"Golden boy with feet of clay
Let me help you on your way
A proper push will take you far -
But what a clumsy lad you are!"
They find each other again years later.
When entire worlds lie ravaged by their feet. When stars burn too bright and then burn out above their heads. When all is but ashes and ruins and memories of screams.
What then is the significance of good and evil?
Darkness and light?
They are both veiled in grey and there are no real victors, only corpses and the haunting of friends. Of lovers. Of loss.
When everything and everyone are gone, what does it matter who won and who lost?
Though for the record he did.
But when she is brought before him in chains, head high but heart of clay, they are empty both.
All that remains of before is they.
He keeps her below ground, tethered to cold rock and darkness.
A calculated cruelty, for he knows her well, he knows his enemy, he has known her for so long.
Far above her prison he paces and spins on midnight marble, puts fists through walls and rents through minds. He crumbles mountains with a thought and steals fire from stars with a snarl. His scar burn dark with blood when he thinks of her. He fights it. And he is strong. The most powerful being in the galaxy. He holds for the longest time, but of course he cannot keep away.
She is strong too.
First he comes to mock her, snarl at her, wave the spectres of her dead in her face, look, look, it was all for nothing!
But her dead, they already surround her in the dark, and so she takes silent comfort in the presence of another living being. Even if it is him.
He knows it, and he hates it, yet still he comes. There is no one else to go to, is there? No one left who would understand.
As he rips the still beating hearts out of void lackeys up above he can only think of her.
Now he comes to her to speak of his father, his mother, how he loved them, how he killed them both. There is no one else to remember them but him and her, after all. And she bares her teeth at him and tells him she will hate him forever and beyond forever still, but then she adds threads of gold to his crimson tapestry, tell him tales of their bravery and light.
He listens, even though he pretends not to.
He can tear the gold out later.
He comes to talk of his design, his reasons, how he enjoyed killing all of her friends, and she lunges at him, throws herself towards him as far as her chains will allow, and she tells him she will rip his tongue from his mouth should he go on. But this close she can feel the heat of his madness, his rage, and she is so very very cold. She craves heat, and if she cannot have the sun then she can have this.
Even, even if it is him.
When next he comes he is met with a ghost of a smile on her lips.
Her hair is long now, and her robes in tatters. Her eyes are hard and wild in the darkness, and he thinks of beauty like leprosy on his soul. That cannot be. He swears to her that he will not come again, that for her smile she will rot down here alone. He will be back only to pick over her bones.
She laughs for the first time in a very long while. See you soon, Kylo Ren.
He stays away for the longest time, and they can feel each other all the while. He is raging into her skull, and she is whispering into his.
She does not beg though.
And then, when he cannot resist the pull any longer, she welcomes him back into her (his) cell with a smile he pretends not to see.
But she does not gloat.
He tells her of all his nightmares as he tears the rags from her body and holds her close. He treasures the warmth of her skin and the cold of the chains holding her bound. Her eyes are closed but he sees to it that she knows it is he sheathed deep in her mind and body. She will know that this is him. He will not allow her to dream, to wish, to remember anyone else.
Anyone but him.
Her back is rubbed raw against stone and there are teethmarks on her throat, fingerprints on her hips, but she whispers encouragements into his ear and ensures that her chains leave vicious welts across his neck. The heat is unbearable but she has been cold for so very long, and she burns herself on him again and again, frays and sings the frantic wings in her head, and she smiles, she cannot stop smiling.
Because now he cannot ever stay away, and now she does not want him to.
They both have each other in bonds.
He comes to her often now, and he lengthens her tethers. She strokes his hair, perhaps she tries to stroke the madness out of his head, but she only succeeds in stroking it deeper still. Sometimes her fingers turn to claws and she draws blood from his scalp. She enjoys watching the blood trickle down his forehead and flow through the canyon of the scar she once put on his face.
Then she holds him again and kisses it away and cries.
She will sleep with her head in his lap now, and her sleep is sound. She feels safer than ever before, here, enveloped by him, held still by him, trapped by him.
She hates him for killing everything she ever loved, and he hates himself for killing everything he ever loved, and now their hate warps and bends, turns into a flickering facsimile of love.
Twisted as it is, he is her lone reminder of happier times, and she is the light he will always abhor but covet nonetheless.
So when one day he hacks through her shackles, melts them with one violent thrust and red shadows rippling across his face, she does not hesitate. This time, this time she accepts his offered hand.
It seems like such a small insignificant step now, to finally
(years too late)
move to his side.
Go from dungeons to dais.
And so now by day they sit side by side on thrones of bones, surveying their wastelands, king of clay, queen consort. And by night they tear into each other and away from each other. Forgets, remembers again, forgets. An eternal whiplash of the mind and their bodies stealing from each other and their sanity waxing and waning.
Bound together by hate, by need, by something they want to call love. Twisted alchemy, a tainted alloy. It is theirs.
They only have each other now.
I am currently struggling with a sequel to my little-read Reylo downer Nothing Gold Can Stay, but I saw The Last Jedi the other day and I just churned this out because wow. Blew me away.
The Golden Boy verse is from Stephen Donaldson's Lord Foul's Bane.
English isn't my first language so if you spot a mistake please let me know.