Rigg sat back in his chair. He had been thinking a long time about it. There were no two ways about it. He couldn't deny the way he felt any longer. He valued Evan more than anyone he had ever known...even more than...his Guru. Evan would guard his back better than anyone, Evan spoke to him as if he was someone special, yet no one unordinary. Evan listened to him intently, and took in everything he said. No one else made Rigg feel this way. No one. Rigg had been put on a display shelf his whole life. And Evan alone made him feel as he wanted to be treated...Like an ordinary person deserving of the real things in life. Companionship, understanding, and love. Evan never saw Rigg as the golden hero. Evan never expected anything from Rigg except loyalty and kindness, and he gave that to him. Evan was mystical in his ways, like himself, and they shared an unspoken bond. They didn't have to really say anything or acknowledge the bare facts. They were one.
Rigg sighed and leaned forward , bent over. He looked up and smiled crookedly. His smile soon faded. He knew things would be complicated for him. He was a warrior, not a poet. How could he bare the weight of these feelings along with the reality of being a guardian? He closed his eyes tightly. He got off the chair and got down on his knees, and faced the night outside his window. He bent his head, shading his eyes from the shadowed light from the three moons.
"Great Goddess Izza...I pray you answer me...I have weakened...I have found love, but I know nothing may come of it."
The wind rustled outside his window, and leaves began to fly around in tiny whirlwinds. Clouds covered the largest moon, and a calm, haunting voice echoed in the night.
"I am here...Rigg, my devoted servant..."
"Izza, please...I know that I am breaking the rules of my people. To love someone not of my race. Not of my species. To love the same..."
He couldn't finish.
She cooed, her voice distant, but near.
"I know. He is a worthy companion, though. You need to see that before all the troubles. If love were easy, we would all be able to chose who we loved. No one created in all the universes can choose where they will love."
"Then what am I to do? I'm no poet, no lover, no artist. I'm a mortal man. I'm not prepared for this."
"Again, no one is prepared for love. That is why it is so hard to take, and so precious at the same time."
He lowered his head to his chest.
"I would do anything for him. I would give my life if he needed it."
"Then that is all of the answers you need."
"I'm afraid not."
"My goddess, pardon me, but...no. I need more answers."
There was a still, pulsating silence. Rigg looked up, and looked around him.
Her voice came out of nowhere again, loud and full of passion.
"No. You need to know only one thing. You love and sacrifice for him, this one called Evan. That is all you need in life. Nothing else matters. No one can tear you away or make you feel that how you feel is wrong. If they try, then they do not understand love."
"I do not agree. But I will meditate on what you say."
"You came to me for answers, and I gave them to you. You want to know what We deities think? I will tell you all you need, because you serve me well, and you are a good being. But If you question what is etched in stone for eternity, you are missing the boat, my esteemed disciple."
Rigg could feel her smile in the thick air around him. He felt a gentle hand caress his cheek.
"I know. You are as I said, a good being."
As soon as she had finished her sentence, Rigg could feel her fading away.
"Good bye, my goddess." His voice was a whisper.
Rigg sat in the darkness for awhile, unmoving. He closed his eyes halfway and furrowed his brow in deep thought. Maybe she was right. But he couldn't help thinking of what his people would think of him. He was a Rizalian, not a duck. Evan was from Puckworld, a duck. Sure, their races were allied. But there was still that fine line of non-acceptance his people carried about the Drakes.
But he loved him.
And his people would shun him.
But he loved him.
And he was a man.
But he loved him.
Rigg sighed painfully, and got up from the floor slowly. He was going to find Evan tonight.
Evan watched as the Princess ran out into the courtyard towards that Pirate Captain. Evan was standing in the balcony above them, still as death. He looked down at them, his face expressionless and devoid of all creases or imperfections.They always met in secret as if no one in the kingdom could see it. The attraction and emotional bond between those two could be cut with a knife, it was so thick in the air. Evan raised the corner of his beak and scoffed.
