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Anacrusis

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#01 - Air
Marni shimmers out of the room, a vision of innocent, prenuptial joy, securing her white veil over her white face, and Mag draws the air into her lungs - it is then that she realises that Marni is wearing a different perfume, and suddenly she finds herself wanting to cry.

#02 - Apples
Marni's hair smells of apples; Mag buries her nose in it, letting the scent wash over her, taking her away from the cold, harsh world and the cold, harsh man who was swiftly taking it over.

#03 - Beginning
The opera begins, Mag waiting in the wings, watching the audience scream for surgery; she feels the fear creeping across her skin, and shudders at what she's about to do.

#04 - Bugs
"I'm sure she'll be fine, it's just one of those vomiting bugs that go around from time to time, and--" "Nathan, she's pregnant."

#05 - Coffee
Half way through a particularly convoluted - but cathartic - Monteverdi aria, there's a knock at the piano room door; Mag opens it to find Marni, mug in her hands, whispering, "I'm sorry."

#06 - Dark
Mag's seen nothing but darkness for nineteen years, and now suddenly the world is full of light and shape and colour - but then there is Marni, eyes meeting hers for the first time, and suddenly everything else is irrelevant.

#07 - Despair
"For dark despair o'erclouds my mind," sings Mag, and she's never meant anything more in her life.

#08 - Doors
The doors slam in her face, and it occurs to Mag that there may be reasons other than Shilo's health that Nathan may not want his wife's best friend in his home.

#09 - Drink
The day Mag signs the contract, she and Marni go out drinking; after a couple of hours, celebration turns to commiseration, and eventually Mag's sobbing into Marni's shoulder, feeling her freedom slip through her fingers.

#10 - Duty
She could pass it off as godmotherly duty, but that's got nothing to do with it - seeing Shilo there, in the crowd, is like seeing Marni once more, living and breathing, and that's all the reason she needs to find her again.

#11 - Earth
Mag tips her handful of earth into Marni's grave, and thinks she feels a piece of herself fall with it.

#12 - End
At first, Mag visits Marni's grave every day, then every other day, then every week, and eventually she realises the end truly has come, and she stops visiting altogether.

#13 - Fall
The pain in her eyes is terrible but somehow Mag doesn't mind - she's free, finally, owing nothing, owned by nothing; then she feels the jolt as the cable snaps, and she falls, and falls, and falls.

#14 - Fire
Mag stands before the fire, holding pictures of them together, about to destroy the memories that are still too painful; her hands tremble, and then the pictures fall to the floor in a cascade as she sinks to her knees, keening her sorrow.

#15 - Flexible
Marni, Mag finds, is surprisingly supple in...certain situations.

#16 - Flying
Mag is flying through the air, the hidden harness and pulley system making singing a notoriously difficult aria even more troublesome - then she sees Marni in the foremost Box, and suddenly she's flying in an altogether different way.

#17 - Food
They send out for Chinese food, prop their feet on the coffee table, and settle in for a night of holovids and cuddling, because if you can't love when you're young, then when can you?

#18 - Foot
The summer of their fifteenth year, Marni broke her foot and would have spent the holiday inside, scowling at the sun-dappled world beyond the window, if it weren't for Mag carrying her bodily out to the garden, dumping her in the deck chair, and supplying drinks, snacks, and kisses, through the long weeks.

#19 - Grave
Mag's fingers curl around the bars of the door as she gazes at the stone slab inside the morgue, feeling the lead slab in her chest, dragging her down with the dead.

#20 - Green
Marni is hopelessly green, more naïve than Mag thought was possible in a world like theirs - until she finds herself with Marni's lips on hers, and realises Marni may be more wily than she'd expected.

#21 - Head
"Sometimes I wonder what's going through that head of yours."

#22 - Hollow
Mag looks at Shilo, and sees a hollow place where her mother should be - she recognises it, because she sees it every time she looks in the mirror.

