Yay! I actually finished something! This is a present for Noirevalkyrie, because she asked for it; a fic all about our favorite solipsist. Hope you like it babe. :)
He hadn't always known that reality revolved around him.
It was a fact he had uncovered slowly, drawing it out in little flashes of insight over time. That his life was the absolute center of the universe, and everyone else was simply on a tilted orbit, teetering precariously around the periphery of his existence…
It was not an invention, but a discovery. Whether he realized this truth or not, did nothing to remove the gravity of his position. But knowing did allow him to enjoy it more. It allowed him to strum his fingers across the strings of reality and pluck and pull them until everything was manipulated according to his will. It allowed him to relish seeing the little intricacies fall into place. Allowed him brutality without guilt, and compassion without hypocrisy.
It was not an ego trip- it was just the way things were. Whether he actively involved himself in the shaping of destiny or just let things flow did not really change anything concerning him. He was the only stationary thing in a constantly swirling cosmos, the mooring of reality, the Prime Mover, himself unmoved.
He first began to see the truth of this concept at work while he was still a child. He never really outgrew infancy in that regard, the way babies are completely selfish beings, knowing nothing outside their own warmth and hunger and needs… As a child he was never spoiled, but learned quickly that if he focused on something intently, it would become truth. If he wanted something, all he had to do was cast the thought out into the world and then watch it germinate.
Another fact also helped him reach his solipsist conclusion rather early on. He had no parents that he knew of, no constant guide in his life. Even the Gandor family that had taken him in seemed to be made of fallacies and held together by thin feeble strings of kin blood. The entire arrangement seemed constructed, not the way things were naturally, just how they had worked out as the randomly selected reality made before he started changing things to suit his own will.
And while he always felt gratitude and loyalty towards the family that had 'raised' him (or rather, his convenient belief in the existence of such a family), he would never be able to fully ingratiate himself within their ranks. It was impossible to be truly included in a group one felt superior to. But he kept up pretenses, because he enjoyed the work they asked of him, and their small gang disputes amused him.
He continued to play pretend in a world of ghosts, dream fragments, and half baked caricatures. Dispensing justice on the small weeds that grew up within his realm, dissecting them, pulling back their warm melanin to reveal an evil yellow pistil. It never ceased to fascinate him. He was not a very imaginative man, yet his mind had the ability to evoke even the tiniest artistic details within other people. The finest gossamer membranes, delicate enough that it ruptured in the raw air; or the intricate lacy detailing of stratum tissues, bridging muscle to tendon to bone; or the multitude of colors in a human body, whites, and greens, and purples, and oranges, and of course the many various shades of red.
People were a veritable rainbow on the inside, though the red was still his favorite. He could paint himself in the liquid life, feel the oozing heat, and the sticky coating around the webbings of his fingers. It made the shadowy life he had just put out seem a little more real, all the more tantalizing. It was almost enough to make him believe that the splattered pile of parts had once been a real person.
Almost, but not quite.
There was nothing outside his mind, nothing substantial in the world except his own thoughts. Usually the idea of this world domination made him giddy, a childish glee at being in the spotlight, something he had learned to treasure greatly while he worked on the trapeze. High in the air, untouchable by even gravity, reality's most base law, and surrounded by cheering anonymous throngs of humanity. He loved being in control, seeing everything from such great heights, and being able to dictate every gasp from the crowd.
However, once in a while the coltish delight would unexpectedly peel back and leave him with the rueful flipside of his solipsism. Even though he was so high up, so powerful in his own absolute control, if he were to truly believe that, he would also be forced to apprehend just how extremely isolated he was. There would be absolutely no one to catch him if he fell, since no on else truly existed. It was this fear of the abyss that drove him to grip the trapeze bar all the more tightly and fill his world with Tonys, and Gandors, and dark silent women; because even if they weren't actually there, he could not function for long without allowing himself to indulge in the illusion. Allow himself to sometimes just believe that he was not utterly alone in his world.
Let himself believe that he did not propose to a mere figment, but a living conscious woman with her own thoughts and her own beauty that he had nothing to do with. He did not conjure Huey Laforet's daughter up from thin air.
Her metallic eyes, sharper than her blades and clearer than her absent voice, drew him in and intrigued. He had been uncertain of that definitive spark, an emotion he had not felt in a long time, but his hesitation had quickly evaporated without comment. Before the sun had even risen over the trembling swaying roofs of the train cars, he had already made up his mind.
And thusly, he had made up hers.
Claire Stanfield strolled down the slick wet pavement of Manhattan, practically skipping through the streaming crowd, completely unperturbed by the tight annoyed faces. He had finished the latest Gandor job last night, an uneventful dismembering that hadn't even caused him to break a sweat. He had hoped a professional assassination would be more interesting, more of a workout than the Pussyfoot had been at least; maneuvering across every surface of the train while dressed in gore, and killing off those who threatened the safety of his passengers had hardly been challenging.
Like shooting fish in a barrel; though a few of them had tried to bite back, so maybe piranhas in a barrel was a more apt description.
