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“They nail us to crosses. They let shafts of sunlight burn off our body parts, one at a time.”

 


It cannot be called rebirth if it is dying. And when he rises from the dead, rises and joins the dead, he is hungry and knows nothing.

 

He learns. How to drape himself across a chair and say bury your best friend or stake him through the heart, like the words aren't sunlight searing through his throat. How to outline the risks almost casually. They react like they are learning there is something worse than damnation, but really, what's the difference between under the earth and on it, if you're starving for eternity either way?

He carries the body. The girl cries so much he thinks the shovel will rust, but he's used to burying everyone he knows, one way or another. There's a graveyard that shakes with a coup d’etat and a voice in his head saying blood is stronger than love, so he waits with the blood and does not look at the horror in their eyes and does not remember, does not let himself think. He watches another heart break from the inability to beat, watches another throat close up over everything holy, and says God for him, says a fucking prayer, and only hears monster in reply.

The girl whose hair is fucking sunlight looks away when Simon tips back the glass, physically cannot face her decision. Raphael looks him in the eye.

 

The most recent boy to fight his way out of the dirt sets loose the hurricane that created him, and the storm that struck Raphael between the ribs. She rages, and something in Raphael burns. He learns. Bodies as bargaining chips. They can't see the fear in your eyes through the terror in theirs.

 

He learns. The law is the law until they want information, then they spit euphemisms as his skin sears. Bodies as bargaining chips—Camille’s nails in his arm, the same place as this Shadowhunter’s cuffs. This man who wants to make him a into scorch mark has no problem using Raphael's family to get Shadowhunters high. These people would create of him an ironic Christ figure without a second thought.

 

Her hair is the same color as Camille’s. So are her lips. Her coercion is more desperate than Camille ever would've become, but it tastes the same in his mouth, bitter after the overwhelming offer has faded from his senses. There is a hotel that shakes with regret and a voice in his head saying blood is stronger than love. Bodies as bargaining chips. He thought he'd learned.

 

The ex-queen whose throne he's claimed once said he was not a leader. They follow him anyway.

He still crosses himself, bites his tongue on the contradiction. He still falls asleep in his fucking golden casket that can't even glitter in the lack of light. He lives—exists—with the taste of charcoal on his tongue. Like the king who turned everything he loved to gold, except instead, it's ash.