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Belonging

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I have no right to be here ,

Like a mantra in repeat mode

--his head bursting with pain and guilt

And the fire in the eyes of those he betrayed.

Let that fire turn me to ashes .

But the burn is not a brazing inferno.

The flames are a mere bittersweet

--a hand held out.

 

I have no right to be here .

He shakes his head

--just long enough for the fire to be blinked away.

He shivers.

He lingers.

The eyes are still watching

--he takes the hand.

 

I have no right to…

He withdraws,

Tries to let go,

But the hand tightens its grip.

"Stop destroying yourself."

 

I have no right.

“I tried to kill you”, he says,

And he feels it deep within,

The looming guilt too heavy to bear,

The unseen blood still dripping from his hands.

 

The eyes in front of him darken,

Focus on him --a stormy grey

--let it not be forgotten that steel turns to molten red when burning at the right temperature

--but what is the right temperature?

 

"I don't deserve you.

I deserve to die

Like the ones I killed."

 

Oh.

This  is the right temperature,

And he shivers again because,

In the end,

The bittersweet flames are reaching him

Scorching him alive,

And the eyes burn a hole through his thoughts,

Bare his memories

Of warm afternoons and cold evenings

Made softer through a walk, a talk,

A cruel game.

"You dug your own hole

But I won't let it be your grave."

 

I have no…

He avoids the eyes,

Focuses on the hair,

Softer than the piercing glaze

--so soft under ungloved fingers

He never allowed himself to bare.

He avoids the hair.

 

"I have…"

The words fail him,

He focuses on the hands,

The grip so strong it feels like his life's at stake

--because his life's at stake--

--because it's the last thread before he falls--

The hand so soft despite its iron clench on his wrist.

 

I do not deserve softness.

And so he claws back,

Hard enough to scratch and bruise,

Only to be met with a chuckle.

"Hate me if you will,

But hold onto me for I'll carry you

--let my other self be our wings out of this hole."

And he knows.

He knows he has no right.

But he also knows that sensation

--flying.

 

I had no right…

But he took the right, back then,

The intake of air and the thrill of the flight,

Many powers at play in an unfair battle.

Losing against others,

Losing against himself,

Losing himself in the eyes of others,

Losing himself in the other's hands and eyes and mouth.

The words slip despite himself:

"I don't hate you."

The chuckle burns back, dark, low:

"I know."

 

Don't look at me like this.

But he can't avoid the eyes anymore

Not when they're so much softer.

Not when they're so much closer.

Not when they're mirrors of bittersweet memories

--of what used to be

--or rather what could have been

--if only he had

--if only

--if--

"You're losing yourself again.

Stay with me."

"I lied to you."

 

And for a moment the lips overtake the focus,

Twisting in a smirk.

"And I lied to you too."

And it's not--

--not--

--not just.

Not fair.

Not balanced.

"But I  wanted you to disappear."

 

And the smirk is so much wider now,

A dangerous grin,

A playful hint of teeth,

(Teeth on his skin and a gasp

--no--it's gone--it's gone.

But the memory lingers

Burning hotter than the flames of guilt

Memories of warmth and bliss)

"And I refused to let you disappear."

 

And he's back to step one,

The blur of thoughts even harder on his mind,

Losing himself in past

--mock-past

--harsh present

--lost future

--and what could be--

--no.

 

I have no right to hope.

But the lips still move:

"I refused to let you die."

 I deserved to die.

But the words are firm:

"I will make you fly again."

 

And with that,

The lips come closer,

And his heart leaps when he realizes

--so close.

"They won't let you."

A last desperate attempt

To free himself forever from iron,

From steel,

From scalding memories of what-could-have-beens.

I deserve to disappear .

"They will hate you for this."

 

But the lips are so close now

His words are only a carress to them.

And he feels the familiar thrill

And his claws are trimmed,

And his blood is roaring

And he barely hears his own thoughts.

--I have no right to this--

Because he's already lost.

 

And he looks at the lips,

And the mouth changes shapes,

Forming words that don't reach his ears

--his heart is pounding too loud.

 

And the warmth settles in him.

 

And he is being kissed.

 

And only when the mouth withdraws,

Allowing him a gasp

--a breath

--an incredulous intake of air,

 

Only then does he realise the words

That fell from the lips

Before they locked with his

 

"I don't care

Because I care."

And it's new,

A meaning he cannot fully grasp

Care.

But deep down, the yearning of a child itches,

Calls,

The child that never was suddenly takes over,

Minor and major all mixed in one confused,

Perplexed,

Uncertain,

Craving melody,

Giving a new pace to the tune of his thoughts.

 

I have a right to be here.

 

This time,

It's his turn to kiss.