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Happy Endings

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Blake doesn't expect a happy ending. He's not the seventh son of a seventh son, and if the fairies blessed him in the cradle, he's never heard of it.

He expects to die young (well, youngish) and violently. A death like an interruption, like a torn page cutting off the story long before the moral comes clear.

It's Avon who's cloudy-headed with imagination, Avon who believes all this can have a proper conclusion. Avon's mind is full of fairytales: fortresses, treasure, safety as perfect as magic.

At night, in whispers, Blake promises him his heart's desire, someday. Night is the time for tales, and he doesn't think of it as lying. It's as true as wishing, and as fruitless. He hopes Avon doesn't believe him by daylight.

There'll be no ever after for them, no reign of honesty and justice, no rich and quiet sanctuary. At best, a shared death and a heroes' epitaph. A few dull paragraphs in next century's history books.

It's not as though they've been cheated. Death's the only ending, everyone's ending. But sometimes in bed, dazzled by love he never expected either, Blake pictures the unmagical stars beyond the Liberator's hull and thinks, I wish.