A/N: In case no one has caught it yet, I've been crossing names in here. Well, Cupid is the only exception in that I'm using the Roman name rather than using his Greek name (Eros) instead like I've been doing with anyone else. I'm just pointing this out to anyone who might've been bothered with it. I think I might accidentally type Erotic anyway every time Eros came up –shot forever- By the way, I went with the Ares and Aphrodite interpretation in being Cupid's parents, which is the interpretation I always liked. Hope that sits well with you, too.
Listening to sad Yuki Kajiura songs does the muse wonders.
Mother and Father used to be gods, widely known around the world. As a child, I'd pick up books of mythology and read them, only to find out that the most beautiful woman and brutal man in the world were my parents.
Even before our family had fallen into the shadows, there had been very little I had seen of my father. Searching through my memories, I could recall but a fearsome man with wild eyes and a strong jaw, long black hair falling over his shoulders as he leaned down to murmur one of the only things he ever said to me, "Your mother likes to think you were born to be Love. But Love never helped anyone. You are to be nothing but loyal and obedient, as a son should be. More than Love, you should remember Hate. It will better serve you in this world."
I closed my eyes tightly, curling my wings around me and trying to block out the commanding voice of my father.
"Remember Hate. Your Hate. The hate of our family. We will always disdain those who cross us, who wrong us. Remember that Hate, Cupid, because that's what you are."
My heart gave a start as I yelled out, quickly opening my eyes wide. Staring back at my flushed, sweating face was my mother, expression concerned with one of her hands hovering between us, reaching for me.
My mother used to be known as Aphrodite. She had been the most beautiful and adored woman of both man and god. Her eyes had been like sapphires, her hair golden-spun silk and the color full on her face. But years of being with Chaos and five children, one of which died, had aged her and grayed out her graceful features. The goddess she had been before had long since been forgotten by all. Sometimes I can see it though, the enchanting woman Father had met. With the concern she displayed now, I could definitely see a trace of her younger self.
"Cupid. Elly," she said, putting her hand down on my bed. "What's wrong? You were shaking."
My mouth was open but I couldn't muster up the energy to think of what to say. Mother's lips settled in a discomforted line and she moved over, hugging me and cradling my head against her shoulder. Without realizing it, my fingers curled around the midnight-blue ruffles of her dress. Her hand ran through my hair, soothing me as I leaned more into her.
"You haven't been acting yourself lately," she murmured when I still said nothing. "Your siblings tell me they think something must have happened when you visited that Psyche."
My heart flinched away at your name and I gripped my mother's dress a little tighter. At the same time, I shifted one of my hands to go over the scar from the burn your candle left me. "I just wanted time to myself," I tried to explain, but it sounded ridiculous. All of it was ridiculous. I didn't brood over anything, much less keep something from my family.
If Vanessa or the others knew what I did with you, what I felt for you… They wouldn't understand. It wasn't that my family was heartless, but things like love, which I thought I knew about - I couldn't imagine any one of them to understand any of it. I blinked then, coming to a realization.
"Did something happen? They told me they sent you there to…humiliate him," Mother continued to say, trying to understand why I was so cut-off. "But that they went to check on Psyche a few days ago and…"
Oh. So they knew I failed my mission. They knew you weren't under any kind of spell my arrows cast. I lightly pushed myself away from my mother to curl myself up at the head of my bed again. Glancing at her soft, pale blue eyes, I felt more secure, and I thought if anyone would understand or at least try to, it'd be her, who was once a goddess of love. And slowly, I looked down at my bare feet and murmured, "I couldn't do it." Like it wasn't obvious...
"Back then, Mother, I couldn't shoot him with my arrow, I… I left without shooting him. But I kept going to go see him, every night. I talked to him. We…became friends," I said, the word 'lovers' unable to pass from my lips, though more from awkward embarrassment than shame. "I… We…" I flushed slightly, not used to saying these kinds of things while referring to myself. How odd was it that I never experienced affection for anyone, yet I was Love?
How ill-suited was I to even have felt anything towards you?
I felt Mother's eyes on me, trying to make sense of the little explanation I gave her. A rare frown creased her brow. "Elly," she said breathlessly, eyes widening. It was such a severe look that I stopped thinking and stared at her, wondering what was wrong. She reached out to grip my shoulders. "Cupid, did you fall under Psyche's charms?"
