I: The Things We Fight For



"Won't it be dull when we rid ourselves of all these demons haunting us to keep us company?" –Barenaked Ladies, War on Drugs



It's not healthy.

Then again, not much about this whole thing is. In the grand scheme of things, a barely functional relationship is the least of our worries. We've already given up our childhoods, we've already witnessed more trauma than anyone should ever have to live through, we've already lied so much to everyone else that our families don't know who we are. Sometimes I don't think we know who we are. I know I don't always.

So comparatively, a relationship where two people legitimately love each other isn't that bad. And yes, people. Because I don't care what he says, I refuse to believe he's no longer a person. I don't care if it's what he thinks.

I'm waiting for him at my desk again. He doesn't show up every evening, but he makes the effort. I understand that the way he lives now, sometimes dinner doesn't happen and he has to conserve all his energy. It's temporary, I tell myself. At this point I've given up on trying to argue him into overstaying the time limit, at least until the end of the war.

But after the war? He's going to be human again, fully human. I know that once the war is over, once he doesn't have the excuse of being out of the fight, he'll do it for me, if I ask sincerely. And I want him to, so I will. I love him, and he loves me, and long-term, a woman just can't spend the rest of her life with a bird. Especially when their life-spans are so short.

And God, do I love him. Not that we ever say that out loud to each other, but I've recently come to understand that about myself. I don't sort of love him; I deeply love him, because I was never the type of person to do things half-assed. Fight hard, love hard.

It makes the fighting less scary to love someone. Love is a very human emotion, and what I feel during battle isn't something most humans would admit to. It's terrifying. It's too terrifying to even talk about, with anyone, even with Tobias, because we don't really talk to each other about things like that. We leave the deep moral conversations to Jake and Cassie.

Tobias and I just like knowing we're not alone. That he's not alone in his situation, that I'm not alone as the only un-reluctant warrior. That, too, is a pretty human thing.

And it's another very terrifying thing, to know that you're the only other person in a world that could quickly become one. That we're both one person away from being devastatingly isolated. It's a lot of responsibility. It's the pressure to say the right things, live through the battles, and fight back any doubts you ever have about it. It's hard work, knowing that every harsh word you say weighs ten times what anyone else's critique would. That having all their love to yourself is not a gift; it's a frightening burden.

I know Tobias knows that if he stopped loving me, I might just go with that part of me that loves the bloodshed. Escape heartbreak by surrendering to the awful dark instincts in me. Or maybe stop using love as an excuse not to. I'm not really sure which way it would go.

And what if I stopped loving him? I don't even think on that long enough to form a scenario, because I know I won't – can't. Everyone he's ever had has turned their back on him. I'll never be the next person in that line. I couldn't do that to him, even if I didn't love him anymore, so I never even have to consider it as a hypothetical.

So yeah. Not exactly healthy.

But I've never really been a traditional person, and this isn't the healthiest lifestyle anyway, so maybe healthy isn't the highest priority for me. Maybe survival is. To not be killed and for once, to not kill.