Notes: A songfic in which the Sentinel spends his spare time thinkingÖand from that point on he starts having a bad dayÖ^_^;;; It kind of hints a little at what happened to him once; maybe one day Iíll do a more complete story about it.
For those of you who don't know what a songfic is, it's a story where a song is interlaced with the plot. Usually a scene has a direct connection with the lyrics. The song in this case is "Somewhere," the last ending song of Slayers Try.
And no, this did not happen in the series. I made it up. Itís NOT CANONÖ I hope Iíve made myself clear already.^^
I like the darkness. Most mortals are afraid of it, because itís so concealing, so mysterious, so. . .untouchable. But I like darkness; it drapes around me like a sable silken curtain, cool and comforting and soft. And itís harder for people to see my expression in the darkness, on top of all that.
So in my little room, while I wait for the lost souls to wander in, I sit and watch the flames of my candelabra dance. I know darkness is outside, alwaysóhiding me. And that makes it alright for me to think, to remember. The flickering, 3 points of fire twist and curl on top of the wicks; I focus my eyes on them and let myself wander in my thoughts.
Not many people see this contemplative side of me.
Somewhere in the world,
Somewhere in the dark,
I can hear the voice that calls my name.
My brother was an angel, and one of my most vivid images of him was the way his beautiful, beautiful wings would spread, wrapping around me when it was cold, or when we were afraid.
Sentinel. I can always recall the sound of his voice, and when I look in the flames of my candles, I can see his face too.
Might be a memory,
Might be my future,
Might be a love waiting for me.
He had always been full of light.
A smile tugs at the corners of my mouth and I decide not to fight itóthere is no one here, and the comforting darkness is wonderful cover.
Ironic, how itís here, in the darkness, that I can safely smile at my memory of his light.
Rock me gently,
Hug me tenderly,
Till the morning breaks, night fades away.
I just tightened my arms around him and tried my best to be comforting. "Itís okay. Weíre safe here. No one will find us here." For a moment I congratulated myself on how well I concealed my own uncertainty, my own fear. The voice and the words which came out of my mouth sounded true and full of conviction. I liked it like that. If it comforted him, then Iíll speak this way forever, regardless of what I really felt.
Gently, softly, I patted his back and the two of us rocked unconsciously back and forth, a lulling rhythm that was hypnotizing. "Weíre safe here," I repeated, filling my voice once again with unfaltering certainty. I had to let him believe that, so he could make it through this night.
If only I could believe it myself.
Iíve spent my time in vain,
Trapped inside pain.
We must have been carefree and fearless once, but I canít remember exactly when. Iíve heard about mortals, whose lives only span a few brief years before they peter out. Iím glad my brother and I arenít mortals. . .otherwise we would be dead before we were free.
And I wonít have that. So far our lives had been one long escape, twisting and turning and somehow always winding up back where we had started.
I looked down at him, nestled up against me for warmth, and I knew that this life wasnít for either of us. We deserve better. One day, Iíll get both him and me out of this poor excuse for an existence. Weíll escape this prison.
I shivered, and tightened my arms around him, but trying not to wake him at the same time. It was too cold in the little cave, and I didnít want to use my powers to warm the place, since itís too noticeable. Iíll have to do with the shivering.
Donít let me down,
Help me see the light.
I smiled down at his bowed head, and looked toward the cavern opening. And then I gaped, because unwittingly, morning had sneaked upon us, the soft light of gold and rose pink floating through air to dance on the cold stone floor. I could see the muted gray-blue of the daybreak sky slowly giving way to those tendrils of color, and I remembered that the little cave we spent the night in was near the top of this mountain.
It was so beautiful. . . .
I nudged my brother gently and whispered, "Look!" Slowly his eyes fluttered open. Gently, I sat up and helped him sit up as well. Yesterday had been rough for him.
"Look," I repeated, smiling. "Itís morning."
The smile that spread slowly across his face had been just as warm and lovely as the sunrise.
Feeling. . .feeling bitter, twisted all along.
Wading through an empty life too long.
The downside to this is that time wonít help to dull the pain of memory. Every time I think about what happened, itís torture all over again. I canít forget. I keep reliving it, like an eternal nightmare.
I close my eyes. . . .
Listen to the wind,
Longing to belong to a higher place.
For the higher calling of maintaining balance. For my duty. For all those things, I sacrificed the one person who understood me, the person who comforted me just by being there, smiling his smile, warming the world with his life.
I had to put my duty over the one I had sworn I would protect. Everything moved so quickly that day, I didnít even get a chance to say "Goodbye."
Or "thank you." Or "sorry."
I wish I could see him again, just once, if only to say those simple words. He didnít seem angry with me when he. . .when he left, but I donít know. I want to see him, to make sure.
Let me hear your voiceÖ
I wish I knew. Maybe if I knew what he said, I could. . . I would. . . .
Convince myself that my decision was the right one, that I had to break the promise?
What did you say? What did you want to tell me?
Let me be with you,
when the shadow falls down upon me.
I nearly jump right out of my seat, and wonder exactly when he would muster up enough decorum to actually knock before he came in. Probably when mortals stop dying. And for that untimely interruption of my thoughts, he deserves an annoying answer. "Iím sitting, Charon. And I should be asking you that question."
I hear the barest rustle of fabric, and then his shadow is looming over me as he stands behind my armchair. Thereís the faintest hint of a smirk in his voice as he tells me, "You seem unusually out of sorts."
I donít look up. Normally I would answer him, or tease him about dropping his work to visit, but now Iím not in the mood. He chose a bad time to come; I donít like having people see me with my guard so completely dropped. Even if itís Charon.
