A Thousand Stars

A Thousand Stars
by Lusa

Story Notes

Editor\'s PickPairings: Cobweb/Snake

Rating: PG-13

Summary: Missing scene during the evacuation of Galhea.

Spoilers: Through about the middle of Shades.

Author’s Email: rhapsodyingreen@cox.net

Web page: http://www.geocities.com/lusa_thul/ecrirehome.html

Disclaimer: Storm Constantine is awesome. All hers, yo. Totally copyrighted and everything. Wish I were this awesome.

Disclaimer: Song is “1000 Stars” by Big Country who were a most excellent band. Dig it.

A Thousand Stars

Now we play our final hand
Move in closer, understand
This time like never before
Only the black queen scores
A card so high and so wild
We should burn it

Galhea was not burning, but that was only because the fires must have finally died down or been extinguished. Cobweb stood at the window, staring out of Forever, which should always have been a safe haven, at the town he suddenly found himself in command of. His pale skin seemed to glow faintly in the light of those fading flames, clothed only in sheets of midnight hair. The glass was strangely cold to his touch, despite the view beyond it.

He felt like he should have been weeping, making the most of the dramatic situation, like some besieged queen in a tragic play whose ending is doomed. Except, oddly, the tears had never come, the dramatic lamentations he had so often considered it his role to utter remained stifled. That same feeling of change, of being unable to turn back. Of becoming something other than what he was.

The luck of a thousand stars
Can’t get me out of this
The luck of a thousand stars
Losing its charm

Snake’s hand on his shoulder was expected, but that did not diminish the quick thrill of delight the touch invoked. He sighed silently, leaning back into his embrace, resting against a body that was mysteriously less scarred and bent than it had been an hour ago. He still did not know what they had done, how they had used aruna to begin to heal Snake’s withered body but at the moment he was content not to probe the mystery further.

The other har seemed to read his thoughts, but, then, he probably had. “I don’t know what we did, but thank you.”

He did not say anything in reply, because ‘you’re welcome’ just seemed so predictable and inadequate. Instead he just stood there, enjoying the feel of Snake’s arms. He had never really been able to do that with anyone, even Terzian. Especially Terzian.

When he did finally speak, his voice was thoughtful, not sad. “I’ve never really loved someone who loved me back. I’ve had hara care about me, but not quite like this. Perhaps I’m getting as much healing from this as you are. The effects are just less obvious, that’s all.”

It amazed him that they could already have such an unspoken, silent understanding between each other, Cobweb reflected, turning in perfect time to meet Snake’s descending lips. Sharing breath with him was an experience he did not think he could properly describe or put into words. Cliché as it sounded, it really did leave him breathless.

There are people I have loved
Hypnotized by lies
In defensive disguise
Some say protect and survive
I say it’s over

For a few moments it was easy to lose touch of reality, forget about the situation at hand, get lost in all those amazing sensations and emotions he had forgotten existed or never even shared before. But when that moment ended the fires and danger still existed, and he could not find a reason to put off facing them. Snake read his feelings effortlessly again, letting Cobweb have the final moment of reflection at the window he needed while he hunted down his clothing and struggled into them, still stiff and sore but not nearly as much as he had been.

Shaking himself, Cobweb began to do the same, then paused, an idea flitting like the shadow of a fast moving cloud through his mind. “Come with me,” He requested, giving Snake’s hand a tug that was almost playful, or as close as he could come under the circumstances.

There was no one in the hall and his own room was close. It took instants to reach it. “What are you up to?” Snake asked with a quick, soft smile, gazing around the room with interest, as though absorbing every detail of it.

“Just a thought. I keep having premonitions of change, of becoming someone else,” Cobweb explained, opening an old, slightly battered looking trunk in the corner and lifting out layers of silk and satin garments, looking for something else. “What if I don’t need to become something new, exactly? What if what I need to be is something I’ve already been?”

The luck of a thousand stars
Can’t get me out of this
The luck of a thousand stars
Losing its charm

What he was looking for was tucked away at the bottom where he had shoved them years ago. At the time he had been so happy to be rid of them. The ghost of a smile tugged at his lips at that memory as he lifted them out; pants, shirt, boots and saddlebags, all made of worn black leather. He’d been wearing them when he met Terzian, all those years ago. Anyone who only knew him as the pretty, feminine har draped in silks and jewels he had become would have thought this was some sort of joke, he supposed. But the Sulh spent more time on horseback than in homes and practicality was more important looks.

He sat holding them for a moment, fingering the supple leather, almost afraid to put it on, to make that final step. If he took it there was no going back; the message he would be sending to the hara of Galhea and to himself would be clear. That he was willing to be the leader they needed, to have no doubts or questions. That he was something besides a pretty bauble and that they could trust him.

He honestly did not know how much of that was true. Failure would be so easy against an enemy they didn’t understand. There would be danger on their long journey, and he would have to accept responsibility for that. Mistakes and losses would be his, and no one else’s. It was a price of being who he was that he had never had to consider before now. There had always been someone else to rely on; Terzian, Swift, Ithiel, even Cal. Maybe he had never had a chance to change, to come into his own. He had not really wanted to until now.

Hold me through the darkest night
I feel secure in your arms
While all the city’s on fire
It’s not between you and me
But we are losing

“I’m surprised these still fit.” He murmured, slithering into the clothing that still felt like a second skin after all this time. Some more rummaging in the chest produced an elegant, simple knife and a belt.

He started to pull his long hair back in a severe braid but Snake took over almost immediately, fingers flying through the dark silk. “I’m not,” He replied, pressing a quick kiss to Cobweb’s neck as he finished.

Cobweb just smiled, turning to share breath with him a final time before heading towards the door. “Come on, we need to get going.”

He never once looked in the mirror, or looked back.

The luck of a thousand stars
Can’t get me out of this
The luck of a thousand stars
Can’t get me out of this
The luck of a thousand stars
Losing its charm

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4 Comments

  1. Teka said,

    May 18, 2008 at 9:50 pm

    Cobweb Rocks. This is beautiful.

  2. Oshun said,

    June 1, 2008 at 8:16 pm

    Great character study. You convinced me.

    like some besieged queen in a tragic play whose ending is doomed. Except, oddly, the tears had never come, the dramatic lamentations he had so often considered it his role to utter remained stifled.

    Love this reflection on Cobweb. He could do that better than anyone and make it work for him (actually be quite scary) when there was no other option. But what a great relief it must be to finally have other more positive ways of getting respect and affecting one’s surroundings.

  3. hdheidisofttail22 said,

    January 23, 2009 at 5:26 am

    Cobweb in leathers! It took my breath away! Your story rocks!

  4. Ingrid Williams said,

    March 1, 2009 at 7:54 pm

    Oh yeah, Cobweb WILL get respect, no doubt there. He is sooo fine!


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