Not for long || Cael & Danielle
Space seemed to be so different around him. He felt himself being lifted up, as if he stood only on the tip of his toes. A peaceful atmosphere filling the air around him and he felt like he could spend eternity in here. To just lay down and watch the earth, watch the clouds and the stars and just be happy for a bit, even though he knew this was a dream and nothing more.
But he had shared this dream with one person before and he had almost expected to see that person here again. It was when he heard someone else calling out his name it seemed to be an echo. An imagination of the mind and it took him a few seconds before he finally turned his head and he looked upon her. He could vaguely remember their last encounter, when he had heard her sing but it was like he was watching that from a third perspective, and he had been speaking with a different voice, Ares’ voice, and Raphael’s. But now it was him, just him, no Ares, no Raphael. Just Cael.
"Dani?" he asked hesitantly. Not knowing whether this could be a trick of the mind instead. She was one of the few persons he actually wanted to see and it made his heart warm up with joy and happiness to see her here. Her eyes radiant blue but like him she was hesitant as well. He took a few slow steps towards her, around a round table that stood in the centre of the round platform. Keeping his eyes on her in case she might disappear just like he had.
"Is that really you? I’m not imagining things?"
Just a few steps more were required, but it felt like something was preventing him from going further, like chains shackled around his wrists and ankles and he wanted to pull and yank them apart but he wasn’t even able to do that. He couldn’t move his legs forwards, only backwards, like as if he couldn’t leave the platform. Like a ghost stuck on the same place forever.
"I missed you." he eventually uttered, a glimpse of sadness shifting over his face that started to crack. He held no power here like had before. No extra strength, no ability to use fire or to wake up anger and rage in someone. He felt human and perhaps that was why he couldn’t step over towards her, there was nothing he had to hold onto from where she was standing. Nothing but a silent ,cold body but with her that was a different story.
And so he reached out his hand, his lips breaking into a smile. “Come to me.”
Danielle clasped her fingers around the collar of her shirt wondering if she should move foreword or not. It was all rather terrifying, the bright abyss wrapped around her arms and she took a step toward Cael.
Her mind could not presently recall their last moments together, but the moment she saw the life fade from his eyes was as clear as if it happened mere moments ago and the visions plagued her, tears welling up in her crystalline eyes before the trance was broken by his voice.
Danielle looked up at him, the room she stood in shattering around her revealing what Cael saw. The platform – darkened and menacing – created an invisible barrier between their bodies. The ice that had once clouded her veins ran hot and Danielle nodded, the sounds caught in her throat.
“Yes. I- I am here.” She finally managed, laying an arm across her torso to grasp the opposite arm.
His inability to move off of the platform was disheartening, perhaps she would not be able to step onto it and they would be locked in an eternal struggle to get back to each other. Her arms uncrossed without thought just as quickly as they had intertwined and the corner of her lips curled into a soft smile.
“I missed you, as well.”
Danielle breathed in deeply, watching her feet as she took the few steps needed to reach the platform that kept Cael from her. Her steps were soft, until she broke through the plane to step on the ground that once isolated Cael.
She reached her hand out, tentatively, letting it graze his forearm, terrified that he would disappear as soon as she touched him.
“I am here.”
Veritas || Travis & Danielle
Travis felt her hand on his arm as they made their way toward the courtyard. Her touch sending a small rush of energy up his arm. Travis thought that it was just a physical response to her touch, but Asar felt the power that came from Aset and responded in kind, sending a slow, subtle wave of power through Travis and into Danielle.
When they finally reached the courtyard Travis scanned the area, seeing the signs of Winter everywhere. Flowers had begun to fade and many of the leaves had already fallen from the trees.
Yes, this would make for a good demonstration. Asar advised, eager to begin.
"Just watch." Travis said to Danielle, leaning down in front of a patch of flowers that had long ago given up its fight for survival and surrendered to Winters cold embrace.
I hope this works. He thought to himself as he closed his eyes and reached for the power that he had felt ever since that day at the bar a few weeks ago.
