He looked at me, a little nervous. I can always tell when he’s starting to freak out, because his skin gets black highlights on it. I sigh, because I know we don’t have to have this discussion YET AGAIN, but it’s going to happen. I try to keep him happy, usually, but this is too important, so I’m left with letting him twitch, replaying verbal discussions he knows he won’t win because I’ve seen them all before he’s even thought of them.
"Are you SURE this is necessary?"
"She needs to know. What better way than to show her? She has to be given the CHOICE. As much of one as the two of us ever get. It’s that simple, and I’m going. This is too important. And she won’t cope with it without someone to sit with her."
"Why are you chosing me? You don’t trust me."
"In this, I do. Leave the personal shit alone."
"No. If you want this, you will talk about it NOW. Or I will not go."
"There isn’t time, Desire. Look. I promise when I bring you back, I will talk about my trust issues, but I’m not discussing it now. I would rather not discuss it at all, because if I’m not your foodsource, then someone else is – and either answer is going to upset me, in different ways, and I’d really rather not talk about any of it until I know how I’m going to react other than to just squelch it all down. And any answer you give me changes nothing at all, so why even go there? Are you going to help me, or do I have to leave her there alone? You know she can’t help but touch things… and that far back, we might end up with no Jupiter… or something even worse. Someone has to babysit her and keep her occupied so she doesn’t go stircrazy."
"And you’re choosing me, and not Gabe. For what reason?"
"I trust you to keep her safe, and I know you have a healthy respect for her. Gabe would set her teeth on edge and get her actively trying to screw things up, if only to piss him off. Sooner or later, they’d end up fighting… and by the time they were done, we’d be down a universe. I need you. You, she at least understands and sometimes likes."
He frowned, but behind the expression, I could see him thinking it through. It didn’t take long. "Fine. But when we come back, you will have this talk. No more avoiding me."
I heaved a sigh. "Fine. Let’s go."
The landing was a little awkward. I’m not used to shifting more than myself, and we were moving through dimensions, through time, and through space, which is fun in a lab, but gave me an odd frission of fear when I realized that if I miscalculated, Desire would be at risk. We stepped back into normal space inside her atrium. While he considered the roses climbing on the back wall, I strode off towards the private areas – the roses were new, but I was too intent to admire the changes.
I took a moment to look forward, searching for her – in her own place, I didn’t truly expect to be able to do so, but we’ve always had an odd… echo of each other… sometimes rules made for everyone else didn’t include each other. I found her in the lab – she had a stick in her mouth and was glowering at the tech… I wasn’t sure which one it was, but he identified himself in his mind as Dayvid. When he looked up and saw me, he took the stick away, and left the room as quickly as he could, without running. I wondered if that was a bad sign, but wasn’t too worried.
"Hey. How’d you get in here?"
"Same way I always do. I walked." We smirk at the joke. "I actually came for you, this time. I want to show you something, in honor of your birthday," I smile. She isn’t fooled.
"It’s not my birthday. What are you really here for?" She’s got a look of frank appraisal on her face… clearly waiting for the bill.
"No, but it will be. Want to come see?" Ah… interest now. I smile, and hold out my hand. She looks at me a few seconds more… and then shrugs.
"Whatever… I’m bored here anyway."
"Then I’m your girl. This will be the least-boring day of your lives."
"Just us on this wander?"
"Nah, I brought Desire. He said something about your birthday suit, so I let him come."
"Really?" she asked dryly. I could tell she knew I was putting her on… the last time she saw him, he had scuttled backwards in horror and crab-walked away, shrieking, sure she was there to take my head. It still made me giggle a little.
We swung by the atrium to pick him up – very respectfully, he bowed over her hand and called her Lady… why any of them call either of us that still boggles my mind… I roll my eyes and laugh when he bats his eyes at her – I don’t think she knows he’s being silly at all, but she catches on when she hears me snickering at him. "Do I follow you on my own?" She’s smiling now, the byplay amusing her, too. There’s a relaxed comraderie between us – it snaps in so easily – the gifts of a long line of friendships.
"No, I’m going to take us all. It’s probably safer that way." She shrugs – I can’t tell if she’s wondering how she’ll get home when she gets bored, or if she’s just accepting of my statement… she didn’t used to hide so much, but it’s been a long break between get-togethers.
I take a moment to drop ahead of them into the stream – physically I’m holding their hands to make sure they’ll be carried in my wake. When I’m ready, I reach back through time, space, and dimensions… I hook the moment I want… and PULL.
When we arrive, we arrive in darkness. No stars. No planets. Nothing larger than bits and pieces of leftover atoms. Her irises swell, and I know she can feel it, all around her. The death of a universe is a small moment – but of course she would know it for what it was. "What have you… SHIT! Where are we? WHEN are we?"
"Chill, sister mine… you’re fine. Just breathe. It’s all OK. We’ve been here before. We will be again. What do you think Death and Time ARE? We’re the sisters of entropy. And this is your big moment. Well… one of them, anyway."
She frowns at my casualness, drowning in the feeling of the last quark dying. The silence and the darkness is… amazingly beautiful. I never get tired of the peacefulness… even though I know it won’t last… or perhaps BECAUSE.
That moment comes… and then there is nothing. I let her catch her breath. When she gets a little calmer and starts thinking of questions, I know it’s time to skip us forward. I bring them out at the perfect moment. You can feel it, like a gathering storm. All around, the flare of the tiniest elements of creation are gathering – you can almost SMELL the tipping point.
That’s the amazing thing… I never get tired of both… the end, and the beginning that arises from it. Entropy and creation… TIME… is a circle. It never ends. WE never end. We come apart, and then we are nothing. And then we are something… and then we are everything. It’s such a beautiful dance…
If it happens in the right order.
If it happens when it’s supposed to.
And then, without any preamble, with the suddeness that all momentous events have, there it is. That flare. The bang that starts it all, is a dark one. Light doesn’t happen until it gets far enough away from the singularity to catch on fire. And that is the moment I’m waiting for. The moment she was born. Or died. Or both.
The very moment the flare catches alight, the moment that streak of fire escapes the primordial gas that is the new universe, off to live, learn, grow, and return, she turns to look at me… a perfect expression on her face, and the echo of fire in her silver eyes.
I leave them there, Desire and Death… watching the new universe rise. I leave her thinking thoughts, remembering the circle… I leave her alone because there’re some things that are just too personal to share… even if I’ve been there before.
I’ll tell her, later, about the O in her name. I’ll tell her how she has a choice. That if she goes home as she wishes, she’ll end… how if she waits for that perfect moment, just like me, she is an egg… the beginning held encapsulated within the end… I’ll tell her about Death and Time, the Sisters of Entropy. I’ll tell her about their husbands, Desire and Temptation. I think she’ll love that most of all.
But for now… I leave her, thoughtful and watchful, dreaming the dreams of the beauty and destruction around her.
But I’m the same way… it hypnotized me, the first time I saw it. It’s worth a second look.