[Master Post – Glass]
Title: Looking Glass
Fandom: Viridian Legacy: Glass
Rating: T (L2 N0 S0 V0 D1)
Warnings: Totally uncomfortable situation, hallucinations, expletives
Notes: My desktop imploded. There will be no art, while I am waiting for a new power supply, which should be here on Monday. Should. And I really hope that's the problem. (Of course, I have an awful suspicion I've been running this machine with a little less power than strictly necessary for quite a while, now.) Anyway, while I'm waiting to be able to work again, have some more Sebastian. He's beautifully dysfunctional.
Some part of Sebastian didn't mind being alone. He was more comfortable, that way, most of the time. There was no one looking over his shoulder, no one to change the rules on him, no one to destroy the little things he held dear. But, things were different, now. He'd gotten spoilt, living with Sin. All the rules had changed in unsubtle and jarring ways, and he'd gotten used to being part of something larger. He had somehow become one of two, instead of one of one.
It wasn't a bad thing, most of the time. He'd gotten used to it. He'd learned a lot of the little things he hadn't had a chance to pick up, where he'd been before. (And that was something he didn't like to think about.) He learned to cook, to sleep without his coat on, to drink beer, to relax — little things. He seemed less strange to others, now that he ate regularly and didn't carry everything he owned every second of the day. They were still strange to him; he didn't much like most of them, but he was just a little less of a target. Some of that was Sin. Everyone loved Sin. Everyone wanted Sin, and if Sebastian lived with Sin, he must be worth something. He could resent it; some part of him tried to, sometimes, but he couldn't say much about something that finally let him get some work done, without looking over his shoulder, every few seconds.
But, Sin wasn't always there. Those few years between them had put them in very different places, academically, and Sin had turned into a conference junkie, as the end of his degree approached. Publish, give talks, go from the airport straight to class. Most of the time, Sebastian was too wound up in his own work, to notice. But, sometimes, after a couple of days without "Tea, do you want any?" or "Batty, there's nothing to eat!" he'd start to get paranoid. First, it would be the voices. The neighbours' arguments would turn into his father shouting. People joking, in the street, became his cue to become as invisible as possible. Other people's good times had rarely ended well for him, until recently. Then, the real trouble would start. The demons would come, low beasts with long fingers and no eyelids. It didn't matter that they weren't real; they were real enough to him, even when he knew they couldn't be. Details of Renaissance paintings of Hell would grow out from the shadows of the radiators against the baseboards — tormented flesh, hellhounds, visions of spirits of the damned returning to seize the living. The longer he stayed awake, the worse it became, but every time he closed his eyes, those long, cold fingers clawed at his face.
He couldn't be alone, any more. He'd become far too accustomed to leading a life unplagued, to go back to those horrors as easily as he had once handled them. Once, they had been as nothing — just minor inconveniences in his already overwrought existence. He watched the snow beat against the window, the thousand wings of fluttering death — he hated the snow, hated it so much — and waited for the horrors to pass enough that he could get to the kitchen. Maybe if he ate something. Maybe if he had a beer. Maybe he could get everything to slow down just for a little while. Just enough to fall asleep before they returned. If he could just sleep, maybe it would all go away. Alternately, maybe it would kill him, in his sleep. But, if he never woke up, would he care? He didn't think he would.
He looked up, forcing himself to see the clock. It would be light, soon. And then it would be time to go to class. He had done this thousands of times, and he could do it again. He could remember Sin leaving, while he was half-asleep: a bleary kiss and a few words about not letting the wine turn. That was what he would do. He would drink the wine and eat some leftover rice, and then when the light came in, he would make coffee and go to class.