For a moment, nothing happened, but then Travis felt a bone deep warmth fill him. It filled him with strength and energy that he’d not felt in years. Soon it felt like he could no longer contain it and that warmth flowed out from his limbs and out into the plants sitting in front of him.
Travis sat there for a few minutes, his eyes closed and brows furrowed in concentration. When he finally felt like he’d done enough he stopped the flow of energy and opened his eyes. And where there had once been lifeless blossoms lay a bed of flowers that could have only bloomed in the Spring. Their colors were more vibrant than any bouquet displayed in a florists shop.
"That," He began, pulling himself up to his full height. "is what I came here to show you."
Travis paused for a moment to study his handiwork before looking over at Danielle, a small smile on his lips. He took a deep breathe and seemed to try and gather his thoughts before beginning to talk again.
"A few months ago I started hearing this…person in my head. He called himself Asar. At first I thought I was crazy, but then these things began to happen. Impossible things. I’m stronger now than I was before and I can control nature, it seems. Not just bringing plants back to life, but other things as well. Dangerous things that I don’t feel safe doing right now, I would hate it if I got you hurt, even if it was an accident."
Travis stopped talking and felt a strange calm flow over him. It was as if a weight had been lifted from his shoulders that he hadn’t even known he was carrying. He felt Asar make a small, satisfied noise as new strength flowed into his body. Images flickered through his mind. Far off places that previously meant nothing Travis suddenly held a lifetime of memories. New knowledge filled his brain, the wisdom of ages taking root in the mind of a mortal.
This is what I’ve been trying to share with you all this time. Asar said, his voice warmer and more relaxed that Travis had ever heard it. It’s only now that you decided to truly open yourself to me. But there will be more time to talk later, for now you have much more important things that require your attention.
Somehow Travis knew he was talking about Danielle, so with no small effort he pulled himself from his new found memories and turned his attention to his beautiful companion.
"Are you going to say something?" He asked, looking at her expectantly.
Danielle released the man’s arm reluctantly and watched him with silent curiosity as he searched the courtyard. Her interest piqued when Travis knelt before her summer flowers – the ones that had been overtaken by icy winds and frost, as they were every year.
Her eyes, crystal blue and soft as a breeze, observed the man, watching as he concentrated and closed his eyes.
For a moment, Danielle found herself bewildered as nothing transpired and all within the courtyard remained the same but, not a minute later, she felt the prick of spring upon her fingertips and each flower bloomed in a reverse time-lapse.
Though Danielle’s eyes widened, Aset smiled softly breathing in the aroma of summer blossoms in winter; the perfume was sweet and icy. Only Asar could make what was once lifeless more beautiful than life had known.
Tell me, Aset. Danielle demanded once she had caught her breath once more. Aset clearly knew more than she had let on.
Wait. Be patient, it is not my story to tell. Aset replied, calmly.
As Travis spoke, Danielle wrapped both arms around herself, feeling the ice surge through her veins. Pushing the feeling down with heat, Danielle looked up unsure is she was elated or terrified. She had hoped Travis was not cursed, but he seemed to have much better luck with his god than many others. At least he could create.
Nodding, Danielle exhaled a breathy sigh. “I could not think of what to say; perhaps, the truth is in order.”
A pool of water formed in the center of Danielle’s right palm as she looked down into her hand, slowly closing her fingers around it until it seemed the water would come pouring out of the sides. But it did not. She opened her hand to reveal a small ice lily, placing a finger on a glassy petal to engulf it in blue flames, though the ice did not melt.
“I do not think you can hurt me.” She said shakily, finally evaporating the ice into nothing.
Her gaze shifted to the ground as she walked to the blanket of flowers and plucked one, staring absently at it. “A couple months ago, I awoke with excruciating pain everywhere. It felt as though my entire body was being broken and remolded by some invisible force. It was terrible really.” Danielle began to explain, the flower twirling in between her fingers as its color changed slowly. “I heard voices, saw things… I cannot begin to explain what my mind opened itself to, but that invisible force formed a name. Aset.” She breathed, finally, the flower wilting and withering into dust as Danielle gazed at Travis. “And she is dangerous.”
