A Deep Breath and Steady Hands - a Julius Escapes AU
Summary: When his family is killed by visitors to Whitestone and Julius is the only one to escape their clutches, he loses his faith and seeks justice on his own power. But fate seems to have a different idea, when he ends up in the path of a certain group of mercenaries and he finds something he’s been missing. Rating: Teen and up Words to date: 1513
(So this is a Julius-escapes-instead-of-Percy AU, inspired by this post by @tanoraqui, and this post by @arkhamarchitecture, who both kick-started my muse for this. Some things will be different than their ideas, and some things will be similar, but I highly recommend you check out their individual works!)
There was a part of Julius that remembered his time in service to Pelor and wondered what he would be doing had he continued with that path in life. He’d left Whitestone before swearing any oath to the god of the sun and agriculture, but there was an indecisive part of him that stirred at the worst moments, questioning his actions.
Julius was quite sure that, had he become a champion of Pelor, he wouldn’t be loitering in a tavern, waiting for proof of his foe’s presence there so he could take the opportunity to murder the man.
A Deep Breath and Steady Hands - A Julius de Rolo AU
Summary: When his family is killed by visitors to Whitestone and Julius is the only one to escape their clutches, he loses his faith and seeks justice on his own power. But fate seems to have a different idea, when he ends up in the path of a certain group of mercenaries and he finds something he’s been missing. Rating: Teen and up Words to date: 4277
Thank you to everyone who’s supported this story so far, and to the people who have commented or left me an ask - it’s super late where I am, but I have started responding, and hope to finish that stuff up tomorrow! (you know who you are ;) )
Chapter Summary: Julius finds some unexpected company while in prison. “But life inevitably throws us curve balls, unexpected circumstances that remind us to expect the unexpected. I’ve come to understand these curve balls are the beautiful unfolding of both karma and current.” -Carre Otis
Chapter 2: Karma and Current
Julius shifted in his cell, trying
to get more comfortable on the hard cot provided for him. It had been a little
under two weeks since he’d been locked in the cell for “disturbing the peace”,
and he was getting anxious. He hadn’t seen Stonefell since getting locked away,
and the guards hadn’t answered his questions about the man, or about his own
sentence despite repeated requests.
“You just gotta wait,” one of them,
Agnes, had said, after only a day of questions. “Either someone’ll come and pay
yer bail, or you’ll stay here til yer time’s up. Nothin’ we can do about it.
Now keep quiet, and eat yer rations.”
If someone is depressed, the main difference you’ll see is that things don’t make them happy; that probably seems like they don’t enjoy things they used to, but obviously, you can’t know how everything was before they started feeling like this. That said, you might start feeling bad because you’re not good enough to please them, but in reality, you’re doing all you can and all they could ever ask for. What I’m saying is, you should try to make them happy, but don’t feel that them being unhappy is at all your fault (unless, of course, you’ve done something to make them feel bad). In fact, part of what depression does involve making it harder for people to feel and express things, especially emotions. That’s where a lot of the self-harming tendencies come into play; while some do it because they want to hurt themselves and they think they deserve that pain, others just want to feel something, anything, to escape that crippling numbness that they’re so crushed by. That consuming feeling of numbness, just this overwhelming sense of defeat, is relentless and every moment they live through fighting that off is another bit of their life they haven’t enjoyed (and probably feel they’ve wasted, making them even more resentful of themselves). Loved ones typically mistake the person’s lack of outward appreciation as being ungrateful, but in reality, they are trying their hardest to show you how much they value what you’ve done for them, it just isn’t easy.
