There’s a certain cadence to being the player of time, that constant ticking that comes with the powers. A metronome of seconds. It’s subtle, but everything they do is on time, on beat, even when the rest of the world is tapping out the wrong rhythm.
It’s a minor thing at first, but the beats start to clash in their ears when a comment comes half a second late, or when a heart beats just a tick too fast. It creates a cacophony of echoing noises that aren’t quite right, and Dave tells himself he’ll get used to it, and Aradia promises herself this is better than being dead, but the world is simply wrong, and nobody else understands why.
When he meets her, he marvels at the way her wings flick just in time, one two three, one two three. When she meets him, she wants to drown in his words, not because of the meaning but because of the rhythym.
When they get a moment – precisely a moment – alone he asks, “You hear it too?”
She nods. “I do.”
And she smiles and he almost smiles, and this, they think, sounds exactly right.