But because itís Charon, maybe he would know the answer to my question. He had been there, and he had been an observer. Maybe he heard what I was unable to hear.
"Hm?" His voice was neutral.
"I was thinking aboutÖ"
"Your brother. I know." I tense like a taut rope when I hear him. It takes all my self-control not to give him a look of total shock. "What about him?"
I am not in control of this conversation, and itÖwell, strangely enough, it annoys me. But I shrug the feeling off. My question is infinitely more important. "On the day heÖ" Itís a lot more difficult than I expected to say the word aloud.
I scowl at his complete insensitivity and am glad he canít see my face. "When it happened, CharonÖmy brother was trying to say something to me." My voice deserves to be congratulated. Itís slipped back into my usual assured manner, where it belongs. "Did you hear? Do you know what he said?"
Quiet. And thenÖ "Itís not important."
An altogether overpowering surge of anger rushes through me and I snap, "Well, itís important. . .!" before I rein in my emotions and manage to finish in a calmer voice, "Itís important to me, Charon."
"It shouldnít be," Charon snorts, and I finally look up, ready to tell him to get out. But thereís somethingÖdifferent in his usually derisive eyes. "Sentinel, the winds Satan created were too loud, and if you couldnít hear, I couldnít hear either. Obviously."
I suddenly feel deflated. It was pretty obvious, but I still hoped. . . .
"But why should you care that you didnít hear?" Charon continues, "Itís not important, Sentinel, because it should be obvious. Again."
I resist the urge to stare at him and ask, "What?" stupidly. Instead, I keep silent, because Charon sounds like heís about to say more.
"You honestly couldnít figure out what he wanted you to know?" My colleague continues to ask skeptically. "Thatís not like you. Youíre supposed to be the astute one."
"Iím sorry Iím not as astute as you are," I answer him, suddenly feeling tired. He can be so difficult. If he didnít know, thatís fine, but did he really have to. . . .
"Thatís not what I was saying," Charon paused, as if considering how to word his next sentence. That isnít like him; he usually blurts out whatever his thoughts are regardless of how others felt. What did he want to tell me? "I think," he finally began quietly, "that he knew you were going to act like this. So what ever he said, it was to convince you not to act exactly the way youíre acting now."
"What, missing him?" I canít help but sound bitter.
All my defensiveness slams up and I turn around, my eyes narrowing. How dare he? Doesnít he even think about how much this hurts? "Oh, you never sulk, Charon. Youíre the epitome of maturity. Funny how every single time thereís a social gathering, you do your best to ruin everyone elseís mood, as if no one else had a right to enjoy themselves if youíre unhappy, and you tell me I sulk? At least IÖ" I stop, mortified and astounded at my outburst. What happened to my self-control?
I have no right to say such things to him just because Iím upset. Iím not the only one whoís suffered. Charon didnít have an easy life eitherÖ
He was right. Iím acting like a spoilt child and Iím surprised heís not already on me with a scathing comment or another. Turning away, I control the flush thatís trying to take over my face and apologize listlessly. Iím so embarrassedÖ
Charon is quiet for what seems like an unbearably long time, and he succeeds completely in making me feel as petty as Iíve been acting. They say before oneís best friends the mask is taken off; with Charon this is completely involuntary. I like my mask. I want it onÖ with Charon somehow Iím always telling him things, somehow I canít hide my bad moods or my moments of childishness.
But at the same timeÖ at the same timeÖ
"Youíre ranting at me," Charonís voice floats to my ear and itís not annoyed or angry, itís amused. "The master of self-control is ranting at me?"
I open my mouth to say something and no sound came out. Well, obviously he isnít offended, and obviously Iíve completely misunderstood his silence because I was too busy feeling uncomfortableÖ The corners of my mouth quirk in a self-deprecating smile; Iím certainly not living up to my reputation today. And since Iíve completely destroyed my mature image for the time being, I might as well retort immaturely. "Itís not as if youíve never complained to me about one thing or another."
Öat the same time, Iím glad heís my friend.
"Charon?" I begin, and this time I put all the sincerity I can muster into my voice. "Iím sorry about what I said." Then I laugh lightly and add a reason for my behavior, "Thinking too much does this to me."
I sense his movement and decide that he mustíve shrugged. A moment later a pale blue orb floats lightly past my face and I catch it, more out of instinct than out of an awareness of what I was doing. Heíd brought another tainted soul for the demons outside. "Thatís for you. I have too much work to be stayingÖ" There is the slight, barest rustle of his black cloak as he turns to leave. I stare at the soul in my hand and smile a little. Just like Charon to not acknowledge an apology. Just like Charon, to be uncomfortable about being comfortable with someoneÖ Iím like that, myself.
"Sentinel." He pauses, and I straighten, listening to whatever he has to say. "I think your brother wanted you to live without hating yourself. AndÖ I have to say I agree with him."
I donít turn around, and I donít need to, because heís vanished, leaving the realm of darkness in which I work.
My brother wanted me to live without hating myself. Charon wants the same thing. I want to liveÖ and I donít relish hating myself. Leaning back in my chair, the soul in my hand shimmering in iridescent colors despite its tainted state, I heave a sigh and look into the flames of my candles.
I can see my brotherís warm, gentle, happy smile thereÖ
I just want you to know thatÖ your life is important. Donít spend it all on meÖ Be your own person. Live. Live your own life.
ÖIíll try. Iíll try my best.
Like a bird singing,
Like a breeze blowing,
Itís calling me, somewhere in this world.