Alastor held his head and rocked back and forth in the padded room. They were back, the voices and louder than before. “Stop, stop, stop.” He said over and over again, his voice cracking. He wasn’t crazy, he knew he wasn’t, but no one believed him. His parents didn’t believe him, the doctors who medicated him day in and day out didn’t believe him, no one saw that he wasn’t crazy. The voices were people, real people, but not at the same time. They had been someone once, he knew their lives, knew their joy and pain. They were him, but not him and it was painful, so painful. Every day his body ached from sitting in the same position, even the sedatives didn’t help. They always came back, always. They had put him in this cell, afraid he would hurt himself again. He hadn’t even noticed he was banging his head against the wall until they had pulled him away and he saw the blood. “Shut up, please shut up.” He begged.
“Please breathe young one.”
The voice startled Alastor and he raised his head, his heart jumping at the sight of the man standing in the corner of his cell. “No, no, I’m not crazy, I…I’m not.” The man couldn’t be real.
“Easy.” The man crossed the room and squatted down in front of him. “It’s okay, you’re not insane.”
Alastor cried. “No, no, but you can’t be real, you can’t. I am, I really am.”
“Shhh, it’s okay.” He framed Alastor’s face with his hands. “Sleep Alastor, sleep and I’ll take you away, I’ll get you help.”
Alastor felt himself getting drowsy and slumped over. Cyrino caught him and lifted him over his shoulder. He looked around the padded room, wishing humans knew when someone was genuinely crazy. Alastor had been saddled with too many souls for his mind and body to handle. Most of them refused to open themselves to the possibility that strange things existed. He waved his hand, opening a tear and stepped through with the unconscious Alastor.
He laid Alastor down gently on the bed in what would be his room until he left. He tucked him in, his heart heavy for this man. Cyrino knew Alastor wouldn’t be waking anytime soon so he walked into his kitchen to make himself a cup of coffee. He relaxed in a kitchen chair, taking in and letting out a long breath before drinking. He had dealt with this many times before but he still sat and thought of what he would say to Alastor when he woke. He hoped it wouldn’t be too hard to convince him that he hadn’t completely lost his mind and all of this was real.
Cyrino finished his cup of coffee and checked on his newest case. Alastor was still out. He had known before approaching the room due to his demon senses but he still had to verify with his eyes. He took his responsibility seriously and was not forgiving with himself when one managed to hurt themselves. Cyrino wanted a shower but he had made that mistake before. He hadn’t been able to get out quick enough and the human had worked themselves into a fit. A shower could wait until the two of them had a serious discussion
Cyrino woke in a confused fog, the voices there, but muffled. He blinked his eyes, feeling confused when he realized the ceiling wasn’t padded. He sat up slowly, his heart thundering in his chest as he looked around the room. “No, no, no…please…I’m…I’m not crazy.” He started to get up, the bedroom door opening the moment his feet touched the floor. He froze, feeling like a cornered animal beneath that dark blue gaze. His heart leaped as he took in the man from before. “Leave me alone.” He went back over the bed, one hand held out in front of him in hopes of warding off the stranger, the other clutching his head. “You’re not real, you can’t be.”
“Alastor, calm down.”
“I’m crazy, I’m really…” His voice cracked and he felt tears burning his eyes. The voices became louder again and he clutched his head. “Shut up, shut up!”
Cyrino took that moment to move around the bed and Alastor tried backing away, but he grabbed his shoulder. “Breathe, it’s okay.”
“Let me go, please just let me go.” He struggled, shoving at the man.
“Stop before you hurt yourself.” The human was surprisingly strong, but Cyrino overpowered him and pinned him to the mattress. “Take a breath before you pass out.” Alastor inhaled deeply and blinked to clear his vision. “My name is Cyrino and you are not crazy so please calm down, deep breathes.”
Alastor took a few more deep breaths “why am I here if I’m not crazy? What are you?”
“You are here because I specialize in helping people who have too many souls in their body. You aren’t crazy, somtimes nature makes a mistake and puts too many souls in one person. I’m going to detach them from you and send them on. Only the strongest soul, the one you are when you aren’t stressed will remain”
“what are you?”
“a demon, we are real. Would you like to touch my horns? I’ve found it a good way to prove I’m here” Alastor swallowed “No, you holding me down like this is plenty of proof”
“If I let you up will you promise not to hurt yourself and to stay calm?”
