A continuation to Writetothedeath's trilogy
Broken Bodies, Fractured Souls,
Resurrecting the Shadow of Memories
Written this time around by Lostpharoah.
Yes, it is I—Carley—the one who begged for those stories to be created. They were written beautifully, and I thank Writetothedeath for her prowess and understanding of what I wanted to be portrayed, and our wonderful collaboration. Having honed my own writing skills over the past few years, I want to add my own two cents to this ongoing story of growing and realizations between Homunculus and Eike. I am, of course, writing this with Sophie's blessing (Which I appreciate, so much), and I hope that it will be read and enjoyed by those who have read the series thus far.
Of course, it will address the relationship between our two main characters, after the bombshell that almost tore their newfound peace apart. However, it will also address even more about the Djinn, memories he refused to touch on the first time around—and it will also bring out more secrets about the race of Djinn itself, and their place in the modern world, as well as history.
Whoever thought we knew everything about Homunculus—you were far from right. This is a continuation of the extensive picture painted by Sophie. Let's thank her for her gorgeous body of work!
And so, with that, please enjoy Amends.
Prologue – Forever and Before
Sarcasm wasn't his cup of tea. Or his cup of coffee, either.
Yet, it was quickly becoming his tool of choice when the clock didn't tick quite fast enough.
Sitting at his desk, realizing that his stack of paperwork seemed to have grown by itself, Eike knew that it was going to be another painfully drawn out day. Looking at the clock, a simple action, was something
that now reminded him of the weakened Djinn, still the only thing on his mind. He had a love for books, which were all around him, yet he couldn't focus on any of them for more than a few minutes.
He wasn't complaining anymore than normal, though. At this point, only a day after what had almost been the death of their relationship, he wanted to get home to make sure that Homunculus was healing. It had been late at night when they had returned, and he had not gotten a wink of sleep, as could be expected. He had sat at the others bedside, watching the unconscious body, wondering if Homunculus could think, or dream, when in that state. The words 'I forgive you' still rang in his mind, bringing a small smile to his lips.
Though he had heard the past of the one he loved, he also knew that it wasn't everything. It would take much longer for every little question he had about the Djinn to be answered, for every emotion and every problem to be addressed. The average human life could be summarized in a biography, perhaps shortened to a few hundred pages. However, while he hadn't discovered the Djinns true 'age', he knew that his life was something that couldn't be explained in even one thousand volumes.
The anger of the night before had been erased when he had seen the other fall, and heard the whispered apology. What was done was done. The future was all that mattered—though, to Homunculus, time had little meaning. Seeing how the other came after him, Eike realized that the being truly was trying to make things work. And that was all the human wanted to see—that the effort was being made, and strides were being taken.
Of course, all these thoughts were to distract how worried he was. The Djinn had been too weak to move…How long would it take him to heal?
His body jumped slightly at the voice cutting through his meditative silence. Turning, he saw Margarete, looking at him with her usual smile. Yet, something about it was definitely different, more straightforward. Smiling, he managed a small wave. "Good morning. Sorry I don't have all this paperwork done, I know I promised I would. Last night was…a long night." He turned back to the stack of work, taking one sheet and pretending to read it over, before signing his name.
Margarete laughed a bit, understandingly. Her voice was at average level when she spoke, not finding it necessary to hide anything. She wasn't the best at keeping secrets anyway.
"I imagine it would have been…He seemed so exhausted when he went after you, so upset. But either way, he made it in time, I'm guessing?"
You could cut the silence with a knife, though it might take a machete. Eike heard the words, but was finding it hard to accept them. Turning in his chair, he stood slowly, meeting her eyes, and realizing what kind of situation this put him in. Homunculus had ruined her life, killed her brother, changed her entire future—and here Eike was, with this Djinn in his home, as his lover. There was no way he could explain his actions, aside from stating the truth.
But before he could open his mouth to speak, she beat him to the punch, using the same logic she had the night before, when speaking to the enraged and defeated demon.
"Don't apologize, like I know you're going to." Again, she used that innocent smile. "I could be angry, I could be confused, as to why you chose him, how he even got back here in the first place…But, after last night, seeing him in that way…" She stopped, averting her eyes, locking them on a painting by Fransen in the corner. "He cried, Eike. He was acting like he was back in the square, so snarky and it happened. Something like that, a …creature like that, crying? I didn't know he could cry. I didn't know he could feel anything. For that to happen…To hear him speak like he did, act like he did, push himself that hard…I can't see how he can be all bad. And you must see that too, Eike. I'm happy for you."
