Jul. 17th, 2014

iambetadraconis: (Default)
It had been a few months now since Elea had moved in, and summer was in full swing.

But despite the heat outside, the indoor temperature was quite tolerable, thanks to a cooling spell retooled for inside use, and so it was always comfortable, no matter how hot it got.

But today Rabastan was not feeling very cool.

He felt a cool, damp sensation against his forehead.

Elea was applying the wet cloth to his head again.

"You have the strangest illness I have ever seen, love. Normally you're fine. But every few months or so, you get tired and pale and it's like it's all you can do to keep your food inside you.

"You spend most of your time either on the couch, or in your bed.

"Then one day you disappear for a night, and the next morning it's like you were never sick at all. And I don't understand it."

She pressed again. He did not speak.

"More than that, it's not something that's in any healer's text or dusty old book on obscure diseases."

The cloth was taken away.

"I wish I knew what it was that ailed you. I could help. I'm not a healer, but I can try."

He opened his eyes a crack to see a look of deep worry on Elea's face, then closed them.

"Nothing you can do. The potion I took earlier is about the only thing that can be done about it. The rest... Well. It clears up on its own without more help than that."

"I still wish I knew what it was that's wrong with you," she said, as she soaked the rag again, before wringing it out. "At least I'd like to know about its symptoms, and whether it's terminal or just chronic."

He didn't answer.

"Oh good heavens, it's terminal isn't it?"

He shook his head.

"Chronic."

A sigh of relief.

"Well. I know a little more about it now than I did before."

Pause.

"Are you ever going to tell me what it is that has you this sick? Is it something I should be concerned about? Surely it is not contagious, or I would now have it."

He didn't answer.

"Rabastan. I'm not asking for an exhaustive list of your medical history. I want to know because if need treatment and it's something I can give—"

"It's not something you can treat. It's not terminal, just chronic. And while it is contagious—"

"Contagious!"

"—It is so under very specific circumstances. I just have to wait it out."

"I should like to know what these 'very specific circumstances' are, Rabastan."

Elea's voice had grown cold and hard.

"And you will tell me what they are. I can live with whatever it is you have, and maybe, just maybe, passed on to me, but I'll not have you running loose while you're a potential hazard to others."

She sounded just like a mediwitch he'd known from his old world.

He sighed. He knew he wasn't going to go anywhere anytime soon unless he gave in and told her.

Fine. But there would be details left out. Some things he was not willing to share. Too much hurt to just lay it all out for her to see.

"You'll not find what I have in even the dustiest section of the library, because what I have isn't from your world—it's from mine.

"It is a cyclic illness. Once a month I fall ill and must be quarantined for my own and others' safety, until it passes.

"Well. That's how it would work. Back home. Here? Well. Here on Lunar, it works differently than it would at home."

"How would I recognise you when you are in the quarantined stage, and why would it work differently here?"

Her stern tone was purely artificial. Elea was frightened.

"I'm ... not myself."

"No one is when they're sick. And that's not an answer to either question. I need specifics."

Now it was his turn to be afraid. But he'd learned how to not sound like he was.

"This illness of mine causes a physical transformation to occur, and the reason why it works differently has to do with the nature of this world as opposed to mine."

"Transform?! Into what?"

She was too frightened to bother faking serious.

"An animal."

"That's— How?"

"Accident," he lied. "Ran into someone when he or she was in the infectious state and... It's passed from infected to uninfected by a bite."

"Oh Althena. Oh you poor dear. How do you manage?"

Well at least she wasn't running away. That's good, right?

"By knowing when I am to be confined, and by taking that nasty potion."

"How do you know when to be confined?"

"I told you; it's cyclic. On my world, the transformation happens during a full moon. And that's why it works differently here. As Lunar has no moon, it relies on another trigger. If you've noticed, I always seem to get ill about the time an eclipse is to occur."

No answer. She was obviously making note of all the times he'd been ill, and when an eclipse was scheduled.

"You... Turn into an animal. And if you bite someone, they become what you are."

"Yes."

"Where do you go when you need to be confined?"

"I have the Cave to go to."

"But how would that keep you and everyone else safe? You could get loose!"

"One. The potion is a drug that affects the animal mind. Two. Even if I did not take it the creatures of the Cave would never let me leave until I was restored to normal."

They were quiet for many minutes afterwards.

"When did you plan to tell me this, Rabastan?"

The stern tone was back.

"To tell you the truth, I didn't know. I certainly had no idea you were this observant of my health."

"I once worked with a healer. I've learned how to read people's health. So. When would you tell me?"

"I decided to wait until after you made your decision to move in."

"What would you tell me if I didn't move in?"

"The same thing I'm telling you now."

"That's not funny Rabastan."

"I'm being serious, Elea. This is not the sort of thing you just spring onto someone. And, despite what it sounds like, I am rather vulnerable in my contagious state. Anyone who knew this about me could set out to kill me in a state where I can't defend myself because I've been medicated into a tranquilised state."

Again a silence.

Then he felt the cloth on his forehead.

"When do you have to leave?"

"About an hour before dusk."

