And The Creek Don't Rise

Half of Sebastian wants to know what exactly it is when he looks up just as the new girl enters his homeroom, and all of a sudden, he starts feeling (because, of course, Sebastian never feels, he's not supposed to). She catches his eye and a smile flits across her face as she goes to their homeroom teacher, but then she does not walk over to him afterwards.

Sebastian does not know what to do, but he knows that there's something about this girl that he wants.

She introduces herself as Marlene, and although Sebastian has never liked M names, he knows he likes this one.

They don't spend much time in school together, but Sebastian doesn't spend time with anyone. But he sees, and she sees, and he supposes that this is enough. Sebastian has never known much about seeing, but suddenly, he feels a little less than alone.

Marlene isn't very attractive, he notices. Her strawberry hair is dull, like a dying candle in a glass jar. And it is said that eyes are the most beautiful part of a person, but Sebastian can see that there is nothing special about Marlene's brown gaze. She isn't as thin or curvy as the other girls in their school; she is plain, nothing special. And Sebastian doesn't know how she can measure up to him.

But she does. There's something about her that makes him think that she is worthy, close enough to being worthy of him (but let's face it, you're an ass).

He kisses her because he can't help it, his lips cold and unfeeling against her warm ones. She kisses back, because she knows, she knows he's fragile and she wants to break him (in her own way).

Sebastian talks to her in school, but he talks to her as he does to everyone else: like a stone, emotionless. And each time, Marlene would give him a sad little smile and walk away, and Sebastian would think, What did I do wrong? because he's been acting this way his entire life, to his parents, to his peers, to everybody.

Words are exchanged when they are alone, but it can hardly be called conversation. At nights, two figures can be seen on the rooftop of their apartment building, still and silent. But it is the silence that they like to cherish, because Sebastian knows that, without it, they have nothing.

Thoughts race through Sebastian's mind as he kisses her for the thirty-second time (because he's always been precise, you know; what's the use of life without precision?) and he wants to deepen it, tries. He's completely clueless, and Marlene breaks away and laughs, and goddamn it's the most beautiful thing he's ever heard.

Marlene tells him they should take it slow, and Sebastian doesn't know what this means but as she creates distance between them, he pouts. And Marlene laughs again, and Sebastian wonders, where can I learn to do that?

He tries by himself in the mirror, trying to let the sound come out of his mouth, let such happiness fill his eyes and face; but joy does not prevail, he is as stoic as ever. His father comes home at that moment and asks, what the hell are you doing? and Sebastian answers, I'm trying to smile, Pa. And his father tells him that there's no use in smiling, and it's just a waste of energy and life, and Sebastian nods, agreeing.

Still, it's during the moments when he's on the rooftop with Marlene and he forgets what his father has said as Marlene laughs again, with enough joy to fill him and the rest of their broken world.

She asks him what's the use in life if, if eventually we're all gonna die and eventually the world's gonna end and eventually, eventually there's gonna be nothing left.

Sebastian doesn't know because he 's never heard such ridiculousness before, but he doesn't say this, he just says, well, there has to be something.

Marlene turns to him and wonders, What if, maybe, there is a god?

Sebastian snorts.

There is no god, we need no god.

But Marlene tells him that he doesn't know this. And Marlene tells him that believing in a god hardly makes a difference, anyways. And Marlene tells him that he is not god.

Sebastian is stunned.

Well I don't care if I go to hell or heaven; I just want to have you.

Marlene tells him that he better believe then, because dammit, I want to go to heaven, I don't want to go to hell.

A student comes up to him in the hallway and asks about them, and Sebastian is quick to deny.

It's not that he doesn't care about them, about what they have; it's that he doesn't want to seem different with her as compared to others. He doesn't want his emotions to be known to everyone else, he doesn't want to be known to everyone else—he wants it to be their secret, his secret.

Of the little things he regrets in life, Sebastian later knows that this is one of them.

And then it happens again. Sebastian is not sure how they know, or notice at all, but even though Marlene is standing right there in earshot, he does not hesitate to say no again.

