Important: This is a companion piece written to Ciontaich by Edmondia Dantes and written with permission. Please read it before reading this.

Author: Ankhutenshi
Title: Malairt
Fandom: Gargoyles
Disclaimer: Not mine.
Rating/Notes: PG, 500 words

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Malairt

He would hate him, if he could only figure out how.

It seemed in theory to be so easy. He was the source of this, the reason if not the result. If he had never come along, if he had remained alone as all his kind deep down were, then this would not have happened, and he would be home -- bored, to be sure, but still home.

And yet every time he looked at him, and he knew that he saw through the mask, through the persona, and even through the smiles he wore when he wanted nothing more than to rend him limb from limb... He gave him a look so deep that no mortal should be able to conjure.

I'm sorry, the look said. Don't think I don't know what you've given up. I would give it back in an instant, if I could.

Because they never talked about it, and they never would. Oh, perhaps one day he'd carefully broach the subject, probably when the boy was much older and perhaps even when he was on his deathbed, he would try to form apologies that he'd agonized over for his whole life.

And he would smile, and nod, and forgive him for being only human. Of course he would, because what else was there to do?

Because he hadn't figured out yet, how to hate him. It shouldn't have been that hard, really.

The strange thing was, he didn't long for the game. As a game, he had always expected it to end. Whether through time, or happenstance, one day the players would lay down their pieces, fold up the board, and put it away.

And that would be the end.

It never came.

And it never would.

He couldn't even rage, because the one whom he wanted to rage at could stop him with a look, and he would sulk back to his place with a hatred and loathing so consuming it could only be carried by an immortal, and he would never touch him.

When it had been a game, there had been a distance, a respect. When he had broached it, cautious and yet eager, he had been aware of what he had been capable of, of what he was getting himself into.

Now there was a distance of guilt, and of silence, and no attempts were made to cross that chasm. There were kind words and nervous smiles that flitted in the vast divide between them, but nothing more. Some days he would lose himself so deeply in his persona that it actually hurt to return.

The unfinished game.

For all his power, his cunning, his legendary mind... he couldn't make the final move. Unable to pass off his turn, unable to forfeit that game, it was driving him mad.

He couldn't bring himself to hate him, and he wasn't sure if he could love him anymore.

He'd undo the game, if he could, but somehow he doesn't think that'd be enough.

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Notes:
malairt: an exchange, [Irish, Middle Irish: malartaigim], I exchange, also "destroy": in Early Irish and Old Irish malairt means "destruction", which may be compared to Latin malus, bad.

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