Ashley (getaway_machine) wrote,

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Daemon/Lucivar essay

I've gone back and forth on posting this, for a lot of reasons.
Partly because I know a lot of people will ignore this, since a lot of people haven't read the books. But mostly because this is all from memory... I haven't reread the books, I haven't even referenced the books... as in, I offer no quotes or page numbers or hard evidence to support what I'm saying. I fully admit that I may have remembered some of it wrong.

But I think this is worth posting anyway, for what it is. It's an essay about Daemon/Lucivar, ala ship_manifesto. The only reason I'm not signing up and posting it there is... well, the reasons listed above. But I love this ship so much, and... well. This is my reasons for it, my declaration of it, my whatever-you-want-to-call-it. It's my babbling about the ship that has not left my mind for the past few weeks... and yes, I have fluffymaru to thank for that, since she started to read the books, but I've loved them for a long time, and some of this has been waiting to get out for... a long time.

It's long. Roughly 3000 words. Also, SPOILERY. This follows Daemon and Lucivar all the way through canon, to the end of the trilogy and their last scene together. And while it's not highly spoilery in some respects, I'd still suggest not reading it if you haven't finished the books and ever plan to...

There might be another one posted much later, in which I'll offer quotes, etc. But that will have to happen after nano.

I love Daemon/Lucivar, and there's no simpler way to state it. Their relationship is so fragile, in the end, and the work of the few fanfiction writers who write this ship to keep them going is a hard -- a monumentous, even -- task. They are not an easy pair to write, because their relationship is built on complexities that can be simutaneously easy and hard to understand, and because they have so many things that run between them, so many things that could drive them apart, so many issues they have to work through to end up together.

For centuries, they only have each other. There is no one else; even if you only view them as friends and brothers. They hurt each other, and they do it often, but there is always forgiveness waiting, and they know it -- they have to know it, because neither of them have anything else, and without one another, they never would have survived. They provide a release, a way to leave the world behind and become men that they want to be, if only in the stolen moments they have together.
And make no mistake, they don't get much time together. The witches who control them are not nice people, to downplay it severely. They are kept apart because they are powerful, because together, they become so much more than they are on their own... and they're both pretty damn impressive on their own.
They are drawn to each other always. They get along even when they don't understand why, they get together and wreak havoc in the world around them. And when they finally find out, through Tersa, that they are brothers... well, that doesn't matter anymore. They're brothers, yes, but they love each other, and in the end, blood doesn't matter between them. [Note: that is a very specific statement, and in no way does that apply to the books, or even to D/L in general -- blood is something that is very important to this trilogy, and as I will illustrate later, to this pairing.]
Before Jaenelle, they survive and continue to live only for one another. Daemon even gives up his hard-won freedom when Lucivar is threatened, returning to Dorothea and submitting to her because he cares about Lucivar that much -- because Lucivar is the only leverage they have over him, the only thing they could possibly threaten that would matter to Daemon at all.
The sentence I like to use for it... Daemon just wanted to love Lucivar, and Lucivar wanted to show Daemon that not everything had to hurt.

After Jaenelle comes into the picture there is a shift. This is Witch, the woman Daemon has been waiting for for no less than 700 years -- and more than that, probably. She is strong, capable, intelligent, and her role is not to be downplayed when thinking about or writing Daemon/Lucivar. Because Daemon loves her, he is completely devoted to her, and she is who he has been waiting for. He loves her, and that's canon, and not something to be ignored.
The possibility this opens up, then, is his struggle between loving Jaenelle, who he has been waiting to love for so long, and loving Lucivar, who has been his only support for so long. Because while he loves Jaenelle, and I will never argue that, he also loves Lucivar, and he can't simply forget him when he finds Jaenelle. And it is perhaps harder for him to do so because she is so young when they meet, and therefore not an object of sexual desire (at least, not yet.) When he finally finds Witch, only to find that she is a twelve-year-old girl, he can't shove Lucivar aside, partly because there is nothing yet there to replace him with, partly because he is still the only thing Lucivar has, and partly because he simply loves him. It wasn't something he had ever counted on; he was born to be Witch's lover, but he fell in love with someone else first, and those feelings don't just disappear because Witch appeared. He can't stop loving Lucivar, because Lucivar has meant too much for too long.

