dark night is vanished with her stars

Trigger Warning: death themes


Jack cannot know what a miracle he is, in a life that has always been filled with pain, and suspicion, and betrayal. Even if he can tell her so little about himself, even if he has no history to share with her, his presence here speaks volumes. His openness, his vulnerability, speaks volumes. She can see that he has laid himself bare before her, and where only a little while before that frightened her, now it feels like a gift that she does not deserve. For he has just as much to risk, she knows, as she. For there was danger even in death, and there was a possibility he would now remember her forever, while she eventually passed beyond, herself…and forgot.

Perhaps the goddess sent him to her, after all.

Because she is lonely. She has never admitted it to herself, and maybe never will, but she has been lonely all her life. She was raised by people who told her constantly what she was, but never allowed room for her to learn who. Her life was defined by duty and politics and a relentless, suffocating grip on her emotions, that allowed her to act without considering how it would make her feel. She was groomed to marry for alliance, to send soldiers to their deaths, to bear children she could never love, for fear of shielding them too much from what they must become.

She confesses to him, everything she can bear to say aloud. The wariness of her peers at court is a small thing, honestly, in the grand scheme of her troubled life, but Jack is moved by it. He is so near now, she can see the shadows cast by the stubble of his beard, set permanently onto his face at whatever stage of growth he’d had when he died. He stands with his hands on either side of her face as if shielding her from the courtiers’ comments, their curiosity, their motivations. It is shocking, to have him this close. It is thrilling, too. She feels something stir within her that she has never felt before. She can imagine his breath on her face, when he leans close.

When he steps away again, her skin is aglow, lit from within by whatever fire he is kindling. She takes a steadying breath.

“Ruling does indeed sound tedious, especially without such charming bedroom visitors,” she concedes with a smile that stretches further than she has ever allowed, her head tilting coyly, candlelight flickering in her eyes. She is not so tightly wound that she cannot flirt with him, even if it is not so innocent as they are pretending. And it is truly a relief that she does not have to consider such obligations. That she might serve her new country in less soul-consuming ways. That she might spend her evenings as she wishes.

For he is handsome. Electra is amazed that he announces himself as such, as he has given no indication before this of having any vanity, but even this is somehow enticing. It is as if with every word, he is becoming more seductive – if she did not already know it to be impossible, she might have suspected him, for how well he suited her.

“Maybe…maybe I have gained much more than I have lost,” she breathes, feeling shocked at herself, and intoxicated by her own boldness. And it is her turn to step into his space, pushing herself off the dresser to stand before him, near enough that if he were really there, their chests might just touch. She is watching his lips, watching his eyes, attentive to the way his eyelashes lower over them so softly, casting long shadows over his cheeks. It is unfair beyond dreaming, that she cannot follow their lines across his skin with her fingers. She is just about to tell him so, when he is no longer there.

It is so sudden she staggers forward, as if he’d been holding her upright.

She stands still a moment, fingers splayed, not breathing. Her magic reaches out, but it is like reaching out into perpetual darkness, without so much as a breath of wind to tell her which way to go. It is just like the last time, and yet it is not at all like the last time, and Electra finds herself kneeling on the floor, staring that the place he’d stood. There is a tear sliding down her cheek, and she wants to swipe at it impatiently, but merely touches it, instead.

She is completely alone.

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