Chapter 62: The Deepest Part, Part II

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

Reads: 423


That concrete emotion lessened, the pressure falling away. Orah didn't move, standing tall and completely still. He turned back, pivoting slowly, and laughed. Deep, quiet chuckles were rising from him, the sound nearly foreign. He faced Zidane again, and suddenly the room blurred sideways.

Pain clipped against the side of his head. Zidane fell to the floor, warmth expanding where the picture frame's edge had hit. His ears were ringing; he couldn't hear anything, but upon focusing his eyes, he saw Orah walking towards him. The Razalek stopped close by, and just the position—someone overbearing, dominating—uprooted a deep fear. Memories pulling him back to the feeling of broken bones and spit thick with blood. But this wasn't Arzo moving towards him. It was someone much worse.

Zidane scrambled to his feet, his mind swimming. His head slammed against the wall again, one large hand holding him there. His feet had left the floor, dangling in the air. Orah's hand covered part of his sight, palm blackening the middle of his vision. Zidane could still see the fury in his father's face. He could see it very clearly.

An energy was holding him back, preventing him from raising his hands any further, deactivating his own power.

The hand gripping his hair clenched tighter, ripping a few strands out. Zidane stifled a wince against his lips, the blood from the wound on the side of his head beginning to touch the skin of his face. Trail down along the start of his ear.

"See if you can focus enough to truly understand me." A hate snarled Orah's voice. An absolute, dark venom. "There has never once been a single moment of my life where I have felt anything close to a hint of affection for you. Every time you have opened your mouth, I have been reminded of my mistakes. I have been haunted by everything I have done wrong, every disgusting"—He pushed Zidane's head further against the wall—"traitorous act that led me to curse the world with you. Every time I have had the absolute misfortune of being in your rotten presence, I have hated myself to the very core. Touching you is nothing short of an abomination; speaking to you is only an act humans would lower themselves to. You are my biggest mistake. You are nothing but a curse upon this world. I can only hope that your existence will serve as a reminder for how very far this race can fall."

He couldn't... He couldn't mean that... Kyrene's face came into Zidane mind, the warmth, the peace momentarily taking away the pain.

He breathed through the pressure against his head, opening his eyes again. The words came, then. A sentence, a question he had been wanting to ask for so long.

"You killed her... How do you live with it?"

The pressure relinquished and Zidane landed on his feet. Orah backed away from him, a fear in his eyes. Just as quickly, he recovered, that furious expression sickening Zidane.

His voice was calm. "You really expect me to take your blame?"

"N-No." Zidane's voice sounded soft, distant. "I just... The scent, they must have picked up our scent; that's why they came."

"I know why they came!" His voice boomed through the home, and distantly, Zidane heard something break.

Orah was fuming, the rapid breaths coming out of his nose. His hand was in a fist, and for what seemed like a while, Zidane looked at it. Part of him was willing the punch to be thrown, allowing a clear opening to break Orah's arm. Part of him knew he didn't deserve that small victory.

"Her death," Orah spat, "is because of you. You couldn't hide your putrid fucking scent. That's why they came. That's why she died."

That's... Why... She...

"No." The word fell from him silently, repeatedly. He mouthed it over and over, but again the image of Kyrene came. His mother with the bloodied wind chime through her head, mouth moving in the shape of one word. His name. His birth name. He couldn't... He couldn't've...

Orah's voice came again, further away this time, and like the first, the vibration of his words shook Zidane. Burrowing, tearing him apart from the inside.

"I have never considered you a son."

No... No... No... Zidane felt his own hands against the front of his hair and he pressed his palms against his forehead. The pressure built, but it didn't take away the reality. It didn't take away anything.

He didn't realize Orah had left. He didn't hear the footsteps, or the sound of flames rising to encompass his body. He didn't hear anything of a departure, but somewhere along the lines of his breakdown his head rose—hands still against his forehead, his hair—and through blurry vision, he saw his father was gone.

His breath stopped, the choking sobs catching in his throat. His breath continually hitched and tried to restart itself; a quick hyperventilation that Zidane couldn't control no matter how hard he tried. He blinked, again holding the tears at bay. Lance was still seated, dressed in his human clothes, hunched over and head down. Digging the dirt out from the nail of his thumb.

Zidane held his breath, balancing the air between his teeth. Forcing himself not to cry because if he did, everything would come undone and he wouldn't be able to stop. He'd be back in that alleyway again, racked with so much pain and confusion and a guilt that he didn't understand. He would feel that horrible sense of desperation to go back into the past; an emotion that would stick to him like a shadow for the rest of his life. Arzo's voice came to him, softy spoken words accompanying the blurry sight of bloodied snow.

"A treacherous waste of air."

His hands clenched his hair tighter, trying to take away the pain trembling throughout his body. He opened his eyes to the floor, seeing the tears still balancing at the very rim of his vision. Calm, he told himself. Calm down...

Zidane tried to focus, tried to gain control of his lungs. Embarrassment began to creep up; Lance was still there, politely trying to hide away from all of this. Zidane had to get himself under control; he couldn't be seen like this.

He forced a breath in, finding it incredibly difficult to slide a bit more air into his throat as his eyes opened. The lids stung as they parted, and his vision was blurred by liquid. He forced his gaze up.

Adelah was standing close by the table, moved a few steps away from her seat. Tears were falling from her eyes, the sky's light from the window behind her illuminating the wet streaks on her face. Her fist was covering her mouth, knuckles of her hand turned against her lips.

