Work Header

the rough crimson of a rose

Work Text:

Gary is drunk.

He’s drunk, and alcohol does not mix well with his crass ignorance and his pseudo-heroic smugness, as everyone around the table is slowly discovering… except maybe for Jem, whose senses seem dampened by the excess of beer.

You can feel the embarrassed unease of Kieren’s parents, warm and stifling like a plastic tarp around you. They lips purse when Gary gets carried away in his story, miming your brothers and sisters with crude, caricatured gestures, and your teeth clench. It’s only out of consideration for Kieren and his desire for a normal family lunch that you say nothing, that you don’t jump to clasp Gary’s neck between your hands, like you did when you first met…

But Kieren is ahead of you.

He starts talking and you find yourself hypnotized by his words, by his mouth that curves around cutting syllables, by the hard intensity of his brown eyes…

You had felt it in him, of course, the steel of a secret and unbreakable force, the kind of powerful conviction that you didn’t meet often enough in your mission. When you preached to him the fundamentals of your faith, every one of your convincing points hit a wall, found themselves stopped by something that you guessed stronger than simple disagreement... but his words, although heavy and true, remained rare, and you didn’t know…

So when he starts to speak passionately at his parents’ dinner table, you’re caught off-guard.

He expresses himself calmly, at the beginning, his speech a stark contrast with Gary’s earlier rude and rambling reminiscing. Kieren’s words are implacable but poetic, and each one of his parents’ hesitant protests quiets down when faced with the flame of his gaze, with this truth that he brings down like a hammer. They don’t quite dare to cut him off, but you still feel the cold bite of their shame, of a violent and disgusted shock, starkly different from the delicate discomfort Gary made them feel.

Kieren keeps talking.

You didn’t know him like this, passionate, outraged, and his vehemence pulls your soul to him like a harpoon pulls a fish to the fisherman; you feel your whole being sing, transform, melt and reform to make a silhouette that will mold itself to his side, that will kiss every single one of his sharpest edges, and will feed forever from his strength and pride.

Your head is completely silent, and his voice reaches you as if carried by a chorus of angels, vibrant and absolute. Each word resonates in your chest, and you can almost feel your heart beating. What he says sounds like one of your speeches, with the same faith, the same anger, but you know that it’s not him who’s joining you in what you believe in.

No, this is him finding his own truth, the truth, and you’re the one who’s sucked in, pulled into the vortex of him, and the unconditional beauty of who he is.

Of course he is the First Risen. Of course it had to be him, because the First Risen had to be fierce and beautiful, terrible and furious, and Kieren is all that and more…

He burns high and bright next to you, a white fire of righteous, almost divine indignation, and you know you are lost.

Not for the first time, and certainly not for the last, you fall.

Further into the overwhelming, incomprehensible light of Kieren Walker.