With the Tide

"There is a tide in the affairs of men, which, taken at flood, leads to fortune. We must take the current when it serves, or lose our ventures."

-William Shakespeare


"You keep saying that one thing over and over again," the Undoer notes some time later—it is dark both inside the building and beyond the windows, so I don't know how much. I'm hesitating, giving my throat a break in the middle of my story, and swallow, grimacing at how scratchy and dry it feels.

"'Before that night,'" he says, echoing me, eyeing me carefully. "You say it with as much or even more trepidation than when you speak of Karasu's attack. Why is that?"

"It was a bad time," I say lamely. I keep my voice low to keep it from cracking, knowing that he can hear me just as well. "At the time, I didn't know exactly why… but it was… still…" My words fail me.

"Kurama left you," the demon guesses in an absurdly confident tone. I snort, shaking my head. In the corner of my eye, I faintly see Kuronue's gaze level on my face, and then dart away just as quickly. This quick glance fills me with regret and even guilt, and I squash it as best I can. You don't know that.

I straighten up and make a show of not seeing, not being affected, but I can feel his gaze like a breath on my cheek.

"No. I wish it would've been that simple," I tell the demon quietly. "We… lost track of each other. For a long time. Kurama, Yukina, Yusuke… everyone." I flick my gaze up to his, and see a flicker of interest. "I lost myself too, in a way," I add, and I'm relieved to see that he's interested.

Demons, though typically subtle in their facial expressions, are easy to read when you've shared your life with one for well over a decade. Body, mind, soul. A bond that I don't know anymore, maybe never will again. But it doesn't matter. The part of me that would hurt is numb, because the Undoer wants to hear my story.

Until now, he had been listening with a sort of casual interest, nodding his head at certain points, asking questions to clarify. His gaze hardly wandered, but he had been detached in a way. But now, his gaze is fixed on mine and draws the words from my mouth with an invisible force. I'm spent, weighed down by tangled web of the early years; the years that changed me the most… until this one.

Maybe that's why he's called the Undoer. He's unraveled all of me with a few choice words, a distant promise, and now, when I would like nothing more than to leave, simply walk out the door—he pulls at the last few threads. There is more, and he knows it, and he wants it.

He can have it for all I care.