Briar had been quite the charmer in his heyday; when he was still eighty and strapping and pulling in the ladies. Tall for an elf, with a healthy complexion, aristocratic features and an air of being out of reach, he was what every single warm-blooded woman wanted, lusted for, and on more than several occasions, had.
Biting, licking, the taste of salty skin beneath his teeth, heartbeats erratic, filling out syncopated rhythms as she screamed like a Banshee –
But once he hit the one hundred mark, perhaps some of his lustre faded, and women turned to find newer and greener pastures. He was still good looking – he’d not even aged that much. There was just something… old… about the word hundred that seemed to repel the more attractive of specimens.
– But sometimes, she’d be the one in charge, and sometimes he liked this more; to be bled by her long nails, only to have his blood kissed away –
By then, work called; his string of promotions – for once – was more promising than his sex life. The old men upstairs had not understood him when he was more focused on the secretary in the foyer, but the reliable, workaholic Cudgeon appealed to them simply because he was the only recent recruit that seemed to do anything other than chase girls.
– They knew it was never love; they never asked for it and never gave it. Lust, sex, hatred, bitterness, all intermingled and neither of them gave a damn –
Ten years of hard work was enough to bore him, though. He tired of being the stick-in-the mud, when he should have been fraternising with his colleagues over a pint and a pack of porno playing cards. Corruption called to him – it was still work, but you earned more and there was that thrill of trying not to be caught – like the tolling of a bell on a still morning.
– And all the men in her labs; all the average Joes, used to eye her, and wonder why she chose Briar. Such a strong, powerful woman, she could have had any man she wished, but –
The Triad was first to succumb to his wheeling and dealing: they had offered him contacts, money and inside information in exchange for data on upcoming raids. Briar, rising up to the devious position he took, screwed them over and then some, but the stupid sods never blinked – licked – an eye.
– It was so exciting. To have her, the brilliant scientist, reduced to a quivering heap beneath silk sheets, by him – the infamous Briar Cudgeon – and he knew it excited her too, because she was into all of that power play –
And then there was the Fowl incident; by then, Briar was well and truly in over his head in corrupt policing. He fixed reports, let people go free, and had people locked up for trumped up charges – all for a fee, of course. Colleagues, friends and foes alike, they’d all been dehumanised and ripped off by him at least once.
– But it was never love, no, love was never jealous and full of bile and blood and bitter, bitter hatred –
He’d been crossing the line for almost twenty years when Captain Short was kidnapped, but his conduct had thrown him so far over it that there was no way to make amends. The heroism and bravado of the smart-arse centaur Foaly had pushed Briar into Janitorial work; and there wasn’t any point working for the LEP if your badge proudly displayed the words ‘Briar Cudgeon, Trainee Janitor’.
– Though sometimes it felt so good, to have her curled up by his side like a cat, claws and all, purring softly –
Of course, his more than frequent dealings with the Triad opened up a whole new world for him: (more or less) organised crime. And he could still screw them over in his spare time; in between the girls and the drugs and the surgery. He was as ugly as hell now, but he pulled in more women than he ever had before with his scruples and good looks.
– And she was always so proper in public, so polite, and no one ever knew of him because if they did, they’d be dead, and then she’d tell him about it and he’d grin, and they’d go to bed fervently –
And then; Opal. Beautiful Opal. Brilliant Opal. Devious Opal. Beautifully, brilliantly devious Opal. Her stoic, fine features; the occasional spouted witticism; the ever-present malevolent smile appealed to Briar more than bust size ever did.
– Neither of them ever felt fear, not even in the face of adversity; they had each other, even though it wasn’t love, it was just lust, lust and sex –
She introduced him to a new world – one where crime was an exact science, one where everything wasn’t just a petty crime. A world that required brains. And he had brains; even if sometimes they made him erratic and paranoid.
– Sometimes he’d tell her of dreams he had, and she’d smile that little smile of hers and explain them away, and then they’d kiss, but it was never love, no, no, not love –
It was – maybe – in the second year of his knowing her that he realised she wanted him. Perhaps it was their mutual fascination with the macabre that drew them together; but most likely it was the close proximity they worked in: Opal never left her labs, and Briar seldom left, as well. Personalities never clashed, and lust seemed to do all of the talking –
– Everything seemed to be heightened when they were almost caught, once a security camera caught just their legs, and Opal deleted the tape, but not for love, just to protect her reputation –
And then Artemis Fowl had to interrupt the People’s world again – partly Briar’s fault – but he’d never counted on them being overthrown. But unexpected things happened: he was a charred corpse and she was locked up, forever, in a padded room.
– And not ever, never, never, never, would he forget that final scream, drawn out, full of pleasure and pain and release but never love, no, no, not love. Lust, lust, bitter, vile lust –
He’d never taken into account that all bad things – eventually – had to come to an end, too.
For all us inmates at Howler's Peak. Crosspostied at mah journal.