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no more dreaming...

Fanfiction: So in love with the wrong world

Fanfiction: So in love with the wrong world

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one of those days...
Title: So in love with the wrong world
Rating: PG
Word Count: 2,329
Summary: Alex comes back. Life after death, just a dream, raised from the dead? That's up to you. Somewhat of a stream of consciousness piece, I wrote it without stopping while listening to the Florence song on repeat.
Pairings: Alex/Richard, Alex/Man in Black
Characters: Alex, Ben, Richard, Jacob, the Man in Black
Prompt: Completely and utterly inspired by the Florence + the Machine song "Blinding". I've included the song here, above the cut, should you want to hear it. The video is just an album cover, so you can listen and read at the same time if you like. The phrase "rust and stardust" is Nabokov's.
Notes: Honestly, I have no idea what happened. Sometimes, when I write late at night...

Seems that I have been held, in some dreaming state
A tourist in the waking world, never quite awake

    It was cold, below.

    The Temple held her prisoner, the ancient bricks and carvings a simple cage. Her containment, almost artful. Alex was fear and fury, smoke and the soul of a girl. She prowled the Temple, a vengeful ghost longing to see the sun.

    At times, it seemed she was elsewhere, floating on a gentle sea far away, thrown by the waves. She could smell her blood and the funeral flowers, and she could hear the crackle of fire devouring her flimsy raft, creating her undoing, spilling her remnants to the depths. Other times, she moved through the jungle, the spongy, cool moss beneath her feet, lilting bird-calls from above, whispers rising from her lips. Mostly, though, all was dust and eternity. She left no footprints as she moved through the maze of the Temple, a door-less world, a windowless cell. No breeze blew, no fresh wind coaxed the numbness from her skin.

No kiss, no gentle word could wake me from this slumber
Until I realise that it was you who held me under

    She had been alone long enough to forget what company was like when she first heard someone stirring down in one of the rooms. Not just anyone, either, Ben. The thought made her clench her hands to fists, vindictive, at the same time filling her with a strange wistful longing. Ben, come to save her. Ben, here to turn his back, yet again.

    Alex pressed her fingers to her forehead, felt the impact and the scornful metal, the hot rush of blood. Her knees hurt from kneeling, gun to her head, Keamy cocky beside her. She was standing, a vacant shadow invisible to the naked eye. She was striding, running to Ben, arms outstretched. She was shying away, disappearing into the walls, down the grate with the coils of brooding smoke.

Felt it in my fists, in my feet, in the hollows of my eyelids
Shaking through my skull, through my spine and down through my ribs

    "I'm so sorry, Alex."

    He was speaking to a phantom, courting invisibility, in love with the lack of substance. Alex felt a tremble work up her spine, hurting, sensitive to his apology. Ben, who never said sorry, stood there with his hands limp at his sides, his blue eyes pale and bright with pain instead of his customary steel. He had not been there when she had found herself captive in the old building, yet another sweet spirit restrained in the walls of the Temple. He had not been there when she had bled out on the grass.

    But he had carried her thought the jungle as a baby, she knew. He had knelt at her side, his hands fluttering over the still body to close her eyes when the end had come. His kiss against her brow, bestowing some frank forgiveness, had sent her on her way down the river. She had forgotten, but it came back in a rush, Lethe and Acheron scorned.

No more dreaming of the dead as if death itself was undone
No more calling like a crow for a boy, for a body in the garden

    No one had saved her, but no one had saved Danielle either, and no one had saved Karl. Alex stepped out from the darkness. She was older now, inexplicably. She was stronger, a creature of pure rage and regret, the muscle and sinew strengthened by will, time, anger. She had listened to the lies whispered in the darkness, the man with smoke in his sinister eyes, such sad eyes.

    She heard words issue from her mouth, not her own. Anger, demands, but she meant none of them. The scent of hibiscus was cloying, the smell of seawater spreading over her corpse too strong, dragging down a body still whole to the cerulean depths. Alex slapped away the impatient flames feeding on her raft, charged her way through the tangled paths in the jungle, threw open the door to the Temple and found her way back.
    "Wait!" she called out, and Ben turned to regard her over his shoulder, startled and afraid.

