Fingers are outstretched
A silent incantation
Lightning pierces flesh
You look ridiculous with that plasma gun in your hand. You were always better with a sword. It’s a shame really, that swords are so outdated, so unfit for a royal. You were always so confident, strong and assured when you were wielding one. You with a gun is just wrong. Unsettling. Especially when it’s pointed at me.
Swords and guns were never my thing. I preferred magic. I was only supposed to use it for healing, but there were times when it all welled up inside me, when I could feel it humming in the tips of my fingers, begging to be let loose. I would seek you out in those moments. I would find you down at the beach, sword in hand and barefoot, the sun tanning your broad, bare chest and making sweat run down your neck. We would spar, you with your sword, and me with my magic. Of course, I would easily beat you, but there were times when I felt like being nice and would let you win. You would gloat, rubbing it in my face, but the look in your eyes and your smile was always worth it.
Sometimes we would explore the caves by the ocean, dug into the cliff sides looking out over the waters. We would swim, splashing about in nothing but our underwear until the sun sank under the horizon, the sky tasting of oranges and happiness. Your father would be angry at you for neglecting your royal duties, and my mother would be angry at me for not helping with the patients, calling me a foolish boy. Every second of her anger was worth it for a few minutes with you.
There was one day though, when something especially interesting happened. You were off on your mandatory duties, and I was off exploring the beach without you. I had found a cave we hadn’t seen before. The entrance was small, but when I peered inside, it gave way to huge, open space, the likes of which I’d never seen before. Prickly stalagmites and stalactites cut holes in the air, making it smell damp and earthy. There was shake, a thud and a rush of air, beaten into submission by a figure partly obscured in the dark. I saw the gleam of shiny scales, the flick of a long tail, and the wide expanse of strong wings.
It was when I climbed inside that the dragon gave me his advice. We were intertwined, you and I. We were to be at each other’s sides forever, until the end of time. It was my destiny, and yours as well. We were two sides of the same coin, he said. And I believed him.
Your compassion and kindness has never ceased to amaze me. Not then, when your father sent away a poor, homeless mother and daughter looking for some food or coin, and you took care of them in secret. All those years ago, when you refused to turn in a thief only looking to provide for his sick father. And not now, when you lower your gun and try to reason with me, talk me into putting down my raised arms and letting go of the electric magic surrounding us. But you’re out of luck. Or maybe you never had it in the first place.
It’s quite sad, really. Our lives have been pretty unlucky. It was unlucky that I accidentally said the incantation wrong and the king’s breath was taken away instead of given back. Unlucky that his brother accused my family of an assassination attempt and ordered immediate execution, that I was forced to leave them to die and go into hiding. Unlucky that you became so good with a gun, that you became the kingdom’s best warrior. Unlucky that you were assigned to hunt and kill me. Unlucky that I’ve changed so much since then. Unlucky for you, that you haven’t changed a bit.
It’s unlucky, really, that I have to do this. That I’m so tired of running, of hiding my identity. It’s either this, or a lifetime more of disguise, of grief and pain, of not being by your side. My family’s gone, but soon so will we, and the balance will be restored. We’re two sides of the same coin, he had said. We’re to be at each other’s sides, until the end of time. It’s our destiny. And with this, I’ll only be ensuring it.
My magic swells within me, pure power radiating from my core out through my fingers, making the sun quiver behind the safety of dark, heavy clouds and the waves violent in their anger. Winds swirl at my bidding, and you shout, still trying to placate me with your hesitant steps and kind eyes. Your gun lowered at your hip. My fingers stretch out toward you, tips crackling with energy and eyes alight. You see the glow, and your face hardens, in frustration or panic, I can’t tell. You raise your gun, but it’s too late. I’m sorry.
The only traces of you are the dark ashes in the sand, blown away by the harsh winds. I take a moment to stand there, peaceful despite my actions. Then I lift my hand up to the sky, fingers stretching out a final time. The clouds rumble, questioning me, but I insist. A blinding flash of light, a split second of searing heat. I smile. By your side, at last, together once again.
Inspired by a haiku I wrote in ninth grade English class.
Pretty much a Merthur fanfic.