"Father, I have sinned..."
Storm's confession to the world was frank, unbothered. Her tone was not emotionless, but it was not bothered or ruffled.
"For I have loved a woman without fear..."
After saying this, she could feel tension fill the air. Some was excitement, because quite a lot of people here were just like her. Others, however, were still reluctant, whether from disgust, tradition, fear, or something else. But either way, a new energy was present, and it made her smirk.
"Loved her with all the fires of Hell burning inside me."
The woman clutched at her chest when she said this, remembering the familiar, powerful, pulsing warmth coursing through her entire body. It was all the passionate inferno of adoration mixed with the tender, simmering warmth and light of gentle affection. Sparking embers, smoldering coals, hungry tongues of fire. They started in her belly and billowed upward, either scorching her heart or stoking it with flame and smoke based on the day. Sometimes it was bright and warm, sometimes it was agonizing and dark. Sometimes it was powerful, sometimes it was gentle.
"I have loved a woman with open palms,"
The woman confessed, unthinkingly unfolding her hands and facing them upward, but whether she was doing this to bear her guilt or to display her passionate pleasure was unknown both to her and the people to whom she was speaking.
She closed her blue eyes, not in piety, but memory. The warmth of her lover, the strength, the power, the rhythm, the vulnerability. All of these paradoxes, combining in one perfect harmony. Then those blue eyes opened again, cold, hard and sharp. Almost defiant.
"And no apology..."
"Father, I have sinned,"
A new, younger woman repeated then, replacing Storm, but her voice was no less convicted and open.
"For I have shunned your churches,"
Although no church visible during this confession to the world, this new young woman, Iris, could still see them in her mind. She could see the wooden panels and stained glass. The steeple, the chapel, the pews, the Bibles and hymnals in every single one. All of them were beautiful, but beauty was subjective and that type of beauty was simply not her own.
"And scorned your priests,"
Iris gestured to the crowd before her. She was not just pointing to the old white men in old white robes, however. She was also pointing to the politicians, the CEOs, the chairpeople, the leaders, the generals, the teachers, the students, her friends, her foes, the government, the society, their beliefs both political and religious, the history that led them all here, and she even was thinking of her old self as she spoke. All of them, hypocritical, boastful, self-righteous and a blight upon each other. False people, preaching their own truth, insisting that it was the only one.
"I have disgraced Adam and Eve,"
Iris continued, though something of a smile played upon her face. As a child, Adam and Eve had been antagonists, symbols of defiance and work against society. They had been fools and villains, a dark fable of people to avoid. Now, though, Iris had come to understand just how their Fall might've began, and it was not nearly as scandalous as the world made it out to be.
"With my poisoned apple..."
She gestured to her mind and then to the center of her purple eye. Her poisoned apple had not been an external object, but an internal one. It had been the mind that dared to question society's norms and the eye that began to see life in a new way. What once was ugly became beautiful and what was once beautiful became ugly. Her mind and eye had changed, been used in a new and forbidden way, and had challenged historical norms, the ultimate sin. It questioned the command of the one in charge, defied those orders, changed viewpoint, and took a bite, consumed the fruit and put it to use within her body instead of leaving it there to hang upon its branch.
"Sweeter than your manna..."
Her dark smile grew. The manna of society had been good, but it was Eden's tempting apple that filled and satisfied. She ate it willingly, the first bite cautious and then all the others after, ravenous. The bright red skin, the fresh and wild scent so unlike the blandness of manna, the smooth roundness. Everything was so much better. And that apple had given her something more than mere sustenance alone, unlike the manna.
"And freer than your garden,"
Iris always thought that Eden sounded like a paradise she would've wanted to live in forever, except for that one arbitrary rule about the apple. Then it occurred to her how confined Eden really was. One garden in one location. After meeting Storm, who had come from a different world entirely, Iris began to explore, visit other gardens and Edens, and found a new home amongst these lesser but more numerous heavens. Forests and gardens sprung up in her mind's purple eye, and the woman she explored them all with was just as present in her thoughts. Every walk near a moonlit river, every run through a beautiful garden, their own paradise, every exploration in a new forest, each prettier than the last. Surely Eden could never have compared for Eden never had Storm. Eden was constrained, one small garden with rules and borders. With Storm, it was a new Eden every day and there was no fear or restriction in any of them.
