you were moonlight
“The fates are cruel. They send me a hero every thousand years, someone who can’t stay. And the worst part is that I know it’ll happen, and I still fall in love with them each time.”
There was sand stuck to the brunette’s cheek as she groaned, lifting herself onto her elbows. Tatiana Penvrane felt entirely ripped apart as she sat up on the sand, trying to untangle her long brunette hair, slick with sea spray and lighter fluid. Blearily, she blinked at her surroundings and then frowned abruptly. “I hate the beach,” she murmured darkly as she rose and stumbled along the sand.
Presently, she came to a small cottage-like house, and feeling herself about to collapse, she rested herself against the doorframe and knocked weakly. “I need help,” Tatiana called inside. She thought she’d heard footsteps, but they ceased abruptly when she’d arrived, and she frowned again. “Please, help! My lungs are on fire,” and here she coughed to punctuate her statement, not for emphasis but because she really did feel terrible.
There was a dark sort of muttering from inside, and suddenly, a blonde girl appeared and scowled at her. “Get inside,” she muttered irritably, grabbing Tatiana’s arm and looping it over her shoulders as she led her inside to a clean room, laying her on the bed none too gently. Tatiana didn’t protest, because her eyes seemed to close immediately when she hit the mattress.
Sometime later, the brunette awoke again, tasting sand in her mouth but finding that her sides didn’t ache as much. She slowly pushed herself up into a sitting position and caught sight of herself in the mirror on the opposite side of the room – she looked half dead, but at least she was alive.
Her clothes had been changed too. Instead of battle gear, she wore a loose-fitting gown (almost like a hospital one, she realized with some degree of amusement), and the scars on her arms had disappeared. Tatiana stared at herself for a moment longer before the door opened and the blonde girl entered.
The demigod hadn’t had a chance yet to see the other properly, given that she was half-dead the first time, but she was hit immediately with the knowledge that the person who’d given her shelter was actually quite gorgeous. She stared quietly as the other approached with a pitcher of water, which she left on the table beside Tatiana.
Finally, the brunette found her voice again. “Where am I?”
The blonde pursed her lips. “What do you remember?” she asked after a moment.
Tatiana frowned and then her hazel eyes widened. “I was blowing up Mount St. Helens. The Titans were trying to release Typhon there, so I tried to,” she stuttered, suddenly remembering her course of action with a sharp pain, and she cradled her head in her hands. “Oh my gods, the war. Kronos is still out there. I need to get back to Camp Half-blood.”
She’d gotten up in this time to her feet shakily, but as soon as she took a step forward, her legs gave way and the other young woman was there to catch her, steadying her with her hands. “You’re not going anywhere,” she informed Tatiana firmly. “You nearly died.”
“Then how did I end up here? Is this an island?” She craned her neck, trying to look through the window.
The blonde shook her head. “It’s called Ogygia. The fates sent you here. They only send me one every thousand years or so.” She frowned and pursed her lips, looking away abruptly.
“Is this in the Caribbean?” Tatiana questioned.
Immediately, the brunette was on her guard. She’d been on enough quests as a demigod that she knew by now that when someone pretty offered you a place to stay and helped you, they usually turned out to be a monster waiting to devour you. Or alternately a god who got really pissed off when you refused their hospitality. Either option didn’t appeal to Tatiana.
“Who are you?” she questioned the other girl.
“My name is Seren,” the blonde added, and Tatiana frowned thoughtfully at the other.
“I’ve read that name before,” she mused aloud before it clicked. “Of course, you weren’t always called that, were you? You were once Calypso, weren’t you?”
Seren winced as if she’d been slapped. “I try not to call myself by the name that my father and the other Titans called me. This is punishment enough.”
Tatiana glanced around, baffled. “This island is your punishment? But it’s beautiful!”
“It’s lonely,” Seren clarified somewhat dolefully. She seemed about to say something else and then thought better of it, looping an arm around the other’s waist and steadying Tatiana’s arm around her shoulders. “Come on. Let’s show you the view.”
She led the brunette outdoors, where a small table had set up. Seren smiled softly at the other girl. “I’ve been waiting for a visitor for a while. Do you like cake?”
“I love it,” the brunette answered instinctively as the other helped lower her into her seat. When Seren took a seat across from her and began cutting a slice from the cake, Tatiana regarded her curiously.
“So if this island is mythical, I’m not on Earth, am I?” When Seren shook her head, the brunette continued, “So time is still going on as normal down there?”
“Correct.” The blonde slid over a slice of chocolate cake on a plate, and although Tatiana had been suspicious of the other’s hospitality at first, she felt as if she could trust her. Now she pulled forward the plate and took a bite of the cake carefully, still thinking.
“How long have I been gone, then?”
“Mount St. Helens blew up about a week ago,” Seren returned quietly. “You washed up here right afterward and somehow dragged yourself to my cottage. I patched you up as best as I could, but I wasn’t sure you were going to make it for a while. Somehow, you did.” A smile tugged up her rosy lips as she watched the other eat with very little daintiness in her hunger.
