„Es gibt eine Form von Schönheit, die nur die Endlichkeit hervorbringen kann.“
- Cassandra Clare
„Es gibt eine Form von Schönheit, die nur die Endlichkeit hervorbringen kann.“
- Cassandra Clare
Dan looked...Horrified by him. Clockwork shivered, he'd never meant to scare Dan and yet he had. Dan's eyes widened as he caught sight of him back in his normal form.
"What are you?" Dan hissed pushing further into the corner. Clockwork stopped just past the door way, not wanting Dan to attack in fear.
"Its just me Dan, I won't hurt you." Dan scoffed and rolled his shoulders.
"Thats not what I asked and you fucking know it." He wasn't sure how to even start to explain his other form without causing Dan distress.
“I loved you recklessly from the moment I knew you.”
“I am catastrophically in love with you.”
This is the closest thing I found over lunch that looks like what I'm describing for my eldritch horror clockwork, the big difference is he has a humanoid face ill try to draw it out after work.
"I felt I was dreaming and thinking and feeling with you. I dreamed what you dreamed, wanted what you wanted- and then I realised that truly I just wanted you. The girl behind the scrawled letters. I loved you from the moment I read them. I love you still"
I can offer you my life, but it is a short life; I can offer you my heart, though I have no idea how many more beats it shall sustain. But I love you enough to hope that you will not care that I am being selfish in trying to make the rest of my life -whatever length- happy, by spending it with you. I want to be married to you, Tessa. I want it more than I have ever wanted anything else in my life. That is -he said shyly- if you love me too"
Dropping here two of my all-times-favourite love confessions. You can drop here yours too <3
you good Rina?
Clockwork is an Angel I love her ❤️❤️
Seeing Gabriel getting distressed by Charlotte’s kindness and falling asleep wearing Gideon’s clothes, in Gideon’s bed, breaks my heart every time.
Dan had been bored and boredom was not a good state for him, he wondered what clockwork was up to and decided to go looking. He regretted that now. Now that he'd gotten a glimpse of the true clockwork. The monster he really was, clockwork actually had red tipped wings much like a bats and arms. So many arms, most of them ending in wicked claws...
(by Shishkina - Alex Delarge)
Next time I go to Barnes and Noble I will buy City of Glass and Clockwork Angel
What does it mean, to have the favor of someone like Clockwork?
Warnings: None, other than general creepiness? References to a child in very poor health.
Word Count: ~3450
The doctor's mouth was still moving, but it wasn't making any sound. That was odd, Dan decided. He was feeling a floating sort of detachment. A sense of unreality cushioned him, wrapped him in cotton and began towing him under.
Surely, this had to be a dream. A nightmare.
She fell out of his way and suddenly he was in the hall, cool lighting casting the hospital-mint walls in a deathly glow.
He had to get out, he had to leave here before it became real, before--
He jammed a finger on the elevator call button and oh, waiting was no good, he couldn't wait for the elevator it would take forever to come. He shoved open the staircase door and stumbled down, footsteps echoing too loud off concrete walls and metal railings.
Everything was so harsh.
He couldn't, he couldn't--
There, the ground floor exit. He fell against it and it clacked open. Why was everything so loud?
Harsh lights again, buzzing from the lights or no, lights hadn't buzzed in decades, that was just his head, his head.
He fled through the doors at the hospital entrance and finally found he could breathe again.
He took a great, choking gasp and then another, lungs heaving as the words finally penetrated into his brain.
No! He couldn't lose his daughter, not like this. Anna wasn't--he was supposed to die before her. Children were supposed to outlive their parents! He couldn't, why hadn't he been there?
And now Anna was--
They'd mentioned hospice, he thought. Hospice, for those who could only be made comfortable.
Mom had gone, before the end.
He couldn't accept that.
Another shuddering gasp, and why hadn't he ever picked up smoking? He hadn't become an astronaut, in the end. It wouldn't have kept him from his lifetime of astrophysics lectures and academia. Why couldn't he have something to try and shorten his own life, to soothe the ragged pain now tearing its way through his chest?
More huffs of air. It occurred to him that they hurt, now. The January night was icy in the cruelest sort of way, air cutting into his flesh at the seams of his clothes, clawing at his chest where his coat lay open.
He should probably close it.
He didn't. Instead, Dan looked up.
Past the glaring lights surrounding the hospital, to the night sky. A few decades ago there'd been several initiatives to reduce light pollution across the country and at least he had that, now.
At least he could look on the stars he loved as he wondered what to do.
They were so cold.
He was so cold.
Anna would be--
He'd do anything. Pay any price.
His mother was gone, and he'd lost faith in his parents' ghost stories before he ever left the house. He'd lost it the day their portal, their beloved magnum opus, had failed.
If there was even a scrap of truth to those stories, then...
