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Snippet of a Storm in a Lighthouse.

TW: Past bigoted actions. Self-harm, Description of Intrusive Thoughts, A suicidal thought.

The salty scent of the beach at night traveled all the way up to the lighthouse and reached Diabolus’ nose. Diabolus never thought zyr would find zyrself in a place made to be a guiding light through tempestuous times. The exact kind of place that would be expected for Gray Lion’s refuge.

Having this superhero open eir home to Diabolus left them with an odd taste on zyr mouth that had nothing to do with the metallic one on zyr tongue. They were both in pain, and it was mainly the fault of the other.

In Diabolus’ defense it was just what zy did: beat up people, get beaten up, rewind and repeat. Simple and easy. In some ways it was safer with zyr arch-nemesis; what was a hero without a villain to defeat each weekend?

Gray Lion always stopped before it was too late. Tonight it had been too late and Diabolous had died. It had been nice, the few moments of nothingness before zy was pulled back to earth and be graced with zyr enemy’s guilty expression.

“Are you all right?” asked Gray.

Diabulos smirked, “I’m just dandy, why do you ask?”

Zy hoped it would make em leave, like every other day. Let the Gray Lion return to eir civilian life but no, the hero’s conscience wouldn’t allow em to leave someone in need laying on the asphalt. Hence, zy was now at the balcony of the Lighthouse’s watch room facing theoverwhelming sea.It made a terrible picture for a painting: the ocean was motionless; any sense of a night sky had been shadowed by smog and chubby clouds.

“A storm is coming,” said Gray, dropping a first aid’s kit next to em.

“Then I should go.”

Diabolous felt an itching in zyr skin screaming, Not safe! Not safe! It had nothing to do with the fact that the person right next to them had beaten zyr senseless.

“But you are injured.” Gray Lion opened the medical box.

“I’ll heal.” Diabolous said but zyr legs continue dangling from the balcony’s railing. Zy was tired.

Gray Lion sat down next to zyr. Looking at the gray blue landscape instead of eir nemesis, ey shot:

“Why do you do it?”

“I don’t like Walmarts. Always low prices. They are a bunch of liars. Plus, they look ugly.”

“You have destroyed more than Walmarts. Last week you tore down a school.”

Wind roared around them, growling for answers as it stripped trees from their roots.

“Why do you help people that don’t deserve it?” Diabolous deflected.

Zy turned to look at em. Eir grey hair framed a young face, eir skin still afflicted by acne.

Gray sighed, “Because I have to.”

“No, you don’t.” There was no one nor anything that pushed The Gray Lion to fight against Diabolous, to fight for their rotten excuse of a city.

“I do” Gray said, and it was followed by lighting, making em sound like thunder. “Because… because… before this I was just like you, but worse. I was angry with the world and my position in it. I would go to old people’s homes and destroy them because I thought if people weren’t useful, then why were they still alive? I was a bigoted asshole that cared more about causing pain to other than about healing my own injuries, and I ended up causing lifelong trauma-”

“Hope that I can pay you the ticket to heaven?”

“I don’t believe in the afterlife like that. I have to atone for my actions. Hope that my blood can form a scar around any wounds I’ve caused.” Gray’s hands turned into fists, “What I have done was evil at its finest, and now I have to do good, because it will destroy me otherwise.”

It started drizzling. Diabolous laid down on zyr back, letting the gentle rain wash away the blood and grime. Gray stayed seated.

“You are a fucking disaster,” Diabolous chuckled.

“As if you aren’t…” Gray was going to say but then chose a crueler comeback, “Why do you do it?”

The wind came to lick Diabolus’ skin and ruffle zyr hair, the rain grew heavier. Diaboulous sighed, accepting defeat once again.

“I am evil.”

“That’s a bullshit answer.”

“I am a monster.” Thunder shattered the word into a million pieces but Diabulous kept going. “I tried. I tried to do good, but I just kept on hurting people. There are these voices that tell me terrible things about myself and about others, and I swear there was a time that I tried to fight them but now I can’t, I can’t do anything but follow them, and they always lead to terrible pain.

“It's not as if they’re an external entity. Nothing changes if I just stay locked-up in my flat or try to make friends with my neighbors.It’s easier to let people know right away. Let them punish me as they see fit. Like you do.”

The storm was in full swing now. Wind picked salt up from the water and trashed it against the beach, light played catch up with sound, the rain turned bitter, stinging Diabolous’ wounds. The ocean however, stayed still, letting the sky wash it down.

“I should...I should stop doing that.” Gray Lion said, “I mean it obviously doesn’t work, no matter how much I beat you up, you always end up destroying something else the next week.”

“I’ve been known for being stubborn.”

“Why don’t we try something different, why don’t I fight your voices instead of you?”

Diabolous sat up, “I have no idea what you’re saying.”

“Like, I don’t know. You tell me whatever shit they say and then I beat them up. But a verbal kinda way. You know where I live, so just come in whenever you think you need to destroy something and we’ll talk through it.”

“Did that work for you?” Diabolous asked.

“Yeah, sort of. Like I first needed to realize where my pain came from, but for me it was more external? Like it’s not the fault of immigrants I am poor you know, it is the rich folk. Which I suppose is something you already know.”

“You really are an idiot.”

“What I’m trying to say is that people had tried to tell me that before, but I needed to arrive at the conclusion on my own.”

Diabolus breathed deeply, the salty water had splattered zyr cheeks.

“What if I’m not ready to accept help? Are you still going to beat me up?”

“Stop you from doing wrong, yes.” Gray Lion said, “But I don’t think I can punch anyone any time soon.”

They were silent after that, and the storm froze for just a moment. Suddenly destruction didn’t feel so appetizing to Diabolous without the prospect of getting hurt afterwards. After all, what is a villain without a hero?

What did it mean to be a hero and a villain if the hero had done worse things that said villain could ever imagine? If the villain was only on it because zy wanted to be defeated, if the hero was only on it because eir felt the need to bleed too?

Diabolus felt horrible, zy insides had been intruded and a whirlwind formed, trashed everything that was there, creating some garbage monster that you could only find on the coast after it rained. It was the brutal way nature cleaned itself: creating a hurricane and letting it pour all over the place.

Zy wanted to take everything zy said back, or beat Gray until ey forgot. At the same time zy yearned for slumber and wondered if Gray felt the same way.

Lost in zyr inner turmoil, Diabolous didn’t realize the weather had calmed until the hero said

“I think the storm has passed.”

The scent of humid soil was all over the place. It confirmed that yes, the worst had already happened and that peace would settle once again. The ocean started to move again, the weaves growing little by little.

“I have to go.” zy said. “Don’t worry about me trying to destroy this place, I won’t. You are still safe in your home.”

“I know.” Gray said, “Will you consider my offer?”

Diabolous looked at the Gray Lion’s face, vulnerability stretched across eir imperfect skin. Diabolous never thought a hero could be vulnerable.

“I will consider it.”


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