elucien + medusa mythology
(okay this kind of….like I just can’t angst with elucien apparently @valamerys be proud of me I blame you for this. Concept pinched from a tumblr post I can’t find but…yeah. Anyway.)
He has been warned about her, about this place. But those warnings are impossible to heed. The closer he draws the more he feels that this is right. Old instincts that whisper to run, to hide, to flee are replaced by the deeper instinct that sings in his bones.
The urge to come to this place, to her, has been driving him wild for days. He can’t eat. He can’t sleep. He can’t think past the pull in his chest that draws him to her. He doesn’t know if this is part of her magic. None of the stories have warned him about it, but none of the stories would ever be able to explain this feeling.
Nothing could ever explain this. The need to be with her. The ache in his chest that tells him that the world is wrong without her in it. The desperate ravaging screaming in his head that threaten to drive him mad unless he answers them.
He decided this morning that he doesn’t much care if this is part of her magic, part of her curse, to lure him into her trap for the sheer pleasure of killing him that he doesn’t care. This burning compulsion is going to make him lose his mind if he doesn’t yield to it soon. It’s worth it. Just one taste of her will be worth the death that follows.
His feet drag through the thick, wet sand. Sea water laps at his bare feet. Small stones and shells pepper them with cuts and the salt stings them but he carries on. He can hear the sharp cries of birds overhead, feel the sharp slap of wind against his face, trying to push him back, send him home, away from this place.
But all the while she calls to him. And he’s helpless to resist.
His fumbling fingers brush against the rough rock of the cave as he enters it, needing the sensation to ground him. His heart pounds in his ears, drowning out the soothing rush of the sea and the cries of the gulls. As he steps into the cave, the salt smell is replaced by what he thinks is the scent of soft, spring flowers…
Elain looks up from the small pond overflowing with plants that she was tending as magic tugs at her skin, warning of an intruder. No. No not again, not again, please not again.
They all tell tales of her. They say that she is a monster. They say that any who tries to slay her never return. That she keeps their stone corpses as trophies. It’s only half-true. Elain has killed every man who has entered her cave, spurred on by the folk stories and the hungry desire for glory, but she hasn’t wanted to. She’s wept over every one of them. She cries herself to sleep each night because of what they whisper behind her back: ‘monster, monster, monster’.
She never asked to be a monster. She never wanted to kill. She doesn’t want to hurt anyone. She just wishes to be left alone with her plants and her peace. Please, please…
The shuffling steps are echoing down the passage to her now, she can hear him approaching, can scent him, can’t deny his existence now. Standing Elain moves back, pressing herself against the furthest wall, her heart pounding, tears springing into her eyes. She doesn’t want to do this again, she doesn’t, but she can’t help it, can’t make it stop, she doesn’t have any control over this awful curse.
“Please!” She calls out, her voice trembling. She has to make it stronger, more commanding, then perhaps they wouldn’t think her weak, they wouldn’t think they stood a chance against her. “Please don’t come any closer, please just leave.”
“I can’t do that.” His voice is low, controlled, a little raspy, a little fearful, but steady and firm.
“You must!” Elain insists, “Please, whatever they promised you, it isn’t worth your life. Just go home, tell them you tried to slay me but couldn’t, none will doubt your bravery for coming here.”
“I have not come here to kill you.” Elain starts in surprise at that. No-one has ever come here for any other purpose. She is a monster, and monsters were made to be slain.
“Then why?” She demands. He’s still coming closer, he’ll be here soon, see her soon, and then there will be nothing she can do but bear witness to his death and honour him. “Surely it isn’t worth your life.”
“It is,” he says, his voice hoarse, desperate. For the first time, Elain feels something other than fear tugging at her chest and…”I have to, I have to meet you. It might kill me. But not meeting you, not knowing you, is killing me too.”
She starts, taking a step towards him, unable to help herself, “It’s you,” she whispers to him. The one she’s connected to. The one who keeps trying to draw her from this cave, draw her into killing hundreds just to try and find him. Her mate.
“Yes,” he whispers, understanding what she means, still slowly moving towards her, unable to resist. A pare of magnets pulled irresistibly towards her. She curses fate, curses the gods that made her into this thing and then tethered this poor man to her, dooming him.
“I know how it feels,” she says, brushing the tears that threaten to spill down her cheeks away with the back of her hand. “But please, you must resist, you must leave. Go home, please.”
Stubborn idiot. Elain balls her hands into fists.
