In the quiet hours between all that's not forever you go on a hunt for his secrets.

It's curiosity that drives you and cruelty and envy. He resists but you are stronger, have always been stronger for there is nothing holding you back, and the abyss lies before you vast and inviting – you do not fear the empty absence of light.

There is triumph when you fight off the last restraint and jump and it is not at all like you expected. You were supposed to invade this darkness but instead it invades you; you do not have time to realise your mistake before it sweeps you away but what does it matter when nothing could have made you turn back, admit defeat?

To him.

You came to find the war – it finds you. There's destruction and chaos and death, oh, so much death, and the fear you remember so well, only now it isn't your own. It could be. It feels the same but he didn't run. Stayed until the last moment and the last moment is all around you in fire and ashes and dust and nothing. You can smell it and taste it and hear not a single sound. The fire seems to be burning away your skin, but your skin is very far away while you watch ships falling apart, see crumbling cities and the death of a million stars, just before the end.

It's more than two civilisations that fall, and you feel the death of everyone. It tears a hole into you and you feel like dying until the void is filled with pain guilt rage hopelessness fear self-hate desperation helpless determination. These aren't your feelings, have never been, and you learn their names while they tear you apart. It should be glorious, this moment, but you're watching it from the wrong perspective and then it starts again only it's never ended, an endless loop where beginning and end do not match, and then you see her face, briefly, before she dies.

You should have laughed. You try but have no breath for it. There is no air in this place but while you're suffocating you're screaming and it's the only sound you can hear.

Until he takes your hand, giving you something to hold on to. The flames never reach him.

This is his mind, these are his feelings. They should destroy him like they destroy you, but he simply stands amidst all the things you can not see and they dance down into hell around him. In this chaos and madness he swallows all light and treats safely on paths that aren't there.

You see and feel him/yourself ending it and it kills you. There are no words for this – you curse him in a language that contains no sounds, and watching his dark silhouette in front of the raging fire you feel impressed and intimidated.

In a cosmos where you can't exist he's pulling all your strings.

There is nothing here for you to take. Time to go, shake it off, laugh about it the moment you find your voice, but you can't leave. There is no way leading out of this and no matter how far you go the scenery never changes. All the time he is near you, an anchor keeping you save. You see the reflection of fire in eyes that are watching you twist and turn and suffer the consequences of crimes you wanted to commit yourself, and he smiles – here in this place he is insane and beyond help, and you can only cling to him as the darkness inhales and everything is torn apart and falling away away away away away

It doesn't stop although there's nothing left. You feel yourself slipping away but he holds you, keeps you steady, keeps you from drowning. There are things lurking in the darkness but they do not touch him for this is the world he lives in and everything it could do to him has already been done.

His eyes are burning and he does not blink when the end comes again and again; For you it is too much and you try to look away, bury your face in the chest of the Oncoming Storm, the Destroyer of Worlds. He strokes your hair with tender, bloodstained hands and doesn't speak, but you have no hair here and no eyes to close.

You are falling, and you are all alone.

When you wake up he's watching you, calmly, and now you know what to look for you can see the hint of insanity in his eyes. It would be easy to break him, making him go that one last step but you already know that you never will. You do not dare.

There'd be nothing for you to live for in the world it would create.

When you break the contact and he soundlessly crumbles to the ground you look away.

February 1, 2008