“You went to Nyx? Instead of me?” Eros says as soon as Nyx closes the door.
Guilt eats at my soul, twisting my stomach. I close my eyes and wrap my arms around myself, digging my nails into my skin.
“You weren’t listening to me. I didn’t know what else to do…” I whisper.
“Is this…this because I hurt you?” he stutters.
“No! Of course not!” I say.
“She said…she said you were t-terrified of me.” Eros looks down at his hands.
I shake my head. “I am not terrified of you. I am terrified of losing you.”
Which is the truth. I have just gotten him back, and since my memories have returned, I feel like I already lost him. I couldn’t help him when Kronos took him, and now, I am still helpless. No matter what I say or do, he does not believe me.
Eros looks down at my neck, reaching out to touch the bruises. I watch as his hands shake as he gets close to me. He makes a fist and drops it to his side.
“We should talk to Morpheus….” he says, turning his back to me. He moves around me, careful not to touch me as he heads towards our bedroom. I place a hand on my heart before I follow him.
“I agree. Would you like me to message him?” I ask.
He nods silently, not saying another word. I grab his arm, concerned. Was he going to have another moment?
He flinches from me, pulling his arm away. I drop my hand, feeling defeated.
“It’s alright, Aren. Everything will be fine,” he says.
“You don’t seem fine, though…”
He nods repeatedly. “I’ll go into my dreams, and you’ll trust me again…everything will be fine…”
My body feels heavy, and I do the only thing I can think to do. I wrap my arms around him from behind, holding him tightly. He shakes at my touch, going stiff. Even my hugs don’t help him.
“I have always trusted you,” I whisper to him.
“No. You went to Nyxie.”
“You weren’t listening to me. You wouldn’t agree to let me help you.”
He shakes his head, not moving. “Everything will be fine. I’ll get rid of the nightmares, and you’ll love me again.”
I hold him tighter. He thinks I don’t love him. He really thinks I don’t love him.
“I never stopped loving you,” I whisper, tears rolling down my cheeks again.
“I didn’t mean to…” he says, his arms remaining by his sides. “We…we’ll talk to Morpheus, and everything will be better.”
I rub my face on his back, drying my tears. I am at a loss of what to say to him. Anything I say doesn’t seem to matter, so I stay silent, holding him.
His voice breaks. “I-I made you scared. So you went to h-her.”
I open my mouth to say something; to disagree and tell him that I am not scared, but I would only be repeating myself. I hug him tighter. I would never, ever be scared of you.
“I n-need to tell you something,” he says, his entire body shaking, “something, something…I’ve never told anyone.”
“Tell me,” I whisper.
“When we…we go into the dream, you’re going to see…see my darkest moment.”
I nod. “Okay.”
“I-in the dream…,” his breath is short, “you’re going to see me…you’re going to see me give up.”
My throat closes, and I choke back a sob. “You gave up?”
“I-I…almost let her take my head, without a fight.” He chokes as well. “I-I didn’t want to live in a world that the only woman I ever loved had played me.” Eros’s body shakes more. He has kept this dark secret for two thousand years, and he was finally letting it out. “I didn’t…I didn’t fight. The son of war…pathetic,” he continues, “I didn’t care if she killed me at that point.”
Hearing him say those words out loud, breaks me. There are so many things I wish I did differently. I wish I fought harder against my mother when she took me away, both of those times. When she ripped my daughter from my arms, I wish I fought harder. I wish I figured out the truth of my past earlier. Then maybe my daughter could have been found sooner, and Eros wouldn’t have had these nightmares for two thousand years. He came so close to death. The thought rips at me.
“Oh, Eros…” I mutter. He turns to face me, looking down at me.
“I didn’t want to live without her, without you…” He shakes his head, his hand hovering over my cheek. He is still scared to touch me. “So, I dropped to my knees and bowed my head, waiting for her to take it.”
More tears spill down my face. “I am so glad she didn’t take it.”
“Din and Las…they saved me before she could. They took me from there. My nightmares…they end before they do, every single time.”
A single tear falls from his eye. I press my lips against his, needing to know that he really is here and that everything is okay between us, although he doesn’t kiss me back.
“I am so glad they saved you,” I say.
“Aren, I need to say something, especially if you’re going to see…see me like that.”
I choke back a sob. “Okay.”
“I need you to know that I would do every moment of the last three thousand years over again, because to me…to me…a single moment with you is worth a millennia of misery.” Another tear rolls down his cheek.
I can’t hold back anymore. I lean against his chest, sobbing. His love for me is so strong, and at this moment, I don’t even know if I deserve it. Finally, he wraps his arms around me.
“I love you, Aren,” he whispers.
“I…love…you.” I continue to sob. “This is why I want to help you. You do not deserve to see the same horrible thing every night. You don’t.”
Eros leans down, lifting me into his arms. I press my face into his neck, trying to control my cries as he carries us to our bed.
“I…I…I didn’t want you to see me like that,” he says, sitting on our bed. He keeps me in his lap, holding me gently. I curl into a ball, listening to his heartbeat.
“I want to know everything about you, Lykos—the light and the dark.”
He brushes a lock of my hair from my face, his hand still shaking. “I want the same for you…I just…I’ve locked this down so deep.”
I place a hand on his chest. “You don’t need to hide it anymore. I am here for you.”
“I hurt you,” he says again. His hand hovers over my bruises.
I gently take his hand and kiss it. “That wasn’t you.”
“H-how do I know you won’t think about it…” his one hand circles my throat lightly, and I understand what he means.
“I-I will tell you if I do,” I stutter.
He pulls his hand away. I grab his hand and place it on my cheek. Eros leans forward slowly, kissing me softly. Even in these moments, his kisses help calm me.
“I don’t…don’t deserve your faith in me.”
“You do.” I kiss him back.
He stands, holding me in his arms still as he fixes the covers. Slipping us back into bed, he pulls the blankets over us.
“Sleep, Aren. I’ll keep you safe.”
My eyes feel heavy when he tells me to sleep, not realizing how tired I am from everything that has happened, although I do not want to sleep. I want to stay up with him, reassure him that I love him and that I am not afraid of him. I fight against the wave of tiredness, but ultimately it wins, and I close my eyes.
“Goodnight, Lykos,” I mumble.
“Goodnight, Aren. I love you.”