Your charms? The word almost made me want to laugh at first. And then I almost answered with a yes before I realized what Mother had really asked. She, like everyone else, was under the impression that you were some monster behind a beguiling mask of beauty.
But I knew you so much better.
I shook my head, reaching up to gently caress her hands. "No, no nothing like that. Mother, it wasn't any kind of spell or whatever. Nothing like my arrows, I just… It happened," I finished lamely. At the shock on her face, I quickly tried again to elaborate, "It's not bad. I just-"
"And that's why you've been in here for days," she interjected grimly, her lips turning down. My words hadn't even seemed to make it to her ears and I furrowed my brows. She broke away from me, smoothing out her dress as she rose from my bed. "He broke your heart. Because you fell in love with him."
"You say it like it's a poisonous thing," I said in a low, disbelieving voice, my eyes following her every movement. "I don't understand why you sound like that."
She turned back to me, her face softened. "Poisonous?" she asked in confusion.
"Isn't that right? You think I shouldn't have feelings for him. You see the same thing Father has always been teaching us to see – only hatred for people. And you know," Elliot moved, swinging his legs over the edge of his bed, "all my life I never knew something like Love. But when I decided to see Psyche with my own eyes, I saw someone different than who I was supposed to hate. What I didn't do that night may have been against what my family wanted, but I'm tired of looking at the world in apathy and hate."
I was standing now. I hadn't even realized it until I was looking down at my mother, light shadows dancing over her face from the fluttering of my wings behind me. I never stood against my mother before – she never gave me cause to. Gentle, softspoken Mother…
"I thought you'd understand," I murmured in disappointment, plopping back down on my bed and frowning deeply. Although what more had I suspected? There were days I looked at my parents and wondered if they were truly together out of love – my father was so cold, my mother so tired. Out of my own thoughts, I asked quietly, "How did you even end up with someone like Father?"
She finally stirred, taking a deep breath. "Oh Elliot…" Her hand reached up to tug at the collar of her dress. "You don't realize how lucky you are with your arrows," she said, sounding weary. It wasn't the tone of someone who agreed with the view the rest of my family had of you.
It still didn't make what she said any more right. I shook my head fervently, completely disgusted with her idea. "No, I don't…" I hate it. I hate my arrows. I wish I could snap each and every one into pieces. "It's manipulation. Nothing I do is real. All the so-called happiness or bitterness I bring into relationships is something I created." Everyone's heart is just a little puppet for me. If only I hadn't been born this way…
Oh. I never considered that before. But if I don't do it, what use am I? This was my only purpose for as long as I've lived. If that's taken, who am I even anymore? Someone unnecessary? Someone useless?
Mother came over to me, touching my cheek softly. "Yes, it is something you created. Doesn't that make you happy that you can make others happy?"
"But it's not real, is what I'm trying to tell you!" I exclaimed desperately, pleading for her empathy with my voice. "Mother, it's fake. What I give to them isn't natural. People can fall in love on their own, without me meddling! That's…that's what Psyche taught me…"
Yes, I could fall in love with you, but… How long does that last? What about those feelings I had after you rejected me, those feelings of…of hate? The thought that I could have something so dark festering inside me sick. Because that would make Father right then, it would mean I really knew nothing but Hate.
Even now, I sit here wondering how you could do this to me, to us, to what we could've been.
Is this me then?
Born of Chaos and Beauty – both dark and painful yet beautiful and warm. I wondered if that's what Love really was. I had to know. I had to come up with what the name of it all was, because if I didn't, then you might really be lost to me again. And I didn't want to lose you, even though in reality…I might've already. Because every night all I knew was that one of us was in the wrong place, despite the fact that the memory of the look in your eyes and the words you said were still fresh in my mind.
I couldn't leave it at that. I couldn't leave it with me being apart from you and letting the Hate spread inside me like a disease.
I want to see you.
Mother stirred near me, catching my attention for just a second as she said my name uncertainly.
