It was dark under the canopy of the Amazon rainforest. Dense trees helped keep the rain from hitting people but never prevented it. While others were running outside to get to other buildings, Druig stayed content in his own house.
He’d stayed there for centuries and sure it got a couple of upgrades here and there but it was still the same skeleton he once built. He and the people were the ones to have built all they have; they turned the forest into a home.
He’d often reorganize his room, but no matter how much rearranging he did it always felt the same. No matter how many times he shifted his furniture he feels like he’s already done that same layout before. It killed Druig, a bunch of memories he’d much rather forget would flood into his mind any time he’d look at his room.
He patted down a chair he’d moved into his minimalistic bedroom. One of the townsfolk had made it for him on a whim. It showed carvings of Druig and the town he’d built up from the ground, or at least that’s what he could make out. Admittedly it was messy but he loved it nonetheless, finding such a gesture as charming and kind.
Druig carefully sat down on the wooden chair, not realizing he’d begun disassociating again.
His mind would never shut up no matter how much he wished it would, constant memories ran rampant and would never stop to give him a break. Druig was hit with a wave of emotion when he was brought back to the night he’d left his fellow Eternals.
All the pain and suffering of the people surrounding him had only given him a headache. He had known very well he could end that lasting headache by stopping the humans but he wasn’t supposed to intervene. Ajax told him that constantly, Ikaris tried to do the same thing with even less success. Druig would still control the minds of the people to stop their squabbles to save him the pain.
Weeks before Druig left he was watching Sprite tell stories to the people. He watched as they became inspired and their eyes lit up in hope and bliss. He could only wish that his abilities could do the same but alas that wasn’t how the world worked.
It was that night when he was walking with Ikaris, discussing who knows what when he nearly fell over in pain. It was Ikaris who had to help him keep his balance despite Druig’s protests. It was that night where he’d felt himself get beat up by no one, it was that night where he had seen a man beat his wife to the ground and leave her there to bleed. Druig had been so upset, his face exuding pure wrath while he cradled his head and used Ikaris for support to keep moving.
Later that night it had been Ikaris who had to hold Druig back and keep him from threatening to kill the pathetic excuse of a man. He learned from Ajax that he’d unintentionally formed bonds with the humans, most pain that came to them would affect him in some way. Druig only remembered telling two people about this, Makkari and Ikaris.
He’d remembered how an argument ensued when he told Ikaris. It was only meant to be a funny little anecdote to tell but he took it far too seriously. Ikaris insisted that he break this attachment he had but the argument truly got heated when Druig brought up the fact he doesn’t know how to do what was being asked of him.
Ikaris was yelling at him and throwing items around the room while Druig tried to stand his ground. Only when Ikaris left did he break down. He may be the odd one out from the Eternals but he cared about each of them deeply, he just struggled to show it. Ikaris yelling at him that night shattered him, he’d been looking for a laugh and maybe some validation but instead what he got in return was a messed up room and swollen eyes. It was that night that he began his habit of constantly rearranging his room.
It was that night where he was inconsolable, Makkari tried to help but she was little help to the situation. What he needed was an apology that he never got. It was that night that created the large rift between Druig and Ikaris.
His mind transported him to the Domo. He had just opened his eyes and taken in his surroundings. Something about it had felt eerily similar as he began to carefully walk around. Druig saw a man by the window and a girl next to him. They were talking and seemed to have so much chemistry that he almost felt sick. The girl, who he learned to be Sersi, showed so much compassion to the planet while Ikaris was as cold as ice. Druig felt that both were familiar but he could never place where and in the seven thousand years has dropped that idea.
In Babylon, he would sit out of battles and would more often than not be around Makkari and Sersi. He’d always preferred staying within the confines of the rich blue temple. Within the protective walls of Babylon was where he was told he was safest and arguing with that logic seemed ineffective. Sprite would be around telling stories that even Druig felt connected to. He’d watch as Sprite would illustrate a story about feeling forlorn turning into belonging and even his eyes would glisten with excitement.
The darker sides of his mind slowly began to drag memories best left forgotten. His memories began to trickle from full and warm to persistent emptiness. Ikaris and Sersi’s wedding began playing in his head. He remembered feeling so happy for the two of them yet so emotionless. He didn’t want to be there and it was obvious to Druig that Sprite didn’t either.
He’d stood with the other Eternals as the couple promised themselves to the other. Druig never felt more awkward in a moment despite his long life. It was also clear to him that he also wasn’t the only person who didn’t find the event exciting.
Sprite stood by looking so lost. He truly felt for her as he felt the same way. A part of him would shrivel and want to die every time Sersi and Ikaris looked like the only people in the world. He couldn’t stand it.
When the ceremony was done, Druig felt like throwing up. He’d been hit with a twister of emotions despite him not knowing why. At least he tried to convince himself he didn’t, deep down hidden in the back of his mind he understood why.
He saw Sprite making faces and their eyes looked filled with anger and tears. Druig made the quick decision to place his hand only Sprite’s shoulder and walk them out of the room for some fresh air.
He walked them out to a more secluded area of Babylon that was still close enough to the celebrations. Druig looked at Sprite softly but nowhere near the eyes. He waited to see who was going to start this conversation and when Sprite didn’t he had to take the initiative into his own hands.
“Sprite.. are you alright?” He asked them calmly, trying to start the discussion lightly.
It took a few moments for them to respond, but when they did it was an empty snarky comment that was exactly what Druig was expecting.
“Why do you care? It’s none of your business anyways,” Sprite retorted.
He’s learned how every one of the eternals’ minds works, not by using his powers but by just being observant. Druig’s learned over the years how they interact to how to tell apart their emotions. While he couldn’t communicate very well, he could use what he’s learned to help. That’s all Druig ever really wants to do; help his fellow Eternals.
