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They said that in order to become a Witcher, one had to sacrifice their heart. So that they couldn't feel things that made them weak. Because feelings that made them stray from their mission wasn't needed. It wasn't important.

And so, being heartless made a very powerful Witcher.

Culuikha could relate to that sentiment. He wasn't a Witcher, but he was a Sorcerer, and in order to become a powerful Sorcerer as he was now, God knows how many things he had sacrificed. He still had his heart though, and he wondered maybe he should just lose it, because feelings? It was the most annoying thing.

*

Culuikha met the Witcher when he was in Rinde. And he wasn’t anything like Culuikha had expected at all. From the first glance, Culuikha could tell that he was a Witcher. He emitted so much power from him and his eyes were all black, as if they were without iris. What he didn’t expect was how the Witcher’s face was etched with deep worry.

“I need your help,” he said. “I can give you all my coins, but I need you to save my friend. He’s been cursed.”

Culuikha thought Witcher was supposed to be heartless. But this Witcher called someone as his friend and clearly cared about that friend a great deal because even Culuikha could feel his worry from where he had been standing twenty feet apart.

Culuikha didn’t have to help him. He had his own mission to finish. Had his own goal to reach. He couldn’t be distracted by a Witcher and his friend. He didn’t even need more coins. He could just shrug him off, ask him to look for another Sorcerer to help him because he was busy, but the intensity of the Witcher’s gaze awaken something in Culuikha. Made him feel… intrigued.

So, as the Witcher led him to his friends who was dying from the curse, Culuikha followed.

The Witcher’s name was Godam.

*

Culuikha didn’t expect to meet Godam again. Some people only cross path once after all, and he didn’t think that their destiny would ever collide again. But he was wrong.

“Hi. You look well.”

Culuikha was always surprised whenever he saw Godam smiled. He didn’t think a Witcher could smile. But Godam did. Last time, when he saved his friend, Godam also gave him a smile as he handed him his coins.

This smile though, was wider and brighter and Culuikha felt it blinded him a little. Even the dim light of the tavern couldn’t subdue the brightness of his smile.

“Without your friend now?” Culuikha asked instead, anything to make Godam’s gaze wasn’t landed on him. The Witcher’s eyes always made him like he was being scrutinized. He didn’t like it.

“No. Just me and my horse for now.”

Culuikha hummed, put down his empty glass of ale. He was about to leave, didn’t want to be with the Witcher for too long because Godam made him feel things that he didn’t know he could, but the man beat him to it.

“Can I buy you an ale perhaps? I haven’t thanked you enough when you saved Awang back then.”

Culuikha could refuse. He should refuse.

“Sure.”

*

Culuikha didn’t meet Godam again after that second encounter. And he was gladly put the Witcher at the back of his mind. Because he had something more important to do at the moment.

He needed more power. Because what was being a powerful Sorcerer if he couldn’t live forever? What was a powerful Sorcerer if Death would forever be stronger? Culuikha wanted to beat Death herself so that he didn’t have to be afraid over anything else, and was so focused to reach his ambitious goal that he didn’t realize the risk until it was too late.

Because nobody could beat Death. Or even contained Her.

And Culuikha felt his whole body burned, cracked in pain thousand times more than what he ever felt this time. He felt Death inside him, tried to blast Her way out of his body and destroyed him in the meantime.

He heard screaming, but probably it was coming from himself. The pain was almost unbearable and he didn’t think he could hold on for too long. Would it be the end of him then? He didn’t regret it though. He had nothing left in this world. No family. Nothing. What he did was only pursuing power and if this was the end of him, he didn’t regret it at the slightest. Because he died while pursuing something greater than him. He knew his limit. He was never afraid of Death anyway.

As he thought so, he heard Death’s scream inside his head, melted his brain and send another wave of more pain throughout his body. Culuikha felt his consciousness started to leaving him…

But then it was all gone. The pain. The screaming. Everything. What was left was a silence that was only being broken by his heavy breathing. He opened his eyes slowly, and the first thing he saw was Godam’s face above him. His eyebrows furrowed, made his handsome face thick with worry. His lips moving, saying something, but Culuikha couldn’t hear it. He felt like he was underwater, and everything was kind of dulled and muted.

