"To Wish Impossible Things"
copyright © 1999, Dominic A. Wilde, all rights reserved

Disclaimer: Amateur effort (as if you couldn't tell), no infringement intended, just for fun. Try to sue me and you'll be immensely disappointed.

Spoilers: Queen of the Damned.
 

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"on candystripe legs the spiderman comes
softly through the shadow of the evening sun
stealing past the windows of the blissfully dead
looking for the victim shivering in bed
searching out fear in the gathering gloom
suddenly! a movement in the corner of the
room! and there is nothing i can do when i
realise with fright that the spiderman is having
me for dinner tonight!

quietly he laughs shaking his head creeps
closer now closer to the foot of the bed and
softer than shadow and quicker than flies his
arms are all around me and his tongue in my
eyes "be still be calm be quiet now my precious
boy don't struggle like that or i will only love
you more for it's much too late to get away or
turn on the light the spiderman is having you
for dinner tonight"
 

"Go now. Start running. I want to see what you do, I want to know what you are."

He would never be able to forget the boyish countenence, which seemed such a contradiction when you knew what you were looking at. And he knew, didn't he? Yes, he knew all too well. Perhaps a small part of himself hadn't believed it up until now...but Daniel knew that he had reached it, at last: the point of no return. It was as if up until now, he had been wandering alone in the dark, and only moments ago, someone had switched the lights on.

God, he hadn't expected them to be so bright!

This had been more than a confirmation. This had come eerily close to being a religious experience.

His hand closed around the gold pocketwatch, and like a blind man he traced the outline of the name with a sort of reverence. Lestat de Lioncourt. Holding it in his hands, he swore he could feel some underlying current of electricity- his fingers vibrated with it.

Yes, real. All of you. Anyone can chase down stories of statues that cry tears of blood, or strange spots on the wall that seem to resemble saints. I'm chasing vampires. The secret pantheon of immortals. These are my gods, the only ones that matter.

He carefully laid the watch back on the bedside table, and cast a quick glance at the clock. 5:43. If he was going to start running, it would have to be soon. But he couldn't seem to bring himself to move- his mind refused to stop replaying the events of the past four days.

The story had been written, for the most part- scribbled hastily on anything that had been handy- as he made his way from San Francisco to New Orleans. The book that it had become was tucked carefully inside his bag- the only one he had bothered to pack. He could remember each word that he had written, even though the trip itself had been hazy- indeed, he seemed to have committed every word that Louis spoke to memory, not even needing to listen to the tapes as he wrote, pen flying across the paper almost as if it were being controlled by some outside force. The story had come through him...and he admitted, secretly, to himself, that those were his favorite moments...the chance to stop the relentless pace of pushing to get to New Orleans...alone, in some nameless hotel room- just him, and the tapes that still held the voice of an immortal. Each night, he relived a part of that story. Letting his imagination place him right *there*, beside Louis, and his doomed child, Claudia.

There was a bone deep sadness underlying all of it, though- the feeling that something extraordinary had touched his life, and he would never know that feeling again. One night- a few short hours- and nothing would ever be the same again.

But that's not what you're afraid of, is it? You're afraid that it *will* be the same. Business as usual.

"No, I won't accept that."

He was suprised by the sound of his own voice, by the quality of it- so thin and ordinary. Mortal. Nothing at all like Louis' voice had been, or Armand's. If he closed his eyes, he could almost see the sounds in three dimensions...so much more real, so much more *there*. Voices that had seen the ages. What had he seen in his ridiculously short span of 20 years? Nothing worth mentioning. Painfully bland childhood, equally bland adolescence. Besides the brief dabbling in political activisim while he had been in college, the truth was painfully obvious: it had been a cookie cutter life so far. Nothing at all to distinguish it as particularly different, or special.

Well, there had been one thing, he reluctantly admitted to himself. The fact that he burned with an inner conviction that there had to be more than *this*. More to this exsistence than living, breeding, and dying.

He had always been aware of some vague sense of longing...for what? He had never been able to put his finger on it. It was just a feeling that left him cold and empty inside, unsatisfied with his meager life. Wanting, always wanting- but not knowing what it was that would make him happy.

He had only come close to putting it into words once- sitting around with the few acquaintences that he had in college...not *friends*, precisely- because he never bothered to take the time to get to know them. He knew the base facts, of course- but beyond that, he cared very little about the personalities. It had been late, and everyone was pleasently mellow from the pot that had been passed around. Daniel felt warm and confident that night, as if he had been standing at the edge of a monumentous precipice of understanding. If he took a few more steps, he would understand everything that had been so viciously eluding him up until this point...

