Nobody – Serious Snippet

Maybe I’m not running from you. –Selina Kyle, from The Dark Knight Rises

 

Sometimes he wondered just why he’d come back at all. Nobody here really seemed to trust him and those that did trust him were pretty untrustworthy themselves from what experience with them he’d had. Most times there didn’t seem to be anything here for him. No reason to keep going as everyone he knew from Before was dead and gone or…

Erased and gone.

By his own actions.

The Illusion Master placed his head in his hands and kept the tears trailing down his face from pulling sounds from his throat.

As he was alone, no one would ever know how successful he was.

(There was no one to care either.)

Trifle

You merely adopted the shadows. I was born in it, molded by it. –Bane, from The Dark Knight Rises

 

One thing that Neal could never really understand about Chaos was that it wasn’t something that you could trifle with. You couldn’t use just a little bit of it and then never touch it again.

It wasn’t like a spring of water that you could dip a cup in and taste with only little water getting your face wet.

When you dipped into the Well of Chaotic Essence for anything, it was a full-body dip rather than a bucket or a cup. There was no turning back once it had permeated your skin and it permeated very, very quickly.

But even those that did so, whether by accident, misunderstanding or even purpose, it was very different from the few that had been born in the Essence of the Well itself and climbed out of it.

Star and Comet had come from the Well of Chaos, been created there using the strongest genes that Chaos had been able to obtain at the time and then It had gone one step further.

It tapped into what little of the Galaxy Cauldron that It could through the Well and tied them to something far greater than It.

Star and Comet may shine bright, but they could only do so while surrounded by the darkness that Chaos would enfold them in. They were the only ones that could use the powers that they had been given to harm Chaos due to that tie with the Galaxy Cauldrons. As such, they were far more powerful than Neal could ever hope to be.

Maybe that was why he focused his energies on them one at a time, trying first to get them to embrace the Chaos that had created their souls.

But once again, he had forgotten that you do not Trifle with those things born from the Well of Chaos.

Evil Cannot Cast Out Evil – Serious Snippet

The shadows betray you because they belong to me. –Bane, from The Dark Knight Rises

 

Chaos often wondered, in Its lonely confinement, just why some of her ‘children’ (those who had turned from her) thought that they could use the abilities they’d gained from her against her. Had not that one Man said that a kingdom divided against itself would fall?

Chaos knew that very well indeed, even as it watched Its ‘children’ use what It had given them against Its remaining children. It smiled as the powers did nothing.

Trust is a Funny Thing

“Forgiveness is not forgiveness if it is worked for. Forgiveness is a gift. Trust is worked for.” –Bramble, from The Most Unlikely of Times

Alex knew that he’d gone too far on this one, knew it from the very bottom of his soul, but at the same time he wasn’t sorry.

After all, finding out that the more than questionable venture that you’d begun funding several years prior to your ‘younger’ sister even discovering that there was a fertility problem and somehow causing her to become pregnant via complete override of her husband’s own genetic code (supposedly) and actually doing it on purpose were two completely different things.

The outcome was the same, though, and he would never be sorry whenever he looked into the dark blue eyes of his nephew.

Alex knew that Mary would find out. She always did whenever it came to this kind of thing.

And if by some miracle she didn’t find out, then Warren certainly would.

The two of them were really quite perfect for one another and Alex would forever be grateful that neither really had the head to manage a business or his little business empire would be in a great deal of trouble.

As it was, he was still in trouble, but it would only be against his own peace of mind as a part of a family rather than as a mogul of the economy.

Funny how he would rather it be the other at this point…

Losing the trust of his sister would likely put a strain on their relationship, and though they would try to not let it affect any relationship between him and his nephew, it would. Whether they wanted to or not, children always picked up on this kind of thing.

“Alex, stop looking like your life’s about to end just because it’s your turn to change Terry’s diaper.”

Feeling Empty

Have you ever sat and pondered the purpose of life?

