The Last Dance 

By Greywolfe 
Story Copyright (C) By: Greywolfe
 1998 - All rights reserved.

Story not to be reprinted, or redistributed, 
without author's Permission.

If you wish to use the stories, or 
anything copyright by me, please e-mail me.
I'll also forward any mail to the author.

  [title:the last dance [version 1.01/bastardized]]
[date:1 july 1998]
[bastardization date:22 august 1998]
                                - I -
it's the thirteenth century.
the young priest stands with his back to the congregation, swimming
in a sea of doubt, his heavy robes lying on his shoulders like the
weight of the world, but still all he can see is the big man in front
of him, holding up the chalice and the man is there, blessing the
wine and the old man is still there. he stares into this man's eyes,
willing him to be away, but he won't leave.  now the scent of the
woods touches his over-sensitive nose. he's standing on pine needles,
while the lion looks down at him...the colours are strangely muted,
as if his eyes no longer work, but his nose...he can *smell* the
hunger on the lion's breath, it's tangible, just like the forest
beneath his paws and matthew reaches under the covers of his boy's
bed, tracing the line of his leg, feeling the hair there...this young
man who has come half-way around the world to spend two weeks with
him has been meek, gentle, like a sheep, or like a dog, and though he
understands why the boy has adopted both of those positions, he also
knows that they are not inherent to him. he's been beaten into
submission and it is time to teach his son to take the power back, to
fight those painful memories.
                               - ii -
in the church, pandemonium has broken loose. he's flung the chalice
across the altar, but the old man doesn't care, he merely stares at
the priest, almost fascinated.  then the visions arrive and remind
the priest...lying in the older man's arms, feeling his warmth and
protection around him - like a talisman, like a father, but now he's
paying for both of those feelings with his soul.
"I am a man of the cloth, goddamnit, not a whore!"
the silence is absolute, all eyes are now upon the young man as he
crumples to the ground and puts his hands over his eyes.  he whines
under his breath as he sees the lion snarl. as best he knows how he
submits, willing the lion not to pounce, willing those powerful
jaws to let him be. he's so tired of running...
and yet the pounce comes - all of his gestures are overlooked in that
one graceful arc from rock to pine. now the older man places his hand
on the little thigh of his boy, watching over him, knowing what he's
dreaming now.  he sighs as he looks around and sees the little man's
clutter, the unix books, the socks and shoes at the end of the bed.
he's fairly neat while awake, but when he's asleep he's messy. but
that can be forgiven, though he knows that this is an external
mirroring of how the boy feels on the inside. one side neat,
meticulous, the other side broken...everything can be forgiven.  the
boy just needs time.
                               - iii -
the men of the cloth rush to him, some blessing him and some
comforting him, but they *all* have the alarmed look on their faces.
after today he will be released from this church - his church, where
he'd been trying to put things right for the faithful for once.  to
be a priest, you have to serve, but service is so hard with the devil
looking down at him; that man with his father's warmth and his
mother's touches.  he curls up like a cocoon, lying there at the
altar reciting the lord's prayer as he tenses, coils, springs
backwards.  the hunt is on.  he can feel the lion behind him as a
tangible force. the wolf-paws start to run, instinctively, and now
he's flying. the trees of the forest pass by him, merely blurs.  he
doesn't know if there's a goddess of the wolves, but he prays,
earnestly to her and the god of the hunt, that they may consort and
conspire to set him free.  all he wanted was some food in this
desolate place - winter is coming - all he wanted was food, but now
the young man in the bed is stirring, so the older man takes his hand
off of the little thigh. he kneels down, next to the bed and runs his
*big* hand through the soft, brown hair...he sees the small face of
his son from the light in the passage.  feels the little breaths
against his skin.  he looks down, at the young man's wide open hands.
when he's awake his hands are fists, but just like this he's open, a
receiver, and this man, his 'father' wants to give him love. 
wants him to receive.
                               - iv -
the devil comes, walking down the aisle.  'he's coming for my soul,'
the young priest thinks.  'he's taken my body, now he's come for my
the smell of sulphur from the burning candles fills his nose, but
sulphur is the smell of this monarch's kingdom?  isn't it? the terror
grows inside of him as his fellow-priests part to let the man with
the silver/black hair and intense brown eyes take his hand.
