It was a whisper, it was a prayer, it was a hope
. The world was waiting, countless seconds passing by, each one of them all too limited. The ticking of a clock that would collapse upon itself. Seven years, eight.
"Years. You think... in years."
The days were long, but the years were all too short. There was so little time to spare. Every moment had to count for something - not a single one could be wasted.
Teja knelt, trapped within his embrace, and regretted not an instant of it. It was this
that every other moment was spent for. This hold
, this contact
, this closeness
. Everything else was to preserve moments such as these - as much as they could.
For as long as they were able.
When he spoke, it was a grave pronouncement - a statement of truth. They used me.
She had known. In Washington, when he had broken the very horizon to come back, to her
, she had known. He had broken free of an imprisonment
, broken free of subjugation
, broken free of rationality
The rest of what he said... it made sense, but it didn't affect her. It was... sensible. From a tactical standpoint, she could appreciate the intelligence of it. It was only natural that they would have to have some control measure
over their creation, wasn't it? And the military had made her, as much as anything else. She could forgive them, for her
Not for him, though. Not for the breaking
in his voice, when she'd thought he had nothing left to break. Emptiness
was not supposed to be brittle
A softness, hesitant at its own nature,
"Everything that is... in there, I knew. I don't know if you need to look. I don't..." I don't want you to look.
But he might, and she would... not make the choice for him. It was his choice
. She pushed the words back, as she had pushed back so many
"They never lied to me, about anything."
They only lied to you.
Teja didn't want it to be like that, with her. She didn't want to be the one who lied to him... or the one who lied to herself. She sat back a little, her eyes drifting downward, captivated by the spectral lightning on his arms, a ghost of the past, unavoidable.
It brought to mind shadows of other things, other people. A demigod
, with a mark upon his cheek, where she'd harmed him with her unintended attack. She'd told Volksgeist
she had known what Weltgeist had seen in her - and how could she not? It was pain
. She'd pushed him away, before he could get hurt. Arno
, too. Teja wasn't foolish
, and she knew fully well what he had been hinting
at these past months. She'd shut it down, indirectly, not so much a push away as a turning aside, but it had been the same. She'd been worried
, for a while, that he might actually screw up the courage to break pasts her hints of detachment
Ask her to hurt
him. He would have argued that it didn't matter, because he could heal the damage, but it would have mattered to her - that he thought of her
as someone who wanted to hurt him
. Abuse was no foundation for a relationship - and it would have been abuse, because whether or not he would have seen it that way, Teja would have.
A relationship had to be built on trust
Hector trusted her. And she... she stared at the lightning scars, and was not entirely certain whether she was worthy
His name, again, but the last time where it had been soft with concern
, this time it was timorous,
a whisper of fear
. There was so little that she was afraid
of. Not death. Not pain. She was the God-damned lightning.
This, though... this, she feared.
"Does it hurt you? When I...?"
"... I ... am bound ... by my nature."
She could not change her nature, any more than he could change his - any more than he could stop being the void that pulled her to him. He captivated her, drawing her close
by his very existence
, and it was a succor
she had not realized how much she needed
And she had never actually asked
him if it hurt
to give her so much