|"Hands in the sand" by Emmwah|
"The palmtrees and stuffy air was proof that they had drifted ashore on a tropical island. Gulls cried out along the shore and the wind was playing lightly in the sand. Gently, Levithan tried to open his eyes. The salt still stung a bit, and with feeble fingers he massaged his eyelids to wake them up. His mouth was dry and he felt an indescribable thirst, and as his consciousness slowly came back, it hit him. Where's Dominique?
He sat up quickly, putting his hand over his forehead to shade his eyes from the sun as he nervously looked out over the beach. Like a newborn calf he raised up on unsteady legs, close off balance. Slowly he took a few steps forward and looked around. The air was thick of salt, seaweed and sweet flowers. A few stone's throws away from the white beach, one could glimpse the ruins of a medieval fortress in which no man seemed to have set foot in centuries, but apart from that, there was no evidence that witnessed about potential human presence. In the sand he could see the vague footprints that led from the water up to where he had just lay, and when he followed them, with slight difficulty, he found what he sought. The sight of the captain, apparently unharmed, leaning against one of the palm trees. His presence was immensely relieving. On faltering steps Levithan walked towards him. Discretely he watched him and studied the wet clothes that lay as glued to his body. When Dominique glanced for a second at his direction, Levithan uttered the first words to him in nine days.
"Are you okay?" he asked hoarsely.
Dominique left his place at the palm tree and took a few steps away from Levithan.
"Why did you do it?" Dominique asked without turning around. His voice was quiet.
"What do you mean?"
"Why did you jump in after me?"
"There was no other option", said Levithan, and looked at Dominique's back. He studied every single detail, from the fair hair that was left in a disorderly ponytail, to the black boots on his long legs. Although they had just spent several hours in a stormy sea and seen death in the eye, Dominique Bonhomme was still the same handsome captain, even though he was standing in wet clothes full of sand.
"You are a fool", Dominique declared with a snort.
"So be it", replied Levithan, "but you are alive. And that means everything."
"I strongly doubt that", said Dominique, and looked at Levithan for the first time since the morning he caught him with Evangeline. "The only thing that means anything to you is still on board, with her, where you should have stayed instead of diving straight towards the certain death in the jaws of the ocean."
Dominique turned around again and headed towards the ruins. Why, he did not know.
"If I had stayed on board, it would be the end for me anyway", Levithan replied and started to go after him. "Dominique, you have to let me explain. I haven't touched her and I've never had the intention to. I would never, in my life, do anything to intentionally hurt you."
Dominique didn't answer. Instead he shook stiffly on his head, very careful not to turn around and let Levithan see his face. Levithan increased the pace of his steps.
"Listen to me", he continued. "I feel nothing for her, and I will not take her away from you, I've never wanted to. Ever since we first met in Sheerborough she has constantly been trying to seduce me, but she never succeeded, Dominique. I know how much she means to y..."
"For God's sake Levithan, you don't understand anything!" Dominique roared and turned around. Tears were streaming down his cheeks and his eyes flickered between the sea, the palm trees, the ocher tinted sky and Levithan's eyes. No one had ever seen him cry before. "You don't understand anything, no one does and I can't take it anymore, Levithan! I CAN'T TAKE IT!"
Levithan looked at him with eyes full of despair.
"But tell me, then! Explain why you are so terribly angry with me!" Levithan begged.
"Believe me, I've tried to explain to you, in a thousand quiet ways, Levithan.. But I can't."
"What's stopping you?"
"EVERYTHING!" Dominique exclaimed and threw out his arms. "EVERYTHING is preventing me! I am trapped within myself, unable to get out and there's not a damn thing I can do about it! I take refuge in the silence to avoid hearing my own thoughts, but it is useless, because you are always there. Whatever I do, you are always there!"
Dominique turned his gaze from Levithan and once again started walking towards the abandoned fortress, with Levithan who followed right behind, until they finally found themselves in the middle of the ruins. Climbing plants were creeping along the old stone facade, adorning it with its vibrant, lush colors. The sun rays found their ways through the arched windows. Desponded, Levithan stopped walking a couple of meters behind Dominique.
"Am I so incredibly horrible to deal with, is that what you're trying to tell me?" Levithan asked with a sharp voice. "I didn't ask to have my father murdered. I didn't ask to become one of the Iron Roses and I didn't ask to board Merveilles, making life miserable for you and miss Babineaux."
"That's not what it's about", Dominique assured.
"What is it then?" Levithan asked.
"It's just the opposite of that."
"Don't talk in riddles. What do you mean by 'the opposite'?"
"I can't explain."
"Do it anyway."
"I can't tell you!"
"I LOVE YOU, LEVITHAN!"
With increasingly heavy breathing, Dominique hitched his eyes on Levithan who stood like petrified, utterly perplexed, while tears kept streaming down Dominique's cheeks.
"To constantly try to live up to the expectations set for me devours me", Dominique cried. "The only thing of which I'm certain is my feelings for you and I am so tired of all the charades, Drake. I no longer have the strength to act indifferent to your presence, since the only consolation that can calm me when the world comes too close, is the consolation I wish to find in your arms. The rest of the world may dissolve, it wouldn't touch me in the back, but if I lose you, I lose everything. Seeing you with her makes me mad, to not be able to touch you is tormenting me and not being able to call you mine annihilates me and I'm going under! I love you, Levithan! I am so utterly, blindly, extradited and frigtheningly in love with you!"
Levithan looked straight at him. A thousand thoughts, tens of thousands, rushed around in his head, but he couldn't focus on anything. The only thing he could do was to stare. Stare at the bewitching man who stood in front of him. The man who had countless women around the world, the man whose name everybody knew. The man who, ever since Levithan first met him, had shook his whole world to the point that it was sheer madness. And now he stood before him, proclaiming all of this? Was it really the truth, or was it a sick, sinister prank? Levithan flexed his jaws, still with his eyes tightly focused on Dominique's, and clenched his fist.
Dominique regarded him with a joyless smile.
"Hit me, Drake, by all means. Flog me. Destroy me. I doubt that it will pain me more than it already does. I'm already dead."
Levithan was so tired of it all. All the fake acting. All charades. All words unspoken. He strode away towards Dominique, raised his arm briefly in standby, and when he was just a few steps away from him he grabbed the collar of his shirt, pulled him close and kissed him. With trembling lips, yet deeply and sincerely, despite all the fears he felt, before he eventually disrupted. Completely terrified, he opened his eyes and looked at Dominique who slowly opened his. Despite the fear, Levithan held a firm grip and didn't let go of him.
"Don't stop..." Dominique prayed with a whisper. His eyes grew deeper, his breathing heavier and as in hypnosis Levithan looked back at him. Into his spellbinding, dark eyes and with a heart that was beating painfully hard in his chest, before he slowly turned his gaze down over Dominique's pale cheek. In a haze of mindless horror and powerful desire, he pressed his lips against Dominique's, who eagerly kissed him back."
(- Excerpt from chapter XVIII, GW)