Title: Death will come and will have your eyes
Fandom: Miles Vorkosigan
Characters: Piotr Vorkosigan
Summary: 'He still sees them everywhere.' Piotr Vorkosigan's POV on those he has lost.
Written for alphabetasoup
Disclaimer: Miles Vorkosigan belongs to Lois McMaster Bujold. Title’s been taken from Cesare Pavese’s poem.
Theme: J is for Jeremiad
Fandom: Miles Vorkosigan
Characters: Piotr Vorkosigan.
Summary: ‘He still sees them everywhere’. Piotr Vorkosigan’s POV on those he has lost.
Death will come and will have your eyes
He still sees them everywhere. He sees them soaring up the sky, their figures fading within the blue, their white clothes swirling around their bodies like clouds. He hears their anguished screams in the night when all is silent. He sees their reflections on the sparkling lake’s surface, he sees their faces beside his on the mirrors. He sees them in his dreams and during his watchful hours.
They are with him everywhere he goes. They are his shadow, the ragged breathing that escapes his lips. He cannot run away from them and neither does he want to.
They are his guilt, his pain, but also his solace. As years go by and he starts to feel old and tired, loneliness creeping in even though he is surrounded by people, they become his preferred company.
He sits in his favourite spot by the lake, and he can nearly feel her sitting next to him, dark auburn hair sparkling under the sun, her brown eyes warm and caring, her face proud and beautiful, just like he saw her on their wedding day. And he feels his heart explode because he has never loved her more than now, when her ghostly fingers intertwine with his and she gives him one of her rare, sad smiles.
There is a painful knot in his throat, because he has missed her terribly even though she’s never left his side in all these years, in spite of the fact he abandoned her in the face of death. He has missed her more than he can say, more than anyone will ever know, anyone but her, who has always been able to read him like an open book with just a glance.
And then Piotr sees him as well, tall and proud, the predilect son, his chosen heir, the young man who was once supposed to carry on his name, his legacy. The young man who was murdered mercilessly without him being able to do nothing to prevent it.
There is no resentment in the young man’s eyes and he can’t understand why. He failed this young man, he failed him the way a father should never fail his firstborn and yet, he smiles at him, forgiveness warming his clear eyes. He sits next to Piotr as well, stretching his long legs with ease, as though he hasn’t spent the last decades decaying underground. This ghost beside him will be forever young, forever strong, his eyes will be forever sharp, forever bright like his mother’s. On the other hand, Piotr is old and torn, each step taking him closer to his grave, but this woman and this young man beside him will live forever as long as he can see them.
They are his guilt, his pain and his regret, his heartache and his wistfulness. They are the burden he has been carrying on his shoulders for what feels like centuries, the burden he will never let go. They are the ones he loved and failed to save and therefore, the reason he will never forgive himself.
But they are also his light, his hope and joy. They are also the happy remembrance of more cheerful times, they are his warmth, his chance at redemption, the reason he goes on.
He still sees them everywhere. In the old, ancient house where they once lived together and he now has learnt to share with his second son and his wife; in the mountains they loved so much, where now he watches with something akin to pride and love how his grandson rides a horse; he sees them in the planet they once sworn to serve and that has changed all around him until becoming unrecognisable. He will never stop seeing them for as long as he breathes, for as long as his heart beats.
When Death finally finds him late one night in his study, it’s their eyes the last thing he sees, their eyes and their smiles when he finally crosses the bridge to join them.