Loving someone who is depressed can be difficult, because your natural desire is to make them happy, to be what they dream about, to see the feelings in them that they bring out in you, but they have immense difficulty showing you those things. Someone who is depressed often sleeps a lot (or is constantly exhausted) or very, very little. Anxiety over something most people would see as minor can keep someone awake all night, and getting very little sleep can be extremely detrimental to their mood and physical well-being. The symptoms of depression, loss of interest, change in appetite (for food or for romance, both are affected in a lot of cases), irritability, anger, frustration, all coincide with many of the symptoms characteristic of sleep deprivation. As a result, those issues only compound, and someone who was feeling bad before will continually get worse as the body becomes less and less able to cope with the mounting level of mental, physical, and emotional distress that constantly plagues their body. Depression is as much a physical ailment as an emotional one, and people don’t seem to realize that; it saps at any energy that person has, causes aching and soreness, makes any kind of exertion much more than it would feel to most people (though some use exercise as an escape, dependent on their body chemistry and personality), and kills their drive to do things. As their body begins to lose its grip on things it used to be able to do, that’s just another thing to add to that debilitating sadness. They’ll hate themselves more for being less than they were, the clearest, most inescapable way to say they’re not good enough. Soon enough, they’ll stop feeling like they can get better, because if they were feeling bad before, how could they get better now that they see themselves as disgusting and even more worthless? Love them. Give them something to be happy about. If you neglect them physically because they’re not as attractive as before, that will only further cement their self-loathing, and while they may not appreciate or accept every compliment the way you think they should, never make them feel you don’t think their body is worth anything. If they believe their body is worthless, they will be much more inclined to hurt it or get rid of it. If you won’t touch them because of the marks they’ve left on their body, you don’t deserve their love. Take them as they are and be appreciative you got someone who cares enough to go through hell to be around with you. If you can’t tolerate imperfections on their body, they can do better. That’s not to say that you need to dog someone who is depressed, asserting sexual/aesthetic interest all the time, or even doing anything sexual (though, if you have been in a relationship and have been physically expressive before, cutting that out won’t make them feel any better, in all likelihood), but don’t make them feel that their body is disgusting. They probably think that already, and if you affirm it, intentionally or not, it could lead to real consequences.
Don’t lie to them. A lot of people are bound to leave someone who faces depression, and they’ll likely be mistrustful toward a number of people who want to help them. Most people who leave have at one point offered, “Come to me with anything, I want to help.”, and if someone has been told to trust and has been hurt time and time again, they won’t be so willing to trust (and even less, trust fully). If you say you are going to stand by them, don’t go back on that promise. If you expect them to stay here, be alive and trying for your sake, you have no right to abandon them. Trust is the biggest thing they have right now, and they need help; you should never take that away, they need acceptance, loving people more than you know (and, probably, they know how to express).
That said, do not smother them. Love them unconditionally, loyally and proudly, but don’t take away their freedom. They need support, but how are they supposed to feel like a whole, healthy person ever again if you won’t let them stand at least a little on their own? Be there for them in the morning when they wake up, dreamy-eyed to see you or frightened at a nightmare, and let the sweat of their forehead drip onto your lips, hold them until you can feel their heart beat calmly as the sun shoulders its way through the blinds to scream at them they’ve made it another day.
Love them hard, let passion guide you and never give up on them. The ones with the saddest eyes hold the most light, and the heaviest bones can hold you in their arms until you both crumble to dust. Love them because they’ve been through hell and they’ll never be afraid again as long as they have you. They will be the most loyal, faithful, loving soul you have ever had the immeasurably good fortune to come across, just as soon as they can love life as much as you love them. Please, love them without hesitation and with all your heart. You will never find a stronger love.
Remember, they are not only the depression inside them. They are a person, a resilient one, with dreams and fears and loves, and never let that depression define all they are to you. They are so, so much more.
Still hoping to post the first chapter of my Julius de Rolo AU tonight, though it depends on if my family decides to spring some surprise activity on me, since it’s my last couple days of my spring break.
Goal is between 10:00pm and 11:59pm EST tonight (the 23rd), but if I miss that, it will definitely be up by 2:00pm EST on Saturday (the 24th).
I just need to do a little editing… and come up with a title xD
Thank you to the people who have already started supporting this story, and I’ll see you soon!