It’s too dark to open your eyes, the wind whipping past your ears making it too loud to hear, to say anything in the first place. You were never one to follow rules. You say it anyway.
I love you.
If she heard you, she doesn’t show it.
You fall fast, and long, and hard. You cling to her, breathe her in, remember anything to push back the dread of the ground’s inevitable greeting.
Salt spray, blue candy, your mother’s smile, messy blonde tucked into a tight ball cap.
Horns hidden under a beanie.
Freckles splattering her nose, eyes the bluest you’ve ever seen– daughter of Zeus, everything changes.
Firey red hair bouncing around her shoulders, a smudge of paint across her nose. A snarky response to something you say. A blue, plastic hairbrush.
Their defeat. Your triumph. Your sorrow.
Newfound friends among the loss of your old ones, or their memory.
Too late, there’s no more time for thought. She holds onto you as if you’ll stop it from happening.
Water is familiar to you. It’s family.
This is water. It’s not your water– it’s a stranger. It’s not a friendly stranger.
You fear drowning. It plagues you. It doesn’t make sense– How would the son of the sea god drown?
This water wants you to drown. It wants her to drown.
She’s fighting, of course she is– she’s a fighter. You don’t want to fight.
So you don’t.
She takes your hand, she looks at you, she tells you she wants you to dream.
You dream for her. She laughs– she thinks you’re funny, even when you’re not trying to be.
Somehow the fight is won.
Dark. The air is acid and the water is fire and the ground is glass.
It eats through your skin. It makes your eyes boil over and your lungs go tight to bursting.
There she is. Strong and fighting and beautiful as she always is.
She gives you fire to drink, and it falls down your throat like nightmares.
Days. Days, you think.
Fighting, fire, monsters, fire, horror, fire.
A titan– a friend. Fire.
Vendetta. Revenge. Final curses of those you hurt. You’d forgotten about them.
Horror, horror, comeuppance with every defense you give out.
She stares back at you, her eyes cloudy and sightless.
An old dream of a girl on an island quickly goes bad.
Friends. Help. A skeleton cat. Her.
The goddess tried to hurt you. Many, many goddesses have tried to hurt you.
Misery tried to hurt her, tried to hurt the fighter with the messy, curly blonde hair and the tired gray eyes like a storm.
Lots of goddesses have tried to hurt her, too.
You make misery as miserable as you can manage, anyway.
You fight, and in the end, you leave a friend behind.
She clings to you as the two of you go up, achingly similar to when you went down.
Your friends. Your seven, including you, and the boy with the eyes darkened to black from too much heartache.
You don’t get to know how much, exactly. You thought you did. You don’t, not until later.
He takes your hand, and you take the fighter’s.
The fire’s there. You know it won’t ever really go away.
You tell the stars hello for a friend.