"My own personal genesis..."
The young woman had since opened her purple eyes and raised her head again. She faced the whole world head on, every eye trained upon her. Living with them had been wonderful, but after her purple eyes had finally been given light, she began to realize that it still wasn't enough, for better or worse. Her own genesis had come when she was finally old enough to live on her own, do some self-exploration and write her own story. Now at last, she was both creator and creation. It was freedom and birth with no strings attached. It was all the realizations she'd come to on her own time, not ones that society insisted she should have.
"Father, I have sinned,"
Both women, in different times and places, spoke to the entire world and everyone and no one was listening. Iris and Storm, so different, both in looks and personality, had come to the same conclusion and were uttering nearly exactly the same speech.
"But you will not find me on my knees,"
Storm insisted first, straightening her back and crossing her arms. Bravery and anger combined. She was not ever going back down there again.
"You will find me on my feet,"
Iris agreed. Expression not quite as fierce as Storm's, but equally forceful. Iris wasn't going to be pushed around anymore than Storm would. She may allow the world to billow her about, but she would still be on her feet the whole time. They could push her around, but not knock her down.
"You will find my hand in hers,"
No one was sure which of the two women had spoken this first, just that they linked hands immediately after. Their faces softened as blue and purple met. Fingers intertwined and palms pressed together in support, unity and affection.
"I have loved her with defiance,"
Iris insisted, both looking at the massive crowd before her and the woman beside her. Fighting her way to Storm had been quite the challenge and every battle, regardless of whether or not she won, had been hard-fought. Maybe it didn't look it, but it had taken a struggle to get here and Iris was trying to insist that she didn't need any physical scar for that to be a valid memory.
"I have screamed from lips that drip with love and lust!"
Storm echoed in agreement. Her struggle had been more virulent and visible than Iris', but she would never have said her fight was more valid, only that it had been more grueling, but in a different way. A bittersweet smile that perfectly encapsulated this sentence crossed her face. Every scream, of love, fear, anger, despair, excitement, triumph and hope echoed in her mind. Her throat was sore, but she continued to scream, no more silence. But the one thing she always screamed the loudest was Iris' name, sometimes with the raw and animal lust and sometimes with a pure but struggling and occasionally misguided love. But don't worry, she'd get there one day.
"I worship at her alter."
An unreadable, suggestive smile flickered across Iris' face that Storm mimicked. The tension in the room, which had risen steadily this whole speech, reached a peak and while some looked close to clapping and cheering, others looked outraged and disgusted. Storm and Iris didn't miss a single expression, but not a single one left a lasting impression on them. Instead, although they saw every expression and understood the emotion underlying each, they slowly began to turn away. They turned their backs on the world together, ignoring the protests, both good and bad, that followed them as they left. Let the angels of Heaven protest their defiance of God, they didn't care anymore. They would shun those people, those churches, those liars. They would shun those priests and preachers and build their own world, their own Eden. They would build their own genesis, their own creation, their own story, their own life and choice and freedom. They did not need a God to do it for them. That refusal to accept a societal leader was the ultimate sin. But did either of them care as they turned away from the life they used to know?
"Father, I have sinned. And I do not ask forgiveness."
AN: I found this poem written in a poetry book published by IU Bloomington's Hutton Honors College. The book was called "Labyrinth" and the poem, written by someone named Abby M, was called "Heaven Above/Below". I just had to write a fic about it because it was such a powerful poem to me. It hit really close to home, and I wanted to share it with everyone else because I think it deserves to be told (and this is coming from a girl who doesn't normally like/read poetry). It's so beautiful and intense, I hope everyone enjoyed.
To explain, this is a slight AU with the idea that these two are speaking to our world, Earth, and the final line is them referring to Denbar. They're going back home to Denbar, and away from our Earth.
On a superficial level, it's every time a person wants to turn away from the world that does not accept them and run away to one that will, but on a deeper level, it's me reconciling my personality and my struggles with each other. It's also me finally giving up on trying to fit in, not just because my queer or nonreligious identities have caused me trouble, but sometimes my own thoughts on certain moral issues seem to alienate everyone and I really don't care about that or them anymore. I've shut the door on society and now live in my own little world. It's not the best of coping skills, but it beats the rest of the world right now. So yeah, I'm in the wrong right now, but I do not ask forgiveness.