Leaning to Fire

Cirrus B'Nez

Notes: Joss is boss, at least of these two. I'm pretty sure he doesn't own Greek mythology. And as for the fic, it's only incest if you squint. Onward!

First.

"Sheaves and fire!" she declared, "and ruin on your household. Beware, Kronus, Eldest."

Swift and intelligent and twelve, Simon already knew--and therefore, River had probably known in her sleep before she was born, because she just was that smart--that the Titans of Earth-that-was had never done battle in their parents' den with coat hanger swords. They didn't have swords, or parents, either, in the strictest versions of the myths.

But that would have been much less fun. He could only study so much before his eyes hurt from staring at the screen; eleven hours was enough. It wasn't like he'd forget it in the morning. Or ever. When he learned things, they stayed. It had always been that way, the same way River had always outpaced him. This game, this story, these weapons--all her ideas.

Persuading her into towels over their shirts instead of togas had been his. She had the visions, he refined them. It was perfect that way.

"Nonsense!" he cried, barely swiveling out of the way in time, and then parrying when she lunged. River wasn't the only one in the family with reflexes. Surgeons had to be accurate. "You can't have them back, Rhea, not for anything. I am king of the gods."

He hacked and slashed his way through the air with the tip of the hanger, trapped hers against its hook, and carefully brought his arm down.

"I have you now," he said, with a dramatic flare of his nostrils; Cortex villains did that kind of thing when they were being smug. "Do you yield, sister, wife?"

"O wretched and most stubborn husband," she groused, making a face that slowly melted into a smile.

She'd let him win. She only ever let him win.

Last.

Pandemonium. Cacophony. Noise and light and screaming noise, screaming light, screaming, screaming. But no sound. She flailed against it; she was perfectly still. She stumbled and babbled and forgot. A tray? Things that cut, things that sliced and stabbed and touched. Never. Never, ever, again.

His gentle hands, his big, blue, earnest eyes, and his soft nimble long-fingered hands. His drugs and his pity. His rutting pity. And then her voice.

"You can't just shove twenty needles in my eyes and ask me what I see!"

He'd betrayed her once too often.

Before.

He didn't really mean to. She didn't push him away.

Her lips unfurled against his and she trembled. Her mouth eased apart for his. They pressed together tightly, seeking and clutching and scrabbling at buttons; his name flowed from her throat like music.

His father walked in at that exact moment.

Simon learned his lesson like a man, and slept on his stomach for a month afterward.

After.

He can taste his own fear in the cold sweat crawling down his upper lip, exploding into bitterness across his tongue.

"It won't be god's will that killed her!" The words come out strident, so hard that they shake his body. "It will be you!" He's gasping, sobbing; he's too angry to make tears and too panicked to stop. "Your lunacy! Your ignorance!"

They hear nothing, they see nothing, they are nothing but a pressing, seething red mass of hate. River can hardly see him, they're so loud, but he's there. Beyond them, tossed along like a stick in a storm front.

He's there. Next to her? Angry and frightened and radiant with love.

"Post-holer," she says, rapt. "For digging holes. For posts."

He squeezes her hand and scowls at them, daring them to move.

"Light it."

END