Chapter title: This fall I don't know if I survived
A bright light blinded Meliodas as he sluggishly pried his eyes open. His body felt strangely sore. Painfull even, which, he was happy to say that he hadn't really felt in centuries. Not to this extent, anyway. Usually, it wouldn't be much worse than a dull aching in the part of his body where the injury was located, until inevitably, he would transform into his demon form, patching his body back up for him. If he was incapable of doing that, the sunrays of Elizabeth's Goddess healing ability would take care of it shortly after.
Was this the sensation he had convinced himself that he missed so greatly? He had to re-think that.
But that would have to wait. The first thing on the agenda was to figure out where in the world he was. Or, what might be more accurately, out-of-this-world, he thought, as his brain finally was able to connect with his body, letting him prop himself up on one elbow and shading his eyes from the intruding brightness with his other hand.
The room he had waken up in was grand. Likely some kind of foyer with white and black checkered marble flooring, bronze walls with golden details. Human-sized paintings of godlike figures decked the walls and the room was filled with luxurious furniture. A staircase was located in the middle of the room, leading up to a second story, out of sight from where he was sprawled out on the floor.
The staircase also held the answer to where the offending light source came from. At first glance, it appeared to be coming from the large stained glass windows at the wall where the stair parted ways into two different directions. At a second glance though, it was clearly illuminating from the beautiful, if not slightly intimidating, woman who stood three steps up.
Meliodas lowered his head back to the floor, fighting off a spinal headache. When he was finally fairly certain that he wasn't going to throw up, he raised his head again, squinting his eyes to rid himself of the double vision and locked his eyes with the celestial beauty.
She was tall, at least 5'10, with bright, light hair. It almost seemed silvery, sparkling graciously in the shimmering of the gloss that radiated around her and enveloped her shoulders. Just like a certain girl he had known for a couple of years now. Her curvy figure was gracefully draped in an elegant white dress, flowing seamlessly around her and held in place by golden, braided bands, gently tracing her dress all the way to the floor.
Meliodas felt a flicker of familiarity. Almost like a dèja vu, coming and passing too quickly to knowing for certain if it was real or not, looking into her splendid copper eyes.
His own emerald green, trickster gaze lowered to the ethereal woman's bosom for a quick assessment, before blinking rapidly and rubbing his eyes in a long rehearsed aversion, returning to meet her eyes with the innocence of the child he knew he looked like.
“Yo,” he greeted merrily, trying and failing to push himself off of the floor. His elbows wouldn't fold far enough behind him, for him to put his palms to the floor, without the blood in his head seemingly wanting to burst out of his ears, making him dizzy and nauseous and he imagined he could literally taste his spine.
“You're injured,” she noted. It was more of a statement than a question. Her expression remained as stoic as it had been for the few minutes he could remember being there. He couldn't be sure if this was a friendly visit or not.
“It would appear so,” he answered her chipperly, while the searing pain of what could only be a stab to his lower back screamed for attention. He hid his face in his arms once more, gritting his teeth and flinching, unable to keep from giving the wound exactly what it wanted.
What had happened?
He remembered waking up at the boar hat like any other day, snuggling his face to Elizabeth's back as she sighed softly in her sleep, before he got up, got dressed and went down to make some coffee.
Ban was fast asleep, hunched over one of the tables as usual with a half-full jug of ale still clutched in his right hand. Diane, luckily remaining under Merlins shrimping spell, was cuddled up against King on Chastiefol by one of the windows. King looked at Meliodas with terrified, bloodshot eyes, frozen in fear of waking her by any slight movement. Meliodas had chuckled, giving him the thumbs up as he entered the kitchen to continue his quest for caffeine.
Nothing else came to him. It was clouded by a black fog that he couldn't see through, no matter how hard he squinted at it. The confusion on his face must have registered at the tall woman, as an invincible string seemed to tug at the creek of her mouth, forcing it into a reluctant and crooked smile.
“I've taken your memories, dragon sin of Wrath- Meliodas.”
So, they had met before, then. He should probably apologize right away.
“Oh, well, that's a bit inconvenient, miss...” Nope, no name, so he tryingly added, “...iss?”
She closed her eyes with a humorous smile on her lips, folding her bat-winged sleeves in front of her and walked the few steps down the stairwell.
To Meliodas chagrin, he realized she was standing barefoot in front of him. Even if he was a 3.000-year-old demon, unable to age by the curse put upon him by his father, he felt a little bitter that he couldn't have stopped aging after he had grown to a somewhat more desirable size.
At least, so he could reach the dishes at the higher shelves in their kitchen. Ban, that stupidly tall son of a bitch, had taken a liking to lift him up so he could get them for himself, mockingly exclaiming an “uuup-si daisy”, whenever he did. A blow almost harder than having to ask him to get them for him in the first place. He wasn't a particularly prideful person, which a series of up-the-skirt incidences had clearly proved and left no doubt about. But still, even he had to draw the line somewhere.
“I'm sorry, I can't recall your name,” he finally admitted.
“Meliodas, that part of your memory, I have not taken,” she said wistfully, coming to a stand only a few centimeters away from him.
“I know. Someone else did, though,” he chuckled, winching noticeably at the burning it left in his lower back. “I'm afraid there's a lot I can't remember anymore.”
“That should be understandable. It's about 1.500 years since we last met, after all.”
If that was not a hint, he wouldn't have known one if it had punched him square in the jaw.
Meliodas wracked his brain for the answers. From what he had gathered up to this point, specifically from her ability to extract from his memories, this woman must be either a mage like Merlin or a Goddess, which was more likely. Especially considering the crew he surrounded himself with at that time, half a lifetime ago.
Half of his lifetime, anyway.
But wait, a Goddess? That could only mean...
“Panacea?” he asked in slight disbelief, looking up at her unblemished face that looked as pure as it had a kiloyear ago. “I don't understand. Why did you bring me here?”
Panacea lowered herself to one knee, lending him a hand to get back up. When he wasn't able to reach for it, she propped herself down behind him instead, carefully turning him over and placing a hand under his knees and his shoulders, lifting him up bridal style.
“Oh, thaaat's degrading,” he uttered as his face scrunched up in pain, unwillingly being carried by the unfaltering arms as they started up the stairs. “Where are we going?”
“To my chambers,” Panacea answered, ignoring Melioda's expressed of embarrassment. “You should lay down for a bit. We'll discuss everything after you rest.”
“If you would just heal me, we could save ourselves some time,” Meliodas suggested with his never-faltering positivity. He was sure that there was a good reason for her to take his memories and bringing him here, but being in the Goddess Kingdom of Theòtita, he was unable to use his own demonic powers of healing, which left him at the mercy of his genetically-caused enemy, while being in such a reduced state of health.