The look in Marlene's eyes is one Sebastian has never seen before, but she seems to have waved it off when Sebastian's gaze lingers on her. This is a school hallway after all; anything he thinks he's seen could just be imaginary, a figment of his imagination.

But Marlene, she is very real as she brushes past him in the same way they've always done, and the familiar feeling of electricity seems to make him feel lost.

It's not so much the darkness, Marlene observes as they stare into the night above their heads, that makes the sky seem so vast, but the tiny stars in the night that make it even bigger.

Sebastian is as quiet as always, but he revels on her words and knows that Marlene is right. She is always right.

But he is never wrong either. Because he knows that without emotion, there is fact. And only a fool would allow himself to show emotion, to be open and show every weakness. He is not that fool, he refuses to be.

Marlene is a little more of a fool than he is, but hardly enough for Sebastian to care. Sebastian kisses her again because he knows he's supposed to, and Marlene is only more than willing to kiss back. But he can read her; he knows she's trying to change something, to change him.

But Sebastian cannot change. He will not change. Not even for her.

He doesn't care, Sebastian has to tell himself. He doesn't care about Marlene. He's never cared about anyone.

Though they seem so close to each other, even when the sun comes up, it's all the same; Sebastian knows that Marlene is different, but he does not care, he's never cared.

The words come like an echo to him as he says this every day, as if such living was merely practice for him and because not caring has always been routine. And even with her, with Marlene, his routine will never break.

Marlene reaches her hand out and looks to the sky, and Sebastian thinks she might touch the stars until he reminds himself that it's impossible, and he's foolish for even considering so. And yet when he looks to her face glowing out of nothing, he thinks that the impossible might even happen.

Isn't it funny, Marlene murmurs, her voice like the tearing of paper, so strange and unreal and yet thrillingly pleasing, that no matter who you are, there's always going to be something you want, something you can't have?

Sebastian thinks about this and he thinks about what he wants and what he can't have. He doesn't understand, because there's nothing he's ever wanted because all he has is enough, and there's nothing he can't have.

He shrugs, a simple action, and agrees. Sure, he says because he knows the right words to say.

Marlene turns to him and there's a flame sparking in her eyes, and he wonders what it means. Is there something you want, Sebastian? she says. Is there something you can't have?

She's close, so close and he feels like she's taking him apart and he feels exposed all of a sudden; she doesn't say anything further. Sebastian shrugs again and says, I'm content, because he is, he always has been.

A part of him wonders if there's something that she wants, if there's something that she can't have, but it quickly goes away when she rests her cheek against her arms and looks down in the streets, and there's something in the way her lips curl that makes Sebastian forget about this and something lurches inside of him; she breathes and sighs and her mouth catches the edge of a star, the tip of her lips holding onto their light.

On the day hell comes to the world, the ghostly mask that has been drifting across her face slowly disappears, the mask that hides only her knowledge.

Her dark eyes stare into his (the eyes he always falls asleep to), darker than the sky above them with more stars than the night. And her eyes speak before her mouth does, but the sound emits from her lips,

I love you.

Sebastian—he doesn't know what this means, but he can't—he can't feel. He doesn't know how to, and he doesn't know how to say these words back, and his heartstrings make him mute, he cannot speak.

The false ignorance slips off of Marlene and she reveals her face, her heart. But Sebastian does not show his; he has no heart, and these blank, empty eyes look into hers. And he isn't quite sure what to say, because what can he say anyways?

Marlene does not speak either, but she gets the message. A smile, much different from the first one he's seen on her, forms on her mouth, and she turns around the leaves without a word.

Sebastian wonders what he's lost.

He's alone now, and he doesn't know where Marlene is. He comes the next night and she is not there. He stays until the night disappears, and then it is day. And then the sun dies and the moon rises and the moon dies and the sun rises and the sun dies and the moon rises once more.

What does this mean? Sebastian mutters, and confusion clouds his brain as he gazes up to the sky above him and sees the vast, vast empty spaces between the stars.

