It was the way she said his name

The way she moved her lips, the tone of her voice, the sparkle in eye all the little things showed just how much she loved him.

—  Tenari Ioapo

You can tell a lot about someone by the type of music they listen to. Hit shuffle on your iPod, phone, iTunes, media player, etc and write down the first 20 songs. Then pass this on to 10 people. One rule: no skipping.

  1. Rama Lama (Bang Bang) - Roisin Murphy
  2. Sara - Fleetwood Mac
  3. Jane Says - Jane’s Addiction
  4. For What It’s Worth - Buffalo Springfield
  5. To Sir, With Love - Lulu
  6. Kokomo - The Beach Boys
  7. Me and Bobby McGee - Janis Joplin
  8. Crumblin’ Down - John Cougar Mellencamp
  9. Ride - The Vines
  10. Spoonful - Howlin’ Wolf
  11. The Battle of Evermore (Mandolin/Guitar Mix from Headley Grange) - Led Zeppelin
  12. Stand Up and Shout - Dio
  13. Shout at the Devil - Motley Crue
  14. L.A. Woman - The Doors
  15. Smoke on the Water - Deep Purple
  16. Hush - Deep Purple
  17. Mother Mother - Tracy Bonham
  18. Out of My Head - Fastball
  19. Little Sister - Queens of the Stone Age
  20. Don’t Stop - Fleetwood Mac

cassandra allows herself a week.

more would be greedy, the hungry grasping of a child, sticky-fingered and wanting, and she has not been a child for some time now. perhaps she has only just reached the age of majority, but she has been playing the part of lady de rolo since she could count her winters on both hands; the turn of pelor’s sun and the change of the seasons ceased to matter a long time ago.

sometimes, though, she thinks it might be nice to be a child a while longer.

so. she gives herself a week.

not wholly, of course. there are affairs that must be seen to, preparations to be made, relief to pass on to the sunken-eyed and gaunt survivors of the city. but for a week she allows herself the wild moods of childhood: the anxiety of surviving, and the guilt of her mistakes, the thrill of freedom. she allows herself the relief that her brother still lives, the joy that he returned, the fury that he fled.

(not only fled: that he abandoned her, one foot caught in her tangled, too-small childhood; that she stumbled he ran and he did not look back. it is hard to be grateful and bitter in one breath, but she is not the only one caught within a fractal heartache; she sees the shape of guilt upon face, and though there is no forgiveness in her she thinks they might make a whole between them.)

for a week they are like ghosts, brimming with unhealed hurt, drifting through the pale stone halls, and she feels all of it, and rages, and weeps, and rests in fits and starts, disappears at odd times and wanders through the small hours of the morning. they are all restless, her brother and the friends who pass in his wake; they do not ask her of her oddities and she does not comment on theirs.

this is not youth, this shattered playacting, but she has never been particularly good at youth. it is a freedom of sorts, and that is what she has missed the most; it is enough.

and yet, this promised week passes, days and hours and minutes ticking towards its end. percival de rolo––heir, prodigal son, revolutionary––speaks of name and legacy even as he readies himself to flee again, eyes knowing as she stares at him, and she cannot stir her fury within herself because she understands now; she has seen the ghost of him.

she, she grew into a woman. he is still a boy.

so she cinches the armor of her maturity around herself, straightens her spine and steels her gaze. this is more familiar than chain or plate or hide; this has protected her these past five years and will hold. her brother, narrow beneath his layers, rawboned and hollow, hugs her too tight, fingers grasping and greedy at her back, and she holds him just as hard.

(they do not make one whole, pressed together like this, broken pieces grating and sharp. they are still separate, half-broken and relearning hope.)

“goodbye, sister,” he says at the sun tree, and her steely gaze meets his shame. he is unbearably young beneath the armor of his coat and his machines and his mask. he wears a raven’s skull at his breast. cassandra wears her unwon years upon her shoulders and is regal in a way he only knows to mimic.

it is unfair, she thinks for a single, horrible instant, the fire of her anger flaring so bright she might burn with the heat of it. unfair that he may run free and leave her with this atlas weight. he is the elder brother, the heir, the inheritor. this is his duty to uphold.

but then, percival has always been younger than his years, and she has always been older, and isn’t it funny how these things turn out?

“goodbye, brother,” she says. it is not and never will be a pardon. but he can no more change his nature than she can undo her wrongs. they’ve forgotten each other in their own private captivities––another precious secret the briarwoods stole away.

the tree snaps shut behind them and cassandra’s week is over. she squares her shoulders, stands taller than she is and prouder than she feels. she is lady cassandra de rolo. she is old before her time and wise beyond her years.

she is lady de rolo, and there is work to do.

“Hi this is Molly at the dead centre of town *chuckles* *sighs* Leave a message.” I want it known how grateful I am that my theory about Molly constantly making terrible, morbid and slightly inappropriate jokes about death and dead bodies has been vindicated, god bless, words can’t express how much I love this darling flower princess pathologist with her intelligence and her kindness and her shitty puns and her selfless love combined with a take-no-shit attitude, like she’s grown so much but she’s still allowed to be soft as well as strong, and smart as well as a massive dorkwad, she’s amazing in every way I love her

Darkness surrounds me
Thoughts consume my mind.
With you is where I wanna be,
Wake me from this nightmare.
Missing you is all I’ll ever know,
Tears fall, please don’t go,
The light is fading and I’m alone.
—  Tenari Ioapo // A nightmare of mine.

sometimes i think of that story youngjae told about how when he was younger there was a crook stalking him about to rob his ass but he yelled for his mom hella loud and the crook got shookened and literally snatched the hotdog (yes he rlly did) right out of youngjae’s mouth…and dipped out….honestly???..,,,stan a survivor…