Though slowly, he started to resurface from his drowning state. Sounds started to come back in his hearing, and he could feel his limbs again. He shook his head to chase away the dizziness, but apparently it was a wrong move. He was hit with a very strong nausea, made him double over and threw up on the ground. He didn’t know how long he was retching, his whole-body trembling, but when it finally stopped, he felt better.

He looked up as he wiped his mouth, and found Godam was still there, kneeling next to him with soothing hand on his back. His handsome feature was still so full of concern it annoyed the hell out of Culuikha. Then he registered the ruined surroundings, the result of Death’s rage earlier. When he looked back at Godam, saw that he was bruised and bleeding in some places, he immediately knew that the Witcher had something to do with how Death was gone.

“What did you do,” he asked, words gritted between his teeth. “What did you do, Witcher.”

Godam flinched at Culuikha’s tone, made him satisfied for a split second before his rage came back. “I don’t need to be saved,” he hissed again.

Culuikha thought Godam would leave him alone afterwards, but instead, Godam stared back at him, anger filled his black eyes. “You were dying, Culuikha. You tried to contain Death. What were you thinking? You could die!”

Jerked himself away from Godam’s touch, Culuikha glared back at him, staring dead on those beautiful black eyes, filled with so much anger and frustration that stirred something in Culuikha. “What if I want to die? And why the fuck do you care?!”

“Why can you let someone care for you for once?!” Godam screamed back at his face, made Culuikha frozen on his place. He never saw Godam being this angry. He was always so calm and collected. Full of smile and friendliness that was so strange for Culuikha. “I can’t let you die,” Godam said again, not as loud, but the growl in his voice made it clear that he was still angry.

Culuikha took a deep breath before saying, “You can’t kill Death. What did you do to make Her go away?”

“I make a deal with Her—but it’s fine now. You’re okay. But we probably need to get you—”

What. Deal.

“It’s fine, Culuikha, it’s nothing you have to—”

Tell me.

“Just be thankful. It’s really okay.”

“Godam, tell m—” Tell me what kind of deal you made with Death so that I can help you too, Culuikha wanted to say, but before he could finish, Godam already invading his space and shut him up completely by pressing their lips together.

It wasn’t soft at all, despite the fact that Godam was always being so gentle with people around him, but it was rough. Their teeth clashed together rather painfully, but Culuikha didn’t mind the pain at all. He felt Godam’s hand at the back of his head, gripping on it and tilted it the way he liked it to deepen the kiss.

“Shut up,” Godam grunted as he pulled back from Culuikha’s mouth, only to move his mouth and teeth on Culuikha’s neck. “Shut up for once. I care about you. I can’t lose you. Just be thankful.” His words were muffled on Culuikha’s skin, but he understood it all the same.

Culuikha could show him how to be thankful. If that was what Godam wanted.

*

It was all rough and full of rage and Culuikha enjoyed every second of it. He saw the other side of Godam that he was sure no one else had ever seen. And he preened because he was the reason of it. His black eyes looked even mesmerizing with anger boiled within. The rough touches bruised his pale skin, teeth scratching, as if marking every inch of him. It brought ecstasy that Culuikha had never felt before.

It left him sated, but also wanting more.

When everything was over, Godam panted harshly against the crook of Culuikha’s neck, but cradling him gently as they laid down there on the ruined floor. He heard Godam whispered something on his ear softly, but he could barely catch it as sleep started to envelop him.

He felt a soft kiss on his forehead, before he gave in to the sleepiness.

*

When he woke up, Godam was no longer there. Culuikha could still feel his touch on his body though, in every bruise, every scratch. And it made his gut twisted darkly.

Perhaps it wasn’t too late to sacrifice his ability to feel. It wasn’t important after all.