In every life
it has been said
there comes a time to join the dead
admit there is no second chance
and join Death in a final dance
Across the floor eternity
until the final moments bled
and in the dark to take his hand
accept that it is time to wed
(Trans-Siberian Orchestra, "Mephistopheles' Return")
Rich, brilliant crimson spills across the table. A very Gryffindor colour. He wonders, for a moment, that it is not black. But he has hardly begun this night-time ritual, and other matters demand his full attention.
Flash of silver -- a far more Slytherin hue, that. He hisses sharply at the cold steel's kiss. Another ribbon of crimson twines about his wrist.
The first is always a penance. The second, this time, is a prayer. His is now the way of stealth and cunning, not bravery or wills of tempered steel. Is this the coward's act, or something else entirely? If it is, as he has begun to think, a running-away, it does not bear thinking about. He has never been a particularly brave man.
Silver and crimson hang, trembling, in the air as he considers his next move. It would be so easy -- so simple --
Silver and crimson tremble and fall to the floor. He covers his face and weeps, heedless of the blood streaking pallid skin, of the pale red that washes down with bitter salt tears. The latter vanish against black robes as though they have never been. A useful colour: fuligin, black so dark even the worst of bloodstains disappear against it -- fitting fabric for his soul.
He has never been strong enough -- not before, not now. He courts Death nightly, as any ardent lover might, but whenever she draws near, it is he who spurns her. The bright blade glints mockingly at him from the floor, daring him. In it lie a thousand admonitions, kin to the deeper wounds of heart and soul.
'What good,' he thinks desperately, despairingly, 'would it do if I did end it -- take her hand and let it at last be done?' He has no reasons to live, and worse, not the courage to die.
Silver and crimson -- gold and green? Where do his deepest loyalties lie? Himself, naturally -- he has always been a survivor. These days, he has begun to realise the difference between surviving and truly living.
'Weak.' The word is a stinging lash, its own torment. 'Weak, pathetic, foolish. Betrayer. Outcast. Nothing.'
The self-mockery is too much. His hand shoots out, closes over the glittering silver blade. Though it shakes uncontrollably, it steadies as he sets blade against flesh.
The first is always a penance.