He thinks about Marlene and the way she had said I love you. He wonders if she had meant it and he snorts to himself, because how is that possible? Marlene is not a fool, she does not love him, and she does not love anyone.

But perhaps her words are true, and perhaps this is what she thinks it is. Perhaps she thinks this is love, what they had shared was love, and Sebastian thinks that Marlene is a fool for thinking so.

Sebastian sits there on the roof and thinks about the way she had been able to make him shiver when he wasn't cold, because he was with her, with her. With her hair like fire and her eyes like ambers, and a part of him misses her.

But you don't need her, do you?

Of course he doesn't; he's never needed anybody. Sebastian's been able to go on without her before, and he can go on without her now. When he's older, he'll find another girl who can match up to his perfection, to his dignity and to his maturity, and he'll kiss her and hold her the same way he had kissed and held her. He doesn't need her. He doesn't want her.

She is a fool for loving and she is a fool for leaving and Sebastian is a fool for thinking he's ever wanted her.

He refuses to meet her gaze as he strides along in the hallways and he brings the rest of the world down with him. He thinks her eyes sweep over him for a millisecond, and thinks he hears something break in the distance.

But this is a school hallway, after all, and anything he thinks he's seen could just be imaginary, a figment of his imagination.

All of a sudden, he feels alone as he stares at the night above him, and the familiar nights have turned into strangers on a crowded street. The moon is bright and glittering and grinning at him, mocking him.

You just couldn't have her, she seems to be saying, she's not good enough for you, is she? She's never been good enough for you? You couldn't want her, could you?

I don't need her, Sebastian says out loud, and realizes he may have gone mad.

But the moon shimmers and dances in the light, rotating his shadow as he stares up at her. You need her, Sebastian. You are not god.

I am god! Sebastian says, and he shouts it, yells it, screams it. I AM GOD!

The moon just chuckles, and she's stopped dancing and her mocking laughter rings in his ears as she vanishes behind the darkness, and defies time and space.

Sebastian is not sorry. He never is.

He says he wants nothing, he says it until his lungs run out of fuel, and the moon merely glimmers down at him. You're fighting a lost battle, Sebastian. You always have been.

Sebastian struggles and tries to ignore these spiteful words, tries to push them all away, but they sound in his ears.

What are you even fighting for?

He just hates being alone, but—he doesn't need her, he doesn't need her. He can, he can have anyone, he is god, right?

God talks to the moon again. He knows he's gone insane but he doesn't care, he's never cared.

You don't control the world, the moon glows. It controls you.

I don't—I am god! I am god! Sebastian hits his hands on the balcony and stares at the darkness, his calluses aching by day.

Why, why such an unfair god, then? Why such an unloving god?

His fingers are numb, his whole body is numb, but still, he stares up at the moon, his tired red eyes screaming into the night.

I need no one! If I need anyone, I can get anyone! I don't love her, I don't need her, I don't need—

The M is at the tip of his tongue but he cannot bring himself to say it.

Then do you care about her? Are you sorry at all?

I'll never be sorry!

Sebastian just slips emotion between his teeth, and fuck, why is he like this when he is alone? He should remain stone as he is to everyone else, to her, to himself, to everyone. He does not regret a thing. God has no regrets.

You are not god.

But Sebastian—he is selfish, he knows, when he sees Marlene at school and she is talking to some boy and Sebastian stares at her with a part of him wanting those dark eyes again—but they do not meet, she does not even glance at him. She's given him so much he doesn't deserve and she's leaving him in what he thinks makes him happy; but how can he be happy if he doesn't know how to feel?

Ignorance strikes him in the chest and his lungs forget to function and the force is so sudden that he flees into the nearest bathroom where no one can see him. He runs to a stall and his fingers fumble with the metal door and once he's in, he doesn't breathe—he gasps, gasps, and his windpipe twists and his stomach turns over and he wonders if he's still alive.