He knew that Ikaris would pace back and forth when he was nervous, Phastos would dive headfirst into his work when he was anxious, Makkari would stare into space when she felt overwhelmed, Kingo would resort to storytelling and acting his parts in those stories. Druig knew that Thena got dealt with her anger by fighting deviants and Gilgamesh would shake his hands around when he was upset. Ajax always seemed to have the healthiest coping mechanisms, she’d meditate, and Sersi would spend her days just trying to be useful to the people of Babylon. Every one of the Eternals had their faults and not even Druig was free from that. He’d turn to stone, but underneath his cold exterior was him caving in on himself.
“It doesn’t take my powers to know you’re upset, Sprite,” He starts carefully “besides you’re going to run your hands raw if you keep ripping skin from them.”
It was Sprite who looked at their hands and realized they were picking at the skin. Druig knew this was a subconscious behaviour that Sprite did when they were upset or nervous.
“So I’ll ask you again, Sprite,” He tried to look sincere “Are you alright?”
“Why does Sersi get everything?” Sprite looked on the edge of a cliff that led to an ocean of tears.
“What do you mean?”
“She gets to look older than fifteen, she gets to be happy, she’s the one who gets everything she’s ever wanted. She gets everyone’s respect.” Tears began to slowly fall down Sprite’s cheeks as they, like the tears, slowly began to break down and fall.
Druig could feel all the anger and turmoil that filled Sprite. He could feel all the pain and all of their woes.
“And she’s the one who gets an actual useful gift that can be used to fight deviants.” Sprite had begun to sob. It was so obvious to Druig that they loved Ikaris and the jealousy of Sersi that they harboured was something they’ve carried for a long time.
He gently wiped away some of the tears on Sprite’s cheeks. They’d suddenly started hugging Druig but despite his awkwardness at the moment, he did hug them back. He understood enough to know that they needed it.
“Oh, Sprite,” His tone was laced with sincerity “We need you on our team, you have the most amazing power of us all.”
There was no response from Sprite, so Druig took it as a queue to keep talking.
“Unlike anyone else, you can inspire. You tell stories of all the things we’ve done and even the things we haven’t and you’re the one who inspired the humans to go find their own path.” He carefully rubbed their back, trying to give Sprite some sense of comfort.
“The others inspire through actions like bravery and heroism but you have the ability to show. If it weren’t for you then there would be nothing new in this world because it’s your stories that inspire them to try. Sprite, you hold the most important gift of us all; not Sersi, not Ikaris, not Thena, Gilgamesh, Kingo, Ajax, Phastos, Makkari or me.” He tried to hammer in his point, Sprite shouldn’t think less of themself because of the differences between them and the others.
Sprite pulled away from the hug to look at him with reding eyes “Really?”
“Yes, Sprite, you inspire all of the humans and not to mention the others.” Druig spoke softly while dabbing away their tears with his sleeve “Do you want to go back? Or would you rather go to your room for the night?”
It took a few long seconds for a response but Sprite chose the latter. Though it didn’t surprise Druig, he then had to come up with an excuse for them.
He walked them to the temple, bidding Sprite a good night before walking back to the party.
Druig thought he slipped in without anyone noticing but he was proven wrong when Sersi walked up to him.
“Hey, where’s Sprite? I saw you two walk away but you’re the only one who came back.” She looked beautiful, this was her night after all but genuine concern filled her face. Just like Druig, she cared deeply about everyone- sometimes too deeply.
“They weren’t feeling great, brought ‘em back to their room,” He spoke lightly.
The lie rolled off his tongue, he hated lying but he knew how to in the situations that needed it.
Worry arose on Sersi’s face but before she could even speak Druig already understood what she was about to say.
“No, now’s not a good time. Sprite’s sleeping now,” He smiled lightly “Besides, it’s your night, you should be having fun. Whatever you wish to say to them can wait ‘til tomorrow, they’re not dying after all.”
Druig quickly redirected Sersi to Ikaris to end the nightmarish conversation.
He remembered that was one of the first nights where he felt jealousy. He understood Sprite’s jealousy and he felt horrible. All he wanted to be was happy for the couple and yet all Druig felt was pain on what was meant to be such a happy occasion.
His thoughts would betray him, saying how he was the one who broke up the Eternals and ended whatever relationship they had. He was the one who cut the string of their connection through all the lies he had to speak but also the night he left.
Druig forcefully pulled himself from his thoughts and came back to his sad reality. He was alone, none of his friends around him.
He didn’t notice he had started to cry. Tears had formed in his eyes and a few had broken the barrier to his cheeks. Druig wiped them off from his cheeks with the back of his rough hand.
Druig looked up only to flinch and jump back after seeing a man in his room. It sadly may or may not have taken him a second but he saw the familiar face of Ikaris.
Ikaris stood in casual clothes, it was odd for Druig to see. Watching him attentively in modern clothing was a sight for sure. It struck him as odd that Ikaris wasn’t moving, it was clear he wasn’t paying much attention though because only then did he see the eyes. They glowed a gold colour and then it struck Druig like a train, he’d accidentally used his abilities on Ikaris and brought him to his house.
Druig carefully walked up to his fellow eternal. Grief and anger are the most powerful emotions, they’re the only emotions that can make him unwillingly control people. Those two emotions also happened to be some of his most common though they’d only win the battle if Druig was distracted.
“Oh, Ikaris, how the mighty fall. You’re the boy who flew too close to the sun.” Druig reached out and held the man’s cheek in his hand “You’re my little prince.”
He paused for a moment, tears continuing to fall “Oh how you break me..”