“But I think I know now why you always calmed her.”
Not for long || Cael & Danielle
Ares couldn’t remember the last time he had slept for longer than ten minutes. The moment he had lay himself down on the bed to read a book he plucked from Aset’s bookshelf he had fallen asleep before even being able to turn the first page of the book.
But the dream was familiar. As if he had been there before. He stood upon a mountain so high he could overlook the world, watch it from every angle, watch every person and he could even watch himself sleep, both of him. There was a ghastly wind that made him shiver and for a moment he felt alive. As if the cold made him feel human once more. As if his heart was beating for all the right reasons. And maybe it had. For while Ares was taking his slumber, an old friend had awakened, even if just for a short while and not for long
"Hello?" he spoke, and it was at that moment that he realised that his voice wasn’t the one he used in the last few weeks but it was from an old familiar. He took a gaze down upon his hand and let his eyes rest upon a silver ring that almost seemed glued against his skin, but his skin was twitching. Like a hologram on a screen, switching in between his two bodies. "What is this.." He asked out loud to himself looking around him in a confused matter, unaware that there was someone else sharing in his dream state.
Aset sat perched upon the counter in the kitchen, feeling more at ease than normal. Long ebony locks of hair cascaded down her shoulders and over the countertop, splayed out like vines on an old house.
She gazed up at the ceiling absently, drumming her fingers against the cold marble. Everything was much simpler in a dream. A smile lingered faintly on the corners of her lips, green eyes scanning the crown moulding when she felt a break in the ice.
Even here she kept the body preserved, but something was wrong. Her green eyes flashed crystal blue again, her feet taking her toward an icy room that was empty.
"Why would you be empty?" she mused aloud. Danielle taking over to look in the room herself. She hadn’t done it, so who had?
A familiar voice echoed through the halls though it felt foreign. Long forgotten and unheard. Danielle ran quietly in the direction, her hand tracing the wall as she turned another corner though it sent her back to the same place, only this time there was a body.
"Cael!" she shouted, stopping herself before she ran to meet him. She was creating him, wasn’t she? Wish fulfillment… but it felt different. As though he was entirely separate from her mind and they simply shared a dream. Perhaps he was real. Or as real as one can be here.
Hearing the song || Danielle & Raphael
He was vaguely aware of the door opening behind him, but he didn’t turn around just yet. He heard soft footsteps onto the icy floor that had turned into a puddle of water around his feet, his hand was running over his chest below his heart, as if he felt his last pain now that he was with his old inhabited body. It was strange for sure, but he knew that he would only weaken in this body instead of getting stronger. No matter how many Gods would form an alliance with him. The strongest he could ever be was with the body of Montgomery. But Ares knew that if he would be back in that body, Cael would have more control himself.
It was at the sound of Danielle’s voice that he turned his face and looked at her, studying her from tip to toe. She certainly looked better than before. Sleep had done her good, for she had obviously lived without it for a few days at least.
"No.. I am Cael no more, love" He slowly said, exhaling silently before he turned himself away from the lifeless sight upon the bed. "This man’s name was Raphael which I now took over. However if it is the human you require to speak with.. That won’t be for a while any more."
Ares wasn’t stupid. He knew both humans preferred each other over the Gods inhabiting their bodies and he couldn’t care less. He had made the pact with Aset and he cared more for Aset than the human, but it was no secret he both loved them, was protective over the both of them. To let Danielle know that Cael was as good as gone right now would make things more difficult.
"He’s here, yes, but in a fragile and weak state. It’s not his body, I can about adapt to it but he cannot, and Raphael.. Well he hasn’t exactly got a word any more." He already explained before she asked, running his fingertip over her cheek to stroke a lock of hair behind her ear. "Yet remarkably enough he was here the entire night. Looks like you really do make a difference to him. But I’m afraid he won’t last long in here, neither will I but longer than him." he turned away again, walking around the bed, this time closer to the frozen body on the bed and study it deeper. His skin was pale, as pale as ice and surely he was as cold as ice as well. Strange that the ice didn’t melt, Cael had already adapted to his abilities better than Raphael. Who knew that keeping a Fire God as a popsicle could keep his body well reserved.
