Comfort Levels Change over Time, Sometimes Drastically
He walked through the streets, empty of life. Blood stained the streets of the city, and all around Cal, thunder crashed.
They were here. Nathen had come here because they were here. His enemies. The evil ones. The ones he needed to kill. To finally rid the world of all that ruined it, all that soiled it. All that threatened to throw it into chaos. The streets were full of life, people everywhere, laughing, living their lives. The humans he needed to protect. The inheritors of the world.
There was a temple ahead, bodies littering the steps. Cut, torn, broken, charred. Destroyed bodies, frozen in death, looking at the sky or down to the earth. Cal felt sick. Who could have done this? But he knew.
The temple soared ahead of Nathen, clean and pristine and corrupt to the core with the filth that inhabited it. There was no correcting, no redemption, none but one. There was only one way to cure what ailed the world.
The sky was torn above Cal as he climbed the steps, picked over bodies. Men, women. Old people. Children. A young boy lay there, shaking. He was alive. He was the only person alive. “Are you alright?” Cal asked, leaning down. But the boy shrieked and disappeared as soon as Cal touched him.
Ascending the steps of the temple, Nathen looked around, behind him at the people running about their lives. He wasn’t one of them. He couldn’t be one of them. But he could make the world safer for them. The ones who deserved it.
Shaken, Cal climbed the rest of the steps, approaching the temple, stepping inside. More bodies, more death, more horror. One man, standing there. Him. With sword bloodied, breathing heavily, crazed in the eyes. He was crying. “What the hell did you do?”
Nathen entered the sanctum, looking around. Nobody was evident. But they were here, he could feel them. Deeper within. Waiting for him. They were meeting under the auspices of peace, but only Nathen knew that any peace forged here could and would never last. There was only one true peace, and it could not happen so long this poison walked the earth.
Cal approached Nathen, feeling like he was floating. “Nathen, why did you do this? The people here…they were…they were innocent.”
“Nobody is innocent,” Nathen whispered, approaching the centre of the room. The air was fetid with power, with rot. “Nobody is clean. Nobody is…”
Cal stepped into the middle of the room, a glowing circle. Nathen looked around, realizing for the first time something about the peace summit. Cal grabbed his arm. “You can stop this!”
“It’s too late,” Nathen whispered. There was to be no peace. And never had that been anyone’s intention. This, all of this. It had been to lure him here. Cal screamed as the air vibrated, as power filled everything.
And as thunder fell around them, Nathen and Cal faded, torn, together, apart, destroyed.
“Fuck!” Nathen gasped, shaking himself. Cal. Cal. He took a second, remembered where he was. Who he was. He was Cal. Calvin. “Fuck.”
“You okay?” Sully asked, hands on Cal’s shoulders. On Cal’s other side, Joey was stirring, wriggling his legs as he made a throaty growl in his sleep. “You were thrashing.”
“I was…” Cal rubbed his face, slick with sweat. He was shaking. “Dreaming. A Nathen dream. Not a big deal.”
“Sounds like a big deal,” Sully said, voice just above a whisper. There was a little light floating just above his head.
“I think…I saw him die. Or remembered dying,” Cal muttered. “He was in a city. There was a temple. He went to it and…” he shook his head. He couldn’t remember.
“Thunderfall,” Sully said, hands still on Cal’s shoulders. “That’s what they call it. I don’t know the details—nobody does—but Nathen died, and he took a couple hundred gods and a city with him.”
“Fuck,” Cal said, letting out a breath, hand on Sully to keep himself steady. “I hate this. I…” he sighed. “I’m okay. Sorry if I woke you up.”
“It’s fine. I don’t sleep much.”
Cal smiled at Sully in the dim light. “Thanks. I appreciate it.”
“It’s nothing. It’s the least I can do. I…” Sully shook his head. “I just want to help.”
“I know. I shouldn’t have been so shitty to you before.”
“It’s fine. Didn’t bother me much.”
“I think it did.”
Sully chuckled a little, skin moving against Cal’s making him aware that he still had his arms around Cal. It was…nice. It was a good feeling, to be held, and Cal shifted a little closer. Sully responded by moving his arms farther around Cal, breath on Cal’s shoulder. It was nice. It was warm. It was…
Cal moved away suddenly, heart skipping. No. He didn’t…he wasn’t going to do that. He knocked into Joey, who stirred again, sat up.
“S’dark,” Joey growled, rubbing his eyes. Then he made an annoyed sound. “Hot.” And without further ado, he reached down and slid his pants off, tossing them aside. Then, with a content noise, he flopped back down on his back, taking up more space than before, and fell right back asleep.
Cal and Sully just sort of looked at him, and then at each other. Cal chuckled, he couldn’t help it. And then Sully did too, and the tension disappeared. Sully openly looked over at Joey, illuminated in the light. “He wasn’t joking about the size thing.”
He had in fact not been. At an eyeball, Joey looked bigger than either Mick or Wes. Well then. “Poor Travis.”
“He’s probably into it.”
“Better than it being into him.”
They both snickered, and Cal sighed, shaking his head. “Sorry about the…just now.”
“It’s fine, I get it. I shouldn’t have…”
“No, it’s…” Cal snorted. “It’s fine. I just…would want Wes and Mick to be back before we…” He shrugged.
Sully looked at him. “Before we…?”
Cal shrugged again. “We’ll talk about it when we get them back, if you’re interested.” While Sully gaped at him, Cal yawned. “Anyway, Joey’s already broken the clothing barrier, so fuck pants.” And Cal slid his own pants off, untying his loincloth as well before laying back nude.
Sully was looking down at Cal, obviously red in the face. “Well…”
“Your bluster disappears awfully quickly,” Cal commented, yawning again.
“Shut up,” Sully grumbled, and he took off his pants as well, laying down and putting out the light. “I’m not interested; you’re annoying.”
“Uh-huh.” Cal smiled in the dark. “Should have put the light out before you undressed. I saw how not interested you are.”
“Oh, fuck you.”
“Maybe someday.” Though Cal would top, thank you very much.
“Shouldn’t have woken you up.”
A sigh. “Goodnight, Cal.”
“And thank you. Really.”
“Yeah.” Sully was quiet for a minute. “Anytime.”
Cal had a feeling that Sully thought he was asleep, but he heard it just fine.