The Listener looked at me every week from that day with hate-filled eyes. Her gaze burned into my soul like pitch-black fire, scorching me until I was nothing except a raw, useless piece of flesh. Today was no different, and my spine crawled with trepidation as she approached me, clutching a piece of yellow parchment in one hand. Her eyes, the color of midnight, were hidden underneath the hood of her Black Hand Robes, but I knew full well that she was staring at me, attempting to scorch my soul.

"Good evening Listener." I offered my greetings, in the hopes that The Listener would appreciate my politeness, my carefulness. She did not.

"Arquen," Her tone was quipped, and sounded as though she were saying my name through clenched teeth. I tensed, hopefully not visibly. The Listener has always scared me, but I have never been so foolish as to visibly show my fear. I stood stock-still, and waited as The Listener passed me the parchment. The Listener remained quiet as I passed her the bag of septims.

Our transactions have always been like this. Silent and quiet. Once, a very long time ago, I had wondered if she was mute, but now I know that she simply kept to herself, and I knew very well that she hated me. She had loved Lucien, and I had indirectly murdered him. I accepted her hatred of me fully, and more often than not, I have stayed as her punching bag when she was drunk.

The Listener turned on her heel, pocketing the bag of septims, and without thinking, my mouth moved,

"I'm sorry." My voice was distant, and seemed so far away. The Listener froze, and turned back around on her heel. This time, I could see her eyes, as they burned black fire into my soul. Her fists clenched, and she rasped,

"What? You apologize to me now, of all times, Arquen? When it's been months since his death?" She never referred to Lucien by his name, not anymore, it was too painful. I flinched at her tone, my yellowish cheeks flushing. Why did I apologize?

I loved him too… I had always loved Lucien Lachance. And now, I had killed him. I thought him a traitor, and for that, I had hated him. But now, I was a sullen and lost shell of who I once was. I lowered my head, letting sandy strands of hair fall around by face like a brown curtain. My voice was still distant, still lost as I replied,

"I loved him too."

I had expected her to understand, to know how I felt. But a hand struck my face, making me fall to the ground. She had hit me, and I was unprepared. This time, my cheeks were lit red with shame. I raised a hand to my cheek, knowing that a five-pointed bruise was now there. From the shadows, I could hear my Murderers coming to investigate the noise.

"You loved him!? You loved him and yet, you're the one who killed him!" The Listener's voice seemed strangled somehow, as if she were struggling to get the words out. A Breton girl with sunken eyes and too much eye shadow stepped forward, as if wanting to stop the Listener. I turned to her, saying simply,

"Don't. Our Listener must get everything out."

"Damn straight." The Listener said angrily, her black eyes continued to scorch my soul, and I turned back to her, and said simply,

"Kill me, please."

The Listener froze at this, she seemed shocked somehow, and I knew why. She thought I was a coward, but I wanted to die. I needed to die. I had to apologize, somehow. To Lucien, Sithis and Our Unholy Matron. But most of all, I had to apologize to The Listener. For she loved Lucien so much.

I heard the unsheathing of The Listener's Blade Of Woe, and I smiled sadly at the irony. I tipped my head back, revealing my throat to The Listener and pleaded,


Something powerful dashed my throat, and my mouth opened in a silent scream. The Breton Girl screamed, and my mud-colored eyes met pitch-black…

My soul seemed burned somehow, but the warmth of The Listener's gaze turned my pain into pure bliss.

Apology accepted.

This was a oneshot I had fustering about in my mind a long time ago. I do, in fact, truly believe that Arquen may have once loved Lucien Lachance, and the only real scrap of evidence I have is Arquen's deleted phrase in the Construction Set where she speaks of Lachance and sounds extremely mortified. And so, Apologies was written. I would love to hear your feedback, so please, review!

Pectus Noctem