It had been an extraordinary night- so calm and peaceful that the only sound that seemed real was the pounding of your own hearbeat. The shadows had been alive, whispering and hinting...confirming that there was indeed more than what met the human eye. The kind of night that gave you the undeniable feeling that great things were possible, and any mystery could be unlocked if one knew where to search.

Of course, everyone laughed as he tried to put it into words...and truthfully, he couldn't blame them. The scope of this feeling was simply too large to be condensed into sounds and gestures. But then, that was how it always was. Danny, the dimestore philosopher- good for a laugh now and then, but not much else. Too wrapped up in his dreams to come back to earth.

It didn't bother him. It was too horribly depressing to stay focused in what everyone else referred to as reality.

The night that he met Louis for the first time, reality seemed to shift and double in on itself. It ignited the fire that had burned in him since the beginning. The fire that everyone else seemed intent on extinguishing. He knew he had been quite beyond delirious when he had gone running off to New Orleans, with little more than a few dollars in his pocket and the clothes on his back. But it had been a euphoric delirium, the kind that a child would feel on christmas day as they stare in abject wonder at all the brightly wrapped packages sitting under the christmas tree.

He had been determined to find proof, irrefutable proof that the others that Louis spoke of still exsisted, somewhere.

He still clung stubbornly to the belief that Louis had brought him into this for a reason. He refused to concede that it had just been a random twist of fate that drove Louis to tell him his tale. He couldn't accept- no, wouldn't accept that explanation. Not when he had been looking for something like this for the better part of his life.

Setting foot in the house had been like walking into a temple of sorts. So beautiful in it's decay- all rotting wood, peeling wallpaper, and tattered, musty velvet. If he closed his eyes, he could see it perfectly, the way it would have been with the three of them living here. Purposefully, he had turned the tape recorder on- hoping wildly that if the vampire Lestat exsisted, and was anywhere near- he would hear Louis' voice and reveal himself.

It wasn't until the other figure appeared, silhouetted in the doorway- a shadow glowing in the moonlight- that Daniel realized exactly how unprepared he had been for anything more to happen.

Three days and nights, maybe more- he couldn't be sure- spent locked in some cold, dank cellar. For the first time, he had been afraid. Truly afraid. Not of death, because death was too distant and remote, and hadn't really touched him yet. Louis' attack had left him dazed and on fire, but never for an instant did he think he would actually die. He was simply afraid of not seeing this through to it's conclusion. So close to the answers that he had always wanted. To die when he was so close to the understanding that he had always been searching for...

But Armand had come back for him, on the fourth night. Daniel had cried out of sheer relief- begging and pleading silently for the chance to live forever...all of which Armand seemed to find most amusing. Daniel knew that it had been a stupid thing to do, but when faced with the reality of it- with actually finding another- it had been out of his hands.

And now, sitting in the relative safety of his hotel room only hours later, it had all taken on a ethereal, dreamlike quality. His mind was racing so fast that his body didn't have the chance to succumb to the exhaustion that threatened to overwhelm him. No, there was no time for sleep- he had to leave this place. The gauntlet had been thrown down, and he was slowly realizing that he was up to the challenge of accepting it.

He should have been afraid of Armand. And soon enough, when the adrenelin stopped pumping, he would be.

He hadn't expected him to look so young...

The soft *click* of the clock as it registered 6am brought him back to the present, and he looked down at himself in disgust. These clothes were ruined. If he hoped to go *anywhere*, he would need a shower and change of clothing first. None of his other clothes were particularly clean, but anything would be better than what he was wearing.

He found his only bag and pulled out a relatively respectable pair of jeans, and a navy blue sweatshirt. Tossing the bag aside, he made his way into the bathroom.

With the shower running, he stripped off the ruined clothes and dropped them unceremoniously on the floor. He took the time to study his relfection in the mirror as he let the water heat up, staring at himself desperately- looking to see if anything had changed, on the outside.

He brushed the lank, ashen hair back from his forehead, and stared in earnest. But other than the four day growth of stubble and the too-bright, sleep deprived eyes...it was still the same face, looking back at him.

There's still time to call this quits, Danny. Hop a plane, and go home. He'll leave you alone if you walk away from all this.

