Jeron awoke the next morning to the light of the midday sun. It wasn’t like him to sleep for so long much less sleep at all… He turned to find Sylus still soundly asleep beside him. He sighed as everything from the night before came swirling back to him. Once more he found himself utterly conflicted. He knew he should have been completely horrified, but here he was, sharing a bed with a creature that he now knew was more than capable of consuming him in his entirety. He shook his bed as he rolled over to get up. With a sigh, he rolled back and plated a gentle kiss on Sylus’ cheek.
“You might be a monster, but… You’re my monster, okay?”
A gentle smile crossed his sleeping face.
With a soft pat on Sylus’ belly, Jeron rolled over and out of bed.
Mortified… That was how he should feel. But he didn’t feel it. He didn’t feel anything negative at all. What kind of idiot willingly lays with something that can easily destroy them?
“Me. I’m that kind of idiot…” he muttered to himself as he put a pot of coffee on.
With a sigh, he sat at the counter, resting his head in his hands.
This was the new norm and he’d have to get used to it. At least it was better than things were before Sylus got back. He didn’t miss the squawking and screeching of the Watchers every night. He didn’t miss constantly fearing for his life. He felt safe with Sylus around and the price, to him, was negligible. But he couldn’t help feel a certain sense of deep resentment toward Qaitax.
He wanted so badly to just accept the creature and move on. He wanted so badly to just ignore its existence, but how could he? It was part of Sylus. And he knew he had to find a way to accept it. Afterall, he said he did, but he knew he was full of shit. He barely accepted any of this much less the presence of some demonic monstrosity in his boyfriend’s body.
He wanted to just get over all his hangups and accept things as they were. Qaitax, Saari… The new Sylus… all of it. He just wanted to accept it all and stop thinking so much about how he really felt. How did he really feel? Did he even know?
He shook his head as he poured himself a cup of coffee. He stood a moment gazing out the kitchen window. Everything looked so different in the Mist. There was a dim purple tint to everything, but it was more how strangely sharp everything appeared. Every wave in the ocean bellow was clear as day. He watched in somber silence as the world continued to turn while he agonized over his tiny existence.
The sound of cereal filling a bowl brought him back to reality.
“Good morning, Daniel,” he smiled as he turned to face the boy.
“Morning, Jeron,” he smiled as he added milk to his cereal.
“How are you feeling?”
“Me?” he dunked his spoon into the bowl, “I feel fine. What about you?” he shoveled a spoonful of sugary garbage into his mouth.
“Are you sure?”
“Yeah… A lot’s been going on and you seem… Normal. Like… Too normal…”
Daniel flinched a bit in his chair, but he shook his head, “I’m fine. Really.”
“I’m not convinced…”
Daniel kept silent as he inhaled his breakfast and poured himself another bowl.
The boy dropped his spoon into his bowl, “I mean… It all happened so sudden… What was I supposed to do? Be angry? I’m just glad Dad’s home. I can deal with everything else as long as Dad’s here.”
“And you’re really sure that’s your dad?”
Daniel nodded, “You keep asking that… Do you think that’s not him?”
Jeron shook his head. “I’m 90% sure it is.”
“Well, I’m 100% sure. He’s a bit different, but wouldn’t you be if you were finally the person you knew you were?”
“What about the tentacles and shit?” Jerons scoffed.
“Oh I really don’t care about that stuff,” he drank the milk from his bowl, “I its kinda cool, I guess…”
“Do you think he still loves me?”
The question came completely out of left field.
“I’m sorry, what?”
“Do you think Dad still loves me? Or… Do you think… This new body… He doesn’t need me anymore…”
“I knew something was there,” Jeron leaned on the counter in front of Dan, “He does. Your father loves you, Daniel. I know he does because he keeps telling me he about how proud of you he is.”
“Then… Then why hasn’t he spent any time with me since he got back…”
“I mean… We go places all together and stuff, but… But he’s my dad… Before he’s a Voidlord or whatever, he’s my dad… I just…”
“Things have been pretty insane lately, Dan… And honestly, he’s worried.”
“What’s he worried about?”
“A lot of things, Dan…”
Daniel bit his lip, “Am I one of those things?”
“Probably,” Jeron smiled as he ruffled the boy’s hair, “But you’re his son, so that’s natural.”
“I don’t want him to worry about me… I’m old enough to take care of myself…”
“But you’ll always be his son, Daniel. It’s kinda unavoidable that he’ll always in some way worry about you.”
“I just want him to be happy…”
“And he wants the same for you,” Jeron sighed, “Look, just… Talk to him, okay? Talk to your father… Tell him how you feel. You can do that with him. I sometimes wish I could’ve talked to Pops about feelings and stuff, but, well… That’s not the kind of guy he was,” Jeron chuckled, “But your dad is. He’ll listen, Dan. If anything, he might understand more than you think.”
“M-maybe later…” Daniel slid off his stool.
“The sooner the better, Dan…”
“I know, but… Why won’t he talk to me first?”
“I think he’s afraid of being ovebearing or something. He knows a lot changed suddenly and I think he’s trying to give you room to adapt or whatever. It’s obviously not a good strategy if it’s hurting you like this, but you’re the only one who can tell him.”
Daniel choked back his tears. “I’m gonna go walk Nine.” He dropped his bowl in the sink before opening the door to let their dog-spawn out.
Once the door closed behind him, Jeron began grumbling to himself. The poor kid had been through so much and now here he was wondering if his own father even loved him… Jeron found himself frustrated and disgusted by the entire situation. Sure the past few days felt like life was getting back to normal, but he couldn’t help feeling that recurring sense of hopelessness.
He felt safer with Sylus around, but was he? Were any of them?
“Goddammit!” he threw his dishtowel into the sink, “Why the fuck do I have to think so much…”
“Because blind acceptance is a very dangerous thing,” Saari was somewhere behind him, “It leads to complacency which leads to a silent defeat. My people are a great testament to that.”
Jeron sighed as his grip tightened on the sink.
“It is better to question and constantly re-analyze than simply accept. And even with acceptance, analysis should ever remain a primary function of perception.”
Jeron shook his head. “I just listened to a boy nearly brought to tears over the thought of his father not wanting him anymore.” He turned to her, “How can I not feel bitter about that?”
“If you did not, I would question your mortality. Empathy is a very mortal component, but it is something my people were quick to abandon when complacency took over. Empathy requires thought and understanding not blind acceptance. And without empathy, we were left with the callous indifference that inevitably erased my entire species from existence. Because we gave up on ourselves and each other, the Void consumed us. We lost because we did not care enough to fight. You must never stop caring.”
“But what good does caring do if I can’t do anything about it?”
“Simply knowing that you do is sometimes enough.”
With that, Saari turned around and followed Daniel outside.
Jeron, once more alone with his thoughts, kept searching for the root of all his reservations. Was it his faith? His father’s teachings? Was it him? Or was it something else… Something on the outside he couldn’t control?
The more his mind worked the more lines he drew. And the more lines he drew the more they came back to one, single factor.