Ignoring that, I turned outside to my balcony and opened the doors. "I'm going to see Psyche," I said firmly, the conviction in my voice helping the growing will inside me. I stepped onto the ledge, spreading my wings. I was beginning to feel so light.
I had a plan to just take off without looking back, no matter what my mother might say, or omit with silence. But she called out to me then and said something that made me freeze right then, the wind picking up to make my mind spin in a weird vertigo. Slowly, I turned my head back to her, eyes wide.
Lines of worry creased around her lips and on her forehead, and she took a step toward me, hand half reached out to me. "I said there's no point. That boy is probably dead by now."
As quickly as the shock had come before, now there was a cold sort of disbelief. "He can't just up and die. Don't lie to me to make me stay here, Mother," I said, in a strange sort of calm state now. I refused her words, and they bounced off me as surely as if I never heard them. I made to take off again when she exclaimed,
"I'm not lying, Cupid! Your brothers and sister went out to have him disposed of when they learned of what was happening with you. They went out, Cupid, and they took him to see Persephone down in the Underworld, to make him ask for a box of her beauty. And you know what that means. He's as good as gone now."
Disposed of? Gone, to the Underworld? "Because of me," I said so quietly I might've just mouthed it, and I inhaled sharply. The dark heat of hate bubbled inside me again, but I managed to shove down the scream building in my chest. Maybe once more I might've heard my mother whisper my name in a quiet plea, but I gave a powerful flap of my wings to muffle everything else.
All the lightness I had before went up too high, out of my reach, and I was heavy again, cold and heavy and bloodless. The only thing that kept playing again and again in my mind was your name and face, eyes looking away from me - look at me, please-!
The scenery around me was an endless blur, but the smear of light blues and greens were not what I wanted. When I got far enough that finally the shadowy black of the woods were in sight, I dove down and frantically weaved through the trees. Branches clawed at my face and stabbed over my wings, plucking out feathers until I stopped flying and ran barefoot through the woods.
I knew where I wanted to be, I knew who I wanted to be beside at that instant, but every turn was on a thought and I hoped that maybe I was being led to you, wherever you were.
Don't let me be too late, please don't let me be too late, don't have opened that cursed box-!
"LEO!" I called out, and it was hard to tell what was louder in my ears - my own shouts or the thumping of my heart.
My foot slipped as I ran into a sudden slope, and I cursed as I slid down, rolling and bumping into fallen branches and tree roots until stopping once the ground became level again. I curled for a second, trying to regain my breath, not caring about my new scrapes or the ache of my body where I tumbled. "Nngh... Leo!"
Call out to me! You can hear me, can't you?
"...Ohh, interesting. A bruised and frantic Cupid has fallen before me," mused a lyrical voice right behind me.
Still on my hands and knees, I turned my head, looking up at the queen of the Underworld herself. I exhaled, and with it I seemed to calm down just the tiniest bit, enough that I could get back up on my feet again, albeit shakily. "Persephone. Lacie," I said, advancing to her in three easy strides. "My siblings, they sent a boy here, he didn't know that you gave death to others and he asked you-"
The recognition was plain on Lacie's face, and I stopped my explanation as soon as I saw the slight incline of her head coupled with the slight tight pressing of her ruby-red lips. "Give him to me," I said in a pained voice, but my body reacted first, my shoulders sagging with the weight of impending despair.
Easily, she stepped to the side, her long skirts revealing behind her like curtains.
You were lying there motionless on the ground, one hand pressed to your chest, and I imagined you gripping your clothing over it, trying to draw breath that couldn't come to you. A veil, black and gossamer, covered most of your face, although in your fall it had fluttered a bit to the side, and I saw the long lashes of your closed eye brush tiny shadows over your cheekbones.
I was too late.
The thought ghosted over me like a cold shroud rather than pierced through like a sword, and as soon as it did, my skin prickled in goosebumps at the sight of your corpse. I never knew much about death, but I had always thought wishing someone to be alive again was a pointless thing, an impossible thing so one should never think it, never; one had to live and accept the fact that...
"Lacie, you're Queen of the Underworld, so you can-"
"I can't." Her words were terse, precise, cutting into me deeply. Her neutral expression didn't change even when I looked at her with wide, lost eyes. "I know what you want, but I can't give it to you. I don't have those kinds of powers. And even though my husband does, he never does anything like bringing someone back to life without making a difficult bargain in exchange."
