Summary: Before he tamed his bit beast and became a champion, life was easy.
Before he met Robert, the winter was warm. Now it's cold. Bitterly cold.
Warning: Hints of yaoi
Hope you like it. ^^
He walks through life with his eyes half open. He sees no spirits in the snowstorm that makes his hair tangled and his nose red from the cold. He hears no whispers in the forest that surrounds his home. No fairies tempt him with visions of their hidden kingdoms. Neither ghosts nor angels appear before him as he stands outside the ruin of the old church behind the hill. He doesn’t go inside. He remembers the nights he lay trembling in his bed, imagining monsters rising from their graves in the cemetary. Now they are just dead people, and he doesn’t need the bedroom door to be ajar to fall alseep.
He still thinks of his childhood as a time filled with magic and wonder. Every old story was like history to him then. He read books about dragons, and would lie outside in the grass all day, looking for them in the sky. But more than anything he loved the family history. His father would sit with him in the library, telling him stories of his ancestors, showing him their places in the gallery and on the family tree. Little Johnny was mightlily proud when he discovered himself on the top of that tree.
When he looks back he always has the feeling that it was warmer then than it is now, global warming be damned. The winter surely wasn’t this bitter when he was ten, when the entire family would go outside on Christmas day and have a huge snowball fight? When he and cousin Charles teamed up against his father and uncle Dean, while Sara and aunt Carla built a snowman.
And the air is colder now. He still gives his mother a kiss when he is leaving for Germany, or Italy, but she doesn’t cling to him as long as she used to do. It feels automatic; like it’s just a role to her, like motherhood is a shawl she wears out of old habit. He has this nagging feeling that it might be his fault.
His father no longer sits with him in the library. He has expectations now, expectations that Johnny doesn’t know how to fulfil, and he is often displeased with his son. Like if he stays at Robert’s for too long, he’ll know it when he comes home. No words are said, but the silence speaks volumes.
He remembers when he was last called into his father’s study. The whole house had been silent, so that even his thoughts seemed to be shouting. The air had been warm and heavy, and dust danced in the sunlight that shone through the windows in the hall.
Fifteen minutes later, he was running back the way he had come. In his mind he ran back in time, before he learned to control Salamalyon and became a champion, before he entered the European tournament, and his father was right; there had never been a fire in his life like the one that consumed him when he battle Robert for the first time.
“We can’t have our bloodline end because of one weak link. Do you understand that, Jonathan?”
Weakness? Is that what it is? This thing that makes his heart thud so painfully in his chest. This thing that makes even the bitter winter beautiful? Yes, it is weakness. They all say that.
He sits by the fireplace, knees drawn up. Here, at last, it is warm. His mobile lies on the carpet where he tossed it, and the screen still shines with the multitude of unanswered messages. Some time soon, Robert will realise that Johnny isn’t going to answer. Some time soon, Robert will realise that Johnny isn’t going to visit him again. He’s not going to be the link that breaks the chain. He will be a knight of the kind that his ancestors were, with shining armour and white horses. And the world will be warm and magical again, and there will be dragons in the sky.