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Burning

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Sometimes Sigismund watches his lord from a distance, wants to say the words, I am choking with love, I am dying here, how did I live without you before? But the words sound hollow in his head and bear no meaning. He is no poet and he even entertained a thought of going to one of his brothers for help, but the thought vanished for he is alone in this and it is his burden to bear.

He kneels before his lord when he wants to prostrate himself and cry and beg, he doesn't know what for. Look at me, I am yours to command and punish and take.

His every battle, every triumph is for the Imperium, for the glory of the Legion, but first and foremost, for him. He raises his weapon for his lord, lives through many challenges for him.

Everything is for him, and he will go to the edges of the galaxy and more, for him, for him. He doesn't even know what he wants out of this, aside from duty and service. He would go to him and kneel and say, Everything I do is yours, I am yours. Would that be enough? Would that sate this burning ache inside him? He doubts it.

It is a poison, acid that burns through him, makes his breath hitch in his throat when he sees his lord, it makes him weak in the knees, makes him a mess.

Sometimes, when the deeds are done and he has nothing else to do, when not even meditation with his sword helps, when darkness swallows him whole, he leans onto a wall and closes his eyes, and tears flow down his face, burning, burning. He wants to forget about proper protocol and duty, go to his lord, and slam him into a wall or kneel before him, and say, Make it stop.

He triumphs, but it is not enough. He is victorious, but every victory leaves him empty.

Make it stop.

He doesn't understand what it is, he only knows that it burns and hurts and makes his head spin and chokes him.

I am dying, please, have mercy. But his lord is not the one famous for mercy, and going to him and admitting the burning would be a weakness and would earn him nothing more than a scowl.

His lord isn't famous for his communicability either. Sigismund could come to him with doubts or questions, but this... This is more than duty, different than doubts.

Why can't you see that I'm dying?

He wants to ask for a mission, be sent far away and completely alone, and come back with victory. But it will not help. Neither distance nor time can help him.

He wants to go to him and say, Do not forgive me, disown me, send me away. I am a sinner who doesn't know his sin.

He doesn't understand anything except that somehow, his thoughts, his gaze, his presence alone dirty his lord. They can't make him dirty, he is too bright and burning for that, but still they make Sigismund feel as if he is dirtying him.

He can't avert his eyes and he can't look at him, his lord is the sun burning him, and he feels exposed, naked, all his thoughts laid bare before him.

Do not look at me, I want to breathe.

Do not stop looking at me.

Sometimes at night, restless, in pain from the burning, he goes to his lord's quarters, but as he sees the guards standing vigilant beside the door, he turns to one of the side corridors, and paces, paces, paces until his bare feet grow cold and numb from the metal of the deck. Until tears dry out on his face.

He misses Kharn, his easy presence, his jokes, their fights. But Kharn was not himself the last time, his thoughts obviously clouded by some darkness, and he didn't say a single word. Kharn would understand, Sigismund sees the same flame in his eyes, the same pain on his noble face, the ache, the burning. He sees pity, a pity of a man who recognises his brother-in-pain.

But Kharn is not here, and Sigismund has nobody to go to, except for the one who is the core of this burning, the sun that is too bright.

They say that he is made of stone, but Sigismund knows it is not so. It takes being with him and paying close attention, and Sigismund notices points of tension in his body, flame burning but tamed behind the ice of Inwit of his eyes.

Sigismund aches to reach out and touch.

Let me make you feel better.

Let me burn in you to ashes.

They are made for this, to love their Legion and their Primarch. But should it be so difficult? So painful?

He tries to hide it behind the walls of stone and duty, but nobody can hide anything from a Primarch, and he is summoned one day. He steps into his lord's chambers, head kept low. He can't look at him.

His lord is not occupied with anything, not pacing, not going through reports. He just stands there, so close that Sigismund burns, and yet so far away. Sigismund can feel his light but can't touch him.

"You are not yourself and you hardly sleep at all," the low voice is perfectly even, unreadable.

