We were reaching in the dark // Electra{tm}


And I will keep your warm, if you keep me grounded

Jack has never considered himself a frigid man.

But this is how he feels now. Glacial. Dormant and frozen and wrestling internally with the conflict that plagues him from the safety of the shadows that haunt her room. Something dead and cold and without sensation or ability to be bled. A paranormal abomination clinging at the skirt hems of things so far beyond his reach, thinking them to hold warm salvation and other pipedream promises he deludes himself into believing he might deserve.

She is not a flame of redemption. She is a stranger.

This is the truth hes struggling to bear. He lurks in the dark of her room, not watching but simply being present, and chides himself for an utmost fool. Hes invested in something that may not exist. He has shaped her into a false idol. There is no divine connection of their souls (she is not divine, he swallows this truth and it slices at his throat.) And while he knows the shape of hers, has cradled its strength between his palms and thought her glorious, he knows not the intent. She cannot be so cruel, cannot be anything less than sublime. He refuses to believe it. But...this is now a world where he has been wrong. It leaves him unsteady.

They know so little about one another. He has made assumptions, wishful fancies, and now pays the price for their inaccuracy. He has painted her in the color of his own light, the only one he knows and thought it miraculous at how well they overlay and blend. He wears whatever heart is left of him on his sleeve, but she - She is better suited for the shadows then even he, ghost as he is. She wields her secrets like weapons and he is astonished by how they cripple him. Perhaps it is better to stay a a rigid, chilled thing. To make himself of ice and smoke and leave it at that - she could not reach him then.

He ignores the tendrils of her power touching along his conscious. They pluck at him like greedy fingers, eager to pull him into her sight, to expose him as he broods. But he is not ready to be visible. Nor is he ready to sever the connection and completely return to the land of the dead. It is a masochistic twist of fate that this purgatory is the closest he feels to being alive.

Her mediumship is insistent, prodding and niggling at him until he has the urge to swat it away in a fit of irritation. It has been a year since he saw her. He keeps scratched tallies in a notebook now, having learned the passage of time does not follow the same rules it does for her. But it seems so much more inconsequential then it did before. A wasted effort. Another tool shes somehow used to trick him into faithful doting.

These corners of her room used to be his favorite place to hide. Today they feel like a cage slowly filling with water. But outsides the bars waits the pressure of an ocean depth and either way, he will most certainly founder and drown.

Eventually and with lagging procrastination he relinquishes his fight against her summons and allows the candlelight to paint his spectred form into existence.

But he does not look at her. Instead he stands on the opposite side of the room than last time, using her canopied bedpost like a shield. In his confusion, there is a natural instinct to draw his arms up to cross over his heart, but he fights it, choosing instead to stand at military attention, chin up but lashes dropped. He purposefully closes his shoulder in, distancing himself with body language in the only way he knows how to defend himself. It somehow offers the same illusion of protection.

He exhales through his nose, knowing shes aware of his entrance from the way the tingling of her power intensifies into a steady blanket of pressure.

When he finally speaks, it is too soft and too formal. Politeness tainted with doubt. He means to greet her with some civility, to drink in the color of her hes been dying of thirst for, to admit how greatly it pains him to associate her name with suspicion in the muddled knot of his thoughts now.

I wish you would not summon me like a lap dog, he says quietly instead. He still cannot look at her. I will always return to you if I can. You need not fear that. But I am not one of your subjects at your beck and call.

He takes a moment to inhale, trying and failing to will away the tension he knows hes exuding. My fidelity is unwavering, Your Highness, he tries for clarification, the muscle ticking in his jaw as he clasps hands together behind his back. But I do not appreciate it being tested.

We will never burn the light out
Luke Stackpoole


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