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Through Glass

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Nothing could ever be changed. Everything that happened was set in stone, bound to happen. No way to prevent it. Things that looked like accidents were deliberate. Avoided disasters were disasters that were never meant to happen.


That was how Fate did things. Plan disasters here. Plan miracles there. Happiness there. Sadness there. Every time. Never with a second thought. Because that was how things worked, wasn't it?


He first saw her as a little girl, perhaps seven. A lonely girl, kneeling on the floor in a room filled with books. Her hair was long, and it went to the middle of her back. She was talking, though there was no one else in the room. Maybe she was talking to creatures of her imagination. Maybe she was talking to the books on her walls. He didn't know, and he wouldn't know.


He stood in her room. Behind her, against the wall. He didn't have to be away from her- she couldn't see him, anyway-, but he didn't want to be too close. He was fascinated by this little girl, and he couldn't tell why. She spoke clearly, intelligently. She read, and she read fluently, with comprehension.


And then she turned around briefly, her innocent eyes fixing on where he was standing. "Is someone there?" she whispered. He didn't move, unsure of what to do. She could have heard someone else, but she was looking right at him. "Hello? Who are you?"


No one had seen him, not before then.


He knelt down before her and smiled. "Use your imagination, sweetheart."


"Why should I do that?" she asked. "Who are you?"

He knew he'd spent too much time with her already. He could answer her fully if he wanted, but he knew didn't have time, and he didn't fully want to, anyway. "I can't tell you now. I don't have time. But I'll be back. And I will explain then."




"I promise."


He didn't know how long he'd been doing whatever what he did was called. But in the time he knew, no one had ever seen him when he was in their lives. He did that often, when the planning was done. Enter someone's life at a random point, watch them.


And yet, no one had ever seen him.


The moment he left her, he knew he wasn't going to touch her life, not at all. See how things would play out. She was special, that girl. He wanted to know, but there was no way for him to know. He never learned her name, so he would never change her life.


The next time he saw her, she was slightly older. Maybe a few years, at the most. She was curled up on her bed, wearing the same nightgown she had last time, her hair slightly longer and messy from sleep. He almost left right away, feeling awkward watching her sleep, but then her eyes snapped open and she let out a small, terrified scream, tears leaking from the corners of her eyes. He stumbled backwards slightly, wondering if she had seen him and that had scared her, but she didn't seem to be looking at him. She started sobbing, then, rocking back and forth ever so slightly.


He walked up to her, slowly, carefully. He didn't know if she remembered him, or if she could even see him. He tenderly placed a hand on her shoulder and she jumped slightly in shock, and then turned her head towards him. He could tell instantly that she recognized him, the way her features shifted slightly.


"It's you," she said. "You returned."


He smiled. "Of course I did. I promised, didn't I?"


"Is this a dream, still? Did I not wake up? I don't understand how you're here."


"That's the question we all ask, isn't it? 'Am I dreaming?'" he muttered. "But to answer your question, you're only dreaming if you wish to be. If you want this to be real, then it is. If you want it to only be a dream, then it is. It's up to you."


"Do you have to be so confusing?" she asked, and he laughed. He couldn't remember the last time he laughed. It felt good. Nice.


"What was upsetting you, earlier?"


In the flash of a second, her smile faded. "I had a bad dream. It reminded me of my parents." She looked away from him briefly. "They died about two years ago. I still miss them, but what can I do about that?"


"Nothing. Absolutely nothing. And that's the best thing in the world."


She started to say, "What do you mean?", but by that time he was already gone.


Fate didn't know if there was some sort of rule binding him from doing what he was to the girl, but he didn't feel like there was any. It wasn't like he was doing anything major to her life, other than not affecting it. He didn't know why he was so attached to the girl, or why she could see him. But he didn't worry about that.


Somehow, he was drawn to her when she had bad dreams. For the next while, he only saw her when she woke up crying from the nightmares that reached for her. Even she noticed this after a while.


And then he ran out of time. He had more to do, suddenly, and couldn't find time to visit the girl. He never forgot, although he wished for her all of the time.


When he did see her the next time he saw her, she was much older. Not a little girl anymore- a young adult. Her hair was shorter, curlier, and instead of the white nightgown he'd always seen her in, she wore a black dress. Her head was tilted downwards, and she carried a small bouquet of flowers in her arms. They were standing in what looked to be a graveyard.


