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  • Beqanna

    version 22: awakening

    COTY

    GHAUL -- Year 209

    QOTY

    "(souls are not meant to live more than once — death was not meant to be temporary, and she is so sure that every time her heart starts to beat again that irreversible damage is further inflicted)" -- Anonya, written by Colby


    [private]  meet me in the afterglow, litotes
    #1
    she wanted what every young heart wanted — 
    for something beautiful to find her beautiful.
    She fell for him faster and harder than even she could have predicted, and she cannot bring herself to search for logic. She forgets what he had told her about her mother – she forgets that there could ever be anyone besides her at all. In the middle of the night, especially on those nights where she found herself curled into the warmth of him, she erased all of them. Her mother, and all the other women that came before her – everyone that he had ever felt a glimmer of emotion for – she eradicated them. In her dreams she crafted a world where it was just the two of them, and no one else. He was hers, entirely, and there wasn’t a soul alive that could twist their story. 

    The morning always brought with it reality, harsh and cold. There was a distance between them she was afraid she would never be able to close; an impossible divide made up mostly of her mother. If anyone could ensure that rift remained, it would be Starsin. 

    Lilt had stolen away from the corner of Sylva that Lie could usually be found in, knowing that when she went too long without seeing her family it made them worry, and the last thing she wanted was her siblings – or worse, her father – seeking her out. But even when she was with them, she couldn’t keep her heart in it. Her mind wandered constantly back to him, and she could never stay away for long.

    She is on her way back now, the summer sun straining through the autumn-colored leaves, glinting off the strange coloring of her skin and the black-gold of her horn. Her eyes are immediately drawn to a heavily shadowed area, nestled back in a thick grove of trees, and she stalls. There is a tugging in her chest, an almost instinctual pull that brings her closer, the silver of her eyes trying to make out a shape in the dark when she asks hopefully, “Lie?”
    l i l t
    Reply
    #2
    LITOTES

    The long summer nights kept Litotes company when he knew he deserved no other. When he felt as if Lilt’s warm, glowing fur burned him with guilt, he would escape into those summer nights. Humidity would tangle his hair and sweat would coat his neck, but the physical sensations kept what haunted him the most at bay: his own foolishness. His escape was often within the Brilliant Pampas, pale cremello fur illuminated by the soft blue glow of some strange magical fungi. Beneath a cliff’s overhang he stood and stared, handsome but no longer in the brooding way of his youth, shadows curling around the hardened edges of his face.

    Like steel, his muscles would harden. Like clockwork, his face would turn to face the shimmying reflection of the moon.

    Litotes thinks of hot, humid air expelling from his tightened lungs while deftly hidden in his shadows. Now, beneath Sylva’s hued, dappled sunlight, he dreams of his escape. Trapped in his exaggerated perceptions of himself and exhausted by irritating self-pity—pathetic, some might call him, but well-intentioned nonetheless.

    Lilt’s hesitant call dredges the sludge Lie’s mind becomes when isolated for days at a time, lifting an instinctual excitement and that aforementioned self-pity. He doesn’t start, but he does stall for a few moments, topaz eyes caught, wondering if she’ll fade like the glow of the cliff’s mushrooms when the sun rises.

    But she doesn’t. She never does. Lilt, as constant as the sun and as sweet Hyaline’s plums, looks for him the same way every time she finds him. The way he’s always needed.

    “Lilt,” Lie states simply as the shadows fall away. “I didn’t think you’d catch me following you.” All he had wanted was to catch a glimpse of what she was like when with her family, this secret part of her life he feels so locked out of. A stray part of Lie wonders if this unknown part of Lilt is unknown for a reason. “I should have known better,” he adds while ruefully smiling. “You know what my magic looks like.”

    Litotes quickly closes the space between them, now suddenly desperate to draw his cheek across hers. After days of wallowing, he is starved of the touch he won’t let himself have. When their skin brushes, Lie smiles and lets out a gentle breath, as if he had thought this show of affection might taint what good lies between them.

    and let the cool air in, feel the night slip in
    as it softly glides across your back
    and i hope you leave right before the sun comes up
    so i can watch it alone
    Reply
    #3
    she wanted what every young heart wanted —
    for something beautiful to find her beautiful.
    She hides things from him because she is afraid. She is afraid that he will see her family and maybe he wishes it had been him; that after Draco and Dove everything would have fallen into place, and Lilt herself never even existed. She is afraid that he will look at her siblings, that he might catch a glimpse of her mother, and he will realize that with Lilt he is only settling for second best. Because she cannot imagine that in comparison to her mother that she could ever be anything else. Lilt was beautiful, body and soul, but she was not her mother. She lacked the raw ferocity that could command nearly anyone’s attention, she was not everything dangerous wrapped in a pretty package. She was not Starsin. She was reserved and kind to a fault, and where Starsin liked to shatter things and laugh at the dust while it settled, Lilt only wished that she could put everything that she broke back together.

