Torshael and Tayne's Story: A New God for a New Mission

Chapter Thirty

Written in Collaboration with Dragonflight


It had taken the better part of an hour to get up the courage to knock on that door. Even with Tayne glaring and trying to bully him into doing something, Torshael had paced up and down the hallway for a long time before bringing his hand to meet the wood. It was funny how the apprehension one felt at completely changing the nature of someone, irrevocably severing him from his kin and making him all but unnatural for his species, was nothing compared to the apprehension felt when one had to face that same individual and tell him he was liked, but nothing more.

Because if Tekas was hurt by kindly meant ignorance and misunderstanding, how much would he be hurt by a blatant rejection right when he'd started opening up?

But he couldn't pace and deliberate and avoid confrontation forever; that wouldn't be fair to Tekas, either. And if their contact showed up before this had been dealt with, there was no way he could give their mission the proper attention.

Funny, how the eventual fate of the world had to take second place to the emotions of one infernal and the fear of one supernal.

So he knocked.

No one answered, but he felt Haiiro's tentatively welcoming presence inside-- what was he doing in there?-- so he opened the door quietly. "May I come in?" he asked, wishing he didn't sound so timid.

Again, no answer, but Tekasynos did shift a little under his shroud of blanket. Torshael might have backed hastily out with nothing to show for his attempt but a lump in his throat, courage draining out of him at how miserable the infernal looked-- and the certainty that he was going to make him more miserable-- but for Haiiro. His bond had been sitting on the bed beside the pillow, one hand on Tekasynos's shoulder-- or what looked like his shoulder-- and he looked like he'd been there a while. The vague sense in his mind was that he'd been trying to keep Tekas company, so he wouldn't be alone when he was sad. That was kind of him.

At his entrance, Hairro coughed awkwardly and slid off the bed before Torshael could so much as pull his head back. "I, um, think I'll go wait outside...." And he actually took Torshael by the wrist at the door and ushered him inside before stepping out and shutting the door behind him.

Leaving Torshael with nothing to do but face Tekas and whatever additional misery he was about to give him. He all but crept further into the room. " ... Tekas?"


Though he at least spoke aloud this time, that was almost worse. There was no inflection in his voice at all, no emotion. No sadness, no anger, no welcome-- not that he had expected that-- just a dull, expressionless, single word.

Everything Torshael had thought he might say-- and he'd been thinking about what he might say ever since he'd realized that he must say something-- he now couldn't remember. A small collection of brief speeches, each of them wrong and trite and probably not helpful at all but each of them better than nothing, gone in an instant.

"Tekas, I--" He paused, swallowed, and said the first thing that came to mind: "I'm sorry."

"You said that when you were here before," Tekas replied, still not moving or turning or looking at him. "You don't have to apologize again."

It was an odd sense of repetition, that'd he'd say those words again. "Do you believe I mean it?" Torshael asked.

"I don't see why not."

An honest anger or even tears might have been better than this... expressionlessness. It just seemed wrong, unhealthy, and he didn't know how to deal with it. He wanted something, anything, that proved Tekasynos was still-- alive, himself, and maybe on his way to not hating him. Or on the road to hating him; at least then there would be something.

"I thought you'd be angry," he said, half hoping he'd get angry-- but he hadn't the first time he'd said that, and that had been when he'd unwittingly changed his nature. Now he'd just... he didn't know what he'd done, but he'd done it just as unwittingly.

"I'm angry with myself, if that counts."

Well, that was something. Torshael approached the bed, moving hesitantly around to the opposite side, leaning over a bit as he went, trying to see Tekas's face. "There's nothing wrong with-- with wanting, Tekas," he said, stumbling over trying to find the right words that wouldn't send him blushing. "It's not your fault I don't-- think like that."

"Makes me wonder which one of them told you, then," Tekas muttered. Torshael decided that he probably shouldn't mention Haiiro, much less the blatant image he'd shown him to "tell" him. "Not that it makes any difference. I already know what you're going to say, so you don't have to bother getting flustered about it."

Torshael crouched down beside the bed, on a level with him. "Would you rather I have gone on, oblivious, hurting you without knowing it-- and without knowing why you acted so strangely, not knowing what I'd done? I thought you just didn't like me, couldn't stand what I represented, so everything I did or said to try to make you more comfortable probably made things worse for you, didn't it?"

Tekas didn't answer, but neither did he look at him, and Torshael expected that meant he'd guessed rightly. "Tekas, I like you, and I want you to like me. I respect you. I even enjoy your company, when I'm not trying to atone for some slight one or both of us imagined. And I'll try not to hurt you again by my action or inaction, I swear it. But-- I just like you."

There, it was said. Tekas probably expected it, but it still had to be said.

The infernal was quiet for a long moment, while Torshael held his breath for some kind of acknowledgement, some sign he'd at least registered what had been said, even if it was a growl to get out. What he got was a mumbled, " ... I know."

Floundering again, Torshael fell back on, "And-- and I'm sorry."

Tekasynos actually sighed, sounding, High One forbid, a little exasperated. "You can stop repeatedly apologizing, you know. You said what you wanted to say. You don't have to say anything else."

"I guess I just keep hoping something I say will help...."

" ... don't worry about it so much. I'm sure there's more important things you ought to be dealing with, right?"

"Actually, not until our contact shows up," Torshael shrugged. "Will you-- are you going to come out and meet him with us?"

"I'll think about it."

No matter how unconvincing that sounded-- which was very-- Torshael knew he wasn't going to get any better out of him. Tekasynos was probably not going to come out of his room until they left-- if then. Or maybe he'd make good on Irithin's vision and leave without them. That would be-- sad. To not even have a chance to try to be anything except, possibly, acquaintances. An acquaintance, Torshael thought, Tekas might never want to see again. That was even sadder.

He wanted to say something, but there was nothing to say. He wanted to make things right, but he had no idea how, or even if he could. He wanted Tekasynos to be all right. He wanted all this hurt to have come from someone else. Supernals were supposed to help, not hurt. But he couldn't have done anything else, either....

He stood up again. "I suppose I should... just let you be."

Getting a shrug in reply did nothing to make him feel better about not being able to fix things. He clamped down on the urge to apologize again and promptly fled, leaving Tekas to whatever decision he wound up making. 


Chapter Thirty-One

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