"All The Words of Love"
She stood testimony to her sacrifice of blood and tears and flesh, for even in her body's spirit form she still had the mark of the swords about her. Her soul stood pinned in agony, her being slaughtered and penetrated by cold, merciless iron. Iron meant for witch's skin, iron meant to keep magic at bay. Iron kept her dead and alive.
On the seventh day, she sung herself a body out of clay and in it she placed her soul and its burden, a cold and heartless prison. Behind the gates, she set her own body, out of place and out of even her reach, for the iron had done its work well. Magic muted, body and soul mutilated and spirit ripped to shreds, she would not move.
He was not a healer, and he was desperate to save her. He knew no herb lore, no magical cures, or ways to free a body made eternal from a curse. He could not mend a woman's body, but he knew how to soothe it in other ways. With every half-held breath, for every whispered cry of pain, for every tear she shed…he agonized.
They fell for the last time together, entwined, searing white and burning into each other like stars colliding. Through the sweat and pain and joy he called her angel, and she smiled a bitter smile. "For you," she whispered through a throat torn with screams, "Only for you."
And he tasted the truth of it in her tears.
There is a point in a relationship at which words are no longer necessary for communication. They have passed far beyond that point, and in fact had reached that point to begin with, at the very first word of 'hello'. Words are burdensome, clumsy and imprecise. With a glance they assess each other's thoughts, with a smile they plumb each other's state of mind.
One understands the words the other never truly says, comprehends the breadth and depth of emotion that exists within the other. One protects the other's innocence, hears the song just beginning to write itself in his heart. Respect and admiration display themselves at the point of a sword. Gentle mischief dances in the barest hint of a smile.
They are not quiet because they have no words to reach each other. They are quiet because they understand each other too well.
He wants to devour her whole. He wants to set her alight and watch her burn slowly and sensuously beneath him. When he speaks to her, he transforms his voice to liquid velvet, tastes her name upon his tongue like sugared berries. Every word is a caress, intimate and captivating. There are times when he feels he could die in flames for want, for need of her.
She greets him with cool and hostile civility. He responds with a hum, a purr, the throbbing of a voice seeped with desire. She is an aspiration made intoxicating by its impossibility, and he has never learned of 'never'.
There are cases, supposedly, when one fetus of a pair of twins devours the other one in utero.
Sometimes, she wonders what it would have been like. She wonders how it would have felt if she'd done it to Miki. To have him permanently and completely inside her, unable to escape. The image of her, like a tiger, gracefully encircling him, opening a mouth wide and crushed velvet-red, lined with white, welcoming teeth. Swallowing him until they melt together, like two bubbles melding into each other while airborne. It would feel perfect, whole, like Nirvana. Twins were never meant to be separate.
Sweetness is a virtue. Happiness is another.
He finds her laughter addictive, heady as sweet, effervescent wine. He teases her about her cooking skills, or lack thereof, when they share a bento box made mostly of pre-prepared foods. She stuffs an octopus-shaped hotdog in his mouth and rice down his shirt, and they both engage in culinary warfare. When she explains to the teachers in a long, convoluted, and entirely impossible account of the event, he smiles fixedly, attempting to look reproving and failing miserably.
Sometimes he wants to spend all of forever and the next day holding her hand as she skips stones on the surface of the pond, cursing it dramatically and inventively when she fails to make the stones 'hop' even once. Most of the time he's busy trying to catch up to her untiring pace. When he catches her, she's holding flowers and tying them into a crown, and she tells him that tomorrow she'll be making him an onion one to match his title.
Laughter is a gift. Hers is a treasure.
She asked him why he loved her, one night in the gaudy sequin-sparkle on velvet ceiling that was his living room. Or bedroom, really, she swore to heavens he slept on those pure white couches, bathed in the kitchen sink, ate dinner with his eyes on artificial heavens. Afterglow, like blush wine flowing through her breasts and collarbones, warmed her into a passive sort of content, a dizzy, drunken luminescence.
He'd laughed softly, richly, and said nothing at all. At the time, she'd accepted it as an older man's response to a young girl's silly inquiry. Now she wondered if it meant she'd never really been loved by him at all.
She had a picture of him framed on her dresser beside her bed. Small, elegant, silver-gilded, like a window into a world she had only yet to discover. When she realized, once, shivering with the creeping, twisting remnants of a nightmare, that she barely even knew him, this strange, handsome, (dark?dangerous?frightening?) man she was engaged to, she had felt something small and whisperingly cold wrap around her heart like a silver ribbon. She felt like she was a stranger, some other girl, some other girl who would be marrying a man in the spring and beginning a new life far away from her, herself. It was a queer thing to feel disconnected to herself. She saw her future in faded grey ancient photographs, dreamlike. She did not want to lose all of her colors.
So many reasons to love this man. So many good reasons to marry him. He was, for one thing, intelligent. He was a man of business, competent and charismatic. Her father, dying slowly in a room that smelled of sick and desiccated roses, praised his quiet efficiency. He was kind, unhurrying. He was seductive, he made her feel warmly ripe, a flower on the verge of fruit. He gave molten, smoldering kisses that blazed themselves into her. A good husband, one to care for her and tend her gently.
So when something tiny and birdlike cried out in desperation in her chest, she fought it with those reasons, choked its struggles with firmly unwavering strength. It was still in its infancy, and could not begin to fight against her, this stranger, this cold, trusting woman she watched in the windows at night, the stars burning through her reflection. She could kill it with no regret.
Even if he did not love her, there were so many reasons to love him.
It struck her, the day afterward, that she had grown accustomed to the light weight of the chain around her neck, the locket's cool metal in the hollow of her throat. She'd been so used to its presence, in a state of near-constant awareness of it, actually, that having it be suddenly and so finally gone was disconcerting. Her fingers swam through her hair in the evening, trying to find a clasp that was no longer there. Oftentimes, she'd reach for it- to caress it, feel the tiny swell of it beneath the fabric of her jacket, and touch nothing but smooth and empty cotton.
That locket had been an albatross, a five-hundred pound gold weight around her heart. She missed it, how she missed it, already. And yet...
Something in her couldn't help but rejoice that it was gone.
There are dreams she's had while under a man that could frighten the most potently lusty of her Victors. She's had visions during climax, searing black and shot with red, dreams to fill her body with desire. What she desires is not love, not anymore. Resolution, perhaps. She's repented and repented, screamed and died and arose from more ashes than any five phoenixes combined. Her hatred is sharp and burning cold, ice as barren and tearing as blades she can still feel shredding her into jagged, raw edges of a person.
With this girl, this soft and fragile girl-prince, she can sometimes picture herself ripping into her like a flurry, a maelstrom of bladed, jagged lust. She can picture herself killing her, she can picture herself bringing her to climax as violently as a collision of stars. She wants her beneath her, on top of her, any way she can possibly get her. She doesn't waste her thoughts with questions of whether these desires are 'right' or 'wrong'. Someday, she knows, her Victor will need the services of the Bride.