Title: Cracked
Author: pristineungift
Beta: nyx4
Fandom: Legend of the Seeker
Character/Pairing: Darken Rahl, Walter
Warnings: Violence, Torture, Semi-permanent death
Rating: M
Prompt: Darken Rahl and Walter, hating myself.


Cracked

Darken Rahl hung himself in chains.

He watched himself weep.

He watched himself beg.

He saw in himself every flaw his father had hated. He saw every weakness he despised.

He saw every hope he had ever killed, every breath he helped to take, every innocent he watched die.

He saw his mother's eyes.

"Look at me," he said to himself, watching as those soft, despised eyes focused through the pain.

"Please," he croaked, a soft entreaty.

"No," he answered himself, just as softly.

The blow he delivered was not as soft. His teeth left imprints in the flesh of his hand. Flecks of blood flew through the air.

The weakling in chains gasped, gurgled.

It made him angry.

The blood on his hand.

He stepped close, reaching up to caress his cheek, to push the hair from his bloodied, bruised face.

"Look at me," he commanded himself.

He did not obey.

"Look at me!" he commanded again, a sudden, sharp rage snapping inside him. He flung himself away, watching himself sway on the chains, stalking to the table that held his tools.

Wicked blades, dark instruments of magic, an Agiel he had wielded many, many times.

A red haze at the edge of his vision, he picked up his favorite knife.

The Agiel was useful, but the knife was more personal. Closer to home.

Closer to the bone.

Returning to the whimpering waste of humanity hanging there from creaking beams, he slashed with the knife.

It was wild, uncontrolled.

Misguided.

He missed and his anger grew.

He would not look himself in the eye.

"Look at me," he said once more, something more and less than anger present in the edge of his voice.

Still those eyes would not raise to face him.

With a strangled noise of frustrated rage, an ever gnawing despair, he gripped his own face, nails digging into skin.

Eye to eye, he watched himself.

Eye to eye, he saw his soul.

Eye to eye, he raised the knife.

Eye to eye, he brought it down.

The screams were loud, or they were soft. He heard himself scream as if from far away. Blood and fluid ran down his arms, a warm trickle that felt like spiders on his skin.

His breath came in gasps, or it came not at all. He rattled with death, or he choked on continued life.

He watched himself, and could not watch back.

He wept blood.

And he wept tears.

Looking at the broken ruin of Walter's face, Darken Rahl saw his own future reflected.

Sightless eye sockets stared into his soul, and in that moment his body rebelled.

He sank to the floor, coughing as his stomach heaved.

It was not the blood on his hands or the ruined pulp of Walter's eyes under his feet that made him vomit a stinking mess across the flagstones.

It was realization that twisted his gut, that raised his gorge.

His cracked reflection sightlessly watching his shame, he realized with a sickening lurch that left a sharp pain in his head and a sucking hole in his heart, that no matter his intentions, the consolations he whispered to himself in the night…

The people hated their king.

And he hated himself.