"You're right. That was meant to be private. I...didn't intend to upset you."
His little bird was tired. The Beast didn't need to hear his words to know that. He didn't even need to look up from where he was toying with the bottle of beer they had left down there the other night. His mate's aura told him all he needed to know.
One taloned hand was outstretched toward Dia, beckoning, "Come here."
It was words The Beast wanted tonight, not a fight. He wanted reassurance that the hurt he sensed below the exhaustion on his mate would pass. That it was only temporary. That he wasn't going to have to go out and rend the world to pieces to make it better. Because he would do it without a second thought and then his little bird would grieve.
He could be dreadfully annoying like that.
"It was a momentary lapse. I have those. It doesn't mean anything more than usual is wrong," Dia insisted as he crossed the room. "I wish you wouldn't let these things bother you so much. There are more important things to worry about than me being a little moody."
The Beast snorted and gently tugged his mate into his arms, "Then sing for me, Little Bird."
Dia was quiet for several moments before whispering, "I'd rather not."
It was the response The Beast had expected. His little bird honestly believed that his hurt was not important and that everyone else deserved to come before him, but his voice--the song--would reveal the parts of him he didn't even know were there.
The parts The Beast heard screaming almost constantly.
Carefully, he pulled his mate's head up, cradling his face in his hands. Fragile, so fragile was his little bird. So broken were the depths of those amber eyes when he caught and held them with his own.
"Nothing is more important than you," The Beast said slowly. "Nothing is more important that mending what has shattered in your soul."
Dia shut his eyes and swallowed. It was a denial unvoiced. So long as he refused to acknowledge that bleeding part of himself, he could continue the way he had. He could continue to place everyone before himself. It was how it should be.
How it had to be.
How it couldn't be.
The Beast growled, tossing his head in frustration causing his long, unbound dark-blue hair to lash them both.
It was a question and a plea. The Beast couldn't understand how his little bird could ignore his pain so thoroughly, how he could ignore his wounds so completely. Didn't his mate understand they would destroy him if left that way? And if his little bird was gone, what reason would he have to continue this masquerade? What reason would he have to even try and be human?
"Don't go," The Beast's voice shook as he drew his mate tightly back against his chest.
"I'm sorry," though Dia's voice was muffled against The Beast chest, the sorrow in his tone was obvious.
"Just. Don't. Go," the words were softer this time, but were spoken in two voices because it wasn't only The Beast who feared losing Dia. It was Set as well.
"Please, just don't go."