Luca could tell the moment he woke that something was amiss. Drew, normally curled up next to him, lays hunched and secluded at the far end of the bed, all his extremities hidden in a bundle beneath his body. His skin is ashy and pale, and he's facing away from Luca. Luca has the sense that Drew is awake though, call it a Bastil's intuition.
"D-Droo?" Luca peers over and spots two eyes, devoid of their usual human energy. Dark, cold and lonely orbs face him - something is wrong. "Droo?" Luca's voice is now panicked, and he shakes Drew until the human finally stirs.
"Luca," Drew breathes out, voice shaky, eyes still empty, "I-I can't get out of bed today."
"What's wrong Droo? Is hurt somewhere?" Luca asks, scanning Drew up and down, as though the answer will be written somewhere amongst his crumpled figure.
In response, Drew taps his head, "my brain. Depression."
Luca recalls the term 'depression,' remembering that it was the whole reason Drew was the target for his abduction. "Sad human," Luca mutters, and a small flicker of dread rises in his chest. Drew used to cut himself in the past - Luca can't let his human harm himself.
Drew sighs heavily and manages to furl himself back into a tiny ball, closing his eyes shut forcefully. Luca places a hand over Drew's shoulder, feeling his slight tremble. "I help you," Luca tells him, affirmatively.
Drew shakes his head ever so slightly, his voice comes out labored, "Nothing you can do. This is my fault, I've been forgetting to take my medicine."
Luca's heart drops into the pit of his stomach. Seeing his human, his life, his everything like this makes Luca's chest cave in, and his optimism crumbles away. How is he supposed to help Drew with this depression? What is the cure? There has to be one, right?
Luca watches Drew for a moment, noting that the human is still breathing, that his heartbeat is still regular, still beating life. Yet something is off with his energy levels. They are lower than usual, quieter and subdued.
Luca suddenly has a great idea - humans gain energy through food! He'll have to cook for Drew, in order to keep his energy levels up.
A smile flashes across his face, "I be right back Drew," he says, bounding out the room. Drew doesn't respond, but Luca doesn't worry - Drew will soon be back to his normal self.
Once in the kitchen, Luca pauses for a minute, trying to remember what Drew does when he cooks their meals. He opens the pantry and his curious eyes are met with various cans, of what he assumes are all soups. He smiles fondly to himself, remembering his first meal with his human - tomato soup.
He takes out a can and turns it on it's side, grateful to find a tab for opening. He pours out the contents into a bowl, surprised to find that it isn't tomato soup. Some strange black pods come out in a liquid, and Luca bites his lip with worry.
"Is a different soup?" Luca peers at the label on the can, but the words are smudged and he can't make it out. He shrugs, and continues to pour all the pods into the bowl. He carefully puts the bowl of pod soup into the beepy box, thinking back to how Drew turns it on when he cooks.
Luca presses a button and the machine starts to whir, the timer on it ticking down as the bowl moves in a circle. "Yes!" Luca punches the air at his victory - this cooking thing really isn't that hard.
Ten minutes later, Luca carefully shuffles back into Drew's room, holding the scorching hot bowl of soup with three towels. He sits carefully next to the furled up lump on the bed, giving him a slight tap. "Droo."
"What's that burning smell?" Drew asks, inching his head up slightly.
"Is soup," Luca places the bowl on the nightstand, and then pulls the pronged utensil out of his pocket.
Drew turns over effortfully, each movement painful and laborious. "A bowl of black beans?" Drew inquires.
"Is not...soup?" Luca's inflection rises with confusion. But he's determined not to give up. Even if it isn't soup, Drew still needs nourishment. "Try it please."
"It's splattered all over the bowl...did you make a mess in the microwave?" Drew still hasn't sat up in the bed, he's lying still, his eyes shut with his forefinger and thumb pressed against the bridge of his nose.
"Don't worry! I cleaned it!" Luca assures him, "please eat." Luca swallows, feeling a lump in his throat. Worry creeps up his spine, and he's starting to wonder if this idea will work.
