Warnings: Implied character death.
Word Count: 1021.
Characters: Nigredo, Albedo.
Notes: Nigredo's POV is for the story, Albedo's POV is for the letter. The letter's actual, and I only had to change one word to make it work. Sweet. Possibly a bit AU.
You entreat me softly, attempt to touch on my nerves
like precious memories gently falling to surround.
Be it your delusions or mine but
soft apologies fall on deaf ears.
What was said was, and what was done the same;
And here we lie. And hear our lies.
Your mode of communication is flawed at best;
distance overwhelming the need for closeness and flesh touching.
If actions are what is to be regretted, then
what is left but for the actions to circumvent what's done?
My mind begs me to contemplate:
if you're regretful for your actions and wiser for your ways,
then why were these actions taken?
And why am I wasting my time?
For some things grow and some things decay.
But memories seldom fade and old habits die hard,
And I've come to think that some things never change.
For what was will be again.
Don't come to me asking forgiveness.
Don't come to me begging time.
Neither are mine to give and all relies on what
you decide that your actions need to be.
Because for me, everything is already done.
So I'm not fighting.
Silence. It surrounded everything like a perfect darkness, even as the sun began its ascent in the skies. It was heavy, deafening; time had stopped.
-You entreat me softly, attempt to touch on my nerves-
It had encompassed everything after Nigredo had spoke, taken hold like a curse after Albedo interrupted, bringing fire. No more, he had said. No more.
-like precious memories gently falling to surround.-
Something shattered, like air, like glass, in Nigredo's mind. His brother was detached, controlled. Like Albedo never was. Albedo was playing Nigredo's part, and floating away from it all, the black-haired boy felt shock. Images of a better time--if it had ever existed--skirted his vision.
-Be it your delusions or mine but-
"Was there anything else?"
-soft apologies fall on deaf ears.-
There was something like desperation clawing its way upward, something feeling too much like loss on the edges of Nigredo's mind. He was breaking, losing, and he understood this. This was the picture of Albedo walking away.
-What was said was, and what was done the same;-
He stuttered a question, pleading. His voice faltered and gave; a hand reached to his brother's sleeve in placation. Please. I'm sorry.
-And here we lie. And hear our lies.-
A look that could be distain. "It doesn't matter anymore."
-Your mode of communication is flawed at best;-
Nigredo's hand dropped, strings cut. His eyes were wide with emotion, countless and now meaningless. His unshed tears didn't move the other. Something hard worked its way downward out of his throat, chilling his heart to ice before settling painfully in his stomach. He blinked once, eyes tipping empty, less. His mouth thinned into a line. Silence grew.
-distance overwhelming the need for closeness and flesh touching.-
For a moment, the two monochromatic counterparts gazed at each other--Nigredo more or less a broken doll. Albedo's expression hardened. He made a sound of displeasure.
-If actions are what is to be regretted, then-
"I don't believe you, Nigredo."
-what is left but for the actions to circumvent what's done?-
The usage of his name seemed to spark something, and Nigredo's hands drew together. His mouth opened to silence. He tried again. "How can I show you?"
-My mind begs me to contemplate:-
The detached gaze held, then faltered. Annoyance rose quickly, frightfully. At Albedo's side, his hands clenched. Nigredo didn't take his eyes off Albedo's face. If his brother wanted to hit him, he would. Pain filled Albedo's face.
-if you're regretful for your actions and wiser for your ways,-
Nigredo couldn't stand it. He would rather be beat than watch this. He deserved it. But Albedo wouldn't hit him. He wouldn't touch him.
-then why were these actions taken?-
Something broke. "I couldn't control it! I couldn't do anything! I didn't mean it! It wasn't my fault! I didn't mean it!" It was all my fault. I didn't mean it. Nigredo shook with the force of it; his eyes squeezed shut against the wet on his cheeks.
-And why am I wasting my time?-
Albedo stood silent, hating; shifted to turn away.
-For some things grow and some things decay.-
He wouldn't look at Nigredo as the boy sobbed without pride. Albedo echoed a line with no trace of humor. "You know it's truth. Kindred do commonly worse agree than remote strangers."
-But memories seldom fade and old habits die hard,-
"And we should have known this," Albedo said with self-deprecation. "We were all fooling ourselves. A happy little family." Nigredo watched him, tears drying without notice.
-And I've come to think that some things never change.-
The boy dropped to his knees. Softly, like a secret, "I'm sorry."
-For what was will be again.-
Albedo looked over his shoulder, expression guarded. "Why apologize for what you were made to do?" Nigredo slumped, boneless. Albedo turned to face him.
-Don't come to me asking forgiveness.-
"He's dead, Nigredo. And why? Because you fulfilled your function." Dead words. Words. He couldn't take them, hear them. Couldn't accept them. He abandoned his mission. So. It wasn't true. It wasn't true.
-Don't come to me begging time.-
Like Nigredo had responded with words instead of silence, Albedo seemed to explode. "So what do you want me to do, Nigredo?!" His brother was angry. His brother was crying. Why was he crying? (It wasn't true.) Albedo shouldn't be sad. "What do you want from me?!"
-Neither are mine to give and all relies on what-
Albedo mimicked the younger, dropping to his knees across from him. He curled over them, sobbing into his hands. "I can't." Nigredo watched him almost curiously, knowing the next line to be spoken. "I can't do this. I can't give you anything."
-you decide that your actions need to be.-
Over his loss and despondence, this brother took precedence. The movement Nigredo made was slow, careful, an approach like one would to an animal that could lash out, blinded by their own pain. He reached a hand to rest on Albedo's shuddering shoulders. Warm. He was warm.
-Because for me, everything is already done.-
But Albedo instead crumbled at the touch, muscles loosening and tears flowing more fiercely. There was a noise coming from him, a kind of soft keening, and Nigredo recognized it for what it was. Hopelessness. Helplessness. Loss.
-So I'm not fighting.-
When you save a life, you become responsible for it. And when you take one away? Are you responsible for what is left behind? Nigredo reached around Albedo's shoulders and dragged the unresisting boy into his lap. Albedo shook with the force of his tears. Nigredo could feel something going away.
A hand lightly touched snow-white hair, ran through it, and Albedo's cries continued, like he would never stop. Nigredo leaned over him, covering Albedo in an awkward embrace. As if to protect him from the world. When he should be protected from him.
Clouds were skirting the sky, leaving no sunlight to take comfort in. Shadows moved quickly, and in the broken chorus, a resolution was made. In the aftermath, were hands reaching out.