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welcome (to the true) home

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You tugged the collar of your coat up and above, and above your racing heart, a heart that was felt by your wrists, neck, and the banging continuing through that neck into the top of your head. It would also be felt by what lied beyond the door your other hand reached for, the knob shifting in your weak grip, an old soul attached to a door that had been here before you were born, your father was born, and maybe even your grandfather.

The heartbeat was not one of fear like every other soul that never grew old beyond the knob you twisted with the slow melody of a creak, but a heartbeat of limerence. Every time you came to visit this lover, risking life and limb within the other entities that swung at you, that feeling returned, greater than the last. It had come over like a storm after you had left the library one time already, taking a survivor's peek behind you as the back doors of the library closed, a glance at the gaping hole of lamprey-like teeth this lovely little thing had for a face, arms and legs stretched like a medieval torture victim, and all of those details that would make any sane person fear for this monster coming back for you while you slept -- it made you want to be closer. A closer look. Coming back again and again, each time taking more looks at Figure while it had hunted for you.

Rinsed and repeated dozens of times, maybe into a hundred now, and sparring all of those details other than having almost died before learning the beast you spent any time outside of this limbo daydreaming about was sentient, for it had asked you why you and your specific heartbeat and identifiable noises had kept stacking the books so neatly before you left, because nobody else had ever spared such a small favor for it, and you two were something. Not conventional lovers, but still in a sense, the closeness of lovers was there, for Figure had not felt any of the kindness you spared it until you, the you that was very nice to it, and with what sparing, sentient humanity it could give, it would shower on you. The least it could do. The returned favors that kept it a little more sane than before, or at least, compared to the uncomparableness of the human you were.

That monologue to yourself, the wonders of how you had gotten here, was cut off when you finally opened that door, and with the pause in between when you had entered the foreboding of the forty-ninth, it was no surprise to see that Figure had planted itself right in front of it. Your familiar noises, and yet, one last check from Figure to see if it was really you. The slow, gentle movements, that could turn into a feral execution if this was anybody else, a head lowering to just above your shoulder.

You couldn't help but stare in a mix of lovesickness and an almost scientific interest at Figure's face. Teeth that were aligned like a rushed project's glue job, yellowed with age and the amount of blood they have sunk into. That unidentifiable organ that did not come from any human or animal from where you had came from flickered at the back of its throat, a light shining straight into your face, reading it, reading the curled smile and eyes that laid wide open back at it. A body made of flesh, exposed nerve, the rot. It rotted as it lived, the smell of decay that your mind brought the same emotions to as sticking your head into a field of roses. What was horrid had become something to admire. Its head went a little lower, closer. Scarring above the flesh. Countless times, as it had to lash back against the trespassers, those trespassers have attacked back. Battles that were all won, at the cost of a smooth arm for you to lay your own fingers across. You wanted to trace those battle-won trophies with your nails, and tonight, you would be able to do exactly that. It wouldn't be the first time, either. Figure knew that was one of those things you did, and it offset the starvation of touch that was cursed upon it for centuries. Figure's mouth went to center in on your neck. And then, the raspy, low voice of your lover's pre-greeting.

"Just one more thing..." Figure whispered, followed by a low growl.

The same perfume you always used when you visited. It was you, and you were its most tolerated, if not entirely treasured.

Figure's head then went limp onto your shoulders, the kneel softening from one ready to pounce to one ready to lie down. A body that yearned for rest, and now, could rest knowing there was something else there, somebody, that at least knew it existed beyond the form of monstrosity. It's head was heavy on your shoulder, threatening to bring you down to a crash on the carpet at any moment. It always threw you off with how tall Figure was, and when you looked back on those quiet, crumpled memories, it always felt shorter. This was just another thing to be embraced and loved.

"Darling, it's nice to have you here again, but...use the signal noise next time you walk in, please," another growl, but softer, a shared emotion of sinking into the rose-bath of the mind's chemicals. Serotonin, dopamine, all of those things you wouldn't have a clue of if this lover of a librarian had not told you about them in great detail. Always seemed like it had the place memorized, despite any blindness it carried in that eyeless head. And with all of that time spent alone, you at least understood why most of your "dates" were just Figure reading to you. Information to spill, an overflowing bucket of it, and you were about to be soaked in yet another story that the library carried.

"Buuuuuut I like it when you scare me like that."

A soft chuckle escaped your lips, and you finally fell under the weight of Figure's own limp body, letting it collapse upon you in the lovecraftian cuddle pile this would be. A claw wrapped around you, moving you like a light chess piece to lean your back against one of the bookshelves. It was always kept in your mind -- at any moment, Figure could've just gotten rid of you, like anybody else. But you had shown it kindness, and now, it was being returned already, for yet another one of those on-and-on rambles about what it was up to was beginning.