Communion and Solitude

Communion gives us warmth.
Singleness gives us light.
At immeasurable distance stands one single star at the zenith.
This star is the God and goal of humanity.
In this world one is Abraxas,
creater and destroyer of one's world.


for clarity and collaboration. ask me anything.  
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That Is My Name

Note: I wrote a Sherlock fic.  I wanted a ship.  The ship is called Major Hope.  I apologise for the lack of proof-reading.

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It was after the final court appearance and James stood on the steps, his face a-symmetrically  taut and immobile in the sunshine; his arm was more immobile still.  He was in a soft dark suit that felt at once both disrespectfully casual and prohibitively formal.  The car waited, and the quiet solicitous driver stood at almost-but-not-quite attention, looking as if he were not sure whether he should feel guilty for failing to provide a parasol against the sun.  The steps descended from where James stood in a straight line to the car with its open door.

Stand here.  Walk here.  Speak.  Be silent.  Nod.  Shake hands.  Step forward.  Step back.  Here is a car.  He had been given assistance even with his tie.  Everything was done correctly.  Everything was in order.  Their deference was palpable.  He could read the nervousness in their eyes lest some mote or speck or ephemera of protocol had been forgotten, had escaped their relentless <i>organisation</i> of his day.

And he acquiesced.  He acquiesced to everything.

It was not the same as it had been in Afghanistan.  There was no actual imperative, just a traditional one.  There were no actual lives to be saved, except his own, if the response to the media were any guide.  (And what was his life now?)  He did not consider, did not decide, did not lead.  He was not responsible for others lives.  He was barely responsible for his own.  Responsible.  He made the correct responses.  He acquiesced.

He looked down the stairs and the open door seemed to lead to Hell - a Hell of silence and his home and servants and a complete absence of volition or reason for volition.

He walked down the stairs.  “I’ll be along later.”

"But, my orders.  But, my superiors.  …Sir."  The boy looked almost stricken with dread at this sudden dilemma.

James looked at him.

"Yes, sir.  Of course, sir."  Now it was definitely attention, and a salute, warranted or not.  It was not James’ to give orders now.  James.  No one called him ‘James’ any more.

"I’ll be along later."

"Yes, sir."  The fear did not leave the young man’s eyes.

_________________________________________________________________

Jeff held the tiny bottles in either hand in the deep front pockets of his thin corduroy coat.  They were round and glass, and he fingered them, rotating them with his fingertips, out of sight.  He tried to determine if he was sensing the tumbling of the little pills within them, or if he was anticipating the sensation because it was logical.  he wanted the truth.

He was excited, but only internally.  Save for the movement of his fingers, his body was calm.  Would internal excitement burst the aneurism prematurely?  Would his thoughts alone trigger an outwardly invisible explosion that would flash, but only for him, a firework of such white-light brilliance it would throw him into eternal oblivion?  

This chance was more than money, more than a job.  It was elevation from his daily work.  Work.  That was all it was.  It was what he did, and what he had carried on doing even after he had been given the medical news.   What else did one do?

But now it was a means to an end.  and he was lifted above it, above the ‘work’ to an almost celestial judge, an imparter, no ‘imposer’ of philosophy.  For who would think if he did not force them?  And now he would choose.  He would choose who would have the chance to live or die.

He was excited.

He stood at the entrance to the pub, a quiet, respectable one, now deserted, save for the barkeep, polishing glasses and in a similitude of industry, and the man in the dark corner.

He started when he saw the man’s face, livid, stretched and distorted.  A devil’s mask. No, just cruelly scarred, and almost certainly by fire.  But both blue eyes looked back at him with a sense of clear irony.  Just as he could see his invisibility and insignificance in the eyes of others, he saw this man witnessing Jeff’s own first repulsed reaction.  And he saw the half-amused, half-resigned slight tightening of the healthy corner of his lip.

The man interested him.  Jeff would begin the new project with him.

________________________________________________________

Soon they were sitting across from one another over the wooden table, lined with benches in the garden of an hotel under renovation.  It didn’t look like an hotel.  It looked like flats, but Jeff had taken fares from there when it had been in business.  The windows around the small courtyard were black and empty.

He hadn’t needed to use his… well, it wasn’t quite a gun, was it?  He was relieved, able to see the man’s military background as easily as if it had been proclaimed on a billboard.

James was curious, interested.  He was here of his own volition.  It was a puzzle, though it seemed a simple one.  Strategy.  Tactics.  He was a master, and somehow this man seemed to sense and relish this in him.  And he had a plan, even in this small context, this small arena.  He laughed inside.  He had always been able to return a bland expression, but the new stiffness and facial restraint made it certain.

They were both curious and interested.  They were both confident and exploratory.  The situation was novel to both of them.  The chess game was laid out before them, and they were both willing to play.

Almost.

James curled the fingers of his bad hand around the little bottle in front of him.  He had no idea whether it was a bluff or a double bluff or a triple bluff or no bluff at all.  The man had clearly practiced, memorised, recited.  Perhaps he had done it in front of a mirror.  But his eyes still glittered into James’ and some of his thoughts and speech were unrehearsed.

"Ah," said Jeff.  "I see."  His eyes were intrigued but unreadable, though James looked closely.

James reached out his good hand and curled his fingers around the second bottle - the one in front of the man.  He drew it level with the first and clicked it down precisely next to it as he would click his feet coming to attention.

"I win," said James.

"It’s a game.  You are supposed to play."

"Do you ever think," James asked, "that maybe we have lived long enough?"

"Yes," Jeff hesitated.  "No.  Maybe."

Jeff reached out his big strong hands - his hands at least were strong.  He curled them around the man’s good hand, and the one attached to the crippled arm.  They covered them for just a moment, then slipped the little bottles from the unresisting fingers.

"Ah," Jeff said.  "You are not sure yourself.  But, yes.  You win."

Each looked into the other’s blue eyes, even though the colour was not apparent in the dim light.  The heat raised an almost-perfume from the neglected flowers of the dark garden and a light warm wind disturbed the leaves.

"What is your name?"

In the sheer unlikeliness of the situation, Major Sholto answered, “James.”

Jeff rose, and as he passed he took off James’ straw hat and touched his lips to the crown of his head.  It felt like a blessing.

"I will call you a cab.  James."

"There’s no need.  I have a driver."

And Jeff left Major Sholto quiet in the dark warm of the London night.

 

Notes

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