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  1. for the first time in recent memory, eros was sick with feeling.
  3. exactly what, he couldn’t fair tell, but it had come swiftly and caught him by the brunt of his chest. in its infancy, the ailment had felt akin to a passing fever, something easily remediable. a ghastly lapse in judgment. it should come as no surprise that this mortal husk spelt brittleness in caustic syllables, down to the very knuckle of his littlest finger, but there was no virtual nor viable explanation for the infrequent mania or bouts of skull-splitting agony, which only seemed to manifest on nights when he allowed himself to dream.
  5. when apollo fell upon his stead, he’d been riding through one such episode.
  7. he’d forced himself to think of home, only to find that he could not retrace a sliver of its brambled roads, or its infinity of debauched soil, its nothings and everythings. and thought if he wished hard enough, he would wish himself out of this body and back into warmth and the not-knowing. it did little to ease it off, but he’d gathered enough strength after a brief reprieve to pull himself upright, and reach for the door.
  9. where apollo could open his mouth and words of viscous prayer and ever-life would tumble out, eros could only look at him with a feeling he did not dare prescribe, could only label it something akin to clipping his own wings where he knew they would never — not in this husk, not even if chaos itself pleaded for it — grow back.
  11. “do you think any less of me?”
  13. a meaningless question. unlike others of his dynasty, he had been born of, but not made for war — and yet, he’d been the first to be steeped in carnage, more so than them: for love was nothing if not a curse, one he would not wish upon even himself. the irony of it all curled up and sat firm in the depth of his sorrow, along with  other broken things. and it had come to be so clear just then, that this was not the hate he had hoped to feel. this was reverence and partiality and affection for haloed divinity, the same kind he’d taken to calling savage. this was preordained death, so biblically and wretchedly translated into sickness and rot that he could not contain nearly all of it in a body so nebulous.
  15. a half-smile, watery and thin, eclipsed his face; a quivering lip, which he snagged between venom-tipped teeth. a heart, his heart, frosted over with eternal chrome, calling out to him in birdsong. i’m here. i’m here. i’m still here. i have been waiting here for an eternity. under apollo’s fixation, eros found himself to be threadbare, stripped down to an expanse of synapses and neurons that only remembered what it had felt like to be kissed by a religion he did not preach. and this, this kind of dissolute that both terrified him and rattled him to his very core.
  17. and here, in this wet-wood doorway, with waning summer dripping coarse and torsional down his back, he wanted especially to reach out and feel the thrum of hot skin beneath the pads of his fingertips again. turn away, now. while there’s still time.
  19. eros did no such thing.
  21. “you should come in. it’s going to storm soon.” look, now. his own ghost, crumpling to the floor.
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