VI. I can do this.

Aug 8th, 2019
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  1. ''It's sad. You know?''
  3. Everyone was leaving, no one wanted to see the dramatics in the streets. And the place was becoming empty, just like it normally was. With few citizens that shopped and hung around, now they were all clearing out and returning to their homes.
  5. ''I don't know what it means to live, I have been doing it for such a long time. I have fought hunters, I have fought Sins. I have beaten down Dusk until it crumbled into nothing. I have fought plagued Dragons and fought everyone's opinion of me for a long time.
  7. I fight myself every moment I stand, as anything I do... Or any breath I breathe... Someone raises their brows, expecting me to throw myself into danger. Expecting me to die. And I live, and is that even a blessing? As for the longest time, it felt like a curse.
  9. Taiga died being selfish, he died being a fucking idiot. And I lovedthat man so much that it hurts to even think about it, he guided me to be something great and I can't stand that he did that. I can't stand it, Siegfried. There's no excuse for it, he went there willingly... No one forced him to, it wasn't even his business.
  11. He died being selfish... And leaving his family behind, when he really did have a lot to live for. Niklaus, you, me, Cordelia, and the Dragons. And he abandoned us, even if it was supposed to be for a good reason. He should have never gone to face that challenge.
  13. And after that, everyone died. I didn't just have to feel sick because Taiga had left us. But I had to watch Niklaus try to end his own life, constantly. To be in such a deep hole, that no one could bring him out of it. And then my grandparents, I had to watch them fail. I had to watch them decide to end their life because they couldn't live without each other.
  15. That was the last straw for Niklaus, while he left to finish the job and selfishly ended his life too. Not for even a second, did they stop to think about what it would do to me? To us. They couldn't live with such a heavy heart when they still had so much family around. And now, it fucks with our heads constantly.
  17. And you are going to stand here, and listen to this.
  19. My life was fucking shit, Siegfried. And those that gave me small moments of happiness and relief, to make me feel like I am becoming something great... Had left without even considering how it would affect me. Everyone I loved, even those that I had given my heart to. They left me behind for something better, and I don't blame them for it.
  21. Once I threw myself into the ocean until it dragged me down so deep. That my lungs filled up and became swollen. Wishing that I would die, that death would finally come. But I climbed out of fear, not wanting to leave what was here behind. You, Folke, Brynhild... And I have beaten myself up for so long, to face danger head-on until my body snaps.
  23. Yet; I stand here, healthy. Nothing I ever did matters to nobody, as people across Agartha either fear my name or find disliking towards it. And I have come to realize over the years, who should I care? Why should WE care, Siegfried?
  25. Do you think your life is fucking miserable? You focus on your own losses, you victimize yourself constantly. I fucking hate it. So pick yourself out of the mud, or I can't call you my brother. Because I stand here, with my wings held high above my back.
  27. Do I even have friends? I have family, I have people who need me due to my strength-- and others that actually show me some kind of respect. But in the end, I stand here in this city alone most days. And when I travel out to Gehenna, no one calls me their hero or praises me. No one looks at me and tries to talk me down, they expect me to run out and die.
  29. That's what I heard most of my life, people expecting me to die... Even my own brother and I can never be any of them. Not Taiga, not Niklaus... Not Arthur or Bei. I hate them all. For leaving me behind, but that's only because I love them so much.
  31. So if you can't do this shit for yourself, do it for someone else. That's what keeps me hanging on, focusing on what others need me for. That the Dragons need me, that Calael does-- Caira. You.''
  33. A hand moves out to his neck, as he brings a hand to flick upwards. As much as the entire talk made him want to sob, made his stomach turn and hurt. The anxious feeling rushing through his very core, crushingly. His control over water magic allows him to hold those tears back, so he can stand strong... So he can stare right at Siegfried, without his vision being blurred.
  35. ''Pick yourself up... And open your eyes. No one can do that for you, and I don't even know what to tell you. I'm not good at speeches or talking, no good at motivating others. I just hope you realize, you have things around you that matter.''
