You could use the energy tomorrow;
you need to wake up again tomorrow.
Lay your head down on your pillow.
And then he was gone.
Zachariah stood in their apartment, he did not turn on lights or call out because he knew, he could feel the shift in the air like something was missing from it, like the extra breath was gone. He took a deep breath but all he tasted was recycled air and sadness.
Andrew could have left a message for him, but he didn't think so. They both knew why it was like this, truth be told then Zachariah had tried to ignore it for years, but it didn't make it any less true.
It is so easy to fall in love, and it's easier still to believe that the love you found will withstand the tide, but it rarely does. Andrew was a free spirit and had thought that Zachariah mirrored his longing for a free place to call home, just for the two of them. First chance Zachariah had gotten he had gone back to what had shaped him, what he initially still believed in. Andrew had been mad at him when he had chosen to run for Grand Master of Ophir, but to Zachariah it had been the single right thing he could do for his brothers both those alive, and those who had died under Victors reign.
Andrew had not seen it like that, he had only seen the shackles.
If Zachariah was honest, he had known that Andrew had been miserable here, he had taught students, cadets – The Ophir order of technomancers had flourished under their combined guidance. But Andrew had not been happy, he knew that, but had refused to deal with it. He simply had not known how to choose between his partner and his ambitions. Funny really.
If only Andrew had tried, but he hadn't, had he?
Zachariah shook the spell off him and walked through the dark living room to the window overlooking the Exchange, it was lit up with pretty lights and he could hear someone yelling in the distance, he opened the window and leaned out arms on the windowsill. Andrew hadn't tried, he had not wanted this. Zachariah inhaled deeply of the night air of the city – he did not want it any other way.
He smiled to himself and the night air.
Andrew had found information about Sean and camp 19. At first Zachariah had refused to believe it, but Andrew was if nothing else persistent, and had kept presenting evidence until even Zach's rock solid faith faltered. Zachariah had had a hard time comprehending his master being the evil behind the terrors of camp 19, but he could not ignore the truth. Andrew had used this temporary void of faith to argue that this was exactly why they should leave, they could have a new life in Mutant Valley, they might even do some good in the process, like help build the young nation. Zachariah had liked what Andrew was selling, the idea of the two of them helping shape the young nation was appealing, and even more so when Andrew suggested that they would be free to dine, drink and make love as they wanted. Free from the all seeing eye of the city itself, knowing there was always a dagger in the dark ready to strike.
Zachariah loved Andrew, and Andrew loved Zachariah – he had no doubt about that. Zachariah slumped down over the windowsill, the emptiness of the apartment seemed to scream at him, and it felt mostly like a tomb without Andrew here to breathe life into these walls. The everyday sounds from the market outside seemed to mock him.
Maybe he had driven him away? Maybe he had spent a little too long away from home, leaving Andrew on his own, maybe he had taken on a little too many responsibilities that kept him away from home, and maybe he had spent too much of that time away from home with Cornelius. He knew that Andrew had gone from amused at Cornelius' idolizing to annoyed, to downright hating the young man. Zachariah had tried to explain that if Cornelius wanted to learn what he had to teach, what was the harm? But truth was that he had basked in the undivided attention from Cornelius.
Andrew had been sure that Zachariah had wanted to fuck that cadet, but Zachariah had denied it, calmed Andrew with stories of how much time he had spent with Sean. But he had been tempted hadn't he? If he was honest with himself, he knew he was. Cornelius had offered more than once, and it had taken every ounce of decency that Zachariah had in him to decline the advances – He was quite sure that Cornelius knew that he would give in some day, because he hadn't distanced himself either. Instead, he had returned to Andrew and let his frustration vent.
In hindsight he should probably just have fucked the cadet and gotten it out of his system, it would probably have done less damage to his and Andrew's already volatile relationship.
Maybe it was not a question of Andrew not trying, but really, that it had been doomed from the start. Andrew was free and wild, whereas Zachariah believed in the system, he believed in making things better with power and politics, not with agriculture and town meetings.