He grinned devilishly, remembering the impressive batch of alpha male that was Ladd Russo, attempting to forcefully fight his way out of the fate Claire had chosen for him. A futile but commendable effort, still boring in its predictability.
But regardless of his own feelings, he had fulfilled his duty faithfully, both as a conductor, and as the incarnate of Rail Tracer.
He rolled the name about in his mouth, enjoying the feel of it sliding over his tongue. It suited him, giving his killings a new name in a new milieu. He was Vino on his own two feet, and Rail Tracer on a train, both identities bleeding into each other literally. The deep red stains drenched and marked him as a merchant of death.
Though, instead of murder, he thought of it more as weeding. Removing the ugliness from his world.
He turned left down a street, not for any particular reason, but just because it felt right. He was not concerned about finding the silent woman. His will would bring them together regardless, and so his search had no definitive logic, no grid patterns, or maps. Just him meandering the streets, waiting until it felt right for her to show up. It wouldn't be long now...
He continued weaving his way through the crowd, as smooth and unresisting as water, submitting to no one and nothing, not even the traffic signals. He stepped leisurely into the road, easily vaulting the cars that screeched all around him, and ignoring the rending crunch of metal that resounded as he landed.
He reached the other side of the street, curses and shouts now ringing in his ear.
"Hey you there! Stop, where do you think you are going?!"
He knew the man must be referring to him (who else would he be talking to?), and Claire quietly turned around to give his attention to the talking figment.
The man was stomping over, his car door left open and the front hood smashed in, still yelling and gesticulating furiously.
"Who do you think you are wise guy? Leaping into the road like that, you some fuckin' idiot?"
Claire offered a nonchalant smirk, and shrugged before turning back to continue on his walk, slipping down a quieter alleyway.
"You can't just walk away buddy, who is going to pay for my car? It is ruined!" The man, a stocky twenty something, had now caught up with Claire, gripping the back of his suit and whipping him around. He tried to push the smaller man into the wall, but Claire simply followed through with the motion and easily twisted out of his grip. He stood to the side and brushed the imaginary dust from his arms.
"I wish you wouldn't do that. See, I am trying to keep this suit clean since I am meeting someone today."
"Bastard!" The man thundered, furious at being treated so negligibly, and he started forward again, this time with tightly balled fists. Claire smiled and felt Vino start to awaken, red tinting his vision and energy fizzing in his veins as he tensed for a leap. However it had been unnecessary since the man had stopped suddenly on his own, going rigid and wide eyed.
"What...the fuck is this..." The man ground out, still angry but his violence now subdued by the knife point pressed into the small of his back.
Claire's smile widened, genuinely happy, yet unsurprised to see the black heels and thin ruffled dress, the rest of her hiding behind the bulky outline of the man.
"It seems the young lady does not wish for you to harm me, and I would strongly suggest you go back to your vehicle."
The man, suddenly overwhelmed by the threateningly polite words and the sharp nudge of the blade, nodded silently, stiffly, and slowly walked off, throwing many backward glances at the silent dark splinter of a woman.
Claire stared unabashed at the sharp gold of her eyes, once again getting the sweet thrill of true reciprocation when they connected with his. It was a simple thing, just their gazes being crossed and held together, but for Claire it was like an electric shock of awareness. It was true, she could see him.
She wasn't a dream, or a shadow, or a machination of his own mind, but something completely novel and unbridled. The tiny tingling sensation in his brain came from her golden gleam, and no where else.
The electric silence spoke what she could not (I am real. I am here for you).
Claire shivered in delight, drawing his fingers through his hair before extending his arm to her.
"I got your message on the train. Shall we?"
And for once, it was not just a rhetorical question, because even though she was mute, this woman alone had the power to say no to Claire Stanfield.
But she did not, instead stepping forward to grasp his open hand, choosing to go with him of her own volition. Claire's grin widened.
"Hello. A pleasure to meet you, my name is Claire Stanfield." He spoke with dignity, though the smirk never left his face.
She nodded and gave a soft smile of her own. The tingling in his consciousness suddenly intensified, turning into vibrations which then turned into words.
I'm Chane Laforet.
Claire drew in a breath at that internal murmur, suddenly experiencing vertigo for the first time in his life. Those three words confirmed it, verifying the existence of life outside his own mind and opening up an entire universe to him in that very instant.
Whether her existence toppled Claire's dictatorship on reality, or merely extended his reign to include her, he could not fathom at that moment. All he knew was that her hand was warm, her eyes were not merely mirrors, and the sound of her name was a sweet hush, softening the tight loneliness coiled about his heart.
Her silence let him know that for once, he was not alone.
Hmm. That ended rather abruptly. XD But since I haven't seen the last two DVD only episodes, I didn't really want to go into the first baby steps of their relationship since the series will probably do that for me. Also, I think I made Vino a little too over dramatic, but since it is in third person, I can get away with it. :) And yea, I know it is never specified if Chane can use telepathy outside of her link with Huey, but it is never specified that she can't either, so I'm running with it. I hope you all enjoyed it, short and directionless as it was, heh.
Comments are much appreciated. 3