Sometimes they're human. Sometimes they're not. And sometimes, just sometimes, they've found themselves in that weird in-between place that makes them want to breathe home in their soft, whispery not-voice.
Because, in the end, they're not human. They're not a monster, either, not really. They're something else.
And that suits them just fine.
They don't often remember who they really are. Sometimes, they can feel their power, just hovering at their fingertips, just out of reach, but they never realize what it is that they're reaching for.
They don't mind though; they sealed that power away for a reason. They can't help that way, not yet.
Not that they know that, either.
Occasionally, he flickers in their periphery. Black and white and skeletal, a twistedly sad smile marring his features, their mind has dreamed up nightmares of him in their many lifetimes.
But the moment their eyes skitter away from his sorrowful visage, the moment they wake up—they forget.
They stare at the human magicians, working their multicolored magic to seal away the monsters.
Purple. (they persevere, so very much, so tenacious—they never did understand why ******* hated them so.)
Blue. (loyalty, integrity. That they could stick by their ideals even into death…)
Aqua. (patience, the most elusive of virtues. ******* always was bad at it.)
Green. (kindness; so very sweet, that gentleness to believe that everything, in the end, could be good at its heart.)
Yellow. (justice, pursued to the ends of the earth, consuming all in its path in its hunger to fulfill its own self. Self-destructive motivation—whose justice would you pursue?)
Orange. (bravery. Standing one's ground even in the face of fear; that trait that had ever been holding the hearts of the proud heroes.)
Red. (The one thing that pushed all living things, in the end. No living thing could persist without a will, without a determination. But, perhaps, in the end, humans had a powerful grasp of it, no matter what they put it to use for.)
The magic in the air sends a thrill down their spine, and they turn away.
They cannot bear to see such a gentle, proud race brought so low.
It's red. Red like red magic, shimmering like a heat haze in summer; they miss the smell of that magic, sharp and warming to their very core.
But there's only iron in the air now, and the sky above is clear, the stars sparkling down.
With a single, bloody hand, they reach upupup towards those stars, ignoring the darkness that pulls at the edges of their vision. A trail of blood traces wetly down their wrist.
They gasp wetly for air, struggling because they don't want to die, they're not ready—
Their hand flops limply beside them.
The stars sparkle coldly, their light so far away that they could never hope to be reached.
(Their body isn't found for a week.)
(They don't know that, though.)
The hot, spiced smells of Christmas fill their nostrils, and they turn their head up to the sky. It is snowing, the white flakes drifting down lazily. Their tiny body shivers violently, and they shake their heads.
The sooner they get home, the sooner they can get warm in their meager bed and tiny house.
When they get home, their mother is cooking, and they breathe in the warm spicy smell. Their stomach growls, and their mother laughs.
Later, she hands them a small mug of hot liquid, and they breathe in the smell appreciatively. It tastes different from normal. They look at her inquisitively.
"It's my secret holiday ingredient," their mother laughs sweetly, ruffling their hair. "Now, finish up. Your father will be home soon, and he expects you to be asleep."
They tilt their head for a moment, sipping the tea. "What is it?" they ask, finally.
Their mother smiles at them, warm and loving. "Cinnamon; don't tell your father I bought any. Now, bed!"
(They don't see sunlight again, that time. Their father is drunken and violent, and they wake to the panicking feeling of not being able to breathe.)
For as long as they can remember, they've lived in a tiny village at the base of a mountain. The villagers whisper of a legend, warning any child brave enough—or foolish enough—away from the high peak.
Anyone who climbs Mount Ebott disappears.
But their twin, who bears bright red eyes, turns away, setting their feet to that accursed trail.
The villagers whisper good riddance.
They cry, because now their twin is gone, and their parents are no more kind to them than they ever have been.
They hide away in the bright yellow flowers of their village, breathing in the scent desperately. They are alone, now, more so than ever.
They have become little more than the hated demon's castaway twin, corrupted and tainted by evil.
When they see the monster, carrying the broken body of their twin, they can't help the shattering grief that grips them.
Their determination fails.
(There were more than two children buried that day, in the end. Only one moved on.)
Sometimes, they dream of red.
It shimmers like a heat haze in summer, and smells spicy and sweet, and warms them from the inside. Cinnamon, they think, even though they don't even know what 'cinnamon' is (anymore).
Sometimes, they dream of yellow.
Yellow flowers that dance in the wind, smelling like butterscotch; blue skies, and red eyes that smirk at them from an identical face.
They miss it, they miss it so much, but life moves on, and they walk through the motions, trying and failing to never miss their steps.
Yellow. (their justice fails them, in the end. They are consumed by it, and they only know blood and pain on their hands before they continue on.)[their SOUL is taken]
Aqua. (they are patient and angry. This whole world—everything, every person every plant every animal—wants nothing more than to see them suffer and crumble. But they are patient. They wait, until they can strike. And when they finally fall, they leave a trail of dust in their wake.)[their sOUL is taken]
Green. (they hold out open arms, sweet and gentle, reaching out to those around them. They leave a trail of warmth behind—but even that is not enough to save them from a slip of their feet and a fall that snaps their neck.)[their sOUL is taken.]
Orange. (they stand their ground, rushing forward with laughter and joy on their lips. But dust like fine flour clings to their shirt as they FIGHT, even in self-defense.)[their sOUL is taken]
Purple. (they don't fight back. They're too weak, really. But they weather the attacks, and make it clear that they don't want to fight. They persevere, but it isn't enough.)[their sOUL is taken]
Blue. (they don't back down. They reach for the tiny glimmer of freedom, refusing to let go. They made a promise, and they'll keep it—they'll see their baby sister again, let their big brother hold them in his warm arms and protect them from the wrath of the world. They don't keep their promise.)[their SOUL is taken]
When they open their eyes again, they are once again nothing more or less than they always have been.
Perhaps they don't remember what they really, truly are, and perhaps their truths slip through their fingers like smoke; but they are no more or less no than they ever have been.
And if they look out at the stars each night and beg those cold, distant lights for peace in silence—well.
They won't say anything.
welp. I've been sucked so far into this fandom that I doubt I'll ever crawl out...so. Enjoy this hopefully short fic.
(title from 'Battle Scars' (reprise) by Paradise Fears; fic inspired by Temporal Nonsense by Kamary (AO3) and by aforementioned song.)