Fireproof Feather Armour

by Aizawa (2015)

 “Welcome home!” as I handed him a bouquet of red roses that he likes the most. Hugging him tightly in the middle of moving crowd catching their flight, but here I am, welcoming Ares. He is going to be at home for three days off from war.
"I hope the flight was okay so you are not that jetlagged once you arrive at home," I offered to pull his luggage. "This is not that heavy as usual. You might have left your dirty clothes at the dorm? Come on. I could wash it clean for you if you want."
I can feel his trembling hands embracing my bare hands when we reached my car in the parking lot.
“Shall we go get lunch?” I asked him directly looking at his pale face which covered in tiredness, black swallowed skin under his eyes and different aura of being back at his hometown. “I’m afraid I am not that hungry, could you please drive me home instead?”
I held a breath back for seconds before coming back to reality. He is not who he is this time.
I nodded and went silence the whole time on the road, but he broke down the silence when he stopped me to get his luggage out of the backseat. “I haven’t even said thank you for these roses,” said he, fasten his grip on its plastic wrap. “Too early to say thanks but okay, just give me a ring if you want anything else.”
A long pause in the space between us.
"Something is wrong, isn’t there?"
He shrugged.
“I want you to be happy, you deserve much more than a man who is always away from his beloved one. As a war private advisory council, I hurt you more than I kill soldiers in the battlefield. I make you cry more than every tear that drops from those eyes whose father, husband, brother lives my army have taken under my command. You are Love, any man would cut throats just to be with you.”
Ares didn’t cry but two diamonds were sparkling inside his brown eyes. The sun at midday made his face looks like a god who just lost a fight but he won the battle.
I grabbed his right hand, it had some blue spot in the palm. Souvenir from the table he slapped. Dark red spot in his knuckles, lovely marks he got from punching the wall.
“You know what, warlust. You are a fight worth every drop of my blood. The sky created you on his behalf and he put me beside you to keep its color of the clearest blue. Still remember I have promised you to be there with you every step of the way? Because I will.”
He scanned my eyes, he sensed my fear, he sensed the pain, and he smelled the blood wildly boiling round under my skin. His red blood lips kissed my left hand blue artery, smiled down on it.
“I scared you.”
“No, I am scared to let you go two days from now.
“I’m going nowhere.”
Nowhere to be found? Get rest, Ares. Have a good day.”
"You too. Thanks, Love."
I am Love, but hearing him saying my name makes it scarier. People are afraid of me, much more than they are afraid of Ares. They said I give unbearable pain and misery more than Ares does.
As I drove away from his house, I looked at him through the rear view mirror to see that he was still standing there, looking at the sky.
I felt the guilty in his chest, the tragedies in his brain roaming around making him weaker. Despite of his age, he looked older but he was exactly doing what he meant to do.
I looked up at the blinding sky, in my heart my grip was slowly loosen up but there was something I couldn’t let go of.
A little bent in the sky as I glanced at it. It was not clouds, it was the moon, it was nearly the end of the noon.
“Am I running out of time in this wilderness? Am I weaker? Am I losing my fight?”
Then I started to remember, I have no choice of asking for truce, it would cost me time to attack.


