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What makes a god a god?

Jonah lies in bed and wonders about it.

Barnabas says he’s changed.

“Don’t,” he says. “Stay this way. Just like this.”

He puts his hands on his chest and his head on his stomach. It’s a weird position to be in. Hands up in worship. Just slightly wrong. It takes him a moment to realize he’s tracking the movements of his ribcage. Jonah breathes in, breathes out.

Barnabas doesn’t know. Barnabas doesn’t know anything.

Jonah wants to become. Jonah wants to be more.

––

The Eye isn’t a god. The Eye is what makes someone a god.

A ruler. It needs something. A god isn’t weak. A god doesn’t need anyone or anything.

Jonathan doesn’t agree. Blasphemy, he calls it. He’s right.

Jonathan doesn’t believe. He’s seen enough to know that the god they want him to believe in isn’t compatible with this world. This wretched existence. He believes enough that when Jonah tells him he wants to become a god he yells at him.

“Don’t you think you’re taking this too far?”

“I love you,” Jonah tells him instead of answering. Jonathan goes rigid. Jonah thinks about folding his body into the shape of a church pew. An organ. If he can’t be the thing that’s worshipped then he can be what something is worshipped upon, just in the meantime. A vessel.

“Do you?” Jonathan asks softly. Despite all this, his cock is still leaking against Jonah’s belly, as if they hadn’t stopped to talk at all. Jonah reaches for it with a soft, broad hand, and when he closes his fingers around it Jonathan hisses, bucks into it.

Jonah doesn’t say yes. He doesn’t say no either. When Jonathan kisses him he kisses like a man. Something that would be enough for any man he knows. Something that’d be enough for any mortal being.

Jonah wants teeth and claws. Jonah wants to kiss with his eyes open.

––

Mordechai doesn’t love anything. Mordechai doesn’t have anyone. Things and people are the same, really, in the grand scheme of things.

“You feel so cold,” Jonah tells him. He does. Like freezing seawater.

“Sorry,” Mordechai says. Even his voice sounds distant. Like it comes from miles away and Jonah has to strain his ears to hear him at all.

Jonah wants to look at him. Mordechai doesn’t like being looked at. Jonah pins him onto the bed, and looks, and looks, and looks, and Mordechai doesn’t like being looked at but he’s hard regardless, and Jonah asks him, green eyes gleaming in the candlelight, if he wants him, and Mordechai says yes.

Mordechai always says yes. Mordechai always wants something.

Wet heat and cold flesh. Jonah shivers with the contrast of it. Something that wants to see meeting something that doesn’t want to be seen, coming together in gasps. Like waves. The Pacific and the Atlantic ocean don’t mix, he comes to find out. The waves lap at each other but they don’t melt into one another.

Isn’t that what a god is? Something that sees what doesn’t want to be seen? Something that almost becomes something else, but always remains itself? Mordechai doesn’t come inside of him. Jonah doesn’t come at all. It’s better that way. He still has all the control.

––

What makes a god a god?

It’s the omnipotence, Jonah thinks, teeth and fingers and arms covered in blood. Metaphorical, at least. Gold, he thinks, is garish. Blood and silver and mud. Sapphires.

Skulls and bones and skin. Underneath Edinburgh, in those twisting tunnels, where they used to bury bodies. Sometimes they still do. There, he thinks, he could find him. Watching and hiding. Blood and gold and all, embarrassed by his own flashiness.

All of Barnabas doesn’t come back. He brings back his skull. Some of him brought back by him. His first act of benevolence. Benevolent god. Some part of him wants to be benevolent. The rest of him just wants to be a god.

––

Mordechai doesn’t love him. He doesn’t worship him, but Jonah could make him, if he wanted to, if he loved Mordechai.

What makes a god a god?

Mordechai doesn’t call out to any god Jonah is familiar with. Jonah rides him, thighs flexing, hands on his chest, and when Mordechai tries to lean up to kiss him he pushes him back down.

“Jonah,” he grunts. His arms flail.

“No,” Jonah says. He reaches between his own legs to touch himself, and clenches down around him to shut him up.

Mordechai always wants to touch, but only for a few minutes. What makes a god a god? Jonah doesn’t let him. His arse meets Mordechai’s hips in a steady rhythm. His hands on his fuzzy chest clenched into fists. Like he wants to hit him. Like he wants to make him small enough to fit inside those fists.

Mordechai smells of salt water and mist. Jonah thinks about the oceans. About waves crashing against the boats. The tipping of ships.

He likes it when he doesn’t get to come. Mordechai gets dressed. Jonah keeps track of the clothes he leaves in this room. Today it’s a sock. Once he’d left a blouse. He doesn’t wear it, not ever, but it had felt like an offering. It’d made him hungry for more.

––

Jonathan –

It’s okay. He doesn’t need him. He doesn’t need anyone.

A god, on his throne, is lonely above all else.

––

What is a god if not a ball of pain? Something looking at what he’s created and saying this hurts. It was meant to. It hurts, but it’s beautiful, but it hurts. Intent doesn’t take away the consequence of one’s actions. Knowledge doesn’t take away the pain of itself.

Jonah’s eyes have always been green. This man’s eyes are brown. Afterwards, Jonah’s eyes are still green. The man’s eyes are still brown. He doesn’t know where they end up. He wonders about rats eating them. He dreams about the sea being made of eyes.