Now he had the power.
But his bed was empty.
He wanted to cry, he felt like he should. No tears came, instead an insane giggle bubbled up from inside. He didn't know how to feel, he wanted to be sad but he only felt bitter and confused. How he wished that he had Sean or Ian here to lean on, maybe they would know how to deal with this?
Zachariah ran a gloved hand through his hair and slowly rose from the windowsill, straightening up. He would just have to find that pool of resolve that he had drawn on back when he found himself exiled and hunted, he had dealt with what had been thrown at him. This was not so different.
He idly pulled off his gloves and flexed his fingers. He undid his shirt and placed it gently over the back of a chair, sitting down on the same chair to undo his boots. He wasn't going after Andrew, he wasn't even sure that Andrew would want him to.
Zachariah walked across the dark apartment, leaving the window open. He was so tired all he had wanted to was get under his cool, smooth sheets and sleep. Curl up against the warm body of the only person who grounded him, he felt so home and so safe as he would lay there and drift off to sleep listening to Andrew's breathing and heartbeat. He stopped dead at the foot end of the bed. Andrew had not left a message like Zachariah had predicted he wouldn't, but he had left his technomancer uniform in a neat folded bundle, the boots on top, and like the cheery on top was the arm that Scott had made for him.
Gingerly Zachariah reached out and picked up the metal arm, so this was how much he hated him? He would rather be a cripple than to be reminded of their time together. "Shit." Zachariah mumbled to himself as he ran his fingers down the cold metal.
He would have to box this up and leave it in the archive together with Andrew's files, after all it felt wrong that someone else would wear his uniform.
Zachariah placed the arm back onto the bundle of clothes. Nothing he could do about it now. A part of him wanted to send it with the travelling merchants to Mutant Valley, because he was almost completely sure that Andrew would go there. Maybe he had gone to Noctis to drown himself in exotic lovers and drink? No matter what, he would return to Mutant Valley, because it was the topic they had fought the most over. Zachariah did never quite understand Andrew's fascination with the place; it was a fucking hole in the ground if you asked him.
And why should he care? He squared his shoulders and stared down at the offending bundle on the bed, he was the motherfucking Grand Master, and he didn't need someone like Andrew, someone who refused to see how the world worked, someone who didn't appreciate the gift that they had been given! Had it not been for Scott they would have been in the mutant pens, they would have been slaves and now, now they got to rule! How could Andrew not see that? How could he not want to be at Zachariah's side? This was the harvest of all their toil and blood. Now was their time.
Zachariah felt his fingertips sting, and a scream form in his chest. How dared he? How dared that little shit reject his love and affection! Zachariah's vison began to blur and his entire body stung like a million needles.
Zachariah woke to a pair of worried brown eyes, he opened his mouth to speak but Cornelius hushed him gently. "Welcome back Grand Master." He smiled softly. "We were worried." He looked over at the other side of the bed, Zachariah turned his head and looked straight up at Melvin's worried face.
"Wha-" But he didn't really need to ask, he knew what had happened.
"Another day." Melvin said softly, unable to hide his voice trembling slightly. "Take your time Grand Master."
Zachariah closed his eyes and frowned. "Cornelius."
"Yes Grand Master?" Cornelius answered eagerly.
"Andrew's things." Zachariah whispered.
"Ah yes Grand Master, I took the liberty to box them, do you want them back?" Cornelius said, "I can fetch it for you in no time."
Cornelius nodded but said nothing, he gingerly reached out and touched Zachariah's hand, noting saddened how he flinched at the touch.
"Bury it in the archives."
"Yes Grand Master, right away." Cornelius said already moving off the bed to carry out the wish.
"Erase him Cornelius." Zachariah mumbled as he turned to his left side and curled up under his sheets.
"Consider it done Grand Master." Cornelius answered swiftly, shooting Melvin a worried look.
When both Melvin and Cornelius left, Zachariah opened his eyes staring off into the thin air. Suddenly he knew where his own Master's bitterness came from, and why Melvin had looked so scared.