The moon shone on his lemon-white feathers and white hair like a holy beacon. He looked like a prophet or a muse. He hated his angelic appearance. The female variety never left him alone, and he felt trapped in an adoring entourage. Women always seemed to want to touch him or fawn on him or grab at him, as if he were their god. He didn't get it. Why wouldn't they leave him alone? Why did they follow him everywhere? To everyone else, it was clear. He radiated raw sensuality and grace...He wreaked of sexual energy and beauty. In a way, he was a siren. Tempting for all attracted to his natural aphrodisiac. He made a face, thinking of how the women he met would hold their breath as he passed them in the halls or on the street. He was glad to have gotten rid of the women who were stalking him tonight.
He looked up at the moon, and creased his fine brow in thought...
Could it be possible that the equality and friendship he craved from people was no more than a pipe dream? Or a cover? He didn't want female companionship. He was not interested in it in the very least.
But he wanted companionship all the same. He broke his gaze from the moon and turned his attention back to Elaine and Cody. The were locked in an embrace now.
Evan didn't hear the footsteps behind him. A female hand placed itself lightly on his shoulder. He didn't even turn around.
"Ladies, please. I thought I informed you that I wanted to be left alone. I'm sorry. But I must decline any company this evening. Or any evening."
The woman laughed quietly.
"Not even the company of your own mother?"
Evan turned slowly to face her sideways.
"I thought you refused to accept that I was anything of yours."
"Funny thing. When you give life to someone, you grow attached to them."
"I wasn't made the traditional way, mother. And you made it perfectly clear that you were...disgusted in me."
Lana sighed painfully, and petted his shoulder. He moved his shoulder away from her hand.
"Evan...please. I'm trying."
"I wasn't disgusted in YOU. I was disgusted in what mode you were created."
"Sure. It's the same thing, 'mother'."
"No it's not. Evan, This isn't easy for me. I lived five years of my life without knowing what was going on in Hess Labs. Without knowing you existed. This was and is a lot for someone to take."
"It shouldn't be. If you're my mother."
Lana sighed heavily.
"Maybe you should go. This isn't comfortable for either of us."
Lana stood motionless behind him. She didn't make any effort to leave. The silence between them was deafening. She smiled halfway, and then it faded. She pulled out a cigarette, and motioned to him.
His back was to her. He side glanced at her offer.
"No. Thanks. Those things will kill you slowly."
"Do you mind if I smoke?"
Lana played with the cigarette. Evan sighed, annoyed.
"If you want to smoke, then do it. You always do whatever you want regardless of anyone else's wishes."
Lana looked at it, and put it away.
"Eh...I'm trying to cut back anyway."
There was a still silence again. Evan turned suddenly to face Lana.
"What the Hell do you want anyway?"
"What do you want from me anyway?"
"Evan...I want...to be your mother."
"It's not too late! You told me, that's all you ever wanted. And I want to do this for you, for us."
"Where were you when I asked? It's been months since we met."
"I'm here now."
He stared hard into her eyes. He narrowed his eyes. He didn't break his menacing, infuriated gaze. Lana stared right back into his eyes, meeting his challenge. They stared hard into each other, like throwing daggers. This went on for sixty some odd seconds, neither one blinking or backing down. They each let the tears well up and pour down their cheeks, their eyes hungry for moisture. Finally, Lana smiled. They blinked at the same time, surrendering. Evan turned away from her again, staring out into the courtyard. Lana's smile widened.
"You're very strong."
Lana sniffed. She approached him from behind, and stood very close to him.
"What are you looking at?"
Evan didn't answer. He just looked painfully at the couple below. He sighed.
Lana looked at his focus. She jolted inwardly.
"Oh." A look of sorrow crossed her features. Evan turned his head to see her reaction.
"Nothing. It's just that...nothing."
"You still care for him, don't you mother?"
"It's not that simple."
"Yes it is. I saw how you two were. He's...moved on...more than you."
"I can see that, Evan."
The Princess and the Pirate were deep in a kiss.
Evan turned to face his mother's regretful expression.
"I'm sorry. That's the way things are."
"You're awfully insightful for an adolescent, Evan."
"I've seen and experienced more in the five years of my life than most people do in an entire lifetime."
"I know. But you're still a child."
"I was never a child."