“As I said, we'll discuss everything later.”
Meliodas decided to accept the delay. He did feel exhausted, and from what he could remember, the Goddesses had some excellent beds.
He was asleep the moment his head hit the pillow. These Goddesses had a few things figured out. He could only imagine that said pillow had been stuffed with angel feathers. If it was the high quality of it, or if it was plain fatigue from the pain of his injuries, wasn't really important at the time. Even if it hurt to lay on his back, and even if he was in one of the most vulnerable positions he could possibly be in, he couldn't help himself from descending into a deep, fever-induced sleep.
Luckily, the sleep was dreamless, as far as he could recall. The last thing he wanted, was for Panacea to witness the way he tossed and turned by the horrid dreams that usually shattered his mind, tearing him away from the comfort of his bed who he shared with his beloved Elizabeth and throwing him back through 3000 years of losing everyone he had ever loved. It was surprising how significant the number was. He was a demon, after all.
When he woke up, the quilt had been pulled over him and a cold cloth was placed on his head. Strange, he thought. Why wouldn't she just heal me?
He felt compeletley over the novelty of being cute and sick at this point. Mostly, because of the lack of slightly gullible nurses who would brush their breasts across his own chest while tending to him, or bending over while cleaning up the glasses of water, he would accidentally knock over from time to time.
'I'm kind of a sleaze bag, aren't I? …Oh, well.'
He pried his eyes open, wanting to rub the sleep out of them, but his arms felt even stiffer after staying still for... how long? He looked around the room, searching for a clock, but all he could find to give him any indication of time was the window. Which, truthfully, wouldn't tell him much, as the sun never set in this place. They didn't even have the same sun as they did in Britannia. Their sun was called Chrysì Theà- Golden Goddess, and it would never go down.
Time went by differently in the Goddess realm than what it did back in his world. An hour in this place would be felt like a minute at home. Well, actually, his home was somewhere entirely different from Britannia. There, it was the other way around. An hour in Brittania was a minute in, well, Hell.
Even so, he knew he would be able to tell the time from where the sun was located in the sky, even if that didn't help him much, as he had no idea where it was when he came here.
In the end, he gave up on his quest for the concept of time and let himself drift back to sleep.
To be continued.
15th of December 2019: Not discontinued, just struggling with the next chapter.
Chapter title: Woke up still on fire
His surroundings were distorted. Anything in his immediate proximity was veiled by a red cover, trapping him inside of a tight, narrow and claustrophobic space between illumining curtains. A feeble, crackling noise was all he could hear, like the resolute snaps of electric wires. It reminded him of Merlin's 'perfect cube', except for the color and spearlike shape of it, making him think of the pyramids he had seen on his travels before settling in Britannia and joining the Holy Knights.
He was flopped on the ground once again, covered with grass and dirt that discolored his shirt, the strands of grass tickling his nose with the taste of weeds and soil on his lips. Apparently, he had planted his face firmly into the dirt at some point- an assumption that did in no way decrease by the looks of the deep tracks he had left behind him on the meadow.
The pain in his back was just as present as before, if not more.
There was no doubt in his mind that he was back in Britannia this time, but the situation seemed just as unfamiliar as to when he woke up in Theòtita earlier, hopefully, that same day.
Half-lidded eyes started to look around, hopeful to gather some fruitful information on his exact time and location. First of all, he was definitively imprisoned by some sort of electric forcefield. Likely to separate him from-
That's when he saw her.
'Elizabeth,' he tried to call for her, but it was as if his mouth had been sewn shut by some sort of elastic band. He could hardly force it to open at all, and when he was able to, his jaw felt sore, immediately worn and a dull ache started to throb in the hinges a little under his temples.
The princess closed the distance between the two, or, at least between herself and the forcefield. Something told Meliodas that there wasn't a way for her to break through unless its maker took the barrier down, willingly or by defeat. He lay only about 10 cm or so, away from the edge of it, and he could feel prickling on his skin and strands of unruly hair lifting from the friction that the walls radiated.
'She wasn't going to..?'
"Elizabeth!" His voice came out as nothing but a strangled wheeze. The strain made him dizzy and cough viciously. She didn't seem to hear him at all. Her knees gave out right outside, less than half a meter from his own broken form.
If she said something, he couldn't hear her. He was more focused on getting his hands to just obey, wanting to reach out to her, stop her, make her back off and away from the... 'Oh god no!'
To skinny arms reached out for him, breaching the barricade for a swift moment before a shattering squeal roamed through his ears. Pained yelps and cries for help escaped her lips as the red lightning enveloped her arms, making her entire body twitch frightfully. Several new apparitions appeared behind her. He could make out Ban's red attire and the huge form of an orange dress, hovering over all of them- Diane, but that was it.
There was nothing he wanted more than to run for Elizabeth, shielding her fragile frame from the unrelenting bolts that threatened to take her life, such a short distance away. But he was unable to move. He could hardly talk.
He had never felt this useless his entire life. She was there, he could see her, almost reach out and touch her and still, there was nothing he could do. He couldn't even call out her name. He couldn't protect her- he was supposed to protect her and now he had failed just like with Liz and- and... everyone else he had promised to defend. He would give his life in a heartbeat, which he had so many of if he could just touch her. Reassure her. Tell her that everything was going to be okay.
Ban's large arms wrapped around her but he immediately stepped back. He had been shocked too, only by touching her. There was nothing anyone could do. She would die-
Suddenly, her body went limp. The thunderbolts let go of her, letting her crumble to the ground, halfway in and halfway out of the lightning pyramid. Her burnt arms sprawled around her head, and she met his eyes, a weak gaze lingering with him, as he parted her lips.
"Sir Meliodas, why... why didn't you do anything?" she asked shakily, on her high-pitched, feeble voice.
"E-Elizabeth, m'so- sorry," he was able to croak out before his voice failed, and he realized that he was bawling his eyes out. He spent the rest of the little energy he had left, to stretch an arm out as far as it would go, finally able to touch her scorched knuckle.
"You're hurting me," she whispered, and he instantly retracted his hand.
"Sorry," he muttered, letting his head fall to the ground. "I failed you again... and now you're hurt because of me. I'm sorry Elizabeth, I'm so, so sor-"
A hushed sigh left her lips, making Melioda's entire body freeze. Slowly, he lifted his head back up, reluctantly opening his eyes back up.
The alarm set in straight away, a breathless squeak escaping his throat as he met the lifeless, staring eyes of his adored companion.
"Elizabeth," he breathed heavily, panic flooding through his veins and leaving him desperate and terrified and hysterical and utterly, entirely crushed.
She was gone.
She was gone and she wasn't coming back.