Drew groans and sits up as best as he can. He takes the fork from Luca's hand and stabs two beans and pops them into his mouth. His face contorts with displeasure, but he chokes down a few more bites before setting the fork down. "Th-thanks Luca," he says, "I just have no appetite."
Luca frowns, "humans need food."
"Not when their brains are screaming for them to die," Drew says back, his voice sounding strangled.
Luca gasps, "Droo! No!" His heart rate quickens and he rushes to Drew, taking his hands in his and squeezing, not sure what else to do.
Drew's eyes are brimming with tears, "I'm sorry Luca...I'm sorry...this is why you shouldn't be with someone like me...I'm not normal…"
Luca pats Drew's head, his fingers tangling through brown locks. "Shh, my human," Luca whispers, drawing Drew's body closer to his and hugging him, "is ok. I will help. No sorries here."
Drew's body quakes into Luca's and a heavy wave passes over the both of them. Drew sobs and heaves, breaking down against Luca's chest. "I know this is a chemical imbalance in my brain...I've been to therapy...I've tried taking medicine...but sometimes I just have days like this. Everything hurts. I can't get out of bed. I have horrible, terrifying thoughts. And the worst thing," he sniffles hard and then continues, "the worst part is that it hurts the people around me. I've watched my brother worry his life away over me, and now I'm burdening you. I can't stand this."
"Droo," Luca holds back his own tears. He's frightened to see Drew like this, raw and vulnerable and torn down by all this pain. Luca's heart aches, and his throat is dry. How can he possibly convey to Drew what he means to him? Drew is more important to him than anything in existence, and Luca would travel to the farthest star across the galaxy and back for him.
Luca squeezes Drew tight and kisses his forehead, "Droo is never a burden. Never." Drew wraps his arms around Luca, but doesn't say a word. He cries a bit more until the tears run out, and he's an empty shell - still miserable, but feeling a bit more comfortable with Luca by his side.
Luca holds him for dear life, fearing that Drew may slip away into nothingness if he doesn't hug him hard. The two stay nestled and cuddled in bed in silence, letting time slip away aimlessly. Luca doesn't care that his neck becomes stiff and his arms sore from holding so tight.
Drew's muscles turn limp again, as the depression creeps throughout his body, rendering him heavy and listless. His energy is still muted, as though all the colors have been seeped out, and washed away.
Luca's mind drifts to a time when he was a small, when he was sick in bed and the commander helped nurse him back to health. Commander sung a lullaby to him, in order to help him sleep peacefully. Luca remembers the tune perfectly, and recalls how it lifted his spirits as a small.
So Luca begins to hum, softly at first, barely audible. His humming soon takes shape into lyrics as he recalls the words in his native tongue. Drew won't understand the words, but the tune is peaceful and soothing, and with any luck may help Drew to calm his thoughts. Luca sings and pats Drew's head, letting the melody fill the room and watching as Drew's eyes open slowly.
As the song progresses, Luca begins to feel an odd pull within him - he realizes that his own energy is being drawn out, and that he's giving it to Drew. With excitement at his revelry, Luca sings with more gusto, drawing out more energy to lend to Drew, not caring that it's draining himself from his source of life. He feels the flow from his fingertips, like a river running through him and emptying out into his human, encompassing him in an aura of purple light.
Drew's eyes flash open wider and he blinks several times as it dawns on him what's happening. "Luca!" he shouts, sitting up firmly. "What are you doing?"
But Luca keeps on singing and transferring his energy, willing to give Drew every last drop. Drew pushes Luca's hand away from him, a panicked expression etched upon his freckled face, "Luca stop!" he pleads. Luca blinks several times, realizing a moment too late that his hands are pinned to the bed now, wrists held by Drew. He ceases the flow of energy instantly, feeling heavy and weak, but happier than before.
He can sense Drew's energy levels, they are brighter and bolder now, back to their normal state. Yet Drew is looking down at him with disbelief, "Luca, take it back. You can't sacrifice your energy to me like that."
"How do you feel?" Luca wonders, blinking up at Drew.
"I-I don't know," Drew releases his grip on Luca and slides back down next to him, "I was so worried for you. The energy seems to have - have woken me up or something. I still don't feel great, but I'm somehow better than before. But you can't do this," he says adamantly, "take back your energy."
