living_endless: ([death] is waiting)
[personal profile] living_endless
Death was waiting.

Death was often waiting. She'd waited for Didi's year to be up, and it was. She'd waited to do her job on the island -- and now she had done that, too.

And now there was just one thing left to do, one final goodbye to say. She had a feeling she wouldn't be waiting too long.

For now, there were ducks to feed.


Jonothon had sensed her before he had even seen her, a resounding throb of Didi that beat at his psionic senses, stronger and older and somehow more Didi than he'd ever known her. It frightened him, perhaps a little, wondering how after the past year, there was still so much to her that he couldn't fathom at all.

But he didn't stop walking. He couldn't bring himself to. He just pushed himself forward and tried to ignore that throb, that unsettling notion that he knew what this was. He didn't. He didn't want to.

He sat down beside her on the bench, eyes turned toward the ground.

//They never did care much for me,// he noted, looking pointedly at the ducks.


And here was what she'd been waiting for.

Death turned toward him slightly, passing a hunk of stale bagel. "Do you feed them?" she asked. "That's usually what they want."

She shook her hair out of her eyes in a gesture he'd probably seen a thousand times and looked at him. "Hi. I hoped you'd find me."

Or, rather, Didi hoped for it, and Death was giving in.


//I didn't have to look very hard,// Jono replied vaguely. He accepted the piece of bagel that she handed to him, and then proceeded to stare at that, now, instead of the ducks that were gathering around his feet, demanding that he stop teasing them with it and just feed them already. //Yer difficult to miss.//

More now than he'd ever known her to be, but...


"I am?" Her dark eyes flickered with ... something. Surprise, maybe, mixed with a sense of unease. "Then you can tell."

She scattered a few more bagel crumbs as she talked. The ducks weren't the problem.


//I can tell,// he echoed, but his voice was vague, as if it was drifting away. As if, perhaps, he was trying very hard not to be able to tell the difference, and in the process of tamping down his senses, his voice was getting wrapped up and pushed aside as well.

He tore off a few crumbs for the birds. He wasn't looking up, just yet.

//... Something.//


"She's gone," Death said, tone firm but with gentleness around the edges. "I ... had something to do here. Goodbyes to say."

She dropped another stupid bit of bagel. "Ducks to feed."

She wouldn't apologize. But it didn't mean some nagging human bit of her didn't want to.


He blinked at that, hard, and wondered momentarily if just not opening his eyes again meant that this didn't have to be happening. But it was right there, washing over him and sweeping his consciousness right along with it, and by the time he'd opened his eyes again, he had given up on fighting it down at all. If this was goodbye, he didn't want to miss another instant.

//You still feel like her,// Jonothon managed, his voice there but a bit numb, now. //Around the edges. All through. More of her. So she can't just be completely gone.//

He couldn't cry. He simply wasn't physically capable of doing so, anymore. So she didn't have to see that word tearing at the heart that he didn't have.


A year might have been too long to be human, Death thought as she watched him blink. A day made moments like this bittersweet; a year made it torture.

"No," Death agreed. "I'm her. Sort of. She's like ... "

Metaphors came to her head. Pieces in a puzzle. Facets on a diamond. None of them felt right; none of them quite made sense.

"I'm here so she's here," she finally said. "In a way. For now. Not the way you probably want her to be."


//No,// Jono agreed, //not quite that way.//

It probably went without saying that he couldn't breathe, but this moment in particular seemed to be doing an excellent job of highlighting that point.

//So... Then... that's it?//

Just like that. All so sudden. He couldn't stop the reeling.


It always ends. That's what gives it value.

Suddenly, Death had a very uncharacteristic moment of violently wondering if that wasn't about the stupidest thing anyone had ever believed. Jono certainly didn't seem to think his time with Didi was better for being chopped off.

"It should be," she said, then closed her mouth tight and didn't let herself think about the other options. About taking him away. "For ... a very long time."

After all, she saw everyone in the end.


And that was what it boiled down to from here, wasn't it? This was the end. The next time he could see her, that would be the end, too. No more beginnings. No more lazy moments spent not thinking that there would ever be an end at all. They'd gotten to the first of only a limited number of ends yet to come.

