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    version 22: awakening

    COTY

    OCEANE -- Year 208

    QOTY

    "Because if she had not met him, she knew she would have been searching her whole life for the piece that he filled her heart with." -- Eva, written by Shelbi


    [private]  Sochi;
    #1
    and underneath the layers, I find myself asking what's left
    a hollowed out form, the skeleton of a ghost, the pitiful echo of what once was
    Winded and irritated, Castile returns to the welcoming embrace of Loess. Its dry gales kiss his sweat-lathered skin and nuzzle against his exhausted muscles.

    The trek to the Mountain was strenuous, but to return with his body and energy drained, added to the calamity. A heavy sigh escapes him as the world crushes down on him. Everything seems smaller, limited. A longing glance peers up at the open sky as clouds tumble and roll. A growl wants to rise in defiance, but instead it is a flat groan fumbles awkwardly past his lips. ”Fuck,” he murmurs to himself as he draws to an abrupt halt. His hooves root themselves. A rigidity runs through his entirety. Only his mind races to consider everything draconic, to imagine his body in its other form, to recall the taste of fire on his tongue.

    But it does nothing.

    Scales do not rise beyond the soft flesh. The acrid taste of smoke does not coat his throat.
    There is nothing.
    He feels nothing.

    Anger surfaces in a bright blast of colors surging across his skin. Noisome shades of yellows, blues, reds, and greens shimmer and ripple in relentless waves. But then it stops. His body darkens to an ominous black all over when he finally opens his metallic, mismatched eyes and pursues the familiarity of Sochi’s scent.  He does not see her from afar as he once did, and his senses have dulled, but still he locates her and presses his face into the warmth of her neck. ”I am nothing now. I am incomplete,” his voice is a trembling murmur of suppressed anger. Another blast of vivid colors washes across him in frustration, but still no wings or claws surface. ”The faeries took it… took half of my soul away…” It took years to understand what he was, to accept it and thrive with it. Now that he has nearly mastered his shifting and emotions, the faeries humor themselves by stripping him of what he has possessed since emerging from his mother’s womb.

    He has always known and realized his mistakes, his volatile personality, and yet they cruelly remind him of it as though he had not suffered enough. With a short grind of his jaws, he adds, ”It is my punishment for being greedy… for wanting more to protect Loess, you, and our children. I feel like something is happening, but I do not know what…” he finally – reluctantly – pulls away from the reassurance of her skin to meet her eyes, diving into the silver pools where he finds solace. 

    castile



    sochi
    Reply
    #2
    sochi

    Life has settled into something still and quiet.

    She does not love it—does not love the way that she has to spend hours patrolling a border that does not ever change, that does not ever show the tides of war that she so craves. This is not to say that she does not love the quiet moments with her family. She does. She loves watching her children grow—especially now that Nikolaus is home. She loves teaching them to hunt and learn how to protect themselves.

    But none of this changes the fact that she is a predator.

    None of this dulls the hunger that continues to growl in her chest.

    But it all fades, curls away when she glances up and sees him approaching as dark as a blackhole. She angles her iridescent head, frowning in thought as he approaches. Castile does not hesitate to step toward her and she doesn’t stiffen or fight the embrace. She gladly leans into his, letting her lips wander down the  strong arch of his neck. She listens for a second, trying to understand what he’s saying.

    She withdraws abruptly, her gaze sharpening on his features.

    “They took it from you?” her voice is dark, deep, rolling like smoke across her tongue. “Why would they do that?” She can’t imagine what it would be like to lose the tigress, to feel trapped in only one of her forms. It would be like cutting off a limb. The realization softens her features, dulls the anger that roars in the back of her throat as she comes to term with what it means. She presses her nose against his jaw.

    “We will be ready no matter what comes,” she murmurs. “It doesn’t matter what they’ve taken.”

    She pulls back so that her silver eyes can study his.

