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I Don't Want to Cry When You Go

Chapter Text

Once upon a time, a child drowned in a river. There was nothing particularly noteworthy about the tragedy; he was an ordinary child in an ordinary river. The universe cannot be expected to pay attention to such everyday affairs. But the child’s mother, driven by a grief no less agonizing for all that it was common, was determined to hold the universe accountable.

So she sued. No one is quite sure how she managed it; mortals are supposed to be too preoccupied with their busy lives to do more than wonder about the workings of the universe. But somehow the child’s mother found the timeless courthouse that had been maintaining peace in the cosmos for millennia. She strode up the marble steps, calm and composed, and filed an appeal for the death of her son.

The court erupted into chaos. Harried aides swept the mother into a commanding, marble-walled courtroom and pushed her to the front. She saw, staring down at her from a tall dais, the justices charged with deliberating the universe’s great controversies. They took the appearance of men and women of the world’s races, though whether they always looked so or simply dressed for the occasion was a mystery. The mother refused to be intimidated, and bravely drew herself up to plead her case. She described, her voice shaking with emotion, the child’s extraordinary goodness and kindness. Dying so young, when the child had so much to offer, was an injustice. She spoke not just of her loss, but of the world’s: what if he would have grown up to do something important?

The justices were kind. They explained, in gentle voices, that the child’s fate had already been decided. No opportunities were being denied. Simply put, if the child was going to do something important, he would've done it already. The court had no choice but to dismiss her appeal.

But one justice took pity on the mother, whose head hung in resignation. It was not every day that a mortal walked into their court, after all. She offered the mother a form of clemency for the child. There were positions available where the boy could make himself useful. He couldn’t return to his old life, and it wouldn’t be perfect, but he would get to live. The mother, desperate for anything, agreed.

And so it came to be that, once upon a later time, a man was stabbed in the chest.