Would you kill to save a life?
She panted harshly, trying to draw air into a ruined body. Blood painted the ground underneath her body, and her clothing had been ripped to shreds.
She wanted to scream, but her throat had been torn to shreds. She wanted to move, but her spinal cord was lying off in the distance. Her vision swam with black dots and grayed-out apparitions. She was spread out on the ground like some sort of pagan sacrifice, her body flayed and her mind only just there. Only just. Inches from the edge, inches from falling into the welcoming, warm abyss, inches from –
Struggling to even keep herself aware, she reached for her birthright, reached for the very thing that ached to consume her, reached and held her ground all at once.
Her first breath of air seared her lungs with its intensity. She coughed, and coughed and coughed, rolling onto her side as soon as she could feel her toes again, curling up as she tried to regain some sort of equilibrium. The madness was creeping up on her, she could feel it. It was as real as her now-whole body, as real as her fingers and toes, as real as anything else, and it was worming into her mind.
Shakily, she pushed herself up onto her hands and knees, her blood still dripping from her body, though now it was not flowing, just dripping. She was dizzy. Dizzy and sick and insane and it was all his doing.
But she had asked. She had asked and her Father had obliged. She needed to know. She had to be able to do this, so she could save them. She had to save them. To protect them. She was the Pirate Lord, even if her Piece of Eight had gone missing, she had to make sure they were safe. Ivalio, Gretchen, Uora and Jacques had sworn themselves to her and they were her friends. She owed them.
The bonds of kinship ran deep. She loved her friends, she owed them so much, and even though she knew that they had been instruments of her abuse in the past, they were faithful and had accepted her. She needed to get back to them.
She had to see Suleiman again. She had to touch him one last time. There was so much unsaid between them and she wanted to tell him. She had to. To hold him close, to kiss him hard enough to steal his breath away, to consume his heart like he had stolen hers, she craved his presence and couldn’t…bear the thought of leaving him behind with at least trying to tell him how she felt. It was a consuming desire that burned hot in her chest and it was pleasure-pain and all she wanted to feel.
Would you kill to prove you’re right?
Tears fell to the ground, staining the rocks beneath her face. She hurt. She hurt so badly. Her heart felt like it was going to burst at the memory of Suleiman and Selim. Even Selim.
She had to get up. She had to get up and continue this. It had been years since she had seen them, but time passed oddly on her Father’s island. She knew the moment she left it would be as if no time at all had passed. He had made that very clear. It was why he looked the same age as her. It was why magic had done all those wonky things to her, why her body seemed at odds with her mind, it explained a lot.
But it had been years for her.
Years and years and years.
She had not seen her friends in so long. She missed them desperately, she wanted to see them again. She wanted Suleiman with her. She wanted him so bad. Her stomach clenched at the thought and her elbows nearly buckled with the intensity. She wanted to see his face again. She wanted him to be with her again.
Struggling to get back onto her feet, she stood and faced her father.
Her voice was not tremulous, it did not shake or quiver, despite the turmoil within her.
“It is dinner time, daughter mine. Come, fix your clothing and we shall go to supper.”
Turning and twisting her torso, she tried to get her body to snap properly back into place. Her magic was small compared to her father’s, though coming back from near-death was something rather fun to be able to do. Her skin was whole, if not tinged the slightest bit red from drying blood, beneath the shredded remains of another shirt. Fixing the shirt was a whole hell of a lot more difficult than fixing herself.
But she had an eternity of infinity to perfect these new skills of hers. Then she could find her friends again and make sure they were okay after she made sure they would stay safe.
“Cecilia,” Ivalio said slowly. What does someone say after what had happened?
“Please. Just…do what you think is best. Follow the Compass truly, and guide us. We will follow you faithfully. Please,” he said.
He did not know why he was begging her, but he needed something. Something. Everything hurt.
“Trust yourself, Cecilia. We trust you.”
“You gave your life for his twice.”
“Once was as Darla, and once was Darla as a proxy.”
“It was your blood in both instances. What is this one to you?”
“It was him only once, and his brother, the other time.”
“You thought it was him, both times. I am merely interested in the man my daughter seemed to have picked out for himself. I know much of the Celebi family lineage, so I-”
She put her fork down with just the slightest bit too much force and the clatter got her father to look at her. Their eyes looked the same – the same deep, dark green, even though his were brightened with laughter and hers were dark with anger.
“Dad,” she chided, frowning at the man who had had a hand in conceiving, but not raising her. “Let it go.”
He laughed at her, and then – “Finish your vegetables, or no dessert.”
The sound she made was equal parts frustration and good humor.