//Are you th'same, everywhere?// He remembered, vaguely, that woman with the skull for the face, in the purple dress, the weekend that people weren't quite themselves. //Will it even be you, when it comes to that?//

That thought terrified him as well. That this really was the only End that there was going to be. He balled up his hands. He wasn't going to let her see that they were shaking.


Eternities of experience went into Death's "Yes" before Didi's memories filtered to the top.

"Maybe not," she amended. "I think your universe and mine aren't the same. Doesn't mean I won't be there."

It would mean negotiating with whoever Death for his universe was. She remembered the skeleton in the purple cloak too; somehow she didn't think she negotiated.

"If I can," she amended again, "I'll be there. Promise."

She glanced to his hands and added, "Don't be afraid. That end isn't now."


//My end isn't what I'm afraid of,// Jonothon replied, shaking his head a little. //Dying doesn't frighten me.//

Life frightened him in so many more ways than the prospect of an end to it ever did. Just this very instant, more than it had in a long while.


"Yeah?" Death asked, eyes trying to find his. "That's good to hear. What does frighten you?"


He opened his hands, watching the ducks scrabble for the crumbs that fell from between his fingers for a moment before he finally steeled himself and turned to look up at her.

//Being alone.//



Death didn't feel much like feeding ducks just then. She tossed what was left of her bagel across the park, letting the birds chase after it.

"Don't make me want to ask you to come with me."

She knew it would be stupid. Against the rules, and against her ethics, and, what, was he supposed to give everything up to follow her like some cosmic puppy dog? But she couldn't deny she wanted it.


There went his gaze, falling down to the ground again. Most of the ducks had run off, now, which meant that mutant eyes that had gone empty white were staring at a great deal of nothing in particular.

//Would it be you asking, or her?//

Thoughts drifting back to Didi, in all but a panic, saying that she could get Delirium to make everything better, after he'd crumpled to the ground, after he didn't want to get up again.

But she couldn't. That wasn't how the Endless worked


Delirium couldn't then, and Death couldn't now. They shouldn't. It wasn't their place, meddling with any one mortal out of selfish interest. It never lead anywhere except pain.

She knew that. Her nails were still biting into her palms with sudden fierce wanting. The power twitched at her; with little more than a thought, she could make Jono whole, take him back to her realm. It'd be easy. Harmless, or so she was trying to believe.

"Me," she said. "You're a good guy, Jono. More than that. I don't want you to hurt."


She shouldn't tempt him like that. Shouldn't offer him ever afters that weren't theirs to have. Didi had told him, hadn't she? All along...

It is not given to mortals to love the Endless.

And he'd run into it, headfirst, trying to ignore that this was looming around every corner, that someday, it would have to be goodbye.

//Offering something that we both know I can't accept,// he said, his voice slipping into something faint and faraway once again, //that hurts.//


"You're right." And Death felt a stab of luck and gratitude that he'd stopped her before she tried something they'd both regret -- maybe not immediately. Immediately things might have been amazing. But someday they'd stop being amazing. Someday things would go stale and they'd hate each other, the way all Endless relationships ended. Better not to sip from that pool. "I'm sorry. Leaving hurts, too."

"I think," she added, picking at a cuticle, "it ... might be better if we didn't spend much longer on goodbye. There won't be anything new to say."


Jonothon fell quiet at that. Quieter than before, staring ahead of himself with empty eyes and refusing to blink, now. Blinking would mean tears, and once they started, he didn't know that he'd be able to stop.

He nodded a little, while something twisted inside of him, hard and constant, like somebody had his heart in their fist and was turning it about trying to rip it away.

But it was all fire.

//It might be better,// he replied. He didn't believe it. He wanted to hold her here for a few moments more. But a few moments would become a few hours, and then it would be a plea to never leave or he'd change his mind and beg to follow her, or he'd stop being able to hold back his tears. That part, somehow, seemed worse than anything else he could do, just then.


And if Death stayed, she'd beg him to come with her. That would be even worse than tears.