    And she was afraid, more than anything, that he would eventually realize that quiet isn’t what he wanted. Maybe soft and patient was also boring and unappealing. Maybe she would be forever trying to outrun the shadow cast by her mother, and it would more sense to let go of this before there was no way out.

    Until the shadows fall away from him and her silver eyes meet the topaz of his, and his smile makes her heart tremble in her chest. “I would know your shadows anywhere, I think,” she breathes with a laugh, trying to make light of the fact that she has already memorized nearly everything about him. That she knows his smell, his heartbeat, every flicker in his eyes. That she spends her nights trying to figure out a way to never have to miss him again.

    His cheek pressing to hers makes her heart leap into her throat, and for a moment she lets her lids flutter closed over her eyes as she wills her pulse to steady. She rests like that for a few frantic heartbeats, before she tips her head to gently brush her lips against his jaw and admits softly, “I missed you.”
    l i l t
    Reply
    #4
    LITOTES

    There was a time that Lie’s decade of mistakes would play on repeat in his mind. Beneath a warm Hyalinian sun, above a speckled green ground, he’d share his first secret smile with Kensa. Plums spill out around her white and chestnut body. She looks perfect, different from the woman that spit in his face the last time he saw her.

    In a shadow, beneath an overhang assaulted by rain, Starsin’s smiling face turns a corner. It’s a rare moment, one illuminated by a flash of wet sun. Her face lacks the creases of typical Starsin malcontent, and she looks so shamelessly excited to see him. His chest didn’t contract then, he remembers. It opened. It blossomed.

    The pair, one red like blood and one gray like thunderclouds, would bleed into each other. Become so intoxicating and larger than life that for years Litotes lived there, in his mind, with them. They want him now, lusty and arduous. But those sweet memories batted away by luxurious lashes aren’t as ripe as they once were. Now, they taste saccharine. They sour every layer of Lie’s intestines.

    So, when Lilt’s mouth finds his jaw, Lie doesn’t tense like he once would. He doesn’t dream of tearing away and cursing her until she couldn’t bear to look at him anymore. This touch he used to balk at becomes a balm, soothing and certain, untwisting the stomach Lie so readily ties up. He sighs. Resolute. Tired.

    “I missed you, too,” Lie whispers, and it isn’t fearful. Yes, actually, it’s incredibly clear. Annunciated pointedly, uttered with reverence. He falls into her soft neck, tucking half of his nose beneath the fall of her mane. Kisses pressed gentler than a butterfly’s landing leave his lips and he thinks he’s losing himself for a moment: eyes closed, breath held (she smells like their home, the warm, cushioned nest she hopes he’ll return to every night).

    Lie remembers, though. Falling headlong and dying. He remembers and he pulls back, though not unkindly.

    “How is your family?” he asks as a deflection, not stepping away but lifting his head enough to peer into Lilt’s eyes.

    and let the cool air in, feel the night slip in
    as it softly glides across your back
    and i hope you leave right before the sun comes up
    so i can watch it alone
    Reply
    #5
    she wanted what every young heart wanted —
    for something beautiful to find her beautiful.
    He doesn’t pull away from her like he used to, like she is always afraid he might still do. Instead he lowers his head towards her neck, and she feels his lips press lightly against her skin, and the way it makes her heart jump she is afraid she might shatter everything around them. Instead she just exhales, and it is a quivering, breathless sound when she leans into him. There is a strange ache in her chest, one that clenches first at the core of her heart before spreading out through the network of her veins. It is an ache that feels warm like love but sharp like hurt all at once, and she doesn’t know which one to give power to.

    He asks about her family, and the hurt wins, this time.

    “Are you asking about my family, or my mother?” She whispers as she withdraws from him, and had the words come from a mouth like Starsin’s they would have been sharp and hot, spat with the intent of sparking an argument. But from Lilt they are soft and bruised, and her silver eyes reflect all of her doubts and insecurities when she casts her gaze to the ground. “I’m sorry, Lie. I didn’t mean to say that.” Her heart flutters nervously in her chest, afraid that she had just lengthened the imaginary divide between them. “They’re fine. And I wish….” She trails off, swallowing the bitter taste of tears in her throat, wondering if she can even finish what she’s trying to say. “I wish things were normal. I wish I didn’t feel like you seeing my mom with my dad, and all my brothers and sisters, would make you realize I’m not really the one that you want.”