A glass-shattering wail roared through the air, making him flinch and instinctively trying to duck away before he realized that the sound came from himself.
Warm hands were placed on his shoulders, while he could feel the warmth of familiar magic, radiating over his forehead and giving him the sensation of being pulled out of himself.
He awoke with a gasp, intuitively trying to throw himself up, to a sitting position- away from the nightmare and back into the real world. Again, the pain in his back made itself known, by sending out painful shocks through his entire body, almost pulling him back into the depths of the horror he had finally escaped.
The breaths tore at his chest, shuddering as they left his body while the tears escaped the creek of his eyes, blending with feverish sweat. The exhausted ramblings of unanswered apologize slowly died down.
The pale light that spiraled out of Panacea's palms while a new presence gently held him down, finally faded out as soon as she was assured that the small blonde was all the way out of the slightly magically adjusted flashback.
"Meliodas, are you here with us?" her soft voice asked, stroking his hair back in comforting motions.
"Where's Elizabeth?" he demanded weakly, shifting restlessly to get out of bed.
"Careful, your injury is quite severe. You shouldn't do anything to aggravate them further," she cooed, still caressing his messy locks.
"Then heal me and let me get out of here," he argued, making his voice as strong as he possibly could. "I need to find Elizabeth, I need to protect-"
A forceful scoff disrupted him, freeing itself from the chest of their most recent attendant, a younger and shorter woman than Panacea, with long frosty hair, tangled in an intricate braid, wearing a sky blue, draped dress. Panacea held out a hand to silence her, expression unyieldingly serious as she shifted her attention to the bedridden man.
"Do you understand what you just saw?" she asked calmly, returning her hand to rest atop of his head. He still had a high fever.
"Elizabeth is hurt, I need to find her!" he whimpered, tugging at the quilt, trying to move it away.
"Please don't move, Meliodas. You're in no condition to move anywhere right now. What you just saw, is partially what happened earlier today," she explained vaguely. Meliodas' glossed eyes peeked up at her, clearly not understanding.
"Elizabeth is okay. I kept the memories from you to prove a point, and I think I did."
Meliodas shot his eyes up, relief rushing through his body, even relieving some of the pain as the tenseness in his shoulders decreased considerably and he was finally able to relax a little. "She... she's okay? Wait, how? I just saw her! She got caught in the forcefield, she..."
She hushed him with a soft smile, that for some reason didn't look consoling at all. "Calm down, kalì daimònio."
Good demon, he translated internally. Foggy memories brewed on the surface of his mind, just out of his reach, of what had given him that nickname in the Goddess Kingdom, so long ago.
"What is the point you were trying to make?" he asked wearily and adding, "...and how do I know for sure that she really is okay?"
A shrill laugh made her shoulders tremble, golden eyes flashing to dangerously purple for just a second, before settling back to their usual cobber yellow.
He definitely remembered that look.
"Do you think I would let you get my daughter killed, Meliodas?" she asked rhetorically, the humorless grin fading from her face. "The same way you've let countless Elizabeths wither and die in your blood-covered hands, all those times before my daughter?" Her voice was now raised, angry with energy beaming out of her being, making her hair trash against her face and her dress flutter in the air around her. "I've been paying attention to you two, ever since Danafor. Ever since you let your demonic rage ravage the village and almost letting my Elizabeth die in the fallout."
Meliodas stared wide-eyed up at her, letting her finish the outraged rant before he dared to speak again.
"So, you're Elizabeth's mom?" he asked with piqued interest, his careless facade falling back into place, now that he was satisfied that Elizabeth was unharmed. "This is some pretty excessive mother-in-lawing, you know."
He armored up with his most lighthearted grin as he watched Panacea's flaming wrath peek for a moment, before slowly dabbing off, ending in an exasperated sigh.
"All I'm asking of you, Meliodas, is to stop putting my youngest in such grave danger. What is left of the Commandments, are still inactive, so there is no reason for you to fight anymore, as long as the peace still remains. What you saw in your nightmare is a very real possibility of what could have happened today."
Something dark had fallen over Meliodas, his eyes seemed to have lost their shimmer and his head ducked down for his bangs to cover his eyes.
"I will protect her as long as I live, no matter what happens to me," he murmured dangerously. "I would never intentionally put Elizabeth in harm's way."
"Then prove it." She took a deep breath of air before slowly letting it out. "When you wake up, you'll remember today's events as they carried out. You'll be back in Britannia. Your mortal body is left there, you know the drill."
Yes, he did know the drill. Only his consciousness would be brought to the Goddess Realm, which was why he couldn't heal there. This wasn't his first rodeo, after all. His physical body would probably still be inside the triangle when he woke up if he hadn't been asleep for too long in there. He didn't want to think about the consequences of that. He didn't want to leave Elizabeth in danger without being able to be there to look after her and make sure she wasn't being hurt.
"I will," he assured her, determinate and selfassured. There wasn't a force strong enough in any universe, to keep him from preventing anyone or anything to harm her. She was his woman. His heart, his soul, the air he breathed- the only reason he even bothered to breathe. His life, his purpose and his everything. "I will fight for her as long as I live!"
"There's that word again- fight. A fight means a battle, Meliodas. Are you even listening to me?" she asked, a short snort followed her statement. "But, I've decided to take a couple of precautionary measures, to prevent- well, you'll figure it out soon enough."
A sudden jolt made his body jerk back, like an earthquake tearing his chest apart by the touch. Panacea poked him with her index and middle finger, creating a light blue orb that seemed to evaporate in a small explosion as she stabbed the fingers at his rib cage. He blurted out a complained noise from the dull shock.
"Take care of my cherished Elizabeth," she inquired as she disappeared in a flash of white light and he felt himself fall through the divine bed and before he knew it- he was back in his voltaic prison.
Panicked eyes rolled over every wall that intrapped him, searching for Elizabeth's still form. She wasn't there. A relieved sigh shuddered through him, knowing that it wasn't too late- while still knowing it could be, very soon. He concentrated all his rage into an eggplant-purple ball in his chest, ready to expand it and let it swallow up his injuries and letting him break free of his imprisonment of the enchanted jail as well as the crippling agony from his wound...
...as a stab of sudden, searing pain abruptly pierced through skin and layers of muscles and tissue, dangerously close to the exact same spot as before. A warped howl bounced off the walls in the tight space, blood projecting from his mouth between sobs and jagged breaths. He had no way of moving around to see what had caused it, as the blinding anguish made already restricted motions even harder to act out.
