22 October 2012 @ 08:05 pm
[dust to dust] transformation  

 

She saw him in the crowd and hesitated—could it be? Of course, who else?—but he approached her. Her hair was up, and it was dark; she could hide her face in the shadow of her bonnet. Why?

--can’t say.

“Sad, isn’t it?” He’s changed so much. It’s in his voice, it’s everywhere. “This war… Parents and children and lovers, all torn away. Aerë will feel this in her bones for years to come. I don’t think anyone has been spared, in one way or another.”

“You, too?” Has he forgotten her voice? But no, some part of him twitches and springs to life, pushing him to speak.

“I was the latter. Of a sort, perhaps. I never expressed it to her properly, but I should have. She was…” he pauses, lips ghosting a smile. “Well. I always seem to have plenty of words on hand, but for some reason, they’re never enough. I lost her two years ago, and she kept me together. I’m not a good person. She was my conscience and she knew me better, I think, than I knew myself. During these last few years, I think I learned some of those things she saw.”

He pauses. “She was the best woman I ever knew. Not the brightest, nor the most beautiful, not the strongest or the most refined. Yes, she was all of those things and more, but I’ve known a wide variety of people. At first, I didn’t quite understand her, but with her it became mutual. She let me in as I did the same, and I’m not sure where I fell for her. All I know about that is when she died, a part of me went, too. Still, I think it awoke something within me when I snapped out of it. Something… Something that reminds me of her.” She closes his eye briefly. The memory of her passes him, almost tangible. Warm, beautiful, loving. She may not have been the brightest, strongest, most beautiful or refined, but in his eyes, she was. He saw the good parts of himself reflected in her, and he also saw everything he was not.

She gave him his humanity.

“Do you miss her?”

“There isn’t a second that goes by when I don’t. It’s not an obsessive thing, but I somehow feel the loss. I’m aware of it, somewhere within me. I used to try to avoid it, but now it is a part of me as much as she was. There is not a day I don’t wish she were with me, but it’s become bearable. Nowadays, I simply hope I have turned into someone she would be proud of.” The words stick in her throat; she blinks the tears away. “Sometimes I wonder if I have changed too much. She might not find me the same person. I am not certain she would feel quite the same about me.”

--She would. “But I’m sorry. I do tend to keep going once I’ve started. I do say, my dear… You seem familiar. Do I—”

Shots ring out to commemorate the dead. She slips away into the crowd before he can stop her.