Pairing: none
Rating: G
Date: 03/22/99
Archive author: yes
Category: drama


by kai
Cool sand surges, slithers between my toes as restless waves break
against the beach. Upon the dark waters, a few surfers ride the last
waves before nightfall, wet suits a slick black in the fading
sunlight. Of the many, sensual pleasures of the flesh, the pure
simplicity of walking barefoot upon wave-kissed sand remains one of my

Walking along the water's edge, I feel the fingers of the ocean breeze
ruffle my hair, smell the salt of the great Pacific, see anonymous
figures - friends and lovers - gathering on the beach, hear their
delighted laughter and taste the ash from their bonfires upon my
tongue. And above the kelp-strewn high-tide mark, I see him, a
defeated figure huddled within a tattered blanket.

February fourteenth: the ragged end of winter, nearly spring. Saint
Valentine's Day. Not especially significant to me, but to him, it's
importance is undeniable.

As I approach him, not for the first time I wonder why I've
come. Why - after countless millennia of shrewd, cruel manipulations
of humankind - I should contemplate such a wanton, blind act of

"Ezekiel." My voice is blessedly calm, though my thoughts, my emotions
roil with unfamiliar confusion. In the sun's last rays, I can see the
tears on his face - for her, for him, and everything he has lost. For
everything of his that I have, in turn, gained. Regret - like
compassion - is a feeling with which I have become unaccustomed over
the centuries. Sitting beside him on the sand, however, I feel its
sharp, wintry sting, in marked contrast to compassion's earlier
glow. They are both uncomfortable feelings for me - an ancient,
irredeemably malevolent spirit.

"I have something for you."

He turns towards me and I carefully, intently, parse his
expression. In his eyes, I read grief, regret and despair. And, if I
concentrate, I can hear the current of his thoughts, feel the burden
of sorrow and loneliness as if it were upon my own
shoulders. Unbidden, I hear the plaintive echo of his internal
monologue, //...there is nothing left of our love...//

The thin, golden circlet in my pocket, a ring carefully salvaged from
his cold grave, seems suddenly heavy, perilously fraught with the

"Give me your hand."

Reluctantly, he opens his hand and places it in mine. He is wise to be
wary: my gifts are seldom uncomplicated.

However, even to me, the consequences of this act are opaque. A fact
which abruptly leaves me frightened and in this human form,
breathless. Quickly, before I can fully acknowledge the risk, before
he can read the turmoil upon my face, I press the ring into his palm,
closing his fist around it.

And depart before his eyes reveal the joy or anguish engendered by my




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