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French Gods

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                                                                                  "It goes without saying that all of the people,
                                                                                      living, dead, and otherwise in this story
                                                                                     are fictional or used in a fictional context.
                                                                                                     Only the gods are real."
                                                                                  - Foreword of American Gods by Neil Gaiman

LeFou never was someone who had feverish faith in God.

It was true, he attended the church, but this was a habit and not a religious feeling. He would get up in the morning, have breakfast, and go to see the priest as everyone else would do. In his mind there was no other alternative, it was only one more task to do.

He was only a child when his grandmother would tell him stories of a mighty God, who was so full of kindness and forgiveness, who loved humans unconditionally, and always helped them through difficult times.

But the same God could also expel his beloved children from paradise for an apple. And He would also condemn his child to the eternal damnation, if He wasn’t amused enough.

Even if that didn’t make sense in LeFou’s childish mind, he didn’t try to understand - he loved and feared the God of his grandmother, and every night he would put his knees on the ground before sleeping, pressing his hands together with fervour to beg for mercy, and to promise he would never do anything to disappoint this powerful force. 

LeFou would promise multiple times he would never eat from the forbidden fruit that was the cause of humanity’s misery. There was a period during his childhood when he would refuse to eat apples passionately, until one of the old ladies from the church explain him this was only an allegory.

That wasn’t a solace to LeFou. If the forbidden fruit were only an apple, he would be able to avoid it easily. But if he didn’t know how the forbidden fruit would appear… How he could prevent himself from eating? How he would keep his grandmother’s God pleased?

The answers were getting darker as LeFou left the childhood behind and started to be a young man. Unlike the boys from his age, he didn’t feel the need to be around girls, or to court them. LeFou didn’t want to sneak and see what they hide under their dress, or to walk them home with hope to gain a kiss.

No, even if he suspected such behavior was a sin, this was not the reason that kept him away from girls. It was worse, in fact - his favours were inclined to an opposite direction.

If girls were the ‘forbidden fruit’, was there even a name for a person like him?

He stopped saying his prayers. This was pointless now - he had broken his promise, and he wasn’t even able to regret this transgression. LeFou was doomed, his grandmother’s God didn’t see him with the eyes of love anymore.

But LeFou didn’t mind, as he abandoned the childhood he found himself a new God. A strong and also powerful one. A divine person who was not only clever, but also beautiful. Next to him, the sacred painting of the churches were nothing but childish scribbles.

And his new God - Gaston - wasn’t like the church’s God. No, Gaston reminded him the old stories from Ancient Gods, from civilizations that disappeared long ago. The pagan Gods from places like Greece, from myths LeFou would also hear as a child. The Gods who existed only in poetry and songs recited next to the fireplace on a rainy night.

Gods who were allowed to exist in fiction, but who couldn’t be worshipped in reality. Worshipping such Gods would be a sin.

But Gaston was the incarnated sin.

It was a true delight for LeFou when he noticed the friendship was reciprocate. Gaston seemed to enjoy his company, and LeFou didn’t dare to dream much - why such a deity would crave the presence of a mortal like him? -, but his impression was that Gaston would be as upset as him if they didn’t spend enough time together.

When they turned into adults they already were quite intimate. LeFou would follow Gaston as a priest, opening his way and worshipping every step Gaston took. He wasn’t scared when he discovered his feelings for Gaston were more than adoration - more than desire.

If he had to be in love with a man, if he had to spend his whole life cherishing someone, he was pleased this person would be Gaston. Gaston deserved this and so much more.

Words were never spoken, but as the years advanced, his relationship with Gaston became something beyond friendship. LeFou had always been an adored person, and he always had a lot of friends - none of them would behave with him the same way Gaston did.

Rubbing his shoulders and being allowed to touch him was the least of the items. Often, Gaston would be the one looking for contact, holding his hand with the long and calloused fingers without a logical reason for doing it.

Compliments were said in the most casual moments.

“You are the best.”

“I couldn’t have a better friend than you.”

“You are my loyal and most precious companion.”

Gaston would even praise his qualities when LeFou did nothing extraordinary. The impression was that Gaston was always looking for an opportunity to show how he felt about LeFou.

And during the nights they spent at the local tavern, LeFou would frequently spot Gaston staring deeply at him, even when he wasn’t next to Gaston, even when he was talking to his other friends, or singing and dance at some particular tune. His lost gaze would follow LeFou’s movements until the moment LeFou came back to his side.

There was a point in their lives - LeFou couldn’t measure when it happened - that they started living together. LeFou still had his cabin, the biggest part of his things was still in his old house, but he spent all his time in Gaston’s place. Sleeping, talking, eating, or even sitting next to fireplace together, just enjoying each other’s presence.

Even if their physical contact were never beyond this, even if LeFou had his doubts that Gaston would ever admit his feelings, this was enough - for both of them.

Gaston didn’t seem to want other company, and LeFou couldn’t love anyone beside his personal God. They were together, even if in their own peculiar way, and LeFou didn’t have any reason to complain. Their life was good. 

But LeFou made an awful mistake. He had dropped his defenses, and had completely forgotten that not all Gods loved him. There was one God - one God who wasn’t pleased with LeFou.

After all, LeFou had made a promise just to broken it a few years later. Surely, no one could have a bright future if they had offended a God somehow.