The bell rings and he's staring at the dirty tiled floors—something drops down and his cheek is suddenly wet. His hands tremble and make their way to his face which is slowly heating up and he feels his eyes dripping and all of a sudden his whole body is shaking and he's crying and tears drop down because he's crying and tears fall from his face, tears fall from—from Sebastian's face.

Why am I crying and fuck, why am I—f-fuck—

Sebastian sits alone on the roof and he ever so rarely feels and he ever so rarely cries and he's numb and he envies stones because they are never given warmth and it's never taken away. Tears pour down his face, tasting of salt and blood and iron, splashing against him like ocean waves, throwing themselves at him; knives sting his skin, his cold, cold skin, breaking him beyond repair.

It's started and it grows slowly and Sebastian wants to believe that the pain increases, and he ignores the fact that it is there, that it has always been there and he had only been pushing it down further and further until it finally had pierced into him, staining his entire body.

He stares up at the moon and the moon chuckles and sways.

What do you want from me? Sebastian growls, and the moon just utters out a small sigh. What the hell do you want from me?

The moon doesn't answer but she just smiles at Sebastian and Sebastian wants to take the moon and stab it in the face and drop it and shatter it into a billion pieces of glass. And when the sun comes up, he wants to extinguish the fire—only, it's a fire, and Sebastian is only cold, he's never been able to confront fires.

His false refuge during the daytime is the school bathroom, and in the mirror he can see his dead, ragged eyes, a pale and gaunt face, disgusting tangled hair, and his ugly, ugly body, worn of ages with no rest, no sleep, no— only Sebastian crying, Sebastian pathetic, Sebastian alone. He thinks about how ugly he is and he knows that no one wants him.

After what feels like ages, he walks out and sees Marlene with other people, with everybody—and he knows that she is not theirs but she is not his and she will never be his and they just tease him. And Sebastian wants to get rid of his disguise, to shred them apart, rip them limb from limb, burn their body into ashes, break them away from her and scream, she is mine, she is mine, SHE IS MINE!

He does not; he just watches from a distance, miles and miles away, his cries echoing in the cavern of his throat. And he hates it so much; he needs her, he wants her. And he's never experienced pain before, but he's always gotten what he's wanted, but now he wants her, and—and fuck, he can't have her.

He wants her, he cries alone, and he wants her. His sobs become mute during the day, like forgotten coal; only during the darkness is when he cries, and he just cries like the child he is, the baby he is, tears dripping down his cheeks, his eyes, his heart.

I want her! I WANT HER! I want—I want—

He watches and wonders how she is without him, how she goes along smiling in the hallways like she's always been smiling, and Sebastian thinks that there is something off, he wants to believe that something is off, and he wants to believe that she can't fare well without him.

She fares well without him and he wants to bleed and punch himself in the gut.

Instead, Sebastian wears his eyes out on the rooftops, and the dirt and the concrete are cool on his pale face. He cries because she's not here anymore and he cries because she doesn't want to be here anymore and he cries because wants her here but she doesn't deserve to be here. And he loves her but he knows she can't take him back because he's been a selfish asshole with no intentions for anyone but himself, and he had only been using her and nothing, he had put nothing into them, just bits and pieces and bits and pieces are never enough, and he cries.

Sebastian thinks about how he's only in bits and pieces and his tears are only bits and pieces of his heart and he's still learning, he's always still learning and he'll never know everything, he knows nothing. And he's so afraid, he doesn't know anything, and he's terrified of the dark.

You can never shut up, can you? the moon says.

The world continues on taunting him. Sebastian never wants to be by himself again, never wants to not care, to be alone, to be—to be emotionless, a rock. He wants to feel, he wants to be with Marlene—and fuck, he wants to stop crying, to stop wanting, to stop pain, to stop—all of this.

Just stop whining, you've already created this hell for yourself, you know.

Sebastian is dizzy, lost and confused, stumbling and falling into the darkness. The ground beneath his weary feet is infinite and he just wants it to end, needs it to end, and he's burning into nothing—he doesn't want, he doesn't want this to relinquish his pain, but—but he wants her, because he needs her, and—fuck, he's fucking selfish and he doesn't care anymore, what does any of it matter.