Eike didn't want to say anything. Hearing Margarete accept Homunculus in any respect was enough to make him want to collapse in relief. And beyond that, knowing that Homunculus pushed himself like that, in front of another human, for that matter, made his heart swell. Feeling lost for words, he reached up, and put his hand on her shoulder, nodding his thanks.
She understood, and whispered a small 'You're welcome', and loaning the man a helpful push back to his chair. It was complicated, she could tell—and he didn't know what had occurred to make the demon act the way he did, what he had done to Eike. But obviously, something stronger than a simple fight had overcome it. She had only seen the creature a handful of times, so pale, so fragile, always disappearing in that strange red light. He should be feared, yet she was finding that fear fading, as she saw Eike, and his worry for the other. Hugo had died because of this creature…Yet, she had a feeling that even if Homunculus had been going after his own salvation, Hugo would have died in other ways. It was fate. And fate could not be changed.
"Now get to work. The busier you are, the faster time seems to go." She winked, running a hand through her hair. "I know he is waiting for you."
She couldn't have been more right. Once that sickening stack of work was fully in the outbox, the clock struck closing time. Letting out a slightly obnoxious sigh, Eike got to his feet as quick as he could, and shoved the chair under the desk. Before breaking out into a run out the door, he stopped beside Margaretes desk, still not knowing how she could be so forgiving. He was glad she was this way, of course—but it must have been something difficult for her, unimaginably so.
"Thank you. But, if you ever do come over, don't mention it to him. I'm sure he is mortified that you saw him like that." He smiled, jokingly, but realizing the almost serious nature of the remark.
She looked a bit surprised at the joke, but laughed after a moment of realization. That would be true—she could tell, with how Homunculus had constantly tried to pull away, that it was something he really didn't want. "Of course. I wouldn't dream of it." She pointed at the doorway, face stern. "Now go."
Eike made a mock salute before running out the door, knowing that it was a slightly uphill run home—but well worth the effort. It was only now that every step he took, or every time he lifted something heavy, he wouldn't take it for granted.
Smiling, Margarete tidied up her desk, and glanced up at the black and white clock. Of course, she still had a spark of hatred for the creature—yet, being in this time, surrounded by these people, these wonderful inventions, she could not find it in herself to hold a grudge. She hoped that maybe, someday, she could extinguish the flame of hate completely.
Seeing Eikes excited reaction to the Homunculus, and the breaking heart of the red eyed man the night before, she didn't think it would be too difficult to forgive.
The cobbled streets of the walled city were clear of human steps, except for those clattering towards the home of the Alchemist, Wagner.
That was him, wasn't it?
To be fully honest with himself, and perhaps come to grips with the way his empathy outweighed his own personal feelings, he found himself thinking far more about Homunculus than himself. After the initial shock that came with the revelation of his own past, he pushed it to the back of his mind, and found himself instead bothered by the past of the one who had so recently come back into his rather sparkling new life. Perhaps some things that were said were just sinking in, not to mention the fact that there was more to come. He knew it.
Reaching the front door in what could have been record speed, he quickly pulled the key out of his pocket, jammed it in the lock, and slammed the door open. He didn't call out the others name, worried that he would disturb the resting Djinn. The first thing he would hear would be sarcasm, he thought—actually, that's what he hoped for. That Homunculus he remembered, not the one so frightened the night before.
/That was the longest day of my life. I swear, Homunculus must be dragging time out. Good thing Margarete made me get to work, or else I'd probably still be there. /
His heart beat as he thought about what the woman had said. The Djinn, sucking up his pride like that, now that was palpable proof. This relationship had blossomed quicker than he had expected, with this being a hurdle he was happy had passed.
As he closed the door gently behind him, he caught sight of the demon, sitting on the windowsill, looking out at the garden that Eike usually forgot to water. Surprisingly, he entering the door didn't even
merit a glance from the Djinn, making Eike slightly antsy. How could he possibly be out of bed? Always having to prove himself, even now, after everything that had happened.
Taking a few hesitant steps towards the other, Eike reached out a hand, and put it on the black clad shoulder. Homunculus jumped a bit, turning his head, and looking at Eike with large red eyes. But something was wrong. Of course, the night before had weakened the Djinn—he hadn't even had the strength to lift his arms—but Eike didn't remember the cracks running up the others neck, reaching just below his jaw line. Reaching out his hand, his fingers brushed over the area, looking into the others eyes, not able to help panicking.