“Yes, I promise” He let him go “I hope I didn’t hurt you”
“You didn’t” Alastor rubbed his shoulder, still feeling confused “why would you help me?”
“Why wouldn’t I since I can?” Alastor shrugged.
“I don’t understand this, I don’t understand any of this. Why? What did I do wrong?” Alastor felt so helpless, he felt insane even if he wasn’t. Demons, at least a demon was here and real and had taken an interest in him.
“You didn’t do anything, sometimes these things happen. I know it’s confusing and I will try to explain as best as I can.”
“Why are you talking about this like it’s just some insignificant every day occurrence.” He didn’t know why he suddenly felt mad, he had been dealing with the voices for a long time, he had been brushed off as crazy, he should be used to it. “You have no idea what it’s like to have everyone you know and love look at you like you’re insane. You don’t know what it’s like to have medication forced into your body.”
“Alastor, please calm down.”
He raised his head, tears in his eyes. “Why does everyone keep saying that? I just want to be normal.”
Cyrino reached up and gently wiped away the tears on Alastor’s face. “I’m sorry, I know it can’t be easy and you have every right to be angry. I will help you and you won’t have to ever see the inside of that place again. I’ll give you normal, I promise, but it will take time. Souls are not so easy to purge, it takes a lot of magic.”
Alastor swallowed down his pain and anger. He shouldn’t snap at Cyrino, this wasn’t his fault. “I…I’m sorry I snapped, I’m just exhausted.”
“You are taking this well. After all you’ve suffered you really are. I won’t hold any snapping against you. You are going to feel so much better when I finally get this process done. You need to rest for me though. It’s going to take a toll on you so if you wouldn’t mind eating then getting a good nights rest so I can have a strong body to work with it would really help”
“Okay, anything so I can be normal”
“what would you like to eat?”
“what do you have?”
“would a pasta dish be nice?”
“I love anything pasta” Cyrino gave him a warm smile, happy he had gotten the human so calm and willing to go through the process.
Alastor was curious about where he was and stood staring out the living room window while Cyrino cooked. They were up on a hill in what appeared to be a meadow. He could see a town from where he stood and wondered if the people down there were as nice as Cyrino. “It’s beautiful isn’t it?” Cyrino’s voice was right in his ear and startled him. He turned, surprised to see him so close.
“Sorry, I didn’t mean to startle you. How is your head?”
Alastor blushed. He wasn’t used to such genuine concern and attentiveness. “Fine, surprisingly quiet.”
“I tend to keep the voices turned down while people are here, they’re not gone, just harder to hear.”
“Oh, thank you.” Cyrino smiled and Alastor’s heart danced. He didn’t know what was wrong with him. Maybe it was just having contact with someone who wasn’t stabbing him with a needle. “So, dinner?”
“The noodles are boiling and I wanted to check on you, you’re in my care after all.”
“After I remove the first soul and you have rested from that I will take you outside”
“You really wouldn’t mind?”
“Not at all, I don’t want this to be misery for you. Breaks like going outside will help you get through the uncomfortable process” Cyrino went back into the kitchen and Alastor continued to admire the outside world. He couldn’t believe how kind this demon was. He felt bad he wouldn’t have expected such kindness from a man like him. His mind stayed on Cyrino until he was startled yet again by him entering the living room “sorry again, come eat. Your food is ready”
When Alastor entered he said “wow, real silverware” Cyrino chuckled “You are very calm. I trust you. Even if you did hurt yourself I can fix it.”
“I wouldn’t do that, that one time really was an accident. They wouldn’t listen to me when I told them it wasn’t on purpose. It’s not like I want to die and I’m not dangerous.”
“It’s okay, just eat, you need it.”
Alastor picked up his fork and stuck some food in his mouth. “This is so good, it’s way better than the food at the nut house.” He looked embarrassed. “Sorry, there are people there who need help, I shouldn’t act so insensitive.”
“It’s understandable, you were stuck in there with no one willing to listen.” He smiled warmly. “I’m glad you like it.” Cyrino chuckled when he blushed again, thinking him cute.
“So, do you have any family or friends?”
“A mother, a father, not that we’re close. I have one brother, older, he left home when I was eight and never came back. Demons tend to have a harsh upbringing, though ours was less harsh than some. Now I work for the gods and tend to avoid my parents. As far as friends go, no I don’t really have many. Animals tend to find me more appealing than people.”
“My appearance. I don’t have the most handsome face.”
