Okay, so this is seriously going to feel very angsty and depressing for a while, but I promise that it will not always be that way. And it won't end that way. Not sure how long it will be. Also, just wanted to send a quick thank you to Catherine, who reviewed my story Saving the World. You may not read this story, but on the off-chance you do: thank you for the lovely review. You don't know how inspiring it was to me.

Also thank you to Tro and Div for being inspirations! And to hardlyloquacious for being a voracious writer and keeping the fandom alive.

Crystal Ball

Chapter One

He lay back, looking up at the orb above. It was round and seemed so perfect.

Bright. Why was it so bright?

He squinted a bit, then blinked. Everything was still bright. Even more bright after the darkness behind his eyelids.

And white. Numbingly white. It made the light seem harsher, stronger. His eyes strayed from the glass ball above, glancing at glaringly white walls. He blinked again and for a second it seemed there was…something. Red? A…a face? He blinked and it was blank.



His gaze returned to the ball. It was translucent and opaque and the same time, bright and smooth. It reminded him of…yes, that was it. This was one of his dad's props. It must be. A crystal ball.

He tried to sit up. He had left his dad, the show, a long time ago. Right?

He couldn't move aside for turning his head. For a moment, he was startled, panicked, scared. It was fleeting.

He must be sleeping. He stared at the crystal ball again, wondering why people put so much faith in a simple object like it. He supposed it was…pretty. In its own way. Light seemed to come from it and yet move within it at the same time. It was bright and hurt his eyes a bit, but the more he stared at it, the more his eyes adjusted. He began to see the subtle shading to it, its gentle curves.

Yes, he could sort of see why people could become entranced in it. His eyes closed again and he seemed to see it in flashes on the back of his eyelids. A white pale circle.

It morphed. It was…a face again. Not red. Not lines…a woman. Brown hair and green eyes. Then suddenly blond hair and blue eyes. And just as suddenly drenched in red. His hands twitched, wanting to do something. Eyes blue, then green, then blue again until the red covered both colors and he didn't know which eyes he was seeing. Everything was red.

Dripping. Dripping.

It was dripping everywhere.

It would ruin the white. Stain it.

His eyes flew open.

No. No, it was still white. Bright.

He found the crystal ball again and thought briefly of the deep crimson of the curtains his dad had used in their tent at the carnival. He sort of…liked this white. It made him remember. It made him forget.

His breath hitched slightly.


Forget what?

He couldn't remember. He thought it might be important…

His mind skittered closer to those faces. Those two women. Just as fast, they were pushed from his thoughts.

No. He couldn't remember. Didn't want to. The red would be permanent. His wife—no—people were always talking about how hard it was to get out red stains.

He liked this white.

It made him forget.