The silence between them came again. Lana blinked away her many emotions that were welling up in her mind and heart. She changed the subject.
"So...that was a pretty girl who sat with you at supper, tonight."
"I wouldn't know. I was too busy avoiding the three courtier ladies that were sitting across from me."
"They're all pretty. They really love you! You're a terribly attractive young man, Evan...and quite the charmer. The way they all hang on your every word, and beg for you to play your flute...You must be quite the popular gentleman." She smiled.
He hung his head.
"No...not they way you think."
"Mother...please. One shock per night, all right?"
"What's wrong Evan?"
"I just...you wouldn't understand." He looked at the laughing couple again.
"You like the princess?"
"No. Not that way at all."
"Okay. Now I don't understand."
He took a deep breath and faced her eye to eye.
She raised her brow and then lowered it.
He turned to face the balcony doors behind them.
"I can understand if you want to leave me now."
"No. Why would I do that?"
"You're so influential in the world of sexual orientation, I'd think that...you'd be ashamed."
"Gods no! Are you kidding? I've seen and done it all."
"Please...I don't want to know, mother."
"I'm twenty eight. Not a hundred."
"Still. You're my mother. You shouldn't be so promiscuous."
"I'm not the holy mother of Earth."
He looked offended.
"No one should defile you."
Evan felt an twinge of anger firing up. He tried his hardest to push it away. He let out a husky breath and changed the subject.
"Anyway...you don't mind?"
"That you're gay?"
"Never. It's your life. You can't help who you prefer."
"Thank you." He scrutinized her with a mix of relief and joy.
"So...it's Cody, you like?" She laughed warmly.
"Why not? Look at his body."
"Okay, now, I'm really uncomfortable."
"I can't talk about physique and attraction with you...or anyone. I'm just not like that."
"Oh. But you do know...you can talk to me about anything."
He looked at her, longingly.
"Yes. I know."
Lana made an awkward effort to hold her arms open to him. He watched her, puzzled.
"Damn it, Evan, get over here."
He smirked and approached her. She embraced him uncomfortably, but then grew into the embrace.
He suddenly held his mother very tightly and lovingly. "Mother..."
"I'm sorry for being such an asshole earlier. I can't help my temper...I just really felt thrown away by you. I get mad and I stay mad."
"Don't worry about it. You get it from me."
"This really hurts...why do you have to wear metal?"
She laughed, and softened her grip on him. He buried his face into her chest, and sighed happily. She laughed again. "Are you sure you're gay?"
He pulled away quickly.
"Yes." His voice was dead serious and angry.
"I was kidding, Evan. Lighten up."
Lana reached out absently and stroked his hair. His white hair was silky to the touch; and hung haphazardly over the front of his face. She brushed it aside to look at his face. She smiled warmly.
"You have my eyes. My face's structure."
She lightly caressed his cheek. He closed his eyes and wrinkled his brow.
Lana traced his face carefully, as if contact would burn her fingers. She didn't notice the tears welling up in her eyes. "I'm sorry I never found you."
"I know." His voice had cracked.
She sniffed and straightened up, pulling her hand away from him. A figure stood behind them in the doorway, uncertain of how to enter. Evan greeted him first.
Lana turned to see the Rizalian man. Rigg looked awkward in this moment, and he played with his posture, not knowing how to stand. Lana turned her face away quickly, looking into the courtyard.
"How long have you been there, Rigg?"
He scratched his head and offset his jaw.
"Right about where Evan and you were fighting about something and you made up..."
Evan's eyes widened. Lana kept her gaze on the courtyard below.
"Don't worry. I don't feel anything was embarrassing."
"I think there was a quite a bit embarrassing things going on."
His voice wasn't angry anymore, it was more like a child caught in a crime.
Rigg shook his head rapidly.
"No...It was touching really. For two people so alike in pride and dignity, it's hard to let down your guard."
Evan and Lana turned to face him at the same time. Lana stirred uncomfortably.
"Rigg...I know you're trying to seem okay with this, but lay off on the patronizing, honey."
Evan made an angry face at his mother.
"He was being sincere. I know he was. Lay off."