No more dreaming like a girl so in love, so in love
No more dreaming like a girl so in love, so in love
No more dreaming like a girl so in love with the wrong world

    "Alex," Ben whispered, her name. His eyes widened, underlined with red shadows. He looked broken, something stolen from within him that beatings had never been able to touch.

    She watched him flinch, turned her back. Richard, she saw in the distance, stumbling over the sands, choking on the warm water of the hungry sea. She could see the ancient, simple rites, the capped bottles of wine. Ben, too, younger than she had ever known him. His movements across the unknown island awkward, his search desperate.

    "Ben," Alex spoke back. Her voice was rust and stardust, angel's tears, storms echoing across the sea.

And I could hear the thunder and see the lightning crack
All around the world was waking, I never could go back

    It was different, outside.

    She moved with caution, keenly aware of the way her touch made the flowers tremble, how the grass bent down to kneel before her. The rain poured down and she moved through it despite Ben's cautions, the pure sensation waking her body. The rain smelled different than the ocean she remembered, a cleaner touch, washing away memories like paint dripping from a canvas. There was breeze, there was thunder. Her muscles tensed at each blow, shivering beneath the rain, her eyes blinded by the blue and purple streaks in the grey linen sky.

    A gift, Alex thought she heard someone whisper. A man's voice, less cruel than the man of smoke. Take it. She nodded, wondering what eyes were watching, but inside, she trembled with doubt. The fish danced silver flickers around her sinking body, currents clawed her down to the great below. The blooms Richard had placed with care on her body before lighting the funeral pyre smouldered, a sweet and poisonous scent.

Cos all the walls of dreaming, they were torn wide open
And finally it seemed that the spell was broken

    Richard did not believe.

    That stung. Alex made no secret of her feelings, tears running down her cheeks as she turned her face to the fire, remembering the bite of its touch. She was gone, she was dead and buried, swept up by the sea, but she was here, standing in the jungle camp, older than she’d been when she had died and tired already.

    "She's not what you remember," Ben warned, his whisper quiet but not so soft Alex could not hear it.

    Richard shook his head. He was not torn into two places at once, divided. "Then what is she?"

And all my bones began to shake, my eyes flew open
And all my bones began to shake, my eyes flew open

    Sleep was the hardest part. She paced, resisting as exhaustion dug its claws into her. The whispers were omnipresent, and the smoke made its promises from the depths of the island, the secret fountains, the hidden light. Alex, she thought, reminding herself to stay calm. Once, she had been a girl.

    She could still feel the cold, that was the thing. Coldness, numbness, the stain of blood on her skin. She could still feel the bullet, the hopeless and deafening sound of the trigger being pulled. The mattress dragged her down against it, smooth softness cradling her. She slipped into dreams and woke to tears. She slipped and fell, stumbled, lost her memory and had no way back.

    Morning shook her, sun hot on her body. Alex opened her eyes. A gift, she remembered. "Jacob," she whispered aloud in her raw voice, thinking of the stars, the things that had been dead but were brought back to life as light.

No more dreaming of the dead as if death itself was undone
No more calling like a crow for a boy, for a body in the garden

    Ben was edgy around her, his eyes wide, expecting judgement. Only he seemed to smell the fragrance of island flowers still clinging to her skin, the hot embers of a waning fire, the darkness of lost hope like musk against her body. He watched her, suspicious. Alex worried for a while, spent her days in a delicate dance, showing him kindness to coax him out of it.

    “It’s okay,” she explained one morning. She tried to find the words to articulate Keamy, the desperate moments, the smoke and fire. “You didn’t mean it.”

    “Didn’t mean what, Alex?” He was stone, distant. There was nothing to be sorry for, anymore. She was alive and warm flesh, whatever the memories told her.

     Finally, she gave up. Ben, lured to the jungle by ghosts of his mother, remained unconvinced by resurrection. Alex supposed it had been too late.