The smile that perched upon her lips began to fade as he spoke. She exhaled a breath that appeared as a cloud of icy smoke in the air. Her heart began to sink into the pit of her stomach, once again. It was as though she was losing Cael all over as she gazed over at the new body.
"Ares." Danielle whispered, swallowing the pain in her chest.
She was not unhappy to see him, it had just taken her by surprise. Ares, even with his temper, always protected Danielle whether or not Aset wanted him to and she could not say she would rather Cael be here. Perhaps it was best that Ares had control. He would be better suited to handle the situation.
Danielle nodded to indicate she understood, her eyes flashing bright green at his touch only to fade back to their natural crystal soon after. “I need to find a way to put you back, but I must heal the body first.” she said, her voice deepening only slightly as he walked away.
It was odd to see him examining his own body so closely and she could only imagine how surreal it was for him. The thoughts quickly vanished as Danielle’s feet took quiet, cautious steps toward Ares. The galaxies swirled in her eyes with each movement until the blue irises were flooded with the green of the plants on the Nile riverbank.
Aset had expended a great deal of energy to keep Ares alive and it was not until now that she had taken control again, but how could she not? The bright, powerful eyes she had been known for were now solemn and contemplative as she approached the bedside.
Her hand was notably warm to the touch as it ran over the back of the man’s arm. She could hardly believe it, herself.
"Ares." Aset breathed, her inflection conveying an emotion diametrically opposed to that which Danielle had expressed earlier. Aset was cautious, but relieved.
Hearing the song || Danielle & Raphael
All he literally wanted to do was to hold her and let all the time pass them by. Having his arms wrapped around her he wasn’t planning any time soon of letting her go either. Not now that he was able to hold her in his arms again, something he had missed even though he hadn’t realised that before. All he felt was hatred and disgust, but never towards her, never.
"You don’t have to be sorry." He whispered, barely understanding what she said but he got her. He vaguely made out the words she spoke but he didn’t want to hear them. Not now not ever and she knew that. She knew him better than anyone. "Don’t ever be sorry."
He knew that this might have been worse than when he would actually have been dead. He was a man neither of them knew. He only knew the man’s name and that was it but she knew nothing of him. He looked nothing like he looked like before except for the blue eyes but he had to say he missed the brown streak he had before in his left iris.
Raphael sighed, closing his eyes for a long moment as he held her in his arms, eventually she stopped crying, the shaking from her sobbing and inhaling seized and she calmed down just like he had hoped she would have. He waited for a while longer before he got up, carrying her in his arms as he slowly, step by step, up to her bedroom. He could only imagine how much sleep she had in the past few days. He knew he hadn’t any but she must’ve been weeping, that much had been clear. He lay her down on the first empty bedroom he saw, his strength not as good as it was before.
"Get some sleep." He uttered, running his fingertips through her hair. "I’ll be here when you wake up. "
And so he watched her sleep for the first half of the night, keeping on the empty bed side, sitting up straight until his feet carried him away towards the colder section of the house, like a hair attracted to a magnet. a moth to fire. Opening the ice sealed door before him he stumbled upon the sight he had never thought to see; Cael Montgomery. Laying there, frozen in time, one large gaping wound in his chest. All Raphael could do was stare. Sitting down on one of the chair that seemed to be the only thing freezing upon his touch right now. The ice reappearing where he had just removed his feet upon the ground.
It was curious. So curious that he was looking at a familiar but yet an unfamiliar sight. As if he was lucid dreaming like he had once more, able to see everything that transpired around him. He lost track of time, just staring in front of him, not even realising if the morning had come or whether it was still night.
Danielle was already falling asleep when Raphael picked her up and began walking toward the bedroom. Her breathing had steadied and she felt the weight of sleepless nights upon her eyelids, coaxing them shut.
It was not until she felt the caress of a cool pillow under her head that Danielle opened her eyes again. She smiled faintly as his fingers carded gently through her hair, his words and touch so familiar even through the veil of another body. With that, Danielle nodded and peered through her lashes at the man as her vision darkened and she fell into a deep sleep like none she had known before.