'I thought she said she was going to return my memories,' he thought hazily, hardly able to keep his head on his shoulders anymore. A vision of pink and purple hurried towards him, blurred by wavy, crimson radiation. The intruding presence behind him was blatantly ignored as his panic grew into a full meltdown, watching the most cherished aspect of his over-stayed presence on this earth, closing dangerously in on the danger zone (anyone else who can't say those words without singing?). His heart was pounding like a drummer with severe ADHD in the middle of a dire sugar-rush, wanting to escape from his chest and stop Elizabeth itself.
"Elizabeth, sto-" he spat, voice morphing into a harsh squeal as whatever that had impaled him was brutally withdrawn from his back.
What happened next seemed to develop in slow motion. A huge, tan boot with a belt of iron rivets over the instep, stepped in front of his blurred outline of Elizabeth. The little sliver of flesh that he could see over the humongous shoe, turned steely grey. He recognized Dianes 'Heavy Metal' ability, turning her body to solid chrome. The last thing that happened before the blonde lost consciousness was a large hand breaching through the electric seal, the beams rejected and buzzing off of her metallic hand and long fingers enveloping his body in a careful, loving embrace.
"Captain?" Diane asked softly as she uncurled her fingers, looking down at her leader with indigo orbs, arching her eyebrows with worry at the poor state of the small man. Quirked brows turned effortlessly into an angry glare, directed towards the charcoal-haired fairy, clad in an olive-green cloak with his bloodied Blade of the Oleander pointed towards her.
'Such a sleazy little rat', she thought, bending down with her free hand, grabbing onto the sorry little man-of-the-earth. He feebly whirled his blade around, likely trying to cast another electric spell. It got abrupted as soon as she squeezed her fingers over the pathetic outlaw, still wearing her suit of heavy metal.
"How dare you attack the captain?" she uttered venomously, before squeezing her fist tight, hopeful of breaking every bone in the creeper's body, and hurling him outwards across the meadow and far behind the mountains.
She panted for a short while, before remembering her precious load. She gently opened her right fist again from the slack grip to look over the unconscious Meliodas. Gingerly, she lowered him to the ground to let Elizabeth's healing rays dance onto his still form.
The princess was already sitting in the grass, readying her energy for the session. Merlin and Ban were standing passively to the side, while Hawk was running panicked around, screaming insults and profanities directed towards anyone and everything between heaven and hell- which mostly affected butterflies and beetles.
Meliodas' head lolled to the side, his expression peaceful and seemingly oblivious to the abuse his body had been through. He had been too quick again- neglecting to assess the situation before flailing himself into the attack, getting caught off guard by the forcefield, leaving him exposed and open for attack.
The Rejected fairy- Solan of the Tepperot.
He was in no way as infamous as the demon clan and the ten commandments, or the seven deadly sins, for argument's sake, but he was a strong, vindictive and an ever so bothersome idiot. How their captain could be overthrown by him so easily, was a question that better be left until he woke up.
The warmth of Elizabeth's healing magic covered meters around her, even healing the throttled blossoms and the small scratches that the ground had left on Diane's knuckles.
For some strange reason, the light shimmering from Elizabeth's hands seemed to hesitate before entering Meliodas' body. The small twitch on his crumpled-up face, started to ease for a short moment before the twitch intensified violently and his eyes tightening even more shut and a desperate yell left his sleeping form before his body seizure and trembled bad enough to make all six present sins protest. Merlin, Ban, Diane, King, Escanore, and Gowther- all shouting for her to stop.
Elizabeth's eyes were watering and she stopped the stream of magic abruptly, looking at the Sins, as well as Meliodas in dispelief.
"W-what happened?" she asked in great concern, intuitively resting her hands on Meliodas cheeks, shifting her stare hopelessly to his face, praying for moss-colored eyes to flutter open and look back at her with the reassuring calmness hey usually gave her.
Merlin stepped forward, walking towards them, watching carefully as she did. "I think he's under some kind of spell," she said cooly, before settling on her knees beside Elizabeth. "He reacted badly to your healing, and he wasn't able to use his own powers before fainting."
"Why couldn't he do that?" Elizabeth asked teary-eyed, clasping her hands even tighter, hugging them lovingly and protective around Meliodas' throat.
"I can't know for sure before I've spoken with him. Something strange must have happened with him while he's been out," Merlin explained calmly, elegant fingers stroking across Meliodas' forehead. Considering Elizabeth's race and the uncertainty of Meliodas' actual condition, she neglected intentionally, to mention her suspicions of a Goddess-spell having been cast upon him, if she would take into consideration the way his body rejected Elizabeth's healing powers.
"We should get him back to the tavern and call for a doctor," she said instead, waving at Diane to come pick him back up. She did so without hesitation, clutching his limp body to her heart while she carried him in the direction of the Boar Hat with the others not far behind and letting Hawk run in advance, calling desperately out for his mama to meet them half-way.
"Don't worry Captain," Diane soothed, rushing his hair gently with her oversized index. "You'll be up and about in no time."
To be continued.
This story is actually partially a prompt I got on Tumblr. I won't post exactly what it was yet, as it will leave spoilers for my next chapter!
I hope you all enjoyed the story this far! Please leave a review to let me know. I still take suggestions on the coming chapters!
Chapter 3: Are you saying I'm still alive?
I am so so so so so sorry for the long wait! I was so stuck in the middle of this chapter that I needed a long break before I was able to pick it back up. I am going to try really hard to not keep you waiting as long for the next chapter!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
The air felt thick inside the small room on the top floor of the tavern. A mixture of sickness, antiseptics, and uneasiness filled the room as six deadly sins, a princess and a talking pig gathered around their trusted ally, companion and friend's unconscious form.
The doctor had just left. He had treated Meliodas' wounds to the best of his abilities, given the limited resources she had at hand, but that had barely been enough to keep him alive. The bloodloss in itself would have been enough to kill him if it hadn't been for Merlin's medical skills. She had been able to quelch the bleeding enough to give him a fighting chance with layers upon layers with gauze and bandages, keeping a tight pressure on the injuries.
The doctor had performed delicate surgery to reduce the pressure on his spinal nerves and fixate the spinal column around the injury. Now, he was finally stitched up and stabilized, but still heavily sedated. His usual sunkissed skin was ashen and sickly, and his breathing heavy and ragged as he lay, hooked up to IV bags with liquids and pain medication.
What were the most concerning going forward, was the injury he had suffered to his lumbar vertebrae. The sword had inflicted severe damage to his lower back, and there really was no telling the effects it would have on his body before he woke up.
Elizabeth was still keeping her hopes up that his demon powers would be able to heal his body once he was strong enough, and Merlin still didn't share her suspicions about that not being an option for the time being. She glanced towards Goater from time to time, making sure that he wasn't about to spill either. There was no doubt in her mind that he had figured it out as well. But, there was no reason to make everyone even more worried. Once he was conscious, they could talk it over and figure out their next steps.