She was saying a prayer; it looked like, her lips moving softly, but no audible sound coming out of them. She finished up, then knelt down and placed a single flower by the two graves near her feet. "Be at peace," she said both times. After that, she simply stood there for a moment, and then began singing. A beautiful song, but a mournful one. There was sadness on her face, and what looked to be the beginning of tears in her eyes. She did not cry, though. She stayed strong until she finished, where she finally noticed him. Surprise registered on her face for a second, until she said simply, "You're the man from my dreams, aren't you?" She didn't need for him to respond. "But there's no nightmare this time. I'm awake, and you're here. How can this be?"


He smiled and reached a hand out to her. "I'm not only in your dreams, my girl. All of your life, every moment of it, I'm here for you. You only reached for me in your dreams."


She took his hand and leaned in closer to him, the beginnings of a smile on her face. She didn't say another word until it was pitch black outside and she knew she had to return, where she slipped away in silence.


She was growing up. She wasn't the little girl who had no one to talk to anymore. She was a beautiful young woman, and she didn't need him anymore. The girl never said this, but Fate knew it was true. She was glad to see him when he had returned, but she didn't need him.


He didn't stop watching her, though. He was with her as she grew even more, into a woman now.


She was staring at her reflection in the mirror, her hair done up in curls, wearing a long, white dress. Uncertainty filled her eyes. It took him a moment to realize the occasion. She was getting married. His little girl, getting married.


He stood behind her silently until she noticed him, and she turned around. That small smile formed on her face still. "You're back. I thought you wouldn't come back."


"I thought you didn't need me." He gave her a smile in return. "You're getting married. You don't need me anymore."


"Of course I do. I never really needed you, but... you can't leave me. I don't know how to live without waiting for you."


"But this has gone on too long. I don't even know if this is supposed to happen. I was probably never meant to watch you that night when you were young. And I did. And you saw me. This probably wasn't meant to be. I didn't plan it to be." He glanced at her. "I never planned anything to happen in your life," he said, quieter.


"What do you mean? You're lying! You're... you're spewing nonsense!" she yelled, but part of her didn't want to. "You never told me who you were. You promised when I was little, and after all of these years, you never told me. Who are you?"


"You never asked me to. I assumed you didn't want to know."


"Just tell me who you are."


He closed his eyes. "I am Fate. Everything that happens... I make it happen. Except for your life. I swore, when I first met you, that I would never change any part of your life. And you lived. You truly lived."


She sighed deeply and seemed to begin to say something, but at that moment the door opened and a woman peeked her head in. "Are you all right, miss? I heard voices."


She smiled. "Nothing. Just trying to ease my nerves. Thank you for the concern, though."


He left before she could finish talking.


After that, he tried to avoid her. He didn't come to her at all. He tried to block her out, though it was impossible to do completely. He moved on with his work. Causing casualties here. Miracles there. All over. Without a thought. Exactly as he used to do it.


But sometimes images came to him. A woman with red hair singing a lullaby through her tears to a baby who didn't seem to move. A woman waking up crying after dreams of her parents that still managed to hurt her. The girl he loved, who he vowed never to see again.


He couldn't keep away. He'd go one more time. Only once.


She sat in the meadow, her long hair flowing behind her in the wind. The sky was a bright blue, completely clear, beautiful, over rolling hills painted green. Softly, she sings a quiet melody, only to herself. Looking at her, she looks infinite. Sitting there, on the peak of a hill, the day serene, singing in the most beautiful voice he'd ever heard. Maybe, if he saw her from the front, her expression would deceive her. Hint at the deep sadness she felt within.


When the wind blew a certain way, the smell of smoke would drift their way. There was soot on her clothes, and what looked to be a burn on her arm. A small sob interrupted her song, and she paused for a second before continuing. A song of mourning, that's what she sang. The same song she sang as a young woman to her parents' graves. He didn't know whom exactly she had lost, but it had to be people she loved. Her husband. Children. Family. Friends. Gone up in smoke.


Even after the sun set and she simply lay down, ignoring the night's chill, she never knew he had stood behind her and watched her. Maybe she felt someone watching her, but was too far into her grief to know it.


He never knew her name.


And, true to his word, he never returned to her.


He couldn't. One second he had been making plans as usual. The next, he was watching someone. A person he didn't recognize. But it wasn't like how he normally watched. Fate didn't feel like he was standing right with the person, with them while their lives went on. It felt like he was watching them from behind a screen. He couldn't leave. He was stuck staring until it changed.


Time went on. His hands were on a desk of some sorts. He sat up straight. He couldn't move at all. He was stuck there, forced to watch whatever played. It was just him in his lonely watchtower, forever. Not Fate anymore. Just watching.


He never saw the woman again. He didn't know if she died on that mountain or if she lived longer. If she rebuilt her life at all, or if it burned with the fire.


And never knew her name.

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