Proof Of Life

Michael Lin stares at him with blank violet eyes, expression equally blank and lost, and it makes Cam want to hurt him. He never shows the slightest hint of emotion: always passive, always yielding, always blankness reflecting nothing back, and it's almost as though he's not alive.

It makes him angry, and when he's angry, he wants to hurt something, be it Michael or whatever has made him this way, and even angrier when he doesn't fight back. He needs to awaken him somehow, he's running out of time and options, and nothing he's tried so far has worked.

Pretty broken doll, and as physically beautiful as he is, he's not at all interesting like this, without a single ounce of fight in him. Cam doesn't understand why people like his type, why it's some fucking cultural ideal somewhere to fuck some pretty passive thing who just lies there. He likes struggle and he likes power, and he likes seeing the weak grow strong enough to destroy their tormentors.

That constant expression of Michael's makes him want to hit him, and Cam almost seriously considers it, just slapping him until he either comes alive or passes out, backhand him. Right across that pale porcelain doll-face, again and again and again, until his skin is livid with bruises and those purple eyes are filled with something other than blankness.

He's sure that Michael wouldn't cry: he isn't sure that Michael even remembers how to cry any more, even backed into a corner terrified. Anger would be lovely, turn those pretty blank eyes into something truly beautiful, something alive for once. Cam liked seeing the thorns in the eyes of Misha Nikaia, the witch-princess inside Michael's skin, who everyone wants awake and he needs awake: but Nikaia isn't interesting either, but could very definitely be if he fought instead of simply dismissing him out of hand.

Cam wants Michael to wake up from his passive, uncertain dreams, whether it was as himself or as the witch-princess and this time, this time, he nearly slaps him: Michael is tiny, he could slap him hard enough to knock him off his feet, to shake him out of sleep, to shatter that shell. It's not the first time he's made someone strong out of someone weak, all his followers were the same way, and none of them had known who they were before he'd helped them. But Michael, little Michael Lin at the heart of this entire mess, is hard, because he's already given up, long before Cam ever got to him, and nothing is working.

Instead, he turns the slap into a caress along Michael's slender jawline, trying to make him react: Michael flinches back, and he can feel the boy tremble but nothing else, his eyes are still stubbornly blank and there's nothing there. Bitterly, he imagines, with the sound of an illusory slap, a blow that he doesn't land despite desperately wanting to, the moment Michael comes alive.

Blood on delicate lips, and leaning in to kiss it away, and small hands trying to push him away: he can taste it on his tongue, sweet and strong, demon's blood but unlike any other. He's beautiful alive and awake and fighting,and the image is clear in his mind. Cam keeps Michael pinned beneath him: the boy fights him the entire time, clawing his back and struggling, futile as it is.

The image shatters like so much glass, faced with weighty reality: Michael sits like he wants to disappear with every breath he takes. He's no closer to awakening, and Cam grits his teeth, angry all over again, and forces his fingers beneath the boy's chin, tilting his face up. Someday, he'll see what lies beneath that blank-eyed stare, prove to him that he's alive. Strength is the proof of being alive, and he'll see Michael alive, even if it ends with him drowning in his own blood: the thought makes him smile, as he grips the boy's chin and forces him to look at him.