by Thyme In Her Eyes

Author's Note: A short piece based on the BBC adaptation of Gormenghast (yes, I have read the books too and am aware of the differences) and revolving around the relationship between Fuchsia and Steerpike. Also, I own none of the characters featured and am making no profit from this. Enjoy your read, and remember that all feedback is appreciated.

-- CUCKOO --

He has crept into her heart, stolen into it uninvited and unwanted and as stealthily as he made his way into her attic so many years ago. She is older now, but her feelings are as raw as ever and her confusion is an ache – her most secret and treasured place has been violated, and she doesn't know what to do. When she flies into a temper and pushes him away, it hurts. Often, she can't do anything but listen to his words and let them weave black silk around her. Her blood and her pride rebels: he has no place there in her heart, no right to be there either, but he makes it his home. And her loneliness bows, then her caution falters. Unbidden, his space in her blushing heart grows bigger and bigger each day, and she trembles and rages in fear. This is not what she wants, she tells herself, but his call sounds deep inside her. It holds her down, forcing her to admit that she can't let him go.

She can't tell if what she hears is truth or fantasy. Perhaps it's neither, and perhaps she can't bear to know. But if it's love, then it isn't easy and it isn't comfortable. They pull each other apart in their own ways, and there's nothing natural in it; not in her eyes. She imagines that in his, maybe this is all there ever was. He settles into her and puts his feet up, and his grin appeals to her and coaxes a laugh. She rarely knocks the ground from under him now, but when she does, she devastates. But whatever it may be between them, she fervently wishes that she won't wake one day and find that it was all a story. Something precious inside would break if this was dreamed up after reading a fairytale before bedtime.

He's attentive, and sometimes it seems as if he knows her better than she knows herself, but he never listens to the words she can't quite force out. Instead, he pushes close and dear things from her heart and favour to make room for himself. He shoves out everything that doesn't connect to him and can't serve him, and smiles with grim satisfaction as he hears them shatter far below. She tends her heart often, and nurses the things dear to her, the few things she has in this world, and he is almost all there is now, and he is gaping and greedy. Wanting all she can give, and to be so needed and so alone at the same time is all he needs to win her. Fuchsia feels this and mourns, but can't understand it anymore than she truly understands him, and his place in her heart grows ever more alongside the blue and unhappy portion of her soul. She half-sees this, but all the same she can't give him up.

Fuchsia knows she ought to never give up her heart to him, but also knows that he can be clever and sly, and likes to have his own way. It isn't hard to imagine him as not being above stealing. His smile can be so wicked as he quietly promises her all that and more.

-- FIN --