I know Asra doesn’t deserve this, but honestly... I kinda wanted to. And I like to write angst, soooo.... :v
It is that conversation with Asra in chap IX - THE HERMIT (1. Helping Hands). What mc would really say to him.
Asra was already sitting by the fountain when I arrived, his fingers touching the water and tracing it with circular movements. He smiled at me when I sat down.
“It was good to see Nadia again, she hasn’t change much.” Ah, yes, they knew each other. Nadia has some missing memories. Very much like me... and Julian.
I hadn’t told Julian that my memories were also missing. I didn’t know what it meant, and we didn’t exactly have the time to talk about it.
“Are you missing anything?
“Me? What would I be missing?” He putted a hand over his chest, clenching the fabric. “We’re all missing something.” He trailed off, a lie. “Nadia and Ilya... They chose to forget.”
Something about everyone having a piece of their memory gone didn’t add up.
“Am I cursed?” I asked, Asra eyes widened with the question.
“Cursed?” He asked, his voice a little higher. He didn’t expect the question. “That’s one way of looking at it...” His eyes dropped to the water then to my lap. “You’ve been hanging around Ilya too much.” His voice dropped lower, colder.
“That’s what he calls it. A curse. The memory loss... and the healing.”
Asra sighs, taking his hands off the water.
“I see. Of course, he does. Over dramatic as usual.” He said while rolling his eyes.
There he goes again. Every time Julian comes into a conversation, Asra finds some reason to bad-mouth him to me. He never says to stay away, because according to him “I’m free to do my own bad choices”. But I sense this on the back of his throat, screaming at me to leave Julian alone with his own mess.
“You’re not cursed. It’s... a little more complicated than that.” He looked away, and I know that, if I ask, he is not going to answer what it is that he is hiding. “You want those memories back, right?” He trailed of, and by now I know it is a way of deceiving. “You’ve always been bad at letting things be... It’s what I like about you.”
His eyes came back to mine, a warm smile on his lips. I saw the question behind them, but he doesn’t say anything. Instead, he got up, stepping away from me.
“I guess you’ve been rubbing off on Ilya too... But that’s not why I asked you here. You and Ilya are trying to figure out what happened that night, right? That’s why you were at the palace.” He turned to me. “You are lucky Faust let me know you were in trouble...” His eyes curved in sadness, and he took a step closer to me, looking me from above. “Why are you helping him?”
I blinked at the question, why wouldn’t I help him? Isn’t that why I was there? To find the truth?
“I want to find the truth.”
Asra looked away.
“Even if you don't like what you find?” Again, I know he kept secrets, but this is ridiculous. What does he know? “Ilya, he... he’s not a perfect man. Not even really a good one.”
My face must have show my building anger, because I saw Asra eyes widen when I got up, keeping my eyes locked on his.
“And you know this because you used to fuck?”
Asra took a step back, his face lightening in red and his expression in shock.
“Yeah, I know about that. And you know how? Because he told me. Almost every single detail.” He silenced, his eyes were moving on my face, trying to form a sentence that would take this conversation elsewhere. “You don't know him, at all. You know why? Because you were never there for him when he need it.”
“That's not true.”
“IT IS!” I lowered my voice. I was seriously done with Asra bad-mouthing Julian in front of me, and not only that... but I didn't want to unpack those feelings. “Every time he had a crisis, you shunned him. Every time he looked for you for emotional support, you twisted the situation to get away with a quick fuck.” I felt tears, but I didn’t bother to wipe. “He loved you, and you know it. You just didn’t want to deal with it.”
I was shaking, my voice cracking, my knees weakening and threatening to fail.
“It wasn’t casual to him, Asra. It never was. You toyed with him just for the fun of it, and cast him aside when things got too serious for you to handle.”
Asra stood in silence for a while.
“That’s not what happened.”
“So, indulge me.” I gestured exaggeratedly. “On what happened, please. I want to hear it.” But he didn’t. I waited almost a full minute, but he didn’t. “That’s what I thought. Don’t fucking tell me you know him, because you don’t. You were never there for him at his worst, so he never showed you his best.”
I didn’t even know this much anger was accumulated in me.
Asra stood in silence, his eyes locked on my feet. I could see the sadness accumulated there, but my anger was burning and not letting me feel the guilty from the words I told him.
“I'm helping him cause no one else fucking will.” That wasn’t the truth, Portia was there. Mazelinka too. You won't help him, I wanted to say.
“Please tell me you aren’t buying into his torture hero act.” His eyes lifted to mine.
I gasped. For a moment I didn’t know what to say. I wasn’t buying anything! I trusted Julian!
“People have tried to help him. He either doesn’t let them or he gets them all tangle up in his nonsense.”
I clenched my hands into fists, stepping inside Asra’s personal space.
“The audacity you have to say this. Just because you didn’t have the courage to stay besides him and help doesn’t mean I will leave him to the wolves.”
“I just don't want the same thing to happen to you.” I saw the tears he was holding back.
My nails dig hurtfully in my shaking hand, Julian would probably ask about it.
“Well, to bad. To your displeasure, I'm ready tangle in his mess and I'm not going to leave him alone. He needs me. Way more than he needs the truth, he needs someone who will help him even when he says he doesn’t need help.”
I crossed my arms firmly, to stop the shaking and to support my own body.
“I...” He closed his eyes and sigh. When he opened again, I felt regret there. “Seek out the Scourge of the South.” His shoulders slumped with the pain and sorrow reflected on his eyes. “If you’re really determined to get answers... You’ll find him at the Coliseum.”
“Thank you.” I said, turning my back to leave. I could feel the guilty already lying on my shoulders.
“Stay safe.” Asra said before my eyes left his.
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