"I am still fit for duty, my lord!" he hurries to say, his Primarch's words and the possible implication in them almost painful to Sigismund.

"That you are, but this is not my concern, not yet. What bothers you?" The voice softens for a fracture, but it is not uncommon in his conversations with Sigismund, merely an invitation to speak freely.

And yet, he doesn’t say it. "Nothing, my lord."

"You cannot lie to me."

I love you and it hurts, do something with it! How do you say things like this?

"It hardly matters, my lord." He keeps his own voice even, too, not letting it to betray anything.

"Let me decide whether it matters or not," growls Rogal Dorn, and anyone would flee from this growl, anyone but Sigismund. Until he is not sent away, he can't go. "Speak, First Captain."

But he can't. He doesn't know what to say. He doesn't know if he should say anything.

The sun moves, closer, burning, burning, and Sigismund trembles. He is in pain.

"Look at me. Look at me, Sigismund."

That makes a ripple go through his body, his name spoken by this voice, like a leash being pulled.

He lifts his head, but everything is a blur, oceans welling up in his eyes. "My lord..." he chokes out.

"What hurts you so much that you do not dare to look at me?"

Sigismund trembles, swallowing cries of pain. "You. It is you."

The light and fire turn into burning cold abruptly, clearing Sigismund's mind and his vision. His lord's eyes are dark like ancient ice.

"Out," Rogal Dorn says quietly.

Sigismund stumbles to his feet and out of the room, runs down the corridors until his lungs are burning, slams into his chamber, locking the door behind him. He slides on the floor and covers his eyes.

What have I done?

Sigismund thinks that maybe he should do something about his rest, because strangely, the darkness around him seems to stretch into eternity and he's flowing in it, not thinking about anything, not feeling anything, just breathing, in and out. And then he's being lifted up, and that is alright, it seems, his body hasn't recognised the movement as a threat. He's flowing and then he's laid down carefully on his bed, and that is alright, too.

He wakes up completely when he's being gently pulled to large warm body, back to chest, and he keeps his breathing deep and even, willing his hearts to not speed up or stop altogether.

The hand pressing softly on his chest, against his main, human heart, is burning him even through the fabric of his tunic.

Warm breath touches his short hair. "Forgive me, my son, for not being the one you deserve." A barely audible whisper, and Sigismund has a split second of a doubt. Maybe he is imagining this.

You are everything I want, you are everything I need, what are you talking about?

The hand moves, lightly, over his chest, his arms, almost-not-touching. Repetitive, soothing motions, they nearly calm him to sleep, but the presence behind him is burning, burning, as if he is in the centre of a star. But he is not, is he?

Too much but not enough.

I must be dreaming.

"Forgive me for bringing you only pain." He feels the words, a low rumble on his skin, in his bones, in his very core.

His breathing halts for a moment, before he dives in with the intention to never emerge, before he covers the burning hand with his own.

The body behind him stiffens immediately. "You are awake." Perfectly neutral, but Sigismund is used to deciphering this voice, to solving the patterns of shifting stones in this fortress.

Now the gates are closing, but he cannot allow it.

He grips the hand under his own before it retreats and turns to face Rogal Dorn.

Once he asked his librarian-brothers, What does he feel like? They said, He is a galaxy.

Now, looking into the eyes so dark they feel like open space, now, he understands. Also, he understands that it is uncomfortable, lying in the bed big enough for an Astartes, but not fit for a Primarch with an Astartes. He thinks he understands that his lord has come here, like when someone you love is in pain, you come to them, even if you don't know what to do. You come anyway, because you are worried.

"What can I do?" Rogal Dorn asks, watching him, studying him, in the darkness that stretches into eternity, and it still burns, like a brand on Sigismund's skin, on his heart -- his main, human heart.

"Stay," he answers.

The gates are closed, but Sigismund is now protected by the walls of this fortress.

Maybe his lord understands, too.