Elizabeth picked up the chair by Meliodas' desk and pushed it over to his bedside. Dutifully, she sat down and rested her warm hand on his feverish and clammy cheek, wiping away droplets of sweat before she turned and picked up the lukewarm rag resting on his forehead in the soothingly chilled water in the bowl on his bedstand.
“He's so pale,” she murmured with a frown, pressing the piece of cloth lightly to his neck.
“It's the blood loss,” Merlin reasoned calmly. “He's probably going to be out for a while.”
Merlin leaned her hand on the princess' shoulder. Elizabeth peeked up on the powerful mage, blurry-eyed and flustered. “We should get something to eat and keep our strength up,” Merlin added, managing what she hoped was a comforting smile to the young goddess.
“I want to stay with him. Someone should be here, once he wakes up.” Her voice came out frail and broken. She was hoping it would sound willful and strong, but that was as much as she could manage right now.
Luckily, no one argued with her. Merlin nodded.
“I agree with you, princess. We will take turns sitting with him. You need your rest too. Someone will be up with some food once it's ready.” She started ushering the other sins and Hawk out of the room, leaving them to their solitude.
Elizabeth kept a brave smile on her face until the door finally shut. The tears she had tried to hold back finally came in steady streams, but she wiped them away vigorously.
“I promise, sir Meliodas, I will not cry- I will not fall apart this time. I'm going to be strong- for my friends, and most of all, for you,” she whispered as she writhed onto the bed and nuzzled up beside the sleeping sin, gently stroking the unruly bangs away from his face and feeling his chest rise and fall with each lifesaving breath. All the terror and uncertainty of the day was finally catching up to her, and she could feel her body growing heavy from the exhaustion. She was soon resting calmly, body curved along the outlines of Melioda's still form and soft hands tangled in his unruly golden locks.
Soon her own strained breaths evened out and was replaced with soft sighs as she was lulled into a fitful and exhausted sleep.
Ban was seldom at the loss for words. He could definitely choose not to speak, as he had demonstrated fairly well while imprisoned at the Baste Prison. But, since being reunited with the sins, and most importantly, his beloved Elaine, there was a new sense of easiness to his being.
The happy-go-lucky man he once had been seemed to be back. It wasn't just an act, a mask he would put on to pretend that everything was fine to make people stop prying. It wasn't a shell he had crawled into to protect himself from being hurt again like so many times before. He was genuinely and truly happy.
At this point in time, probably for the first time through all of his years, he felt content with his life; where he was, what he did, who he was and who he was with.
And then- something like this had to happen.
Everything seemed to be going so well. There was peace in Britannia, and the tavern was thriving now that he was the fulltime cook (not to mention that the lawsuits for poisoning their customers had gone from about a 25% to a zero since he had taken over) . They went from place to place and met exciting and interesting new people- not only to gather information on the whereabouts of the sins. They were all finally together again.
The girls were finally getting the hang on the waitressing. Their food costs were cut in half and they were actually gaining profit now that they finally were able to balance their trays properly, which consequently had made Hawk lose several (much needed) pounds. Meliodas ran the bar expertly with all the knowledge and ale he had gathered from years and years of touring Britannia with the Boar Hat.
Everything seemed to be going well. Everybody was content.
But now Meliodas was lying unconscious in bed upstairs, unable to heal with a severe injury to his back. Nobody knew exactly what was going on- only that whatever was happening to their captain was strange and bad.
He reached towards the top shelf in the kitchen placed behind the bar, his kitchen, where he stored all of his seasonings ( they were placed there to limit Meliodas' access to them- thus hopefully, but not necessarily successfully, also limiting the amount of damage his atrocious cooking could do when he was trying to help).
His mouth tugged into a small smile as the memory came to mind, but it fell as suddenly as it had occurred. He didn't have much medical experience. He didn't really have the use for it, as his body regenerated by itself no matter how severe his injuries were. Words like 'lumbar vertebrae', 'septic-shock' or 'anemia' didn't mean anything to him.
(The word paraplegic did, however).
Because that was what the doctor and Merlin had discussed behind closed doors just before the doctor had left (Ban had large ears) . He couldn't quite understand how that could happen. Meliodas' demon form had many flaws, but its healing abilities was not usually one of them.
But, the way he had spasmed when Elizabeth had tried to heal him proved that something was up. Something wrong.
Sure, Meliodas might not have the strength to heal himself right now, but he should be able to do it once he was rested, right? Even if Elizabeth’s powers had been ineffective, wouldn’t mean that he wouldn’t be able to heal at all?
Still, Ban had a terrible feeling about it by the way Merlin was acting.
Maybe there was something special about that blade that the malicious fairy had been using. Like the one Meliodas had been stabbed with when they were at the Sky Temple. Maybe it was some kind of strange fairy-poison that blocked out Goddess, and maybe even Demon abilities too?
He had never heard of something like that, and when fighting the ten commandments, King should probably have mentioned something about it, 'cause that sure as fuck would have been helpful.
But, knowing King, he probably would have no idea anyway.
As if on cue, King came floating into the kitchen, cuddled up in Chastiefol. His lazy golden gaze peered around the kitchen and his mouth scrunched into a frown as he set eyes on Ban.
“When's food ready?” he moaned, propping his elbows under him and resting his head in his hands.
“ It's done when I've finished cooking it.” Ban realized how strained his voice sounded. All this stress was making him agitated, and he really didn't feel like dealing with King's bullshit right now.
I'm hungry,” King sulked and floated a little closer, but stopped abruptly when Ban's fist hit the counter with a loud smack, making the items around the kitchen rattle. As the sudden noise faded out, a pressuring silence gathered around them.
“You only ever think about yourself!” Ban snapped and shot a dark look towards the red-head. “Here I thought I was the sin of greed. Cap'n is fighting for his life, and all you can do is complain about dinner,” Ban snarled dangerously.
King looked taken back at first, but quickly got a hold of himself and scowled venomously back.
“ Seems like I just lost my appetite,” he finally muttered and turned to leave. Ban didn't stop him. Instead, he continued chopping veggies with exaggerated force, throwing it into the pan of boiling broth.
He continued preparing the incidences with added violence when the door behind him opened again. An exasperated sigh left him as he tried to calm his anger.
“Ban?” a careful voice asked from the doorway. The furious flame inside Ban's chest was immediately extinguished as Elaine approached him.
“Hey,” he said raggedly and plastered on a smile as he turned to greet her.
“I was looking for Harlequin, I thought he came in here,” she said hesitant and looked around the kitchen.
Ban quickly sobered.
“ He came by,” Ban mumbled, biting his lip as he felt a new spark of anger light up.
