lanapanda: (fox white fox)
[personal profile] lanapanda

“Only you can set you free.”

Fox sat on the edge of the bed and watched Lucian pack his things. The white-haired kitsune was repressing a sigh, partially because he knew Lucian was expecting it, but mostly because he knew it would do no good. One of the many disconcerting things about having your mental counterpart across from you in a physical form: Even when not actively sharing a mind link, Fox knew when Lucian would not listen to reason. And had to reason with him anyway.

“You cannot keep doing this.” The tone was neutral, and Fox did not meet Lucian’s eyes when the other paused to stare at him, holding a potted hyacinth whose blooms threatened to make the entire plant pitch forward from the weight of the blossoms.

“I can’t stay here, Fox. You know that.” Lucian’s tone was quiet as well, weary, guilty. He was immensely tired of playing this game with his alter self, but that was no one’s fault but his own.

“No. You cannot stay here. You cannot keep doing this either. How many more late night escapes is it going to take before you realize how much your own selfishness is hurting these people?” Fox held his ruby-lit gaze low, staring at the purple and gilt-edged blossoms that swayed whenever Lucian moved indecisively. Pacing.

“Would you rather I just charmed them all into bed? Cast glamours and spells and then left them before dawn, hurting from the magic and what I have to take?” Softly accusing, but Lucian knew that excuse wouldn’t make Fox be silent. It never did.

“You could try restraint for a change.” Came the quiet and damnably even reply.

“One of us has to do this.”

“Not so. We got along just fine for many years before you ever met him you know. We bonded to streams, to forests, to the deep heart-fires of the earth and we did not need it.”

“We were a child then!”

“And so you will act like a child now? Flitting from person to person, making them love you, being whatever they want… Lucian, it is shameful. You used to be so strong for him. Will you be forever weak and foolish now that he is gone?”

The next sound in the room was the crash of porcelain against the ornately tiled floor. Lucian didn’t even bother to pick up the pieces, he just turned away and stalked for the balcony. Fox’s words pursued him. Shameful. Weak. Foolish.

“What would you know about being weak or foolish, Fox? You lock everything away behind that cold façade you keep up and push anyone that might care about you away. Anyone except for the two people that I loved first. You took them! While I was weak and hurt you just… took them. Both.” Lucian leaned on the railing and stared at the listless sky above, the moon riding on dark billowy clouds that moved like a serpentine dragon across the horizon.

“We are the same being! How can I take anyone from you? I am you! You are me! Would you rather I left them to be fawned over by that clinging, vapid, venom-spewing—"

“That’s enough! I don’t want to hear your opinions on him, or any of them! You always act so smug, so superior, so… untouchable. I hate you.”

“You hate yourself.” Fox rephrased the statement, his tone of voice thoughtful. “Now see… that makes sense. It is no wonder you act so common, if that is how you feel.” He took up the packing duties now, though there was little left to do. Kitsune were never known for having a wealth of possessions in any place save their den. And this place was certainly no den. Out in the dunes perhaps, where the desert fox clan dwelt in the shadows of the scorching sun maybe… but not in here with the mosaic patterned floors and gauzy curtains. No. This was the place of a ‘kept’ creature. At least Lucian would not let himself be kept. Fox was grateful for that much.

“No. I hate you. I hate the way you could reach them when I could not. I hate the way you could have them when I could not. I hate the way you take it all as if it were your due—"

“No. It was your due. They did not love me at first. They loved you and the facets of you they saw in me, even when I did not see them myself. Whatever affection I garnered was after the fact, and I thought you would be happy that I was keeping those you loved close. Now I see perhaps I made a mistake, as you constantly seek to be freed from them.”

“I’ll never be free. They’re too deep, too close. Even a thousand miles away I still remember the sound of each breath… the rhythm of each heartbeat…” Lucian blinked away tears and watched the sky. The far, unreachable sky, dark and lovely and limitless, even if you were flying through it. Soon he would be. He would leave this place and find another. Somewhere quiet. Somewhere that it didn’t hurt so much just to keep living.

“Do you want to be free, Lucian?” The query was so soft that the dark-haired kitsune might have thought he’d imagined it, if it were not for Fox suddenly being right there, the little satchel now packed, even the hyacinth, shrunk down and sealed away so the dirt wouldn’t spill onto his few belongings.

“No. Not from them. Not from him. I love him.”

“He killed himself.”

“That was our fault. But he will be back again.” Lucian took the satchel in both hands and held it close. Fox toyed with the little braid of a bracelet on Lucian’s wrist. It was made of hair, smooth as silk, black as night and blacker still.

“Yes. He will be back. I wonder what he will think of what we’ve become. What you’ve become.”

“Shut up.”

“Do you wish to be free of me then?” Another soft query.


“As you wish it.” Fox bowed deeply, then stepped onto the railing of the balcony and over it, dropping out of sight. Lucian didn’t need to look to know that he’d be alright, but it hurt just the same, seeing that apparent portrayal of suicide…

The dark-haired kitsune turned away from the balcony and looked over the empty room once more. A room fit for a king. Or a sultan. Or… a very well-kept concubine. Lucian shook his head and put out the candles. When sunrise filtered into the room again, he was nowhere to be found.


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December 2008

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