DISCLAIMER: Not Garth Nix. Therefore not mine. I wish.
Angst. Yeah. Post-Monday, and they've been switched. The Heir, Arthur, has replaced Monday's Noon with Monday's Dusk, and "demoted" Noon to Dusk. Let's see how they deal with that.
This is the second to last in the Gauntlet Series, I believe.
Previously, I rec'd "My December" for this fiction, but then I listened to We Sing. We Dance. We Steal Things. Jason Mraz's third album, and have found that the lyrics and music of "Details in the Fabric" blend beautifully and perfectly to the story and plot. Perchance you'll have a listen? (Ignore the talky bits of the song though, they ruin it.)
Okay. Reading time. Reviews please? Thank you to debatable for being an amazing long reviewer. :D And, you know, supporting the series.
--moi. (my name is) Inconsequential.
(the penultimate Guantlet story.)
Monday's Noon stood in the room he had slept in every day ever since he was employed by the Morrow Days. It fit his job description perfectly: it was golden and day-colored, the bedspread was bright; the windows open to the cool morning air. The wardrobe was full of bright colored vests, britches, and jackets. He had at least twenty pairs of golden gauntlets, tucked neatly together next to the gloves in the top drawer of his dresser.
There was only one thing hinting to what he had once been. A slim, white mannequin from some Secondary Realm store, dressed in a black jacket dusted with silver, a dark top hat placed jauntily on its head.
Only a few days ago, Noon had worn a matching outfit, with the addition of a silver vest and black dress shirt, as well as dark slacks. Only a few days ago, he had not been Monday's Noon—he had been Monday's Dusk.
But that time was no more. He would wear white or yellow gloves, not black or navy, he would patrol the afternoon and evening in the Secondary Realms every Monday, till the sun sank low, riding the hips of the sky. He would be active within the House every other afternoon and evening. And then he would return to this room.
When he had been Dusk, he had loved his room's color—the brightness. He'd put much work in to placing everything just so to get the perfect effects. The crystal vase by the window sprinkling rainbows across the wall, his curtains light and transparent, even the mannequin situated where the sunrise would greet him, bathing the thing in light as it could never quite bathe Dusk, master of Monday's night.
However, the morning light bathed the new Noon perfectly, and he was suddenly sick of it. The brightness blinded him, as did the wetness that welled up in his eyes. Tears slicked down his face, and Noon quickly dragged the gorgeous clothes from his body, snatching up the jacket worn by the mannequin. Dressed only in jacket and briefs, he pawed through his dresser, praying that something of the Denizen he had once been was overlooked or left behind.
A knock came at his door, and Noon quickly wiped his face and scrabbled for pants.
"Come in, come in," he murmured, reddening when he realized he had not taken off the dark jacket, but it was too late, the door was open. "Noon," he gasped, then coughed and corrected himself. "I mean, Dusk!"
The intruding Denizen was still taller than him, though his back seemed hunched with age that did not show on his face. He wore the clothes that Noon sorely missed. He did not look happy about having to. His lips twisted to form some semblance of a smile, and he shut the door behind him.
"Noon." He bowed. Noon was Dusk's superior, though, before the Will had escaped, and before Arthur—the Heir, had come, they'd never really thought of it that way. Now it was all too noticeable.
"Don't," Noon said, squirming slightly inside the dark jacket. It still fit, but he felt wrong in it.
"It is customary that I do so," Dusk replied, straightening up as much as he could. Noon saw this, and wished that his companion could stand to his full height once again. "Mister Monday preferred that we lower Denizens showed proper respect for our betters. The body's version of charisma." With that word, Noon winced. "Anyway, I thought you might want some things of mine, seeing as I have no need for them anymore." Dusk walked timidly forward; then dropped two tan top hats on the red bedspread. "That is all." And he turned away.
"What?" He clenched his teeth, his back toward the still-pale Noon.
"Sorry?" Dusk reached for the doorknob, wrenching the door open with unnecessary force. "Sorry for what? You wanted this, didn't you? Didn't you ask Sir Arthur to appoint you to this position?"
"I didn't think—I was so thrilled with victory."
"Yes, yes you would be, wouldn't you? Well, I'll leave you to your game of dress up, brother." The word rolled off Dusk's tongue like a bomb. It mushroom clouded between them.
Noon walked forward, bypassing the bed and the top hats, pushing the door shut. It was easy to fight Dusk's physical protests—the position of Noon gave him strength. This only caused Dusk to glare.
"Can't you try?" Noon found it strange to be looking down in to the face he had looked up to ever since they'd met. When they'd kissed, he'd always raised his head up, not leaned down. For a second, he wondered what it would be like. He leaned forward half an inch, remembered their circumstances, and leaned away.
Dusk stared at him incredulously. "If you think I haven't, you are quite mistaken. And I can't."
Without waiting for permission, Noon slid his hand over Dusk's shoulder, and down his back. Dusk raised an arm to retaliate, but could not bring himself to deliver the blow.
As Noon ran his fingers over Dusk's spine, the once-Dusk, new Noon was reminded of the first time he became aware of something awry. It had been a morning, just like this, a Monday. Noon—the old Noon, the one who was now Dusk, had done this same sort of thing, easing the kinks and knots from his back, and stroking his dark wings. The new Noon's wings were white now. Golden and white. They made him grimace.
Dusk let a small sigh screech past his bared teeth as Noon's hand moved up and down along his spine. Against his will, it began to unravel, and, as he glared at Noon's face, so close—breathing on him of all things, Dusk found himself taller. And pressed up very close to Noon. Closeness had never been either Denizen's strong point.
The kiss lasted longer than one might expect, longer than their last kiss had, the one that finalized and terminated their relationship prior to finding Arthur and switching places. It was perhaps one of the most wonderful things Dusk had felt. Noon's moist lips against his, so close, so hungry, so there.
And then so not.
Dusk looked between them, surprised to see his own hand flat against Noon's torso, shoving him away. Then the rest of him understood why, and followed suit, stepping back.
"You know that we can't."
"But why?" whispered Noon, pleading with his entire body, even with lips, so supple and sweet.
"You told me yourself once. We are new people."
"We have new names!" Noon flailed and wrung his hands wildly. "Who we are did not change."
"Perhaps not who you are. You have been the same Denizen even through this, sticking to what you believed was right, through and through. And when you felt the Will was right, you followed it. No. It is not you who changed. But what of me?" Dusk shook his head sorrowfully, looking down on his superior.
"You did what you thought was right, too," Noon said, after considerable silence.
"Yes. Now, though, I cannot see if what I did was right or wrong. Still, I know that I am a different person than who I was when you last kissed me. Before this, I mean." He paused, following a thought. Then he spoke it. "What I thought was right changed me. Your beliefs did not change you. Perhaps I was wrong, after all."
"That does not make you any less brave."
"Nor do your words change me back."
The new Dusk could take no more. They would never be what they had once been, they could not. He was too confused, too angry, too different. Noon was too forgiving—it should not have been that easy for them to kiss again. Not after what they had been through. It certainly was not right.
Yes, separation, going about their lives, that was right. Dusk shook his head, one last, forlorn time, and departed. The new Noon held the door for him, watching him as he went. Then Noon turned back to his room—the one that had suited him so well when all he'd known was darkness. But now he would live in the light. Staring at the rainbow-dazzled walls, he was terrified.
And he was utterly alone.
...Give it all away, to have someone to come home to. --Linkin Park
...Give it all away, to have someone to come home to. --Linkin Park