Outsider's Honor

BY : Kestrel
Category: +A through F > Dishonored
Dragon prints: 2751
Disclaimer: I do not own Dishonored, nor the characters from it. I do not make any money from the writing of this story.

Fog swirled around him, and he walked through cobblestone streets that floated in nothingness. A whale cried and lumbered past, swimming through a sea of stars and broken mist. He watched it go in silence and kept walking.

This place...he hadn't dreamt of the void in years. A glance at his reflection in a puddle of water showed him as he had been the last time he'd come here...young, agile, and with the mask Piero had made for him resting in one hand, like he'd just removed it.

"Corvo. How long has it been?" The Outsider purred, startling him into stillness.

The road had been clear, and suddenly the man was there, as pale and darkly beautiful as the day he'd first pulled Corvo into this world.

He couldn't answer of course, voice caught in his throat at the sight of him. The one who had given him the power to save Emily and see her on the throne. The one who had haunted his dreams all these long years.

The one he'd secretly yearned to see just once more, as if to convince himself that the outsider wasn't a plague-born fever dream.

He wasn't, of course. His gifts remained with Corvo, and his mark had never faded. It had seemed to grow darker in fact, these past few weeks, even as his body had begun to fail him.

Black eyes seemed amused as they stared into his soul, and the faintest smile seemed to touch his lips. "Don't look so surprised. Did you think that any other would come for you, when you wear my mark with such loyalty? "

"...come for me?" Corvo rasped, cutting to the pertinent words, rather than lingering over the way he'd said "loyalty".

The Outsider's arms crossed over his chest, and his head cocked curiously. "Surely you know you're dying?"

Corvo nodded once, glad that he couldn't feel the way his body ached, while in his dreams.

"Good. I brought you here, because I've decided to offer you a choice: You can die, and I'll release your spirit into the ether. You'll eventually be reborn, and a lifetime of struggle will begin anew. Or..."

The almost-smile was back, and Corvo couldn't help but be enraptured with it.

"...you can stay here, at my side."

Corvo blinked. This wasn't an offer he'd expected. "To what end?"

The Outsider shrugged slightly, seeming almost...too casual...if that were possible for the deity. "To whatever end you choose. I've no need for a bodyguard, or assassin, but...you've always fascinated me. I'd like to watch you a while longer."

Corvo looked out at a lamppost glowing dimly on a floating shard of street, mind working through all the possibilities, and dismissing the more outlandish ones. "How many others who have received your mark get this choice?" He wondered aloud.

"None. But then...none of them were you. Even Daud, who was one of my favorites did not get to choose."

He couldn't repress the shiver that rolled through him at the tone of those words as they invaded every corner of his mind. The Outsider hadn't moved, but he seemed closer....he felt closer. Like a breath you could feel on the back of your neck, or a hand hovering just over your shoulder before it falls to clasp you.

"You can't see what I'll choose?" Corvo asked curiously, delaying the moment that he'd have to let the experiences of this life dictate the trajectory of his soul.

The Outsider closed his eyes briefly. "No...for all my age and power, I've never been able to predict your actions, Corvo. That's part of why you intrigue me."

He'd guessed as much...little comments here and there that had left him wondering, left him curious, and that had also left him aching with a strange hunger for more.

An unsettled corner of his mind wondered if he'd ever see the Outsider again if he turned him down now. He guessed that he wouldn't, and wondered about the man he might be in the next life...wondered if he'd feel some latent regret, or if he'd live a simple, boring life.

Life free from the alluring bottomless pits of the outsider's eyes. Free from the ability to do a sort of magic most men condemned as wicked. Free from the honor he'd held himself to in service to Jessamine first, and then Emily after her.

Never.

He turned his gaze back to the Outsider, eyes scanning the serene face that waited patiently. Some shadow of nerves or hope seemed to linger around his eyes, though it could have been anything, he supposed, including his imagination.

"I will stay at your side."

Corvo shivered when thin eyebrows lifted slightly in surprise, and cupid's-bow lips parted in a clear display of shock. He decided then that he rather liked being the only mortal to make the Outsider feel something more than bored curiosity or passing intrigue.

"You surprise me once more, Corvo Attano” The Outsider breathed finally “You of all men, I thought wouldn’t…” He looked away, off into the distance before turning back to Corvo, eyes appraising. “Do you know what it means to be at my side? You will see the story of the world unfold, knowing that good men and women will die. You will witness atrocity and pain and disaster and destruction…and only rarely will you be able to gift power to a mortal who you think can change the tide.”

“I knew that Daud would kill Empress Jessamine, and yet I still gave him my gift. Can you truly spend eternity knowing that I would give power to another like Daud? Could you live with yourself, Corvo? Moreover, could you live with me?” He looked at Corvo’s hand, gaze sober.

“Not every story gets a happy ending.” Corvo said finally. Who knew what the future would have been if Daud hadn’t killed Jessamine? What kind of ruler would Emily have grown up to be without seeing firsthand the greed and corruption that could surround the throne? Such questions never would have entered his mind when he was younger, but he’d had many, many years to gain insight and objectivity.

The Outsider nodded. “No. But you will have to trust that I see all…past and future as though they are one…and know that I act for the overall good.” He smirked then, and the turnabout took Corvo by surprise. “…and for my own amusement, of course. It can be dreadfully dull, knowing the end of a story before it’s begun.”

“Is there anything else I should know?” Corvo asked finally, the mask familiar and comforting in his hand.

The Outsider stepped close, one hand reaching to dig fingers into his hair, holding him in place with an iron grip.  Corvo didn't flinch at the icy coldness of his touch, nor did he make any move to escape when the Outsider leaned in and stole his lips in a ferocious kiss.

His lips were like frostbite - so cold they burned - and still Corvo pressed back, seeking more with a hunger he hadn't felt for anyone in decades. Tongues met and danced between them, and Corvo's hands roved, grasping and holding with the need of someone starved for touch.

When they broke apart, the Outsider looked satisfied, and very faintly flushed, though his voice held steady as ever “Only that even half-forgotten, atavistically-feared deities like myself have needs…needs which are not so different from your own, I think. So what will it be? This is your last chance to change your mind.”

He didn’t have to think on the answer – he’d already decided – but instead held the mask over his heart and bowed, gaze flicking up to watch the Outsider’s reaction. “I will stay, my lord.”

Chill fingers pressed beneath his chin and drew him upright and into another kiss…this one softer, more promise than demand. A palm fluttered across Corvo’s groin in the briefest of caresses before the Outsider blinked away, only to reappear sitting casually in the open window of a castle that looked like Dunwall.

“You should hurry and make your peace with the world.” He advised with a lazy sort of hunger that promised all sorts of things to come, and sent a shudder of want rocking through Corvo's frame.

"...for your soul will be mine in a few short days. Are you ready for death, Corvo?"

......

When Corvo opened his eyes, he was smiling. He felt the ache and drain of age weigh heavily on his body, but as he got up out of bed, there was a lightness around him that hadn't shown itself for many long years.

"My soul was always yours." He murmured. Strange, he mused, to be so looking forward to death.

 

 



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