tayastorm: (harmony)
At some point Adrian simply stopped noticing things.

The way he had to hold his coffee with both hands, and press a thumb against his cutlery to stop it clattering when he carried his dinner to the table. The lines of tension running across his shoulder and up his neck that had long ago moved past simple pain.

In a tiny corner of his mind a voice whispered that something was terribly wrong, while another insisted that if there was he would notice.

As long as he didn't look at the problem, it wasn't there.



The old fan rattled in the silence, a staccato filling the edges of the blank spaces and reminding him that he needed to get ir replaced. He'd been meaning to fix it for years but he could never find the right design, and his grandmother would be so upset if he had to just put in some off the shelf thing that matched nothing. She'd believed in supporting small businesses and craftsmen so much that almost every item in her house had been handcrafted. Even the paper she used to write letters was handmade, whole batches made just for her, intricate designs worked in with pale inks.

Now most of them had moved on in some way, automating, outsourcing, or simply leaving. At least she hadn't lasted long enough to see the whole thing fall apart.

The phone rang and he ignored it. No one he cared about rang anymore, and so he didn't care who rang. They already had everything of his that mattered.

He started at the loud knock and again at the unfamiliar rattle of keys in a lock. He hadn't put the chain across when he'd come back from getting the mail.

Then the door opened and the hallway filled with footsteps as familiar as the rattling keys had not been. Four years and he still recognised it, the faint hesitation on the right foot, the scuffing of the left. His grandmother had called it a gift, but at that moment it was a curse to the very core.

Adrian's eyes slowly pieced the shattered mug in the sink back together, each little fragment once so unnoticed now so unique, each with a place in the puzzle no other could fill. The exercise focussed him and he didn't turn around when the footsteps reached the kitchen doorway and stopped.

There was silence for a long moment, and then a soft voice broken by things they could never speak of said, "Aders."

All of his grief pulled together in that word, turning to razor sharp blades in his chest.

"She died," he accused, his voice twisted by more than disuse. "She died and you weren't here. You were supposed to be here, you were supposed to stop them. You promised."

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Tundra

April 2012

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