“Oh,” she mused worriedly before adding, “I asked him to help you with dinner... Guess he didn't feel like it. He's been so fidgety since we got back. I thought it might help to gather his thoughts.”
The tall man could have kicked himself. Obviously, King would never waltz into the kitchen and just offer to help. He would have disguised it in some stupid way of saying that it took too long until he was ordered or seemed to “realize it would be better if he had” to help.
“ Dammit,” Ban sneered and rolled his eyes in exasperation. The small fair-haired girl arched her eyebrows before reluctantly asking, “What happened?”
Ban sighed wearily and rubbed his face.
“Do you mind taking over here for a moment? I need to take a piss.” He handed her the knife and untied his apron, tossing it at the counter and stalked with long strides out of the kitchen.
For a short while, he stood at the center of the bar and wondered where King would disappear off to if he had upset him, which, the asshole that he was, he probably had manged pretty brilliantly. He seriously doubted he would have gone back to his room. The malformed, wonky extensions they had built to the Boar Hat now that they were all traveling with it, usually wasn't the first place any of them would go to hide.
Meliodas' room was probably out of the question too. Knowing King, he would be painfully uncomfortable staying with an unconscious Meliodas. He would have no idea what to do with himself. That really only left two places, and as King was not a distraught teenaged girl (even if he could've fooled Ban sometimes), he probably hadn't locked himself in the bathroom.
Ban went outside. The weather was as grey as their day was. The wind brought droplets of the oncoming rain from the west with it, making it feel even more soured than it already was.
Apparently, Ban knew King better than he had anticipated, as he spotted him floating gently on Chestiefol high above ground level, right outside Meliodas' window. He was too high up for Ban to see what he was really doing, but he had his suspicions that he actually knew that too.
“ King, stop feeling sorry for yourself and come down here,” he shouted, unnecessarily loud and startling King to the point where he almost slipped off Chestifold.
“ Shut up, asshole,” King retorted quietly, crawling his way back onto his snuggly green pillow with strained fingers.
“Stop being so dramatic and come down,” Ban repeated, standing with his hands on his hips. King relented. His eyes rolled around exaggeratedly as he gently floated down and stopped a little over Ban’s head, making sure that the large man had no other choice than to look up at him.
“What?” Ban huffed in a grimace.
Ban simply stared at him for a short moment. “Listen, King. I shouldn’t have snapped at ya. We’re all worried about Cap’n, I shouldn’t have let it out on ya.”
King’s eyes narrowed. Was Ban actually apologizing to him? When he was the one who acted so childish?
He fidgeted with his hands and stared down at Chastiefol with a frown. “Yeah.” His voice was drawn out and faint, careful, even. “I guess… I guess I’m sorry too. It’s just… what if he doesn’t get better, you know? I don’t think he’ll be able to handle that. What’ll happen to the tavern? The group?”
“Don’t talk like that,” Ban said warningly, but with no anger in his voice. “We can’t afford to think like that. We have to believe that he’s going to get better. Cap’n needs our support, not any of that doubty negative shit.”
“Ban, we need to be realistic about this-”
“I am being realistic,” Ban raised his voice. “If we give up on him, he’ll give up on himself! You know how he is. He won’t do shit for his own benefit, he does everything for us, his friends! If we don’t have faith in him, he’ll wither and die. Maybe not literally, but… the Melioda’s we know and love, won’t be anymore. We’ve seen this happen before, King. That lil’ bastard is as strong as the support he has around him.”
Bleary eyes looked back at Ban’s heated demeanor, and he couldn’t help but admire the fire he saw. How would one become so strong-willed? What did he have to do to become as confident in anything he did?
...this was as good a time as any to start trying. Slowly, King nodded his head, more and more determinedly. “Yeah,” he said and started to sit up on Chastiefol. “Yes.” He added, with a bit more vigor.
“He-he’s going to be all right,” he said and looked sincerely into the ruby gaze of his teammate. “We’re going to help him, and then, he’ll be okay no matter what.”
“Atta ‘boy!” Ban praised with a cheeky grin and grabbed a hold of Chastiefol and pulled them down, throwing his lanky arm around King’s shoulders and pulled them with him inside.
Dinner went by in a slightly elevated mood. The talking was subdued and there was a blanket of worry still lingering above them, but Meliodas’ fever had lowered, which left them in anticipation for his awakening. Ban had even set aside a plate of broth, hoping Meliodas would be able to eat it during the evening.
Diane, still effected by Merlin’s shrinking spell had gone upstairs to eat together with Elizabeth and watch over Meliodas. The giantess had been beside herself with concern but had done her best to hide it in front of Elizabeth and resolved to cry on King’s shoulder all afternoon instead.
Admittedly, she was happy to have an excuse to go up and spend some time at his bedside, as well as being a good friend for Elizabeth.
She held the tray with their dinner and two cups of Vanja ale in her strong grip as she approached the door. She knocked carefully with the tip of her boot before she scooted the door open with her behind.
“Elizabeth? I know you’re probably not hungry, but you should probably try to eat somethi--”
She paused as she entered the room. “Elizabeth?”
The princess was standing on her knees on the bed, leaning over their leader. Her right hand was resting on his cheek and her eyes watched him intently.
“Meliodas? Can you hear me? Open your eyes, please,” she pleaded thinly.
“What- what’s going on?” Diane asked and closed the door behind her.
“I think he’s waking up,” she uttered urgently. “He moved his head and he’s mumbling something under his breath- I’m sure of it!”
Diane set the tray on the opposite table of the basin and settled on the other side of the bed. “Cap’n?”
Again, his head shifted and his eyes squeezed shut. Tired, garbled words left his lips in a messy scramble of noises.
“Yes, yes, that’s it! Come back to us Meliodas!” Elizabeth exclaimed excitedly before emerald green eyes finally fluttered open.
“E-Elizabeth?” he croaked hazily and shifted his gaze to the giantess. “Diane?”
“Oh, Meliodas! We’ve been so worried!” Elizabeth cried and threw herself around her sweetheart’s neck.
Diane eyed how Meliodas grimaced painfully at the princess’s actions and hastily, gently, touched her shoulder. “Careful, Elizabeth. He’s in pain.”
The silver-haired girl gasped and quickly pulled back with an apology on her lips.
“How are you feeling, Cap’n?” Diane asked, hoping to distract Elizabeth from the guilt-trip she was surly having at the moment.
The small man blinked a few times, looking up at them in a bit of confusion.
“I feel… a little weird,” he admitted hoarsely.
“Weird how? Should I get Merlin?” Diane inquired with a worry knitted between her eyebrows.