“You’re not going anywhere!” he yelled at me when I was about to get in the car, his flame colored eyes stared at mine.
“My dove, please,” said he when I already closed the car’s side door. Now his eyes were cold, as an iron in the pouring rain.
“Heph, I have to go. He’ll be leaving again tomorrow. Please get your head and icy eyes off my car window,” I started the engine and about to close the window up but he wont move an inch.
“Please?” I begged.
“You know you’ll get hurt. I sense your strength but that is not enough for today, I beg you, you could not bear the time after this.”
"I just don’t want to put you in the spotlight, Flame man. Stop being too protective, you said yourself that I am strong enough to go another year without him."
"But you cannot go another year without love, without you. You are losing yourself for Ares."
"Hephaestus please just let me leave, okay, I'll bring you the doughnuts from that bakery downtown."
My heart said it is inappropriate for making a person wait, but Hephaestus still blocking the car window view.
“I was born for you, even we know it was a bad circumstance and I swore to protect you at all cost. Please let the sky smiled down at us for what I sincerely do for you.”
“I didn’t want you to protect me! The sky wanted us but I didn’t want us! I love Ares, there is a harmony between us that I didn’t find in you and I, get off me!!”
He immediately turned around, stuffed his hands in her hoodie pockets and slammed his workshop gigantic door.
I felt the cold and steamy air of the summer in this suburb area of a known nation for its local fairness. Some sharp crystals in my lungs started to unleash the pain of abandoning my superego.
All the things he said was true, we were born to be together. We were together, to prevent disastrous event that might be coming in the world’s way.
Somehow, I love him for his pureness for loving a douchebag like me. His flame shaped me into something unconquerable and unbreakable, a diamond on the top a hill where the world was in a deep hunger of something beautiful.
“I’m late, I know. I’m sorry, how long have you been here?”
“Is it Hephaestus?”
For three seconds my mouth glued to one another. “Yes, it was him. One and only Hephaestus of the nation.”
“He is such a sinful lover but his pureness makes him forgiven-- anyway, I brought you this.”
A wooden bracelet. Healing, stability and earth.
“Exactly, its meaning is exactly how the world defines it. This bracelet. Around your artery blood circulation. A good idea, isn’t it?” he wrapped the bracelet in my left hand where my weakness lies.
“It’s strange, why did you give me this? You know that I don’t want to be tied to anybody.
“I know that, I’m just wishing the good will always be residing in your side,” his sturdy hands stroke my hair, tapped my upper back like I wanted a hand to back me up somewhere in my body which was unguarded.
As we walked down the pedestrian crossing, he side hugged me in the middle of the crowd, giving me the thought of a warm military tent, burning bright campfire, soft pile of woods to sit and cheering laughs from buddies that were injured mentally and physically.
“You know what, Ares. I feel like I am the one that should thank you, red roses were nothing compares to what you have been giving to me these past years of us. You are like an invisible Stygian armor of me. The distances strengthen my grip of it, I’ve never felt like love is this weak, unshielded and under any sudden attack.” I stared at the sky as an affirmation.
“I hope I could fight the time and space to win you,” he said. “But they don’t have blood, they always win,” answered he. “But they will understand that somehow, I’m not good enough for you. Hephaestus knew that for a long time now, yet you still here with me, walking upon his lake of tears”
His side profile perfectly drawn by the sunshine. He looked like the heaven I've been searching for so long, the hell I've been avoiding for forever.
“Is this about another woman?” I asked him, out of nowhere to end this flowery pointless talk that I have not acquainted with.
He let out a little giggle but his eyes did not even let a little smirk. “Are you crazy? Of course no, it is about me. I am ill, my love, I am ill!! I will never be the same everyday. How did you, how dare you,” he tighten his grip onto his hair, his forehead started to grow red.
He changed in a matter of second.
Times like this will always be the monster to my soul, this won’t let me rest. Something that I cannot understand about bearing with this. You can’t heal someone without destroying your own self. How unfair?
“Let me help--” I cupped my palm on his forehead.
“--don’t touch me!” Ares started to freak out and here we go again. The alter ego of a warlust tried to sneak out.
“Then don’t yell!” my voice was echoing through the woods of the park, it was like they were helping me to get help. Sending my voice through the leaves of them that were dense to one another.
“I’m ill, let me get lost, you’ll get hurt” He was stuttering and catching his breath. Trying to land his hand to the nearest spot.
“This supposed to be a good time. We are supposed to have a good time! You know what hurts me? Your absence! You know what I have been doing to reduce the pain it produces? I pray for your health! Your brain, your mind. Is this what I get for your absence for standing in the battlefield for a year? Is this what I get when I have fought my battle and I won? I won! This time is the prize that I was trying to win. You want to get lost? I will let you. For the sake of you and for the sake of me, too!”
I turned around walking upon the watery grass with watery eyes looking down on it. I didn’t hear Ares saying anything in return, or did I just not too care of him anymore?
My body almost reached the end of the woods, so close to the wide road of gray and limitless zone out.
A pair of hands grabbed my waist, embraced my body tightly until I felt it gave me pain whenever I gasp for air. Sharp pointed dagger was embedded on it.
I mouthed Ares’s name but I smelled his presence, “People’s hope, eh?”
His raspy voice was no longer my favorite. I felt a small waterfall in my belly, thick liquid made my lower body numb but his hands helped me standing still.
“You are everyone’s hope, Love, my hope, my weakness and I don’t want you to be it no longer.”
“You’ve heard how many times victory takes side on me, under my words, but you haven’t heard how many times I lost the battle. In the battlefield or even in my mind. You were too beautiful for pain yet love gives you more than you can contain.” He ran his fingers on my face, leaving fresh blood stain. As my body lied down on the grass, grasping for more air, clearing my sight to see the light of the evening sky one more time.
“Ares--, what did I do to deserve this.” I let out extra energy to ask why, to have an explanation, before I got too weak to even breathe.
His face blocked the view to my eyes, it was as dark as his icy brown eyes. “The sky won’t help you. Just let go of the bitterness, my darling. You are free to go. I just want you to know that I hate weakness. Love kills people than a gun does. If letting you die means I could be free from everything that holds me back. I will do that without question.”
“But I--, was your everything…” the sight was getting darker. My left hand could not feel the dagger but the warmth of fresh blood.
“You were! I love you, the more you speak the more I fall deeper into you and its disastrous.”
His face turned into someone that I didn’t know, someone that I didn’t want to know his name because all I could see now was how sweet his smile when I first met him.
Those days when he did not suffer. Those days when he suffered from unbearable invisible pain and I was that important for him. I was there for him when he reached the lowest point of giving up, yet he was the one who put me here at the last point I will ever be in.
“I’m sorry, for doing this to you. You’ll be safe somewhere at the sky,” he continued.
I let a smile out, “My soul is already breaking--, there is no point of me still having a breath to live. Go on.” I stopped to take another sip of air, “Baby, go on twist it deeper.”
He puckered up and kissed my forehead while twisting the dagger. I groaned as its breaking the last piece of my life into smaller pieces.
As the trees swallowed his body. Being gone somewhere out of sight. I felt the water on the grass turning warmer as he disappeared.
I asked the sky and the last bit of the sun. “Is this a sign for me to join the hunt? I let my last breath out among the trees.”
It made sense, how love will never reside in a war, yet love is the reason of its explosion.
As I gained one last breath to get purer sight of the sky before I jumped into the black abyss. The grass told me to hold one breath. I was cold and dying, my trembling hand finally fell down, off from the dagger, but another hand came, to stop the bleeding.
The man still on his hoodie, this time I looked at the trees and said thank you. The sight of my eyes got clearer than ever before until it is fully closed as the dagger replaced by the warm and rigid hand of the blacksmith.
“Aphrodite!! Hold on--