I think it's very telling that in the direct aftermath of Jaenelle's rape, Daemon first tries to free Lucivar, and then tries to find Jaenelle. There are a couple of reasons that I see for this -- and one of them is, of course, that he knew Jaenelle was safe, or had to believe she was, or wanted to, or what have you -- he had no such reassurance in the way of Lucivar. Also, he knew how to find Lucivar, he knew exactly where to go and how he would orchestrate the escape. His mind was a fragile thing already at this point, but he was still sane enough to work through his options.
However, it's important to note that he didn't have to go after Lucivar. He could have made sure that Jaenelle was safe, first, which would have resulted in a much different story... but that's not what he did. Only half-sure that Jaenelle was alive and well, and not at all sure if she would ever come back to herself, he went for Lucivar. Why? Because he loved him. Because Lucivar was still important in his life, because he loved Jaenelle but Lucivar still held a large portion of his heart. Because he knew that Jaenelle was probably safe, but he knew also that Lucivar would die if he remained imprisoned as he was. Because he wanted to save Lucivar, because that's what he always did -- because Lucivar was counting on him, or so he thought. Because in the end, he couldn't stop loving the Eyrien Warlord, and he wanted to know that he was safe, because that would help to ground him.

What happened, of course, was entirely different.
Lucivar had very limited knowledge. Jaenelle had been raped. Spread all over the sheets were Daemon's blood and psychic scent. As much as he didn't want to believe it possible, there was only one conclusion for him to come to: Jaenelle was gone, and Daemon was to blame.
As much as it hurts me to admit, especially the shipper at the heart of me, it's hard to blame Lucivar for this conclusion. Based on what he was presented with, there was no other conclusion to come to. Especially considering that logic and reason have never been strong points of Lucivar's -- he acts without thinking, he has a scary temper, and he jumps to conclusions. He's also never been known to be very trusting, and although he has trusted Daemon for so long, his trust is still a fragile thing that must be carefully kept.
And here comes one of the first major obstacles in their relationship, as presented in canon. Despite the years of love and hope, despite the centuries of depending on one another, despite the high level of trust that has been built, Lucivar believes that Daemon has destroyed Witch utterly, a transgression that cannot be forgiven, no matter what has been forgiven in the past. Because Witch was his salvation, a chance to escape slavery, a chance to serve someone he truly respected -- and by losing that, he has lost everything; and that has a lot to do with the fact that he lost Daemon in the same stroke. He is left with nothing to live for, except the possibility of revenge.
And Daemon... well, Daemon's mind was already fragile. He was dangling at the edge of the Twisted Kingdom even before he went to save Lucivar. He has no memory of what happened in the Abyss, he has no way of knowing what he might have done to Jaenelle. And Lucivar believes he destroyed her, Lucivar believes he shattered her. And because Lucivar believes it, he starts to believe it as well. Because Daemon may have had hope, but to have the one person who always believed in him suddenly turn away pushes him so close to the edge that he doesn't have enough of a mind left to argue when he is told that Jaenelle is dead, and he tumbles into the Twisted Kingdom -- because of what he believes he did to Jaenelle, because of something he believes only because Lucivar believes it. Because his faith in Lucivar is so large that he can affect him that way. Lucivar has such a profound affect on how he views things that he ends up wandering the road of the Twisted Kingdom for eight years, having lost Jaenelle, the woman he was destined to love, and Lucivar, the man he fell in love with by chance.
As far as I'm concerned, Lucivar didn't fare much better. He had been betrayed, or so he thought, by the one person he thought he could always trust. He can't bring himself to take revenge right away, because it's too raw, and he still loves Daemon more than he hates him, because he can't stop. He withers in the salt mines for five years, slowly dying as his wings melt away, revenge the only reason he stays alive at all. Clearly he has a lot of time to reflect on what has happened -- but he has no contact with anyone else, and only the knowledge that he had to begin with. So he dwells for years about how Daemon destroyed everything that had meant anything to him -- Witch, and the relationship between them. And when he finally leaves, and discovers Daemon alive and in the Twisted Kingdom -- something he considers revenge enough as Daemon is obviously wallowing in guilt -- he attempts to commit suicide. In losing Daemon, he has lost all will to live.
Both of them display this -- in losing each other, their lives collapse. They don't function well without each other, and they find no reason to stay within reality. Without each other, their lives are in turmoil.

And then we move into Lucivar's guilt, which is a great and terrible thing. He knows, finally, that he was wrong all along. He knows, finally, that Daemon was innocent. But he knows all of this too late, because the damage is done, and he has to live with the great betrayal he did against one who had never betrayed him at all. The only redeeming thought he has is that Daemon is alive -- alive and insane, but alive, and reachable, somehow.
Which moves us into Lucivar's relationship with Marian. Although his love is not one that he has been expecting all of his life, he does love her. However, he finds her after he has created a rift between himself and Daemon, and I believe this has something to do with it. While I don't doubt that he does honestly love her, I believe he became open to that love because he had lost Daemon -- and by his own doing, something he cannot change no matter how guilty he may feel. So he searches for comfort, and finds it in Marian's arms, and in the son she bears him -- the son he names Daemonar.
It's his way of keeping Daemon close to him, always. The son looks like Daemon -- of course he does, considering how much Daemon and Lucivar resemble each other. It's also his way of remembering, every single day, what he did and what happened because of it... and what he stands to lose if he fucks up again. It's a reminder that he will see, every day of his life, of how he messed everything up by believing a lie. And by naming his son Daemonar, he is searching for forgiveness, and offering his apology out for all the world to see.

