A/N: I'm not sure what I was thinking when I wrote this one. It was 3 A.M. the day after semester finals. Whatever. It's actually one of my favorites where I just sat down and ranted and got it all out in one breath without stopping to double check anything (in Sam's PoV), bleary eyed and everything. I really enjoyed writing it - there's sort of bizarre humor mixed into it. I hope you enjoy it as well. Review, regardless of what you think. They make Belles happy.
Disclaimer: Garth Nix is a genius and I smack myself for not thinking of it earlier.
Everyone calls me a hero, but I don't feel like one, much.
It was all her. All I ever did was make a fool and an idiot of myself trying to help her any way I could, stumbling and tripping over the temptation to run whenever I looked a Dead Hand in the eye.
Prince Sameth the coward. And still everyone cheers when they see me in the streets, like I've done something worth bowing down for. A few of the women actually cry when they see me and look like they need to resist the temptation to kiss my feet. I feel like hitting them all upside the head a good two times or so, or maybe educating them on what I actually did – or actually did not do.
I wish I could have done more. I wish I were half the man my father was. He was frozen for Charter knows how many years, and after my mother revives him, he asks no questions and even risks his life to the death for her and the 'greater good' everyone's always talking about. If it were me, first of all, I would have wanted a good pint of whiskey or so, second of all, I would've locked myself up in that very ship I was imprisoned on and go into bloody deep denial for about another two hundred years or so, and lastly, I'd have wanted to know why in the bloody hell I'd been sitting there like a figurehead for the last two-hundred years, naked, no less.
And here I am again, rattling on for my life's worth, left in the end with nothing but words. That's all I'm good for. No wonder I'm still alone.
And then there's Lirael. She isn't how she once was. I mean, she was always quiet and a bit reserved, but when we were on the mission to find Nicholas, she would smile at me sometimes before we went to bed. And then right before we had to do a daring big task, she would reach over and kind of squeeze my hand, like she knew how damn scared I was. But I didn't care if Lirael knew. There was something about her… about her presence, I guess, that made me feel comfortable with just being Sam. Not Prince Sameth, not Abhorsen-in-waiting Sam, not Sam the coward, the damn stupid idiot Sam; just Sam. And she was just Lirael, and I felt like we had a bond deeper than even Ellimere and me.
But now, all she does is go on missions for the leftover Dead. When she's home, she sits in her room and only comes out for mealtimes, staring off into the distance like she's waiting for somebody to come back. Sometimes I get sort of angry that she doesn't feel content with me, and I'll go up to her room meaning to barge in and demand that she talk to me again, and then I get frustrated at myself for being the insensitive prat I can be, and usually the outcome of all this is I find myself back in my room, staring at the magical flying frog contraption I made back in the day when things were different. Back when I didn't know she was my bloody aunt, and could actually think of her being slim figured with a pretty face without feeling like a dirty little kid. The word 'aunt' brings all sorts of damn baggage with it.
If she had been a cousin, at least I still could have married her or something. And then I wouldn't have this stupid pressure on me to 'get married, Sam, quick, before your heroic deeds fade away from the minds of young ladies!' Well tell the young ladies to go hike up the Ninth Gate, because I will die a lonely old man, dammit, Charter give me strength.
I know she's waiting for the Dog to come back. The Dog, who already said her goodbyes and who also told me that Lirael would do just fine without her. Well she isn't, you black canine, and so I say you should get your furry animal ass back here and cheer her up for me again.
That's me being selfish. I mustered up the one pint of courage I have in me the other day and strode into her room. She didn't even look at me when I said that I had made something for her, just sort of waved her hand at me and mumbled something incoherent. Her eyes were red; she'd been crying again.
I kind of went out all awkward, ducked into the first room I saw, and haven't gone back in since. What do I say? What can I do? I can't hug an aunt, much less kiss her like I sometimes felt like doing 'back in the day'.
All I know is I didn't do anything to help the cause against Hedge and Nicholas and the evil black thing in the spheres; I'm not doing anything to help anyone right now except brood in my room and make more useless contraptions that'll probably plague some black market someday because they were made by 'Prince Sameth the hero'; and I'm not going to ever do anything except watch Lirael and be silent… as long as she is.
I've made up my mind.
Except some days, my lungs feel as if they're about to burst – with all the pent up energy I guess – and I have to go out and scream. Like yesterday, in the library. Except that was an accident and I didn't know where I was.
It's raining today, and I've been making a mechanical bird that can deliver messages. I've already nicked myself with my knife several times. It's one of those days that everyone is sleeping, and I quietly slip outside, jumping the fence into the back courtyard reserved for badminton. The rain is soaking through the thin layers of cloth, wetting my skin, my hair, running down my face. The thunder is loud, and lightning briefly lights up the sky. I'm glad for the weather, the Kingdom's tears masking my own. I get a strange sensation that the rain is seeping to my innards, pushing everything that I've held in for the last year out. It's kind of a slow process, though, so I open my mouth, feeling the rain pound down my throat. And I scream. It comes out as a sort of a gargle because of the rain, but I don't care.
It feels great, better than standing outside of stupid Lirael's door raising my stupid fist trying to knock and failing. I don't notice the whole gardening class staring at me.
On one of the lightning flashes, my eyes stray up to Lirael's room in the North Tower, and I think I see her at the window again. The funny thing is, she seems to be tilting her head out the window too, screaming just like me. I can't tell because the wind is too heavy. But it feels nice to be doing the same thing she is.