Work Header

Not One, but Two

Work Text:

Regard the capture here, 0 Janus-faced, 
As double as the hands that twist this glass. 
Such eves at search or rest you cannot see; 
Reciting pain or glee, how can you bear! 

Twin shadowed halves: the breaking, second holds t, 
In each the skin alone, and so it is 
I crust a plate of vibrant mercury 
Borne cleft to you…

--from Hart Crane's "Recitative"

You were not born two, but one.  You were not destined to be separate, pulled from your mother's womb attached at the hip.  No vital organs, just clinging skin easily sliced by a midwife who thought it a favor.  They say neither of you cried until this.  In fact, only your sister cried.  You glared.

The midwife is forgotten now, by everyone but you.  You made sure of that.

But though the wielder is forgotten, no one can forget the knife.  The pink, smooth scars on your hips – mirror images – an enduring testament.  You cannot-will not forget that your sister was once a part of you, and of course she remembers.  So you both decide that you will not be parted from one another and damn the intentions of others.

You sleep together.  Play and pray together.  Learn to fight together.  Learn to read and sing and laugh and love together.  Everything is together.

They tell you it is a mistake.  You are anathema to one another – she is memory, and you are oblivion.  Perhaps your sister is not your opposite, but you are both twisted reflections of the other in a curved glass.  You were never meant to be so close.

Your sister is afraid to lose you.  You hate that they would tear you from her again.

One night, you hear whispering, snatches of word and conspiracies.  “Separate training facilities… better off… maybe one day they’ll forget… or at least she will.”

This is the mistake they always make.  You make others forget.  You, like your sister, your twin, your heart are cursed to remember.  Everything.

Your sister cries when you tell her.  You resolve to drown anyone who will take her from you.

But before you can, a warrior clad in gold and bathed in fire comes to your planet.  She lays waste to all.  She kills your family.  It's no great loss to you, but of course it's different for your sister.  Oblivion never revels in destruction, but doesn't mind it.  Memory cannot turn from the pyre and cannot help but mourn it.

Regardless, in the end, there is only you and your sister, the warrior woman, and the ashes.

She offers you a choice.

Your sister cries and pleads with you to say no.

But you know what she does not: this is the only way to stay together forever.  If you say no, this woman - this Galaxia - will kill you both.  You don't know what lies beyond the stars, at the ends of the rivers.  But you imagine it is cold and dark.  And lonely.

You hold out your hands.

After a moment, because although she is better than you by far, she does not want to lose you either, your sister does too.

The skin was cut, but you are not two.

You are one.

Until the end of time and freedom, you are one.