“Oh, That’s dumb. Honestly, you look pretty cool to me. The markings, were you born with them?” Alastor said a little shyly, shocking Cyrino. It felt good to meet someone not put off by how he looked, especially such an attractive man. “Yes I was. If you ever want to see the ones on my torso I can show you those too. Otherwise my shirt will stay on”
“Thank you” Both men finished their food then Cyrino compelled Alastor to rest before he started his work. “I know you probably don’t feel like it but I need your body in it’s best shape. The first removal will be the hardest one you”
“should I be scared?”
“No, I’ll take care of you.”
“Okay, I’ll try to sleep”
“I don’t mind helping you”
“Like I did when I went into the hospital to get you”
“Oh, well I guess if you want to.”
“It’s not about what I want, but what will make sleeping easier for you.”
“I want you to.”
Cyrino guided him back to his room and Alastor climbed nervously into bed. “Everything will be fine, I promise.” Cyrino pulled the covers up and sat down on the edge of the bed. “You’re safe here, nothing can hurt you.” He took Alastor’s face gently in his hands and gave him a reassuring smile. “Relax, sleep.” The mental push had Alastor closing his eyes and his body relaxing into the mattress. “Sweet dreams, Alastor.”
He left him there, keeping the bedroom door cracked just in case something happened. Working with multiple souls could sometimes result in his powers not working. It just depended on their resistance. The ones in Alastor’s body seemed easy enough to deal with which he was thankful for. He prepared what he would need, pre mixing the concoction that Alastor would need to drink and grabbing his book of spells. Pulling a soul out of a body was painful and tiring, but it had to be done or the person would continue to suffer.
When all was ready he decided to get a little rest himself. He settled in his bed, knowing he’d hear Alastor get up. When the human man did stir around six am Cyrino quickly got up and went to him “how do you feel” He looked like he might cry “Alastor”
“They’re talking again”
“It’s okay, I’m ready to remove the first one” Alastor nodded his head and allowed Cyrino to guide him to the living room and show him where to sit “stay calm, it’s normal to hurt okay. Once I start I need to finish so I may end up having to hold you still if you try to get away. I’m sorry if that scares you but it must be done”
“Whatever it takes, I just want them quite”
“I need you to drink this.” He handed him a glass of what looked like black sludge. Alastor studied it for a moment, wondering what has gone into making it. “It doesn’t taste bad, though the texture is a little strange.”
“It’s fine.” He lifted the glass to his lips and tipped it back. It ran slowly toward his lips and he drank it down as quickly as possible. It stuck in the throat if he didn’t swallow hard enough and tasted like oranges. Once he had it all down, he sat the glass to the side. He felt a burning starting in his stomach and it spread throughout his body, feeling like needles were being stabbed everywhere. Cyrino’s had rested on his head and he started chanting in a language Alastor didn’t understand. He doubled over, his arms crossed over his stomach, a scream wrenched from his throat. “I…I can’t.” He whimpered, his eyes burning with tears. He had not expected this level of agony and he started pulling at his clothes in an effort to ease the pain.
Cyrino grabbed him, pulling him to the floor and pinning his hands down. He didn’t want him hurting himself. He straddled his hips when Alastor’s body lifted off the ground and the soul of a young woman began pushing out of his chest. Cyrino’s chanting became more insistent as the soul tried to hang on, but he ordered it away, wanting to end Alastor’s pain. The young man collapsed, his breath coming out in gasps, his body drenched from head to toe in sweat. He was shaking and whimpering and Cyrino moved off of him and pulled him up into a hug.
“Breathe okay, just keep breathing.”
Watching someone whimper and shake had never hurt Cyrino like this. He always felt bad but with Alastor he couldn’t stand it. “calm down” he said soothingly as he continued to hold Alastor. He slowly but surely managed to calm him down then carried him to the bathroom so he could wash off the sweat “I’ll bring you some of my clothes”
“thank you” Alastor said and Cyrino smiled, feeling a little relieved. He realized then he had been worried Alastor would be angry at him. He wasn’t used to being worried at all when he helped people with two many souls in them. “I’m sorry it can’t be easier Alastor”
“I’d go through anything to be rid of the souls that aren’t mine” Cyrino left and pulled out a pair of jeans and a tshirt for Alastor, setting it on the bathroom counter for him then leaving the room to make them breakfast. He was going to make them both a breakfast smoothie. Cyrino couldn’t help but wear a huge smile when Alastor came out in his clothes. He wasn’t much shorter but the difference was enough to make him even ore adorable in the slightly too large clothing.