Still, that involved getting to the kitchen. It wasn't far. He could probably make the walk with his eyes closed, but that would involve closing his eyes, and he wasn't sure if that was better or worse than leaving them open. A glass of wine and some rice. He hadn't eaten since Sin left, the morning before last. No, that wasn't true. He'd gotten a terrible pastry from the dining hall, between classes. He hadn't meant to end up with a pastry at all, but it was all that was left after breakfast, and lunch wasn't for another hour, yet. He didn't even like pastries, and he was certain he could make one that tasted better. Offended, good. And what about that asshole on the bus? The one who took up three seats and sang disco classics at the top of his lungs — what about him?
Sebastian stood up, angry. This was why he had never minded, before. He had never been anything other than utterly disgruntled, for more than about five minutes at a time. It was very difficult, he had learned, for anything to make much of a dent, when he was already bent out of shape. He ran through the worst of the day before, as he stormed over to where the wine sat, beside the fridge, and poured a glass, for himself. There was still more left. His discomposure started to slip, and he could hear the sound of claws against the floor. It didn't matter if they were real— WHAT ABOUT THAT GIRL? The one who pointed at him, while her friends laughed. He wasn't like her. He wasn't like them, the indolent fruits of a decadent culture. The rice came out of the fridge. Oh, an onion. A bit of butter… Maybe he wouldn't eat this cold. The cabinets still frightened him. He was wary of the closed doors, but there was a saucepan in the dishrack. First the butter, then the onion — he sliced it on the countertop, not to open the drawer for the cutting board. The knife had been in the rack. And what about the ones who put their looks above all else? The girls who were only in school to get a Mrs.? Why were they taking up space that should have gone to people like him? Probably because they looked like they could pay, he reasoned, between bursts of wrath, as he poured the rest of the wine slowly into the pan, and then stirred the rice into it. There… that stillness…
Everything stopped. For a moment, it seemed that time itself, had stopped, only to be re-started with a splash of hot wine to the back of Sebastian's hand.
"Shit," he muttered, and it was the first word he'd actually said, in days.
He turned off the pan, set it on a dishtowel, and grabbed a spoon out of the rack, before retreating to the couch with his … It wasn't breakfast, was it? Did it count as breakfast, if you hadn't slept? He supposed there was a fast being broken, so breakfast would be the best word for it. Words about food and time gave him trouble, sometimes. When the hell was 'dinner' anyway? Was it lunch or supper? He'd read it was originally French for breakfast, and decided to avoid the word entirely. It was a meal with no sense of time. On the other hand, he decided, between spoonfuls of rice, it was exactly what he needed. A meal with no sense of time. All his meals could be dinner, and that avoided the awkwardness of 'You ate what for breakfast?' Because it wasn't breakfast. It was dinner. But, then, that brought up the awkwardness of 'I had the most excellent dinner, this morning,' which wasn't necessarily an improvement. Perhaps he was right the first time, and 'dinner' was a word to be avoided.
"For thine is the power and the glory…" It echoed through his head, and he choked on his wine. Where the hell had that come from? The room reeled, and Sebastian with it, the heel of his palm pressed into his eyesocket, as his other hand clutched the glass of wine. It was the exhaustion, he reasoned. It was the strain. He remembered part of some Old Norse drinking song that Sin had tried to teach him. Apparently it was very funny, something about drinking too much mead and losing the abiity to think, but Sebastian thought it lost a lot in translation. Still, it was exactly the sort of thing that would drown out hallucinatory prayers in his mother's voice. On the other hand, after a few bars, his Old Norse was still hideous, so he gave over and switched to something a little less forceful and more contemporary. At least it gave him something else to think about — Bowie's fucking tenor. Sebastian couldn't touch the high end of the range, and it drove him up the wall. Drop everything a couple of octaves, and he could do it decently, but… What the hell was it with high-pitched pop-stars, lately? David Bowie, Marc Bolan, Freddie Mercury… Good stuff, but way out of his range.
He finished the wine, between verses, and by the time he was through, there was too much static for the demons to get through — a thick sheet of low-grade annoyance. He was, at last, appropriately irate to face the day. Just a cup of coffee, before he inflicted himself upon the world.