[Master Post – Glass]
Fandom: Viridian Legacy/Fear Mythos
Characters: Sebastian, the Black Dog (?), the Cold Boy
Rating: T (L2 N0 S0 V2 D0)
Warnings: This is potentially really triggery. Depression, cold, hidden secrets, suicidal urges.
Notes: I said this was going to happen. In fact, I think I said it about an hour ago. I'm still working the bugs out, but I suspect this is going to turn out to be less straight Black Dog and more of some sort of Black Dog/Mother of Snakes combination Fear. Sebastian totally thinks it's a dog, here, though. I think this will end up turning into what's already manifested as his Demons in the Dark. Sort of a fear of people knowing what you once were or of waking up to discover that nothing has changed and that's still what you are. An eternity of self-doubt woven into justified terror of persecution for those hidden failings. The Eye, you say? Yeah, but not. It's nothing about actual wrongdoing. It's about wrong-being. It's about hiding the corruption you were given, that's been visited upon you, not hiding the corruption you've chosen. It's a post-Wooden Girl sort of fear. I'm seeing the Demons as some manifestation of post-traumatic stress disorder.
He'd been walking for hours, the snow muffling the sounds of the city around him, dimming the lines of the buildings and the black of the street. The longer he walked, the stranger things became. At first, he'd been sure there was a dog following him. He swore he'd heard the panting and the soft foof sound of small feet breaking the crust of ice and sinking into the snow.
What if they know? he asked himself, as a few stragglers passed him, heading into the buildings from their cars. What if they see you, and they know?
It was a valid concern, really. So few people ever noticed him, and those who did usually meant him harm. Usually did him harm. He tried so hard to be nothing, to be no-one, to be beneath notice. He hoped the snow would hide the truth about him: that he was homeless and out of his fucking mind. He could say that about himself, because it was true. Maybe waiting by the dorms for a door to open would have been a less stupid idea, but there was no way to go back, now. Not after he'd come this far.
Another half a mile? Maybe. That sort of sounded right. He'd never been good at distance. It was another thing he tried not to think about, because it wasn't something he could change. A step, another step, the patter of something heavy and four-legged, behind him. He looked back, again, but there were no tracks in the snow but his own and a set that looked a few hours old, by the way they'd filled in. Human, either way. No dog. Still, he could hear that sound. He knew that sound. The neighbour used to call it 'laughing' when his Rottweiler made that sound.
A dog's laughter echoed in his head as he turned to take another step, catching his foot on a broken chunk of concrete buried under four inches of snow. He struggled to stay standing, but the weight of his bag — the weight of everything he owned — was too much, and he fell, crushed under it. It would be so easy, he thought, to stay here. To close his eyes, and let it all slip away… the pain, the cold, the fear, the humiliation. It would be so easy to surrender those last few human things. He stared into the ice in the gutter, watching the trickle of slow-moving water that still tried to run beneath it, slushily edging toward the sewer grate. So clear. So bright.
He could make out the reflection of his eye, a dark spot in the shimmering, oily ice. Slithering rainbows of grease and transmission fluids crept across his dimly-mirrored view. But, then, there were too many eyes. Two more black spots… behind him? Over him? Reflected inside the blurry lines of a face too smeary to make out. But, clearer and clearer, as the ice became cleaner? No. As the face came closer? Maybe. Who was leaning over him? No, he couldn't feel any heat. No one was there, but the face grew stronger, as if rising up from the depths of a quarter inch of ice. No, no one was there. No one would come for him. There was no one left in the world, but him and the snow.
He could remember the warm feel of Sin's hand on his shoulder, and how he'd almost taken that hand off at the wrist. The first time in years anyone had touched him with anything but bad intent, and he'd lashed out. The man had taken it well, made a joke about feral badgers, and moved on like nothing at all had happened. He wanted to believe he would be safe, if he could make it to Sin's door, but here he was, staring down into his own eyes, at entirely the wrong angle, slowly freezing to the street.
His own eyes…
He tried to avoid knowing his own face. It wasn't the sort of thing he wanted to look at, but it's one of those unavoidable things, really. You recognise yourself. You've seen yourself in shop windows and puddles, even if you don't own a mirror, and he didn't own a mirror. But, when he was ten, that had been him. He knew that face. He recognised that black eye.
"You and I…" He spoke to himself, or himself spoke to him, he supposed. He knew that voice. He remembered having that voice. "We are all that's left for us."
It was true. His parents had disowned him. He had nowhere else to go, no one would be looking for him, waiting for him. He was nothing and no-one, lying in the street, as the snow fell on his back, hearing himself speak to him, like an open window to all the things he wanted to forget about being around anyone else, everyone else.
What if they see you?
That sounded like his head usually did. That wasn't strange little-boy him, with the mournful look and the shining black eyes.
What if they see what you are?
I'm nothing. Fuck off. I'm nothing. I'm no one. And soon, I'll be gone. Erased. No one will remember. No one remembers, now.
There's a leaden certainty in the thought that spins it as it drops into the void inside-below-beyond his head.
"Dear Prudence, won't you let me see you smile…"
It echoed back up from some spinning droplet of memory. Sin…
"We'll know each other eventually. Why not now?"
He could almost believe that warm was a real thing, something he'd experienced at some point in his life, and something he might still be able to achieve. Almost.
"I do make sense. I manufacture it whole cloth."
He laughed against the filthy snow, where it had melted and started to re-freeze into the cracked and peeling skin of his lips. Sin wouldn't leave him alone. For months. Every day. Like a cat that has climbed up the screen and is yowling to be let in. It would be so easy to walk away. It should be so easy. But, he'd walked away for months. It never worked.
"Come away from all this… death." Himself held out a hand to him, but the face had grown strange. It was still him, but he wasn't himself any more. Himself was no longer him.
"Coffee," he muttered into the snow. Then, more forcefully, "Coffee."
It was only another half a mile. What if someone saw him, lying in the road? What if someone knew him for what he was? The cold could be a quiet death, a good death, but what if someone saw him? It was only another half a mile. Sin. Coffee. Warm.
The snow creaked as he curled up, rocking back and forth, until he could sit.
"Will you leave me, too?" Himself asked.
I am you. You are me. I am going somewhere else.
"You'll come back. You always come back."
Yes, I always come back. Because there's no escape, there's only procrastination. I can't choose if, but maybe I can choose how.
He struggled to his feet, the snow clinging to him like a coat. Only another half a mile.