What shall I start off with? Oh, right. Duhh.

DISCLAIMER: Garth Nix rocks my socks. He also owns the Keys to the Kingdom stuff. Which means I don't. Sad.

So I've had this one written for a while, just haven't gotten around to posting. Kind of hoping for some reviews on the others. Erm...(I was being very unsubtle there.) Anyway, here is the next part. (Ie, the third part.)

This one goes up almost to the end of Mister Monday. Noon and Dusk are reacting to the escape of the Will--everyone is, and it's kind of hard for the two Times to keep up their relationship.

Let's see, music. Jason Mraz's "Absolutely Zero". Gorgeous song about taking blame and time and changes.

Have at it. I still want reviews. Please and thank you. Enjoy. :D



(Gauntlet Series, 3rd installment)

"We cannot stay like this."

Monday's Dusk, still dressed in his dark suit, had just walked through the doorway. The sun was peaking over the horizon, and, as was customary, Monday's Noon had just awoken—about to trot off to Dusk's room.

However, here was Dusk, his top hat in his hands, fully clothed and not quite able to meet the other Denizen's eyes.

"What do you mean?"

Noon searched his companion's face, dove deep into the orbs of Dusk's eyes, searching for mirth. There was none. Not now. Not with the Will free, and the Architect once again inserting her mighty hand over the Morrow Days. There had not been happiness for quite some time, and Noon had sensed it.

Now confirmation of that had come.

"I mean what I say: we cannot be together."

The tall, tanned Denizen shook his head, grinning uncertainly. He stood from his bed, even as Dusk gestured for him to stay, and walked toward the handsome, stylish Time. He could think of nothing to say when he reached his friend, and instead tried to cup the oval of the other's cheek. A gloved and gauntleted hand reached up and laid its weight over Noon's, slowly drawing his palm away from the pale flesh it encompassed.

"Please, you are only making it harder," intoned Dusk. Though he removed Noon's hand from his cheek, he did not release it. The way he peered up into Noon's face, looking for something he could grasp on to, something familiar, made Noon's heart thump faster, and his lungs freeze. He could tell that whatever they had been—the shred of hope Dusk wanted to find so desperately—was not visible, did not exist. "Please."

Noon bit his lip. Snorted. He refused to believe that Dusk was being serious.

"You act as though this was a one night stand," he said after a beat.

"And, in a sense," Dusk replied, "it has been. For everyone. Not just us, but for the Morrow Days and all of us in the Kingdom—a one night stand. A one night stand devoid of the Architect." He shook his head, turning away, trying to pull his hand from Noon's grip. "And now that her Will—"

"Only part of it!" Noon hoped to reassure his companion, but did no such thing.

"And now that the Will has escaped," Dusk ignored him, trembling slightly, "It shall be done. Yet the Morrow Days will do anything to stop it. There is no room for us in that equation."

"Nonsense," the Denizen pulled Dusk close to him, resting his chin against the soft hair crowning the other's head. He felt wetness in the crook of his neck, and realized that Dusk was crying. "There is plenty of room."

But already, Noon was aware of how little there was. Their touches had become brief and stiff, a wall between them created by the work Monday forced upon them. Sleep became more prominent when they were not busy, as their patrols lasted longer, overlapping by two hours instead of twenty minutes, in search of word or sight or body of the Architect's Will, not to mention an Heir. They had less time alone, and when they did, it was not the same. Dusk was right. Now that an Heir had to be chosen—and stopped—there would be no frolicking.

Once again, Noon felt Dusk's eyes upon him, and once again, saw him searching for something.

"We are not the same," Dusk said quietly after a moment, placing his head lightly back on Noon's chest. "Not the same people. Not anymore."

"That does not mean that I do not love you."

"Aye," the dark-clad Denizen sighed. He hesitated; then quickly kissed Noon on the lips, slipping from his friend's hold before he could react. "Aye. But do you? And do I love you?"

Now it was Noon's turn to cry.


When Dusk confronted him, standing between the Commissioners and Arthur, blocking Noon's progress, the anguish and confusion became rage that bubbled up and exploded from him.

As Dusk mockingly smiled, Noon could not hold himself back. The word brother echoed from Dusk's sweet lips, the ones Noon had caressed and licked and touched every day for hours, once upon a time. They were not brothers, they never would be. Blasted charisma—it meant nothing, Monday could not force Noon to hear such lies. He was not related to a treacherous devil the likes of Dusk.

How dare he turn against the Morrow Days? Noon thought, savagely gnashing his teeth and charging forward at the Denizen he had once loved.

A tiny voice, in the back of his head, grew louder and stronger with every word and every step, but Noon somehow managed to ignore it. Later, however, it would haunt him. Later, he would hear the words whenever he saw Dusk. Now, it simply began to fester, feeding the vile plant that would grow to torment him so. The vile question that he would deny asking, no matter how many times it rang, pure and true, in his head—the real reason he could not stand to hear Dusk's voice, or be called his brother (they were not brothers!), or see him for even the briefest of moments.

How dare he turn on me?


Quite. Thoughts?

Sawlt. Suger.