Elena and Pol




He was born the day I died. They named him Pol and he was beautiful. Blue of eye, blonde of hair and all strong limbs and smiles, the man I loved grew up in the loving circle of his father's home. When he was three, I was born to my own family. Brown of eye and hair and weak as a kitten I was. But I was alive and I had another chance to reunite with my beloved. Elena they named me, though my True Name was far older than that.

Pol grew, healthy, bright and strong. I... well, I grew but I was neither healthy nor strong. I guess the gods gave me a double dose of intelligence to make up for their lack of gifts in other areas. Pol was his parent's joy. I, my mother's bane. Pol could do no wrong, I nothing right. But somehow, someway, we both made it through our childhoods. It was two days before our birth/death anniversary and we met. I was walking out of the library and he was on his way to work. Our eyes met. My beloved's face grew perplexed. I could see that he knew me, but was unable to place my face. I smiled shyly. Raised my eyes to his, hope growing in my heart. Words made as if to speak themselves, but stuck in my throat.

Then, he smiled and walked away.




On the day I was born, a star died. At least, that's what my folks tell everyone. I guess what happened was that one of those twinkling points of light out there went out, and so that's how they named me. Pol. Starborn, in an ancient language. I almost hate that name, now. But you know, it is my name, so I have to live with it. Life was always easy for me, I don't know why. Sometimes... sometimes I wish I'd had to fight a little harder for things.

Maybe then, I wouldn't have made so many mistakes.

I always knew I was handsome. And smart. And strong, and all those other things that made women love me and men envy me. My parents were proud...oh so damn proud of their "perfect" son. It galled. Nothing I did could mar that perfection in their eyes. My life was planned from the moment I could toddle.

My looks would earn me women. My brains, scholarships, my strength, admiration. I would marry a perfect wife, produce 2.5 more perfect grandchildren and have the perfect job. In reality, all I wanted was to paint.

Landscapes, abstracts, blotches, animals, portraits...anything, as long as my fingers were squishing through paint. First, it was finger paints. Then, acrylics, watercolors and finally, oils. Paint. Slick, smooth, slimy... blood like ... oh, it was my blood, some days.

My painting quietly horrified my parents.

But they said nothing, allowing me my "phaze" (I'd once heard my mother describe my "fascination" with the arts to a society friend as "just a phaze, I'm sure it will pass.") and silently pushing me along into their desired mould for me.

By the time I was in high school, I'd forgotten about my own dreams and lived those of my parents. It was two days before my birthday when everything changed. On that day, I met her.

She was perfect. Everything my parents would despise, and so, everything that I would love. She passed me as she left the library, her eyes downcast and her posture not proud. Oh, I would love her til the day I died.

My Elena.

That was her name. I knew it without asking. Maybe I'd heard it in school, maybe I'd seen it in the yearbook...whatever. She was My Elena and I was her Pol and together, we would paint the greatest picture of our lives.

I courted her. She adored me and my parents... oh, they were livid. But at least they left me alone. For I was acting "normal" to them now. I was no longer a "questionable" person. I was eccentric, yes. I was stubborn, yes. I was possibly not discerning in my tastes, yes. But I was at least not - horrors - gay.

I wish I could have told them that if Elena had been male, I would have loved her the same.

But I didn't. Couldn't. Who wanted to ruin their world? They'd spent so long building it.

Elena's parents were ogres until they met me, and then all they saw were dollar signs. Suddenly, their unremarkable (Unremarkable!) child was Worth Something to Someone. They gave her away to me so fast, you could see the smoke coming off of their hands.

But it was no matter to Elena, or to I, for we would get by. We would love despite them.

And we did.



The Phantom's Bargain

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