Face walked away from the too-sunny funeral. Another lover buried. He glared down at the ground through the holes in his mask. He should have seen it coming. Why did he always fall for the heroic ones? He walked deeper into the old cemetery and leaned against a tree. He let his back slide down the trunk and sat on the warm ground. It was obscene that such a horrible day could be so warm and bright.
Leaned against the tree, he moped for nearly an hour in his own oppressive silence, determined to be melodramatic. He had no more tears to shed, however, and soon found himself back on is feet as he walked out of the cemetery. His heeled boots clicked on the paving stones as he walked down the street.
As Face plodded, he reflected. He met Heinrich when a friend introduced them. Heinrich was a member of the local militia, and had a roguish streak of whole-hearted bravery that lured Face in like a pitcher plant’s sweet scent.
Once lured, Face was helpless against Heinrich’s warm openness and strong touch. They bonded quickly, and many of their mutual friends called them adorable as they courted each other. Eventually, Face’s more deplorable urges surfaced, and Heinrich was disgusted, but willing to try. His touch was gentle and loving, and when he discovered how much the smaller, selfish man enjoyed the abuse, he became more firm.
Months passed, and Heinrich expressed a wish to adopt a child with Face. Just as the pair prepared to scour various means, word of an attack arrived. Despite this, the militiaman selected a child with Face, and they began the process of adopting the young girl, who arrived at Face’s hole the next day for her first visit. The girl, named Melissa, was slow to bond with the two men who wanted to become her fathers. During the time she was with them, she refused to open up. Heinrich was worried, but Face assured him that any child beyond six would be difficult, because they remembered their life before the adoption.
The next day, Melissa returned to the fostering home, and the attack began. Heinrich was among the first to meet the attacking horde, and although Face tried to convince him, he refused to let the dark-blooded wizard help him in the battle.
As a compromise, Face helped with first aid for those who fell. His work seemed to blur as the fight continued on. A familiar voice pulled him from his reverie, and he stared down at Heinrich. His lover was hurt badly– beyond his abilities. “Heinrich, I’ll take you home. I have some supplies there.” he offered.
Heinrich shook his head. “Help the others first.” His voice was weak and sounded wet.
Face scowled. “I’ll bring extra for them.”
The militiaman once more shook his head. “No.”
The magician spread his cape, ready to transport them, but Heinrich began coughing hoarsely, and Face grew afraid that he wouldn’t survive the trip through his cape’s void. “Don’t die.” he begged as he searched the void for the items he needed before he remembered he used them already. Terror slowly etched into the short man’s face. He looked up. “Help! Over here!” He called as he timidly pressed on the bleeding area. “Someone! I need a healer!”
None came, and Heinrich passed away under Face’s slender, pale hand. Face’s breath caught as Heinrich’s breathing stopped. Face began to scream. He was barely aware of people pulling him from the corpse of his lover.
Face snapped back to the present as he stood outside his home. He heard voices inside and quietly entered. At the end of the hallway, he listened.
“Face is never here anymore,” a female voice complained.
“If you bring it up, he’ll just shrug it off. It can’t be helped.” It was a male voice.
Both seemed oblivious to both Face’s presence, and the events that had taken place in the past week. He was denied adoption of Melissa. He lost his lover because he helped others. He was met with scorn by the city’s people for something he couldn’t recall doing. Now, he quietly listened with growing hurt as even his friends from other worlds scorned him.
They called him thoughtless and self-centered, and Face became all the more morose. Finally, he could take no more and walked into the main room. “Good night.” he murmured, despite the early hour, and walked to his bedroom. He closed the door and locked it.
Outside, awkward silence reigned until the people Face called friends slowly made excuses and left.
In his bed. Face became rapidly wrapped up in self-pity, and eventually slept. His dreams were visited by the phantoms of what could have been, and the recollections of the present, in disturbing harmony. He saw Heinrich as they made love, but Heinrich’s face was pale and he bled and wheezed. As their little family played in a park, the injuries were there, and Melissa didn’t seem to notice at all as she and Heinrich tussled in the grass.
Every time they returned home in the dream, the underground haven was entirely empty.
Face finally woke and began to cry softly to himself. That familiar sense of loneliness sunk deep inside of him, and for a long time, he refused to get out of bed.
It felt like ages passed before a soft knock sounded at the door. Face resolutely ignored it until the door open. His eyes popped open and he listened quietly as he stared at his bedsheets. A hand rested on his shoulder, and he made no move save to close his eyes and breathe slowly, as though asleep. Eventually, the person left, though it ate him not to know who came to try to comfort him.
It wasn’t worth it, though. He was sure of that. It was time to move on, but he couldn’t force himself from his bed, and instead wrapped himself up inside his cape and numbly stared at the bedsheets again.