(WIP!) - Nacht's Challenge #5 - "Dude, Where's My Eye?"

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chicory
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(WIP!) - Nacht's Challenge #5 - "Dude, Where's My Eye?"

Post by chicory » Fri Mar 03, 2006 7:56 pm

Dude, Where's my Eye?

Kurt Wagner had never looked nor felt so old. As he examined his reflection in the glass, he noted the grey infused in his once blue-black curls and peppering his carefully trimmed goatee. More then the grey though, age was measured in how sunken his features were, how small he felt, how sad and empty the cavity of his left eye looked now that he had removed the prosthetic.

His eye patch dangled from one hand, the same one that cradled the false eye. Glancing up at the mirror, his remaining eye took in the room visible over his shoulder. Particularly, his gaze rested on the woman who lay sprawled on the bed behind him, long black hair streaked with grey, body shaking with sobs.

Carefully, he polished the acrylic eye, by now the motion was a comforting ritual. And it was something to do, something to fill his hands with. Turning, he looked over at the bed again as he wiped the cloth over the smooth painted iris. She was still now, the fist of one hand pressed against her mouth, the other rested over her abdomen, rising and falling with her steadying breaths. Her eyes were open, but very far away; their blue depths blurred by unshed tears. It wasn't long before, motionless save for the shift in the direction she was looking, she caught his eye with her own and held him there.

He couldn't tell what she was thinking. Together twenty years and he had no idea what was going through her mind. Breaking eye contact by dropping his gaze to the floor, Kurt moved over to the night table by the bed. Fumbling with the drawer, he located a fluid filled container - mostly by feel - as his eyes kept darting over to the woman on the bed.

The eye settled into the case and Kurt took far more time than was necessary to arrange it back on the nightstand before he climbed onto the bed. Crawling over the blankets, he reached his wife's still form and reached out to her with a hesitating hand, finding himself unable to make the contact. He opened his mouth but no words came out. And when she turned over, he found he was not even brave enough to meet her eyes.

"Kurt?" Her gentle voice made him wince, and as she reached out to stroke the side of his face he placed his hand over hers and held it there, savoring her nearness. Gott - if he were to lose her too.

She was looking at him again, he could feel it. His dear, lovely wife - the sweet familiarity of her features made her even more appealing to his eyes. Despite the many hardships she had endured, she carried her years well; time had transformed the smooth softness of youth into a maturity that sacrificed none of her natural beauty but instead bestowed a certain elegant grace. He could see so much of their daughter in the planes of her face, the curve of her lips, her delicate brow. Her eyes were her own though, and unchanged, his gaze skirted around them, focusing instead on the laugh lines that traced a fine network at their edges.

"Don't blame yourself, Kurt. This isn’t your fault."

How often had he heard those words from her? Attempting to comfort him, to ease away the pain after a mission gone awry, after another of the many tragedies they had all managed to survive.

Of all of them, this was the worst.

Kurt had experienced the pain of loss on more occasions than he cared to dwell on. But, despite that, he hadn't known he could hurt quite this badly. He turned his face away, to the window, to the overcast night sky where only a single star was visible.

He didn't believe in wishing on stars, not like he believed in prayer, but by now he'd bled his heart out with appeals to his God. At this point, he was willing to indulge in any superstition that promised even the least hope. It was cold outside, and dark, and he wanted to know where his little girl was.

No, she was wrong. This was his fault. Somehow, something he had said or done, he'd made mistakes, he'd taken lives, he hadn't lived his life as virtuously as he should have and now that which was most precious had been taken away. The lesson of Job weighed heavy on his mind. What the Lord giveth, the Lord taketh away.

Wanda was kneeling on the bed now, holding his face between her hands.

Was she accusing him in her heart? Regretting joining her life to his? Would she be the next to leave him?

"Kurt?! Listen to me, they'll find her. Phoenix and the W-men, the Avengers, our friends and allies, they're all looking, no one's given up, and they won't, not until they find our daughter."

There was a fierceness in his wife's voice. Where had his Wanda found the strength not to lose herself in despair? But then, the woman was an Avenger...

"They'll do everything in their power. Afterall she's like one of their own. Steve assured me - "

"Steve Rogers?" he spoke despite himself, his voice like a croak.

Wanda stopped and looked at him. Like before, he avoided her eyes.

Not this again, not now.

"Kurt." His wife sighed, "Kurt, I love you. I will always love you, no matter what happens. And I don't blame you. But, more than that, I don't want to see you blaming yourself."

The words were right, what he wanted her to say, but he felt so numb, distant as his wife's words flowed over him.

"We both knew the dangers when we agreed to go through with this. Our lifestyle isn't an easy one and the world isn't a very forgiving place, but we can only do so much to protect those we love most - we may be superheroes, but we're not gods, and when it comes down to it, we're just as powerless as any other parents to force Heaven, fate, God to keep our child out of harms way, to keep her with us forever." Wanda's voice started to tremble here, but she wasn't quite done. Her husband held himself still, waiting for her to continue.

