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It began in the spring. It ended with the spring and therefore it could only have begun with the spring. For the spring rain brought showers of memories through raindrops of the past, and the past was as hard to escape as it was to escape the rain. You didn’t have to get wet to remember.

Dark rivulets came like the plague; poisoning everything they touched. Their presence was everywhere - warm walls and a fire might have kept it at bay, but the ice still seeped in through the pounding on the roof and windows, and the sickly aromas that defied any attempts to block them out.

She’d slipped through the graveyard, silent and unnoticed, like mercury slithering up the glass to reach its decided destination, with a purposefulness that was reflected in her silky stride. It was a warm morning, and the air, thick and heavy with moisture, clung to her like a second skin.

Soft streams of peach and apricot dappled with rose danced across the vivid green carpet beneath her feet - their gentle presence owing to the illustrious sunrise taking place over the horizon. Clouds wafted across the pale pink sun like fairy floss, sticky and sweet, and she cursed as the breeze snatched at her hair.

Fate had brought her here.

Fate had stolen away from her anything that had ever been worth much and had consumed it greedily and mercilessly; despair radiated from her like the unbearable stench of rotting flesh and she no longer tried to conceal it.

Blow after blow was cleverly administrated and once the first domino fell there was no stopping the rest. She was at the end of the line and it was only a matter of time before her own world would come crashing down.

She curls her spine to remove the heels like armour from her feet, and wonders for a moment, perhaps the stilettos were just another cage, encompassing another pair of souls. It is a cruel metaphor and she could hear the defeaning silence of laughter ringing in her ears at the thought of it. Her life has always been one of irony and there was no point in fighting it because irony was all she had, and what use is struggling against something that can never be changed anyway.

When she straightens, the sun has crept a little higher, the light has grown a little stronger, and she realises absently that without the light, there would be no shadows.

A bird cries out in the distance.

Familiarity is a suffocating blanket that wraps itself around her and for a moment she finds herself unable to breathe. Routine is deadly but she welcomes it because like irony, it’s all she has. Stability is whisper in a crowd, a needle in a haystack, a grain of sand. It’s unreachable, but she’s willing to try.

Her Downfall meets her there.

She was exepecting him, because he, like the rain, she can never evade for long. She often thinks about what to say to him when he comes, but nothing ever seems right. Nothing ever did with them and there it was again - familiarity and routine and something she understood.

Her Downfall is a patient man. He is a persistent creature but even he cannot wait forever, which is strange because she supposed forever was one of the few things they had left. The pleasant greetings he craves are lost and her words hit him and twist his soul like the cold stab of betrayal and perhaps this is her greatest sin; by stubbornly rejecting the inevitable she has condemned them both to decades in limbo.

He crawls across hot coals, the skin on his paws long ago singed by bitter ashes and lies. She looks down from her throne of ice and maybe she might give him a chance but she’s just not ready to open her eyes yet. She’ll do it because she expects his return and she doesn’t want to think about what will happen if there never is a next time.

This day is different. Anger and venom and malicious words of heartless steel are suppressed by resolve of diamonds and all things unbreakable. She can be rock solid when she wants and today she wills it because she’s sick of it all; she’s sick of the deceit and the hurt and the pain.

He tells her that he she’s been crying and she says that she knows, even though she hadn’t realised, and she thinks he knows that but she doesn’t care. He tells her that it’s okay to cry and when she ignores him he says it again, a little louder this time.

She doesn’t respond and instead turns her back on him; turning her back is something she does understand and she prefers it that way. She can feel his hand on her shoulder before her lifts it; touch warm like a roasting fire, flickering and beckoning... cool like the delicious pool of oblivion, washing over her in soothing waves that, just for an instant, take the pain away.

When her eyes open again, her Downfall is watching her with a chocolate gaze that reminds her of when she was a child, when things were so much easier, and flames flare in her eyes.

She sees a man lost, forever searching. She sees a man with nothing but a name and not even that can he call his own because he’ll never know if it was even his. She sees a man with a tormented past and a foggy future. She sees a man with hopes and dreams and things that can only be grieved for. She sees a man that, despite the mere inches separating them, she can never get close to.

She sees herself, and it scares her.

She knows he sees a woman with fire and ice in her eyes. He sees a woman trapped in the dark, stumbling far from the path and trying desperately to find her way back. He sees a woman that can stand tall and still be crying inside. He sees a woman that can’t just be herself because she doesn’t know who that is anymore.

