Marked Magical Misfit: Marcus

(Author Notes: The following is a requested one-shot, written especially for Ramar, who asked to learn the story behind Heather's father, Marcus and his wife.

If you didn't already know, the parent story to this is "Without Light," a Fantasy/romance/adventure which averages 3,000 reads per month and currently holds 450+ reviews. It's good. But please don't take my word alone on that. Give it a look for yourself!

In writing MM:

I found myself continually faced with difficulty in avoiding spoilers! So if you hate spoilers, please avoid this particular piece, but if you too are curious about Heather's parents, please do read on.)

Marcus had never felt he belonged. Never.

Whether he was attending high school classes or sharing dinner with his family, this never seemed to change. Something just didn't seem right, even while life itself went well. Each night he lay awake, waiting for the next nightmare and each day he went through the motions, but never felt connections. Life itself seemed disjointed; meaningless.

And it was a not so special day, as he recalled, at the age of 16, when he first heard the voices.

He had sat on his own front lawn, wondering vaguely why flowers existed, when a butterfly fluttered his way. The pretty little creature landed on the very flower he'd picked, between his thumb and forefinger, and wondered aloud why he'd even thought such a very silly thing.

"Flowers exist so that we can all eat," said the butterfly, "flowers bare fruit for you and pollen for me."

And that was all. Perhaps the butterfly would have said more, had Marcus not tossed that flower aside and crushed it beneath his shoe. And true, that voice faded, but others soon replaced it. The most persistent appeared on his eighteenth birthday, along with the headaches. At the time, Marcus was supposed to be preparing for college and prom, just like the other handsome boys at his age. But instead, he attended group therapy and experimented with the many different medications available.

"Schizophrenia," his therapist had firmly decided, and so he accepted the drugs, even while knowing none would work.

And they didn't. Neither did the therapy sessions or the interventions. Things only got steadily worse, until he could not only hear his voice but feel it as well.

"I am Haku," it insisted, "and yet I am you," and finally, after desperate denial, Marcus admitted the truth: "I know."

He'd seen it so many times in his dreams and felt it whispering on the winds. There was someone else living inside of him. How, he didn't know but perhaps it didn't matter. He remembered being relieved. The piles of pills tumbled into the trash, like snowflakes finally fallen and he then confessed to his parents. "I wont go to therapy," was his final decision, "I'll only be who I am."

And it was only then that things began to make sense. "You never belonged here," Haku explained, "but in the other world, where you are terribly missed."

Terribly missed?

Marcus had never heard of such a thing. He'd never been missed or ever even cherished, because his voices had been such a burden. No one else had had them, in the human world at least.

But could it be possible that in another world his abilities were normal or even preferred?

"In the Shiren world, you are magical. In my world you are god of the forests, rivers and all life itself. You belong there, flying with the dragons and chasing unicorns."

Marcus found himself running home from school that day, without even finishing class. Visions of forests and freedom flew by in his mind, while the busy streets fell away to nothing. The noise of the city and reality faded.

He felt sand at his feet, the wind on his wings, and was almost free; almost home! But then Marcus ran into her. Literally.

He hit the ground, bottom aching and head spinning, and slowly reality sank itself in. The city made itself known, feet shuffling by and cars honking in the streets. A hand to his head, Marcus lifted his squinting brown eyes, only to have reality flit right back off.

In its place there was only Celine: an angel fallen to Earth. She too had been knocked off her feet, but sprang right back up, looking flustered and concerned. "Oh my gosh are you okay?!"

Were the first words she said.

And Oh, yes. He was okay. More than okay, in fact. And besides, what man in the world would complain, with a golden goddess cupping his face?

The rest of the day went by in a blur. He remembered standing back up and asking her name. He remembered brown eyes and her soft silky hair, ice cream and giggles and her brilliant sweet laugh. But for the first time, on that day, something so much more miraculous occurred:

the voices fell silent.

All through the night, with her on his mind, Marcus heard not even the smallest whisper inside.

Celine could silence Haku.

Was her existence more meaningful, or had she somehow led Marcus off track? For the first time, he felt his two worlds come to blows. He loved his Haku; finally understood, and yet wanted Celine to be lost in his eyes. So he pretended, love-struck and determined, that he were just normal.

On the fifteenth of May, Marcus sat with Celine, enjoying what felt like their hundredth date. She had prepared an ice cream soufflé; rich vanilla that mimicked her flawless cream skin and hazelnut praline on top, matching his golden blonde hair. The two sat in her kitchen, in the apartment Celine rented out. She was a few years his senior, yet acted so small. She had the sweetest little voice and the most precious of joy-filled laughs. Sometimes she liked to lie back, simply to revel in the safety and warmth of his powerful arms. And he liked her like that, near and dear and always his own. She'd lean back and listen while he whispered her praise. She made him feel alive and he made her feel safe. Neither had time for their doubts.

He still wanted to find his Haku and she dreamt of moving to France, yet neither dared leave without the other's consent.

"I think that I love you."

She paused, a spoonful of cream to those half-parted lips. Realistically speaking, they'd only just met. And he could see that thought flit through her widened brown eyes. But Marcus couldn't care about counting the days or worrying ahead. He wanted her always to be only his own. Every night would be wasted if she weren't in his arms and each morning without meaning were she not in his bed. Every journey would be wasted unless they walked hand-in-hand and every feeling rang false if he dared ignore hers.

And so Marcus waited with still, baited breath, dreading her dreams but still loving the rest.

"Stay with me, Celine. We'll make our own dreams."

"But-" She wanted to travel, and to see Paris nights. She wanted to learn what she didn't yet know. Celine dreamt of college abroad while he dreamt of her.

"Please just don't go until I can too."

Her eyes got even wider, face writ with pure joy. "You mean you'd come to Paris?!"

"If I can be with you."

He only needed to graduate and give up… everything. But what did that matter with so little to lose? He cared nothing for college but everything for her. She forgot her soufflé and rushed into his arms. He forgot himself and was lost in her kiss. Ignoring all else but passion and love, the two joined as one, for the first time that night, neither knowing just yet of their destinies shirked.

For two would be three, just nine months down the line, and Haku only slept, kindly biding his time.

Eight years later their dream came to an end, with the bloody death of the queen of lightning leopards. On the other edge of existence, she lay dying, while Marcus hit the ground of his suburban American home. He saw through her eyes and felt every ounce of her pain. As her blood was spilt his flowed freely as well, and the dragon king's claws caught his own neck instead. Her screams drowned out the words of his wife and her pain multiplied the fear in his own daughter's eyes. Hers could have been, had to be the last voice he would hear.

And so he left, for the other world, knowing full well he might never return. Behind he left only one letter, one book, and a daughter, whose broken heart would inherit that ever-empty yearn.

But her soul, too, belonged in their world. The cycle would begin anew, with dreams of dragons and discomfort in life, for destiny refused, vehemently, to ever be cheated.

We are marked. Two become one.
Your fate shall be mine. My body yours.
Both pain and pleasure: ours.