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Snippet #1605019

located in The Masquerade Ball, a part of Misguided Ghosts: A Promise, one of the many universes on RPG.

The Masquerade Ball

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He who angers you conquers you; he that would be angry and sin not, must not be angry with anything but sin; never contend with a man who has nothing to lose, for he'll tear you apart; no man can think clearly when his fists are clenched; anger is a killing thing: it kills the man who angers, for each rage leaves him less than he had been before - it takes something from him. It leaves him with nothing.

Those were all sayings and mottoes and half-heard speeches given to Gunnar by his drunken father whilst he rattled him around the living room, smashing things in his wake like a thundering tsunami. Small beating fists were ineffectual when a towering beast was hissing hotly in your direction, snapping out like a viper whenever you tried to flee. He was never quick enough; never. Either way, he'd acquired his fathers' anger and his mother's fierce impatience, he couldn't fathom sitting by while that boiling, tawdry animosity smoldered in his belly. He was a maze full of dead-ends and wrong turns, and he wasn't feeling sorry for cracking his fist across Mike's open jaw. Unforgivably callous, he would hurl stones and curse words and fists if he had the chance. There was only a short open window, and only so many fists that could be thrown between now and the time that the servants intervened.

It was surprising that they hadn't rushed around them. Everyone seemed frozen, gawking. Or else, that's what it seemed like. Gunnar wouldn't have been surprised if the couples continued dancing or snacking on the refreshments strewn out across the tables. There was a knot in his stomach, pulling tighter within his gut. The beats, getting heavier, getting faster with every minute; a pantomime puppet being manipulated by some higher, mightier, and crueler being. White-knuckled fingers were still curled tightly, fingernails digging into his palms. Sure to bleed, sure to cut. It's a sickness, that hate; the dark growth inside him was always festering. Liquid streaming anger spilled over, licking hotly against his neck.

There was no hesitation in his actions. No wondering whether or not this was the right thing to do. No blinking when the battered target pressed his fingers gingerly to his cheek, wondering what he'd done to deserve such foul treatment. His fingers found Mike's collar, pulling him bodily forward. Gunnar's eyes spun like wildfire, sparks and ashes and unflinching. Blood spattered from Mike's mouth, speckling the freshly waxed floor and looking eerily like a homicide scene – and it drove him on, beckoning with wicked subconscious. Like an open wound, nagging and throbbing, swelling and destroying. As soon as Gunnar's hand snapped back behind his head, he stumbled forward, hand still tightly gripping the injured party, as Mike sidled backwards. He was holding him aggressively, opposing hand clenched and edging just behind his hairline; ready to explode into an array of reds.

Immediately, Gunnar wished that Mike would've struck him back. He found it strange that the bushwhacker hadn't automatically flailed out in defence. Instead, he met his eyes and stared at him as if he hadn't understood what this entire situation was about. The injustice – the entire fucking situation – curdled in his stomach. Clearly masochistic and suffering from untreated anger problems, Gunnar was always used to excruciating retribution. This silence, this nonviolent confrontation, didn't feel right. It was always an eye-for-an-eye, right? Sharp, acute breaths stab little holes into his lungs, shortening his breath and catching like tiny fishhooks in his throat. Maybe he was feeling shittier than Mike was. It felt like something both scalding hot and icy cold wrapping around your stomach, and splashes up over his insides, as if unrest is twisting in him into something pathetic. And suddenly he was deflating. His anger was unjust and he felt ridiculous.

β€œFuck you,” Gunnar hissed, his drawling Australian accent audible. Ignoring his sensible question, the curly-haired man's fingers tightened around his crisp collar, drawing him near until his flinty eyes locked onto Mike's – strong, violent, aggressive, promising future agony if he wasn't listening close enough. His next words came out heated and breathy, as if it was taking all his power to resist the urge to pummel him into the ground. To destroy that pretty face and spoil the beautiful masquerade. He didn't care. Every muscle in his panther-tense body wanted to move, to shiver and bounce and snap back all at once, jerking him in several directions for no reason other than to be moving. The stillness was making them ache, sizzle with the kinetic energy that his frenzied emotions were feeding them, no way to release it other than to eat themselves from the middle and deteriorate. β€œDon't touch her, y'hear me? Don't touch her.” It was a threat, more than it was a command. A hiss rather than a hounds' growl.

And there she was. Flaccid fingers turn staunch. And eyes turn from storm to something different, something hard to put your finger on. Building up higher and higher; closer and closer to the surface just ready to burst out at him and engulf him in all the hidden pain and anguish he's inflicted on himself. His ice freezes the water. His spear pierces your heart. Her intentions come out smoothly like water; unable to be parched of wisdom. Heart so pure she only speaks the truth, and he knows that by the end of the night he'll be left empty-handed. What had he expected, anyhow? A sombre expression doused his livid features, though the stray muscle still jumped like a jellybean across his temple and jawline. He'd made a mistake coming here. But that damned letter...

Her small feet carried her across the floors like maddened swan, fluttering her great wings to completely consume him. Teach him the folly of his ways. That was unlikely. Even without words, Gunnar understood her body language and narrowed his eyes, brows' knitting tightly together. They'd been together long enough that words were no longer required, and still, still she made his insides dance in frenetic circles. He wasn't even sure what he wanted to do right now. Suddenly, the roaring creature hunkered in his chest was subdued, gravely deadpan and humourless. An edgy laugh gurgled from his throat, simply because he hadn't planned to see Mischa so soon. Perhaps he'd only come to set things straight, punch someone, and disappear into the night.

No, it was never like that. It wasn't enough.

β€œMischa; him?” Gunnar spat, gesturing wide with his hands. What else could he say? Chills rippled across his arms as he met her stormy gaze. He wanted to tip her chin and kiss her; toxic as it was poisonous. He wanted to draw her up into his arms and carry her away, some place only they knew. These things were impossible.