“What? Do they look bad?”
“No, the opposite actually. Are you feeling okay?”
“Yeah, I ache, but I can deal.” He sat down and Cyrino handed him his smoothie. “I don’t know if I can keep anything down after that, my stomach hurts.”
“You need to try, it’ll help keep your strength up.”
“Alright.” Cyrino sat next to him and gently patted his head before drinking his own smoothie. Alastor blushed at the sudden show of affection and he had to wonder if he was like that with everyone who came here.
“How are the voices?”
“Quiet right now.”
“You’re very brave, Alastor, it’s something to be admired.”
“Or just very crazy.”
He gave Cyrino a small smile and for just a moment he glimpsed the person he used to be. “It’s strange having someone look at me like a person and not like a case. Back there, I’m just a file in a drawer.”
“I’ll have you better as quick as I can. Do you still want to go outside today?”
“If you don’t mind. Ever since I got admitted to the hospital I get a very limited amount of outside time”
“as soon as you finish your smoothie we’ll go Alastor” He had to do it slowly but Alastor finished the whole thing and the two men went outside Cyrino couldn’t help but admire Alastors deep and genuine thrill to be outside. He watched him walk around and and investigate little things he saw. He was in a different world but it was very obvious from his behavior he was forced to be inside most the time.
Cyrino waited until Alastor was ready to go inside to take him back in. “thank you”
“tomorrow I’ll take you into the woods and to a stream filled with amazingly beautiful fish. Today I’m hoping we can get one more soul out of you” Cyrino seemed nervous for the pain but he already felt so much better with even one out. He was looking forward to two and having something nice to do each day gave him something to look forward to. Cyrino had Alastor rest on his couch with a sandwich and drink then began preparing to do it again.
The second soul took a lot out of Alastor. It stubbornly hung on, making the process longer than it had to be. He was left unconscious so Cyrino lifted him and took him to bed. He got a rag, wet it with cold water then took it and wiped the sweat from Alastor’s face. It woke him and he slowly opened his eyes, groaning in pain.
“Cyrino?” He said.
Alastor gave a weak smile. “Good.”
“You need to rest.” He gently brushed Alastor’s bangs aside. “We’ll do more tomorrow.”
“I…I can do another.”
“Not today, you’ll be overwhelmed.”
“Okay.” He really was exhausted, his body wouldn’t even listen to him when he tried to move.
“Sleep.” He started to get up and that’s when Alastor found the strength to grab him.
“St…stay, please stay.”
“You want me to lay with you?”
“yes…please” Cyrinos face softened and he smiled “Okay” Cyrino got under the covers with Alastor and held him “is this okay Alastor?” Cyrino asked, hoping he could stay with him like this. “This is just what I wanted” Alastor whispered, each word quieter than the last. He fell asleep fast, just as Cyrino expected him to. Cyrino just laid awake, glad they were so far into the process of giving Alastor’s life back. Cyrino wanted him to be happy, to actually be living the life he deserved.
Cyrino noticed his heart pounding in his chest as Alastor filled his senses. He had never been this close to someone before, both emotionally and physically and Cyrino felt he probably never would again. Life was going to be a lot lonelier when Alastor left because he knew all he’d ever think about was this human man.
When Alastor woke it was dark and he was both thirsty and had to go to the bathroom. He laid there for a moment, his body warm from being pressed so close to Cyrino. His heart was beating incredibly loud and he couldn’t bring himself to move at first. He was embarrassed at the fact he had asked Cyrino to stay with him. They didn’t even know each other, but the demon made him feel safe. He snuggled a little closer and the movement woke Cyrino who pulled back, concerned. “What’s wrong, are the voices back?”
Alastor was glad it was dark enough Cyrino couldn’t see him blushing. “No, just need to go to the bathroom and I’m thirsty.”
“Oh, go ahead, I’ll get you something to drink.”
Alastor had to keep himself from running in his embarrassment, not wanting Cyrino to think he had done anything wrong. He relieved himself and was surprised by Cyrino who was waiting for him just outside with a glass of water. “Thank you.”
“You should get some more sleep if you want to go out tomorrow or you’ll be too tired to explore.”
Cyrino pressed their foreheads together, making Alastor’s heart skip a beat. “You don’t have a fever, that’s good. Some people get really sick, but you seem to be doing just fine. You’re strong.”
