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"She was murdering him as surely as if she held the knife to his throat (though her mind, still coolly rational, discarded the analogy: there were no blades involved here)." Morpheus and Thessaly d...
Disclaimer: /Sandman and all associated characters are the creation of Neil Gaiman. I'm just borrowing./
Notes: This was /supposed to be a Thessaly fic, and it still is, but somehow the narrative viewpoint became Morpheus' instead of hers, at least initially. I suppose that's fitting, in a way, but it wasn't expected at all -- nor, really, was the second portion. A few lines of dialogue lifted from the comic; this is meant to fit in and around the end of part nine of the collected Sandman: the Kindly Ones/.
Very rough. Also my first real attempt at Sandman fic-writing, which just feels weird to me. Hopefully reasonably IC: these two (and so many of Gaiman's characters) are bloody hard to write.
This is for Lorena, my fellow Thessaly fangirl, who also suggested the title.
But we have established that there is nothing you could give me that I want.
- Thessaly to Morpheus, Sandman: the Kindly Ones
"Would it helped," he asked, "if I said I was sorry?"
She looked back at him, deceptively mortal with her slight limbs and the blood still smeared across her face and her eyes hard and unreadable behind thick glass lenses.
"No," she said.
What she thought was, 'Not anymore.' He could hear the words as clearly as if she had spoken them aloud, and had he been other than what he was, he would have likely felt some contrition. But as something greater than man or god or aught else, he merely inclined his head in vague acknowledgement. She was right: he had learned time and again that apologies mattered little if not given promptly enough, and it was only perhaps because he saw years differently that he always forgot.
It had been different with her. No false expectations, no delusions of immortal passion. Their affair -- if such was the appropriate word -- had been initiated because it was mutually convenient, and somewhere along the way, they had mucked things up by becoming emotionally involved. It had been he who broke off things and she who had told him, with that same expression she wore now, that she never wanted to see him again. She might not have measured her lifespan as ordinary people did, but she was still only mortal, and time had perhaps swayed her heart, for she had not threatened him when he arrived.
Or perhaps it was only that she knew he would soon be dead. Or, at least, as dead as one of his kind could ever be. This existence had been the one to break the calm and cause her pain, which was something he had learned early on she would never forgive; with it gone, things would be restored to normalcy for her. And he was, in all truth, quite tired.
"... there is nothing that you could give me that I would want."
He looked at her for a long time in silence, seeing -- and how strange it was to do so now, when she was the instrument, however indirectly, of his demise -- what it had been that drew him to her in the beginning. He had known many in his time, beauties in plenitude; she was nothing like them, small and plain. She was a power in her own right, true, but he had lain with goddesses and nascent stars. The difference between her and the rest had been not only that she knew who he was from the moment they had met, for there were many who had, but that she had been utterly unawed by that. There had been at the time something refreshing about that, and about her frankness as well.
The words cut, to his surprise. But she had always known how to wound, and had mocked him for his re-luctance to do the same. "Sometimes," she had told him, on more than one occasion, "you have to cut or injure or kill. Sometimes there's nothing worse than to try to fix something when it's beyond repair. You're only deluding yourself then."
She had told him that and more, and he had disagreed with her vehemently. That was, perhaps, a failing of the Endless: he and his siblings were all so tied to their own respective duties that they had difficulty seeing beyond those admittedly broad lines, making things far narrower than necessary. His eldest sister had always been the best at blurring the line, but even she did not have the scope of vision a mortal did -- ironic, that those short-lived managed a better grasp of the world sometimes than the most ancient of beings.
He understood now -- or thought he did. Even if he did not, he saw the necessity of what she had pointed out those many years ago. An apology, a well-wishing, and he left her alone there in the bleak emptiness of her apartment, surrounded by the cold comforts of her books and the blood-spattered walls, Lyta Hall still blank-eyed and delirious in the centre of the circle. He did not intend the display of power that shattered the windows; it seemed that, for all the understanding, he had not reconciled with her.
It did not matter now. This was the end.
He had not said good-bye. They had known from the beginning that there would always be an end, and such words were unnecessary. She had not spoken them to him all those years before.
~ * ~
In the apartment he had left behind, in the world he had left behind, in the reality he was preparing to leave behind, the woman calling herself Larissa surveyed the mess made by the broken glass and went in search of something to clean it up with. As shards of windowpane crunched beneath incongruous violet bunny slippers, she pretended that the stab of pain was only from a particularly large piece that jabbed at her foot through the slipper's sole. He had been dead to her for years. He would be far more literally dead soon. She was murdering him as surely as if she held the knife to his throat (though her mind, still coolly rational, discarded the analogy: there were no blades involved here). The moisture collecting in her eyes was not tears.
By the time it was over and Lyta Hall awoke, she was ensconced once more on her rickety kitchen chair, reading calmly, as though nothing had happened. The blood had been washed away, the glass swept up. No trace remained of the dark man who had visited earlier, nor of the woman who had shed tears for a past she had thought buried. Her eyes remained hidden behind the book as Lyta came to, blinked muzzily around herself.
She rose and poured tea, gave it to the much-younger woman, who looked far too innocent for the deed she had just committed. She told Lyta the odds of ever seeing her son again. And then, returning to her chair and picking up the book, she looked for one moment into the other woman's eyes.
"I'd take a shower, and then start running, if I were you. Lots of people are going to want to kill you for what you've done."
There was no inflection to those words; with the next, however, the cool tone became positively glacial, sharp and cold as the knife she had not held to her lover's heart.
And she began reading once again.
- finis -