Danny, his mother had told him, the memory now scratched and hazy with time, Danny, don't ever, ever make a deal with them. And don't ever plead. Or promise out loud. You never know if they're listening.
He'd done it as a rebellious teenager, of course. A couple of times, just to prove his parents the fools twice over. Ghosts weren't real.
He'd never meant it, though. Never said it with intention.
"Plea--" his voice caught, descended into a hacking cough. The air out here was frigid.
"Please. Please, if anyone's listening. I don't care who, I'll do anything to let her live her life, to let her be happy."
Silence. His knees nearly buckled.
"She's my daughter. Please!"
His breath clouded in the light from the street lamps.
Distantly, there was the sound of traffic.
He should've known, shouldn't even have bothered. Of course nothing happened. What was he thinking? His parents had been hacks before they died. The punchline to an elaborate joke, to the scientific community. He'd spent all of his twenties and half his thirties working to overcome their reputation.
And here he was, acting his daughter's age. Believing in the fantasy his parents had wasted their lives on, that he thought he'd given up on when he was 14.
Oh, god. She was only 14.
Dan froze, too aware of the perfect silence which now surrounded him. Except for--
One voice and many, a wash of echoing whispers from above, all coalescing into a single point.
"Anything at all?" repeated the stars. And they folded themselves into the shape of a boy.
Dan stumbled back, the scrape of his boots against concrete loud in the overwhelming quiet.
"You said anything," said the boy.
"I--I didn't mean--"
"You did," it insisted. "Of course you did. Anything. Anything at all, for family."
Was Dan having a heart attack? Maybe he wouldn't outlive Anna, after all. Maybe it would end here, with this--what was it? It didn't look like any ghost he'd ever imagined. But then.
Go back far enough, and ghost stories and faerie tales become the same, whispered Maddie Fenton, from decades in the past.
"What?" Dan rasped.
The figure cocked its head. Its body was a flat hole to the cosmos. Dan couldn't read its expression except for the eyes burning like stars in its face.
"What are you?"
The ghost, the fairy, barked a laugh. "What do you think I am, Daniel James Fenton? Who do you think would listen to you, out of all the desperate fathers in the world?"
It floated nearer, the angle of its head mocking. "It doesn't matter what I am, I don't think." Its voice was arctic, sharp. Echoing. "Nor who I am."
"Not to you."
It continued. "I think you only care about what it is that I can give you."
"I didn't--" Dan's heart was beating too fast in his chest. Was the ice eating its way through it from the winter cold, or from this creature?
"It's a fair price, you know. I don't intervene for just anyone. I spend my time on other duties, not stalking humans for deals. But you have something rare."
"Something precious," it lingered on the last word, descending closer to the ground. To Dan.
"What...what is it?" Dan asked. Then, hastily, "and what would you give me?"
The ghost sounded like it was grinning. He couldn't see its teeth, but its eyes were upturned crescent moons. "In return, Anna's life, full. Happy, healthy." How did it know her name.
Keep your spine straight and don't show them fear.
"You didn't answer the first part, ghost."
Was that laughter in its voice?
"In return, your free will. Incredible, isn't it? I don't think you'll miss it."
It was laughter. The ghost was outright cackling now, like it had told a particularly funny joke.
He hadn't thought a ghost would be this emotive, however skewed they were.
"And that's a joke to you, is it?" Dan hadn't meant his tone to be so forceful, but frustration and anxiety were churning in his chest. This--this thing was holding his daughter's life over him.
The ghost's eyes dimmed from searing titanium white to a cooler yellow as the humor vanished from its voice.
"Well, no. It's a punchline, okay? To an inside joke."
Well, Dan couldn't begin to guess what was funny about his free will even if he were in a better mood. He swallowed. Was this ghost even sane?
Did it matter, if it could do what it said?
Anna, grown and happy. Healthy. Color in her cheeks, joy on her face, hair streaming in the wind--
But what did it want?
"Why are you doing this?" Dan demanded.
The ghost didn't swing back into raucous good humor. Instead, it hung where it was, seeming to think.
"I can't give you a full explanation. Like I said, that'd take too long."
The ghost hadn't said.
"But, I can give you enough information to figure part of it out yourself. It's only...fair, I guess."
Light crawled over the ghost's form, and it dropped to the ground. In its place stood a young boy, about Anna’s age. About her build, too. She'd gotten it from him.
Dan had looked that face in the mirror for over four decades, now. It had age lines these days, a second chin from too many cafeteria doughnuts and too little exercise. But.
He was looking at himself, as he had been when he was a teenager.
He reared back.
"What the hell is this, is this--is this some kind of sick joke?"
The ghost smiled then, and its teeth were wrong. Long. Sharp.
"You'd hope so, wouldn't you?"
It wasn't the manic grin he'd heard in its voice before. It was softer. A little rueful.
