Chapter 61: The Deepest Part, Part I

Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic

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Zidane had never wanted to speak with his father. Ever. Even when Adelah came back, tracing the energy that had been released because of Zooka, when Zidane found out his father was still alive... That he hadn't died in the raid... The only thing that'd come to Zidane was a pain. A fear. A disappointment.

He almost hated himself for it. But there were worse things he hated himself for.

Orah stepped through the web-like doorway, and Zidane felt those feelings again. They were almost crippling and he was sure the weight they had on him was obvious. It had been twelve years, and he hadn't changed. It had been twelve years, and Zidane still hurt just at the sight of him.

That immense amount of hurt came back like it had always been waiting just underneath the surface of his very being, his very soul. All the marks and burns and scars that were etched into his existence—whatever that meant—flared up again. And Zidane felt the tears push against the back of his eyes.

He tried to focus on Zooka. He tried to focus on the sound of her laugh and the sight of her smile; the feeling of her lips and the touch of her hands. He tried to think of that beauty. That angelic energy that had never once been the cause of direct pain.

But he just kept seeing the man, the eyes and the face and the body, that had started him down the path of self-hated. The very first one to show him what he truly was.

A thought came to him.

Arzo was more of a father than him.

It was true; in some ways, Arzo had raised him better than his father had. No—not better. Just more. Even if the lessons were taught through cracked bones and broken teeth, they were more than the man standing in front of him had ever showed.

The moment all of this came to Zidane was the same moment Orah noticed him. His facial expression didn't change, remaining completely stoic as he turned and looked towards Adelah. Completely, without question, bypassing Zidane's presence.

Twelve years. The phrase was hammering itself into his head. Twelve. Years. And he still treats me like I'm nothing.

He barely noticed his hand begin to ache from its clawed posture atop the table, nails failing to dig into the smooth surface. The awareness of his own body came back to him the moment he sensed Adelah's energy reach out, her aura attempting to pick his hand off from the table.

Zidane cracked open the door that separated his emotions from the outside world. He released just a fraction of what he was feeling, creating a line of pure hatred that whipped out, snapping against Adelah's energy. She recoiled with a yelp, bringing her hands to her chest.

Orah stepped forward, the movement slow and controlled. Zidane couldn't read his energy; it wasn't powerful enough for him to sense, but whatever his father was feeling was suddenly pulled back. Adelah was opening her mouth to talk.

"I get that you're angry, Konachi." With both of them here... That name was the same as taking a knife to the gut. Adelah kept speaking. "I understand you're upset. But I'm hoping we can work this out."

Before she could continue, Zidane looked towards her, staring at the opposite end of the table, where an empty plate had been set.

"You think all I am is angry?" he repeated. "You really think I'm just upset?"

He looked to her, seeing her attention move away, hand going towards her mouth. "I don't... really think..."

"Say it." His fury was reaching a new level, and still he was keeping his voice relatively low. His hand was still tight against the table; he couldn't feel his fingers anymore. He gradually pushed against two fingers and rose to his feet, feeling his legs shake slightly. "Say what you're thinking."

Adelah met his eyes. Her voice came to his head, words speeding through like a thought.

"I really don't think you have anything to be angry about."

Words jammed against his throat, sending nothing but a sound through his teeth. He took in a breath, part of his mind still trying to hold onto that thought of Zooka. He needed to be calm. It wasn't worth it... But all of it was quickly slipping away, this fury settling into him in a very familiar way.

He pulled back, turning around as his eyes closed.

"I can't do this. I can't... be like this anymore." He swallowed, feeling his throat loosen. His head shook, and finally he opened his eyes to the floor. "Adelah, I get what you're trying to do. I think it's absolutely useless, but I can understand it." Turning, bypassing his father's presence, he faced his half-sister again. "There's nothing any of us can work out."

He felt Zooka's voice tug at his mind, but kept speaking, feeling something of a smile on his face. "As much as you'd like to, there's nothing we can do to make any of this better."

"Finally, you say something worthwhile." Orah's voice moved through him, rattling him to the core. It'd been so long...

