The Other Shoe | v

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He approached her crouching down afraid to touch her.

"Nerina. Let me explain." The words jumbled in his mind as he swallowed the ball that had formed in his throat. He was going to lose her. That was all he could think. He wanted to touch her but balled his hand into a fist to prevent it.

"Latvia and I are—promised to be wed." He rushed on to add - "This was done without my consent. It has been so for millenniums but we are not married in the sense that you think. I didn't lie."

Nevertheless, he had not been completely honest either. He had promised Nerina a life when a contract bounded him to another.

"Please. Say something. Scream at me. Anything."

Fionn moved to touch her and realized his mistake too late. Her hands wrapped around his throat cutting off his air. He could have defended himself but how could he use magic against her. He could not hurt her. Her name came out garbled when he tried to speak. As her eyes turned to misty balls, Fionn realized it was not Nerina.

Latvia sighed, "Such a sad child you chose Fionn. Haunted by such pain, loneliness. She feels your betrayal like a stake to the heart." She threw him back. Fionn got to his feet to face Latvia in Nerina's body. She held her hand out away from her body.

"Strike me if you dare." She knew he would not and made the first strike.

Offense was the only option left to him, as Latvia possessed the body of the woman he loved. He would never risk hurting her even if she may hate him now. Even if she was now lost to him forever. Latvia had indeed grown powerful over the years.

"Afraid to fight back... husband," she spat the words out at him as they mirrored each other's steps. She taunted him mercilessly but he kept his composure. "Fine then. Let's see how you deal with this."

Nerina bent in half, pain slicing her in two. Fionn moved towards her and she straightened again as if nothing had happened. Fionn stopped as Latvia laughed still inside Nerina's body. "There we go."

Again, Nerina bent over in pain dropping to her knees. She screamed as the pain rocketed into her head. She all but tore her hair out, crushing her skull with her own hands in an attempt to dull the pressure building. She felt like she was about to explode.

"What's happening to me? Make it stop," Nerina screamed, cried, begged for him to end it. Begged him to make it stop. "Leave me alone. Leave me. It's your fault." She screamed again falling over on her side coughing up blood.

He ran to her then, holding her using all the magic he had but Latvia had wrapped herself too deep. To take her out he would have to risk killing Nerina. The feeling of complete hopelessness overwhelmed him. With all his infinite powers, he could do nothing to help her. Her convulsions started suddenly, so violently it threw her out of his arms. Bloody froth formed at her mouth as she continued violently convulsed, her eyes rolling up into her head. The convulsions were so strong he feared it would snap her bones.

"Stop it. Stop it."

Lightning arched across the sky as dark clouds gathered. Fat drops of rain pelted down as the thunder shook the ground. The rawness of his emotions kicked nature into a fury. The winds wiped up toppling trees, blowing leaves and twigs around them. It was pure chaos. For all the magic he had, for all the things he could do, he could not do this one thing. He could not ease her pain with anything but his surrender. To save her, he had to give her up. He had to leave her to hate him.

Nerina woke sore. Her insides throbbed when she tried to move. Her eyes felt as if she had been crying endlessly for days. It was dark now and she was alone. Fionn had left her. His wife. She had come for him and he had left her. The betrayal burnt a hole of rage wide through her heart.

"You lying bastard. I hate you. I hate you." She screamed to the heavens unsure if he could hear but hoped that he could. She hoped that she would get the chance to rip out his heart while draining him of every drop of his blood. When she was done with him no amount of immortality or magic could keep him alive. And if he did so much the better, the longer she could torture him. Nerina planned to kill him for all eternity.

She spat black hatred. Cursed him to the darkest depths of hell. Nerina had never felt this kind of hate and anger before, not even towards Eve. Her skin burnt with it. She felt a shift inside. Angered as she was, she ignored it. Focused wholly on her hate. Focused wholly on the darkness that rose up to wrap itself around her consciousness like a black veil.

When she stopped, panting, chest heaving, she tasted blood in her mouth. Her own blood. She stood now in the clearing that had become wider; the trees now splinter at her bare feet. Tears threatened but Nerina stood firm holding them back. She had cried enough. She had cried on the ground covered in shame and he had done nothing but walked away. She had meant nothing more to him than a phase in his immorality. A casual amusement while the years laid his life to boredom. Nerina felt used. Violated in a way she had never been before. She had given him everything. More than she had ever been able to give anyone else. More than she had ever given Dmitri. He had been the one who deserved it and she had not been able to give it to him. That felt her feeling hollow.

It left her enraged.

She went into a fit of rage again forcefully hold herself back. The poison of the betrayal ran deep. Blackened everything it touched. The monster inside her rode her hard.

For a brief time, he was allowed to see it. Latvia wanted him to know there was nothing to go back to. Nerina was alive but she hated him with the same passion with which she had loved him. Love poisoned was the deadliest of all the driving forces the world knew. He had no doubt that if she could she would kill him. She would do all the things she said she would and he would have allowed her. He would spend an eternity being tortured and killed if it meant being with her. She loved him enough to hate him. A twisted logic but a logical one nonetheless.

The urge to go back was strong but the thought that they would kill her stopped him. They would find some way. Latvia had proven that. So Nerina hated him, still she was alive. He could not bear to watch the woman he loved in pain. The very thought of her name scrapped at the wound so fresh in his heart. He would ascend in body but his spirit; his heart remained with Nerina. Her anger turned her aura an inky black. As much as he searched, there was no trace of anything else but hate.

Fionn looked away from the scene that spread in the mist before him. Latvia smiled in triumph. The others held their emotions in check no matter what they were. Fionn shed his clothes, his mortal flesh to be nothing but insubstantial power. Even changed he stayed apart. He would never be one of them. He would never join them. Fionn accepted this prison to keep Nerina free. His own anger turned his aura black. For an eternity, they would know no peace. For an eternity, he would show them the true meaning of pain.

Nerina stood now numb, shaking as the blazing anger subsided to a simmer. She was alone again. Alone in a world where there was nothing for her. At this point, she was better off dead. At this point, she did not very much care what happened to her. It could never get any worse than this.

"All this... for a boy?"

Time stilled. Slipped away.

Nerina had no idea how long she stood where she was, the fire of her anger doused by the cold breath of something she had not felt in some time...fear.


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