If nothing else, this ghost was good at pretending human emotions when it tried. As if to prove the point, it scuffed a shoe on the concrete. For an instant, it looked for all the world like one of his daughter's classmates. Awkward and unsure in an uncomfortable situation.
Reflexively, Dan found himself searching for an out for him before remembering who he was dealing with. What.
The boy spoke again. "But that's the price. Give Anna a good life, a full life. Guarantee it. And in return, the free will you've enjoyed all yours."
He was going to do this, Dan realized. How stupid was that? He didn't even really know what this kid meant by free will, or what he was giving up. But he'd asked for help at any price, and he really was willing to pay it.
Dan swallowed. Like the ghost said. Anything.
Anything, for family.
"What--" his voice caught. Was he about to say goodbye to everything he'd ever known? Would he be a robot, an automaton after this? What would the ghost even do with his free will?
"What will it be like, without it?"
The boy's expression didn't change at the slip of intention. Instead, he tilted his head, considering.
"In general? I don't think you'll miss it. Or notice you don't have it, really."
There was a moment of contemplative silence. The boy's eyes were downcast, lips twisted a little at some hidden irony.
"I mean, I missed it, but I haven't had it since the day I was born, so it's really more like I missed the thought of it, you know?" He looked up at Dan.
Dan didn't know.
"You never had it?" The ghost didn't seem like a robot. He was a long way from human but he had a personality. Thoughts.
"Nope!" He popped the p, rocking back on his heels.
But Dan had gotten distracted from what he really wanted to know.
"What happens to me if I say yes?"
The ghost's smile was soft. Fond, almost.
"At first? Nothing. You get the rest of your life with your daughter. He wouldn't hurt you by taking that. Your choices...matter just as much as they do in most timelines." The ghost's lips quirked and for a moment Dan thought he might start laughing again.
Instead, it continued, warmth coloring its voice.
"After, well. That's good, too. You get family, love. You get to spend the rest of your days learning about space. You'll have a purpose, be happy. Ghosts like us, we can't be unhappy doing what we do."
"I'll be like you, then?"
Apparently, there was something funny about that. Dan thought he might have an idea why.
"Nice? Too good to be true?" His voice was cooler again.
The boy was outright smiling again now, sharp and sad and knowing.
"In return for your free will, since you were born? Across every timeline?"
Dan didn't care.
Even if the ghost had told him he'd be tortured to the end of his days, he didn't care.
And really, hadn't he already done it? The ghost had his face. Maybe there was something funny about free will, after all.
He cast a final look at the heavens. One last moment, free.
Funny how they'd always been associated with fate.
He stuck out his hand.
"Fine. I accept."
The boy seized his hand with a smile. It was wild, sharp enough to cut. His nails pressed like pinpricks against the back of Dan's hand.
He shook once, a single, abrupt motion.
Then, he vanished. With him, he took the too-bright parking lot at the foot of the county hospital. The night sky winked out soon after.
Dan was, quite abruptly, inside.
Distant sounds of neighbors filtered through the closed window. The antique clock, a gift from Jazz, ticked in the silence.
This was his study.
Dan sat a moment, stunned. Then, he was up, flinging his chair back fast enough that it slammed into the table behind him. He flailed at the doorknob he couldn't quite see in the darkness, hurled the door open and himself through it, taking the stairs two at a time to see--
Anna, alive, happy, healthy in the kitchen, working on her homework. He seized her in a great hug.
He caught a whiff of her favorite shampoo, and tears came to his eyes. She hadn't been home to use it for weeks, she'd been stuck in that wretched, awful place as the life crept out of her body.
He had thought he would have to bury her.
Dan couldn't bring himself to regret the deal he'd just made. Wasn't it the duty of a parent, to do everything in their power to make sure their child ended up happy and healthy?
No matter what? ---
The ghost turned at his name. Daniel was framed in the doorway, rubbing sleep from dark bags beneath his eyes.
"Can I watch you work?"
Daniel settled into his usual perch on one of the slow-moving gears.
The child had woken from a nightmare a few minutes ago. In a few more, Daniel would need to talk. Until then, he would benefit most if Clockwork were simply a calm, nearby presence.
He returned to his screens, pretending to work to give Daniel the time to formulate his questions.
It was a difficult question to ask. Clockwork waited.
"Am I...would they." Daniel halted. "Do they--?"
He moved closer, put his hand on Daniel's shoulder. It seemed to give the boy the strength to finish his sentence.
"Would they choose me, or their work?"
Unsaid, the question unwound between them. Would they still love me, if they knew? Would they accept me, or try to fix me? Would they just see me as research? A new project?
And the answer...Clockwork couldn't truthfully give the answer his child so desperately wished to hear.
He couldn't control the actions of Madeline and Jack Fenton. Not really.
