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

Chapter Fifty-Seven


Torshael closed the bedroom door behind him and rounded on Haiiro. "You knew, didn't you?"

Haiiro turned back his ears at his bond reproachfully. "So what if I did? Tayne's business is his own, not mine or yours."

Unsurprisingly, Torshael started to pace. "For most people, maybe, but Haiiro, we're supernals. Our conduct reflects directly on our creator, as his representatives in the realm-- or out of the realm."

"Tayne didn't do anything wrong," Haiiro said, confused. "What's wrong about wanting to not be alone for a while? Maybe even for longer than a while?" He, personally, was a little pleased that things had gone so well for Tayne and Tekas, and faintly smug that he'd had a small hand in it. 

"Nothing," Torshael sighed explosively. "Except that he's a man, and he's an infernal!"

Haiiro sensed that the "man" part was more of a problem, though he wasn't sure why. Torshael had been perfectly accepting of Tekasynos when he'd learned of his preferences, had even agonized over what to say to let him down gently when he'd been fixated on him. "What's wrong with him being a man?" he asked, frowning.

"It's just-- it's-- not done. It's not the natural order of things, the way they were meant to be. Our bodies aren't supposed to work like that, and it would take a miracle for there to be children."

The fact that it happened meant that bodies apparently did work like that, so that seemed like a moot point, and he wasn't sure what children had to do with anything. "Whatever happened to when you told Tekas that there was nothing wrong with wanting?" Haiiro countered, feeling unaccountably defensive on Tayne's behalf.

"Tekas is an infernal, he doesn't--" Torshael broke off his dismissive statement, but Haiiro finished it for him, softly.

"Doesn't know any better?"

Flushing, Torshael tried again. "Tekasynos doesn't have to represent his deity in the way we do. I wouldn't be surprised if it was encouraged amongst infernals. Many other vices are."

"How is it a vice?" Haiiro exclaimed, surprised.

"Because it's not the way things are meant to be," Torshael repeated, sounding a little flustered now. "Everyone knows that."

"I think that maybe just your people know that," Haiiro said. "What's the harm in finding companionship with-- in wanting-- someone of the same gender? It doesn't hurt anyone, does it? No more than any other kind of relationship, if it isn't treated well. Does it?"

"I don't know," Torshael admitted uncomfortably. "I've never actually known anyone...."

"You know Tayne," Haiiro said. "And you know Tekas. Is there anything wrong with either one of them?"

Torshael obviously couldn't think of anything. After a pause, and a full stalk across the room, he almost-growled, "Haiiro, it doesn't matter what I think." He didn't sound quite angry. Close, but not quite. "I'm only one person, and not a terribly important one, at that. It matters what the High One thinks, and beyond that, what the majority of the City thinks."

Remembering how Tayne had stormed by him after the brief exchange with his brother, not even seeing Haiiro as he fled into his room, Haiiro said quietly, "It matters to Tayne."

There was enough truth in that that Torshael paused and deflated a little, shoulders slumping. "I know.... You're right. I just don't know what to say to him."

"Maybe don't say anything," Haiiro suggested.

"I hardly said anything before, and you saw what he did...."

"Well, there you go, you said something." Torshael glared at him a little, but it was half-hearted. "Do you want me to come with you?"

"No, no," he sighed. "I'll give him a little bit to cool down, then go see him...."

Haiiro thought it was probably Torshael who needed to cool down more than his brother, but he wasn't going to say anything more. Though he didn't understand just what was so wrong about it all, he could understand that Torshael thought it was wrong and was having a terrible time trying to equate that with his brother being a good person who he loved. One could only listen to so much at a time that contradicted something one had believed one's whole life. And since Haiiro didn't have anything else to say that wasn't directly contradicting that belief, that he hadn't already said, he slipped out of the room as Torshael went back to pacing.

That he found himself at Tayne's door a moment later wasn't surprising, at all. He knocked gently, and though it took a moment, the door did open. "Haiiro," Tayne said.

"Hello, Tayne."

"Come to try and convince me to listen to Torshael?"

Haiiro blinked. "No. I think Torshael's-- having trouble coming to the conclusion he wants to come to. So I left him to alone for a while to think."

"And what conclusion is that?" Tayne asked suspiciously.

"That he's being an idiot."

For a moment, Tayne looked surprised, but then he opened the door wider and let him in. He took the invitation and leaned back on the door after it closed again, Tayne dropping himself back onto the edge of the bed, which looked like where he'd been sitting when Haiiro knocked. He put his head in his hands a moment.

"Do you really think he'll come around?" he asked with a kind of hopeful dejection.

Haiiro shrugged a bit, trying to be honest. "He loves you, and he knows you're a good person. He likes Tekasynos, and knows he's a good person. I think he'll at least learn to make an exception for you, even if he can't get past it entirely."

His honestly earned him a heavy sigh. "Be so much easier if I'd just found a nice girl back in school, wouldn't it've...."

The comment was more to himself than anything else, but Haiiro stared at him helplessly, wishing he could answer it for him. "But you didn't," he said at last, "and-- and easy isn't always right."

There was a second's pause, and then Tayne chuckled softly. "I suppose that's true...." He straightened up again, leaning back on his hands on the mattress. "I'm not about to give up and give in just because it's hard, don't worry. I'm enjoying myself too much." Tayne's warm, albeit slightly lopsided, grin made Haiiro blush, which in turn made Tayne snicker, but he was serious enough when he added, "But that doesn't mean I'm not going to wish it were easier. I've gone and taken up with a male infernal, good or not, and that's not going to be easy."

"Guess not," Haiiro agreed reluctantly.

"But unless you or Tor' spill, no one's going to know except the High One," Tayne continued.

"No one will hear anything from me," Haiiro promised hastily. "And I doubt Torshael will say anything, either. Is the High One the type to gossip?"

Tayne let out a startled laugh. "No. No, he's not. He's... actually, he's pretty good about staying out of our private lives, even though, you know, he's always there in the realm.... But I haven't heard anything... if it were too terrible, wouldn't he have said something?" It sounded rather like he was trying to convince himself. 

"I don't know," Haiiro said helplessly.

"I don't, either," Tayne sighed. "But I'm in it already, and I might as well be hung for a hart as a hare, so I'm not giving up until I'm specifically told to."

Staring, Haiiro asked, "Would they really hang you?"

Snorting another laugh, Tayne reassured him that they wouldn't. Haiiro's embarrassment led to further teasing, and by the time Torshael made it to the room, Tayne had calmed down enough that he could accept the silent hug he offered. They all went downstairs for dinner together and neither of them so much as mentioned Tekasynos. Haiiro thought it was at least a step.


Chapter Fifty-Eight

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