It's not that she's running away from him. It's that if she doesn't continue to run, he won't continue to live, and it breaks her heart that she is the only thing keeping him alive.
When he was born, he was beautiful. Milky skin and long thick lashes adorning chocolate brown eyes so deep that if you fell into them, you would never get out. As he grew up, he became adorable, caramel hair always in motion as he scrambled from one realization to the next. Now he is grown, maybe not in years but with the look in his eyes, she can tell that he isn't naive and boyish anymore, because his caramel hair stills and his chocolate brown eyes that you can still fall into don't sparkle the same way they used to, and now he is not adorable or beautiful, but he is handsome and by the looks people give him, one would think he is delicious.
He wants none of this. He wants the taste of stars on his tongue and he wants to forget how to remember. He gets none of this. Instead, he gets the bitter taste of alcohol and cigarettes, and he cannot remember how to forget.
She is waiting back home for him, and he throws the door open, knowing she's there. She swallows her nerves, her ivory skin bruised where her neck peeks out from a collar jacket and the dark violet turtleneck underneath. Angrily, he stalks to the kitchen until he stands right in front of where she sits, her hands clasped in her lap. She looks like a porcelain doll. Battered and down, but a doll. She opens her mouth, and he stares at its redness. It's a girlish red, all even and pretty and he wishes she didn't look at him so forlornly like that.
"You gave me the spare key." Her voice is hoarse. "A long time ago."
"Yeah," he says gruffly. They stay like that for a few minutes, and then he reaches out and pulls her jacket away and her turtleneck down. She squeaks as he does so, but he pays her no mind and examines the bruises. They throb and ache whenever she moves, and he scowls.
She stays still as he applies rubbing oil onto them, stinging and fresh, wincing whenever he presses a little too hard, and he is only pressing a little too hard because she is wincing, and it is a never-ending chain.
"Why, what?" Her eyes are big and a sort of mix of green and blue, and they reflect his emptiness with their own. He doesn't remember how to forget, but he does remember when they used to be lively and warm and like liquid sugar.
"Why do you stay there?" The question hangs in open air. She looks down at her thin white fingers, used to piano keys and strings of guitars and violins, and she smiles down at them sadly.
"'Cause I remember." She looks at him once more before closing her liquid sugar eyes. "I remember when they used to love me."
His frown deepens, and the backs of his eyes burn. What are they reducing her to, this pitiful pile of living ashes? And he does not remember how to forget, but he remembers back when her smile didn't look like shattered glass.
When she was born, she looked a little broken anyways. The first thing that came out of her mouth was a wild wail, and her mouth was pink from being born. The dark curly hair that piled atop her head was damp, and her eyes were watery. Broken, they thought, but still so lovely, looking just like him. They were sure that she would be invincible when she grew up. And as she did, her curly dark hair slowly uncurled, slowly grew, and her fingers were long and nimble, and she didn't know how to wail anymore. And now she stares at what used to be her brother, and her eyes are larger than her own life, and she bites back vomit.
"I wish you'd come home," she whispers, still smiling down at her hands, and she is smiling because she knows that she is foolish to ask him the impossible.
"That's not home." He's never been filled with words; they've never been anything of particular use to him. He prefers his fists to his mouth, but he could be a poet if he tried.
She tries again. She says, "We used to be best friends."
"Yeah." His reply is short, and a lump forms in her throat.
"You used to care."
He breathes in sharply and wonders if she thinks he only used to. And he looks at her, looking just as broken as she did when she was born, and he wants to hug her and pull her close and tell her bedtime stories with owls and gargoyles and oceans again, but even though his hand is twitching to do it, he holds it back because he's going to kill her if he does.
Promises that are broken before they're made, he supposes, are the words that define him. She licks her lips. Now they are that same girlish red, but shinier and with a little gleam that tells you that they are dangerous.
"You said you'd come home." Her voice cracks, and he knows he's in the black zone.
"Before I left."
She makes a strangled choking sound, but her eyes are completely dry. It's almost as if she's run herself dry.
When they were small, they played horse and cowboy, and he'd always be horse and she'd always be cowboy (never a cowgirl, she'd complain, when they asked her why she was a cowboy, because girls are too sissy to ride horses like him, so she had to be a boy instead), and he'd carry her around places and she would have a paper cowboy hat and clinky little boots with half-inch heels and a big grin plastered to her delicate face. It was then when the two siblings looked exactly alike - even more so than they already did, both with the dark hair and the ashen skin - because their eyes were identical in that shiny lucid way. Their grandmother, who was the law and the Queen all in one, thought they should marry when they grew up - their children would be absolutely beautiful, and with his genius and charm and her musical talent and charisma, they would be glorious. Glorified. And they would remain like that.
So now he is twenty-one and she is nineteen and they look at each other and wonder who will be the one looking away first. Her eyebrows furrow and her lips part unconsciously as she does so. She wonders what he is thinking. She wonders if he'll really stay here for the rest of his life. She wonders and wonders and wonders. Is he going to rot away like this? And he wonders if she would ever be happy marrying her brother, because it just isn't right but it's part of who their name tells them they are and she should go and fall in love with someone so that she can forget about him and he can forget about her and rot in this hellhole alone.
"I'm going to bed," she says quietly, forgetting that this isn't her house and they are no longer twelve and ten, and somehow he does, too, and he nods his consent and tips his head to the hallway beside them to let her know where to go, and she picks up her broken self and shuffles over to the first door.
"It's the third one," he says, his voice husky with remembering.
"Oh. Thankyou." She attempts a smile and opens the door, enters and shuts it. Vaguely he remembers what she is wearing, and he forces himself to go knock on the door and when she opens it, jacket off and turtleneck high around her neck, he resists the urge to tackle her to the wall and ask why she's doing this. But he does nothing of the sort, only goes to his drawer and pulls out his sweatshirt and a pair of basketball shorts and tosses them to her, and she (tries to) smiles again.
And when the clock beeps once to tell him that it's far later than he thought it would be, he gets up from where he sits languidly on the couch and goes to the bedroom, opening the door and he goes to see her sleeping form. And he stares, because when she sleeps she looks whole again, not like this pathetic doll who is missing pieces, and he is reminded of when they were still little and unaware that they were just chess pieces ready to be played. He puts his hand - now bigger and rougher and harder than it was when he was thirteen - on her cheek, feeling the hot heat sink through his skin.
He wonders if she'll stay here instead of going back there, where they used to love her. Her liquid sugar eyes stay shut, and her breathing comes at even intervals. And he kisses her forehead just once, gingerly brushing it with his dry, chapped lips, and he licks them when he is sitting straight again. Here is his broken sister, and he can't help but wish that she would become whole again, somewhere where this fucking bloodline will not touch her and her pretty face and her liquid sugar eyes and the girlish lips and the shattered glass smile and
He looks across the room at the mirror blankly, sees a used-to-be boy looking at his lovely counterpart who sleeps restlessly and groans a little, and one teardrop escapes his eye, goes down his cheek and onto her forehead.
The taste of stars is bitter.
sorry for any bad grammar, or anything. i wrote this before and after getting my h1n1 shot, and i wasn't in the greatest of moods.
not exactly romantic either, but i've never been good with categories and genres. :/
Characters : nameless.
Prompt: the taste of stars, shattered glass.