dark night is vanished with her stars [m]

Trigger Warning: death themes, some sexy language? I guess? Instagram and Facebook would censor this.


She has turned her back on him, has directed her attention to other things, and yet…she can still feel his presence, there. It is like a string has been drawn tight, thrumming imperceptibly with the vibration of some unexpected note. It should not be so hard to hear the disquiet in his voice, the wounded overtone – it should not be so hard to do what she knows she must. But it is hard, turning back to him, watching the image of him waver and then flare back into clarity like a beam of light in a dusty room, that flicker of hope brightening his eyes, and hers. She finds herself afraid that she might push too hard. That he might leave.

But he does not leave. Not yet. He draws nearer to her, motes of light sparking around him like escaping embers, his gaze direct, intense. His expression is almost unreadable, but Electra can sense the hesitance awakening in him, that first breath of distrust. The tether between them feels so tight it might snap. She takes an unconscious step forward, to slacken it.

And it is strange, that they are so close. It is strange to have him looking down at her – she realizes, belatedly, that when they’d been kneeling she hadn’t noticed he was tall. He had seemed so small, then…like a fragile, broken little boy. He does not look like a boy, now. He looks like a man – he is a man.

Was. Is?

She swallows, lifts her chin. Her spine is steel, her eyes are liquid gold. There is fire in her heart and the blood of queens in her veins. But she has never stood like this, looking up at a man without the intention to subdue him, her diaphanous silks clinging to the peaks of her breasts, the swell of her hips, leaving everything and nothing to the imagination. She has never been so undressed, literally or figuratively, before anyone but her slaves. It is…unnerving. He steps into her space, lays his hand beneath hers in a pantomime of touch. His hands dwarf hers, and for the first time, she feels small.

“Please,” she whispers thickly, watching the mouth that forms the words, her name. Her magic makes it sound as if he speaks against her ear, but also faraway – intimately close and impossibly distant, all at once. “I am only trying to protect you. And…and myself.” Even with her growing magic, she has to search for the words, and they come out breathy with the effort. There is a brief tremor in her hand when the weight of his eyes lifts from it, and settles on her face.

A protracted beat of silence. Then: “Is there?” She asks, “More than one thing?” There is no judgement in her tone, only a tentative curiosity, an ambivalence. She finds that she both wants, and does not want, to be important to him. She knows it is ill-advised to want anything, when it comes to this man. Dead man, she reminds herself. It would be best if they parted ways, fondly and with well-wishes for their respective journeys, secure in the knowledge they had each done the other a favor. But that seems impossible in this moment, with green and golden light refracting over the walls like dancing stars. It seems impossible when his magic is so guileless, his smile so gentle, his voice so near and far.

“It seems a great deal has changed,” she maintains, her own smile mirroring his, uncertainly. “And with your familiar’s name, perhaps I might find out more about who you were. I am not so easily deterred.” Her smile twitches up into a smirk, a hint of playfulness emerging through the practiced veil of command. Then she laughs, surprising herself.

“My voice, or my accent?” she queries slyly, turning again, but only long enough to replace the emerald in its box. She leans back against the dresser, props her weight up on one elbow with a smirk. But her wry humor slips a little, as she considers his request. Was it wise, to tell him more about herself? So many in the castle were curious, but she had evaded every attempt at familiarity with deflection and, at times, lies. Would confiding in a ghost be better, or worse? “My history is…not a thing to be relished,”she admits, equivocating. “Like you, the person I was in the past seems very far from who I am, now. Worlds away. In fact, I suspect I find myself now in the world you came from, alone but for my brother–” she pauses, shakes her head, “Familiar, I mean. I still misplace the words.” Her gaze drops to his feet, her free hand worries at a fold of silk. When she lifts her eyes again, he has drawn very near.

She wants to tell him, she realizes. Perhaps it is because he has nothing to gain, by knowing. He cannot exploit her, he cannot trade her secrets for status, he cannot touch her, much less hurt her. More importantly, she does not believe he wants to. “I was the heir to the throne, on my world,” she begins in a near-whisper, as if afraid the shadows might overhear. “Destined to rule a kingdom of mountains, and ice, and stone. If I had stayed, I would undoubtedly be married by now. A mother. But I…left, and left that fate behind. The King of Shaman admitted me into his court, but I am a novelty. These people find me very strange.” She smiles faintly, not blaming them for it. “Strange” was far more flattering than what she deserved.


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