Gift-Fic: Secundus. Meet Londerland Bloodlines
by: Flaming Trails



Victor stared at his duplicate, their innate social awkwardness amplified at least a dozen times by sheer proximity. “We – ah – we should p-probably start with figuring out nicknames,” he finally suggested, rubbing the back of his head. “I mean, we’ll know who we mean when we say ‘Victor,’ but for everyone else’s benefit…”

“Yes, yes, of c-course,” the visiting Victor agreed, tugging at the collar of his shirt. (And wasn’t it weird to see himself sans a tie! And jacket. At least his alternate still had a vest of sorts…) “D-do you have a preference?”

“Um…” Victor fiddled with his fingers, thinking. “I’m sure we both like butterflies, right?” His alternate nodded. “Have you made a – well, I guess I haven’t exactly made a career out of them, but – close enough?”

The visiting Victor chuckled. “Close enough,” he agreed. “And no, I haven’t. So – what, do you want to be called something like – Butterfly Boy?”

Victor snorted. “Oh dear – but you know what, it’ll do. Alice – both of them – will find it amusing, I’m sure…” He tilted his head. “How about you? Any thoughts?”

The visiting Victor ran his fingers through his hair. “Ah – the only thing coming to mind is – is – well, ‘Ghoul.’ ”

Victor made a face. “That’s – rather morbid, don’t you think?”

“It’s what I am!”

“I know – you don’t easily forget walking in a copy of yourself drinking blood out of a copy of your wife’s wrist,” Victor said, the image swimming across his mind as he spoke. “And I still don’t understand how that makes you any stronger or faster or – able to turn invisible so long as you’re standing still and no one looks at you for half a minute.”

“That’s because it’s magic, not science,” his alternate pointed out. “I don’t know how it works either – only that it does.” A weird, crooked, overly happy smile spread across his face. Victor got the feeling his friends would describe it as the same kind of smile he sported when he was really deep into an experiment. “And it tastes wonderful.”

“Don’t try to sell me on it – your Alice was very firm about not giving me any to drink,” Victor reminded him.

The smile vanished, leaving an embarrassed look behind it. “I know, I know,” the visiting Victor said, dropping his head. “I understand why it’s a bad idea – I wouldn’t wish the, um, twitchier parts of being a ghoul on anybody. And I know that Alice…she never wanted to do this to me. She was just trying to help me that night in the clinic, and the idea that she permanently cracked my free will…it hurts her. And it hurts me that there’s nothing I can do about it.” He bit his lip. “Because – if we want to stay together, if I want to stay with her for as long as she’s around…I have to have it.”

Victor patted his other self’s shoulder. “I’m sorry. If – if there was anything I could think of that we could do to help…”

“I know.” The other Victor looked back up at him, expression a little lighter. “In fact…you and your Alice have helped.”

Victor blinked. “Really? How?”

“Just by being here. Being married. Having a – okay, it wasn’t a normal courtship,” the visiting Victor allowed, holding up a hand. “But it didn’t involve mind control of any kind. You two just met and – connected. You fell in love the regular way.” Another smile appeared – warm and bright and purely, normally happy. “You proved to my Alice that I was right. What, thanks to circumstances, I could never quite convince her of.” He squeezed his hands together in his lap. “I love her. And it’s not just the blood bond.”

Victor found himself smiling back. “It never could be. She’s too amazing not to fall in love with.”

“You’ve got that right.” The visiting Victor sighed. “She’ll always wish we’d met a different way, I know. But this whole experience, weird as it is – it should quiet some of her worries. And that’s good enough for me.”

“Happy to demonstrate a healthier version of our relationship.” Victor glanced left and right, then leaned in. “Even if, honestly? I feel like I’m a bit dependent on my Alice too. Just, you know, in a different way.”

The visiting Victor chuckled. “What can I tell you? She’s addictive. In every sense.”

The End