"Evan...heh. Don't sass your mother."
"Look...he was trying to be friendly."
Rigg watched them as they began to fight again. He backed away from them, frowning.
"Maybe I should come back at another time."
"No." Evan blurted as Lana flatly put...
"No. Perhaps another time, Evan." He bowed as a good bred solider would, and started to turn towards the main hall. He heard quiet steps near him.
Lana raised an eyebrow as she watched her son follow Rigg out the doors.
"So that's it, is it?" She said to herself. She half smiled, and watched Evan leave with the handsome Rizalian.
Rigg picked up a flat stone and hurled it out into the sea. It skipped six times before sinking into the deep.
"So that's it, Evan. I wanted to tell you how I came here to this planet...Puckworld. I didn't want you to think I was a refugee traitor from my planet, Rizal."
"I wouldn't think that at all. You're a fine warrior. They wouldn't banish you."
Rigg smirked and kicked a piece of dead wood out of their way. They continued down the beach of Callaway.
"Evan..." He sighed painfully.
"What is it?"
"Why do you stick around here? I mean...what do you have here?" A puzzled look crossed Evan's face.
"It's my home planet. Regardless of how I came to be, I'm still a part of it."
"Not Puckworld. The Princess Elaine's court."
"Well...It's childish and stupid, really."
"Tell me." Rigg watched Evan's face for any objections to his plight. Evan just looked straight ahead of them and continued walking alongside Rigg.
"I knew Lana would be here. She follows that pirate Captain Thunderfeather everywhere, and she's good friends with the princess. I knew she couldn't help but see me if I came to court. She'd have to pay attention to me. Or at least inquire about me. It worked."
"You really want her in your life."
"Yes I do. She's my mother. Her fairy tale is all I ever clung to for the five years I've been alive. Just knowing I have her..."
Rigg took a deep breath.
"My mother died when I was born. My father couldn't take her death, and killed himself."
Evan stopped in his tracks. Rigg continued for a few steps and turned to Evan. Evan shook his head slowly.
"Why? You didn't do it. He made his choice. I never knew him anyway. All I ever knew was my Guru. He was all I needed in a guardian."
"I see. I have no desire to find my father."
"How do you know you have one...? Circumstances being as they were..."
Evan looked down and pushed the corner of his beak up in a snarl.
"Yeah. You're probably right, Rigg. I doubt he'd want me as a son anyway. Lana barely took to me."
"Why would you think that? You're a wonderful person..."
"I scare men. I enthrall women. I'm too feminine and odd. I hate it. I hate what I am. How could anyone else accept it?"
Rigg took three strides toward Evan. He tilted his head until it met Evan's posture.
"I accept it."
Evan's eyes widened and he slowly met Rigg's gaze.
Rigg shrugged and motioned with his head for Evan to follow. They continued down the beach.
"So, what was the second reason?"
"Nothing. Never mind."
"All right. I won't press it."
There was an awkward silence beginning. Evan cleared his throat.
"Um, Rigg...you wanted to see me in private on the balcony, right?"
"Yes. I really didn't mean to interfere with you and your mother."
"Don't worry about it. She'll get over it. She always does."
"You really shouldn't talk about her so poorly, Evan."
"You searched your whole life for her, and you found her. In a chance situation, at that. Most orphans aren't that lucky. At least you have a chance to be with your mother."
Evan raised an eyebrow.
"I know that. You think I don't? She's just not what I expected."
"She is who she is. Just as you are who you are. She's trying. I could see that."
"She did accept an aspect of my life most Drakes wouldn't..."
Rigg side glanced him. His heart was beating too fast for his body.
"Oh?" He choked.
Evan didn't answer.
Evan sighed, in agony.
"I wouldn't want to scare you away. Forget it." Evan smiled wryly at Rigg and almost winked, but he caught himself before he did. Rigg cleared his throat.
"You couldn't scare me. Nothing about you could frighten or surprise me."
"Oh, don't etch that in stone just yet. There are things about me that could hurt anyone."
"What do you mean?"
"What I feel...what I am ruled by."
"What do you feel?"
