You were always like a vision. I was always afraid that with one touch, you would turn in to vapor, and rise back to the mountaintop; becoming the steam from the hot springs that offered respite from the frigid winds.

But you never did.

Every time you came to me, you were flesh, blood, and bone. Your warmth radiated off your skin, the ends of your hair were waves lapping at the floorboards like flames.

The first time, the touch of your bare hands on my body felt like a sunburn. I was certain the trail of kisses down my neck would leave permanent scaring, discolored red marks, red letters for sleeping with a god.

I could smell the smoke of freshly burned wood off your tanned skin as you took my body close in to yours. It was stronger than any scent that came from my fireplace, and whenever you entered my home, I felt no reason to stoke it, even in the dark winter nights, when the flame in front of me was beginning to burn so bright on it's own.

I have often contemplated my – our – situation, seeking guidance in the teachings of the church, asking questions of a distracted Mira, and dancing around the subject with Perry.

I am very much aware of all the women you have taken before me, all the hearts, the virginities, the lives. However, that was a different time, a very different place, not yet Castanet, just a series of seaside villages. No physical records of them remain in obvious view; only carvings inside the mountain, and a few old stone buildings in the caverns under the town. From these I learned your history, as the scripture has all but erased you publicly, and Perry turned away most of my direct requests for answers.

I was willing to hand those all over to you. I could give you my virginity, something I had tried to rid myself of twice, but failed. It was still an acceptable sacrifice to your alter, I decided, even if I couldn't see it that way, only present it. I could give you my life, in vows, when you came to see me at my ranch, or when I made my way to the top of your peak, my life pledged to yours forever. I could love you forever, with your name branded on my heart until I died.

"Forever is a long time, you won't even live that long," you told me, when I spoke those words, promises to love you forever, "nor will I."

Selfishly, I had meant my forever. How odd that was, to be selfish towards a God, and then indulged.

Human rituals seemed silly to you at first, but I assume you grew accustomed to my affections. I gave you gifts of milk and honey, and only the best apples from my trees. Red and white candles burning in your honor, among the usual greens and blues for the Goddess, in the church; I would light them and walk away, not having any prayers I had wanted you to hear; yet.

You laughed when I approached you as the one to save the peninsula Castanet rested upon, you would act confused at my gifts, not considering them offerings, as they were placed in your hands for want of nothing. Nothing except for you.

My friends were going on dates; I was climbing the crumbling staircases in the chambers of your mountain, attempting to find my way in to you. Standing in an atrium of old sacrifices, I was trying to find my way into the atriums and chambers of the heart I worshiped. More than a deity, more than a God, but as a man, a possible lover, a potential husband, at worst the mistress of a being as old as the land itself.

The next time we were together, always alone, a necessity, I asked you, "You're a God, why wouldn't you live forever?"

"Gods eventually die out when no one remembers them, when no one worships them. Yes, prayers and wishes and hopes come to me now and then, when the townspeople don't realize that the Goddess covers love, but not lust, which is the basis of human infatuation," he looked at me quickly, but it felt like an eternity as his eyes bore in to my soul.

Had he heard my thoughts and felt my emotions without me ever praying?

"I also take prayers for strength of the body, but not the spirit, and I am offensive courage, but I will not defend your community, that's her. I am the body, the Harvest Goddess is the soul," a sigh escaped your perfect mouth.

You are the heartbeat: rhythm and passion, all heat and flushed skin, blood rushing to the surface.

You took a bite from an apple grabbed from atop one of the trees, mead in your other hand, all from my farm, our farm. You were here more than your mountaintop since I convinced you that marriage was possible.

"And it seems that active prayers are rare, and residual power is just that, left over. It means nothing, I'm even called the Harvest King now," I could feel the venom in your voice at that title, I could feel the anger being fanned when your mouth formed those syllables, humans knocked a once all-powerful being down a few notched by changing the name they worshiped him by, placing you below your equal. Humans had, as things grew safe and peaceful, become more concerned with their eternal life than their current one.

But is there a life after death? You told me that even you didn't know, and that had begun our conversation on your fear of fading out. Of my love fading out.

"Idol worship eventually fades," you said, touching my cheek with your long fingers. I could feel a chill in my spine as pinpricks began climbing the skin of my back. "Flames always flicker," your hot breath on my ear.

How wrong you would be, this was just the spark to begin a forest fire.

Only four years, and we produced a beautiful child, no one questioned their parentage, I began to believe that people could feel it from their flame orange hair, and their ruby glazed eyes.

"Ignis," I whispered into your collar bone, your true name still foreign to my tongue, something held close to my heart, another secret kept from everyone.

You tightened your grip on my waist, a sign you were listening, your focus on me.

"I want another one," I said, my hand leaving the warmth of your chest, traveling down to my stomach, the milky flesh cool to the touch.

"Another child?" you asked, already knowing the answer. "I'm not sure how I feel about divine lineage extending further," you trailed off, a worry you had since I gave birth to our son.

My honey brown eyes pleaded until you relented, agreeing for one, only one, more.

"I may not live forever," I thought as sweat began to form on my forehead, "but I can give you eternal life, in your descendants, a line of people who will never fail to forget you."

I hoped that you would never realize that, that the roar of our heartbeats pounding against each other that night covered the sound of almost-prayers, but I fully believe you knew about it in some way.

Now love for you could never die.

A/N: Down to the wire, here's my gift for tapioca two-step. I hope you enjoyed this story, and thank you for your list, it made me push my character writing comfort zone, and that's a gift itself.

Thank you to therainydaykids for setting this up!

3/2/15 edit: Fixed some errors I found. Don't edit at 11:30 pm the day something is due!