It was unclear to Danielle how long she had been sleeping when her eyes finally blinked open. She had been curled up on a particularly warm section of mattress, but there was no one in the room but her. Sitting up slowly, Danielle peered around the room bewildered.
Her mind was reeling. She was certain there was another person with her, but how certain could she truly be? She hadn’t slept in days.
Sighing, Danielle draped her legs over the side of the bed and placed her head in her hands. Even her mind was playing tricks on her. She swallowed the tightness in her chest and stood, walking out of the bedroom, a trail of ice crystallizing behind her with each footstep as she made her way back to Cael’s body.
The door to the room was cracked open when Danielle arrived, but the ice was still encasing it. A good sign.
With a deep breath, Danielle pushed the door open and stepped inside, her gaze fixed on the ground for the first few steps. She then looked up and was immediately taken by the sight of Cael, so lifeless on the bed, but moments later her eyes took up the sight of another body. The body she believed that she had only dreamed. He was real. He was here. It was not a dream.
Danielle took in a sharp breath and smiled though she felt as though she wanted to cry.
|Song: Ghosts That We Know|
|Artist: Mumford & Sons|
|Played: 23,537 times.|
So give me hope in the darkness that I will see the light
Cause oh they gave me such a fright
But I will hold as long as you like
Just promise me we’ll be all right
But hold me still, bury my heart on the coals
And hold me still, bury my heart next to yours
Hearing the song || Danielle & Raphael
What was to be an expected reaction from someone you were so close with, who held you in dire moments and who had grieved you ever since ? It was hard to grasp and it was even surreal to think about. He turned his head once more to look down at her when she took his hand in hers yet he was uncertain whether she did it to prevent him from touching her cheek or whether it was to just hold it, to have something to grasp and to hold on to. He wouldn’t stir though, he would just close his hand around hers, hoping she wouldn’t reject him.
He had no knowledge of what Aset had said, or thought or done in that fact. He had just believed it had been Danielle all this time but it had obviously turned out it wasn’t like that at all. She seemed afraid of him. Not a surprise for he just barged into her house that had been sealed off with ice ever since that night from the looks and temperature of it. It was that he could maintain a warm temperature in his body or else he surely would have succumbed to it. It wasn’t exactly his element, never had been.
But the moment she started to cry he seemed alerted. Was she saddened about this? Desperate or even terrified? They didn’t look like tears of joy to him but he wasn’t insulted by it. He just waited for her further reaction whatever it was and whenever it was to come.
And that was when she grabbed onto him, lowering to the ground as her legs gave out. He caught her of course, holding her against him in what seemed to be a desperate cling to reality and measure to not be parted again. “I’ve got you.” He whispered, lowering down until he felt the piano chair beneath him, simply taking her upon his lap as he held her in a protective embrace; arms braced around her, his fingers crawling onto the back of her head through her hair, rocking her back and forth (for him sideways) while burying his head against the side of her head.
"I’m not going anywhere any more."
Danielle held onto his shirt as though it was the only stability in the world. She could not stop crying if she tried and she did not want to. Danielle had felt so numb and everything was finally pouring from within her tired soul. It was almost cathartic.
She felt him draw her into his arms and pull her into his lap on the piano bench, but all she could do was cry. Danielle curled up against the man, burying her head in his shoulder. She finally felt safe. Safe from the cold, dark, lifeless chasm she called a life. She was not sure she even called anything she was doing part of life. It just seemed to be a prolonged death that she was waiting for. Aset would not let her do something so foolish, however, and Danielle would not dishonor the memory of the dead by taking her own life.
Raphael made her feel so small and fragile, as though he had swept up shards of glass and now held them in his hands still not able to put them together. “I’m.. so.. sorry..” she attempted to say in between heaving sobs. It was more than difficult to get out a single word as she cried.
