Do not want, pt. 2
LAL NOW WITH MOAR ANGST
I'll beta this later, I'm too tired to do it now
a pilot chapter a day before various parts of the Matura exam, by – yours truly - Łysz.
“First case today and I already can't take more”
Gabriel Layman glanced impatiently at his timetable and sighed. To hell with patients, to hell with the duties of a multidimensional family counselor. The only thing he was in a mood for was slapping Elderane across the head. Hard.
He knew he should have said “No” when the king of elves said he had found a job offer that was simply perfect for him. He should have recognized this too-sweet-to-be-genuine smile and voice his opinion about the situation.
“Oh, come on, I've picked it especially for you” the elf said in an innocent voice and Gabriel instinctively knew it wasn't going to end well. He tried to protest, yet Elderane managed to quiet him with a kiss “You might say this offer is rather... exquisite” he continued a few moments later, when Gabriel was still fighting for his breath “I'm sure you'll love your new job”
A month later Gabriel was sure that the king of Avantasia had banished him into the deepest pit of hell for committing an unforgivable sin of an undisclosed nature. Being a consort to that man was troublesome enough – and listening to sexual dysfunctions of characters from various dimensions all day long wasn't his particular cup of tea either.
The therapist looked at the visit schedule once more. He had already had to deal with the erectile problems of an anthropomorphic country (a complete failure, but, well, at least he had an occasion to talk in his native language. Well, his German was getting kind of rusty...) and he had absolutely no idea, what could've befallen him further.
“09:30 AM, Mr. Tieria Erde, Innovator, massive identity disorder”
Gabriel glanced at his watch (a convenient gift from one of the former patients; he had to hide it from Elderane, though). He braced himself; one minute until the visit.
“Whoever you are, Mr. Erde, it's going to be a hell for both of us” muttered the counselor-in-training to himself.
“I wish it wasn't”
Gabriel jumped up. Sure, he had previously dealt with invisible or immaterial patients (including some kind of an otherworldly version of Elderane and himself – the other version of him called himself a creator of Avantasia and Gabriel deemed this encounter a bit disturbing) but they hadn't sounded as if they were... everywhere. Whatever this “Innovator” was, at the moment it seemed as a some kind of omnipotent being.
“Well, I'm sorry, Mr. Erde; I haven't noticed your arrival. Welcome to the Avantasian Family Counseling Center; my name is Gabriel Layman and I will be your personal therapist” he regained his composure rather quickly “I don't mean to be rude, but could you please... kindly visualize yourself somehow or tell me where to fix my gaze. It would've been very convenient for me.”
With a sigh, Tieria Erde had appeared in the middle of Gabriel's consultation room. The Innovator didn't look very intimidating – he was rather short and slender, with pale skin and purple hair that fell down to his shoulders. He also looked very feminine – it must've been the reason of his “identity disorder”. Gabriel was about to give Mr. Erde a helpful advice along the lines of “get a girlfriend, drink some beer”, when the Innovator started to speak.
“To be honest, at first I didn't want to come here,” began Mr. Erde in a monotone voice “but my brother insisted on me seeing you. I have recently come to think it actually might have been a good idea” he paused and Gabriel nodded politely. Erde cleared his throat and continued:
“I think I've fulfilled a purpose for my existence as an Innovator. I've merged with an omnipotent artificial intelligence by the name of Veda. As you are probably unaware of, dwelling inside Veda is every Innovator's greatest desire” he paused and Gabriel could've sworn that the voice of the artificial intelligence wavered slightly “Four years ago it would have been the peak of my dreams.”
Gabriel didn't want to sound rude, but he still asked “And what about now?”
“I... I simply cannot bear with the fact I'm not human”
Now that was unexpected. Gabriel had known about mortal beings which wanted to gain immortality, he had seen people commit worst sins for the sake of knowledge and wisdom, he had heard about humans chasing universal truths beyond the edge of sanity.
He had never encountered a creature that had simply wanted to discard it.
“Mr. Erde, I don't want to be too inquiring, but could you please tell me, why are you... dissatisfied with being an... Innovator?”
The patient shot him a disapproving look “You are rather inquiring, Gabriel Layman, but I guess it is a part of your job” Gabriel shrugged, but remained silent “I can tell you that, of course” he paused again.
“Four years ago I have made a promise to a very special man. He... was the first person ever to be kind to me. I might say he had seen a human where there was no human” he smiled wryly “I only wish to tell him I kept my promise. I have tried to understand mortals. I have considered myself a human.”
Gabriel looked at him with puzzlement “So why won't you contact this man and do so, Sir?”
The Innovator looked away and remained silent for a long moment before finally answering:
“I cannot. He died four years ago.”
Another brilliant success of Gabriel Layman, the most renown psychologist of all known dimensions, indeed.
“I am terribly sorry, Mr. Erde, I did not know” he said defensively; after a short pause he reluctantly added: “Please, would you come tomorrow on the same hour? I fear I have to consult your case with another specialist...”
The Innovator nodded, but remained silent.
“You told him WHAT?!”
Gabriel sighed (“Never again will I tell him anything serious in our bedroom, really”) and repeated “I told him that I have to consult the whole situation with another specialist” he ignored Elderane's muffled giggle and continued “End of story; now kindly do your part and voice your opinion”
The elf leaned closer and began to stroke Gabriel's cheek with affection “And why are you... consulting this case with me, huh?”
The man hesitated “... you should have heard his voice.”
Elderane raised his head and looked at his lover questioningly “What exactly do you mean?”
Gabriel ran the fingers of one hand through his hair “It didn't sound as the voice of the same person. This Erde spoke almost without emotions, but when he told me about that man from his past...” he paused, trying to find a suitable comparison.
