'I've heard there was a secret chord
That David played, and it pleased the Lord
But you don't really care for music, do you?
It goes like this; The fourth, the fifth
The minor fall, the major lift
The baffled king composing; "Hallelujah"
It hurts so much to love you.
It taints my soul with darkness, burns my tender skin; my eyes are raw from crying… The pain throbs with the dark, swirling black and red, heaving and pitching like lava; it encompasses everything, fills up my vision, fills up my soul. But it doesn't matter how much it hurts, I still reach out to this feeling with shy fingertips, grazing the black power that feeds on my light and I slowly shudder as I wonder how long it will be before I drown in it completely. This unfathomable darkness paints my sight with a palette of ten thousand blacks… dripping like a pool of blood… taking over me. The world of colour fading….
I search ever forward through this warm, tangible nothing with roaming hands, drawing in the darkness, closer to my slender frame… I am so very delicate aren't I? Always need to be protected, held, cherished, always need to be kept from the outside world that will hurm me and befoul my perfect innocence…. Don't you understand, O great king? Haven't you yet realized there is no bigger threat to all that I am, no more impure influence seeping into my unspoilt purity than you yourself? How can you not see that as you wind yourself in tightening coils around my soul and fill me with your exquisite black that it is you- you and no other who are taking from me all that you wish to preserve. I'm so afraid of the dark… how can I be afraid of what I crave with every fiber of my being?
I push away the windings tendrils of darkness, but they seep into my pale, drawn flesh, regardless of my futile and half-hearted attempts to stop them and remain pure. I cannot escape the advance- no more than your enemies can escape your fury can I escape your tenderness, can I even want to. You curl into my heart and change me, change the way I think, the very fabric of who I am… and yet leave me the same. Won't you ever to anything that doesn't contradict itself at every single angle? Even if you couldn't control the way you took over me… not that I believe that… My heart is shrouded forever in the shadow of someone who doesn't care… or even notice.
I sat at the kitchen table, slowly stirring the contents of my cereal bowl around in a labored circle, my thoughts far away as I wondered how long I could survive the way things were going… I knew something was wrong between us, something had changed without either of us understanding why. The feeling that I worked so hard to build with you was no longer what it had been through countless adventures, I was even starting to question if it had ever been what we both tried so desperately to convince ourselves it was. Were you my best friend? Ever?
I showed you how to be my friend hoping for the best, but I never expected the passion and loyalty with which you would throw yourself into the role; I never expected you to throw yourself into anything, you seemed too proud for that. It was the loyalty that surprised me the most- you didn't just give us your kingly allegiance the way I was expecting, you were more than willing to die for us for our own sakes and not for the sake of your honour.
And, as the time passed you began to talk to me- not just to tell me how to defeat my latest adversary or what to do next; you began to really talk to me as though I were an equal and not just a body. I could always tell how out of place you felt; how uncomfortable you were with the way you struggled to find words in an unfamiliar language with a whole new slang and a level of informality you'd never used before. Fought to suppress the superiority that was second nature to you, fought to be gentle and help me to understand what was easy to you and unfathomable to me. The effort made me smile inside, happy to find the goodness in you, the tenderness- and something else … Why did you always make me so happy?
The protection you gave me and the people I care about meant the world to me, but I realized that for all our long speeches about friendship… you were never friends with them. They never knew you, never had a grasp of who or what you were. You were loyal still, to the end, to the death, but you were distant, by your own choice. In your heart of hearts you had no room for true camaraderie and your true personality was reserved for those you found worthy…. The others feared you, they stared in amazement at your countless skills and watched you live up to your title over and over again… but they never saw you. Never met you. Only I knew that under all that dignity was a caring soul.
How was I supposed to react to a king thinking I was the one person interesting enough to let in?
I let the spoon slip from my loose grasp and clink gently against the china of my bowl. I was still trying to tell myself it was just a friendship… well, deeper than a friendship can ever go- it was a partnership, but of course I could love my partner without…. Couldn't I love him without feeling this incredible pounding in my chest when he drew near, his ineffable darkness washing over me like a wave as those burning crimson eyes seared straight through me? Your eyes were like puddles of blood; why didn't it bother me anymore? Why did I love those shadowy depths and all the emotions there you would never allow to surface…?
Most importantly, I couldn't stop wondering why you didn't seem to notice…
I remember waking up one night... the light of the moon bathing my room and painting the familiar setting ghostly blue with brilliant rays, struggling out from behind a cloud. I was panting, twisting small hands through the sheets, feeling that they were ever more useless pudgy mitts- the hands of a child… I was a child. The images of the nightmare that woke me danced against my eyelids as I forced them closed again; disturbing visions of everything that mattered to me swirling up in smoke. A fire in the Game Shop, not getting to the puzzle in time before it melted, not getting to Grandpa in time… my eyes snapped open.
"Other me…" I whispered pathetically, hugging my thin frame with equally thin arms. "Darkness…"
"Light," the answering voice wavered in volume as your form shimmered into being on the edge of my bed. "You've called me… I was not going to intervene if you were not willing to accept my help."