“I’m not, it’s because you’re so sweet and caring.” He looked down at the glass in his hands.
“Alastor will you look at me, I like seeing your face when we speak.” He slowly raised his head and Cyrino smiled. “Don’t doubt yourself because you were locked up in that place, you survived and that makes you strong.”
Alastor just stared back up at Cyrino whose eye contact didn’t waver. The silence was only broken when Cyrino asked “are you sure you don’t need more sleep? To be honest..laying with you is nice. If you want to stay up we’ll stay up though”
“Laying with me is nice?”
“It’s comforting. I’ve never felt so close to someone. I’m going to miss you when you undoubtedly want to return to your world. I’m sorry if that’s weird for you but it’s honest and if you’re uncomfortable with laying with me now I understand”
“Nu..no, um..I like laying with you too…we could awhile longer if you really want to”
“Could I hug you first?” Alastor slowly moved, starting the hug. They both enjoyed the comfort that soon came as they held one another. When they let go they went back to Alastors room and cuddled up to eachother. As promised that morning they had a big breakfast then went out to the woods. “where should we go?” Alastor asked and Cyrino answered “I’m following you. I’ll let you know if you’re going somewhere you shouldn’t, don’t worry”
“really? I can just go where I want”
“Of course, you aren’t a ward or some sort of prisoner. Explore and be happy. Ask me any question you have okay” Alastor, now comfortable with hugging Cyrino gave him a tight hug. He didn’t know how to verbally express his gratitude but he hoped this said enough. When Alastor let go he found himself wanting to pull him back in but he wasn’t that selfish. He simply followed him around, making sure he was safe. After lunch they worked on souls again. Cyrino made sure every round of it was broken up by somthing fun. It took a few days but soon Alastor was just Alastor, there were no more voices to be heard from.
On that day, after the final soul was removed Alastor cried. They were happy tears but they were still hard on Cyrino. He had caused Alastor so much pain in the removal but he was so glad he could help a man as amazing as this one was. As he laid with Alastor that night he felt selfish, selfish because all he could think about was the fact Alastor being better meant he was going back and though it would be considered too fast for most Cyrino knew he loved Alastor. He kissed his cheek, glad he was better and that he would be happy, even if that meant he was away from him.
In the morning Alastor asked “so what now Cyrino?”
“You mean going home?” he tried to not sound sad but he wasn’t sure if he was successful. “I don’t know…if I tell everyone about you they will think I’m still crazy. If I bring you with me they might try and hurt you but if I just stay…well….could I just stay Cyrino?”
Cyrino kissed him without thinking, one arm wrapping tightly around his waist while the fingers of his free hand tangled in his soft blonde hair. Alastor was frozen for a moment in surprise, but once his mind caught up, he wrapped his arms around Cyrino and kissed him back. Cyrino parted their lips and pressed their foreheads together, taking a moment to catch his breath. “Sorry.”
“Don’t be, I’m really happy, I didn’t think…just that I’d have someone.” His lip trembled and tears filled his eyes. “No one believed me until you, no one listened, I was just the medicated, nut case son, but you believed me.”
“Don’t cry, I don’t like seeing your tears.”
“I’m just a little overwhelmed.”
“Are you sure that this is what you want? Your family and doctors might worry.”
“I know and maybe I’ll go back someday, but right now I want to be here, I want you. I feel loved and cared for.”
“Then stay and I’ll take care of you, I’ll do anything to make you happy and you’ll never have to worry about being called insane.”
“I love you Cyrino”
” I love you too Alastor. I’m so happy to hear you want to stay. I was heartbroken last night when I thought you might leave me today”
” It might be nice to…well..kiss again Cyrino” he smiled “I’m happy to oblige” Cyrino was grinning from ear to ear as he slowly moved to kiss Alastor again. The two were absolutely loss in the bliss of one another.
Alastor’s heart was beating really fast, making Cyrino smile. “So cute.”
“I can’t help it, I’ve never had a relationship with anyone before.” His face was burning.
“That’s okay,” Cyrino stroked his cheek, “We have an eternity for me to teach you everything. There’s no rush, just enjoy your freedom.”
In the months that followed Alastor did just that. He couldn’t believe he actually had a life now and didn’t have to live in the misery he had to before. Voices no longer plagued him, they no longer made him hurt himself out of frustration and fear. Not only that but Cyrino was so loving and patient. He was such a wonderful person and Alastor hoped they could spend the rest of his human life together.
~ The End