"I'll do it!" I declared desperately. "Whatever it is, whatever challenge, I'll do it!"
Lacie looked at me almost in disappointment before letting out a slow, deep breath. "This is a waste of time and you know it. I think it'd be better for you to take him and leave. Or cast aside his body here. The kind of death I give allows the body to remain intact and immune to the decay over time. An eternal, sleeping death, if you will."
Growling in frustration, I shook my head fervently, fists tightening at my sides as I gave you another look. "I don't want some damn image! I want him back!" I cried out. Even when I knew it wasn't Lacie's fault. Or yours. There was little to hold me back from having my hand grip your clothing, my breath getting heavier, building in my chest hot and heavy like the desperate words coming out of my mouth. "He didn't know, dammit...! Why are you so stupid, Leo!? Why the hell are you so damn stupid!?"
I pressed my forehead to your chest, my hand curling to a tight fist, wanting to punch you - as if you'd even feel it. "Stupid Leo," I whispered. "Stupid, stupid..." Wetness made my eyelashes stick together, but I shut my eyes tight against it. When I opened my eyes again though, my heart still heavy, I found the deep criss-cross of cuts along your jaw. Shocked, I rose just slightly and removed your veil, sucking in a breath. My fingertips froze over the contours of your cheek, trembling. "This is why..."
"Can you tell? He did it to himself," Lacie explained quietly.
My eyes ran over every dried line of blood, every uneven lock of your cut hair, barely someone I recognized. While I had been toiling away with the darkness inside me, you took it to the outside on your own body. How easy it must of been for you to be tricked by my siblings, who had probably promised everything to you... And me? How was I different? "I shouldn't have left you...," I whispered weakly, biting inside my mouth. I shook my head slowly, brushing back your hair and caressing your face gently. Inside, I was screaming.
Too late, too uncertain.
When I looked back down, I caught the slight parting of your lips, and I curled up more to you, cradling your head onto my lap. My nose brushed against yours, and even though I had no idea how to beg for something, I let every word that sprung in my head to come out. "Leo, don't you go. Don't you dare go, you idiot. Come back here. Come back here..."
I pressed my lips to yours then, feeling only cold death.
I took the poison in. I still felt the darkness linger on my lips when I opened my eyes to the black sky swirling with small golden lights, and right then I was dragged back to that moment when I saw the candle's reflection dancing in the beautiful abyss of your eyes. There was a scent around me, not living but not exactly the putrid stench of death, either. When I looked down, and finding them there all around the ground, I saw the withering petals of anemone around me, small and stiff, nearly all the color faded from them. One experimental movement of my foot had the dying flowers scratching against each other. I put my foot down and scanned over the dark landscape.
"Leo?" I mouthed. Audible now, "Leo." Louder, "Leo!"
I stepped out, head spinning left and right frantically to search for you. Anemones crunched beneath my feet and I tried to move lightly even when I was so frantic. No matter where I went, the field of withered anemones did not slow, and the blackness above me did not grow lighter. Then I realized the lights, the lights that I thought were just in the sky, that were now falling gracefully and leisurely down, were particularly concentrated in a bee-line down to the dead earth.
Without delay, I followed the rain of tiny golden lights. It wasn't far, but it felt longer than it should to finally come to the base of this mystical waterfall and find you there laying curled up among the withered flowers. I stopped right behind you, letting myself to take you in for just a second as I exhaled what must of been a relieved breath.
You sensed me. Your shoulders tensed, but then you looked behind you. The new cuts on your face were still there, and your thick hair was still short and uneven as you rose up. You gazed at me in shock, almost fearful. It reminded me too much of the night you pushed me away, when I left you. And, taking it as a second chance, I fell to my knees and embraced you tightly, pressing your face into the crook of my neck.
You were so solid. It was perhaps the most wonderful feeling, to feel your softness, to hold you tight, to nuzzle into your hair and now right then you would not leave my arms unless I willed it. And you weren't pushing me away, but I felt how tense you were, how you froze, but then, yes, gradually, so gradually, relaxed until your forehead was pressing heavily against my shoulder.
