Shadows of Silence

He shifts restlessly in his sleep, as if he's unconsciously trying to escape my gaze. Of course, I know that he cannot possibly know that I'm here, yet the feeling remains, that he knows I'm here and wants to escape. Paranoia, maybe, yet paranoia can be a good thing. I was not suspicious enough initially and now I'm trapped in this position.

He stops moving, settling into a fetal ball, and arm out flung, face creasing into a scowl. Involuntarily, I reach out a finger to smooth away the folds and wrinkles but stop before I touch his face. I know that I should not, that it is not my place and he would certainly not welcome it. It's her place, always for her. And where is she? Gone, and to where? Who knows? He can't or won't tell me, so my mind is left to create a twisted fantasy of her, leaving him for some petty reason. She is not worthy of him.

Am I? I doubt it. How can I be? First impressions linger in one's mind, and his first impression of me was of me unconscious at his feet. Forever and a day, I will remain the frail weakling in his eyes. It wouldn't matter normally, people's opinions aren't all that important to me. And yet, first impressions do linger, and mine of him are of a striking face leaning down, concern marking his features and then him lifting me from the ground. I suspect I passed out then, but the damage was done. My curse reared its ugly head and now I am transfixed by my desire and self-loathing. 'Tis unnatural, this panting after someone nearly half my age and of the same gender. I try to isolate myself from him, to break this attraction I have toward him. However I keep gravitating to him, as if he is the centre of the universe, or at the very least, the centre of my universe.

Thankfully, he is oblivious to my distress. I could not bare it if he knew of the torment I experience when I glance at him. For I could not bare it either if I were not permitted these small tastes of bitter poison, for they remind me that I can still dream of what might be.

A low moan disturbs me from my musing and I glance down at him. The frown has deepened and that outstretched arm has been pulled closer to his chest. His dreams are always disturbed, the phantasms of his mind being freed from his subconscious prison to reign supreme over his unconscious. And yet, he insists that we don't wake him from his nightmares. Why he seeks to torture himself every night is beyond me. And so, every night I perform the nightly vigil over his slumbering form. He still twists and cries out in his sleep, but now I know of what he experiences and while it twists in my heart, I cherish this pain for I know it for what it is.

He whispers her name and I bite back a snarl. Irrational action I know, but he doesn't deserve what has happened. She must have left him, for he never mentions her when awake. Everything I know about her is from his nocturnal ramblings. Every night, he says her name; whispers it as a caress, speaks it casually, screams it, sobs. Every night. Surely she should know of what she has done, and after tomorrow, I will hunt her down and confront her with it. She must have left him, or she would be here with him now, on his last night.

And now, it's his son's turn. Unlike her, his son's name is always said the same way. An anguished scream rings through the night that degenerates into broken sobbing. I don't understand why I am the only one to hear this, but I shan't bring it to anyone's attention. I'll leave him with some dignity to sleep without witnesses apart from myself, who does not count.

"Death Emperor, no!" he screams aloud and I jerk back in surprise. He continues to scream out, still asleep. "You cannot have him! I will not let you!" I don't know whom he's protecting, or who Death Emperor is. He jerks upright and gazes around the room with wide eyes. I bite back a gasp of surprise and fade into the shadows of silence, praying that he does not focus into the darkness that surrounds him.

Tonight, it appears that I am in luck. His eyes look around wildly, but do not see me. His chest heaves as he gasps for air and I can see him shiver from the sweat cooling on his body. As his breathing slows, reason returns to his eyes. Gritting his teeth, he lies back and forces his eyes closed, refusing to be beaten by a mere nightmare. I wait until his breathing falls into a slow, regular pattern, then push myself upright and walk toward the door. I pause at the threshold.

"Good night Ben. May your dreams be better now," I whisper. He deserves one night of sweet, oblivious sleep. For tomorrow he dies, and I shall be the one that performs the coup de gr ce. After all, who else loves him enough to kill him?

The shadows of silence hide both truth and lie

Masking the world in their myriad shades of grey

We fumble in the dark in search of a torch

Which will gutter and die in providing us light.

We fall back into dark and we search again

Driven by something we barely understand

We are addicted to the light that lessens the dark

Blood, sweat and tears are our love's legacy.

Authors Note: And they said that it couldn't be done! I suspect though that when Aegis suggested, however inadvertently, a Ben/Zhuzhen fic, that she expected it to be so one sided and kinda creepy.

And I know that it's not June yet, but this one's been driving me nuts. Sorry.