Zidane turned to his father, feeling that stab of pain again as he met the eyes that mirrored his own. Probably just as dark as his was, too. No, his was darker. The horrible aching inside his chest would make sure of it.

"It's—hard for me to look at you." His voice was weak. So much weaker than when he was speaking to Adelah. Zidane felt tears breach, blurring the bottom of his vision. They didn't break, and he found the strength to hold them there. With a thought of Zooka—with the feeling of her by his side, fingers interlaced with his... He kept speaking, voice a little louder. A little stronger. "It's always been so hard for me to look at you. In the beginning, I really wanted you to be there for me. Like you were there for her"—He motioned with his head towards Adelah, feeling her sting of shock. "Like she... Like mom was for me."

Those golden eyes came to him again, and this time he didn't shut them out. He held onto the memory of her face, new pain pulsing into him. He kept talking, willing himself not to break down. His own voice came out, still relatively calm.

"And for a while, having her around was enough. And then... And then everything happened and..." The memory he had kept locked away resurfaced, and again he saw her. He saw the relief on her face, he saw the wind chime pierce through her forehead, ripping the skin and erupting blood and brains. He felt the ghost of both land across his skin.

"I... Couldn't..." Didn't know how...

"And you expect me to fix all of this then?" Orah's voice brought him back to the room, making Zidane realize he was staring at the floorboards, one hand holding his arm. He felt like a kid again.

The question echoed inside Zidane's head.

First question he's ever asked me, he thought, and again the timeline stretched out in front of him. Seventeen years. How many questions had he asked Adelah? How many sincere conversations, showing a side of him Zidane only dreamed of seeing?

Zidane raised his stare, meeting his father's eyes. Orah didn't flinch at what Zidane was sure to be pitch black eyes. He didn't acknowledge anything was even wrong. He was acting like there was barely anything in front of him.

Anything 'worthwhile'. Zidane repeated, but the statement only made his chest want to cave in completely.

Zooka's hand tightened around his, stopping him from collapsing.

Orah cleared his throat, shifting himself to turn towards Adelah. Zidane felt her straighten, attention completely on her father like a magnet.

"Are you getting whatever you wanted out of this?" he asked.

In the beat that it took for Adelah to consider an answer, Zidane heard movement behind him. Lance was standing up, and with a hook of his ankle, sent the chair behind him to the floor.

"You asshole. I hate you—"

Lance, Zidane drew his fingers together, lessening the connection between their minds, and lessening how much of the Razalek language Lance understood. With a light push, he settled down the human's emotions; an anger that paled in comparison to his own. It's alright.

He only sensed the feelings of protest in return before hearing Orah's voice again.

"I'm almost surprised you brought a surface leech here."

"Konachi..." Adelah's head bowed, hand raised to shield her eyes. She wasn't even shocked. She was just disappointed. And somehow that made it even worse. Her hand dropped, a sound of disgust falling from her mouth as she turned away. "You disguised him as a Spiro, too. How could you?"

Zidane felt a disgust of his own rising to coat his tongue. He couldn't speak. They didn't know anything about this.

"You'd know if you asked." No. No, they still wouldn't.

Orah shook his head, beginning to turn away towards the front door. "If you're looking for a place to pollute, try the Northern Fires. It'd be a great place to start a 'family.'"

Zidane stayed silent and the anger that'd been inside him suddenly took on a new form. It sunk down, flames dissolving into something harder. Concrete. For the first time, he could accurately, truly say he hated his father.

He slid one foot a few inches forward, reaching his energy out and stopping Orah from moving. The Razalek could have easily diminished the power, but he didn't. He stood there, his back to Zidane. That hardened emotion inside the crossbreed increased, adding weight as he spoke.

"You wouldn't know this"—Tears welled up again, but once more Zidane forced them back—"But I've had a lot of people in my life that have done some pretty awful things"—The faces of Arzo and Ezyta came to his memory, and with it he felt Zooka's touch again. Healing, bringing him back to the present—"And sometimes I think I deserved all of it. But you were the first. And no matter what anyone else did, you hurt the most."

Submitted: December 04, 2019

© Copyright 2023 Meaghan Kalena. All rights reserved.


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