"Right." She unfolded herself from the bench slowly, remembering to breathe even though she didn't, strictly speaking, need to any more than Jono did. The air steadied her.

"She loves you," she told him, not questioning her choice of tense or pronoun there. Both were accurate. "Live a happy life, Jonothon."

She twisted the universe a little, then, to give him the sensation of one last kiss. It wasn't a passionate kiss. It wasn't like the day he'd been cured. But it was warm and sure and steady and needed, at least for her.


And he closed his eyes, ignoring tears, ignoring the twist of the flames and the thrum of concentrated everything that seemed to make up Death, who was and wasn't Didi.

If his eyes were closed, he could pretend for a moment more that this was the reality. That they were kissing. That everything would be okay again once the kiss was over, and that he'd be able to open his eyes and she would be smiling at him and she wouldn't have to go, not really, and that this was all just a bad dream.

But when that shadow of a kiss had ended, he didn't want to open his eyes again. Reality was sinking in around the corners all over, and if he looked, she could very well be gone.

//I love her, too.//


"I know."

Death didn't want to say goodbye, because she'd said it. She couldn't say so long or see you later or any of that, because it might not be true.

She held up a palm. Opened it. Closed it. In another circumstance, the wave would have seemed almost jaunty. Bye-Bye.

Then she turned to walk away, not letting herself glance back and look at him again. (If she did, she would have stayed.) She walked fast.

Before a human could have been, she was gone.

[OOC: And that's it, folks. Thanks to [ profile] furnaceface, who knew about this going in and gave me an amazing year of shippiness, this scene included. I'm also going to use this OOC note to thank Jara and Cassie, for being wonderful fake siblings; Aura, for being a fantastic real sibling I regret not having had more time with; Ana, for being a kickass roomie who let Didi pick on his boy like crazy; Nic, for being my partner in crime on the one year and out thing; Tracy, for taking the goldfish; and everybody who's wibbled at me or let me wibble at them this past few weeks. Thank you. It's been an honor to play this one, and she'll be missed.]

Date: 2010-08-27 12:34 am (UTC)
trigons_child: (Trying not to cry)
From: [personal profile] trigons_child


Date: 2010-08-27 12:35 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Yeah, I don't accept this, either. *sobs*

Date: 2010-08-27 12:42 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]

Date: 2010-08-27 12:52 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
[*incoherent flailing and real tears and damnit I knew this was coming but it's even worse than Didi dying or Drake dying 'cause it's Jono being left... *gulp* *cry*]

Date: 2010-08-27 12:54 am (UTC)
weetuskenraider: (Hand Over Mouth (Ew))
From: [personal profile] weetuskenraider
[OOC: I LIVE IN DENIAL OF THIS AS WELL. But well done, bravo, and fantastic work from both of you. This hurt like hell and was absolutely perfect.]

Date: 2010-08-27 01:01 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
*cries so much*

Date: 2010-08-27 01:10 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
(Oh, oh wibble. This was beautiful and sad and heartwrenching and poetic. Much love to you both.)

Date: 2010-08-27 01:13 am (UTC)
thatsamilkshake: (crying - 3D)
From: [personal profile] thatsamilkshake

Date: 2010-08-27 01:46 am (UTC)
icecoldfrost: (voices in my head; alone in my heart)
From: [personal profile] icecoldfrost
[DAMMIT WOMAN. Now my eye make-up is running and I'm stuck at Job 2. I look like a cross between Didi and Little J with these eyes.]

Date: 2010-08-27 03:33 am (UTC)
glacial_queen: (Longing (sad))
From: [personal profile] glacial_queen
[I'mma just be over here, in tears. Beautiful. Just beautiful and very well done, both of you.]

Date: 2010-08-27 10:54 am (UTC)
spiritandsword: (A Little Sad)
From: [personal profile] spiritandsword
[Beautifully done and way so sad. D:]

Date: 2010-08-27 08:32 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
You two killed me just now. *cliiiiiiiiiiiings*

Thanks for being an awesome fake sib.

Date: 2010-08-29 03:01 am (UTC)


living_endless: (Default)
Didi (Death of the Endless)

October 2015


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