“Mmmh, try to emulate that tone while speaking something dirty to me” murmured Elderane and wrapped his arms around Gabriel. The man frowned and pushed the elf aside “Hey, hey, I was just joking! Besides, why are you so emotionally invested in this man, eh?”
“Well, I was about to say that the tone of Mr. Erde's voice reminded me of your own tone when you had begged me not to venture after the Chalice.”
After seeing Elderane's (vaguely) shocked expression Gabriel added softly “You might say it brought back some important memories.”
Both of them fell silent for a long time. Elderane began to nibble at his lover's nipple absentmindedly; Gabriel delicately took his hand and raised it to his lips.
“The two of them remind me of us, Elderane” he began “A mortal and an immortal; a relationship that was unlikely to have worked. We were the lucky ones; they didn't”
“Don't tell me you're feeling guilty!”
Gabriel carefully eyed the elf “Truth be told, I am”
Elderane rolled away from the man, visibly upset “And you actually expect me to do something, don't you? The hell, Gabriel, what do you perceive me as? An omnipotent presence? An embodiment of all wisdom and authority? I even cannot meddle with the affairs of human beings. I virtually have no power at all”
Gabriel reached towards his lover “I'm... sorry, Elderane, I just thought you could... come up with a solution... eh, never mind”
From between the wrinkled sheets came a reply “But none of them is a human. Erde is an Innovator – whatever it is – and that man had become a mere spirit” Elderane turned to Gabriel with a malicious grin “And since it's you who is asking, I think we can break some rules.”
Gabriel remembered to hide all the presents and small bribes he got from his clients before Elderane entered his consultation office – the elf had a strange distrust of all things technological and despised all kinds of small figures, pottery and other kinds of decoration. The man wasn't too fond of them himself; still, he didn't want the whole room to be scattered in tiny glass and porcelain pieces.
The elf had warned him that connecting with the otherworld would be a complicated and dangerous procedure; still, he idly sat in Gabriel's chair with his arms and legs outstretched and a content expression on his face. Upon inquiring, why on Earth wasn't he working, he replied: “I'm setting it up with my mind, now please be so caring and fetch me something to drink and no, the water is not enough, now go.”. Gabriel didn't know, what did the elf plan... and a small part of him wasn't sure if he wanted to know.
“Oooh, how very considerate of you!” laughed the elf after taking a gulp of brandy “Now we only have to wait for the Innovator, I've already prepared everything”
Gabriel glanced around the room. Nothing had changed since his departure. Elderane smirked
“I guess I have to wait for my price until tonight” Gabriel shrugged and opened his mouth to reply, but a shape started to materialize in the middle of the room “Mr. Erde has arrived”
“I am really glad to see you again, Mr. Erde...” began the psychotherapist, but the elf interrupted him “Hello, Mr. Innovator, it's great to meet a fellow omnipotent being from time to time. This mere mortal, aware of my neverending wisdom, decided to consult your matters with me” he exclaimed loudly. Very loudly.
Mr. Erde narrowed his eyes suspiciously “I believe we were not properly introduced, sir”
The elf strode to the client's side. He towered upon the fragile Innovator; Elderane wasn't very tall, but in comparison with Mr. Erde he seemed giant. “I do not need to get to know anyone; I am the king of this place and all the surrounding dimensions” he paused, backed a bit from the Innovator and continued with the same tone “I am able to go beyond the borders of time, the boundaries of existence and the realm of death.” Gabriel noticed that the client's eyes widened slightly at Elderane's last words. The elf was obviously plotting something; still, he wasn't sure what exactly it might have been.
“You have guessed right, Innovator. I am here to bestow a rare grace on you. I will enable you to speak with your loved one” Erde frowned at this expression; luckily, Elderane did not notice that. He pointed with emphasis towards the large window on one of the walls “Stand in front of it, Innovator, and your wish shall be granted”
Erde moved towards the glass pane, visibly not trusting the elf. He glanced at Elderane disapprovingly “And what am I to do?”
The Innovator's smile was rather bitter “I've done it more than a thousand times and nothing ever happened. Why shall I do it again?”
Elderane looked at the patient with sparkling curiosity in his eyes (“It's that look again”) and asked “And why shan't you try?” after a moment's silence he added “We will leave the office for the time of conversation... er, of course I will nevertheless know, what were you talking about. I am an omnipotent being after all” Gabriel snorted with laughter. The elf turned away.
“Don't get too cocky, mortal. I will deal with you later” he leaned over the Innovator reassuringly and patted him on the back “Now, call your... friend because I'm really curious if this even works”
Elderane turned towards the entrance, grabbed the other man by the arm and dragged him from the room. As the elf was locking the door, Gabriel heard Mr. Erde speak in that previous tone “Lockon... Lockon Stratos, can you hear me?”
And he could have sworn he heard someone reply.
“How did you do that?”
Elderane didn't reply; he suddenly felt compelled to carefully observe something on the ceiling (“Say, Gabriel, don't you think that there can be something that constantly watches us?”). The man sighed; standing in front of the door of his own office wasn't the most interesting thing ever, especially when one's only companion was suspiciously silent.
“Fine, don't answer. Not that I am curious how did you just bring a man back to life. No, not at all”
Elderane looked at Gabriel from the corner of his eye “I didn't. I simply made two separate dimensions connect for a shortest period of time, which required some diplomatic work. The payment was subtracted from your salary; I will execute the other form of payment tonight” the elf turned around “Well, I'll let you handle the case on your own from now; I believe you'll manage to do it. I have work to do.”
The elf turned to leave, but Gabriel stopped him with a giggle “And you said you had no power at all”
Elderane laughed “Well, it might be only next to nothing, after all”