Without You I'm Nothing
"I'm unclean, a libertine,
And every time you vent your spleen,
I seem to lose the power of speech,
You're slipping slowly from my reach.
You grow me like an evergreen,
You never see the lonely me at all."
When Gregor meets Luxa for the first time, he's eleven, and she's the prettiest (read: most exotic) girl he's ever met. Her hair is in a long, sleek braid down her back, and she's incredibly graceful. His only problem with her is her personality –she's so infuriatingly arrogant, and Gregor guesses she practices looking so elegant and disdainful in a mirror every morning. He hates her from the second she starts to speak:
"It is yours if you can take it," smirk, cool eyes, finger muscles tense around a little, round ball, "You will have to be stronger or smarter than I am."
He thinks it's her superior attitude that really gets under his skin, though. He comes from a poor family, in a poor neighborhood, and sometimes people in power get to him in a way that no one else could. At least, since he's lost his dad –he resents the police and the politicians because nothings going to be okay for his family. They can't fix that hole in his life unless they can bring him his dad, alive and as well as he was when he vanished.
"I guess she's smarter."
"But not you. Or you would not say such things to a queen."
Once he gets to know her better, he starts to feel differently. He begins to see her as something other than a princess –she's just Luxa, an eleven-year-old girl who lost her parents. A girl who's just trying to survive –to make it day to day. He understands that, because his heart is splintered, too. He knows what it's like to feel broken inside.
(He knows that sometimes he's glad to have survived another day, too, even if sometimes he wishes he hadn't).
It's only been a few months, but her eyes are sad. Gregor hates that she's so worn. That she's in pain. That she can't even sleep at night. What he hates most of all is his own inability to help –and even if he tries to talk to her, he knows she won't speak to him. She'll get defensive, and she'll spit venom, because he doesn't understand. And he really doesn't. He doesn't know what it's like to be betrayed.
(He knows what it's like to feel alone, but he knows that won't convince her).
She's a force to be reckoned with, even when she's so withdrawn. She's still has a fiery anger inside of her, and that makes Gregor want to smile, because he knows she hasn't given up yet.
When she's peering down at him in the boat, all smiles and defiance, he knows that she's a long way from being defeated.
She's been missing for a few months now, and Gregor's been terrified for her the entire time. Is she alive, but a prisoner to the angry, vengeful rats? Or dead, killed in the godforsaken Labyrinth? Or... had she managed to flee? He tries not to think of her by name, because he's scared that maybe that'll make it all real. If she's gone, he doesn't know what he'll do. Cry, maybe, because she's like him. They're connected in a way he can't explain. Scream. Choke. Die.
(He doesn't really understand who he is anymore, because he hates her. Hated her. Loves her, maybe, in a way that made him want to bash her head into a wall and maybe kiss her and hold her close. She infuriates him. She's so far from reach).
When he finds her alive, his heart breaks all over again, because, he supposes, he had already started to mourn for her.
And when she's looking at him from the trees and he's just searchingsearchingsearching (for more than a ball, because he's always looking for himself), he feels her sad eyes on his back and thinks that maybe, finally, something is going to change.
It always stays the same, though. Nothing ever changes.
She's still a queen, he's still just a kid from New York City. They're both still broken into a fine dust. They're both still lost. (And maybe it's better this way, because he still resents her. Her position in life. He won't ever be able to understand being born into greatness).
Luxa's still beautiful, too.
She's also much more forgiving than he has ever given her credit for, because she says she'll understand if he wants to take his family and run from this place. She understands that he's scared, and she knows he feels worthless.
He doesn't run. He hopes she isn't surprised.
When Gregor sees Luxa for the last time, she's illuminated by the moon. Her hair's finally growing back. She's smiling.
He can't reconcile this image of her with the cold, grim girl he met a year ago. Somehow, they've managed to fill in the fissures and gaps of their broken souls. They've become something almost human. Something recognizable.
He holds her gaze as he walks away, and hopes that memories of her can keep him from falling apart.
"Without you, I'm nothing.
Without you, I'm nothing.
Without you, I'm nothing.
Take the plan, spin it sideways.
Without you I'm nothing at all."
I don't even know where this came from. It was actually inspired by the song "Brothers On A Hotel Bed" by Death Cab For Cutie, but it turned into something I don't have a name for. Lyrics used are from the song "Without You I'm Nothing" by Placebo. Weirdness is used from my brain. Characters are obviously from Suzanne Collins' Underland Chronicles.
It's somewhat short. It's strange. It's everything I've always done in fanfiction -the means that it's unbeta'd. Honestly, hardly even self-beta'd, so if you see any glaring mistakes, oops.
A long time ago, I said I would never write fic for TUC again. I also vowed to never write Gregor/Luxa. Doing both in one night. Watch out, we got a badass over here.
The end. Love, Prophe.