**The song referenced in this is Slipknot’s “Snuff.”**
“Bury all your secrets in my skin/ Come away with innocence and leave me with my sins/ The air around me still feels like a cage/ And love is just a camouflage for what resembles rage again.”
Zaire stood out in the forest. In her hand was a black ribbon with a silver crescent mood pendant on it. The moon had a yellow stone hanging from it, and the stone sometimes changed colors. Especially if she used magic. It didn’t matter anymore. All that mattered was the person who had inspired it. She let out a choked sob, feeling as if the open air was closing around her like a noose.
“So if you love me let me go/ And run away before I know/ My heart is just too dark to care/ I can’t destroy what isn’t there”
She walked a bit further, stumbling and falling to her knees. A rock tugged at the lace stockings she wore. And she could feel a hole being torn in the fabric. The rock scraped at her knee, tearing skin as well. She looked at the ground, her hand clenching in the twigs and leaves as she closed her eyes. But they didn’t stay that way for long. She kept seeing a familiar pair of bicolored eyes each time she closed her own yellow eyes.
Stop it, she scolded herself. Shakily, slowly, she stood once more and kept walking. With each step, she felt her heart hardening. Rebelling against the idea of caring for someone like that again. She lifted her free hand, clutching the fabric of her black dress around her chest. She wished she could rip out her heart. Perhaps she wouldn’t have felt so much pain.
“Deliver me into my fate/ If I’m alone I cannot hate/ I don’t deserve to have you/ Ooh, my smile was taken long ago/ If I can change I hope I never know”
Another sob as she reached a clearing in the forest. She was still a good distance from the place he had showed her. The clearing where she had confessed her love for him. The place she had shamelessly made love to him for the first time. She never deserved that. Never deserved to feel someone hold her the way he had. No. She clutched the pendant in her hand, feeling metal bend and the stone crack. She fell to her knees once more, but there was no rock to tear her stockings. Nothing there that would cut into her flesh unlike the metal of her pendant.
“I still press your letters to my lips/ And cherish them in parts of me that savor every kiss/ I couldn’t face a life without your lights/ But all of that was ripped apart when you refused to fight”
Zaire opened her hand, blood staining it now. She looked at the twisted, misshapen hunk of silver in her hand and lifted it to her lips slowly. She held it there a moment, silently berating herself. She felt the darkness crushing around her. Felt the silence of the clearing like it was a ten ton weight crushing into her. But he didn’t really love her, did he? He turned his back on her when she needed it the most. When she had fallen to the madness, others stepped up and tried to help her. Even someone she had hurt in the past tried to help her. But the one she loved? He turned away from her and abandoned her.
“So save your breath, I will not care/I think I made it very clear/ You couldn’t hate enough to love/ Is that supposed to be enough?/ I only wish you weren’t my friend/ Then I could hurt you in the end”
Her head pounded as she felt the anger setting in. She lowered that hand away from her lips. How could she hate him, though? His only sin was that he had loved her. Just like the others that had said they loved her. She wanted to hate him. Wanted to hurt him. But she couldn’t. She knew that if she ever saw him again, it would break her heart. But at the same time, she knew she would try her best to still be his friend. She knew that she couldn’t stay angry at him.
“I never claimed to be a saint/Ooh, my own was banished long ago/ It took the death of hope to let you go”
She knew, deep down, that the death of someone else he had loved is what sent him on his own spiral downward. But she still felt abandoned. Her heart felt as if it was being crushed in her chest. Much like the time she felt someone literally crushing her heart. Her head lowered, that pendant even with her other hand near her chest. She held the mangled crescent moon close to her heart, feeling the bent metal digging into her skin.
“So break yourself against my stones/ And spit your pity in my soul/ You never needed any help/ You sold me out to save yourself”
She looked up at the clearing, memories flashing through her head. She remembered their sparring sessions. She remembered the feel of his lips on hers. She remembered everything. And it was all in horrifically clear detail. She screwed her eyes shut, tears slipping down her face. Had he ever truly need her? Or was she just convenient? She couldn’t stop those thoughts from filling her mind. She couldn’t stop herself from feeling her heart being crushed. She suddenly moved her hand away from her chest. And she wound back, throwing the pendant across the clearing.
“And I won’t listen to your shame/You ran away, you’re all the same/ Angels lie to keep control/ Ooh, my love was punished long ago/ If you still care don’t ever let me know/ If you still care don’t ever let me know”
There was a thud as it landed against a tree. And then, a satisfying orange glow as she set the metal ablaze. She sobbed there in the clearing, her knees digging into the snow. Slowly it melted around her, leaving her there on the grass. She stayed this way a while, one hand clutching the fabric at her chest and the other hanging limply at her side. Slowly, shakily, the Yuki stood from the ground. She inhaled deeply and began the long walk back to the Red Sun. It was her home now. Even if he had told her she was still welcome at his Keep. She couldn’t go back there. Not after her failure. Not after he had left her the way he did. She couldn’t face him. Couldn’t face the soldiers he commanded. She didn’t want to face anyone. But the desire to feel warm, even briefly, was still there. And she knew that coffee was the only thing that would do it.