    “They did not take this.”

    well, I can try to get you closer but I know you’d break your neck just to see the stars
    and if we don’t dare to hold it then this reckless wandering love was never ours

    [Image: sochi.png]

    I was less than graceful, I was not kind
    be out watching other lovers lose their spine

    Reply
    #3
    and underneath the layers, I find myself asking what's left
    a hollowed out form, the skeleton of a ghost, the pitiful echo of what once was
    She doesn’t pull away, doesn’t recoil from the brash way he buries his face into her neck. She quietly listens while lipping the arch of his neck, absorbing and understanding the words that fall from his mouth like an undammed reservoir. Even as anger claws at the edges of his voice, Sochi is steadfast and placid in her manner, a balm to his open wounds.

    The confession rolls from him, and only when she fathoms the severity does she suddenly withdraw and stare at him with her flashing, silver eyes. Castile meets them, even if his expression is lined with shame. ”They took it because I was greedy,” and he understands that he was, even as his barbed request hung in the air, still fresh with the steam of his breath. ”… Am greedy…” the mild correction is a low grumble as his gaze falls to the rocky ground beneath them.

    His thoughts reel as he recalls every memory he has and realizes how greedy he has always been, even if not for cruel purposes. Greedy for love and a family, for power and recognition. A deep breath sighs from his lungs, its taste clear and not riddled with smoke or fire. The voice that creeps through his mind has been silenced, stripped away with the dragon he was born to be. Castile’s jaws clench together in frustration and disappointment as, still, the flames do not rise along the soft edges of his throat. He looks at Sochi then, searching her eyes as though she has all the answers he needs. His heart reaches for her, wanting to hold her and never let go. ”We fell in love as hunters, and now I’m suddenly the prey,” his lip curls in distaste as a gale ruffles his metallic locks across his furrowed brows. ”How can I protect Loess when all I can do is change my damn color?” His voice lightens in conclusion, wanting to laugh at his predicament but grounded too heavily by his frustration.

    But when Castile looks up again to adore the iridescent blaze of his love and the soft ferocity of her eyes, still he somehow melts. ”I would say to also protect you and the children, but you’ve never needed my help with that,” he leans forward and caresses the corner of her mouth, kissing it gently. ”I’m sorry it took me so long to tell you how much I love you,” he trails his lips to her poll, placing another kiss. ”You and our family is all I need, and yet… I feel so incomplete without…” he trails off, knowing that Sochi already realizes what he is implying.

    castile



    sochi
    Reply
    #4
    sochi

    She corrects him almost without thinking, shaking her head. “Not greedy—just a predator,” her eyes are sharp on his face, studying the handsome, strong lines of it. “There is nothing greedy in wanting what is due to you. In wanting the world that has been laid out before you. In relishing in your strength.” She does not understand the faeries—has never understood these entities that stand so haughtily over the rest of them, that judge and take more than they give—and she certainly does not understand them now.

    But she knows who he is, dragon or not, and it changes nothing for her.

    “There is nothing prey about you,” she laughs, pressing her lips to the broad width of his forehead, pushing the bronze, tangled locks of his forelock to the side. “You could never be prey.”

    She doesn’t mention the concern that blooms in her chest when she realizes that the dragon-protected home of theirs is suddenly not so protected, but she says nothing of it. It was nothing that he himself did not already know, did not already fret over, and her mentioning it would not bring about a solution.

    Besides, she didn’t consider them exactly unprotected.

    There were more monsters in their caves than just him.

    But such things melt to the side as the two of them curl around one another. His gentleness teases the same from her, even as it brings out the sharpness of her own brand of affection. She nips at the velvet of his mouth, placing kisses against his cheek even as she trails sharpened teeth against the flesh.

    “Never apologize to me,” she growls lightly—never regretting how long it took them to arrive at the place where they now reside. “And never apologize for feeling incomplete when a limb is torn away from you.” Curling into his side, she tucks her head underneath his neck, pressing her sharp kisses to his chest.

    “We’ll find a way to get it back.”

    well, I can try to get you closer but I know you’d break your neck just to see the stars
    and if we don’t dare to hold it then this reckless wandering love was never ours



    Castile
    [Image: sochi.png]

    I was less than graceful, I was not kind
    be out watching other lovers lose their spine

    Reply
    #5
    and underneath the layers, I find myself asking what's left
    a hollowed out form, the skeleton of a ghost, the pitiful echo of what once was
    Her immediate correction eases his worry fleetingly, but in its place, another arises.

