Gold Lining
Gold Lining

Notes: Thanatos and Charon have a little conversation during a time of peace, long after many crucial events in their lives have passed. This story mentions stuff that I haven’t written about yet, but all you need to know is that the immortals have gone through some pretty horrible things.^^;
In addition, I’d like to explain the meaning of the phrase, “Every cloud has a silver lining.” This means that good things always follow the bad things. The ‘silver lining’ is the sun’s rays peeking out behind a rain cloud, so it’s indicative of a sunny day after a storm.^_^ Just in case people think it means something else, because being familiar with this saying is important to understand the story.

I still remember (well, obviously, I’m immortal) the very first time I set eyes on my colleague Charon. I remember thinking he looked like someone you definitely would not want to mess with. Now, eons and eons later, I’m proud to say that my first intuition was right. Messing with Charon is like flirting with…myself.

Alright, I need a different analogy. Death can’t flirt with death, after all. Anyway, messing around with Charon is like flirting with Beryllus. It’s hazardous. But by Daitra, it’s so much fun!

For instance, as of this moment Charon was giving me one of his looks—the kind that means he thinks I’ve gone off the deep end and am now irreparably insane. Actually, he gives me that look a lot. I know it for what it really is: a sign of camaraderie. “Charon,” I said to him, “I know when you give me that look, it means you really love me.”

It’s really great how his expression can go from “Thanatos, you’re insane,” to “Thanatos, you’re an utter imbecile and I don’t know why I’m even in the same room with you” so quickly.

It’s really scary how I could actually tell what those expressions mean.

“What? It’s true!” I protested in response to that second look. “If you didn’t think I’m such a wonderful person you wouldn’t even spare the time to glance at me!”

Charon obviously thought that I was a lost cause (he always does), because he gave this self-suffering sigh… and proceeded to ignore me. But that didn’t tell me why he had been giving me the first “Thanatos, you’re insane” look in response to what I’d said earlier, which was what started this own thing anyway, so I wasn’t about to leave him alone. “So Charon, you don’t think what happens to us is for the best?”

By now Charon understood that if he doesn’t answer immediately, I’d nag and nag and stand next to him and nag some more until he did, so an answer was quick to come. “You’re telling me,” he said slowly with a lot of emphasis on his words, “that it was for the best that your own people hated, feared, and tried to kill you.”

I nodded. I supposed that it should’ve given me at least a tinge of pain when Charon mentioned how my life began, but it didn’t. It was so long ago, and so many things have come to replace it by now that it just didn’t matter much anymore. “And it was for the best that Shaina turned out to be a leech.”

I only dared to say that so directly because it was eons and eons ago since the “Shaina incident.” As it was Charon’s eyes still narrowed, and he still looked annoyed at me for mentioning it, but he wasn’t angry—a very good thing. “Forgive me for not sharing your opinion, Thanatos,” he retorted sarcastically. “I fail to see how that could be for the best.”

It was time for my punchline. “Well,” I began, shrugging my shoulders, “if my people hadn’t tried to kill me, and if Shaina hadn’t been a leech, then I wouldn’t have met Nemesis, and you wouldn’t have met the Sentinel…right?”

That threw him completely. I could tell because he blinked, furrowed his eyebrows, and generally acted as if he’d never even thought of that before. Which was probably true, actually, since Charon’s the type of immortal who likes to see the worst in things. Can’t really blame him either, considering what he’s gone through—though I still wish he could lighten up sometimes. And oh, another thing about Charon is that he doesn’t like to admit it when he’s wrong. Like…now, for instance. He gave me a glare, then proceeded to argue. “That doesn’t apply for the Sentinel. You can’t say his brother’s death turned out for the best, and you can’t say that for Xenos either.”

“Pssfft,” I waved a hand in dismissal. “Of course I can. His brother’s death caused you to look at the Sentinel in a new way, didn’t it? That started everything.” Ignoring the incredulous expression from Charon which meant that he was about to contest my statement, I forged ahead. “And Xenos…well, we all got closer together because of him.” I wanted to elaborate and say that because of Xenos, Nemesis and I got to understand Charon a lot better, but I had the feeling Charon would scoff more than usual at that, so I kept it to myself. “I’m not saying those things that happened were good, Charon. I’m just saying that in the long run, they turn out to be…well, for the best. What’s that mortal saying? ‘The rainbow is after the cloud,’ or something?”

“‘Behind every storm cloud, there’s a rainbow,’ you idiot,” Charon grumbled.

“Yeah, that too,” I shrugged, grinning. “Whichever. You know exactly what I’m trying to say.”

“Correction: I never know what you’re trying to say. Because it’s always stupid beyond belief.”

“Uh huh. Okay. I’ll tell the Sentinel that you think being friends with him is stupid beyond belief.”

“I never said that!” Charon growled, his feathers all ruffled. I was having way too much fun at his expense. “Another indication of your stupidity. You put words in peoples’ mouths.”

“That’s where you’re wrong,” I shook my head sagely. “My talent is merely revealing what an immortal really means in his mind.”

“Hn,” Charon smirked. “Then I will have to inform you that your talent is defunct. I certainly do not think that being fri…” His smirk abruptly vanished as he realized that I’d just baited him. I swear if I weren’t immortal that glower would’ve finished me off.

And that was when the Sentinel and Nemesis decided to come back from their little trip to the library. So of course, when an opportunity presents itself, I wasn’t about to let it slide by… “Hey Sentinel!” I yelled as soon as he stepped in. “I’m pleased to tell you that Charon…”

“Shut up!” Charon hissed loudly.

“…loves you and doesn’t know what he would’ve done without you there to keep him from moping for the rest of his…”


“…immortal life!” I finished.

The Sentinel blinked. Nemesis raised an eyebrow at me, then slanted a glance toward Charon, who looked like he couldn’t decide whether he wanted to dive into a hole and hide or strangle me. “I missed something fun, didn’t I?” She said, crossing her arms and sounding disappointed…that’s Nemesis for you.

“That’s…nice…” the Sentinel said, slowly.

“Thanatos…” Charon gritted through his teeth. “I’m going to…”

“What?” I asked innocently. “You’re wrong, Charon. My talent isn’t defunct. I got your real meaning right, didn’t I?”

Charon just gifted me with a patented death glare before he rolled his eyes, looking away. The Sentinel started to smile. And Nemesis sighed—I knew she was wishing that she had been here for the conversation earlier. “So, Sentinel,” I began, “are there any other mortal sayings like ‘behind every storm cloud, there’s a rainbow’?”

“Hm…every cloud has a silver lining?” The Sentinel suggested, looking from me to a fuming Charon and obviously starting to figure out exactly what we had been talking about. He’s…scary like that.

“Convince Charon that all clouds have silver linings, my friend,” I said with a wide grin. “You’re better at this than I am.”

“With pleasure,” the Sentinel replied, his smile broadening. “Charon?” Nemesis started to laugh.

“Thanatos, I swear by Daitra…” Charon growled, looking and sounding absolutely furious.

It’s a funny thing, because I know he’s not really angry…and I don’t know how I know. But I guess it’s enough that I can understand him, thanks to all the things we had to forge through, together, in order to reach today.

Every cloud has a silver lining, huh? Well, finally catching a glimpse of how you work, Charon… I call that the gold lining.

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