    She lifts her tear-brimmed eyes to his face again, and she confesses with a trembling, watery laugh, “I’m so, so afraid of you realizing you don’t want me.”
    l i l t
    Reply
    #6
    LITOTES

    Litotes draws back sharply, cold breath drawn held hostage in his chest. He can sense Lilt's hurt, sudden and frightening, and he curses himself for causing it the moment he gave in. The raw, bandaged heart he holds too tight shudders in his grip. Barely it beats, tired and uncertain of where its end meets.

    Silence is all Lie can offer her. His lips are pressed tightly together and his eyes are not sharp but . . . they give away his struggle. Anger not necessarily directed at Lilt is prevalent, and the cremello is determined to keep it to himself.

    "I would never -" the stallion starts, voice harsher than he means it to be. He draws his chin close to his neck and peers hard at Lilt. He doesn't want to hurt her, but he doesn't know how. She is so unlike the sword-wielding women he loved and lost. She doesn't turn love into trenches, doesn't know to hide parts of herself. Lilt is nothing other than what she claims to be and even when she tries to hide herself from him, like in moments like these, she comes tumbling out moments later.

    "Lilt," Lie says slowly, closing his eyes. "You don't have to be sorry - please," he pauses, voice not straining but his breath hitching, "don't cry. I couldn't take it if I made you cry." The shadow-weaver goes quiet once again, opening his eyes. His lips part in an attempt to say something else but for the moment he can't find the words and merely stares pleadingly at Lilt.

    Silence stretches heavily over the pair and Lie knows he has to break it before it breaks them.

    "I don't know what it's like to not have secrets, Lilt, or complications. I don't deserve you. I -" he stops, mouth open and twitching in a search for the right words. "I wish I could show you - or even tell you - how you're all I've ever wanted but I don't think I can," Lie continues, voice falling into a low murmur as he speaks. "I don't think I know how."

    and let the cool air in, feel the night slip in
    as it softly glides across your back
    and i hope you leave right before the sun comes up
    so i can watch it alone


    Lilt
    Reply
    #7
    she wanted what every young heart wanted —
    for something beautiful to find her beautiful.
    She feels guilty for saying anything, because she knew that wasn’t what he had meant when he asked that. It was so rare for her to act on impulse rather than reason, to let her tongue taste the smoke of the fire that lay hidden behind it. She will never understand how her mother can speak so sharply all the time, when just this one time has left a deep bruise across Lilt’s heart. A bruise that she knows she deserves.

    The tears that gather in her silver eyes are as much for her as they are for him. Because they are both lost and broken, and somehow finding each other is not the solution that it should be. Love is not as simple as she had thought it would be, not as easy as her parents made it look (if only she knew; if only she knew the chaos they had endured before they arrived to where they are now). And she is afraid that maybe this means they are not meant to be. That maybe that instant connection had been wrong, that maybe that spark in her chest had been a warning sign and not love trying to ignite.

    But she is quiet when he speaks, quiet as a few tears stain the black of her face even though she does her best to swallow the knot they create in her throat away. Her naive heart flutters and constricts, it beats for him without any permission from her, and she realizes that no matter the enormity of the pain, she will carry it for them, for both of them, if she has to.

    Silently, she presses into him. Her chest meets his and her face is lost in the pale strands of his mane, her heart aching when she confesses to him, “I love you, Lie. I don’t know how not to.”
    l i l t
    Reply
    #8
    LITOTES

    For the first time since Lie can remember, he doesn't wilt beneath the weight of love. His roots aren't so easily tugged from the soil, his leaves don't wrinkle and brown. Vines reach up and up and up, tangling hungry fingers into his lover's hair, desperate and needy--like she controls the rain that will free him from a drought. Say it again, the leaves press into her skin.

    I love you.

    He doesn't say it back right away, instead leaning so strongly into Lilt's embrace that he forgets he's on earth. They could be in the clouds, for all he cares. With eyes shut as tightly as his, they might as well be as high as the sky. Nothing exists but the way their chests connect like puzzle pieces: each rise of flesh finding a pocket of the other's to press into.

    "I love you," Lie finally whispers, pressing his nose so firmly into her mane that it tickles his nostrils, and he sneezes. A laugh quickly follows.

    "I'm so lucky that you love me, too."

    and let the cool air in, feel the night slip in
    as it softly glides across your back
    and i hope you leave right before the sun comes up
    so i can watch it alone


    Lilt
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