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 Posted: Apr 3 2016, 06:41 PM

local advice god
Group: Admin
Posts: 1155
Joined: 21-February 11

Status: Offline


« The Same Never Again »

- - - - - - - - - - - -

"You know very well there's a chance she's never coming back."

Regus brought it up casually on one of their morning horseback rides, as their mares slowed from a trot to a walk in the forest. Ariel loved to go galloping through the early fog, up little hillocks or into sunny groves, where the sun's rays and the morning mist swirled together. He would fit a place to sit and scribble away at his poetry; he said he was more productive in the mornings now. Meanwhile, Regus would wander through the woods, finding berries or broken birds' eggs, minding the horses and letting his own mind idle. Ariel maintained a wide circle of friends to access their resources: in this case, estates and horses; he was granted such access because he remained a terrific curiosity, and people were willing to bribe him for his company.

"Of course there's a chance, Regus. There's also a chance that I'll get stung to do death by bees, or struck by lightning." Ariel was lying chest-down on a thick blanket, laid in the center of a quaint, warm glade. He tapped his pencil against a dandelion and stared into his blank notebook. With a sigh, he used the end of the pencil to sweep his blond hair out of his eyes, over to one side. He needed a haircut.

Several feet away, Regus was listening to the shrill cries of a nest of baby birds, calling for their mother. He considered stealing the nest and taking the hatchlings home. It would amuse Ariel, and distract him. "You seem to find all those possibilities unlikely. How arrogant."

"There is no point in presuming depressing outcomes. It causes head colds and indigestion. One should be prepared for the worst, not expect." Ariel laughed shortly. "Certainly not anticipate it."

"And Iris not coming back is a depressing outcome?" Regus couldn't keep the amusement out of his voice. He rocked back on his heels and clasped opposite wrists, craning his neck to try to get a better look at the nest. Sparrows? Mockingbirds? Jays?

Regus heard the pencil clatter down against the notebook; Ariel had thrown it down in a temper. "I love her, damn it! Am I supposed to try and give up loving her?!"

He turned away from the tree, and strolled back to the blanket. He stood between Ariel and the sun, and cast a shadow over the latter's face.

"She is gone, Ariel," he murmured. "It is all over."

Ariel swallowed. His face paled.

"Everything you had -- it is dead." Regus spoke slowly, evenly. "The miracle of Christ was not that He went to sleep and woke up again. He was dead. And when He rose, life was not as it was."

Regus stepped aside to sit at one corner of the blanket, and crossed his ankles. "I kept telling you to leave," he said, shaking his head. "But you could never follow through." He shrugged, then smiled. Ariel cast his face down towards the grass, hiding it. "You acted like it was going through with murder. So now, my dearest, it is Iris who killed you, only... You have embarrassed everyone involved by not dying. The funeral was held, your headstone was set, your property divided... And now, here you are, insisting that you are alive."

Ariel was staring intently at the dandelion nearest his nose, at eye-level. His blue eyes had glassed over.

"She gambled, Ariel. She bet against you. Do you think she would ever have the courage to face you?"

"Damn you!" Pushing himself up with both hands, Ariel righted himself onto his knees and turned to Regus. "Why do you hate her so?"

"Don't you hate her? You were so disappointed in Paris."

"I don't hate her. I hate myself. If she had been better in Paris-- If she had been... different--" Ariel's hands curled into fists on his thighs. "I would have been justified in my hate."

"I'm sure Iris would be happy to pick up your slack." Regus's eyes glittered maliciously. It was so sporting, seeing Ariel get angry. It was hilarious each and every time, mostly because Ariel seemed blissfully unaware that he was putting on variations of the same play, over and over. Each time he stepped onto the stage, he forgot his last act as dying Romeo, and once again mourned Rosalyn.

"I don't care if she tried to kill me." Ariel lifted a hand, and jabbed a finger towards Regus's face. "I. Don't. Care. I love her. If she wants me dead, she can do a better job killing me next time, if that's what she wants."

"A lamb to the slaughter."

"As was Christ."

Regus snorted.

Ariel inhaled, then exhaled through his nose; he dropped his hand. Regus smiled broadly, and turned his face towards the sun, admiring the clouds. "Onwards and upwards then?" Regus mused.

"Forwards. If not around, then through."

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