[ Another pseudo roleplay thing written by the girlfriend and I. ]

(Daren speaks to himself in the mirror.  He’s shaving with a folded razor.)

Daren: How am I going to forgive myself?

(A disembodied voice.) Tanim: For what?

Daren: For destroying you. (He lowers the razor, still staring into the mirror.) When all of this finally slides into madness, how will I ever be able to forgive myself for what will happen to you?

Tanim: It was my choice to follow you.

(Daren turns, the unfolded razor gripped in one hand at his side.)

Daren: Was it?

(The sound of footsteps on stone. Tanim approaches, stepping carefully around the rubble on the cathedral floor.)

Tanim: It’s always my choice.

Daren: You’ll die here, you know.

Tanim: What’s a life without you?

(Daren flexes the fingers of his other hand.  Tanim sees the razor in the other.)

Tanim: Beloved…

(Daren follows Tanim’s gaze down to the razor. His lips twitch in some semblance of a ghost smile. His wings tremble once, white feathers shifting against each other.)

Daren (turning the razor over so it catches the weak light): What will you do when I raze this world to the ground, when I level it to a wasteland?

Tanim: I will kneel at your feet in the wasteland.

Daren (staring at the razor pointedly): It would be so easy.  So quick.  That’s why I can’t do it. Because I need to feel it.

(Tanim takes a step closer, testing Daren’s comfort level.  Daren stands unmoving.)

Daren: They didn’t want me there.

Tanim: It was my good fortune that they didn’t.

Daren: Have you been turned away?  Have you been observed and inspected and then told to go?

(Tanim reaches out, cupping his hand around the razor. Not hard enough to wrest it from the other’s grasp; just enough to test its edges, draw a drop of blood.)

Tanim (smiling ruefully): Every time. (Looks up to Daren) But who wouldn’t want you?

Daren (voice a mix of scorn and longing): The Bright Ones.

Tanim (shaking his head): You were too bright even for them. What will you do now?

(Daren’s eyes narrow, his hand clenching subconsciously around the blade.)

Daren: Burn this world and send its ashes to Heaven.

Tanim: Go back.

Daren: What?

Tanim: Go back.  To Heaven.

Daren: Why?

Tanim: Show them what they cast out.

(Daren glances back down to the razor, considering.)

Daren (thoughtfully): It would be suicide.

Tanim: Not necessarily.

Daren (glancing back up to Tanim): And would you follow me even there?

(Tanim grips onto Daren’s hand, the same that holds the razor.  The blade cuts into both of them and drips down their grasp.  Daren inhales softly.  Tanim clenches his jaw and his eyes flutter at the momentary pain.)

Tanim: As you go, so do I.

Daren: They won’t expect me.

(Daren watches the blood snake down his thin forearm.)

Tanim: If they hurt you, I will end them.

Daren: And if I hurt you?

(Tanim watches the blood as well, angelic silver and mortal red mixing like twin rivers.)

Tanim: You can’t.

Daren: Do you understand what is necessary to bring you with me, into that realm?

Tanim swallows, hesitates, then nods resolutely.

Tanim: Yes. (Raises his head back up to meet Daren’s eyes, white throat bared.) It is a paltry sacrifice, to remain by your side.

(Daren tugs on Tanim’s bleeding hand.  The two men are nose to nose.  Daren tilts his head to the side and closes his eyes, inhaling Tanim’s scent.  Tanim shudders.  Daren brushes his lips against Tanim’s neck.  Both men’s eyes are closed.)

Daren: It’s unlike any pain you’ve ever felt.

Tanim (swallows): I’m not afraid.

Daren: You should be.

(Daren slides his lips over Tanim’s jaw and locks their mouths together, one hand gripping the back of Tanim’s neck to hold him in place. His other hand raises the blade, wet with their commingled blood, and in one quick, fluid motion slides the razor across Tanim’s neck. He drops the blade as the man begins to collapse, using both arms to lower him gently to the ground.)

Daren (smoothing Tanim’s hair as the other bleeds out): I can’t make you like myself, not completely. There’s only one with that ability. But there’s power in the sacrifice, more than they know. I know, though; I’ve made its kind. (Cups Tanim’s face in his hand) There is power on the other side of agony. You just have to reach it.


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