"wh-where...a-are you ta-taking me?"  he stammers through his tears.
'I have no choice. go to...hell,' he thinks.
but the devil's deep, husky voice answers, simply, "away". then the
elaboration that explains nothing... "you don't belong here."
with those words he follows in the large man's wake, running from
tree to tree, he can feel night coming more than he can see it. owls,
crickets, night noises assault his ears, but the rustling of the
leaves as the lion parts them is by far the loudest sound for him.
his wolf-body knows that it won't have the strength to carry on
running forever and then the hunt will be over.  panicky now, he
realises that the goddess isn't hearing him. he growls, then whines,
then howls his frustration, but that takes breath and breath is
something he has to conserve.  in his bed the young man wakes up.
his eyes looking straight up, he sees the face of his dreams, the
devil...but this man can't be the devil...this is his daddy.  the man
who has taken charge of him and his life...
                                - v -
'Jesus save me.'  the young priest makes the sign of the cross, but
he's pretty sure that it's not going to work here. they've been
walking through the forest for a while now, until, finally, there's a
clearing in the pine-forest.  there, in front of him stands a
cottage,'s a place he knows well.  here is the bed
of leaves where his 'father' shared autumn with him, here's...his
heart breaks.
"I知 going to release you," the husky voice says.  "I understand your
doubt.  I understand how you feel.  I知 here to protect you."
"I知 afraid," the priest whispers.  "I知..." and then there are more
"you can only conquer your fears if you face them."
"how do I deal with the devil at my side?"
"is that what I am to you?"
"I..." there's hurt in the old man's eyes, he's running out of
forest.  the lion is herding him, pushing him until he has to make a
choice:  his jaws, or...the river.  he pauses, briefly, tongue
lolling from his mouth, the rustling is closer now, maybe if I... he
turns to the right and darts toward the south, running alongside the
river now.  daddy slips a big hand under my neck, cradling me to
him...for a moment I lie in his warmth, then his mouth is kissing
mine..."you always wanted that," he says, stroking my hair, softly.
                               - vi -
"put your head to my heart."
he does as he's told and the big man puts his arms around him. down
inside of the devil a heart beats, pure and strong.  the devil is
human after all.
" not the devil," the husky voice whispers.
he lifts my head so I can look into his eyes, then he bends down and
kisses me, "the devil couldn't love you.  not like I do."
"" he somehow manages to get the words out.
"love is not sin."
the older man picks him up as if he's nothing, a deer that he's just
caught, perhaps, and he can hear the river now. the rustling that is
the lion has disappeared.  he realises too late that this is the
wrong choice, this way down only leads to a waterfall.  it'll still
be the river...or the lion's jaws. 
sensing the lion's fear factory at work he skids to a halt.  it's a
halt he can ill afford and as suddenly as there is silence, there is
pain. the lion has found his prey.
daddy reaches out, takes my hand and lifts me from the bed. I知
naked, but that doesn't matter.  he leads me downstairs.  he's moved
the chairs to the sides of the room...and in the hearth the fire is
crackling.  he takes me into his arms, presses me against him, leans
his chin against my head and starts to dance. 
there's no music, just his huge warmth and his steady heartbeat.
"this is the last dance," he whispers.
                               - vii -
he lays me down on the leaves of autumn, stripping me of my robe,
using it to make a blanket, so that the leaves themselves don't worry
my back, then he starts to kiss me, tenderly. his hands explore every
crack of my body, reaching inside of me, tracing the parts that I致e
never found before. then the devil is enfolding me, burying himself
inside of me and losing his manhood in me, his life is pouring inside
of me, filling me up with his largeness.  I cry, but not for shame...
for love...the horns that I壇 always seen have melted away and his
skin is burning halo-white. he's grown wings...the devil is an angel
and he's saving me from my own destruction.  the lion tears through
flesh and bone, reaching deep inside of me, pulling me apart, feeding
me to himself.  after a while the pain dies down, I can't feel
anything anymore...all I feel is the peace and the calm of the lion
around me, sated, full.  then I am no longer.  I am lion and the lion
is part-wolf. he dances with me. no music, just the gentle rhythm of
his heart, guiding my feet across the wooden floorboards. in the
hearth the fire dances with us and I知 crying against his shoulder,
because I realise that he's been looking for me forever, I am the
priest, he is the devil, I am the wolf, he is the lion, I am his
son, he is my father.  the last dance is never over...