Just…stopped.

Stopped whatever you were doing and sat down, because you needed to think, needed to decide on a direction before you did anything else, even if it was just to sway in the winds of your trials and troubles.

Because you didn’t know which direction to go anymore.

Didn’t even know if you were moving in the first place in order to stop until you’d actually sat right down and thought about it.

This was very much one of those moments for Neal.

He realized that this was likely what had happened to Star and Comet, his untouchable cousins who were more sisters to him than anything else. Unbelievably old in comparison to everyone and anyone they’d ever met and yet so full of innocence.

Somehow untouched by all that they had seen and lived through, though how you could call most of their existence actually living was a mystery to him for so many years.

There had likely been millions if not billions of times that one or the both of them had sat down and stopped to think just as he was doing now.

It didn’t help him at all.

Because he didn’t know just what two paths (or possibly more) that they were choosing between. What good could such knowledge do for Neal now anyway? It wasn’t likely that he’d choose the path that led back to his family (though they likely would never call him such again). Going that way would be far more painful in the short run (possibly even the long run if he was honest. Some things once broken can never be put back together, especially when the pieces have been ground down to dust and scattered.)

Continuing the path he’d tread for so many decades now (had it really been that long? It didn’t feel like it) seemed the far more sensible course to take. He was already familiar with this path in the first place after all, and it was an old friend (or at least, an only friend.) Could he really abandon something he’d fought so long and hard for?

(Hadn’t he already had to rip apart his own heart and purpose once? Shouldn’t that have been enough?)

(It wasn’t. He knows that, somewhere inside of what is left of the soul he traded for empty promises.)

Monetary

Money felt lonely to me.

 

“Why did you adopt her?”

Alex turned and looked at the boy that was his nephew if only on paper.

“You could have had anything, anyone that you wanted. You didn’t have to make her your sister in order to have her in your family. No one would have questioned you for any of it.”

The old man smiled at the much younger man in front of him, “I wanted to make sure that, in the very likely case of my death, the money would go to someone who wouldn’t appreciate it.”

Matt blinked, “What?”

“Your mother wasn’t ever very big on monetary things. She absolutely hated the fact that we lived in a mansion whenever we went to visit anywhere outside of the city. She wouldn’t appreciate anything that cost money from me, but she wouldn’t waste it either, so it had to go to her. The best way to do that without having someone take her to mediation was to adopt her as my sister.” The bald man smirked mischievously, “I toyed with the idea of making her my daughter, but Mary threatened to disappear whenever I entered a room if I did that.”

“So you made her your heir in the event that you had no children.”

Alex’s smirk dropped, “I had a son once. He died. I could have no others after him.”

Matt was silent for a moment, remembering the young man whose paternity had always been in question for some reason even though he had the same looks as his father. It had only been covered in history class because of the status of the father in the making of their country.

“Mary didn’t want money, what she wanted was family and I could understand that. Money never brought me any family, but your mother. For that alone, I would have her be my heir and through her, you and your brother.”

Unusual

I’ll find strength in pain. –‘The Cave’ by Mumford and Sons

 

The Illusion Master had no name, not anymore. He’d had one once, long ago, but at the same time fairly recently.

It was a little confusing to people who didn’t know him personally.

He was a very confusing individual, which was part of the reason his title (and name for many) dealt with illusions. No one was quite as good at dodging the truth as he was.

Not that he enjoyed deceiving people, but it was what he was good at and what he could do in order to protect others. He may be the second most unusual member of the Guardians, but he was just as effective as the more ‘normal’ members of the group. Of course, if he hadn’t done his duty, then there wouldn’t be a group for anyone to be in at all.

He was both from the past and from a future that no longer was. That was why he was so unusual when compared to most everyone else in the Guardians.

He had come from a different future, one where the Chaos War was not a war, but a Massacre that had taken every single Guardian and twisted those that did not die immediately into things that would destroy those they had sworn to protect. There had been no one to fight back.