"What is this?" During Homunculus's life story, he had, of course, heard about how his body could crack, like broken porcelain. However, it was different hearing about it, and seeing it in real life. It wasn't terrible to look at, like a human wound, bloody and unpredictable. The cracks shimmered in the light, and under them was the red life, the stone. Realizing that this had probably occurred because of the Djinns carelessness, he frowned, furrowing his eyebrows, and trying not to display how afraid he was to see the other injured. "You should have stayed in bed, I told you to not push yourself—"
"This wasn't my doing, Eike."
Well, that shut him up. He had half a mind to tell the other to take the blame for once. Though, after the night before, he had become…slightly more understanding. "Did I do something? I don't remember hurting you—"
Before he could continue, he felt a hand on his own hand, the others pale digits gripping his as tight as they were able. The Djinn wasn't looking at him when he spoke, which worried him—but the touch was something that reminded him of their love, something that had overcome everything. Eike couldn't help the dreamy smile that appeared on his face.
"You didn't. It seems some of the other Djinn have caught wind of our…relationship. And they aren't terribly happy with it."
/Other Djinn? / Homunculus hadn't mentioned any of them, really. Of course, he had said 'his race', and that he had learned of others, but hadn't given any other names. For some reason, thinking of others like the fire demon put Eike on edge. Homunculus had changed, for the better, but he wondered if the others were more cruel, or how much they hated human kind.
He really didn't want to think about it. For now, his eyes were still focused on the crack running down Homunculus's neck.
"You mean…One of them came here? Did that to you?" Eike was feeling overly protective at the thought; already considering quitting his job somehow in the few seconds it took him to realize that someone could do this to Homunculus. Feeling those eyes on him again, he gripped the Djinns hand a bit tighter, but mindfully.
Of course, nothing in their life could be simple. Right?
A simple nod was enough. Glancing up at the human beside him, he wondered how Eike would react to what had happened only shortly before. He had been resting—he truly had—when another appeared, demanding answers. Part of him had hoped that the others could ignore what had happened, but he was far too smart for his own good. He just knew that now, Eike would worry. Bitter, Homunculus glanced at his hand, entangled with the others.
If he could be stronger, this wouldn't have happened.
"He barged in. I was resting, I hope you know." He smirked, showing his true colors for a few moments, the one Eike knew much better than the new, emotional model. "He seemed furious…" Stopping, he looked up at Eike, deep in thought. "Perhaps it would be easier if I showed you what happened. Explaining such things may be difficult." Pausing, he nearly rolled his eyes at what he was going to have to request.
"Would you mind terribly carrying me to the bed? Showing you these memories may take a bit of strength, and it would be easier somewhere comfortable, now wouldn't it?"
Even though the thought of Homunculus pushing himself even more made Eike more saddened, more irritated, the way he asked for the bed brought a smile to his face. The Djinn looked rather irritated at his obvious display of happiness over something so unextraordinary. Reaching out, he placed his arms under the demons legs and back, pulling him against him. What he didn't expect was the look of pure pain the being showed on his pale face, horrifying Eike beyond all reason. He nearly dropped the other in shock.
"Homunculus? What's wrong, tell me!"
The Djinn didn't speak for a few moments, seeming to need to regain his wits. When he did speak, it was in a weaker tone than usual, defeated, yet trying to regain his usual snare. "This crack that you see, on my neck…It runs down, through my body, my back especially. But I suppose you will see that, when I show you the memory." He looked towards the bedroom, basically signaling Eike to get on with it, and not dally. Rushing up the stairs, but trying not to jar the frail being in his arms, he finally arrived, placing Homunculus on the comforter, pillows propped up from the night before. Sitting beside him, realizing how late it was, and how he hadn't eaten, he realized that wasn't important. Right now, all that mattered was what had happened, and how it was going to affect both of them.
"Tell me, Homunculus. But, promise me you won't use up all your strength doing this."
The Djinn smirked. "Oh, Eike. Your worry is sickening." He laughed a bit, showing the other he was, indeed, joking. Closing his eyes, he spoke quietly to the other.
"Now, close your eyes. I'll show you what happened, how the other Djinn see me, how they affect me…And how I undeniably effect them."
I do promise that this will get better. As a prologue, I wanted to re-estabish all these characters, and set things up properly. The next chapter should be up by tomorrow, or Friday at the latest.
Coming up, In Chapter One, Remembrance: We see who came to visit Homunculus, learn more about Djinn customs, and find out how our favorite Djinn is connected to the past and future of his kind.