––

In the back of his mind there is a voice. It’s not any god he knows, and he knows everything, now. Any god he doesn’t know doesn’t exist. Any god that doesn’t exist doesn’t have a voice to put into his head. That means it must be his own.

(Is there a difference between him and a god? Is he a god? Does that make the voice in his head god?)

Is this what you wanted? it asks.

Jonah balls his hands into fists. He flexes the muscles of his thighs, points his toes, tenses his abs. This body – now his body – feels warm.

No, he admits.

Is it enough? the voice asks.

It’s too dark to see, but if he closes his eyes he can Know. He can See. Ceaseless Watcher, he thinks. Thank you. Thank you for allowing me to become. For me to become god. He places one hand over his muscular chest, where his heart is, and thinks:

Yes. Yes, it is.

––

What makes a god a god?

––

Is it decades blending into one? Is it mountains collapsing? His bones growing old, muscles atrophying and weakening? His soul moving bodies like a parasite? Making room for himself in the frames of other people’s bodies?

––

Peter loves him, and hates him, and doesn’t care about him. Jonah doesn’t hate or love or care about him.

“James,” he says. Peter sounds conversational during sex, like they’re in the middle of a not particularly challenging chess match. Jonah isn’t sure if it’s better or worse than Mordechai, how he wouldn’t talk, wouldn’t say a single word more often than not.

“Peter,” he responds. Peter doesn’t try to touch him. It’s like just being together like this is enough contact for him. Enough touch. Like he’s already almost too close.

Jonah wraps his hand around his own cock, firm and sure. James Wright’s cock is long and slender. His hand wraps around it effortlessly. The fingers of his hands are long and slender as well.

He looms over Peter, but only metaphorically. Peter knows this. He’s much taller than James is but he yields to him anyway. What makes a god a god?

Godly possession. James Wright had blue eyes. The eyes Peter looks into when he comes inside of him are green. Jonah watches him. Drinks it all in.

––

He giveth and he taketh away.

Jonah remembers verses. He remembers hymns. Pews and people and the organ vibrating through his body, reverberating throughout the structures of the building.

The only church Elias Bouchard has entered since he was in primary school is this institute, and he doesn’t even know it. Jonah sits on the throne and watches and knows. Elias Bouchard doesn’t believe in a god. None of them.

What makes a god a god? Is it the conversion? How many people one can convince to worship him?

Elias Bouchard has hazel eyes. After his performance review they are more green than brown.

––

A god’s wrath. Zeus and his lightning. The Christian god has lightning, too. Jonah doesn’t have lightning, but he does have a gun.

What is a god if not wrath dressed in a suit? Anger confined within the bounds of soft flesh?

There is blood everywhere. Jonah closes the door behind him. When god closes a door he opens a window.

––

Jonathan Sims. The second Jonathan. When god closes a door he opens a window. Jon climbed in through the window that opened when Jonathan left. It’d been left open for so long Jonah had forgotten it existed at all.

“Elias,” he sobs below him. Jon makes the prettiest noises Jonah has heard in his life. Elias hasn’t heard anything more beautiful either. Elias has hardly heard anything beautiful at all.

“Perfect,” Jonah murmurs. His cock, silicone as it is, splits Jon open like it’s nothing. Like he’s made for him. “You’re perfect.”

Creation. What makes a god a god. A new god splits from another god. Mitosis. Sourdough bread.

Jon, eager for praise and love and comfort comes around his cock like it’s nothing. Jonah fucks him through it. “Good,” he murmurs, one hand reaching to wipe his sweaty hair off of his temples, “aren’t you just the sweetest thing?”

Jon turns his head to look away, chest still heaving from his orgasm. “Elias –”

Jonah knows what he wants from him. “Ask properly.”

“Will you please come?” Jon asks. His voice is small. His body is small. His slender wrists and neck and exposed throat and the gentle swell of his small chest. His pebbled nipples.

“Anything for you,” Jonah tells him, hips snapping back and then back into him again.

The noises he makes are like applause. Like prayer. Like an entire congregation rising to its feet.

Jonah comes, hips flush against Jon’s, forehead resting on his sternum, right between his breasts, and Jon’s breath hitches and stutters when he does.

“Thank you,” Jon says. He’s so good, Jonah thinks, affection blooming in his chest.

“You don’t have to thank me, Jon,” he tells him. “I’ll always give you what you need.”

––

Creation. What makes a god a god.

Jon’s lips are slick and open. Jonah kisses with his eyes open. Jon wants to open his eyes as well. Jon wants, just like Jonah had. Just like Jonah does.

Benevolence takes many forms. Jonah tangles his hands in Jon’s hair and tugs. Jon moans into his mouth. He doesn’t open his eyes. Not yet.

––

Making something from nothing. There’s only mud and dust and him, rising above it all.

The Christian god had taken mud and made man. The Christian god had taken bone and –

It doesn’t matter. Jonah takes bone and flesh and dust and creates himself. Isn’t it greater to create the self than anyone else? Anything else?

Jon is a god of his own creation. Jonah just gave him the tools. Jonah gave himself his tools. Jonah created and created until there was nothing left to create.

Jon kisses with his eyes open, now, he Knows. It’s just that the person who he kisses isn’t Jonah yet.

When god closes a door he opens a window. The door is yet to close. Eventually it will. When it does, Jonah is going to climb through the window. He’s brought a ladder. He’s outside the window. He’s waiting. He’s brought pomegranates. He’s brought fish and bread. He’s been waiting.