"Okay." Danielle choked, wrapping her arms around his neck as she curled up against him, breathing deeply to stop crying. It was okay. It was fine. Everything was okay now, right? No. It was not alright, but it was definitely better than before - much better than before. There was so much she wanted to say, but right now she could not bring herself to say another word. Her tears were drying and her sobs became quiet as Danielle melted into his arms, letting every wall she had ever built to come crashing down. With him she was vulnerable.
Hearing the song || Danielle & Raphael
He stared down at her the moment she looked up at him, fury and sadness both in her eyes. For a long while he just stood there frozen, watching her respond at him as if she could blow him right into oblivion. Yet she did not refuse his touch, letting him wipe away the tear on her cheek, and because of that he allowed his hand to rest against her skin, just to feel how it felt like again.
Her question finally made him look away. Remembering all too well but he wondered why she would even dwell on that. Couldn’t she have asked what they had said that evening earlier? But he guessed that if she wanted hard proof this was it.
"The last thing I said." He repeated, specifically using I and not he . Looking her back in the eyes after he had said it, taking himself a few seconds for not even he had expected it to fall hard on him. Not since what he had been doing the past days, and to whom.
"I don’t want to go." he then breathed, lifting both his hands to cup her face in between them. Shaking his head as if to already prevent her from possibly saying a single word. "And I didn’t. I don’t know how, but you delivered onto your words. I’ve come to hear you sing again."
Danielle fought the urge to keep her eyes closed as his hand rested against her cheek. She wanted so desperately to feel some comforting presence in the dark abyss in which she found herself. Just someone to tell her it was alright, someone to keep her warm as she cried in the sepulcher not far from the sea.
Looking up at him as he looked away was difficult, she could see a familiar anguish in his eyes as he spoke. Without thinking, Danielle raised her hand to grasp his on her cheek. If he knew, this was going to be even more difficult to take than if he was just a stranger.
She swallowed a pained cry as he said I. Danielle was not entirely sure she would be able to handle this if it was true. All she could hear was Aset’s words ringing out not like this and she took them to mean not at all.
Tears streamed from Danielle’s eyes and she could not contain her voiced sobs as he began speaking once more. Impossible. But it wasn’t - nothing was impossible - not in this world.
She grasped desperately at his shirt as her legs gave out and she nearly crumpled to the ground. She wanted to curl up and cry, never to be seen by the outside world again.
Hearing the song || Danielle & Raphael
Raphael just waited. Waited for her to calm down and come to her senses while he stood by and watched her, looking into those familiar eyes that now seemed distant but he understood. He hadn’t thought he would but he understood.
And even though the look in her eyes was everything but welcoming, he felt a part of humanity returning to him. Which was why he nearly cried whenever she gave him that answer, shaking his head in disagreement. “In body, yes. But in spirit no. You didn’t fail.”
He pleaded her, wishing she would hear his words and see that he spoke the truth. He had hoped by calling her what he just called her she would realise but she only seemed to be more startled by it, more sadder. Raphael just sighed,holding his own hands by his fingertips.
"It’s what I always called you … " He spoke, starting to feel somewhat helpless. "Dani.. Dan." he slowly reached out, stroking the tear from her cheek with his thumb, not lifting her head to look at him. That was part of the problem was it not?
"Ask me." He softly whispered. "Ask me anything only he knows.
Danielle nearly reacted with a violent outburst when the man tried to tell her she did not fail. How did he know; he wasn’t there. Instead she kept her head down, averting her eyes from the slightest sight of the man that claimed to know her woes.
"You…" she began, shaking her head until the warmth of his hand calmed her. She could not explain why she was so calmed by his touch, but it was familiar. It took a weight off of her shoulders that she knew she’d been carrying, but did not want to acknowledge.
He said it again. Why did he keep calling her that; she asked him not to.
An anger welled up inside of her and Danielle’s head snapped up to look the man in the eyes, hers full of tears. She thought back to every moment before it happened. Each word, each action, each thought. She was not going to make this easy on him and it seemed the hardest thing she could think of was also the most painful.
"Then tell me," she cried, "tell me the last thing he said."
It was a painful thought, but it was the only true moment no one else could quote. No one was around and neither of them had been able to recount the story since. It was the only moment only he would know.