He pushes back a sob in his mouth and it scorches his insides and he covers his lips with his hand. Bile threatens to come up from his throat and he just shoves all the pain down. He thinks maybe for a moment that her taste is still on his lips, but he's mistaken because it's his own blood.

Dragged into school by his own accord, Sebastian roams the hallways and puts on his best façade; but he can see the people staring, can hear the people whispering, what has happened to him, what's wrong with him? Sebastian loses the energy to glare at them all and instead just gazes around with void eyes and an unfeeling heart and wonders when he can feel again, if he can ever feel again and if pain, if pain even counts as a type of feeling when it's not something that he exerts, but rather something that is exerted upon him.

Teachers stop him in the hallways and students give him stares that make him want to scream and punch them against the walls and tell them to stop, to stop this, to go the fuck away because it's none of their fucking business anyways. Sebastian realizes that this is what it is like to feel and a part of him hates it, and a part of him feels the thrill in the adrenaline and he just doesn't, he just doesn't understand.

He passes her and she doesn't stop to look at him; doesn't she realize he's hurting inside? But she doesn't because he's closed himself off to her, and he's closed himself off to the rest of the world.

She walks by him in homeroom and he looks at her and he so desperately wants her to look back, wants to see those brown, fiery eyes into hers again—but she passes over him and looks at someone, something else. He thinks that she has gotten over him and he knows she has gotten over him and what good is it, what use is it to be perfect if he's cold, if he's lost, if he's gone.

He takes out his anger later that evening like he always does when tears are trickling down his face and he's wondering why he's still able to cry, why hasn't he dried up yet? He lays on the ground ridden with ages of dust, ages of footprints and steps that he wants to take back and live into again, and he whispers soft curses under his breath, and when he realizes that he's not breathing and he's supposed to be living, he chuckles and whispers, Shit, and wants to die.

Sebastian just wants to sink into the earth and disappear. He doesn't want to live anymore, he doesn't want his heart anymore; he wants this torture to stop, reality to stop, and he thinks how it's funny that he wants all of this, he wants something he can't have.

Sleep is just another way for him to endure time, and he cannot even remember what time is anymore. He spends his days and nights wanting and crying and just not having—everything becomes a blur, and what is time, routine now. He hates this distraction but he embraces it anyways.

Three months and two weeks after, he talks to his father and his father tells him that he's falling away, that he's not whole anymore, that imperfection has corrupted him. He tells him that he has no control, that Sebastian has become damaged, that Sebastian—that he is weak for showing such feeling.

Sebastian bleeds out pain, he sobs and his father tells him to get a fucking grip on himself, what's wrong with him. And Sebastian tells him that he loves, that he wants to love, he doesn't know what love is; and his father says, who needs love, who needs anyone at all?

Sebastian thinks about how he wants to feel her fingers on his skin again and wonders what his father wants, what his father needs. He looks to his father's crooked smile and see how his happiness is skewed. And he sees how his father doesn't know how to see, has never been able to see, has been blind as he had been, blind to everything but the world.

But he is not looking into a mirror anymore and he wants to call his father an ungrateful bastard, but he doesn't and he leaves.

He cares little about school and he cares little about people and he cares little about life and he thinks about how pathetic he is, how pathetic he is without her, without a girl, without her. And he thinks about how she is just a girl but she's not just a girl, and there are so many things he can't say about her because he doesn't know the words and he doesn't know the feelings and he doesn't, he doesn't know anything.

(But you've always known everything, haven't you?)

Sebastian curses and spits out the word, Fuck, and it lands onto the streets below. Sebastian briefly wonders why she wants to go to heaven, and remembers that it's because she doesn't want to go to hell, and he wants to believe in a heaven because he's already in hell and fuck, he fucking hates it and he can't get himself out of this place.

His body twists and turns and time and space has become nothing and he's not quite sure why he's still living anymore, he's not quite sure why he still exists. He doesn't want to know anything anymore, he doesn't want to hear about feeling or not feeling and he doesn't, he doesn't want to cry.

