cherry: (Default)
[personal profile] cherry
Title: Only Revolutions
Fandom: The Dark is Rising
Rating: G
Notes: Written for [ profile] roz_mcclure in this year's Yuletide. The Y: The Last Man story was my real assignment, but this request caught my eye and I couldn't help myself.

Jane Drew, at sleep and in waking.

Only Revolutions
by [ profile] cherryice

At sleep, Jane dreams fierce dreams. Shifting patterns of light and dark, like the shadows leaves cast beneath trees, patterns that flicker and tear across the surface of the world. They are fire and ice, iron and wood, a voice on the wind and the silence of stones. Dreams wheels inside of wheels, grinding indomitably forward, spinning vainly like the clockwork of a watch. Dreams of lightning and silver, the whinny and charge of horses, the rough press of bark beneath her palms.

Upon waking they slip from her mind, like a tide receding from shore, leaving her breathless and gasping, crying out with her mind into a great emptiness.


"Do you dream often?" Barney whispers into the dark. Moonlight sneaks in from around the edges of the drapes, casting white light on the carpet of the hotel room. Jane's mouth is dry and her heartbeat loud in her ears, still disoriented from waking. The room is washed of all colour, reduced to greys, and she can see Barney's pale mop of hair in the bed across from her. Simon is a still form on his other side, nothing more than an uneven shape and whistling breath.

"Do I..." Jane asks, voice low, confused.

"Dream," Barney says. Most of his face is in shadow but his eyes are curiously bright. "You were dreaming again." The radiator hums in the background, gurgles and clanks. Warm beneath her blankets in the soft darkness, Jane thinks she can almost -

"It feels almost like remembering," she tells him, eyes on the shadows cast by the furniture. "I just can't..."

"I think I feel rather the same way when I paint," he whispers, voice lower still, like there's something that might break in by the speaking of it. "Like there's something I ought to be able to see, but the more I reach for it the farther from me it gets."

"Sometimes," Jane murmurs, Jana, Jano, "when I wake I can't quite remember my own name."


She reads book after book, biology, history, physics, Shakespeare, Einstein, Plato, searching for something, anything. Her room grows musty with tomes, yellowed pages heavy with age, bound with leather, tape, glue. The words are all wrong - the shape and age of them, shallow.

She spends hours along the riverbank, grass ticking her arms and the back of her neck, watching the clouds race overhead and listening to the wind in the trees, the rush of water over rock. Listening closely for a voice that slips outside of her range of hearing. There's something familiar about the way the sunlight touches her cheek.

She likes to watch the seasons wax and wane, a cycle that has no beginning and no end.

Hushed voices fill the Drew household at night. Her parents worry.


There's a freshness to the mountain air she'd forgotten, grass and soil and slate, sharp like copper. The wisps of cloud overhead look insubstantial and fragile, rushing past them to stripe the rolling hills in darker shades of green, blue-violet, grey.

"How did we first meet, Bran?" she asks. The years have mellowed him somewhat, or at least endeared them to each other. The mountainside below her is sharply angled, and she has a moment when, giddy, she feels as if the slope could shrug and she would soar forward into the sky.

"Will Stanton," he says, and there's a surety about that, at least. They are sprawled across the ground, grass dry and scratchy beneath their coats, their heads together as if to whisper secrets.

She knows this hill, though she's never walked it. Knows Owen Davies is not Bran's father, though no one has told her. Knows legends of these lands, though she's never heard them.

"When I wake," he says, "I sometimes feel as if I were actually falling to sleep."

Her breath rushes through her body, and beneath a bright blue sky she reaches over to touch his hand. "It breaks over me in waves," she says. "The strangeness. Like mostly I'm a girl, but there's something else inside my head."

His skin is warm, and he reaches out to brush her cheek.

"There's a hollow weight inside of me where something was supposed to grow," she says speculatively, watching the sun and sky until the light hurts her eyes.


"Time is not linear," one of her professors says one day. It's April outside and the sun has chased away all the clouds, campus grounds a vivid and inviting green outside the classroom window. Most of her fellow students are scribbling absently in the margins of their notebooks, shooting sidelong looks at the grassy knolls outside.

The professor sighs. "Fine," he says, not unkindly. "Go, be fruitful. I wouldn't mind a walkabout myself."

There's a flurry of motion as backs are swept up and the rustle of packing books.

Jane stays seated long after they've left, staring down at the ruled paper before her, brows drawn together in consternation.

'Time is not linear,' she has scrawled, in blue, across the vast expanse of white.


The hills make her strange. She's always thought she'd outgrow this melancholy that sweeps over her. Simon lost it quickly, and it overcomes Barney infrequently, but it seems sometimes that it will swallow her whole. She dreams there is a book yet to be written, of a song from the bottom of the sea, that she herself rises and diminishes like the tide. She dreams that a single, lit candle stands alone, flickering flame illuminating the rest of an empty circle.

"The thing about circles," Bran says, picking idly at the strings of his harp, "is that they have no beginning and no end." Most of the light in the cabin is cast by the fire in the hearth, shadows flickering, everything with a red-gold cast, Bran's eyes rich and solemn.

This morning, she dreamed of doors in the mist, the familiar face of a woman she's never met. "The last becomes first," Jane says, and the words taste funny in her mouth, vowels and constinants unfamiliar shapes. "The last becomes the first and the Lady wakes."


She and Bran sleep without touching, innocent, curled up in the warmth, fire banked and a single down cover between them. Behind her eyes, she is everything and yet nothing at all. She dreams of wheels turning, circles, the rise of the tide, the rotation of the planet and stars. Shifting shadows and the pattern in the change. A woman speaking a language Jane has always and never spoken, who kisses Jane's forehead, soft, smiling, and full of love.

When Jane opens her eyes, she wakes.
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August 2017


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