“I don’t know… Maybe.” Meliodas tried to pull himself up to a seated position. As he got up on his elbows, his eyes scrunched together and he emitted a sharp cry of pain and fell back down and fruitlessly tried to curl in on himself.
“Meliodas!” Elizabeth hovered over him, scared to touch him and inflict further pain. Diane was already up and running, calling down the stairs for Merlin to get up there.
“It hurts,” Meliodas wheezed faintly.
“I know honey,” Elizabeth soothed, stroking his hair back. Her tears were streaming down her face now, staining the white blanket covering his bandaged torso as she broke the promise she had made to herself. She was crying- again.
She could hardly stand how frail his voice sounded, drowned in all that hurt.
“I can’t…” The end of his sentence disappeared into a sharp inhale as his whole face contorted into an agonizing grimace.
“I can’t… move my legs,” he finally choked out.
For a moment, the whole world stopped moving. Elizabeth’s head was spinning dizzyingly fast. She peered down at the helpless form in front of her, staring aimlessly into the ceiling with this lost and scared look in his eyes.
This can’t be happening.
I'm so sorry for being an asshole with the cliff-hangers, but when I'm done writing, I'm just done. I can't squeeze anything more out and now you guys have waited for sooo long for this chapter and I just wanted to post it! I hope I didn't disappoint you!
Chapter 4: Are these your kisses I'm feeling?
More angst. Much more.
(The timeline is a bit here and there- I know. I hope you're still able to enjoy the fic for what it is!)
Eeeaaaah, I promised someone that I would update this before the end of April. It's a little late, but now it's here! I need to keep promising updates, cause it really lights a fire under my butt.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Meliodas hated being laid up in bed like this. He hated being still, injured and the misplaced sympathy the others displayed towards him. Right now, the thing he hated the most, was how Merlin was whispering with Elizabeth and Ban, out of range for him to hear. Because he knew they were talking about him. They were worried about how he was going to react to whatever they eventually would have to tell him, and he hated the concern he could see on Elizabeth’s face.
The term “ hate ”, was one he hadn't used in a long time. For many years, the concept of “hating” was reserved for war, loss, and himself .
He guessed what he felt right now was a kind of like loss. The loss of the ability to walk and feeling below his waist. It was as if the connection between his legs and his will to move them was completely severed. As if there never was a connection at all.
With a strangely numb hand, he pushed his duvet off his feet and stared intently at the useless limbs, urging them to move. There wasn't so much as a quiver. His toes wouldn't curl, no matter how hard he tried to send the right signals to them. All that was left was an incessant chill that wouldn't go away no matter how many woolen socks and blankets they threw over him.
The inability to transform into his demon form and heal actually didn't bother him. He had never missed that part of him when he'd lost it before (and then there was that thing about hate again) . During that period of time, he had to heal the natural way just like any other deadly being. If he had done it before, there really weren’t many good reasons why he shouldn’t be able to to it again.
No, what really bothered him, was the excruciating pain he had felt when Elizabeth had laid her hands on him, spreading her beautiful healing aura through his body. A sensation that used to fill him with heat and comfort that could only be out-matched by sex, had turned into the feeling of a thousand swords being stabbed into his back, twisted and then the wounds rubbed with salt. Even now, the simple touch of her fingertips gave out small painful jolts of electric shocks every time she touched him.
He wouldn't tell her though; that her compassionate aid only pained him further.
Even if she was still unaware of it, he had caused her so much pain through their countless years together. He wasn’t sure how he would be able to live with himself if he hurt her. The only reason he had for living, was to protect her.
...all though, now he was starting to worry that he couldn't do that anymore.
As selfish as it might be, she was the most important thing he had, and he was terrified of losing her again like he had so many times before. Yet, a part of him wondered if she would have been better off without him.
Of course, she would. Maybe, if he would just stay clear of her, she would be allowed to live her life happily and safely. Then, she could die of old age after a long, peaceful life, and stop this endless cycle of dying because he failed to defend her once again.
The soft voice broke him out of his destructive thought-pattern. He forced a deep frown away and tried his best to smile at the silver-haired girl.
She walked with hesitant steps towards his bed. “How are you feeling?”
Meliodas could see the mournful shimmer in her cerulean gaze, and it hurt even worse than the neuropathic pain radiating through his back and legs.
“I feel fine,” he said easily, suppressing the need to wince by the shift below him as Elizabeth took a seat on the edge of the bed and leaned over him. A small delicate hand hovered inches away from his forehead.
The anticipation of another jolt made Meliodas flinch.
He only realized what he had done when her slender fingers paused in the air, dropping back to her side. Her silvery hair obscured her mesmerizing features as she hung her head with sparkling drops leaving dark spots on her skirt.
“I’m sorry,” she whispered shamefully and gathered her hands in her lap. Meliodas was still too stunned to speak. Had he actually recoiled away from her?
However, before he could reassure her, Ban stepped closer and ruffled his yellow locks.
“Don’t worry about it Cap’n.”
“We were just talking,” Merlin stated calmly. She had her hands crossed, lingering in the doorway without looking at them.
It wasn’t like her, Meliodas thought; to shy away from him like that. Whatever they had been conversing about must be serious.
The tall woman took a deep, steadying breath, finally turning towards him. “Whatever happened back then, the injuries that imbecile inflicted on you, is probably not solely what has caused your current condition.”
“And what is my current condition, exactly?” Meliodas urged, worming his hand towards the princess’, ignoring the starts emitting from her hand that made his own twitch involuntarily. Elizabeth cast a surprised glance down at their entangled fingers, but Meliodas held on tighter, forcing his hand to stop shaking.
“Well, from what we could gather from our limited resources, as well as the doctor’s assessments, it seems like your spinal cord is severely damaged from the sword wounds. That’s why you can’t move or feel your legs.”
Meliodas looked confused. As if he hadn’t understood a word she had just said.
The mage sighed. “You’re paralyzed, Meliodas. And you’re not healing, so it seems like we actually have to deal with this.” Her tone was agitated, wanting a reaction from the short knucklehead. Something to assure her that he actually understood the gravity of the situation.
Her words finally prompted Elizabeth to shed her tears, having tried her best to keep it in and not break down. Ban lingered uncomfortably at her side.
“Huh,” Meliodas finally muttered numbly, lowering his head. His gaze fell over the limp legs sprawled uselessly out in front of him.
It wasn’t like he didn’t already know- kinda. Not having any feeling in one’s legs, except the shooting pain your brain tells you that you’re experiencing, didn’t really sound like a good prognosis. There was just something about it being said out loud. It seemed… not real.
“Say something, please,” Elizabeth sniffled, letting her hand part from his. She cooped his face, ignoring how his eyebrows seized from the contact.
