The voice touched Isellta’s skin in softened rain drops.
Isellta looked up into the darkness.
“Hello? Who’s there? Who are you?”
The voice replied, but it was too far away. Isellta couldn’t make out any words. Just its soft distant hum.
It was a melody that he knew.
If I close my eyes hard enough, I’ll remember it.
He closed his eyes and squeezed them shut.
The fey opened his eyes to the usual darkness, but the voice was gone.
I don’t understand. Was that only a dream?
Or am I dreaming now?
“Isellta.” Robin’s hand stroked his face.
Isellta smiled and turned his face with the vampire’s touch. “Robin.”
“Stay here with me. Don’t leave me, no matter what calls to you.”
Isellta perked up. “Did you hear something too?”
“What? No. I’m just saying, if you do hear something, don’t follow it. Don’t go. Don’t leave me.”
Isellta tilted his head and blinked quickly. “Why would I leave you? You’re everything I need. Now and always.”
Robin chuckled. “Well. That is good to know.”
Isellta found Robin’s face in the dark and gently kissed him. “I love you.”
“You’re such a delicious little creature.”
Isellta smiled and snuggled against him. “I feel so safe here and I don’t even know why.”
“Don’t question it. Don’t worry about it.” He kissed Isellta’s head. “Don’t even think about it. Just accept it as it is. As we are.”
Jay removed Isellta’s shirt and set it aside.
“Hey, kid. I hope you don’t take this the wrong way. I just…There’s nothing I can do to help you. There’s no way that I can pull you back here. So.”
He reached into the plastic bucket beside him on the bed and pulled out a soapy towel.
“I’m going to do the one thing I can do.” He wrung out the towel. “I’m going to give you a sponge bath. You’re starting to get a bit of a punky smell from being inactive. And this…” He set the towel on Isellta’s chest. “I think this will make us both feel better.”
He rubbed Isellta’s chest in gentle circles. “Who knows? It might even revive you.” He chuckled. “Wouldn’t that be funny? Imagine it. Just imagine. Out of all the ways we tried, giving you a sponge bath is the one that pulls you back here. I know. I know it isn’t likely. But it’s a nice thought, don’t you think?”
Isellta didn’t respond to his words or actions.
Jay bowed his head. “I think so. I hope you can hear me. I hope my words are making some sort of difference…maybe, I don’t know. Maybe giving you some sort of rope to grab onto. Yeah. That’s a nice thought too.”
He rubbed him all the way to his belly button and all along the sides. “I talked to Mae earlier. She…”
He used the wet, non-soapy end of the towel to rinse off the soap.
“She isn’t able to return yet. I…”
His hands went still.
“I miss her. It always hurts when she leaves me. Sometimes I think it’s just my body going into withdrawal from her peace dragon magic. Maybe…Who knows? That might be part of why it hits me so hard. But I know it’s more than that. I miss her. Just her.”
He resumed his cleaning activities. “Do you miss her too? I know you weren’t always at ease around her. No thanks to Preyuna for that. But you were able to turn to her. She was able to comfort you when I couldn’t. So, maybe you miss her a little.”
Jay washed Isellta’s armpits, his arms, his hands, his fingers. “I know you couldn’t possibly miss her as much as I do. That just isn’t possible.”
He rolled Isellta onto his side.
“ah.” Jay guided him onto his chest and stared thoughtfully at the fey’s large black wings. “Huh. I have no idea how to wash those.” He shrugged. “Guess I’ll just clean around them.”
Isellta startled. “Robin. Robin! Something’s touching me!”
“Don’t worry. It’s just me.”
“No. No, it’s—-”
“Isellta. What did I tell you before?”
“You don’t want me to leave you.”
“mm-hmm. If you focus too much on…that other, you’ll leave me.”
“I would never leave you.”
“Trust me on this one. You would leave me and you would forget me.”
Isellta hugged him and held on to him as tight as he could. “I won’t do that. I will never do that, my Robin.”
“Then, pay no attention to what’s out there. Focus only on me. On us.”
Isellta smiled. “I can do that.”