"And you will be..."

"Back by dawn."

"I see."

Getting up, she moved over to a chair not far from him, leaving the cloth where it was, and stayed there.

Hours ticked by, and when the time came, he excused himself to leave.

When he got back that morning, there was a terse note on the table.

"Visiting parents. I have a lot to think about."
iambetadraconis: (Default)
He was, simply put, heartbroken.

It had been over a week now since Elea had left him the note saying she'd gone home—a week going on two—and he was beginning to feel, like a large weight settling in his pit, that this might very well be it.

It was very much over.

Maybe he'd hoped too much that his lover would understand his state of health.

You told her you turn into an animal at certain times, he reminded himself, with much morose. An animal that can turn others into more of you.

He winged his way south [he had taken eagle form and was trying to lift himself up literally if not metaphorically], hoping that maybe he'd see Elea somewhere below.

Elea's parents lived in Meribia's south end. If she'd gone straight home she'd be there.

Quickly, he was soon overhead the house he'd been seeking. But there was no sign of her.

Guess I should've known better.

Feeling rather guilty for following after what he thought was his now ex-lover, he turned and headed west.

If she wants to end it, then it's ended, he told himself bitterly. Don't be an idiot.

He spent the rest of the day, rejected but resigned.

He'd just have to be more careful about whoever he took as a new partner.

If there's a new partner.

Accepting that his life was that of a solo act was something he was now seriously considering.

You've been alone so long, and anyone who could accept you will do so only if you keep your secrets to yourself. You just need to guard them better in the future.

But he'd been careless, and he was found out in the end. Best to just accept fate, not fight it, and live alone.

Well. Not completely alone.

Surely there was some stray animal he could adopt and keep for a pet.

Hell, he could even play with it in a way most people can't.

His mood now rising and falling in a steady rhythm of "I am doomed to never be happy" and "what kind of animal I should get for a pet", he stopped noticing the passage of time until the sun started to go down.

Time to go home.

Eagles can't see well in the dark.

Taking his time, so as to enjoy the last couple hours of daylight, he spotted a figure somewhere below him.

A familiar figure.

And it was heading in the direction of his house.

Hope surged up in his avian breast.

Maybe things were not over. She certainly seemed intent on getting where she was going.

Especially if the piece of parchment in her hand was any indication.

He debated whether he should speed up and appear to have been spending his day moping at home, or if he could make it look like he'd been out, and just happened to arrive when she did.

The first idea made him sound pathetic. The second made him look like he no longer cared.

You can always call down to her. It's not like you being an animal is going to surprise her now.

He shelved that one quickly. He'd never specified what animal it was, and she could easily mistake his eagle form for the dangerous, sickness-spreading form.

After a few minutes' deliberation, he decided that he'd rather look pathetic than uncaring, and sped his way home, changing back to human once he'd landed in his secret entrance.

Not more than fifteen minutes later, a knock could be heard from his place in the kitchen.

"Oh. Hello Elea," he said, trying not to sound like he knew she was coming. "Come in."

She stood in the doorway a moment, then stepped inside.

"I've been thinking a lot, and talking to mother a lot too," she said, with no preamble.

Here it comes, he thought. Get ready to say goodbye, and get ready to help her move out.

"Rabastan, I'm very afraid right now. You have a sickness unknown to this world, and more than that, you have been acting in a manner that could spread that sickness to other people. No matter how secure you think you are when you're ensconced in the cave."

He winced.

"You could've given it to me."

Elea looked shaken.

"I should call this off. If you're a danger to others, I shouldn't be here."

She raised a hand at his protest attempt.

"Your family might be able to assure me you're safe, especially in the cave, but it won't change my mind. I don't feel safe. And I won't feel safe unless I know you are absolutely unable to escape while you're contagious."

She paused, drawing breath to steady herself.

"The next eclipse will not be for another five months. Between then and now we're going to find a place for you to go where escape is impossible. Somewhere where you're sealed off so you won't run around, passing what you've got to anyone you happen upon.

"In other words, something a lot better than the Cave."

He wanted to ask her what right she had to dictate to him how he was supposed to manage his illnesses, when he realised she'd had a point.

He was lucky that he'd never left the Cave whilst transformed. But luck can't last forever.

"If I'm to stay here in this house with you I need to know that you are safe. Your sickness is not your fault, but it won't make much difference if I or someone else catches it. And they won't have the opportunities you do to manage it."

He stared at the floor, wishing in some perverse way that Elea had chosen to call off their relationship instead of demanding he lock himself away for a night every six or so months.

"You understand where I'm coming from, right?"

He nodded.

"And you'll find some way to ensure that you will never, ever get loose while sick, right?"

Another nod. His eyes stung. He wanted to cry.

"Good. Now. I want you to tell me all the details of your illness. You've told me some. I want to know the rest."

He moved to brew a tea, grabbed some cups and spoons, sat down at the table, and began...

...he told her things that pertained to his illness, and even things that didn't apply to his sickness itself...

...but there were some details that were left out.

She didn't need to know about them.

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Rabastan Lestrange

April 2016

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