A/n: This is the beginning of a new project. It will either be a short stoiry or a novella.
When he woke, it was dark, but that could be because he was in a dark room. Next it occurred to him that he was still alive. Someone had saved him.
Why can’t humans just let others die? Why do they have to go on saving them?
Zeityl rose from the pallet on which he lay. The room was unfurnished and unadorned, and he knew without going outside that it was noon, and that he had been unconscious for a day and a half and that he was on an island.
That was enough to cause the invisible bands around his heart to tighten again, leaving him breathless.
Why did humans extol love so much when it brought so much pain? It was almost physical, how it felt like there was something stuck in his heart, in his lungs, in his throat, something that hurt.
I am not made for pain. No god was. They knew joy, and fun and laughter, and how it was to look at humans from afar and feel contemptuous and to mock them. They weren’t supposed to love humans. He wasn’t supposed to fall in love with a human. He wasn’t supposed to get his heart broken.
His lungs seemed incapable of taking in air and he stumbled out into the sunshine, gasping for breath. For a moment, he was blinded by the brightness just as a human would have been. His eyes caught sight of a man, standing at the edge of a cliff, looking down into the ocean. His rescuer apparently. His eyes focussed, and he stared, his heart suddenly squeezing painfully.
The figure standing still was so familiar to him, from the hair beginning to grey to the powerful frame and the worn clothes. He tried to speak, to call him by name, but all he could manage was a sound that even to his ears was more of a strangled sob than anything.
The man turned around and the black eyes that meet his were guarded.
“You saved my life,” Zeityl finally managed to croak, an echo of words he had spoken so long ago.
Pel’s expression didn’t change and Zeityl didn’t like the silence, didn’t like it that Pel was so quiet.
“I didn’t realise you were trying to kill yourself,” Pel spoke, the exact same words he had spoken to him that first time except it was all wrong, the tone, the expression on his face… There was no smile on his face, no playful smirk, no teasing note in his voice, and Zeityl was suddenly tired, so very tired of all this. He didn’t want to be saved, he didn’t want the pain, and he didn’t want to look at Pel and know that he had caused this, that he was responsible for that cold look.
“I was,” he said when the weight of the silence was too heavy and Pel moved, coming closer to him.
Zeityl stood still, not moving, till Pelthiel was close enough for them to be sharing air. Pel lifted his hands and cupped his face, the gesture so familiar and intimate, evoking memories of the countless number of times he had done it before. Zeityl wanted to close his eyes so he wouldn’t need to see how Pel now looked at him as if he were a stranger.
“Why?”Pel asked, his voice so expressionless.
Zeityl stared at him, not understanding for a moment what Pel was asking. Was he asking him why he was trying to kill himself or why he lied, and pretended and messed up? He settled for the former because even he was not certain how to answer if it was the latter.
“Because I lost you,” he said, the pain in his chest almost unbearable now.
The hands dropped away and Pel took a step back, his expression clouding. Zeityl wanted to cry but he would not do that, not now, not when Pel was still looking at him, anger and sadness and emotions Zeityl couldn’t even put a name to swirling in his eyes.
“You did,” Pel agreed, his voice quiet and Zeityl turned away, back into the darkness of the hut. He was feeling as if something was ripping him open from the inside.
“Why do you hate me so much?” Pel asked from behind him and Zeityl stilled. “You and your siblings,” Pel continued. “Why do you perceive me as a threat?”
Zeityl wished he could answer. He could answer. Tell him they didn’t know him, that they didn’t know how to feel about his power, his magic, that they didn’t know anything about people, or anyone except themselves, that they- he rather, didn’t know what it felt to love, to fall in love. But he remained silent. Pel had told him he had lost him. What was the point in anything now?
“I’m going back,” he said, turning to look at Pelthiel one last time.”To my siblings.”
Pel nodded as if it was no more than he had expected. “I won’t be here when you return,”
Zeityl supposed he deserved that. Pelthiel thought he was going to his brothers for back up, to fight him. Let him think that.
“Would you really have drowned if I hadn’t saved you?” Pel asked.
It was not an unexpected question, but it still took Zeityl by surprise.
“Yes,” he nodded.”This ocean… it is toxic to us.”
“You’re gods,” Pel said.
“There are things older than us.” Zeityl said. “We can’t travel this ocean without it trying to kill us.”
“And yet you braved it twice,” Pel mused aloud.
Zeityl swallowed. What could he say? The first time had been reconnaissance. But this time… This time he was looking for death.
“I need to go,” he said finally.
“Of course,” Pel agreed, an odd note in his voice.
Zeityl looked at his face once more, fighting his desire to gather the other man in his arms and kiss him. Hadn’t he lost all those rights? If only he could turn back time! He would go back and would tell Pel the truth, he would have trusted Pel, and he wouldn’t have allowed his brothers to try and hurt Pel. He would have saved Leithia. It was too late now, and there was no turning the clock back. Zeityl pulled himself together.
“Good bye,” he said.