    Sochi reassures him that it’s his predatory nature, but at what blurred line does he cross into new territory? At what point is he a selfish monster?

    With the confirmation of the faerie’s rejection and the rumors that litter the world like fallen autumn leaves, Castile considers retrogressing. It would be easier to fall victim to his instincts again, to rip the tether and become exactly as they see him. Even in his kindness, in his charitable personality, they see only what lies beneath the surface and the havoc he can berth.

    But then, he looks at Sochi, and the fire that yearns so desperately to roar from his mouth, settles into a weak kindle. It wouldn’t behoove her, or even their children, if he loses the grip that he has struggled so much to hold. Everything that he has strived to control so they could live harmoniously would slip through his fingers. He would become primal again, primitive, as his thoughts become enveloped by predatory necessities. 

    He thinks of Solace, then of Sabra. For a heart wrenching moment, his thoughts reminisce of their scars. They stood in his path when the creature within him unraveled and broke its chains.

    A shuddering breath races through him, refusing to imagine Sochi in that same predicament, with blood lacing down her neck.

    Without having realized, Castile’s eyes had fallen. He slowly blinks, retracting from the tar pit of his musings. Needing to see her, his gaze rises to meet hers and he accompanies it with a lopsided, boyish grin. ”I suppose you’re right,” he murmurs quietly, clutching desperately to the concept that he will never – can never – be prey. It’s mentality, he tries to tell himself, but he cannot resume his carnivorous tendencies in this body and not with these teeth. Pity stabs into him, ripping him open.

    He drinks in another deliberate breath and forces his body to straighten underneath the kisses that she trails along his jaw. It gives him life and gives him courage despite how sullen and relentless his contrasting thoughts may be. A low hum courses through him, melting into her touch before resting his chin on the arch of her neck. ”How did I get so lucky to find you?” Sochi provides him strength when his own falters, and she breathes hope into his tormented struggles. Hearing the sharpness of her voice – though it is still endearing in their own way – he smiles more broadly now as hope bursts through the walls of his heart. ”I won’t apologize,” he whispers back, ”but I will thank you for putting up with me. I don’t know how you do it.”


    castile



    sochi
    Reply
    #6
    sochi

    Sochi has developed her own moral compass over the years. Helping bring about the plague, and then being the first to rip into Rhonen’s throat, and then being there to help end it—it all developed the young woman that she is into the steely one that she has become. She does not waver in her convictions, no matter the fact that they may not match up with the rest of the world. She does not apologize for the way that she sees the world and the way that she acts in kind; her decisions hers and hers alone.

    So she has no intention of stepping in his way should he choose the path of disaster.

    She will protect their children, ensure their safety, but she has no great desire to keep him caged and muzzled—to see him domesticated. She does not see a monster when she looks at him and she does not fear the havoc that he can bring; she did not fall in love with him for his chaotic nature, but not in spite of it either. So she would not understand his fears and does not necessarily understand the way he falls quiet.

    Still, she is not the type to prod and she does not pepper him with questions. Instead she lets him have his silence, lets him have his private thoughts and just watches him with her silver eyes, her own mind twisting and wrapping around the rhythm of her thoughts. When he reaches for her again, she folds into his broad chest and laughs into the curve of his back. “It’s a struggle sometimes,” her voice is husky and as warm as whiskey and she nips lightly at the curve of his shoulder, “but I find it in me to bear it.”

    She pulls back just so that she can press her nose underneath the warmth of his bronze mane, finding the tender skin underneath. “Whatever is to come, we will face it together.”

    well, I can try to get you closer but I know you’d break your neck just to see the stars
    and if we don’t dare to hold it then this reckless wandering love was never ours

    [Image: sochi.png]

    I was less than graceful, I was not kind
    be out watching other lovers lose their spine

    Reply




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