The Story Continues

Come Ease the Pain

A soft, gentle melody resonated from the lute in Lirit's hands as he gazed up at the night sky, the full moon half hidden by the large Yggdrasil tree. It was late at night, a time he should be sleeping in order to gain the energy needed to traverse the labyrinth.

But he couldn't sleep. Dreams, memories of the past were plaguing him tonight. In all honesty, he had been suffering from disturbing dreams for a few days now. He didn't want to tell anyone. He didn't want to bother Lynus, whom was dealing with so many other things. Rahas was hard to speak with as he, too, was trying to deal with his own memories in his own way. And Lirit couldn't talk to Binah about it as he didn't want to upset her now that she seemed so happy.

He also felt that his dreams, his fear and pain weren't all that significant. Especially when compared to the pain and suffering his 'family' had experienced. He had only been under Taksony's control for a few days. That couldn't even compete with what Lynus, Rahas or Binah had been through.

"Hey, I thought I could hear you playing."

Startled, Lirit abruptly stopped his music and looked over to his right. Standing there, slightly haggard as if he just rolled out of bed was the brown-haired gunner. "Macerio?" he questioned before smiling apologetically. "Oh, sorry. Was I keeping you awake?"

"Nah," Macerio replied in a dismissive but honest tone as he walked closer to him to lean against the wall next to where Lirit was sitting on a stone step. "It just kinda sucks sharing a room with Hamza sometimes."

Grateful for the distraction, Lirit tilted his head to the side in curiosity. "How so?"

"He snores," Macerio stated firmly. "He doesn't believe me, but he does!"

Lirit felt a genuine laugh pass his lips upon hearing that. He really did find joy being in Macerio's presence. He was open, honest and fun to be around. He also made him forget about his troubles, helping him find amusement in situations he probably shouldn't find amusement in.

"What are you doing up anyway?" Macerio suddenly asked, turning his full attention to Lirit. "Can't sleep?"

The smile on Lirit's lips dimmed and he cast his eyes downward. "Just a bad dream," he admitted softly.

"Nightmare?"

"Hm, yes, I suppose so."

Macerio shuffled slightly on his feeling, no doubt feeling awkward, and yet wanting to help in some way. "Want to talk about it?"

"I…" Lirit murmured, truly wanting to say something, to get his pain and fear off his chest. He, however, shook his head and gave a tight smile as he turned to look up at Macerio. "No, it's alright. It's silly. It was just about…the past."

An expression of realisation appeared on Macerio's face before abruptly creasing into a look of concern and discomfort. "Oh…when you were with Taksony, right?" he asked him, his voice low and uncomfortable.

"…Yeah."

"Then…how can that be nothing?" Macerio asked.

Surprised by the unexpected question, Lirit furrowed his brow before shaking his head. "I wasn't there nearly as long as Lynus or Rahas, or Binah. M-my fear isn't nearly as great as theirs."

Macerio frowned. "But you were still scared, right?"

"But their pain-"

"It doesn't matter how long you were there," Macerio said as he pushed away from the wall, appearing somewhat determined and maybe even a little bit exasperated. "You were scared, right? Don't push that aside. There is no greater pain and fear than your own because it's yours! Your pain is painful, regardless of whether someone also has pain. Your pain is real. And it matters!"

"…Macerio?" Lirit whispered as his vision blurred, tears stinging his eyes. He then did something surprising. He dropped his lute as he took to his feet and abruptly threw his arms around Macerio's neck in a hug, startling the gunner greatly.

"E-eh?" Macerio spluttered as he staggered backs a half step as Lirit's body rested against his.

"Thank you," Lirit murmured as he pressed his face against Macerio's shoulder.

The tension and surprise in Macerio's body slowly drained away and he returned the hug, albeit awkwardly. Still, his touch was reassuring and comforting. Lirit smiled softly against his shoulder.

"I was…I was so scared," Lirit admitted, letting the words tumble past his lips. "Everything I knew was taken from me. I didn't know how…I was just singing in the street for coins w-when these men surrounded me. T-they just grabbed me. No one did anything to stop them…"

Lirit squeezed his eyes shut as the memories, as well as the emotions, washed over him.

"They dragged me into this huge mansion a-and…" Lirit swallowed thickly. "I-I know I shouldn't say this, but I'm glad Lynus was there. He…he took such good care of us. If it wasn't for him, I…don't think I would have survived."

During the whole thing, Macerio simply held him and let him talk. However, when he admitted his thoughts to him, Macerio's hold around him subconsciously tightened. And it was in that moment that Lirit realised how much comfort Lynus found just by being held in Axel's arms. It was amazing how one embrace, one sincere hug, could make all the pain and fear fade away. It made him realise, helped him to really comprehend that he wasn't trapped in the past anymore. Taksony was dead. His reign of terror was over.

They were safe.

He was safe.

"S-sorry," Macerio suddenly muttered as he continued to hold him. "I'm not good at this comforting stuff."

"You're doing fine," Lirit said as he nuzzled his cheek against his shoulder. "Thank you."

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