Luca shakes his head, "you needed it. Is okay. Everything is okay Droo."
"Luca," Drew turns to look at him, "I can't let you sacrifice yourself for me. Take it back."
"Will wait," Luca defies him, "I'll take energy back when Droo feels better, and depression is gone."
Drew makes a disgruntled noise of mingled annoyance and exasperation, "Depression won't ever be gone for good. Some days are simply better than others. Some days are really hard, and it's hard to explain...today was one of those days. If you had just left me alone, it would have passed."
"You were in pain," Luca says, "I helped it. Just a little."
Drew blinks back tears, "Luca...this energy will soon dissipate...I can't fight depression with your energy alone...the dark thoughts are going to come back."
"Is okay Droo. Let's lay here together. We share the pain now," Luca advises, trying to understand his human. Drew's affliction has been ebbed away some from the energy, but the pain is still present, still lingering like a dark foreboding cloud in the sky. But maybe like this - with Luca's energy levels drained, and with Drew's depression rendering him bedridden - the two of them can suffer together, and keep hope in the fact that they are not alone.
Luca wants to say all of this to Drew, but the words won't come, his body can't muster the ability to speak when his energy is dim. Yet Drew seems to understand perfectly. His anxious worrying ceases and he lies next to Luca, holding his hand. "Okay," Drew agrees, "we'll stay like this. Once I feel better, you take back your energy."
Luca nods, and the two fall back into silence - a peaceful, restful silence. The day ticks by, time escaping them as they fall in and out of sleep, keep quiet, and hold hands. Drew gets up once to go to the restroom, but other than that, his body lays still on the bed.
Drew turns on his side towards Luca after a while, and scoots closer to him, his breath tickling Luca's neck. "Yes?" Luca asks, peering at Drew questioningly.
"Turn on your side," Drew implores. Luca does as he's told, and Drew's arms wrap around him, encompassing him from behind. His arms are warm, no longer trembling. Luca sighs contentedly, he loves spooning with Drew, and despite his lack of energy he feels lively and spirited.
"It's already night time again," Drew notes after a glance at the clock, "On a day like today, I'd usually sleep through the day and night and not get up until the next morning. I would still ache, but the numbness in my brain would feel less heavy. I'm sorry you had to see me like this today. And I feel selfish in saying this...but I'm so glad you stayed by my side here," Drew squeezes Luca, "I actually do feel better. Knowing that someone would go so far for me...I'll never be able to thank you enough Luca."
Luca entagles his fingers with Drew's, holding tight, "I'm happy you feel better Droo. I always stay by your side."
Drew presses his body against Luca's back, firm and demanding. Without words, he conveys to Luca what that sentiment means to him - he brushes a soft kiss along Luca's neck and carries his lips up towards Luca's forehead. Luca smiles and clutches Drew's arms, every tiny kiss gives him a warming and electrifying sensation throughout his body.
"Forever and ever," Luca adds as Drew's lips continue to browse over Luca's soft skin. "I always stay with Droo."
"Luca," Drew exhales slowly against the nape of Luca's neck, "take your energy back."
Luca turns around in the bed so that he's facing Drew. Their noses press together and Luca blinks a few times, deciphering his next move. "Your energy levels are better...but what if I hurt Droo?" Luca asks.
"I took my medicine a little while ago in the bathroom Luca. I'll be alright. Like I said, I'm already feeling much better than this morning," Drew explains.
"Medicine, is good," Luca agrees, "I take energy and then we can eat food?" Luca asks, knowing very well that Drew must be starving at this point.
Drew smirks, "fine, it's a deal," he concedes. Luca smiles and presses his body closer to Drew, wrapping his legs around Drew's and hugging him close. He buries his nose and mouth into Drew's neck, siphoning the energy back out and rejuvenating his depleted store. Drew trembles slightly and holds onto Luca's shirt as the alien glows purple and lights up the dark room with a phosphorescent glow.
"You good?" Drew asks, once Luca has been sated. Luca heaves and nods his head, his body tingling with the spark of new energy.