“I don’t want to kill you too!” She cries in anguish, stamping her foot on the ground, not sure that she could bare that, killing him, feeling him die through this connection. “Please,” she pants, “Please don’t do this to me.”
“I can’t just leave,” he chokes, “I can’t bear it, I, please, please-”
“What’s your name?” She asks him, desperate to keep him talking while she tries to think of what to do, how to save him.
“Lucien,” is his reply and her heart aches for him. She wants him, she doesn’t even know him but she wants him, needs him. “Do you…Do you have a name?”
She starts in surprise. No-one…No-one has ever asked. No-one has ever called her anything other than ‘monster’ within the walls of this cave, this prison she fashioned for herself to keep them safe. She aches to hear something else, the illusion of kindness, a thing she’s nearly forgotten.
Selfishly, knowing it will only draw him closer, she whispers, “Elain. My name is Elain.”
“Elain.” She can hear the smile on his lips when he whispers her name and it wrecks her. She will give him everything, even if it destroys him, because she cannot refuse him, cannot refuse this. “Please, Elain, please let me meet you, please.”
Squeezing her eyes shut, praying he will do the same, she nods, then remembers that he cannot see her and whispers, “Very well.”
He moves towards her, fumbling, going slowly, and when she sees the tips of pale, delicate fingers on the black rock, she can’t help herself from taking hold of them, drawing him to her, to his death.
He’s tall, much taller than her, with long red hair he has bound in a thick braid down his back. His skin is pale white, dusted with freckles, his clothes are fine, cut to emphasise his slim, muscular build. And his eyes- Elain gasps, the hand not holding his covering her mouth in shock. His eyes are gone. Two empty black sockets, a deep scar tearing through one side of his face.
Elain starts crying. Tears flood down her cheeks, clogging her throat, her lungs, choking her. It’s been ten years, ten years since she was cursed, ten years since she’s looked upon any face that still had life, that could still smile down at her. Ten years since she’s had any company, any contact with someone she hasn’t left a corpse.
“What’s wrong?” He asks, clearly afraid, “Is it your power? Does it hurt? Should I-”
“Lucien,” she rasps, sinking to her knees, unable to keep herself standing. He kneels down with her, obviously confused, “I can look at you,” she sobs, “I can look at you.”
“I wish I could return the favour, dove, but unfortunately…” he gestures to his sightless eyes, smirking playfully at her.
Reaching out, still crying silently, she takes his hands and gently places them on her face, letting him feel her, explore her with his soft, deft fingers. Musician’s fingers, she’s quite sure.
“You’re beautiful,” he whispers quietly, his thumb ghosting tenderly over her lips.
“You would say that even if I was covered in barnacles and mould,” Elain says, finding a hysterical little giggle bubbling from her chest.
“Naturally,” he says, fingers now examining the tips of her ears, the curve of her jaw, the shape of her cheekbones. “Elain,” he murmurs, growing serious, “Why am I not…I mean, why have you not…Is it because I’m your mate?”
Yes, she thinks, because only he could be her mate, could match her and be with her. But she cups his face in her hands and whispers, “It’s because you can’t see me,” she brushes the scar on his cheek, “I can’t hurt you, Lucien. I will never hurt you.”
He stiffens at her words and a noise like a choked sob bursts from his lips as he begins to tremble. A laugh bursts from her chest, and joy floods her for the first time in years. She lost her fiance, her family, her home, her life, everything on the day this curse claimed her. She never thought she would ever even speak with another person for longer than it took to beg them not to try and kill her, let alone have a partner. And now she has a mate, a mate who she will never lose.
Lucien’s throat bobs as he swallows, Elain’s face still cupped in his hands, her fingers tracing tenderly over the wound in his cheek. He had never thought he would be thankful for the day the brothers had taken his eyes from him. But now, with her, feeling her jubilation bursting through their connection like a firework, he is.
So he doesn’t stop himself when he surges for her, a little clumsy, and a little off-target. But she’s still laughing when she guides his lips gently to hers. He has never known such gentleness. He had laughed, a hollow, bitter thing, when he had realised that he was mated to a monster. Fitting, he had told himself, he must have been made for them. But Elain…
Elain is a monster more like him than his brothers. Broken and left in darkness, forgotten, abandoned, unwanted. But now…Now they have found the light again in each other. And so he lets himself kiss her, long and slow, letting them be swept up in the joy of finding each other, of finding this thing they never thought would be possible: acceptance.