"Not a chance in hell." He smirked as the words slipped out, suprised at his own determination to see this through, no matter what lay in store for him.

He climbed into the shower, thinking that he would kill for a cup of strong coffee. As he let the steaming water run over him, he tried to think of where to go.....because make no mistake, he was going *somewhere*. He wasn't going to think of how this was going to end. It was too soon to focus on disappointment.

For some reason, his mind locked on Lisbon. Yes, that was it. As soon as he got out of the shower, he would grab his few things.... go to the airport and pray that he had enough money to wrangle a ticket. He had to start keeping better track of those royalty checks.

"Let the games begin, then."

He laughed out loud, finding his penchant for talking to himself almost absurdly silly- but it never failed to make him feel better. The euphoria was beginning to fade, undoubtedly due to the fact that he seemed almost ready to fall asleep on his feet- and it was being replaced by a slow, delicious terror.

Live or die, there would be no going back.

He was listening to the rain as it steadily drummed down onto the roof before he fully realized that he was awake. That's how it was these days, fast asleep or wide awake, no in between. Too much adrenaline pumping through his system to really get a good nights rest anymore...never knowing when or if he was going to see him again. It would take him hours to finally drift off, when he felt safe enough to close his eyes.

Something was digging into his back, and destroying his train of thought. Daniel didn't bother switching on the small bedside lamp- he liked it this way, listening to the rain in the dark. Coupled with the warmth of the room, it gave the impression of being under a blanket. He reached around on the bed until he found what was causing his discomfort: two spiral bound notebooks that he had been scribbling in incesstantly recently, and the reciever of the telephone.

Fingers closed around the smooth black plastic of the reciever, and he stared at it for a long moment before placing it back in the cradle. Looking at it was enough to make him remember what had prompted the early morning call home. The suffocating disconnection- the feeling of free falling into space and time, with no anchor to pull him back to earth. Wanting to be reminded that he had belonged somewhere, once. And so, feeling blissfully mellow and meloncholy from the bourbon, he had called home for the first time in four years.

He hadn't remembered the phone number. Had to call information. Humiliating, that- admitting that you couldn't remember the details of your life. And how helpful she had been, the sweet voiced operator on the other end. It had been so good to hear another human voice- nothing at all like the music of the damned. He felt close to this total stranger, connected to her- because they were, after all, both human beings...and after years of having minimal contact with other members of the human race, he almost felt compelled to apologeticly explain why it was that he had forgotten his parents' phone number.

You see, my dear- it's like this. When you have a demon on your heels, following your every move- sometimes the little details become unimportant. When death itself takes a viable interest in you, one doesn't always have the time to call the folks after Sunday dinner...

He hadn't said such a thing, of course. He did what was expected of him, what any other sane and rational person would do- thanked her politely and hung up.

He had felt a little better after that- amazing what hearing another voice can do for a person when you really stop to think about it. But the disconnection was still there, and he knew that if he didn't reach out for something soon- grab on to what was left of his past- he might never have the chance again.

Listening to the ringing phone, counting the rings...3....4....5....mouth gone dry out of anticipation. He kept swallowing, trying to be ready to say something as soon as he heard a voice at the other end, but the moment that he heard his mothers voice, with it's softly midwestern twang......

"Mom? It's....it's Daniel. I just wanted to call to see how you and Dad were." His hands were shaking, and he gripped the reciever tighter- unconciously willing himself to hang on to it, and not simply hang up.

"Danny? Danny, is that you? How are you? *Where* are you?!?" Strange to hear that name again. Once, he had been Danny, hadn't he? But in these past four years, he had become *Daniel*- Armand would never dream of shortening it, or using a nickname. Too vulgar, too common. Daniel tried to remember just what this *Danny* had been like, but the memories were getting harder and harder to focus on....

"I'm fine, Mom. I'm in southern Italy- I've been here for a month or two, trying to get some writing done. You'd love it here- especially the way that everything looks golden at sunset. Italian sunsets are the best in the world. I've got some pictures to send you and Dad.....I'm sorry that I haven't been in touch. I know it's been a long time." Maybe it was the bourbon, but he could swear that the regret in his voice was genuine.

"You don't sound fine, Danny. You sound tired. You should come home and get some rest. You could astound your father and I with your tales of world travel." Almost as an afterthought, almost as if she knew this conversation wasn't going to be a long one, and she had to get in everything she could before the line went dead..."Thank you for the check, but you don't have to send us money, Danny. Come home. We miss you."