There had been a small chance that they could stop it where it began, but they would need to send someone back who wasn’t there when it started. It couldn’t be anyone that could accidentally stop their own chance from being born either otherwise they risked a paradox taking place.

Chaos didn’t need any additional fuel to It’s monstrous strength.

There had been three of them left at that point.

The Lunar Monarch, her Seer and the Illusion Master.

It had been enough, but it also left the Illusion Master as a strange outlier from another time and another place no matter when or where he was. Because no one else fully remembered what could have happened except what he had told others.

He wouldn’t tell anyone everything. They didn’t need the same shadows of Chaos at the edge of their thoughts like he had.

Yearn

Comet watched as the others found people to share their lives with, to go home to and have children with. She wasn’t alone, far from it. There were children all around her, always there for her to watch over and play with.

Times were peaceful and there was little call for warriors these days, though she still pulled shifts as a guard for Solaris and even, occasionally, the Moon Queen.

With each child that came into her life she yearned more and more for one child of her own.

Men Like Him

Men like him don’t die in places like this. –Basch, Final Fantasy XII

 

Alex has been to some of the truly horrible places in the world. Looking for opportunities, hunting down leads, even just seeing if there is anything he’d like to buy. He’s the kind of person that likes to collect things that are as authentic as possible and the only person he really trusts to make the final call on whether or not something is authentic is himself. He worked hard to get those qualifications to be able to do so when it comes to certain things (weapons, mostly) and he was going to use them if it killed him.

It wasn’t like he had anything else to live for and even though he might get hurt, he never loses more than blood and pain.

Alex has heard more than one man be grateful that they are part of whatever caravan he is a part of because that means that even if they don’t come back to their families alive then at least their bodies will be brought back. Alex always makes sure that such men’s families are taken care of if their husbands and fathers die in his service.

He may be no man’s friend, but those that he has counted as his are always well cared for.

One woman said that it wasn’t because he cared for those men because he saw them as people, but because Alex always took good care of his things. This was right before she’d left his ring on the kitchen table with a note saying that she needed more from a man than the care he would give things. She’d been the kindest of the women he’d almost married, but also the last.

He hadn’t bothered at the family thing anymore after her.

It was likely because it was just one more thing that a man like him would never really have.

No Better Way

“I’m sorry, too. Not for what I did, but that the situation came to it. That I couldn’t think of a better way.”

 

Mary stood over what little was left of the world she had come from. The clothing she’d been wearing was old and little more than scraps at this point. No matter how well it had been woven, nor how sturdy the material even something as strong as the steel fibers that had been created in her home universe could not hold up from the ravages of crossing dimensional barriers as well as the years afterwards. Precious few things were sturdy enough to cross the barrier in the first place, much less be able to continue on as it had been before such a crossing.

Mary was lucky enough that she had crossed over with such little tear upon herself.

If one could call losing half of what you were permanently as ‘little’ of anything.

“Are you all right?” Alex asked as he watched his chosen sister stare at the remnants of what had come with her into his life.

“…” she said nothing at first before slowly shaking her head, pausing and then nodding it.

With that confusing answer, she turned, rags held in her hands tightly, and left the room.

The fibers would finish disintegrating before the week was over, dissolving into fine dust to be blown away by the wind, but Mary would cherish their presence for as long as she had them. They were the last things her sister had ever touched before Mary had been exiled for her own health. She wasn’t bitter about what had happened.

Well, no.

That wasn’t true.

She was bitter.

But she didn’t blame her sister for it. Something had to be done and though she did not like (hated, loathed, mourned) what had been done she knew that there was precious little else that Star could have done that didn’t include Mary’s death in order to stop the madness that had been festering in her very soul.

Better she be alive and lost to her home than dead and buried within it.

Mary knew that was what Star had believed, no matter how it must have destroyed her to actually do such a thing.

That more than anything else saved Mary from blaming her sister for the predicament that she was now in.