"The rewind can be expelled painlessly or expire naturally in time. The choice is yours, Glynda."
His teeth clack together when he talks, almost too big for his mouth, but the way his lips form around her name is the same. He’s staring at her over the rim of his glasses like he always does, and she knows he’s waiting for her reply, but the similarities between them leaves her breathless.
(never mind that the differences between them left her dead.)
"If you don’t undo the rewind?" Glynda asks, more to spur herself into speech than actually hear the answer.
He presses his lips to a line and draws a breath at having to repeat himself. “Your wounds will reappear. You’ll bleed out.”
She swallows the thump in her throat that tastes vaguely like her own blood and glances down at her hands, turning them over and inspecting them both for the deep lacerations that were there only moments before. She remembers dying better than what came after. She remembers the crack of her skull as she hit the wall, the bubbling, roiling sickness twisting her gut into knots, the chill of her fear and the stickiness of her wounds. Most of all, she remembers the pain.
Glynda doesn’t want to die again, but most of all, she doesn’t want to die likethat again.
She looks back up at Monarch, who watches her closely, and nearly laughs at herself. She won’t die alone. Ozpin’s wraith will be with her, will grant her peace with a wave of his hand.
"I don’t have long?" she asks, wringing her hands together.
"No," he tells her, using Ozpin’s voice to deliver the death sentence.
She inhales sharply. “Would you do me just… One last thing?” she asks, offering him her hand.
An invitation, they way they always used to do it.
He cocks a brow, frowning. “I have your ring.”
But he remembers. His fingers are light against her palm, like he isn’t sure he ought to be touching her, but he takes her hand and she steps closer. He smells like sweat and magic and death, but when she closes her eyes, she can pick up the traces of coffee grounds, early mornings and later nights.
"A dance?" he asks, not understanding.
Glynda just touches his shoulder tentatively and sinks into him when he doesn’t recoil. “Please.”
Her chin fits on his shoulder as it always has, and when he sets his hand on her hip, it’s like a piece of her she’d been missing. She splays her hand over her shoulder blades and they begin to sway, taking the steps they both know so well.
He used to hum when they danced, but she knows that’s too much to ask from Monarch. Besides, the sound fills her mind unbidden, and she gets lost in the feel of him. His hands are the same and he misses the same steps, and somehow it’s too easy to believe it’s not Monarch she’s dancing with. The tears prick at her eyes as her skin starts to sizzle, becoming wet with blood.
"Oz," she says, choking. She fists her hand in the hand at the back of his vest and clings to him. "If I’d done more, if I’d stopped you, none of this would have—”
Monarch squeezes her hip, and his grip on her is almost painful.
"Glynda," he says quietly. "I’m not him."
All the life fades from her as the rewind dissipates.