A/N: I saw this musical recently on the stage, with my sister (Phantom of Avenue B) playing the piano, and fell instantly in love. As I write, I am listening to the soundtrack. So here you are – a fanfiction. I hope you enjoy. It. Heh.
I am the goddess of love.
More directly, I am a goddess. The lives of mortals do not matter to me – they are toys, for amusement, nothing more. They last for a short time and then break, but there are always more of them. Attachment is not necessary. In my…line of work, so to speak, it requires a certain amount of manipulation. And to manipulate, you must not care for lives of those you are messing with. Especially if it may mean death for your subject.
Papa Ge and I have a constant competition. After all, death and life are two things that are very at odds. So when he protested her wishes for the love of a Grand Homme, I saw opportunities for some friendly – or not – competition. After all, the girl in question was only a peasant – her death, if events went that way, would be a small loss to few. So a bet on the life and love of the girl would be a worthy game – a way to keep myself entertained during the harvest seasons, when boys and women were too busy to flirt with each other and get into a place where I could work with them.
So we made a pact, and it was agreed. We arranged for the boy in question to crash on a stormy night, and for only the girl to be there. Agwe was happy to provide for us. Maybe too happy. Agwe's always been a bit…over enthusiastic. All went off as planned, and the girl began to care for the boy under our stern (but subtle) guidance.
How was I supposed to know that I would become fond of the little mortal?
I watched her through all those dark and stormy nights when Asaka tossed the earth and Agwe set the winds to howling. I watched as she stroked his fevered brow, mopped sweat from his face, spooned sweet, herbal tea into his slack mouth. And my heart began to ache for her as she wasted away without food or sleep for love of this boy. I slipped into her hut, invisible, and I looked at her face, so kindly and watchful, caring for this boy no matter the cost, though she hardly knew him and only from a small, weak childish hope that maybe he would love her for her care. I knew too much of the ways of men, and I pitied the girl and her struggle. Gently I reached out and placed a cool, soothing hand on her furrowed brow as she bent over him, tucking dark hair behind her ears. "Sleep," I whispered, and then I must confess I cheated. I helped him along, helping him survive out of a fragile hope that somehow he would love her for saving him when he woke.
And then he was snatched away, and as I watched the girl make a pact with Papa Ge for her soul, her life, for the boy's, I found myself regretting this stupid wager. And as she argued heatedly with her grandparents to allow her to go, to follow her heart away to the boy and the love that I now understood she could never survive, I realized that her love for the Grandhomme was more powerful than anything I could do. With the power of her desperate love powering her feet, she went from her small village out into the wide world, and as I watched her, her eyes alight with the powerful force that was my domain, I realized how foolish I was.
How could I claim to rule a force so wild, so powerful, that on the whim of the bet of a goddess it would take the reins in its teeth and gallop away faster than I could follow? I had no control over the situation anymore, and I could not pretend that I was even part of it anymore. All I could do was watch, and wait to see the effect my foolish, selfish whims had on the life of a sweet, simple peasant orphan.
I watched as they fell in love, wanting to reach my hand out and pull the girl away from the man who would betray her trust, seize her to me and shout, "Papa Ge, you win! I will not be party to destroying a child's life for a mere bet. I do not want her to die." But that was weakness, and a goddess cannot afford weakness. All I could do was watch, as she sealed her doom, watch as he betrayed her, watch as all my careful disdain, all my distance from the lives of the mortals I manipulated melted away in the face of one small plea from a beautiful young girl, her face dirty and ragged with sorrow and betrayal that had shortened what would have been a lovely life.
And suddenly, I was no different than she, and she was no different than me, and it hurt to feel that distance vanish, my excuses that she was only a mortal and somehow less than me evaporate. If she could feel such love that she would die for it, than how could I, who had never loved, never understood that emotion that I claimed to rule, claim to be any greater? Truly, I was the lesser, and I was lowly before her love, the power that she wielded and had stolen from me. I was tempted to turn my back on her, to let her wither and die out of memory as I lived on forever.
But I led her away, and let her survive on as a beautiful tree like the one that had begun her life so many years earlier. And as I turned my face from the tree that had been a lovely, loving girl, a little Ti Moune, I retreated away from the village to live on, manipulating, and twisting the lives of mortals to sad and angry endings. And while she died to love, her life ended for the sake of emotion, I lived on forever, unfeeling, uncaring, never understanding that concept that a simple orphan grasped so completely.
And I knew that I would never love, and that for all my claims at being the goddess of that emotion, it was not truly me, but it was those who could feel and think as mortals do, those brief, hot flashes of emotion that do not come from thought but something deeper. All the peasant girls and boys, old women and young men. And especially one small girl in a tree, born alone and dying alone, one small Ti Moune – the true goddess of love.