"Anger. Passionate white hot anger that can't be controlled. It possesses me, and I always hurt people. I don't mean to. Sorry."
Rigg creased his brow in deep thought.
"I know. I can sense that in you. But you are controlled by it only because you let in rule you. YOU are in charge of your emotions, nothing else."
"I've known nothing but anger, my whole life."
"I've seen you calm and serene. You can be one."
"Yes...but anger always comes short after a disruption in my solitude. I can't stop it."
"Yes you can. I could help you..."
Evan turned his head to face Rigg. He looked away quickly.
"If you could..."
"Of course. My Guru taught me well. So does my goddess."
"I can't follow her. I don't believe in religion."
"It's surrender to a poisonous state of mind."
"No it isn't. How can one believe in nothing? There is so much unexplained out there that could only be embraced by one fact: A greater force brought it about. To go on in the dark stumbling is foolish. Especially when there is a Greater Power holding a light out for you."
"I don't agree. Religion forbids the natural. What makes this universe? Sure, there's a God. I know that. God makes children suffer and the outcasts die in shame."
"I'm sorry you believe that, friend."
"Yeah, well...I may not condone religion, but I'll be damned if I try to stop others who embrace it. I'd be a hypocrite if I asked people to destroy their opinions and free will."
"And I thank you for that part."
"It's amazing, Rigg. For two so crossed in beliefs, we do get along. Sometimes I wonder why you put up with me."
"Simple. You accept me as a normal person. You treat me the way no one else would: Ordinary. And I thank you for that as well."
"I don't buy into that hero worship. I think the only reason people put you on a golden shelf, is because they don't know you."
"Gee, thanks, Evan."
"No! I mean...they only see what they want to see. They look at your casing, and see a god-like hero. They don't see the real person within."
"Yes. Right away." Evan looked away quickly, feeling flushed. "I see into you as well. Maybe that's why those ladies follow you. Same thing. But I know you, Evan. And they wouldn't accept you if you broke the glass to their fantasy."
"Maybe I should become a slob, act rudely. That will send them howling away."
"Tell them you're gay..." They started laughing. Rigg laughed uneasily, and continued. "No, that might attract them even more." Evan laughed through his teeth and tried his hardest not to show any reaction to Rigg. Rigg laughed a little more, but Evan stopped.
"Oh, hell, Rigg."
Evan edged away from Rigg, suddenly not wanting to be near him. He felt as if he might reveal himself and how he felt. He couldn't ruin what they had. But he didn't know what possessed him to say the next thing...
"I AM gay."
"Evan...I knew all along."
"You did? How? I didn't know until a year ago."
"I told you. I know you." Rigg watched his feet as they walked on. Evan stopped. Rigg turned around, facing him. This was it. "Rigg...there's more."
"I see." Evan wilted.
"No...Let me go first."
"I never really opened myself to companionship before. I went along my own way, and did what I believed and what I wanted."
"No. Listen...I never really had anyone I felt could come to terms with what I was feeling, what I experienced in my life...Someone who knew me better than I did. A soul mate, if you will."
"I never paid attention to anything such as physical appeal or...gender."
"I believe that now, I can honestly say that I have found my true life partner, my only reason for living. Someone I would do anything for. I would lay down and die for them. I live for them."
Evan looked down at his feet, and crossed his arms over his chest, as if they could stop his heart from beating as fast as it did. He couldn't take this anymore.
"Rigg, please don't go on."
"I have to."
"It will only ruin things."
"How do you know that?"
"I just do." He spoke so low Rigg hardly heard him.
"I love you."
"You're only making-what?"
"I realize this now, Evan. Nothing else matters but what you think."
"I can't think. I feel."
"No. You wanted to know the second reason I came to court?"
"It doesn't matter."
"Yes, it does. I came here, because...I knew...I knew you would be here too."
Rigg moved slowly towards Evan. He reached out shyly and pushed Evan's hair away from his eyes.
"Evan. I don't care what anyone will think."
"Neither do I. I love you too."
They embraced, and buried their faces in each other's neck, holding each other close as death. They silently caressed the other's back and sighed as the waves crashed silently behind them.