Rest? Old friend, you've been missed.
Sometime later I have showered in beautifully hot water and am led out on the bed especially picked for me by the Justice and in the room I never thought I would see again. It feels like a life time ago since I last led here, but it's still sooner than I had hoped. Don't get me wrong, it's a vast improvement to the prison or the doctor's ward but still, it's not my home.
This thought brings me to a much heavier one; what must my mother be thinking? Does she think I have been kidnapped and murdered? Did she get the police involved when she called at my house and using the spare key I leave with my neighbour, letting herself in and finding my untouched, empty house - had she panicked? Is she frightened for me or sure I will return soon? Oh crap, how was I going to walk back into her life after all of this and say, "Sorry mum but there wasn't any phones where I was. Oh and by the way, I was taken against my will also." How was I going to explain this to her and others?
The police would need an explanation and of course they can't have the truth so what was I to say? "I took a trip abroad and just happened to forget to call my mother for weeks?" And maybe I'm pre-empting things a little because maybe I won't ever see Earth again. Am I being too naive to think I will be able to leave here even if we do manage to sort things out? Probably, but I have no way of predicting what will happen and what my life will be after that so I'm not going to even try... it would take far too much effort and all I want to do is relax for a moment, if I'm allowed.
Ali had been watching me for some time now; his quiet pacing of the space between the bed and the far wall is a rhythmic, relaxing sound. He has kept his eyes on my face all the while, playing with his hands pulled up to his chest. It's his, 'I'm worried about you but I don't want to ask what's wrong' look, and I can't ease his worry either. I don't want to talk and tell him everything that had happened to me in the cell so, for the moment, I have nothing left to say.
He has made many confusing and mildly hurtful decisions over the last week and now, having time to process it all, I am a little angry. Not necessarily all directed at him but a little if I'm honest. I think I have a right to be just a little annoyed, it will pass but I just need a few moments to calm myself down in silence so I'm not tempted to say anything I will regret. There use to be a time where I wouldn't give myself a moment and I would indeed say how I feel - unfair or not - to the people I love and would always hurt them. I have learnt a lot since then. Now I know the signs; I just need to process things and then I'll be fine and thankfully Ali knows the signs and will give me that space, regardless to his intensifying concern. Thank Goddess for intuitive men hey!
After around an hour I reluctantly pull myself from my own thoughts and tune back into the room. Ali had not stopped his endless loop of the room throughout my processing and now he looks extremely intense; a fine tremble runs through his hands which are clenched by his sides as he walks, endlessly.
I need to put him out of his misery before he gives himself a heart attack.
"Come and lay down with me Ali." I say holding one of my hands out to him.
He pauses in the centre of the room and stares at me for a moment; when he talks his voice breaks with an emotion so deep it seems to live by its own vibration.
"I believe I would be better fitted to my own abode tonight, my dark light."
Oh dear, here comes the oratory - now were in trouble.
"Why on Arroba would you think that's a good idea?"
He turns away giving me the long, lean line of his back and sighs to himself.
He's bracing for something, but what? I sit up and fling my legs over the side of the bed, readying myself to go to him.
"No don't get up, you need your rest." He says with his back still turned to me.
"What is the matter Alistair? Tell me please."
Another pause from the Numinous and I almost get up from the damn bed and shake him.
"Ali, I think we have come through enough these past few weeks for you to feel at ease, you can tell me anything."
Again I wait but he doesn't answer me. I get up from the bed and go to him. I pull on his shoulder until he turns around to me but when he does, he doesn't give me any kind of eye contact.
"It's difficult to explain Dione."
I reach up to his bowed face and brush my fingers through his hair; he leans into my touch, closing his eyes for a moment. With his eyes shut, face relaxed and free of tension, he is Ali. Not the now raven haired, weighted man of late; this is him. My heart aches for him, for this, always.
"I will try to understand I promise."
His eyes finally rise to mine and they are as I thought - hopeless. He has given up.
"Ali, please talk to me." I plead.
"I have done too much to you, made too many shrewd decisions that have affected you immensely. Regardless to the fact that I made all of those decisions with your welfare in mind it still cannot ease the hate you must feel for me. I will take that hate because I deserve it but I am not sure I can live within it. I would rather you throw me out of this room than try to squash what must be a huge, unmovable distaste for me. I couldn't bare it and I can bare silence even less."
I reach to hold him but he moves away from me. I drop my unwanted arms back to my sides and cold forms in the centre of my heart, spreading out in my chest, until eventually, all I feel is dread.
"Ali I don't hate you. I feel how I have always felt for you; love, an unbreakable, undeniable love. That will never change, just as it didn't change when you broke the metaphysical bound between us; just as it did not shatter when you told me of your arranged marriage and just as it did not break when you brought me here to keep me safe! I will love you for an eternity Alistair, how can you think I wouldn't?"
My voice pitches with each word until they end sounding desperate and scared. He physically reacts to every single one; holding himself closer, turning into himself like a punished child.
"Ali, please, we can work on our relationship once all of this is sorted? As it will be Ali - has it not settled in yet? Danu, the Goddess helped us today and she will be there tomorrow to help us further; how can we fail?"
He whips around to face me so suddenly I stumble back and I only just manage to catch myself on the bed behind me.
"You think her presence will solve everything? You really believe it will wipe away the last several millennia of misery because she has decided to turn up now? For our people, the damage has already been done! Not even the Goddess herself can fix that!"
"Ali, shh. Don't say such things. She's here to help!"
"WHY NOW AND NOT CENTURIES AGO DIONE!" His voice booms and I startle.
"What has gotten into you? If she had not arrived today Alistair I would have been immortalized and then, Goddess only knows what would have happened to me; she has saved everyone!"
"Why not prevent it in the first place? Why has she not ruled this place for the last millennia? She abandoned us when we truly needed her and now that she is back, you expect me to just accept it?!"
I look on at him opened mouthed; the color seeping away from my previously flushed cheeks.
How can he be against the one person that can truly help us? Such anger inside of him, so much hatred for the being that has created us all? I don't have words to express how much that hurts me to hear. I never thought I would see him be this unreasonable but here it is; fuelled by centuries of frustration - but still, that can't even be right, I tell him my thoughts.
"You are a hypocrite! Up until a few months ago you were happy in your own naivety! You thought the people of Arroba were happy, you thought this whole sick institute was running beautifully so how can you stand there and tell me you hate the one being that can put it all right when you let yourself become blind to it for so many years as well? How can you cast judgment when you've been a very prominent figure in this so called 'society', helping it run smoothly - you are just as much to blame as anyone else!"
He slumps to the floor at my feet and puts his head in his hands. A strength evaporates from him all at once and then he is just a lone. Sat on the floor, holding himself, desperately trying to clutch, and keep clutching onto solid things. For the first time I realize just how much his guilt and pain has left a crack in his armour. And if it spreads? He would be little more than a scholar and certainly no warrior.
"Don't you think I know this? Why do you think I hate myself more than anyone? Why do you think I want you to hate me?! You cannot make me feel any worse than I already do!"
I sit down on the floor next to him but I don't try to touch him; something tells me he wouldn't let me even if I tried.
"Is that what all of this is about? You hate yourself for not seeing it before now? Because if that's the case Ali then it's natural to feel that way, of course it is, but it also won't help if you plan on wallowing in your own self pity."