Clockwork needed an invitation to alter fate so thoroughly. And he hadn't received it for the Fenton parents. Daniel would never give him that permission. Would never think to do so.
At Clockwork's silence, Daniel emitted a tiny "Oh." Then, his shoulders began to shake.
Clockwork wrapped him in a hug, letting his cloak surround the child, holding him tight to his chest.
Clockwork could not fix Daniel's parents. Could not mend the rift in that family, could not make them suddenly into reasonable people, mindful parents.
Not without preventing Daniel's birth, which was unacceptable.
He could reassure, though. Comfort.
Clockwork began to speak in a low, gentle voice.
"You deserve love, Daniel. Always believe that." He stroked a hand through Daniel's hair. "I would know, wouldn't I?"
"I love you, Daniel. I love you so, so much. You're so wonderful, so curious and clever and quick and kind."
"I will always love you, Daniel. Always."
There was sniffling. Poor child.
Clockwork knew what Daniel was asking. Ancients could not help but put their obsession above everything else, before everything else. Clockwork's was time. But he'd found a loophole. A beautiful, gorgeous little loophole with Daniel at the center of it.
Time and space were linked. What benefited, what protected one would protect the other as well.
"Shh, Daniel," Clockwork whispered into his child's ear.
In every timeline in which he existed, Daniel adored the stars.
"If I would ever, could ever need to choose between you and time, I wouldn't have picked you."
There was no Ancient of Space. Yet.
“I don’t need to choose, to make you happy.”
Ancients lasted a long, long while. They could not be anything but content with their existence. How could they be otherwise? They had a singular purpose driving through the core of them and eons in which to pursue it. And they had the power to fulfill their purpose to its utmost.
Time times happiness, times the timelines it happened in. It was a simple equation, with a simple result: what was best for Daniel was what was best for time. And space.
"You'll always be happy, in the end."
Even better: the strength of an Ancient's obsession would erode anything that made them unhappy with their lot. Clockwork certainly didn't miss those old worries.
Daniel wouldn't, either.
"I made sure of it."
For some reason, Daniel didn't seem comforted by this. Clockwork contemplatively scanned the near future, running a gloved hand through his child's hair. That usually helped.
"'ree will?" Daniel mumbled.
"What about free will?"
"What about it?"
"Doesn't that mean I don't have it?"
Clockwork hummed, idly. "What's your point?"
Ah. Clockwork could see the problem, now. The solution was easy enough.
He waited for Daniel to speak again.
"...I'm kinda attached to my free will, Clockwork."
First, clarify the situation.
"You've never had it." He hugged his child closer. "Have you missed it at all?"
"But you didn't even notice it was missing."
Daniel was silent, so Clockwork continued.
"I think you like the idea of free will."
"It's certainly an interesting one. I can see why you would want it."
Even if it required a little white lie here and there.
Daniel began to radiate anxiety, so Clockwork purred a little to soothe him.
"But what kind of guardian would I be if I let you truly risk permanent harm? A poor one. Besides," he added. "I don't have it either. Do I seem unhappy to you?"
Daniel started a little -- surprise? -- but the question got Daniel to speak again.
Clockwork huffed a laugh into Daniel's hair. "There's a difference between grumpy and unhappy. I'm content with my place, despite certain annoyances. And I'm certainly happy when I'm spending time with you."
Daniel's posture slackened a bit at that. Good.
Clockwork let the moment linger. Savored the close contact.
Finally: offer a concession. A distraction. Like a joke told to children receiving a shot.
"If you really are attached to the idea, I suppose I could let you have a side timeline with it. On some conditions."
"It can't be one where the portal works."
Daniel shifted in his arms.
Clockwork explained. "I refuse to let any version of you suffer through your ghost-born struggles by yourself. And you must have a good chance at a happy life."
They were fair terms. More than fair, considering the risk.
But then, Clockwork already knew the outcome even without interfering.
"And, you must be able to ask for help. It wouldn't be right to deny that version of you help if he wanted it, right?"
Daniel was slow to respond. "...right."
Clockwork already knew which timeline he would tease apart from the main line. From a certain perspective, he'd already done it.
After all, he had needed an invitation to intervene so heavily as he had. And the Observants' original demands had only requested a resolution to a single mess. Not nearly enough to keep Daniel safe and happy. Not nearly as much as Clockwork wanted.
"There you go. Do you feel better?" Clockwork hoped so. He hated hearing Daniel so distraught, even over such odd things.
He loved his son so very much.
Not entirely true. But it would be.
"Good." He held Daniel until the boy shifted uncomfortably in his arms, wanting to return to bed.
"Good night, Daniel. Sleep well."
As long as Daniel was happy, after all.
Wasn't it the duty of a parent, to do everything in their power to make sure their child ended up happy and healthy?
No matter what?
#Artober2021, day 22 Clockwork
Me: "This year's Artober I'll make drawings more simples."