#23 - Honour
Rotti is bemoaning the various dishonours of his children again, and all Mag can think about is the child who never lived, and the woman who died with her.

#24 - Hope
Marni is sleeping fitfully, Mag's hand over hers, when Nathan bursts into the room, eyes alight with hope, and on his lips the blessed words, "I think I've found a cure."

#25 - Light
The surgeon peels back the bandages and the light hits her eyes, and it almost - almost - makes up for what she's sacrificed.

#26 - Lost
In the days after Marni's death, Mag feels lost, blind again - without her guiding hand, how will she ever find her way?

#27 - Metal
Mag's hand covers Marni's, limp and pale on the bedsheets, and it strikes her how much the metal band on her wrist resembles a manacle.

#28 - New
Marni's hand touches her arm, and Mag shivers as she feels the start of something new.

#29 - Old
There's a picture of them in her mirror, arms around each other, a summer's day long ago; her face is joyous and unlined, and Mag touches her fingers to her cheek and wonders how she got so old.

#30 - Peace
There's a metal spike through her stomach, and blood soaking into her dress, but there's nothing left to feel, and Mag knows nothing but peace.

#31 - Poison
"He poisoned her, Mag, he poisoned my Marni!" rasps Rotti, his fingers digging into her shoulders.

#32 - Pretty
"Rotti said you were pretty, the other day," says Mag, and as her fingertips flutter over Marni's face, she wonders if she'll ever be able to see for herself.

#33 - Rain
They tell her about Marni during the interval, and Mag runs out of the opera house, screaming her grief into the rain.

#34 - Regret
Mag falls back into the embracing darkness, and lets the regrets drop away.

#35 - Roses
Mag leaves roses on Marni's grave, and wonders if it's just her eyes that make the bright crimson look out-of-place on the rain-streaked stone.

#36 - Secret
In the back row of Biology class, Mag's hand rests on Marni's leg, and they feel the secret like electricity on their skin.

#37 - Snakes
Mag sinks to the floor with her back against her bedroom door, snakes in her stomach, whispering into her hands, "She kissed me, she kissed me, she kissed me."

#38 - Snow
"I...It looks so beautiful, I never thought..." Marni smiles, taking her hand, and leading her into the first snows of Winter.

#39 - Solid
"And you can see from the hologram here that the solid state of the catalyst means that-- Marni, Magdalene, are you listening to a word I'm saying?"

#40 - Spring
The bedsprings creaked alarmingly as they tumbled onto the mattress, shedding school uniforms behind them, and after a moment of terrified silence they burst into hushed giggles, wrapped in each others' arms and world.

#41 - Stable
"She's stable, it'll be al--" "She's dying, Mag."

#42 - Strange
There was a strange, bitter look on Marni's face as she murmured, "Mag, please, he's not...he's not all he seems."

#43 - Summer
Lately, it feels though the whole world's been ensconced in winter, all rain and sleet and misery; Mag misses the long summers of her youth, and the girl she spent them with.

#44 - Taboo
There are no taboos any more, not in this day and age, but holding hands still gives them a tiny thrill of excitement.

#45 - Ugly
"I don't know what I am, though - I could be pretty, ugly, anything, and--" "You're beautiful."

#46 - War
Mag sees Rotti and Nathan fighting over Marni, like starving dogs over a scrap of meat, and shudders with fear for the woman in the crossfire.

#47 - Water
Marni is struggling to remain conscious, too weak even to lift her head as Mag holds the water glass to her lips; Mag wants to smash it on the floor, rip down the curtains around the bed, anything, because Marni is dying and there's nothing she can do.

#48 - Welcome
The less-than-warm welcome she receives from Nathan tells Mag all she needs to know about the man's ability to hold a grudge.

#49 - Winter
"It's the coldest winter on record," said the television, and Mag pulled the blanket tighter around them, thankful for the warm woman next to her.

#50 - Wood
Marni murmurs into her shoulder, a promise of eternal togetherness, and Mag smiles; "Knock on wood, eh?"