You miss me, and yet I can hardly remember you- or what life was like before the demon god appeared, and turned everything upside down. Now that I know that anything is possible, I can't turn back. I don't want to. But do me a favor- go into the family room and look at the pictures on the wall. Am I still there? Or am I starting to fade? Because I don't feel real anymore.....

"I have to go, Mom. It was good to hear your voice again. We'll talk again, soon."

He put the phone back in the cradle, trying to tell himself that he *would* call again. He would. He had to make himself do this, get back into the routine of living a normal life. Being like everyone else...being part of a family. The glimmer was there, the one that let him know that he could do it, if he pushed hard enough and tried to convince himself that the past four years had been nothing but a dream...or a nightmare, depending on one's point of view.

But...but...

He lay back, satisfied once the offending objects had been removed, and tried to close his eyes again. Waiting for the familiar feeling that he wasn't alone.

But there was nothing- just the rain coming down in a steady sheet, hammering at the roof and pelting the windows. Nothing. No demon god perched at the foot of his bed, watching him while he slept. Of course, he could be out there, somewhere- across the street, watching from another window...

Daniel couldn't stand it a moment longer, he had to know. He jumped out of bed and tore the shutters open, hardly noticing the rain as it splashed his face. Blackness. No one there but a drunk, down in the alley below- carrying on a very one sided conversation with a stray cat.

I am not disappointed.

It had been months now, with not one visitation from his demon familar. No late night demands to call Paris...no games of hide and seek in Switzerland...no philosophical debates in Portugal. Nothing. All of the frantic running, always fearing for his life deep down inside- never knowing if this was going to be the night that Armand chose to end the game, because he had grown either bored or disillusioned...and he had finally done it.

He had won.

Victory wasn't supposed to feel so hollow.

He knew what he should be doing. He should be engrossed in his writing- if he could force himself, he knew that he could have a bestseller on his hands. The market for this kind of thing was phenomenal- who didn't want to read about someone's brush with the supernatural? It might not necessarily be believed, but it would be eaten up by the masses...and if he could get it all out of his system, it would be the first step in the right direction. The most important one.

But what would make this night any different than any other? He would sit for hours in front of the notebook, staring blankly at the empty pages- chewing idly on the cap of the pen as he thought it all over, and about what it all meant. No words would ever make it onto the page- they never did. He would just start thinking about Armand...about the discussions...even the arguments.

What did it matter that this creature might kill him tomorrow? It didn't, not when you found yourself alive and awash in a sea of passion. The passion to fight, to argue, to claw and shred at the facade until you could see the truth glaring back at you in stark reality. To dream again...to look into anothers eyes and know that it was possible to step outside the realms of time, at the mercy of nothing but your own conscience.

Daniel knew that he was dangerously close to tears- just like he had been upon waking up the night before. That was all it took- think of Armand, and how much was lost, and the tears would come. No, not tonight. And it wasn't lost. He would make it easy for Armand to find him. Or die trying. Anything had to be better than this stagnation.

As he left the hotel, he realized that he would have to pick up more bourbon. The empty bottle sat on top of the dresser, looking back at him accusingly. Honestly, he couldn't remember finishing it- and he certainly wasn't drunk. It helped to take the edge off, just a drink or two to try and get him thinking coherently again...

No moon tonight because of the rain, and he found himself trembling on the brink of collapse again. Everything he wanted, and it was all out of reach. He didn't even mind walking through the streets in the rain, letting it soak through the t-shirt and jeans that he wore. Didn't even feel it, although he was sure that if he could, it would be warm. Summer rain was always warm- *that* much he remembered from his life before, from his childhood. The rain ran down his face- running into his eyes- obscuring his vision, but no more than the tears did. He was almost thankful for this little bit of camoflage- one less reason for the few people on the street to stop and stare. Just another american tourist out walking in the rain. Not a desperate, drunken wreck who was openly weeping for no reason that anyone could see.

No moon, no stars- just black sky and silent rain. He was almost glad that he couldn't see the stars....yet another reminder that he was nothing but alive, and they would be there long after he was a pile of dust in his coffin.

He stumbled and fell, landing squarely on the spongy earth- biting his lip hard in the process. He could feel the blood oozing down his chin as it mixed with the rain, and absently he wiped at it with the back of his hand.

Infuriating, all of it. Enough to make him want to scream at the heavens. And he did.

"I'm not running anymore, you bastard! Where are you?"

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