"You are the most stupid person," I half-growled, half-sobbed. It surprised me how quickly the tear had come to pool in my eyes, but I didn't know if I was more happy or sad.
Too easily, you resigned, "I know..." Then, as an afterthought, you murmured, "Elliot, you're hurting me a bit."
"Just deal with it. I'm not letting you go ever again." I held ever tighter, hearing you gasp, and my hands traveled over your back, fisting the back of your hair. "God, I'm never letting you go. How could you go and do that? How could you do this to yourself?" I wanted to say you should have come to me, but I knew how bad that would sound, especially when I had left you, too. No more though, never again.
When I finally did let go, and you took in more even breaths, your first words were, "How did you find me?"
"My mother told me what my siblings had done, and I didn't wait a second longer to come look for you."
"It's too late though, Elliot. I'm already..." You looked down, one of your hands reaching for the nearest anemone and nudging the dried petals with your finger. "I didn't know what would be inside the box. If I had, I'd... I would have never opened it. I swear." Your hands shook when you tried to rake your short bangs over your face again. "I know what I look like now, and I know what you must be thinking, but I...I swear once they told me I could make things right, I didn't once think about trying to kill myself. Being apart from you was the worst thing, and letting you go was a torturous thought that kept eating my mind and...and trying to destroy my outsides was the punishment that I thought up. But I didn't seek this out, I..."
My expression softened a bit, and I could feel myself calm down just from the sound of your voice alone. Once more I traced over the array of cuts on your face, wondering why you chose this to be your punishment. Had you been so torn up inside that the razors couldn't be content with cutting up inside you, they had to surface as well? And what was horrendous about them wasn't how they altered your appearance, it was how and why it was done - the intent behind it is what made me want to lower my gaze. One of my thoughts came up to voice with a murmur of, "Why can't you love yourself, Leo?"
It had been a very cruel question, and I was about to retract it, but you didn't seem surprised to hear it at all. "All my life has been people hurting me, never letting the 'real' me - whoever that even is - out. I'm just an object, Elliot. Treating myself this way is loving myself - based on what I've been taught." For a second, you were quiet, contemplative as your eyes slowly traced out into the distance before gracefully landing back on me. "I thought...maybe after meeting you, your way was the one that was right, but... I don't know anymore."
I came closer again, leaning in with my wings loosely curling against my shoulders. My hand came out, hovering near your cheek, wanting to brush back the uneven locks of your hair, and I made shadow movements of the action. "That's the thing, Leo," I told you softly, hoping more than anything you'd hear me out. "It's the same with me. I don't think I understood any of it at all until I met you. I didn't know this was something that could grow. And thinking of it now...it's like these anemones, isn't it? How this feeling called love grows, but then has to be taken care of. And I didn't know how to care for us yet when I left you. IT's different now, though. Things like love," I came closer to you, touching you as I wrapped an arm around you, "it can happen between two people without my arrows. It's not artificial with you. And I..."
I love you.
"...Were we both wrong then?"
I gazed at you in slight surprise. "For hoping for more? Of course not. The only wrong thing, I think," I leaned in, my lips pressing against your forehead but not kissing you necessarily, "would be if we didn't try to act with that hope. And I...was the one to push you away that night."
"Only because of what I did," you replied lowly, your voice a blown-out candle, the same small fire that had shocked us that night. "Because I believed Glen's words over your love. That's how much I trust you." There was a sardonic ring at the end of your statement.
I did kiss you then, holding your hand to bring up to my lips and kiss the back of your palm too, lingering and savoring every bit of your touch against my skin. My eyes had closed in the middle of that, and when I opened them again, I looked straight at you, and saw you just as you were the first time I laid eyes on you, the moment I realized I loved you, and held you to me. "You know how much you trust me?" I said, still holding your hand as, with my other, I cupped the back of your head. "Enough that you opened yourself up to me, enough that you let me hold you and touch you."
Up until then, your expression had slowly been softening. The lights had returned to your eyes bit by bit, but then you tried to pull back, looking torn. "I want that again," you explained to me slowly. "I want to offer every part of myself to you - I just... What if you don't want any of it? I don't..." You looked bitterly sad, hand going limp in my hold. "I don't even have a Soul."