"Did you know, I've been expecting, preparing for this day from the first moment I held our daughter in my arms? Flesh of my flesh, and yours, TJ is more precious to me than I have words to say. And becoming a mother, really becoming a mother, meant more to me than anything ever has. But I knew even then she wouldn't be that small forever, and eventually I'd have to let her go. Let her be her own person, let her make her own mistakes, to choose a life that involved so much danger. I had to accept those risks, as unacceptable as they were."

Wanda smiled ruefully, and it was her turn to look away. "I thought I knew what it was like to lose children. The twins, I mean. I came so close to losing my mind after that. But, this," Wanda shook her head, "Would surrendering my sanity mean I would no longer feel this overwhelming pain in my heart?"

Her voice choked up at this, and her husband couldn't help but reach out to her. He almost flinched as his wife's blue eyes finally caught his, but calmed as he looked into their steady depths, filling again with tears. Wanda pulled him into an embrace as if she'd been holding herself back from just that action.

Kurt tucked his chin tightly against where her neck curved into her shoulder and she held him tightly in turn. "I just want to know where she is right now," his wife burst out, unable to keep up the semblance of composure any longer.

She needed him, his wife needed him. And he needed to be there, as tempting as it was to curl up into his own pain and shut out the world. His voice was his own again, though full of emotion as he whispered in his life partner's ear, "We've both exhausted ourselves out there. Let's get some sleep, things will look better in the morning."

Wanda leaned back and gazed deep into his one remaining eye. She smiled at him with a heartrending, tearful smile and reached up to smooth heavy brows. Kurt's own lips curved up ever so slightly at the futility of the attempt to tame his wild brows. He reached out to take his wife's face in his hands and dry the tearstreaks he found there with gentle but strong thumbs.

His smile faltered slightly as Wanda reached up and plucked the patch away from his eyes, pulled it over his head, and tossed it vaguely in the direction of the bedside table. A flash from her hand ensured that it landed on the wood with a thump, and probably neatly folded up too if experience taught him anything.

Kurt looked at his wife with his good eye, empty socket exposed. There was love in her eyes, and overwhelming tenderness, as well as exhaustion and a terrible sadness. She leaned in close to him and gently kissed the lid as he closed it over the emptiness.

"It's going to be okay." His wife murmured. How badly he wanted to believe her. Even the thought that the vibrant young woman, their daughter could be the least bit hurt, or worse, was beyond him to contemplate. As unlikely as it was, whereever TJ was, he hoped she was warm and safe and among friends.

Again, the couple fell into each other's arms, clinging together, each aware of the fears and hopes hidden in the other's heart.
"Perhaps she merely ran away." Kurt had been entertaining the thought ever since his daughter had first been missed. At first the possibility had aroused anger and fear, now it was the only possibility that inspired any hope.

Wanda nestled closer to him and held him tighter, stroking the back of his head. "Though, if she did," he continued, "she made it far beyond the train station this time." It was difficult to keep the darker possibilities from intruding his mind. A tear from his one good eye ran down his face and dropped down his wife's neckline to where it was already soaked through with her own tears.

[Edited on 3/4/06 by chicory]
For those who believe, no explanation is neccessary. For those who do not, no explanation is possible. ~Gino Dalpiaz

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(WIP!) - Nacht's Challenge #5 - "Dude, Where's My Eye?"

Post by InterNutter » Sat Mar 04, 2006 8:02 am

I've heard of short stories, before, but... stopping after the title takes the cake ;)

I'm assuming you had some kind of posting SNAFU here :)
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(WIP!) - Nacht's Challenge #5 - "Dude, Where's My Eye?"

Post by NachtcGleiskette » Tue Mar 14, 2006 2:47 pm

Wow, these seems really interesting chic!!

One thing, when you edit to update, post a little note saying you updated...only because when you edit a post, it doesn't show the post as being changed or updated outside the thread, so I had no idea that you had even written more until I checked today, on a whim!

But i'm way excited to see where it goes!
"If you live your life to please everyone else, you will continue to feel frustrated and powerless. This is because what others want may not be good for you. You are not being mean when you say NO to unreasonable demands or when you express your ideas, feelings, and opinions, even if they differ from those of others.â€

chicory
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(WIP!) - Nacht's Challenge #5 - "Dude, Where's My Eye?"

Post by chicory » Tue Mar 14, 2006 9:40 pm

:) I was going to wait until I'd added just a little more before I added another post to this thread. (by adding a note you mean posting again so that the thread goes up to the top of the list? - that's the only way?)

I have this story plotted out in my head - and I even know how it ends - it's just the actual writing that's the tough part :LOL

Thanks for the encouragement though! :D March may be half over already - but I should add more to it before the challenge is over.

Internutter> No, it wasn't a SNAFU :) It was more that I started writing and then realized I didn't know what an eyeless person looked like. (All the dogs and cats I've seen without eyes either have them sewed shut or else they get small and sink back into their heads. And I didn't think that would happen to a person. So, I posted the title and went to google 'lost eyes' and then it was time to go to work... Not that you needed to know that - :rolleyes. But, cute nonetheless

I have questions for you Nacht - I'll have to post them in the other thread :)
For those who believe, no explanation is neccessary. For those who do not, no explanation is possible. ~Gino Dalpiaz

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