"I-I…" I started to stammer, wondering how I could explain this dream that terrified me to my core and not show you I was afraid. I never wanted you to know that I was so weak… it was stupid of me to think I could hide anything from you, but I tried always a little disappointed with my failure, "I couldn't-"
"I know," your soft voice purred, pouring so much understanding into those two words I felt my anxiety melting away. The warm, deep timbre of your words was always such a comfort, it hardly mattered what you were saying- it was just enough that you were there with me. It made me wonder how I ever could have lived without you, only emptiness on the other side of that hallway…
I was so comfortable wound into your arms, my fingers curled around your wrist against my chest, every bit of contact tingling. You sighed heavily, warm breath dancing over the nape of my neck and disturbing my erratic hair, prompting you to reach up and smooth it back down.
"Why do you dream of that you most fear?" your voice rumbled against my back. "If it is not too difficult to speak of...."
"I don't know…" I muttered, staring at the floor to avoid your gaze over my shoulder, "I just… do…"
"Why not what you wish you could have? I thought…" Your brow creased as you searched my mind for the information you wanted, "Are not dreams what you wish were true? Why wouldn't you dream of Tea?"
I tensed in shock, turning to stare at you, "Tea?"
You bristled, muttering in flustered ancient Egyptian before finally translating, "I only meant-" you hesitated, your voice dropping to a whisper, "You… you admire Tea, do you not, light?"
"No, not that way…" I whispered, realizing it myself only as the words came out, "No…."
Your fine eyebrows knit in confusion, "I thought you wished to court her-? Can you not love, partner?"
I stared at the floor again, suddenly needing to seriously consider the answer to such an innocent question. Was it even possible for me to love someone else when you gave me everything I needed? Did I need another when I already had everything my soul was missing? Weren't you- quite literally- the very definition of my soul mate? When I defined true love, it was as two people completing each other- and you make me whole. How could I possibly let someone else inside when every truth I revealed about myself would just be linked back to you in every way… they'd feel like a third wheel no matter what… they would be a third wheel.
"Yes, other me," I murmured finally, relinquishing myself to my unavoidable conclusion and fighting against the tears of realization, "There is one person I can love...."
You didn't seem to notice that eventful midnight when your arms around me felt just a little too good, your chest at my back was a little too warm… your gentle breath against my neck sending shivering tingles racing up and down my spine. You didn't seem to notice that you held me long after the tears you were comforting had passed…. Is it not strange that I seek comfort from a shadow? My shadow. You didn't even shudder when my hand traveled up your wrist and silently worshipped every inch of exposed skin.
Why don't you love me when I can't seem to help loving you? We're connected, joined at the soul and I've finally figured out what that means for my heart… My darkness… is it even in your nature to love?
'Your faith was strong but you needed proof
You saw him bathing on the roof
His beauty and the moonlight overthrew you
He tied you to a kitchen chair
He broke your throne, and he cut your hair
And from your lips he drew the Hallelujah
You torture me. Sweet, sweet torture is my only solace from you, the only brief, precious contact, the only moment out of time I can seize beautiful snatches of touch.
Long ago when you first appeared to me you were still a god, still the Pharaoh, still the King of Games; you needn't have troubled your greatness with some meddlesome, interfering little nobody who was always getting in the way of what you wanted. You tossed me aside over and over… more than once it was in my own honor you fought in the first place. When a man hurt me he took his life into his own hands, he was trespassing in the soul of a King, and such offences didn't go unpunished.
The King cared for nothing and no one beneath him- and that was everyone- it was merely for the principle of the thing. It was merely because I was your light, the other side to the immense and towering shadow that is the spirit of the Unknown Pharaoh. In those days you forgot that I have a quiet power of my own; if your shadow is immense, so is my light- for every dark power you possess I contain an equal of light. I hold the strength to heal your destruction and the courage to stand between you and evil.
The Shadows and evil are not the same thing at all, I learned from sleepless nights I cried myself hoarse pining for your black and tainted touch.
I have proved it in you… I couldn't love you if you weren't human.
I refused to let it be, I refused to give it up and let you live your demi-life as a vengeful angel from an ancient world. I reached out to you with all the light I could summon, I cast my innocence into your blackened soul and illuminated the darkness for just long enough for you to see. For just one moment you understood what true power and glory really were… for a moment you understood why we fight and die on the side of goodness. I lost myself in you, for your sake. Drowning in darkness for the love of it.
Yes… my most gorgeous darkness, I have shackled you with morality, with responsibility- with love. You have known the pure, sweet and untainted rapture of my love, given freely to you, because it was mine to lose. I locked you away with light… I seized your golden throne and I showed you the truth- the Pharaoh may have been a god on earth, but you are just a man beneath the King and you are as fallible as any other. You may have faults, you may be wrong… you may be loved and love in return. I have humbled you with my forgiveness; shown you you're still real- my love was my greatest weapon.
I wouldn't say you've lost your freedom, My Darkness, I would beg to explain that you have gained it.
