Secret Guilty Pleasure

[Based on "A Wasps' Nest", and written for the Gleams Which Pass Mary Sue challenge.]

When her brother came home for Christmas, Clarisse asked, "How are your friends?"

She did not expect him to blush, nor to hesitate. He used to tell her everything, when they were younger. She sighed, feeling left out of his life. He glanced away and said, "I'll tell you later, when Maman's in bed. All right?"

She beamed. "All right."

The story he told, sitting on the edge of her bed that night, was not something she could have imagined. He stared at the wall, and sometimes she covered her mouth in embarrassment for him, as though that would stop what he said from being true. Even in her shame, though, she questioned him, for she had never heard the like of the stories. They were bizarre, somewhat frightening, but they stirred her in a way she had never felt before, confusing and somehow warm.

When at last he finished his confession, she patted his hand gently. "It's all right, Audric. I love you and I understand, mon frère."

He smiled weakly. "You won't tell Maman, will you?"

She laughed lightly. "Of course not, dearest brother. Never — if you'll promise to introduce me to your friend, ah, Aimery, was it?"

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