Isellta rolled onto his side, which made the inside of his head feel like an airplane spiraling out of control. He snuggled closer to Robin and inhaled his tangerine scent.
The turbulence in his head died down to something bearable.
Such a strong, sharp scent.
Yet, it makes me happy.
It makes me feel safe.
It comforts me. I wonder why that is.
He winced as his headache flared up into spikes and hammers.
Isellta closed his eyes and he could see thick, jagged lines that flashed colors from black to hot orange to boiling red to neon pink. There was no pattern, no rhythm, no sense to it at all. Each color flash produced a sound: Chainsaws buzzing. Water bottles crackling. Wildfire raging in hardwood snaps. Glass shattering over and over.
And, somewhere in the medley of noise and colors, a voice called his name.
His heart leapt at the familiar contraction of his name.
He opened his eyes.
“Hey. What are you yelling about? I’m here, Isellta.” Robin wrapped his arms around Isellta’s waist and pulled him in close.
Inexplicable panic surged through the fey.
“Robin.” He struggled to break out of his captor’s embrace. “Let me go! My Robin. My lovely Robin. I need to go to him. I need to. I need—”
“Isellta.” His voice was like a sharp slap. “Stop it. I’m here. I’m right here.”
“Isellta. Stop. Just stop. Be sensible. I’m me. You know that I’m me.”
“uhh. uhh. but…”
“Touch me. Isellta. Touch me. Feel me. Feel my face. My scar. My hair. My chest. This is me. This is all of me. You know this.”
“That voice you’re hearing…It’s nothing. It isn’t real, Isellta. I’m real.” He chuckled in the darkness. “I’d think you would know that by now.”
Isellta tried to make sense of it, but the noise in his head was too loud and his head hurt too much. He couldn’t think.
So, he did the only thing he could at that moment: He gave in. Despite his rising panic and his pain, he yielded to Robin’s voice. “You’re right. I’m wrong. I have always been wrong.” He curled close to him. “I’m sorry.”
Isellta closed his eyes and ignored the rough-edged voice calling his name. “Robin.” he whispered. “I’m sorry.”
Robin hugged him.
All wrapped up in his arms and in his sharp tangerine scent, I am safe.
Why do I still feel so uneasy? Why does my heart keep racing too hard and too fast?
Why do I still want to escape?
It doesn’t make sense.
It doesn’t make any sense.
What’s wrong with me? Why don’t I make any sense?
He dug his fingers into Robin’s back.
It feels like skin and material all at the same time.
It feels so beautiful. “How can you love me? I’m nothing good. I’m nothing special, even for a fey. I’m so far beneath you. Why do you love me, want me?”
“I need you. My perfect fey. My lovely fey. I need you like a shark needs his teeth. Like a hyena needs its laugh.”
Robin tightened his grip on Isellta. “I’ll tell you later. Not now. Not yet. Rest, Isellta. Sleep.”