  36. (Adrian Rowan)
  38. He knew how difficult this was for Adrian.
  40. To be watcher of people meant that he'd seen the frustration on Adrian's face when he failed to properly convey his emotions. He'd seen Adrian try in vain to talk Keitaro down with words. He'd watched Adrian brim with emotions, poorly contained, and cling to the vestiges of his pride, swelling with heart that few could compare to, a dragon's heart, caged in a chest of bone and brittle with indifference.
  42. There's no helping it. His feet...they just move. Forward, he goes, arms taking Adrian into an embrace, like they had all those years ago, in this very same place, under the very same sky. He doesn't really seem to care about the onlookers - that this scene was ludicrous. There's no one but the two of them there in his heart.
  44. The hug is brief, but during it's duration, as if he'd stolen from the hearth of boundless soulfire that is Adrian's, he begins to glow. Warmth returns to him. Color floods into his eyes. It's like watching a drawing get colored in. Siegfried comes to life.
  46. "I've been pathetic."
  48. ---
  50. Why did you save me?
  52. You saved yourself.
  54. ---
  56. "I remember now. This sensation, this pain... I know it well. What you're visiting upon me is what, for so long, I've given to others. This battle is mine, just as it is yours. I started it so long's crazy how, if you stop payin' attention, you can wind up running in completely the wrong way."
  58. Tears well in his eyes, the first that he'd shed since Taiga's passing. Since Niklaus's passing. Since every structure that had promised him stability had crumbled, leaving him there in the ruin, digging through the pieces, to cling for any vestige of hope there was left.
  60. Trying to find a river in the desert.
  62. "I wanted to stop being human, so I wouldn't feel this pain anymore. An' then I learned that vampires, and undead, they hurt too. I learned that people that are strong hurt too. I learned that those who stand above, in a place I can't be, hurt too. An' then I spoke to angels, and they told me...even God hurts. And I said what is the point? In a world where pain is a constant, what the fuck is even the point?"
  64. To toil and labor in futility, to erect monuments to the fallen, to work for a better day, to sweat in the fields, to bleed on the battlefield, to speak in times of peace, to cry, to sleep, to fuck, to eat, to live.
  66. "But Pain is itself a god: the taskmaster of life. Pain cracks the whip, and all that lives will move. To live is to be a slave to pain. But that pain...isn't in vain. This pain isn't futile. I realize that, looking at you, Adrian:
  68. The dragon who had to fight for his wings."
  70. What does it mean, to be a man?
  72. "There is a destiny which makes us brothers; none goes his way alone. All that we send into the lives of others comes back into our own. If I'm weak, you have to be strong. And I promise, Adrian, from this day onward...
  74. You'll never be alone again."
  76. What did he promise?
  78. "I will become a man whose back will never break. In me, you can trust that I'll always come back home."
  80. A finger reaches out, and thumps his brother's chest.
  82. "You don't have to be alone. As long as we're both under the same Agarthan sky, that which I hold in my hands is a promise to you, no matter what monsters with which I clash, no matter how dark the depths or how agonizing the turmoil. Whatever it takes -
  84. A burning memory that you cannot strike down. Cannot erase. If only for those who have fallen - if only for those who have yet to fall."
  86. He tremors with raw emotion, the sun in the distance illuminating the body of a man who has been broken, who has loved and has lost and will never be the same, who cannot feel as you or I do, but will never, ever stop trying.
  88. "Taiga trained me, and I still cannot do this. I have his notes, and I still cannot do this. I have been broken, and come back stronger, and I this," he chokes out, furious. "I have battled Isaac and Ashalle and I have prayed on a star and I don't even believe, and I still cannot do this. I have begged to be heard by some force above, as if I alone deserve mercy, and I still cannot do this. She and he and them are gone, and I still cannot do this. But Adrian Rowan, I promise you...
  90. I can do this."
  91. (Siegfried)
  93. Siegfried says, "-We- can do this."
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