I know I love her, what have I done?

Sebastian whispers the raspy words through petty lips and he stares into the night with bloodshot eyes. His gaze remains on the shape shimmering above him, expecting, waiting for anything.

The moon does not respond; she has not responded for a long time. And Sebastian is as cold as ever, as the string he's held onto for so long finally frays. He chokes, he misses, he wants, he longs, he wishes—

nothing good ever came out of wishing. Nothing ever did.

And Sebastian feels now, he can feel now. Sebastian feels like he's dying, he's already dead.

Sebastian looks through the stars for the first time, and he sees the human race, he sees everyone and they all seem so beautiful, but so terrifying. And he doesn't understand, he'll never fully understand, and he wonders what the thread behind all of this is.

But it's love, of course, and he wonders if he's talking to himself again.

He's tired, so tired, so weary and why can't he just keel over and die? He asks himself countless questions and Sebastian thinks about just letting himself vanish, letting himself go, until he remembers that Marlene had once told him that the most foolish thing anyone can do is let himself go.

Why are you still listening to her? says another voice, and Sebastian takes this voice and throws it off a canyon.

Whimpers push out from between his teeth and he closes his eyelids, trying to open his heart.

Sebastian doesn't know how he's endured all this, as he shoves by some kids who threaten to beat him up; but after one glimpse at his face, they say he's not worth it, he's not even worth it. Sebastian knows he's not worth it, because he is a monster, a monster who doesn't know love, who cannot love, how can he love (and what kind of man does not love?) He's a selfish bastard and he knows, it's all he knows.

He catches sight of her and Sebastian wants to love, wants her to love him, wants to be the only one in her world; he wants to tear everyone else away from her, shove them off the earth, take a knife to their heart. He drinks up his empty words and tries to remember what laughter looks like, but can only recall the blowing pain.

His eyes become wearier and wearier and his throat is sore and he swears he's going blind; but none of it matters to him, none of it matters anymore. He is not eating and his grades are falling and his father is (has been) gone and his body is weakening and he knows nothing but the rooftop; the only forms of coherency he can manage are cries and gasps, and his tears are no less pathetic than the eyes from which they come, but none of it, none of it matters. He's a little more than alone, a little less than broken and he—he is far, far from her.

He thinks of her last words, how her last words had been I love you and Sebastian knows he loves her because he simply, he simply can't feel without her but he knows it isn't this simple. Because he knows that she doesn't love him anymore, and his chance is gone, his chance has been gone and he doesn't know. He wants to say sorry to her and he thinks of saying sorry to her, and he thinks that she may forgive him. But he doesn't think that she'll take him back and this realization hits him harder than ever, and the metallic tears that he's thought have already been cried dry come back and flow into his palms.

I just love her, and I can't do anything anymore, and the stars do not answer, the moon does not listen, and more than ever, Sebastian feels alone.

Sebastian sees Marlene after five months and three weeks and some number of days and hours and minutes he doesn't know, and she's with other people, with anyone, and suddenly he can't see. His heart has gone God knows where and he loses everything, he loses everything. He breaks down in the school hallway, dropping, collapsing, and he scatters. He cries and he cries and regret and guilt and unrequited requited love all spill out of him and form only pain and these tears and bruises are like fire all over his body. Students and teachers and everyone stops and watches but what does it matter anymore, what does any of it fucking matter. She has left but he wants her with him, he only wants her with him, he wants clocks to shatter and strings to break so as long as he can have her, only her. He cannot hold it back anymore, he cannot hold himself back from the world and everything he's ever hidden is suddenly revealed, suddenly real and he is real; god is broken, god has fallen, and Sebastian—nothing else is in his mind, in his heart, in his cries, except,

Marlene, Marlene, Marlene…

It comes later that night when Sebastian is on the roof once again, his pale eyes staring at the massive sky above him. The moon is cold, he no longer feels like god: he has become nothing, he feels nothing. He has become eternally disfigured, his body, his soul worthless. He tries to cry, but he has no tears left because they have all dried up and he's left here, wrinkled and shivering.

