Play Dead

[darling stop confusing me
with your wishful thinking]

The land of demons is filled with those who may be beautiful, may have sweet voices and sweet lips. Once you move closer, you find they are all cold blooded creatures. Snakes, if you will.

But the icy wind has whipped chill his bones in particular, starved even his salvation, his serpentine love from the very center of his body. Inside of him he has no heart and begins to wonder if he ever had anything other than these petals that freeze to ice chips within his chest, that freeze first his bones and then the softer, once-warm things that used to lie beneath.

And with the changing, shifting of the snow, time passes.


With each fresh, freezing gust of wind that stings his cheeks, he feels the numbness come upon him. He is waiting, has been waiting, for something so far off he barely remembers it, or cares to, his arms chained high above his head. He feels as Prometheus must have, high, hidden, alone, upon the jagged tooth of a mountain. And every day that poor smiling vulture, that poor smiling fool, coming to rob him of even that dignity age long suffering had brought as solace to his sadness.

And he smiles, that idiot.

He touches him and he smiles.

It is a sad smile, too.

But at least he can smile, still. Can hope. Is foolish enough to smile and pretend there is a chance for their frozen fingertips to find heat together. Idiot. Idiot! There is no hope high upon a mountain. There is no hope when you have ripped hope's heart from her chest and tried to grow a flower there instead. There is no hope when you have chained her to a mountain, locking the last dove of spring into a place of complacent but selfish memory and longing.

[hopeful embraces
don't you understand?]

There is sometimes laughter that comes from Teteirus's own lips, forced through the soft, parted flesh and forming brittle icicles upon the air.


But there is no answer, save for the howling of the wind echoing forever against his own body.


But there is only the memory of his heart torn from his chest, his wing ripped from his back, the splitting pain of having love and a clawed hand tear you in two. A clawed hand that later touches your lips and your skin and your stomach and your thighs. Spreads your thighs apart. Touches you gently but all you can remember is the snapping sound feather and flesh and bone made. All you can remember is the sucking of flesh and blood and muscle and the beating which suddenly stopped, wrenched from your body. You do not even deserve that which the lowliest of animals is allowed. You have no heart.

You have no heart and yet your hurt bleeds forth from you. You revel in it. It tears you apart better than any claws have ever done.


He would have saved her.

Deep in the place where he has no heart, only the vast well of bitterness, he knows this.

He does not cry.

He whispers that name to the wind but Rauresu does not come for him.

And still he loves him.

[I have to go through this
I belong here where
no-one cares and no-one loves]

It is the very place where Teteirus would have put himself, to pine away alone. He resents himself as he resents the beast for whom hatred is not the proper emotion, pity, perhaps, and fear, but that has faded, sadness, deep inside where he despises understanding the great pain that drives Zaadei to do as Teteirus himself was never strong enough to. Or was perhaps too strong. Or perhaps it is too cold to judge or to care.

Too cold for wondering.

Too cold for thinking.

Too cold to do anything but close your eyes and feel your lips turn blue and feel your skin turn bluer, blood slowing, and yet you still do not die. Living is his cross to bear. A familiarly heavy weight on his back. Something he gleans meager pride from.

The last bit of pride he has left to relish.

Against the mountain the wind howls and whips the snow into a frothing frenzy, the foam at a wild dogs mouth only so, so much colder. He loses feeling in his fingers. In his nose.

Once Zaadei kissed his nose. A tender kiss, lips brushing against the very tip. Said, "your nose is cold" and there was no resentment, just something resigned, just something sad, something somewhere very deep very touched. Zaadei is as his pain is. His cross to bear. He has become too familiar, too friendly, with all that he hates. Hate, close to love, set in the comfort of routine. Hard to determine between two such strong emotions in the sting of the cold.

He loses feeling in his toes.

Once Zaadei took his feet in both hands and rubbed, warming up the chilled flesh. Said, "aren't you real?" and Teteirus was oddly, oddly touched, beyond the dizziness in his head and the tingling of the blood flow returning to him. And when Zaadei lowered him back to the snow it was warm.

He loses feeling in his lips.

And Zaadei loves his lips.

And he whispers a name that is lost to the howling of the wind, a wild and unforgiving beast, barrelling against his body as if soon it would break. He is a demon made of an icicle. An angel made of despair. He is everything and nothing all at once.

