To Dwell In Forever

Summary: The Clone and Rose are getting married, but will a freak accident ruin their one life for good?

Be warned, I got a bit abstract at the last...really abstract. Do forgive me. I was, as always, carried away by the song of the words in my head.

Oh, and hats off to Storm Constantine, for giving Cobweb's abode such a lovely title as 'We Dwell In Forever.'

TO DWELL IN FOREVER

The tall, scruffy man in the white Victorian tailcoat looks at his watch. It's almost twelve-thirty.

He knows the bride will be coming out soon,

knows it as he knows his name. Of course, he has worn many of those,

over the years. The bride would know them all,

before the end. That he was also sure of. Because he knew that she

was a single word away from learning the one name

that no one living remembered.

She was the one he loved, the only one to survive him. Oh, yes.

Once the ceremony was done with, he would tell it to her.

His Name.

He could hear the Wedding March beginning to ring through the little garden

on the tongues of tiny silver bells. It was time...for his grand entrance. Of course,

he could hardly get away with calling himself any sort of

grand. Such adjectives

were only for the bride, his flower...his precious Rose. Every word that mattered

was for her.

Reserving a small, ancient smile for himself, he takes a step toward the first ivy-covered arch leading into

the main courtyard, his bare toes crunching on the occasional tuft of soft grass or moss,

or clump of spongy lichen. Then,

spying a bush of her namesake, the man stoops to pluck a blossom from

among the thick tangle of pricks and twigs and winding branches.

His fingers clasp the stem of his chosen subject, and he snips

delicately, for he knows that there is beauty in life, just as he knows where to look

for that bounty. A sharpness erupts across his thumb, but he only grasps the flower

more tightly. He does, however, raise the drop of blood

to his lips. The droplet is warm, coppery,

foreign-tasting.

He sighs, feeling the long days come up behind him as he smears the little droplet on the soft petals of the white rose

in his hand. Only she will know the significance of that little missive drop, and he whistles

as he moves away from the roses and onto the path once again,

aimless,

aiming for the Square of green in which the match is to be made.

The sound of sudden, heavy breathing sets his heart in loops, though,

and so he runs, faster, faster than he ought to be able to. His

eyes reach the scene before his body does. The Bride, his lovely Rose, she is

unreachable. They are obscuring her with their bodies, unwilling to let him see

what has occurred, for fear that time may start to move again. But it already has,

for when he reaches the white runner, the petal-strewn silk strand upon which he was to lead her to their

happiness,

the guests have moved away, leaving only

the mother and the father, who are holding her, clutching at her.

They look up, only to meet his gaze so very briefly, and then they look away again, enveloped in their own

grief. His fingers close more tightly around the thorny stem of the rose, drawing more

of the blood, his own. It drips onto the white silk length, draining crimson in splotches near his bare feet. He calls out

to the mother, and the father, and they stare at him as he runs forward, as he takes the crumpled bride

into his scarecrow embrace. Straining, he holds her to his chest, his deathly eyes full of rages and midnight,

two dying stars caught in a shadow's mask.

He can hear her shallow breaths, unrumpled by the soft sound of her speech. She is unconscious, fading...stabbed

in the back by a fateful, freakish implement, a metal shard from a ruined hubcap.

News of the nearby car accident is

playing on the radio.

He rocks her like a child, slowly, deliberately, desperately. Her name is in his mouth, melting

from his shivering lips like the cosmic rime of legend, murdering him, giving birth to him, murdering him again. The sound of

her shallow breaths is a lie told to children, repeated to him on the wind-wings of her grasping throat.

He stands

and straightens,

hefting her weight in his arms with inhuman ease. But he

is only half a man.

Completeness is lost to him, for he is a shadow, unique only in that he is a shade

with memories. His eyes, brightening now with the glow of hope

that he once instilled in others, fly once more toward his bride's parents. The two in union

stand, unseeing, at the threshold of that hope, for he is what they are not, and his tainted,

sainted soul, that black abyss born of sorrow reflected by joy, is filling with light. The man also knows

what they cannot. He knows how to revive his beloved.

He raises his pricked thumb to their eyes and at last they grasp the gelid tip of his iceberg pondering.

The husband and his wife, they who are her parents, they have seen him before

as more than a shadow, and thus do they know of his impossibility, though they cannot know

his mind, and so, with their eyes they ask of him:

success.

It is the only desperate question, spoken so very eloquently by two rather -at times- ineloquent people.

He smiles, then turns his full gaze toward the woman in his arms. The cut on his hand is

still gleaming with the seep of life, for though he is a shadow, his control over his own nature remains

absolute. His fingers clasp themselves to form a steeple; his eyes sweeping the crowd of on-looking hopeful

as if to elicit the same response. The parents strike up the pose first, knowing he does not believe and caring not,

for believing in him, they have learned, is enough. Others follow as if in a dream,

and soon,

the first flecks of gold

are gathering

along his lines like sunbeams reflected in the dust of the morning.

And then.

And then.

Now

he is swaying into static motion, his edges ringed in starlight, each orifice spilling forth sunshine unto the day,

paling even the single binary star what will not hang there forever. He drops his

thumb to her, still drawing to himself the shine

of prayer from the attending aggregate, his skin gleaming with a struggle

of light, the painful glory of

remembered reckoning. And he sets his wound to her lips.

Gold arcs from him, traveling through the tiny puncture. It spills over into her flesh,

filling her,

pouring itself into her,

for it is his, and he is giving of himself, pure life refracted and focused like an echo in the

wish-lens of the crowd. The flood dies with her first breath; light crumbles away from him and he is

flawed once more. The rose

is in his free hand, tearing into his palm. It draws crimson streaks of his goodness, which trickle and

join the drops that long-ago stained the white silk runner beneath his bare feet.

She stands with him. All is quiet silence, louder than nothing he has heard. He sways, drained and heavy

from the baggage of his choice. She sinks to catch him. He lies still now, in a heap

upon the runner. Her kiss seeds him,

hoped-for by a thousand waiting eyes. Undaunted, her fingers search and find a pair of drums within his flesh.

Then the sound echoes back from her own lily breast, and she is awed. Her tears

set them afire, her cry outlasting even his expectation of

to die. So

he steals a breath out from under the nose of the ether and wheezes, rising

to greet his lover, and the two begin to dance. Their hands touch, moving past fingers and arms and faces

toward their houses of life. These are touched, in turn, and the two are seen waltzing as they tramp upon the rose,

the blossom

which lies

crushed upon the floor

beneath their naked feet, abandoned

to forever on the unwrinkled silk. The rose, too, has drunk of his resolve;

as such, the truth of their shared fate is as clear as the crimson stain

upon the white fabric. He touches her hair, bending close with the affirmation on his

lips.

I do. Oh, yes.

I do.

And she whispers his Name.