A shadow passes over him, and strawberry hair, still in full, bright view of the dark enters his vision. He passes it off as a hallucination, because how could she be here, how could she possibly, ever forgive him—she's worth more, so much more than his tears, his pain, his love—

The illusion helps him up, with warm hands on Sebastian's ice touch, like a fire—but different than the fires he's faced; this one is long lasting, loving, ever existing—but no, it cannot exist, because Sebastian is seeing things, and a mad, moronic smile slips on his lips—

I, he starts, and he stumbles over his words, over a wall, over a bridge. His face is frozen, emotionless, pale as he stares at the phantom he's so convinced he's imagining, even though it's here, with him, and giving itself to him and he can't fathom why.

But when he brings himself to look into those brown, brown eyes, something breaks and all of a sudden, the dam that had been holding back his heart, his emotions, his flaws—the dam shatters and he falls again, falls forever, forever and ever into the darkness—

caught. The arms are here once more, but they are more than the flames engulfing Sebastian's body, more than the waters drowning the world, more than the blankets of electricity damning his soul into oblivion. They are small, but the grip is so strong and Sebastian swears that this is god, this is god.

I love you, he says once, and all of a sudden, he wants to say it over and over again. I love you I love you I love you I love you—He's never experienced this much pain before and it hurts, it all spills out of him and he can't think about the world anymore, he can't think about himself, only of Marlene, only of loving Marlene, only of Marlene—he doesn't want to be a monster, he doesn't want to be a god, he wants to be mortal, human.

I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm s-sorry and fuck, I'm s—I-I don't deserve you, I've never deserved you, I'm sorry, I'm sorry and I'm sorry I wasn't sorry an-and I'm sorry for not loving you, and I-I'm—

He continues crying he continues spilling out tears and he hates this, he hates being weak and yet he loves it, he loves—he loves

I'm sorry for being so selfish because I-I want you, I just want you, I love you and I w-want you and I want you to love m-me but it's the last thing I d-deserve—but, but I want, I love you, I'm a bastard, I love you—

Eventually his tears die down and his cries are nothing but quiet sobs and Sebastian feels soaked, wet because he's made her cry and he's drowning in oceans, oceans of nothingness, of eternity, and of-of—

It's only ever been you, says Marlene's voice, and it is more, more than assuring. It drips with the pureness of honey and the freshness of raindrops, washing his wounds away, all so much more than anything Sebastian has ever been worthy of, and he still can't believe—because it's more than knowing, it's so, so much more than knowing, and he crumbles.

It's only ever been us.

He says fuck once more, and Marlene laughs, and tells him that swearing is not a good color on him.

Sebastian tells her everything: he tells her of talking to the moon and of not talking, of not eating, of not drinking, of not sleeping, of not living. He tells her of masks and trickeries, of ambers and sugar mounds, of shattered hopes and prospering wishes. He tells her and tells her, not just because he wants her to know, but because he wants to open himself to her, to expose himself, to love.

The moon does not sing to him anymore, but she twinkles and is crescent before she disappears into the night sky. They watch her birth and death, and as the light refracts from Marlene's dark eyes, Sebastian turns to look at her, and all of a sudden, he feels small.

Will it turn out all right? Will it—Will it be perfect.

She knows that he is not just talking about the world, about himself, about herself, about his father, about everyone else—but about them. The two of them.

Her head rests on his arm, fingers touching his wrist, lips brushing against his palms. I don't think it matters, she says. I don't think we need to know.

I'm scared, he admits in a whisper.

I know. I am too, Marlene breathes, and her words dance on his skin.

Sebastian grips onto her arm and looks into her eyes, and he feels his breath hitch in his heart for a brief second. But I trust us. You're right. We don't need to know. I love you.

Marlene smiles with fervor and she curls her head into his shoulder, and Sebastian knows that everything is going to be all right. Perhaps there isn't any logic or reason in any of this; and yet, he knows. Sebastian is putting his heart in this hope.