I'm getting sidetracked again from updating. Well, here we go. Dedicated to: everyone whose birthdays I've missed. I wanted to write some new chapter for FFN, but my fingers started writing this – guess that's just what happens when writing.

As Long As We're Together:

What? What is it? What do you fear? What is it that scares you in the shadowy forest, in the deep ravines, in the empty chasm that is fate? What about it? What about those shadows? What about the lingering darkness? What about the creeping fingers of death, the whispers you hear? The dark rumors, the evil that haunts everyone. What is it?

Everyone has to die some day, and you are no different. There is nothing to fear.

"You fear me?" I asked.

"No." You shook your head. "Who are you?"

"The identity of myself will be given when you've earned my trust."

You cocked your head. "And what about your trust that makes it so important?"

"Nothing we shall discuss right now." After a hesitation, I continued, "Come. Follow me."

"Why do you look at me so strangely?" you asked, your flaming red hair bouncing up and down. Your steps were agitated, echoing strangely and uneven, your voice anxious. Mine sounded slow and soft, a whisper, a threat, a silent promise.

"I? I look upon every human with the same expression."

Your eyes took a dark turn. "You speak of humans as if you were not one." You titled your head challengingly. In turn, I tipped my hat the slightest inch, casting a dark shadow over my eyes.

"I am not human," I replied, my pace speeding up. "What I am is for you to find."

"Who are you?" you asked, moments later. "Who are you? What is it you want of me?" Fear poured into your voice, and your eyes held a guarded look. Immediately, I took a stopped walking. You halted alongside me.

"Why do you ask?" I replied, caution lingering in my voice.

"You seem unnatural," you replied shortly.

"Me?" I let out a harsh laugh, a hoarse sound of bitter mirth. "I am the most natural thing in the world. You can expect to find me at the end of every line, the end of every stick, every thread, every river. I am always there…for I am the most natural thing one can think of."

With that, I started walking again, you following with a confused expression on your face.

"Can you tell me what your name is?" you inquired, your voice soft and imploring, warm as the summer's sun, warmer than anything I have felt. You have that power with your voice. Or that power when it comes to me.

"No," I replied shortly, clipping the word off as if dismissing the topic altogether. You didn't seem to recognize my intention.

"Why not?"

I turned around for a fraction of a second, seeing your determined green eyes peering at me, defiant.

"I have no name." Each word sounded short and clipped, and for a second, I was afraid you heard the bitterness, the loneliness, the regret, and the depression. It drips and creeps back into my voice every time I speak, a lingering piece of shadow and darkness even I cannot get rid of. Every time… For how can I, I in the dark trench coat and black top hat, how can I be happy? How can I get around the chasm of fate? There is no bridge to cross that gap; the only option is to fall down. And my fate is rather a bleak and empty one, no promise of tomorrow, no whispers of content, no times of joy. Even I cannot avoid it. How can I be happy like you? How can I compare to humans with entertainment and childhoods? No, it is impossible.

"Are you god?" you questioned moments later.

"You are full of questions," I replied.

"You seem to have fondness in your voice." You sounded shocked that I was capable of any emotion besides coldness.

"You are surprised?"

"Pleasantly so."

We walked on in silence for a while, paces matching.

"It is good to know you are at least capable of being human," you whispered.

I chuckled dryly.

"But are you god?" You wove your way around to face me, trying to see under the top hat, which I tipped even further towards the ground. I stopped walking.

"Do you think I am?"

"No…" You sounded hesitant, unsure, unwilling to admit the truth.

"Then I am not. Come quickly. Time is running out."

"But how can you be what I think you are when I don't know what you are or who you are? How can you not be what I don't think you are? How would I know?"

I did not reply. Instead, I turned away and began to walk once again.

"Let me see your face!" you begged, not a whole minute later.

"I will show my face when I feel the need to!" I snapped.

"How do you expect me to follow you like a mindless servant when I don't even know who you are?" you shot back, voice rising.

"You have done it! Why have you followed me? Why have you let me guide you so far, so far into the unknown?"

"Because…" you whispered, hurt in your voice. "I thought I could trust you."

"And you can continue to do so. Until the very end… I cannot change in such a short amount of time."

"You say you cannot change in such a short amount of time," you stated after long hours of walking passed.


"But how much time has passed?"

I snorted. "Time," I spat. "Time is an illusion. Everyone lives a lifetime. Everyone has the same amount of time. The difference is how you choose to use the time you are given. Look around you. Do you know how much 'time' has passed?"

You looked around, cocking your head left and right. "Ha," you muttered. "I do not know. We have been walking in this bleak and black landscape for quite a while; I've lost track."

"Imagine spending eternity here. Then you understand how I feel. We come near our destination; I assure you. Soon, I will tell you who I am."

"Eternity in this place…" you ruminated to yourself. "Don't you ever get bored? No companions?"

"None. I watch every one of the visitors go. I watch knowing I can do nothing."