"Then, let's go," Drew sits up and gets out of bed, still a bit wobbly - yet he's determined, and much healthier looking now, "We'll order pizza."
Luca gets up, his head spinning slightly with the rush of energy and excitement. He smiles fondly at Drew, overjoyed to see Drew's color returned to his cheeks, with a tiny smile etched upon his face. Drew takes Luca's hand in his and he squeezes hard, "Thank you Luca. Maybe this sounds stupid, but with you I feel I can face any challenge. I never felt that before."
"Is not stupid," Luca assures him. His heart soars and his chest expands with a feeling that he's not sure how to describe. Luca follows Drew out of the room, thinking to himself about the day. It wasn't a great day, it was painful for Luca to see Drew's depression take hold of him and restrain him to his bed. But amidst that heaviness, Luca was able to find a light, a silver lining. Drew relied on him, had opened up and shared a bit about his depression. He didn't push Luca away, and he thankfully didn't try to hurt himself in any way either. Instead, Drew had held Luca's hand and accepted the help that Luca could offer.
That feeling in Luca's chest continues to inflate, as he realizes that he truly meant every word he said to Drew - he wants to stay by his side, forever. It's strange, Luca thinks, to come to this moment of clarity on a day that Drew was mentally ill. But he now comprehends this overwhelming elation in his heart - he's in love with Drew, plain and simple. Luca loves Drew, and he will do all in his power to protect him and nurture him, even if it costs him his own life. Luca loves Drew, always and forever.
Drew bites his bottom lip with worry as he takes another good look at Luca, scanning up and down. Luca's purple bright eyes are dimmer with the blue contacts, but more human-like. His body is hidden under a long sleeved jacket and pants (good thing Luca is always cold, so he shouldn't have to shed any layers today). His face is what concerns Drew though - will this amount of make up work? Drew hid his alien markings as best as he could, leaving Luca looking like a prepubescent teen who had a field day with their first make-up kit.
"It'll have to work," Drew says through a conflicted frown.
"My markings is gone," Luca states, staring at his odd reflection in the mirror.
"I know, but we had to," Drew says, taking Luca's hand in his, "I know we've been out a few times, but a theme park has many, many people. If you stand out too much, someone will notice that you aren't human."
Luca frowns but nods. He picks up the beanie off the bed and puts it on to cover his white hair. "Is better?" he asks, his snaggle tooth peering out cutely from his bottom lip.
Drew smiles and leans in, grabbing Luca's chin with his forefinger and thumb, "you know I prefer the real you. But yes, this will work." He plants a soft kiss upon Luca's lips, practically feeling the alien melt beneath his hold.
Drew releases slowly and blinks, looking at the powdery pancake of Luca's face. He laughs as he watches Luca's painted face dust with the slightest hint of purple - no amount of makeup could hide the alien's luminous blushing. "Try not to do that too much," Drew warns.
Luca blushes harder and pouts. Drew takes his hand and leads him out the door, thinking to himself that it's going to be quite an interesting day.
The minute they arrive at the theme park, Drew's worries are washed away for a glorious second as he watches Luca take everything in with the wonder and awe of a newborn child. Luca's jaw drops and his eyes widen double their size. "Wh-what is that?" he asks, pointing towards a roller coaster, "This is rides?!" he splutters as his eyes sweep up the ferris wheel and then linger on the blinking lights of a spinning ride called 'The Twister.'
Drew's relief is momentary - as soon as the two get into the park, Luca runs off, his mind whirring with so much excitement that he nearly leaves his human in the dust.
"Luca!" Drew yells, running after him. "Wait up!"
Luca turns around with a wide and silly smile plastered on his face, "Look!" He's pointing towards a free fall drop, watching with glee as people scream while they fall towards the earth.
"Yeah um...that's not my favorite ride," Drew admits, his stomach flipping just looking at it.
"Droo is scared?" Luca asks.
Drew narrows his eyes, unsure if Luca is testing him or is simply being oblivious. Seems he can't back down now. "Fine Luca, we'll ride it."