“I, uh… Is there anything we can do about it?” The demon shifted to separate from the touch that seemed to grow more powerful as Elizabeth’s concern grew. Her capabilities spiked considerably when she got upset; he guessed it was her losing control
“We need to figure out what caused your powers to vanish and your body to reject Elizabeth’s. I will start working on that but in the meantime, there are several medical options that might help if---” she paused, finding her next words difficult to voice. “-if… this unfortunate change is permanent.”
The grave faces peering down at Meliodas made it squirm nauseatingly in his stomach. Why did they have to look at him like that? Despite what he looked like, he wasn’t a child.
“That’s good. I appreciate your help with that, Merlin. What are the other options?”
“Treatment,” she stated plainly. “Surgeries and rehabilitation.”
“So, that might cure it?” Meliodas asked hopefully.
Merlin’s self-assured demeanor cracked sightly at his hopeful words. She cherished her knowledge greatly, but sometimes, she hated being the one with the answers. “Well, n-no… It’s more complicated than that, you see. Treatment can alleviate your symptoms, like your pain levels. There’s no guarantee that you’ll ever be able to actually walk again.”
Meliodas didn’t say anything. Rich sage-colored eyes stared attentively back at her, an empty smile hanging onto his lips like a child to its comforter.
Sensing the storm awakening in his old friend, Ban brushed his shoulder with a careful fist. “But if anyone can do it, it’s you, Cap’n! You’ve fought every race from demons to pansy-ass twig-lovers. You’ll be back on yer feet in no time!” Meliodas turned his attention to him. “Right?” Ban prodded, grinning broadly.
“Right.” The crescent-eyed smile Meliodas wore didn’t quite reach his eyes.
The rest of the sins didn’t bother Elizabeth and Meliodas for the rest of the day. When Merlin and Ban returned to the main floor and told them about Meliodas’ condition, a heavy atmosphere had settled over the room like a thick mist. Feet were dragging, heads lowered, the air felt heavy, and no candles seemed to be able to illuminate through the darkness around them.
Hawk kept trying to lure upstairs to settle onto the foot end of Meliodas’ bed like he sometimes was allowed to do after an upsetting mission, but Merlin kept stepping in front of him.
“We should give them some time to deal with this by themselves. I think Meliodas needs some time to process this.”
The pig went sulking to Diane instead, burying his snoot into Chastifoil between the shrunken giantess and the fairy king, bawling into the soft fabric.
Ban had isolated himself in the kitchen, only allowing Elane to accompany him. It was well into the evening, so Escanore’s night form had retreated to his bedroom to write poetry. It was only her and Gowther left.
The doll-boy was seated at one of the tables, a mug of Vanja ale placed in front of him. He eyed the beverage assessingly.
“Merlin?” he called suddenly. “Is this an occasion of which one would drink one’s sorrows away?”
The mage smiled faintly, strolling over to him and taking a seat. “Most people don’t need a special occasion for that,” she answered him humourlessly. The pink-haired cocked his head and hummed thoughtfully.
“But yes, I guess one would,” she agreed.
“Very well. Then I guess that is what I shall do.” He took a big gulp and stifled a couple of coughs as he slammed the jug back down, as he had observed their patrons do. Merlin smirked and got back up, moving towards the bar.
“You know Gowther, I think I shall too.”
“What are you thinking?”
Meliodas turned his head to peer back at the girl on the other side of the bed. She was resting on her side, hypochromic eyes appraising him thoughtfully.
“That you are the most beautiful woman that I’ve ever seen,” he drawled sleepily.
“That’s not what I meant,” Elizabeth inquired sternly, brushing his bangs away from his eyes. Again, he was unable to repress the shudder as the sparks of her powers prickled at his skin.
“And why do you keep doing that?” Elizabeth sat up, clearly upset. Instinctively, Meliodas tried to follow her but his back protested wildly and he was left withering in pain. An involuntary gasp broke away from him as a spasm of agony wrecked its way through his body. He was left panting and grasping at the sheets.
“M-Meliodas?” Elizabeth sputtered worriedly, fluttering over him while he tried to breathe his way through the fit of pain. When she didn’t get an answer out of him, her hands went to his arms- for what was meant to be a reassuring gesture. The effect turned out to be quite the opposite.
“G-get away from me,” he forced out between clenched teeth, trying to wiggle away from the growingly electric touch. It was easier said than done when half of his body was unresponsive except for the blindingly agonizing pain.
“What?” she stuttered, unsure if she had heard him correctly.
“Get away !” Meliodas bellowed, ripping his arms away from her grasp and barely being able to keep himself from pushing her away. Instead, she backed off, wide-eyed and aghast. Ragged breaths ripped through Meliodas’ lungs as jolts of pure torture ran through the nerves along his backbone and made his body contract.
The fit only lasted for a couple of seconds, but to Elizabeth, it felt like an eternity. Watching her lover convulsing in pain from her touch.
“I-it’s me, isn’t it?” she realized subsequently, as his breathing seemed to slow down. “I did that to you. I hurt you, don’t I?” The goddess backed away until her back hit the wall, watching her hands in awe.
“No,” came weakly from the finally still form in the bed.
“Don’t lie to me, Meliodas!” Her words came out harsher than they were supposed to, but she needed to know, right now!
“No, Elizabeth. You don’t hurt me,” his voice was barely above a whisper. She could tell he was tired, and from the amount of pain he sounded to be in indicated that it was time for his medicine.
“Then why do you keep cowering away from me?” she begged desperately, crawling back onto their bed but careful not to touch him.
“It’s not you, it’s… it’s your powers. They still hurt when they’re active. It’s not your fault, please… don’t be upset.” Meliodas’ hand crept closer to her leg--- without actually touching, she noticed anxiously. It just lingered there, as if he was afraid to actually make contact.
“I didn’t realize they were active,” she mused in horror. “I’m not sure if I can control that yet.” Her hands clenched together, resting at her knees. Eyes closed, she tried to concentrate her energy away from her palms; she wasn’t sure where to situate it, but as far away from her hands as possible. She visualized internally the stream of golden warmth in her body, placing it here and there, anywhere but in her hands.
When she opened her eyes back up, she reached out towards her lover once more, fingers brushing gently over his wrist.
Expecively, she awaited his reaction. There was none.
“Is… is it any better?”
Meliodas just smiled tiredly and looked up at her. “Yes,” he answered affectionately, draping his fingers over her wrist, brushing his thumb across her palm.
Elizabeth sighed in relief, lowering herself and melting into his petite body, brushing loving kisses against his sun-kissed skin.
It felt like needles puncturing his surface. But having the love of his life recoil from him (the way he had cruelly recoiled from her) surpassed any pain he could imagine ever feeling.
...it gets worse before it gets better, kids.