"I'm sorry..." she said. "I'm sorry... I'm sorry... I tried to stop him..." A silent hiccup moved through her, bowing her forward. "I tried..."

Zidane didn't know how she got to the other side of the room; he didn't focus enough to see a teleportation. He just knew in the next moment, her arms were around him, and she was hunched far enough down to place the bottom of his chin against the top of her shoulder. She was sobbing, crying, still. Whatever pain he'd been feeling before was momentarily numbed.

"I'm so sorry..." she repeated, saying it again as her head moved, the side of her face coming against the wound on the right side of his head. A wince hissed out of him, and both drew away from each other—one more immediate than the other.

Zidane's head had naturally turned as he pulled away, the wound facing Adelah. She raised a hand to it, and he felt the aura on her fingertips. She didn't touch him, allowing him to feel the pleasant green accompany the energy as she looked at the cut. The green drew nearer, becoming more vivid, more soothing, and soon Zidane felt the tip of her finger run across the skin beneath his hair, finding no wound.

Adelah straightened to her full height as her hand moved through the side of his hair, fingers peeking out from the strands. In quick but gently rhythms she began scrubbing with her palm, and a deep sense of nostalgia came to Zidane.

Of course. It was just like her to clean the blood from his hair.

You know you don't have to do that, he thought, connecting with her mind.

He felt the smile on Adelah's face. "You know I always will."

He almost felt like smiling.

Her hand slid out of his hair, but not before giving a slight influence to his emotions. Yellow-green. He accepted the change, letting it rest near the numb hole in his chest. Letting it stay, before allowing it to pass on into the air. He didn't deserve it.

"Stay the night," Adelah said, speaking aloud to both him and Lance. "I have spare rooms. I'll try to get in contact with Yittek."

Zidane knew she was telling the truth; the feeling was distant, but he could sense her thoughts searching, each one sending right after the next. Satellite signals.

Her hands were on his shoulders, turning and guiding him towards the other large room connected to the kitchen area.

"Get some sleep," she was saying. "I'll have breakfast ready when you get up."

A pain shot into him; his emotions were awake again, every ounce of sadness and insecurity striking the spot below his chest, above his stomach. The pouch that held his Razalek energy, its very existence the whole reason he was in this mess. The whole reason he was broken, incompetent...

"A curse..."

He was more than that... Much more...

He blinked, the ceiling in front of him. He was lying down, a mattress below and sheets above. Zidane sat up, looking at his feet. His boots were still on; Adelah hadn't taken them off. This was her way of showing she was accepting him, not minding the dirt of humans that came with his shoes. He looked out into the doorway, into the hall, the darkness around him completely silent.

Zidane put his feet on the floor, standing up and feeling the weight of gravity settle in his legs. He blocked out any memories trying to come to him, making his way towards the corner of the room. He reached up, molding a thin part of the ceiling, pulling it towards him before directing it to a ninety-degree angle.

Gathering a burst of energy, he jumped, hanging by one hand. He pulled himself up, raising his lower body until he was parallel with the ceiling. His tail reached past him, hooking onto the pole and wrapping around one, twice, three times. Tight enough for him to let go, strong enough for him to swiftly swing down, gravity rushing to his head. He let out a breath through his nose, content at the blood rushing to his head. Clearing the pure exhaustion behind his closed eyes.

He centered himself, parting the negative emotions until there was nothing but a white speck. He focused on it, letting an exhale drain from him, letting his breath take him to where he needed to be.

The scent of their room, a vanilla intermixed with a jasmine incense burning on top of her dresser, was the first thing to come to him. He noticed every bit of those first few moments, keeping his eyes closed. Staying. Being. And then he sensed her move.

He rolled onto his side, meeting her half-way, her forehead snuggling against his chest. His arms wrapped around her, one of them diving between the mattress and her side to embrace her completely. Zidane opened his eyes again. He was staring at her, watching Zooka's head shift, face resting against him. Her hand gripped his shirt, hands bunching the fabric near his shoulder.

She didn't say anything; her head shifted down, temple moving against his shirt. She was still asleep; he could tell by the way her face was twitching, discomfort flashing.

He brought one hand to her, pad of his thumb gently running along the space in between her eyebrows, erasing the knot that was there in her skin. She relaxed at his touch, night terror fading into something more peaceful. Something she more than deserved.

An emotion rose up inside him, a guilt that this clone—this other version of him, didn't immediately smooth this discomfort away. What the hell had this clone been doing?

He was reckless, letting Ezyta send it off like that. He'd have to check in with it more, make sure it was working properly.

Zidane leaned down, gently placing a kiss against Zooka's forehead. His thumb ran along the side of her face, lips pulling back and breaking the kiss. He rested his forehead against hers, watching her closed eyes for a moment before shutting his own. His thumb stroked her face again. Rejen; a gesture that accumulated to an immense amount of love. More than words could say.

The hand near her face moved, supporting the back of her head and cradling her to him a little more. He curled his upper body into her, resting his eyes, his forehead into her hair. He held on a little tighter, feeling that warmth. Whatever anyone tried to do, she would be here for him. Nights like these couldn't be taken away; distances, universes, dimensions didn't matter. As long as he could be like this, as long as he could be home, the rest didn't exist.

Nothing could change that. 

Submitted: December 04, 2019

© Copyright 2023 Meaghan Kalena. All rights reserved.


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