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April 2008

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lovely | last year's love letters

faeriemaiden in rt_challenge

the syntax of things

title: the syntax of things.
author: faeriemaiden.
format & word count: ficlet, 506 words.
rating: pg-ish (thematic elements?).
prompt: one: "since feeling is first". (I have always loved that poem! Grammatical metaphors! ♥)
warning: angst? ;)
summary: Maybe not talking about dying is a talisman, Tonks thinks desperately, and for a moment while she hears the rhythm of his breathing change and his body stir beneath the counterpane she thinks maybe she should reach out and pull the words out of the air and put them back into the dark place she’s been keeping them all of this time. Maybe not talking is what keeps them safe.
author's note: *deep breath* Well, here we go then. I...actually don't even know where most of it came from. First it wasn't there, and then it was. I'm reckoning this is sometime after Remus comes back and before Teddy is born; it was a little dodgy about telling me anything. So. Crossing my fingers, wot.


The Syntax of Things


   The night is very still and there isn’t even a candle burning but she knows he is awake because his breathing is all wrong for sleep. (Another pattern. Funny how you fall in love with the patterns of a person. She hadn’t realised until she married him that there were any left that she didn’t know as well as the skin of her own palms.) Well, she can’t sleep either. She rolls over onto her elbow. She says, “Remus, are you afraid to die?”

   It hangs there, in the dimness of the room. They haven’t talked about dying yet. It seems like the whole world’s at war, but they don’t talk about dying. Maybe not talking about dying is a talisman, Tonks thinks desperately, and for a moment while she hears the rhythm of his breathing change and his body stir beneath the counterpane she thinks maybe she should reach out and pull the words out of the air and put them back into the dark place she’s been keeping them all of this time. Maybe not talking is what keeps them safe. (Stupid, Tonks, stupid. You’ve never been superstitious like that.)

   Then he lets out a breath and says, “No.” She looks at him. “That’s wrong, isn’t it? I keep feeling as though I ought to be. I feel around for the fear and – there are only blank spots. I suppose I’ve stared my own death in the face long enough that – ” He runs a hand over his face and doesn’t finish.

   “Oh God, Remus,” she says. “I’m terrified. I’m a bloody Auror” (she can’t say was; damn this war!) “and it scares me so much I’m afraid I’ll throw up. I didn’t – always – maybe I didn’t think about it – maybe it’s all just biological – maybe that’s just what pregnancy does, but I don’t want to die at all.”

   Remus says, “I know,” and he holds her. “You, and the – the baby, that’s what I’m afraid of. For.” His sigh ruffles her hair. “This is the part,” he says into her skull, “where I dispense useful advice. I’m afraid I haven’t got any. The whole world’s a bloody mess.”

   “This war’s a bloody mess.” The sickness inside of her will not go away. It seeps, hot, through the cracks of her eyelids, acid-sharp on her face.



   (Once there was a night in the summertime all thick with stars, and oh the way he kissed her eyelids in the starlight, and such a thin, thin sliver of moon barely awake, and she thought, so. we fit together., and the stars hummed hummed hummed in her ears when she kissed him, and all the world steadied for a moment as though it had found its way –

   That’s real, anyway, she tells herself, in this bed, head against his shoulder, with tomorrow looming outside the windows with their pale curtains. We’ve had that. It isn’t enough, because nothing is ever enough, she thinks, but it glimmers in her head and maybe she can hold it round her shoulders or roll it out before her – love, filling in the empty spaces.)

Comments

That was beautiful. I especially liked the last two paragraphs.
I agree, this is absolutely beautiful! And I like all of it, and in particular the stuff in parentheses. Including the briefies in the first part. That's how things often come up when I write her too! lol

And the last two paragraphs are really fabulous.
Beautiful! Rather angsty of course, but I just love the whole thing. The end made my eyes well up a little.
Oh, ♥. You are one of the few people who writes this ship in a way that I really like. This is absolutely stunning, I love the poetry of it all and progression of thought. And Remus, gah.
You rival shipper, you. ;) ♥

Thank you ever so much!!
As the others have said, this is very beautiful. I love the poetry of the final segment and the emotions that Tonks expresses - the love and comfort of familiarity, and how it moves into fear. I also think the second person parentheticals work very well.

If I might make one bit of concrit - and this is completely just my opinion - I think that the final two paragraphs would be even more effective if the style of the first part contrasted a bit more. The run on style of the second paragraph, for me, diluted the impact of the poetry of the end.
Funny how you fall in love with the patterns of a person.
I really like that statement. And I love this scene, just a few simple moments but oh so poignant. And the description of the night in summertime, "all thick with stars," is amazing.
I like this a lot, especially the contrasts: between his and her views of war (very nice characterization); between Tonks's present fears and her memory of a happier time; and between the empty spaces that Remus mentions and the love that Tonks thinks can fill them in.

There's also a lot of really lovely language here.

We’ve had that. It isn’t enough, because nothing is ever enough, she thinks, but it glimmers in her head and maybe she can hold it round her shoulders or roll it out before her -- *sigh* That's the kind of thought that I hope both of them had time to have before the battle.
This was absolutely lovely :). Especially the last tow paragraphs. I particularly liked Remus's line of "This is the part where I dispense useful advice.. I'm afraid I haven't got any." It made me grin.

The characterization is wonderful in such a short ficlet, and just, well, wonderful :).
beautiful! And great use of the prompt!
I really liked the question asked by Tonks in this fic, it's a question worth asking, but always tied with fear and worry, you managed to describe Tonks, as well as Remus feelings, about death so well that I think they are my own.
Remus answer is so in character for him, as is Tonks fear of dying, since she is the one full of life (ok, this is ambiguous now ;)).

Maybe not talking about dying is a
talisman


This line is so true, I made the experience that few people like the idea of dying and refuse to think about it.

All in all, I really liked your take on the prompt and enjoyed this story! Great work.
I think this is so beautiful - the language and the tone are just lovely. I like the contrasts between them and between the feelings of love and fear.

I especially like the ending - that they can find comfort in each other in hard times.