Alexander awoke from his dreamless slumber with a groan. His body ached from the sweet excursions of the night before. Cradled in his arms was Daniel. The young man was nestled to his bosom like an infant. His usually harsh face one of peace and satisfaction. Alexander found himself wanting to keep the boy, to spirit him away to his beautiful homeworld. Such a delicate flower should belong with him and him alone. Alexander nuzzled the chestnut hair with his beak, cooing softly into his ear. Daniel hummed and opened his hazel eyes to his new lord. Instead of shrieking in fright, the English man embraced the wrinkled muzzle. His nimble fingers intertwining with the baron's silky white hair. The Englishman ran his hand along the vibrant dewlap, giving it a playful tickle.
"Goodness, my body aches from last night. Your strength is truly something to be feared and respected in equal measure my lord." He lay back onto the baron’s lap, absentmindedly stroking the boney ovi-sheath.
Alexander simply nodded absentmindedly. All he could focus on was enrapturing eyes boring into his empty soul. The boy was tainted by the Shadow's cruel hand. How could he give Daniel so much, only turn around and sacrifice him to the jaws of death? Was this how things would have to end, with the Englishman bleeding and cursing his name. The mere thought made the baron lash his tail in frustration and despair. That was when his vision alighted on the amnesia potion. He then turned back to the smiling young man in his arms.
"Is everything alright Alexander? You look troubled." Daniel stroked his chipped beak soothingly. Alexander simply stared at him silently. The beast caressed the delicate body to his ribbed chest, hiding Daniel's vision from seeing the Damascus Rose tonic.
"Forgive me, my friend. I have no choice but to do this to you." Alexander tightened his grip on the archaeologist as he snaked his tail around the tonic.
"W-what are you doing Alexander? Did I do something wrong?" His tenor voice growing increasingly panicked.
"I can't let you remember any of this Daniel. Last night was merely a brief fantasy in a horrible tragedy. I'm sorry but I can't even bear to look upon you, not with the knowledge I carry."
"I-I don't understand Alexander? Why won't you let me cherish these sweet memories? I thought you wanted to abscond me of my sins, not bury them under sweet lies?" Daniel looked at him pleadingly, not wanting to believe what he was hearing. Alexander held the amnesia tonic up and the young man realized he was deathly serious. Those damned hazel eyes bore into Alexander’s conscience once more, their pleading gaze searing his empty soul. Daniel started to tremble with rage and grief.
"No, no you can't do this to me Alexander! I'm begging you to not erase my memories. I am not a lowly prisoner who you can torment and cast aside damnit!" He started to kick and punch at the infallible hide, his strikes only delaying the inevitable.
"I know what I am doing may seem selfish to you Daniel, but it is the only way."
"Selfish? This is bloody selfish Alexander! You cowardly worm, you foul dissenter! Your words are toxic bile and besmirch the holy book!” Daniel was now mad with rage, his unbridled wrath now fully on display. Alexander backhanded the mortal, drawing crimson blood.
"Cease your insults child of man! I don't wish to kill you with my own hands. The Guardian shall come for you one way or another. I can do little to stop its might. If you just drink this small dose of amnesia tonic, you will have a chance at redemption. In this state, I cannot trust you to make rational choices. Now, consume this sweet beverage and forget our love. Do it for both our sakes Daniel! With our lustful urges behind us, we can complete the ritual by tomorrow at sundown." The Englishman stopped his pitiful writhing and started to weep. The baron grabbed the nape of his neck and pulled his head back.
"How could you... I trusted you."
"Hush now, I know this hurts my friend. The pain will be gone once you awaken." Alexander poured the tonic down the boy's throat, careful not to aspirate hysterical man. Daniel's choked sobs waned and his body started to go limp in his strong arms. The baron nuzzled the tear-streaked face one last time as his friend fell into a deep sleep.
"Please find it in you to forgive me, my love. This was not in vain I assure you." With a sorrowful howl, Alexander cradled the body to his bosom. Deep down he knew himself to be a deceitful worm and a selfish fiend. The baron looked down at the limp body, knowing that soon it would cease to carry life within it. He truly wished he could salvage the young man's soul, but it was beyond saving. Daniel never would understand that. He was far too selfish to do anything but break other's hearts like autumn tinder; Alexander was sure of that fact. The baron had at least partially doomed his friend to an afterlife of eternal torment. Such was the sacrifice of returning home. As much as it pained him, Daniel would have to meet his sordid fate alone.