I did my best, it wasn't much
I couldn't feel, so I tried to touch
I've told the truth, I didn't come to fool you
And even though it all went wrong
I'll stand before the Lord of Song
With nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah
You've known since the beginning that I forgive you for all the blood you've spilled. How can it be otherwise? Forgiveness is light- and that is what I am. The line of good and evil has been so blurred in my time… it is not so in yours…. You stood over me, staring down with the same royal dignity and aura of absolute power you always have, but I know that will never fade, you are royal. You have never cared before if I approved of you… why do you ask me now?
"Other me, am I wicked in the ways of the world you know?" your voice, so thick and deep, caressing me like a sigh and bellowing like a bitter command and singing gently in a soft-shelled ear all at once in a jumble. Your long, slender fingers bunch and release, your expression never faltering as you fight to keep your poise… it wouldn't do to show me that you have learned to feel. You know that I have already seen it, but it would be unacceptable to show me such a weakness.
I sigh as I return your stare, my own eyes the same regretful, shinning amethyst they have always been. "You can't fit into one word, Darkness… not bad, not good…. I guess you're what my writing teacher calls a fallen hero, you fight for what's right, but you've got so much darkness inside you."
You flinched at that, but you tried not to, tried to keep the old indignance subdued, "We are all of us imperfect, light… I cannot be an exception. The darkness is a part of me now, the very essence of who I am... I have too much blood on my hands... there is no such thing as a hero in the real world."
"Yes there is…" I looked away, into the consuming brightness of the early morning sun, fiery rays kissing the dew-covered flowers and setting the clouds ablaze. It reminds me of us.
Maybe I've been here before
I know this room I've walked this floor
I used to live alone before I knew you
I've seen your flag on the marble arch
But love is not a victory march,
It's a cold and it's a broken Hallelujah
Does it make any sense to love someone who is you… but everything you're not? Does it make sense to crave the touch and kisses of a man who is- quite literally- the other half of your soul? Is it logical to desire the one thing that hurts you most? You give me sublime agony- and I can never be stated.
I curled my fingers into the lapel of your jacket, identical to the one I wore, I pulled my face against your chest, whispering to myself as I drifted in and out of consciousness. Your eyes shone as you gazed down at me with a look of total bewilderment on your face, your breathing was ragged and your features twisted in something like dismay mixed with the most beautiful, unguarded tenderness. I had barely escaped this duel with my mind, and you were crying, you didn't understand it then or ever afterward, but you couldn't stand it to see me that way. My body was in no danger, it was only my mind in torment- it didn't affect you either way…
But it did.
Your fingertips grazed my temple, floating to my cheekbone and resting lightly against heated skin, whisking away perspiration and offering the most gentle caress you were capable of. Delicate, sensitive fingers brushing alabaster skin as if it were the most precious thing in the two lands. It was easy for anyone to see the huge diamond droplets slipping down your bronze cheeks, although we like to let you think you hid it well, it was painfully obvious that the moment of perfect panic you allowed to flash across your face was love-spawned concern for another.
We all knew you loved me. You couldn't help it. We both fought it for as long as we could- but nothing we could do would change anything.
There was a time you let me know
What's real and going on below
But now you never show it to me, do you?
I remember when I moved in you
The holy dark was moving too
And every breath we drew was Hallelujah
Powerless against a force stronger than both of us, tear-stained lips lowered closer and closer to the full pout I left slightly parted as I gazed up at you, watching your beautiful pain. To see you in grief at the mere passing possibility that I might be stolen from you was more of a victory to me than any of the epic battles I fought by your side. It had all happened, I had reached inside your core and touched your heart with my light- once you had a taste of it you were helpless to your craving for it- just as I craved your darkness.
We were both addicted. There was no other option.
I snatched a last breath as myself before your burning flesh melded over mine, melting me into the boiling embrace of your mouth, into the darkness I loved so much. My hands crawled up your back to lock into the thick mats of your hair, so much like mine, clinging together with the sweat of the battle. I pulled you down deeper into myself, into the abyss that swallowed us both and intertwined us closely- more closely than even before. It was more than a mindlink- it was more than an ancient magic of long-dead pagan gods…
There were no words for what is was. Your lips moved over mine, your hand cupping my jaw and pressing me into the kiss, bruising my virgin mouth as a presence appeared at the entrance to the hot cavern I'd lost all control of- tiny whimpers and thanks to the gods seeping into you. I let you in, lapping greedily as you gave me more of yourself, my fingers clutching more intensely at your hair; your free hand groping for a sure hold beneath me to support us both as you slowly consumed me…. as love consumed us both.
They all watched in silent shock and awe as the entity they knew only as a shadowy presence took possession of me as he deserved to. He took what was his. And we lay in each other's arms as my companions stood stock-still, not knowing what to do- me slowly drowning in your kiss.
And all I ever learned from love
Was how to shoot at someone who outdrew you
It's not a cry you can hear at night
It's not somebody who's seen the light
It's a cold and it's a broken Hallelujah
I should fear you…. I shouldn't trust you…
But I can't help it….
We're both slaves to it, this unrighteous, unlovely, shoddy thing that holds no glory for anyone.
It's anguish and I love you…
It's broken and I love you...
As you love me.