A few hours later, Drew finds himself sitting down on a bench to try to regain his balance. "I need a break Luca, I'm really dizzy."
Luca has stars in his eyes, his body is aquiver with the buzz of excitement. Although Drew wore himself out with falling and spinning and looping upside down, he can't help but smile at his childish alien boyfriend.
"What should we ride next Droo? Or we can try sweets?" Luca asks excitedly.
Drew takes a sip of some water, feeling his nausea subside a bit. "Come sit and enjoy the scenery," he taps the bench and Luca sits next to him, although he's still jittering with elation.
"I'm happy you're having fun," Drew says, "I just can't take this many thrill rides in such a short amount of time."
"Is there...calmer rides?" Luca asks, curiously looking all around and salivating slightly as he watches some children walk by with cotton candy and ice cream.
"Actually," Drew perks up some, "there is a love tunnel ride, and we get to just sit on a boat, there's no loops or spins."
Luca's eyes turn into massive orbs, "love tunnel?"
Drew coughs and blushes, "Yeah, um, it's a silly little thing but we are a couple so...it could be sweet. I've never done it before."
"Yes! Let's ride the love tunnel!" Luca screams, alerting several onlookers nearby and attaining a few snickers from them.
The two seat themselves together in the love boat, and Drew wraps his arm around Luca. "See? Nice and easy ride, no surprises, and no turns. This will be nice."
Luca nods and looks around feverishly as the boat slowly drifts forward, taking them through a dark heart shaped tunnel as a cheesy song plays in the background. Drew can feel Luca stir beside him, "I don't get it," he says, blinking through the darkness.
"It's a private tunnel, so we can do this," Drew explains before pressing his lips urgently against Luca's. Luca startles in surprise and then makes a squeal of delight. Drew kisses Luca eagerly, his heart racing mad, a giddiness whirring inside him over this cliched moment. But it isn't cliche or trite for Luca - nothing ever is, because everything is new to him. That's what makes everything more thrilling for the both of them - places and events that seem commonplace to Drew are all new and extraordinary to Luca. Seeing the world from Luca's viewpoint has given Drew a newfound amazement for the simplest of things, and has brought him joy in moments that he never thought could be anything but mundane.
Drew relishes in delight in the tunnel, making out with his alien boyfriend while rubbing a hand over the small of Luca's back. Luca eases his body into Drew's, one hand over Drew's face, fingers brushing against Drew's earlobe. Luca pants heavily, and Drew does all he can to lessen the fervor of their kissing - they can't exactly do more than a kiss here while they're in public.
"Droo," Luca's voice is soft, pleading. Drew opens his eyes and laughs - Luca is glowing purple again, casting his glow against the curved walls of the tunnel. Luca has a hard time hiding his feelings, and Drew finds it adorable - at least while they're alone, without onlookers wondering why Luca radiates like a magical fairy in a fable.
"Is not funny," Luca pouts, turning away from Drew and trying his hardest to calm himself down. He crosses his arms defiantly, and the purple light begins to dim.
"You're too cute," Drew tells him, giving him one last kiss on his cheek before the boat exits the tunnel on the other side. Luca pretends to be pouting still, but Drew can clearly see his smile of adoration under his fake grimace.
They walk off the boat ride and Luca untangles his crossed arms, linking his fingers with Drew's. Drew loves how easily Luca lets things go - he'll be upset about something for a small amount of time, and then he'll be back to his bubbly and lively self. It's a trait that Drew loves about Luca.
A roar in the sky jolts the two of them to look upwards, and Drew notices with a lurch of dread that the sky looks ready to open up and downpour at any moment. At the same instant he realizes this, he feels a tug against his hand and watches with alarm as Luca runs off away from him.
"Luca!" Drew yells in a panic, chasing after the alien. Luca must have been scared by the booming thunder - Drew wonders if there's anything like rain or thunder in his home planet.
The crowd is thick in the theme park, as people mill about in a hurry to look for cover. Rain drops start pounding down, slow at first but then heavy, overflowing and thick as drapery. Amongst all the chaos, Drew chases the fading speck of Luca, until he can no longer spot him. He was sure Luca took a right turn, but the alien is nowhere to be seen.