If a demon weeps on a mountain and there is no one there to hear him, does he make a sound?

[no light no air to live in
a place called hate
the city of fear]

And then Zaadei comes up the mountain.

And he takes his body and in complacence Teteirus knows that he is giving himself up freely, as if he wants it. Maybe he does. Maybe it is easier to hurt physically along with the hurt in his chest. Maybe he punishes himself. Maybe it is he that is keeping Zaadei trapped. Maybe it is he who is the captor. Maybe he has never been the captive. For what do chains signify? What does he signify, upon a mountaintop?

He lets himself go limp and lets Zaadei think they are making love. The fool is clumsy and awkward but his touch is gentle, once the initial struggle is over. Must keep up the struggle for the pretense, for the routine that he cherishes.


Zaadei makes soft sounds of pleasure. Low, deep growls. Gutteral Grunts.

"Unh. Unh. Unh."

And he has warm breath, nothing like a beast, everything like a beast, nothing like a snake.

Nothing like Teteirus.

And he moves with a slow hip jerking, touching Teteirus's cheek with his human hand, dragging his claws through his hair. Pale. Just as white, just as sterile, just as cold, just as pure, just as impure, as the snow. Just as soft as silk.

Once, Zaadei said "I love you" and screamed it so loud but Teteirus didn't hear him, bled out against him and heard nothing, with his lips parted and his chest barely moving at all up, shudder, down, shudder, up.

[I play dead
it stops the hurting
I play dead
and the hurting stops]

And afterwards Zaadei is a warm Zaadei blanket atop of him and he is asleep. Something keeps Teteirus in the snow. Something.

If he came out of hiding.

With Zaadei's face buried in his shoulder, chest up against the glowing scar in Teteirus's own. It is comfortable. Almost. Teteirus hates comfort.

If he escaped.

Teteirus hates himself. That is the only thing.

What would he escape to?

He burrows down deep in the snow. Allows himself to be almost grateful, through the lack of feeling, for all the chains that hold him to the snow. This cross he bears. This great Zaadei weight atop of him.

It is just what he needs.

[it's sometimes just like sleeping
curling up inside my private tortures]

"You're beautiful." Zaadei lounges on the side of the hotspring, a buried warmth hidden in the frigid, rough edges of the mountain. A place lacking all snow. Something that might be pleasure. A moment of warmth that he enjoys and does not enjoy for that enjoyment he cannot be allowed.

"Hn." Teteirus looks back over his shoulder.

Perhaps he knows how much that look hurts. How beautiful it is. How faraway his eyes.

"Just. Y'know. What they call a compliment."

"Aa. Sou." Teteirus keeps his voice clipped and cold and throws out all compliments. He refuses to remember them.

Save for when the air is cold and he is all alone and he does not think of Rauresu for the greatest weight, the heaviest agony, is that which is present, which is a cold sting to his flesh, which burns him as only ice can. He remembers them then. Touches them as an old lover. Wonders at the taste they lend to his ears. Ringing out, a music, a rough voice, something he loves to hate and hates to love. Misery is sweet. Despair, sweeter. The sweetest of them all is loneliness. The greatest burden to bear when you are just yourself, with no other half, no other beside you. When the cold wind blows and you are alone you can roll over in your mind the words which appease the loneliness, the fang of a great beast dug into your stomach.

[I nestle into pain
hug suffering
caress every ache]

The land of demons is filled with those who may be beautiful, may have sweet voices and sweet lips. Once you move closer, you find they are all cold blooded creatures. Snakes, if you will.

All that you see upon first glance is a lie.

The beautiful one. Teteirus. And inside he is a beast, a lingering animal of self-destruction, love warped to hatred. Despite the hollow sadness in his eyes he feels nothing besides intense justification at his state.

And the monster. Zaadei. His one hand, perfect, with graceful, tapered fingers, speak of the tenderness and the hope that he harbors, clumsy and foolish, in his swollen, intensely loving heart. His blood is warm.

Snakes, if you will.

And as for Zaadei: the icy wind has whipped chill his bones in particular, starved even his salvation, his serpentine love from the very center of his body. Inside of him he has no heart and begins to wonder if he ever had anything other than this unrequited passion that once ran hot and now simply freeze to ice chips within his chest, moving first to his bones and then to the softer, once-warm things that used to lie beneath.

[I play dead
it stops the hurting]