"It'll be like the first time again, then," I reassured you, knowing you'd remember each scar and red line I had kissed back then, and how it'd be no different now when I gave you all the love I had for you. This, I hoped, would be the start of making it better again, when you should you were willing to try to trust once more - and not just me, but yourself, and what the two of us could do together. It could only be us. My lips brushed against a thick cut right next to your eye, where even now, yes, I thought I saw it.
Uncertainly, your head nodded toward mine, your lips trembling when we finally met for a kiss. Your back melted into the sea of anemone as my body breathed heavily against yours. Wordless and breathless, I communicated everything to you as surely as we had before, when we had the cover of night, when that didn't matter because we were in love, and these touches and gasps were all we needed to know. I did it slowly, shielding you and holding you together as you tried yourself to bring your fallen pieces together, turning your face and hiding from me when my hand dipped low between your thighs, before letting out a pleased mewl and gazing back up at me defiantly. You pulled me down for a hungry kiss, and I tasted you so sweetly again, cupping your face even when we wrestled to take our clothes off.
"It's better like this," I whispered hoarsely, sucking on your pulse. "Because now..." I grunted, leaning down over you, wiping back what was left of your bangs. "Now I can see your eyes." And god, if there was any part of you that still believed you were unworthy of me - how you could have such a thought still hurt - then I'd tell you right then how powerless you could make me with just a glance of those beautiful dark pools, shining with candlelight.
And for a few seconds we stayed like that, me exposing your eyes and moving my hips to bury myself deeper in you, and you gazing back at me, tears falling down either side of your face. "Elliot... Elliot, is it there?" you asked, embracing me.
I smiled, panting hotly against your ear. "Yes," I said. "It's there." Your nails raking down my back and your body arching against mine I took to be your response. Your legs held fast around my body, tossing your head back as you moaned. My wings, which had already been fluttering slightly, twitched in pleasure when your fingers brushed against them, and I thrust faster, my mind going blank with little else but to keep moving.
My name was called out again and again, falling from your lips, your voice getting higher and more breathless until it was nothing more than broken, incoherent sounds moaned into my ear. My own voice was nearly lost to me as you held tight to me inside you, the noises of our lovemaking the only thing around us. Opening my eyes just before I felt you climax, I saw the bright colors returning to the anemones, fairytale hues of purple and red, white and pink, but their sweet scent was lost to me over the smell of our sweat and sex.
When I released inside you, all but collapsing on top of you, you cradled my head to your chest, and I closed my eyes. You said not a word as we regained our breath, but like always, I felt it in your touch as you weaved your fingers through my hair:
I love you...
The sharp gale of air that filled your lungs as my ear pressed against your chest was perhaps the sweetest sound I could wake up to. I swayed slightly as I got up, barely registering the dark woods around us when you coughed. I smiled, ready to embrace you when I noticed your coughs persisted, and you were sitting up, propped by one of your arms as you covered your mouth. Shadows, now something more liquid-like, spilled in between your fingers and fell to the ground. Immediately I was holding you, patting your back so that every bit of Death that had entered you would come out.
"F...Fine," you said hoarsely, straightening up shakily when your fit was over with. You looked so tired, dark circles around your eyes, but your lips slowly formed an incredulous smile. "I'm fine...Elliot." We smiled brightly at each other and you hugged me.
I held my arms around you more tightly now, resting my chin on top of your head. When I looked up, I saw Lacie still there. She was squatted on the ground, a small box open in her hand as she carefully ushered the Death from the ground near us to the box. When all the shadowy material had slugged its way back inside, she closed the box and stood up to brush off her skirts. I pulled back away from you just slightly, asking her, "How did that happen?"
"I told you it was rather more like eternal sleep than an actual death," she explained simply, offering an impressed smile as she tossed back her long black hair. "All you did was wake him up."
It was as good an explanation as any, and if the end result was you sitting here breathing again, then I had no reason to object it.
Others did, though.
"The question," said a quiet and slightly confused voice behind me, "is why you would do it. Cupid."
Vanessa and my two brothers were standing there, and at the sound of my sister's voice, you had tensed slightly, but I gripped your shoulder firmly. "What the hell is wrong with you, sending him here and trying to kill him?" I asked, brows furrowed in anger.