Drew's chest constricts and his breathing becomes labored. Tears of frustration and desperation well up in his eyes and pour out as easily as the rain cascades down. In such a tumultuous rainfall, Luca's makeup is sure to wipe off - someone is sure to see him, and to figure out what he is.
Drew cries and stands still for a moment, his thoughts spinning out of control with anxiety. He takes a deep breath - as deep as he can, forcing his lungs open - and then he slaps himself in the face. If he wants to find Luca, he needs to remain calm. This is no time for panic attack.
He continues forward with renewed vigor. He puts himself in Luca's shoes - if he were Luca, where would he go?
And then Drew smiles to himself, as he finally sees the answer right before him. The candy shop. It's so simple, and he's been watching Luca's eager eyes scan each and every candy and sweet held by the sticky hands of park goers all day.
He rushes inside and relief sweeps throughout his entire body. There's Luca, standing by the back of the store with a lollipop in one hand, talking animatedly to a couple around the same age as Drew. Fear overcomes Drew as he takes in the fact that all of Luca's make up has smeared away - leaving his markings out in the open, for all to stare at with confusion.
Drew hurries his way over to Luca, and his fear slowly abates - he notices that no one is questioning Luca's markings, and that the couple Luca is speaking with isn't treating him with disdain or bewilderment.
Luca's eyes grow wide and he gives Drew a big, wet hug. "I'm sorry!" he cries out, knowing that he did wrong by running away, "the boom in the sky scared me! I thought - I thought was something else!"
"Your boyfriend was telling us about you, I'm glad you found him," the woman Luca was talking to says, flashing a kind smile.
"Yeah, we found him looking upset, so we got him a lollipop and that seemed to help him calm down," her boyfriend explains.
"Look," Luca leans back from his hug and shows Drew the swirly lollipop he's holding, "is not hurt my tongue. Is sweet!"
Drew chuckles, remembering that Luca couldn't handle the sour lollipop he had bought him ages ago. "Thank you for doing that...I know he's a bit odd," Drew says awkwardly, digging into his pocket to find some money to pay them back for Luca's lollipop.
"Oh, it's okay," the man says, waving his hand in refusal of Drew's cash, "we don't mind helping out a fellow in need! Besides, we love his tattoos - totally sick! You'll have to tell me where you got those done?"
Drew nearly bursts out laughing - tattoos! These two think that Luca's markings are tattoos - he's so relieved he could sing to the heavens. He maintains his composure and explains, "he got those done in another city - another state actually. It wasn't local."
"Bummer," the guy says, "well hey, try not to get separated during the next rainstorm! See you guys around." The guy and his girlfriend wave and take their leave, opening up their umbrellas before walking out into the drenching rain.
Drew looks back over at Luca, and wraps an arm around him, "so this is rain. You've read about it before, right?"
Luca nods and takes another lick of his lollipop, "this means no more rides? Droo is mad?"
Drew shakes his head, "Once it stops, we can go on more rides. And I'm not mad. It must have been scary to hear that noise, I know why you ran."
"I will hold hand from now on," Luca insists, clutching onto Drew's hand hard, making a promise to never let go.
"Good," Drew says, smiling at Luca before surprising him with a quick kiss. Drew's heart is overwhelmed and on fire with something intangible, inexplicable towards Luca. He's alleviated of all his stress; knowing that Luca is okay, and that no one suspects him to be an outsider has calmed his nervous mind. But even more than that - thinking back to how extraordinary this day has been so far, and how Luca can smile and laugh through it all with wonderment and awe- Drew recognizes how special Luca is to him. Luca brings the purest happiness to Drew, in a way that can't always be explained through words. He is a shining star, a bundle of periwinkle joy in Drew's otherwise dim life. Luca has broken down his walls, and shown him what it means to love - yes, love.
Love. That's the word for the overpowering emotion filling up Drew and inflating in his chest like a balloon. Drew loves Luca. Perhaps he's loved Luca for a very long time, but he's just now coming to terms with this fact. And he knows - he can feel it deep in his bones - that he will love Luca for a very long time. For forever.