"But how am I different?"

"You are," I briskly responded.

You mused to yourself a second longer. "Eternity, you say. Are you immortal?"

"What does your instinct say?"

"You are immortal. And trapped like a cornered mouse, trapped here forever. Aren't you?"

We walked for what seemed like eternity before you spoke again, "Where is it you are taking me?"

I didn't answer for a while, feeling your intent green eyes burn into the side of my head, trying to see under the shadow of my hat, hiding my own nature.

"I am taking you to a place, a place where you will be earning my trust."

Even as I said those words, my tongue felt heavy, my words thick with guilt and coated with a fine layer of deception, of lies, of what is believed to be my nature. But as I uttered the syllables, I turned away. I did not want anyone to see the tear rolling down my cheek, trickling down my skin, leaving nothing but a moist touch and a bitter reminiscence. I did not want you to see that, to hint at the plan I had so bitterly conjured in a spiteful attempt of jealously bubbling in a pit of darkness, a deep and shadowy pit where others believe my personality lies. No, I did not want it to be that way. I did not want to spend eternity here in a kingdom of the darkest gray, the most sinister shadow; I did not want to bear the burden of this fate, no. I'm sure you would not want it either. Such a burden to bear…one that you must carry for forever and onward, even when the seed of human greed sends the world crumbling into pieces, when the universe collapses, when no one is here any longer. Even then, I will remain. For I am natural and eternal, yet feared and regarded as the bitter truth no one wants to face.

Everyone tries evades me yet none succeeded.

You sensed the change even before we arrived.

"The air…" you whispered, your voice small and filled with fear, like the first day of school, like the first loss for a child, like the facing of bitter truth. "It's changed."

"You are quite right," I replied. "The air has changed. But it is not the end. Nothing is the end. Or else why would we have forever?"

You seemed reassured.

"We are here," I announced, turning to face you.

"And where exactly are we?" you countered, eyes narrowing. "Everything is black."

A hoarse croak issued from my throat, and I hoped you interpreted that as humor, not nervousness and guilt. "Black? No. Nothing is really black. Nothing is truly evil. Everything is really a shade of gray. Mixtures of light and dark."

You had a strange look on your face as if you expected what was going to happen. "Why did we come here?"

Tears were streaming freely down my face now, trickles and rivers of salt. I lowered my head, hoping you wouldn't catch sight of them. I took a step forward, catching myself at the edge.

"Do you see it?" I asked.

"See what?"

"That empty chasm in front of us, the place where all dreams wither and fade, the place where all hopes are shatter, where all wishes crumble and disintegrate."

It took you a while to see it. Of course it did; your mind was unwilling to embrace the truth, that there is no hope.

"Let me see your face," you instructed, your voice more tender and warm than anything I've ever experienced.

Slowly, unwillingly, I took off my hat.

Your eyes grew as round as coins, shock flickering in your pupils.

"Yes," I declared. "Your suspicions were right. You were simply unwilling to face it."

"You're Death."

You said it as if it were an obvious statement, as plaintive as announcing the weather or saying the sky is blue. You didn't seem shocked at all.

Your expression morphed to fear. "You wanted me to take your place! You want to push me into the chasm, to let me take your place. This is why you've lead me here, isn't it?"

Regretting the bitterness soaking my voice, I whispered, "Yes."

You started to back away. "You're a monster."

"No," I countered. "I am only the truth. I have been bound to this fate, but I do not wish to accept it. I'm almost ready though. But I need your help for the last part."

"No. Nobody needs to accept his or her fate, no. No one has to. As long as you keep your mind wide open, imagine a bridge stretching across the chasm, and imagine a way to avoid all of this, to run away, to turn your back on all of this. Just close your eyes and imagine."

I saw no sense in what you said, but I did so anyways. When I opened my eyes, I saw a bridge, wooden and rocking back and forth, held delicately together by ropes.

I stared at you in shock. How did you know?

"You don't have to put up with this."

"But where does the bridge go? What is on the other side? What if it breaks in the middle?"

"I have no idea. I imagine we will fall."

"But it would take forever to reach the other side. I see no end to this chasm, no way to escape."

"Keep your mind wide open. Once, a very wise person told me that time is an illusion. Everyone has the same amount of time. The difference is how you choose to use the time you are given."

For the first time in centuries, my lips crinkled upward in a faint smile. You returned the gesture, as brilliant as the rising sun, as warm and encouraging as the hope building in my chest.

"We can make it," you whispered.

"As long as we're together," I replied, stepping towards the bridge.

You followed, echoing, "As long as we're together."

Hand in hand, we took the first step.

Terrible, isn't it? I had no idea what I was thinking when I wrote this piece of crap. Well, there you have it. Even Death can get lonely and bitter. Reviews will be greatly appreciated along with favorites and alerts. Also posted on tumblr.

Copyright Friday November 30th, 2012. You may NOT copy without my permission.