The equally frustrated expression that had been on Vanessa's face fell. Just as quickly, she stomped over to grab my arm. "For Heaven's sake, you have no idea what you're saying! You should've left that brat to die! We did it for you, Elliot!" she exclaimed, trying to yank me up.
I stared at her in bewilderment. "Are you joking? He was literally dead in my arms when I came!" I protested, taking my arm back. I moved in front of you, shielding you from my siblings in case any of them got other ideas. "All this did for me was cause pain. You had no right in taking him away like that!"
A few feet behind, Claude and Ernest exchanged troubled looks. "The slut's got him on a tighter leash than we thought," murmured Ernest with a discomforted curl of his lips. I heard his comment though and glared intensely at him. It took no time for me to be in front of him, you right behind me with our hands tightly linked. Maybe I was too blind in anger, because at no point in my right mind would I do this, but too quickly my fist was raised and I landed a hard blow to my brother's face, sending him to a surprised stagger until he fell back.
"Elli-!" you shouted in surprise.
I gave no one time to recover. "Don't you dare call him that. None of you know a damn thing about him." I kept going, too far ahead to quit now, as I unleashed all my musings for the past few days onto them. "All you do is go along with whatever Father says. Well, he's wrong, about everything!"
"Elliot...?" called Vanessa in a torn voice.
"This is something I've thought up on my own," I said, turning my eyes away from Ernest's wide gaze to look at Vanessa. "This is nothing Psyche told me, but things I've been thinking over on my own. And you know what? This is how I like it, to be able to make decisions for myself now, without being controlled by the things Father and everyone else says. I will be the one to decide right and wrong now, for myself." I looked at you then, my source of strength and will. More quietly, but not any less firm, I said, "Starting with my job. I won't be casting arrows into anyone's heart anymore, be they of love or hate. No more of it. I always felt it was wrong, and even today I got worried about how meaningless my existence might mean now, but..."
My pain was reflected in yours, because I felt it then when we made love - you were going to try too. "But it's okay now," you said almost inaudibly, but the small smile you had at the end of that statement was the end of it. You linked our hands properly, and I nodded in agreement.
Claude was the first to react. "N-Now see here, Elliot, I think maybe we should talk this over-"
"We could. I'd be willing for it," I replied tersely. "But I won't have my mind changed about this."
The sound of slow clapping echoed in the dark forest, and standing there right beside Lacie was a man with long, deathly white hair. Strips of white cloth criss-crossed over part of his face, where even beneath there peeked traces of rotting flesh. He smiled at each of us, and only started clapping a bit faster when all attention turned to him. "Very well said," he praised in a cordial tone that didn't fit his image. "I must say, this is a day I never thought would come. Not just anyone could extract Lacie's Death from another's body."
Vanessa, who was nearest to the pair, stepped back quickly. "Hades!"
"I say," said the king of the Underworld, placing his hands on Lacie's shoulders as he leaned to her, "it's quite an admirable feat, is it not? Do you want to reveal to them your secret of how you make it, my dear?"
"I would, Revis," returned Lacie lovingly without missing a beat. "But then I'd have to say that Cupid's little speech there might've spoken about it. But it could be that he may need a little help - his siblings look quite lost."
Kissing her cheek, Revis said, "That would be Bernard's training. I'm not surprised." His one revealed eye, colored a bright, floral kind of purple, traversed over us, finally stopping right at me and you, going down to our linked hands. He took a step forward, making my siblings back up in a hurry. Ignoring this and probably used to it, Revis leaned in and explained meaningfully, "It's a bit too sugary for my tastes, but if Lacie isn't just the spring child to adore this kind of thing. It's love, you children of Chaos. True love. Soul mates. All that wonderful flowery stuff that you probably can't even begin to understand. Listen well to this pair though, and you might get an idea of it."
Ernest, who was still on the ground, righted himself and yelled out, "Th-there's no way that thing loves Elliot-!"
