I thought it would be better to leave Ai alone for a couple days. Were I in his position, I would want to spend time alone to think before I let others come back into my life. But, it wasn't just that...
Firstly, it's difficult for me to be around him right now. Since our minds are connected, I feel everything he does unless I put effort into closing the connection. I've had to do that a lot lately. Normally, he has enough control to keep his emotions from flooding across the link that binds us. Now, however, I often feel random surges of anguish, despair, and roiling anger. Sometimes it becomes so strong that even trying to shut him out doesn't work. This morning, for example, I woke up to an overwhelming, heart wrenching grief that caused me to break down sobbing. It scared Chastin and it surprised me. I was so overcome that I had to have him carry me out of the house to get far enough from Ai to recollect myself.
Secondly, I...don't know if I can face him right now. I mentioned earlier that I feel partly responsible for Brennon's death and every time I've tried to go to his room and talk to him I've lost my nerve.
Ai hates me for avoiding him...and I feel awful for what it must be doing to him.
A few hours have passed. I meant to end with that but some things have happened in that time that deserve mention.
I was about to post, but Aiden came bursting into my room. His eyes were wild and his tentacles were out. It took everything I had in me to close the connection, or else the surge of emotion would have probably temporarily paralyzed me. I stood up, but before I could say anything, he hit me as hard as he could in the face. It hurt more than anything I've ever experienced in my life thanks to my damned hypersensitivity. I was doubled over and bleeding everywhere. Little lights winked in and out of my vision and I felt like I was going to faint. Finally, I was able to straighten up. I was covered with blood and I could tell my nose was broken. Aiden was still seething and he threw another punch at me. This one I was able to catch in my hand. He looked shocked, but I pushed past him to the mirror beside the bed, where I spent another few painful minutes straightening out my nose and watching as my advanced healing mended the broken bone and cartilage.
I wiped off the excess blood from my face and turned back to face Ai. Chas appeared in the doorway and, seeing that I had been hurt, tried to launch himself at Ai. I managed to catch him in time and told him to go downstairs. I promised him I was fine and that I would work things out. He looked concerned, but he did as I asked.
Ai became even angrier at this point. He wrapped his tentacles around my arms and shoved me against a wall. I didn't try to retaliate. I merely looked into his eyes and waited for him to speak.
"Why are you never here for me when I need you?" He demanded angrily. "If you'd been with me, we could have protected Brennon. IF YOU'D DONE YOUR JOB, HE'D STILL BE ALIVE. Instead, you've been spending your time protecting your precious Chastin. Even now, when I need you most, you hide away trying to protect him. I SAVED YOUR FUCKING LIVES BACK THEN AND THIS IS HOW YOU REPAY ME?! YOU HOLD JUST AS MUCH BLAME AS THAT BITCH ANDROMEDA FOR BRENNON'S DEATH! I should kill you right now you...no...killing you wouldn't repay you in full. Killing you won't make you understand. No...you're my servant aren't you? You should have to feel the pain I do. Taben and I lost everything, so maybe you should too. You're in just as deep as we are and yet you still have shreds of your humanity and the source of your happiness is still alive. No...I need to rip away that source of happiness just as mine was. Then you'll understand. I'll bring you down to my level and then you'll know just how great of a mistake you made when you let him die! I'M GOING TO KILL CHASTIN AND THEN YOU'LL KNOW MY PAIN. I'LL MAKE SURE HE GOES THROUGH THE SAME TORTURE BRENNON DID AND I'LL SEE TO IT THAT YOU HAVE TO WATCH AS HELPLESSLY AS I DID! Then you'll know what it feels like to watch your entire world die without the power to stop it. I HOPE IT TEARS YOU APART! I HOPE IT DRIVES YOU OVER THE EDGE AND LEAVES YOU BEGGING FOR DEATH!"
He continued on like that for awhile. His tentacles dug into my arms and drew blood. The force of his emotions felt like a metal spike being hammered into my skull and I barely had enough strength to keep the dam that held back his thoughts and feelings from breaking. I was able to listen to that first part of his tirade, but eventually it became too much and I had to focus all my energy and thought on maintaining the wall between our minds.
It's truly amazing what grief can do to a person. I never thought I would see the usually easygoing, kind Aiden turn into that cruel, merciless animal I saw today. I know he didn't mean any of it, though. It was fueled by sorrow, guilt, and hatred towards Andromeda and Slender Man and I just happened to be in his path when the dam finally burst.
Finally, he ran out of insults and death threats and he grew silent. I continued to stare into his eyes and, after a few moments, the tentacles released their grip and he dropped to his knees. I helped him up and made him sit down on the bed. His eyes were full of despair and he looked utterly dejected. I left the room for a moment to clean up all the blood off of myself (the wounds on my arms his tentacles had made had already healed by that point) and, when I came back, Ai sent another tentacle speeding towards my neck. I caught this one and held it tightly even though it burned me, causing Ai to wince in pain.
"I'm sorry I wasn't there to stop Andromeda, Ai." I said, guilt heavy in my voice. "I'm sorry for failing you and I'm sorry for avoiding you." Tears began spilling from my eyes, but I continued on. "I know I haven't experienced loss to the degree that you have, but that doesn't mean I don't know how you feel. I was avoiding you because your emotions tend to overwhelm me when I get close to you. I've experienced every bit of pain that you have over these past few days like it was my own." He looked up at me, confused, and was about to reply, but I interrupted him. "If you're going to take your anger out on someone, do it to me. I can take it. If you want to hate someone, hate me. If you want to hurt someone, hurt me, not Chastin. He didn't do anything, so leave him out of it. I share blame for Brennon's death, Chastin doesn't. You aren't a murderer, Ai. You're a good person and I don't want to see you corrupt yourself out of grief like Taben did. So please, hit me, cut me, do whatever you want to me to make yourself feel better. I won't die and I won't hate you for it. I am your faithful servant after all. All I ask in return is that you leave Chas out of this."
Ai seemed at a loss for words. I gave him a hug and he seemed to calm down. A moment later he took hold of my forearm with a tentacle and wrenched it as hard as he could. I heard the snap and saw the bone protruding through the skin, but I did my best to hide that I was in immense pain. I released him and he looked at me for a few moments as if expecting me to retaliate. I merely smiled at him and began attempting to push the bone back down so it wouldn't heal improperly. He frowned as if thinking and went back to his room. It wasn't until after he left that I curled up and howled into my pillow in pain until my arm went numb. I'm rather impressed with myself.
I haven't heard anything from him since and I'm going to go check on him again soon. My arm is healed up and I'm ready to take another beating if he's still angry. Let's hope things improve from here...my new mission is to make sure Ai doesn't let himself become a monster.