He sees, and she hates him for it.

She lashes out with swords that slice with the pain of a child that lost her mother too young and never got the life she deserved - blades that slash through his flesh with the intensity of hatred of a hundred suns that has been bubbling inside of her for as long as she can remember. She tears him apart with everything she has until he fights back and it’s then, when they’re both stripped down of guises and armory, that they give in.

As if angry words had not just been flowing molten lava from mouths dry from shouting, their lips meet and what should be a kiss of hope suddenly stands for everything wrong in the world. It is despair and it is death; it tells the tale of souls forever doomed, and how all that was meant to be never would.

Neither notices it then, but it’s a kiss of goodbye.

It’s sad and it’s tragic and in her language, she’s saying don’t make me hurt you, and for the first time he realises that she doesn’t want to, and that he has never been the only one wishing things were different.

They grasp at hopes that have never existed; both fighting the other every step of the way, both so determined that they are right and not once seeing that perhaps they both are wrong and the only thing there is between them is distance. But faith is a drug and they’ll crave it if it holds them higher.

She pulls back and she’s breathless again, but this time it isn’t suffocating, it’s drowning. Paradise is like quicksilver through her fingers and she’s grabbing at it but it’s no use. A whirlpool of emotion spins it away and she’s lost, flailing hopelessly and sinking, sinking in to the void of nothingness that has been tempting her for too long. Her Downfall can’t catch her because that’s all he is; her undoing, and, lungs screaming for air as she emerges with a final burst of defiance, she sees what has been there all along. Why he came had nothing to do with who she was and what she did - it was because he felt that in helping her he was helping himself, as they were twins in retrospect. They were nothing but an illusion. What they thought they felt was nothing but another pretend, a way to disguise the pasts they could never erase. They’d thought that they’d needed this but what they hadn’t seen was that they were dragging each other down. Killing each other.

Drowning.

His heat is addictive but she knows that by moving away she is saving them; moving closer would hold comfort for the evening, but what would follow after? One night spent tumbling over mindblowing peaks and floating as butterflies free and wild would only make it harder to leave it all behind. They’d be left with the smell of alcohol and sweat and sex and emptiness and she didn’t think she could handle much more of that. Voids were deadly in her world and if she put a stop to it now they might just make it through.

Her eyes have always been an image of truth. The wind is warm against her cheeks and she looks back into her Downfall’s soul, letting him see what he doesn’t want to but what he needs to.

When she turns her back to him, because turning her back is something she understands and she prefers it that way, he asks her if she ever wondered what they could have been if things had been different.

‘No.’

And it’s the truth, because she can’t stand that kind of pain.

[Yes, the truth hurts, but sometimes the truth is all we have]

Her Downfall leaves like the night and the stars, slipping away on the breeze, and she stands alone in the graveyard as she once had before he came, many years ago when her spine had been straighter and her chin held higher.

She waits until she cannot wait anymore, and then she falls to her knees and she cries because nobody’s there to see. Fluid crimson of hurt and sadness, that not even he, her tourniquet, could have stopped, sliding down porcelain skin to soak the grass with droplets that spoke for two souls that never got the fairytale ending they deserved. Stings like salt on an open wound and soothes like a mother’s tender caress, because she knows now that they were lucky to get a second chance.

Time passes on the wings of an eagle with excruciating deliberation, and hopes come and go with the sun and the showers. She doesn’t change because there is nothing left to change; there’s no reason to become any different and how she was is something she understands and she prefers it that way.

Fate had brought them together, and fate had torn them apart. Fate had always taken her there and because they had been about fate she allowed it to continue.

She still slips through the graveyard, silent and unnoticed, like mercury slithering up the glass to reach its decided destination, with a purposefulness that is reflected in her once silky stride. It is still always a warm morning, and the air, thick and heavy with moisture, still clings to her like a second skin. But her Downfall never comes, because she finally mustered the strength and the courage to say there wouldn’t be a next time, to push it away, and to face the truth. And in doing that, she had saved them both.

It ended in the spring. It begun with the spring and therefore it could only have ended with the spring. For the spring rain brought showers of memories through raindrops of the past, and the past was as hard to escape as it was to escape the rain.

You didn’t have to get wet to remember.











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