"No," you interrupted then, so abrupt when you had been so quiet, that even I looked at you in surprise. Our hands were still locked together, and your large eyes looked at my brother with a dark, intense look. A stunned silence followed that you took advantage of. "You can say anything you want about me, I've heard it all before - my looks, my family, give me any derogatory name you wish. But if there's anything I won't allow you to criticize or doubt about me, it's that I cherish Elliot. That will be the one thing I refuse to let anyone taint for me. And by the way," you let go to approach Ernest, and even though you were shorter, my brother wasn't the one that seemed threatening. "If you must know, Elliot was my first, and only."
A horrified and embarrassed look crossed Ernest and Claude's faces, and Vanessa's cheeks were scarlet. "Y-y-you two...actually...!"
Revis let out a loud, amused laugh, tossing his head back with the bark of laughter as you took my hand again and led me out of the clearing, leaving my stunned siblings behind. If you knew where we were going, you didn't let it on. I was still trying to wrap my mind around the outburst you had before. Maybe it was a mistake on my part to think you still were so fragile, but even so... I was pleased.
"You told them off," I said with a small laugh.
"So did you."
So I did. Going against my family like that... When did I ever think I would do such a thing, even when I felt my job and their orders had been so wrong? But I did it now, and there was no point in turning back. Not when I finally had you again. I stopped walking, and yanked you back to me. You fell onto my chest, and I went back against a tree without regard to my wings.
"I'm...so..." Happy, was what I wanted to say, but the word couldn't get off my tongue, occupied with kissing you deeply.
You flushed, the first traces of color coming back to your scarred face. "...Me too," you finally replied. "I love you, Elliot." That's what came out of your mouth, but I also felt it coming from your roaming fingertips, your breathing chest, your fluttering eyelashes. Everything was saying my name, and I could only hope that you could hear yours coming off of me with each kiss.
There was so much about us that had become different. You weren't the same mythical beauty others had come miles for just to see. Your wounds would make scars, but that was fine. You weren't so soulless anymore. I would no longer be the god of others' hearts, and I would have no purpose anymore. One by one, my arrows would break, and maybe even one day my wings would fade until I was but a man. But I also had you and time ahead to figure it all out again. I suppose if we really wanted, we could try it all again, to be someone's puppet, to be chained down by what we always thought felt wrong, to be torn between two parts of ourselves just to have some sort of concrete meaning to our existence. But when I'm the one holding your hand, and you holding my heart, then we'll continue look to this uncertain future.
Together and unwaveringly.
"Psyche was the long-legged girl who kept her head bent as if to hide her face with her black hair. She always seemed so sad. He tried to talk to her but she wouldn't look at him...
Eros could not help himself... He knew she was the part of him that was missing but he didn't know how to explain it to her...
When his soul finally lit the candle he felt betrayed, but he would've stayed anyway. It was that she sent him away. Afraid that she was not enough...
Eros wrote about the girl who was his soul and in this way he felt his soul inside of him... It was like writing a letter and putting it in a bottle and sending it out to sea.
When he found her again he wanted to stay forever in that hotel room in the deserted city. He never wanted to leave her. But he was afraid that she would leave him. That she still felt she was not enough.
He might have tried, though.
Joy changes everything."
- Francesca Lia Block, Psyche in a Dress
Ending A/N: FINALLY 'TIS COMPLETE -collapses on the floor, clutching chest-
So they went on to have a sappy happy ending. Eventually Elliot's siblings came around, albeit quite reluctantly and with no small amount of arguing. Glen was a lot harder to convince, and promptly proceeded to cut off all ties with Leo. At some point after their private wedding (that certain rulers of the Underworld had no problems blessing), they knew they'd have to find a place of their own and away from their families. Nowadays they live their days well enough in between the regular things, and just hope Glen won't come busting through the door one day to demand their first child (for what, I don't know, it seems to fit).
And I chose anemones for a number of reasons that worked out well and jktgbjktb It has a number of meanings to it, and I actually like it a lot, because it's meanings seem to tie in with a story of how it got its name - which, ironically, has to do with Venus (Aphrodite's Roman counterpart). Aside from its negative meanings like "forsaken" and "sickness", it also has "undying love" - all emotions I thought were appropriate to be inside Leo. Ajkgnlgt I just want to share that -wheezes-
I'm going to be a shameful person and ask for a comment/critique, if I am worthy of it -bows profusely-