Although much of the fanfiction I've read and written [sadly, there's so little of it] deals with the time before Witch is born, I believe there's a lot of worth in exploring their relationship after Daemon returns from the Twisted Kingdom. There's so much here to deal with; trust has to be rebuilt on both sides, they both have to deal with having a wider circle of people to care about and love, they have to get used to being able to see one another whenever they would like. And, though words of forgiveness may have been spoken, and though they may have even meant those words... they still have to forgive each other in their hearts, in their subconscious. They're both very fragile at this point, because their lives have changed so dramatically, and they have to figure out where they still fit into each others' lives... or if they do at all. They are left to discover what is left for each other when they add in all the other factors in their lives -- specifically, Jaenelle and Marian.
But they are offered another chance. A chance to be the men they never could have been in slavery, a chance to follow a Queen that they *choose* to follow, not one that they're forced to follow. They have a chance to rediscover one another, a chance to be together in a way they never could have been before. Because now, they can be near one another whenever they like, and they have to learn to live with that. They have a chance, finally, to realize that they love each other, even when they have other people to love.

And then, of course, we come to the moment of Daemon's game, of his cruel torture. Though it is all done for a good reason and with the best intentions in mind, there has to be a fallout -- because everything has a price, as the books prove time and time again. If this had happened before Jaenelle, before the rape, before Marian... well, things would have been different. Forgiveness would have been so much easier. But, as Lucivar says, he now has a much wider circle of people to love -- Daemon is no longer all he has. Combine this with Daemon's loss of Jaenelle, and... well. We have two very angsty boys who have loved each other for centuries and are trying to figure if they still do, or even if they still can. We have Lucivar, who has find out if he can still love Daemon now, after going through one of him games.
Whether you take that in a romantic context, as I do, or a friendship/brotherly context, the emotions running between them are strong, and the way they feel about each other needs to be addressed. Here, more than any other place in the books, is where they discover how they really feel about each other. Because each of them have other people now, each of them have people who love them and support them. They are not living lives of slavery any longer, and whether or not they still need, want, or love each other has never been more important than this moment, when they don't have to, when they can forget about one another and still have something to hold to. This moment is their opportunity to let go, forever, and still have a life to live. It's something they've never had before.
And although forgiveness is a very hard thing for Lucivar to offer, that's exactly what he does. He finds Daemon in his moment of raw, undiluted pain, and there's no more thinking -- there's just Daemon, just Lucivar, just two men who love each other and have for as long as they can remember. Lucivar goes to him almost without thinking about it, because it's *Daemon* and he's *hurting* and that overrides anything else that may be going on, because in that moment, it's all that matters. Being there for Daemon, just as he's always done... in that moment, you know that this pairing can survive anything, because it *has*. Because it's gone through so much, and you end at that point -- with forgiveness and love and understanding and two men who have almost always put each other above everything else in their lives, because they don't know any other way to live. Because without each other, there has never been a reason to live. And even when they have other people to love, they can't let go of each other, because the bonds they have forged are not so easily broken.

Daemon/Lucivar isn't an easy ship, although it may appear that way at first; or not for people like me, at least -- because I love the canon. I love every aspect of it, and that includes Daemon/Jaenelle and Lucivar/Marian. And while putting Daemon and Lucivar together is easy if you write pre-BJT fic, it can be daunting to continue loving them when they meet the women in their lives. But it's also worth it, because they mean so much to each other. They're safety, they're adventure, they're love, they're comfort, they're home. They are everything to one another, and they have lived entire lifetimes of normal people doing nothing but loving one another, and believing in one another. They have spent lifetimes where the only bright spot in the entire world was knowing that the other was alive and out there somewhere.
They have hurt each other, to be sure. There has been doubt, accusations, anger, insanity, guilt... but underneath all of that, there has always been love. It is what drives them together, and it is what keeps them together over the span of so many centuries. It's what the ship is based on, and it's why I love them so much; because we have two men who love each other. And whether you see it as friendly, brotherly, or romantic, that love is always there, it drives them and it supports them and it is a beacon of hope in a world that has been cruel to them for so long.
Daemon/Lucivar is love, simply stated.

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