“A week. A whole week.” Hazel eyes widened as Tatiana stared at the other. “But I need to get back to my friends! We need to fight. The war –“
“Will still being going on when you get back,” Seren finished her statement smoothly. “You’re in no fit state to leave now. Stay with me for a little longer and heal.”
Tatiana had to concede that the other was right. She could still barely move without support. With a sigh, she nodded. “Alright.”
Some time passed – Tatiana lost count of the days on the island, but she could judge that she was there for at least two weeks total. Each day, under Seren’s nursing, she grew a bit stronger, a bit more healed after her stint with blowing up a mountain. And just as she grew stronger, so did her bond with the blonde.
Tatiana hadn’t had much experience with love, or with relationships, but she knew that she felt something every time she saw the other’s beaming face greeting her by stepping into her room each morning, or leading her outside, or chattering about the garden in her backyard. She’d spoken to Seren for so long and learned so much, but the other remained firmly tight-lipped about her curse, or when Tatiana would be allowed to leave.
And finally, the day came when Tatiana could walk just as well as she could before she’d come to Ogygia, and the pair were walking on the beach, arm in arm, when something floating in the distance caught her attention. She shaded her eyes and pointed to the thing nestled between two glimmering waves. “What’s that?”
Seren turned, and her eyes darkened as she saw it. For a moment, she was still in shock, and then she heaved a sigh and stepped away, her arm pulling away from the other’s. “It’s a raft,” she replied woodenly. “It’s for you.”
“To leave? You want me to go?” Tatiana replied, glancing at the other in surprise with a bit of hurt in her eyes.
“Yes,” Seren answered decisively. There was a pause, and the brunette shot the other girl a quick glance sideways to see her eyes welling up. “No,” Seren amended after a moment. “I don’t want you to leave me.”
“Then come with me,” the words were out of Tatiana’s lips before she could stop them. “They’ll love you back at camp. You’d be a great ally against the Titans—“
“Tatiana,” Seren cut her off, turning, her eyes shining with tears she hadn’t yet shed. “I am a Titan. Or at least, the daughter of one. It was your gods, your Olympian parents that put me on this island as punishment. It’s exile.”
“But I’ll come visit,” Tatiana promised. “I’ll find Ogygia again as often as I can. But I need to get back home. I need to stop Kronos before he defeats the Olympians.”
Seren laughed bitterly. “You only find Ogygia once,” she managed, swiping away a tear at her cheek. “The fates are cruel. They send me a hero every thousand years, someone who can’t stay. And the worst part is that I know it’ll happen, and I still fall in love with them each time.” She laughed again, wiping furiously at her eyes. “I should stop hoping that someone might actually stay.”
“You love me?” Tatiana managed in reply.
The blonde averted her eyes and nodded.
The other let out a small sigh and glanced between the raft, which was bobbing closer to the shore, and then at the woman she was leaving behind. “This is hard,” Tatiana said, and then it was her time to fight back tears. “I can’t leave you.”
“But you have to go.”
“I know,” Tatiana replied miserably. “They need me.”
Seren sniffed and glanced away. “This is why I was so upset when I saw you dragging yourself to my cottage that first day. I knew this would end up here. I always end up here.”
There was silence.
“I will find Ogygia again,” Tatiana declared.
Seren shook her head. “I’ve already told you that you can’t.”
“I’ll find a way,” Tatiana replied stubbornly, glancing back at the shore. The raft had finally arrived, settling against the beach, and she guessed it would take her back home as soon as she stepped onto it. She took a step forward, and then Seren was beside her again.
“You won’t find me again, but, just… don’t forget me, alright?” She’d stopped crying, but her smile was still sad. “Oh, and, I want you to take this.” She slipped a moonlace leaf into the other’s hand sadly, the same plant that they’d admired in Seren’s garden only that morning.
Tatiana nodded and felt her throat tightening. She stepped onto the raft, and immediately, the sail began billowing, gathering the wind. Seren stepped back on the beach, but suddenly, impulsively, the brunette reached out. “Wait.”
She tugged Seren’s wrist and suddenly her lips were on the other’s, cupping her cheek with a hand. Seren let out a small noise of surprise, and Tatiana could feel the other’s wet eyelashes blinking furiously, but finally she kissed her back for a fleeting moment and then gave her a gentle shove.
“You have to go now,” she whispered, trying not to cry again.
Tatiana stepped back onto the raft, which started to move out. “I won’t forget you! I’ll be back!” she called out as the waves began washing her toward the ocean, the bobbing once reassuring but now only ominous.
“No, you won’t,” Seren whispered, just quiet enough that Tatiana wasn’t able to catch it.
So the brunette watched as the waves washed her away, the blonde on the shore becoming a smaller speck in the distance. Tatiana pulled the moonlace out of her pocket and pressed it to her lips as she sat down, dejected, and waited for the raft to pull her back to Camp Half-blood.