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Certain fragile splendours

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The sky is black and red, and it has gone dark by the time you are done painting for the night. You look up, from your quiet, tired hands, and you let your eyes roam. And I know. Always sharp in their loneliness, they hide a man with an invisible wound, longing to be healed, a knight whispering I am lost, a sailor on dry land, but still adrift, still drowning, still making a mask, an armour, a cover from the rain and the sky and the sad gazes of the world.

Yes, I know. And I keep the secret.

And it has gone dark, but, outside, the moon tears at that sky, sharp and cold, and there is still some light to see, a bright spark within, right here—beyond, unseen.

Unseen, but it is there—I promise. And so am I, but I do not show myself. Or perhaps, I lie, and I do. I stand here, by your side, just a breath away. Unknown, in my dark clothes, I fade into it—I fade into the secret. But I do not mind. I like it here, at the edge of the land, where we stand looking out, together, far out at the horizon, reading what is written there.

In the dark, I fade into you.

And you touch my shoulder, softly, and you lean into me, close, closer. Perhaps, you want to speak. Perhaps, you want to whisper. Let us play a game, you say. Let us forget. Let us forget, so we can remember. Let us pretend. Let us tell a lie, so we can always tell the truth.

And I turn, and I meet your gaze. I cannot look away. And I say yes—you know I will. And my heart whispers too. It whispers, because it wishes to be seen. It whispers, so that it may be heard. It whispers tender things, it whispers dreams.

And so it is. I feel the touch of the brush in your hand upon me, and my heart trembles. And you see me, and you paint me. You know me. And I am canvas now, I am pigment. I am the touch of black and blue and red, all the colours and all the shades.

And I fill in the blanks within, the secret between us. I know that, in secret, you pierce your heart. Perhaps, you only want the world to see. I know—but no one else does. No one sees your hands trembling, searching, trying. Only I do. Only I know, for, in the light, my own hands tremble too. I know how it is, how it feels, how it hurts—how it hurts to be.

So, in secret, you give me your name. And I keep it, along with mine. Like the angels, I soothe your heart.

Yes, I keep the secret.

And I hold out my hand, and I find you. I follow you through the dark nights and the hopeless mornings and the long corridors and the endless, unimaginable colours. And you, you who paint angels and miracles and all heavenly things—now, you build a palace for me there, within your heart, beating within the brushtrokes and the sharp shadows and the swords. You paint the secret lights and shades upon my face, and upon your own. And you remember every colour, every touch, every single line of my hand, every single hungry star spilling into me, and then running out and running free.

And you put it all down, and into the image, and into the unspoken words. And you tell me—only me.

And they will ask, and they will wonder, but you will never give it away. Instead, you smile, and you turn to me, and you say that it takes no effort. And I agree, for your hand rests on my shoulder, and your other hand, unseen, holds my heart. And our hands, together, make a thread, a bridge, a passage—and is this not real? Is this not true? After all, is this not the most natural thing in the world?

And you look at me, and you do not have to ask. And I do not have to answer, but I will. I will show you something—the way the brushstrokes kiss my hand, my eyes, my heart. The way I kiss back, and offer all the colours echoing within me, the heartbeat of the canvas and the wooden frame, never ending, never stopping, going on and on and on.....

Yes, I will show you.

(I will keep the secret.)

*

We hide, in plain sight. We dream of each other, and we turn into warm, warm shades. And we look out, and we see the world. And the world sees us, but it does not really see us.

(It is a secret. It is still a secret. But, perhaps, someone could see it now, if they tried: this bond of brushstrokes, this thread of textures, this clasping of canvas. Perhaps, someone could see us, fading into the darkness, like a dream, but then arising from the stardust, like a heartbeat, softly, softly, still telling the world I am here, I exist.

I exist.)

And, perhaps, no one knows—but it is no matter. Perhaps, you can paint this world later. Perhaps, you will. But now, just outside the canvas, you hold my hand, and I want to remember. I want to keep it, safe within the frame and within your heartbeat, like a soft hum of conversation, faint like a whisper, sweet like a dream. I promise—I want to keep it close.

And I turn to you, and I still see it, after all this time—that light in your eyes. Bright, with flame, you look at me, and, yes, I see the world.

And you pick up your brush again, and the stars, beautiful and inexpressible, spill into your hands. And you speak their language—their bright, hidden words, rare and exquisite and unknown, flying towards you, reaching your heart and lighting it up. And my own heart, in your hands, is aflame too—it is gold and dark, it is sacred, secret light and shade. And, against my mouth, you speak, you tell me (only me!), this unspoken mystery, this whisper of heaven, effortless, like a bird's flight. And, to feel the brushstrokes, to draw them closer, I hold out my hand, to the dark, to the light, to the mirror, to that fragile, fiery spark between us—I hold out my heart.