shrugged. "B’cause when we got together...dere was. We woulda been killed for our sexuality…an’ doubly for bein’ together. It was a secret...ever since we were nineteen..."
"Wow..." Genard said softly. "An’ dat wasn’ yesterday."
Jovan chuckled. "Non, it wasn’."
"So...what happened?" D asked. She knew there was more to it than just that and was determined to get to the bottom of it.
A deep sigh escaped from Jovan’s lips. "I did somethin’ I shouldn’ have done...mos’ of you prob’ly know what...an’ when he found out..." He gestured to the injuries.
It was obvious to all of them that Jovan truly regretted his actions towards Emil. He especially regretted how his actions affected Seba. If he could have taken back what he did, he would have in a heartbeat. They all saw that in his expression, and heard it in his voice.
It was going to take a long time for Seba to get over what happened…if he ever did. Jovan didn’t feel like he deserved forgiveness...didn’t think he deserved Seba’s love anymore. He had ruined everything. He was a failure.
That night he waited until Seba was asleep, and then he curled up on the floor beside Seba’s bed and cried.
He wasn’t really asleep. He heard Jovan crying, and that hurt him more than anything, even how Jovan had dealt with Emil. He regretted how he had dealt with the news. It would take him a long time to heal, but when he did, there was something he was going to have to say to Jovan.
The weeks passed quickly, and finally he was strong enough to leave the bed. Jovan remained faithfully by his side, and every night he heard his lover cry himself to sleep. It took a heavy toll on him. Finally, he spoke up.
"Jovan... I’ve listened t’you cry y’rself t’sleep ev’ry night since dis happened. It’s made me realize dat I really overreacted. Let’s face it. We’re not perfect. Sometimes we do stupid t’ings dat we don’ t’ink t’rough. We’re only human. I don’ wan’ you t’be perfect, Jovan. I jus’ wan’ you t’be you, wit’ all y’r flaws. I love you, an’ I wan’ t’marry you. Dat’s somet’ing dat c’n never change. So, you already got de ring. Will you marry me?"
Jovan blinked in shock. He had never hoped in his wildest dreams that Seba could still possibly love him after his horrible mistake. To hear him asking that question…it blew his mind. But he didn’t have to think about his answer. In fact, he didn’t hesitate for even one second.
Seba smiled, his eyes shining with love. That look was matched in Jovan’s eyes. It was a defining moment in their relationship. Seba then kissed him...a kiss so filled with love and devotion that it made Jovan’s heart pound in his chest as he returned it. He always felt his best when he was with Seba, and now was no exception.
The kiss was broken by one of them…they weren’t sure which…after a moment, and Jovan smiled.
"We should arrange a fam’ly trip to Boston..."
"Oui, an’ maybe... maybe after we get married, we c’n adopt.” He always wanted to raise a child.
"Dat sounds perfect."
"Oh an’ Jovan?"
"Please don’ make me wear a dress."
Exactly two weeks later, the entire unified guild was in Boston. They weren’t going to be there very long, just a couple of days. Long enough to witness the marriage of their friends.
They picked a small, quaint church in the heart of Boston...Catholic because the members of both guilds were raised Catholic whether they were still true to the faith or not. The elegant church was perfect for the small wedding. Neither Seba nor Jovan wanted anything extravagant. And since this was their day, they were getting what they wanted.
Both men were dressed in crisp black tuxedos…they looked like they belonged on top of their own wedding cake. The ceremony, watched by their family and friends, was simple and meaningful…and when the time came for them to kiss, they did so, happy and trying not to laugh at the whistles from their witnesses.
Jovan broke the kiss and whispered, so no one could hear him but Seba,
"I know." Seba whispered back with a grin. "I love you."
"I love you, too."
That night, while their family went back to Boston, the newlyweds went on their honeymoon…to Italy. It was by far the most romantic thing they had ever done in their lives and they pulled out all the stops, even getting the honeymoon suite in the most beautiful hotel in all of Rome.
As they stood on the balcony of their hotel room, looking out at the city, arms wrapped around each other, Jovan whispered,
"Dis is absolutely perfect."
"Oui," he replied, sinking against him. "An’ I wouldn’ change a t’ing."