No more dreaming like a girl so in love, so in love
No more dreaming like a girl so in love, so in love
No more dreaming like a girl so in love with the wrong world

    If Ben pushed her away, Richard pulled her close. Alex could feel his eyes upon her always, a heavy gaze as she moved through camp.

    “Tell me,” he asked her one day, the two of them alone among the trees, a green world laid at their feet.

    She remembered the feel of his arms, the long voyage to the beach. Richard’s tears, the hollow echo of her silenced screams. He had built her raft alone, the rough boards working up splinters on his hands. He deserved an answer, but she did not know how to give it. How to tell him about the flickering of a new world, a shimmer of silver moonlight on the ocean, the birth of an island, Jacob as a child? Death was dark, death was still, but eternity was an elegant tapestry hung for her eyes alone. Alex wanted to whisper the reassurances he needed, the promises of redemption and forgiveness, the warm waiting light, but she remembered the cold, the words spoken at the beach, the push of her raft into the sea.

    “I can’t,” she answered simply.

    “Please,” Richard begged. “I lost someone, once.” He cut a part of himself away and gave it to her, a secret. “My wife, Isabella.”

    “It’s better not to know,” Alex said, shying away from his hand as Richard touched her. She held it locked inside, the wonder, the beauty, the deep secrets. She thought of the smoke, the kiss of hungry lips that marked her mouth with the touch of fire. “Really, Richard.”

Snow White's stitching up the circuit boards
Silence slipping through the hidden door
Snow White's stitching up your circuit board

    She saw it sometimes in the jungle, a furious plume. Destroyer, the voice that haunted her whispered, and whenever Jacob spoke, Alex listened, as she’d learned. Nonetheless, it was hard letting go. She had made her promises, too. They had spoken in the darkness, a poetic flow from her lips, song from his, milk and sugar, honey and locusts for all time. He’d kissed her fingers after she’d bloodied them tearing down the walls. She had rested in the dark circumference of his shadow. He had pleaded with her to stay there forever, in the resentful depths, and she had sworn she would never leave.

    But Ben had stolen her, opened the door and pushed her into the storm. Richard had her by the hand, and he was not going to give her back.

No more dreaming of the dead as if death itself was undone
No more calling like a crow for a boy, for a body in the garden

    Forgetting the dark face, the hot whispers, the destroyer clad in smoke, was easier than expected.

    Alex let Richard kiss her, felt the trail of his mouth over her skin. Her body responded on its own, no prompting from her mind. Arousal, she learned, was like being possessed, her hips lifting to his, her tongue winding into his mouth, her conscious mind marvelling at the talents of Richard’s hands.

    Richard never asked her questions anymore. She had forgotten the rhythm of the waves, the old Latin rites, his voice speaking Spanish prayers. Richard chased the last fragments away, filling her mind with new stories, making new memories. There was a sadness to him still, wonder and worry made shadows across his face, but Alex learned to kiss the darkness away. She told him benign things, of books and music, long days she spent on a boat, snatches of conversations overheard. They forgot death, she who had been there, he who had long ago lost the chance.

No more dreaming like a girl so in love, so in love
No more dreaming like a girl so in love, so in love
No more dreaming like a girl so in love with the wrong world

    It was sunny in the mornings now, the breeze fresh, carrying the scent of flowers and the sea. Alex walked on rainy afternoons, climbing to the highest points on the island to watch the storms roll in. She thrilled to the electric strike of lightning overhead, raised her hands to catch droplets as they fell, worshipped the clouds.

    Richard usually found her quickly. He would come to her, his hair plastered to his head from the rain, his eyes watching the way her wet clothes clung to her curves. His kisses were always warm, waking her softly in the morning, passionate beneath the trembling sky, needy in their bed just before slumber. Alex laughed, wrapped her arms around him, kissed him back.

    Life was a gift. Jacob rarely gave second chances. She did not need to look back.
  • (no subject) - bittersweet325
    • I'm really glad you liked it! I wasn't sure when I started writing whether or not it was going to work. Sometimes, I just play music loud enough to tune everything else, and just write that way, but I'm never sure where it will lead.
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