Never Fade Away, Part 1

This is a fanfiction I’ve been writing loosely, and is based on Cyberpunk 2077. This small series contains spoilers for the game Cyberpunk 2077, as well as some violence.

V. Living legend of Night City, Heywood born and bred, a street kid to a fault, and the best damn merc the Afterlife has seen. She’s clawed her way to the top of the City of Dreams, looking for one thing and one thing only: a way to stop Arasaka’s biochip from killing her and her new best friend, Johnny Silverhand. 

Legendary rockerboy and terrorist who died fifty years ago after sending Arasaka Tower sky high, currently calling the biochip home after Saburo Arasaka sent Johnny to soul prison: Mikoshi. Waking up in a stranger’s head shouldn’t have been the start of something beautiful, but after all the gigs and shitshows they had gone into together since trying to kill one another, well…

Time’s running out. According to Vik, V’s got a couple days before she’s gone for real, and Johnny takes over. Neither are keen on this, not after all they’d done together. Their options and time were running out, but maybe...maybe this might work.

The lights of Night City never turn off. In fact, if it weren’t for the netrunners proving that there is a killswitch to the power, V would’ve assumed there was no off button. Moving, always moving. Even now, from the top floor of Megabuilding 10 where she sat, she could see people on the street, vehicles driving by, oblivious to anything but their destination. What a life.

“You scared the fuck outta me, y’know that? I thought you were going to die in there.”

Johnny shimmered into view, sitting on the short wall in front of V. He looked out over the city briefly before focusing back on his friend. Short, rose-gold waves hung around V’s tired and pained face, brilliant blue eyes giving him a comfortable once over before settling on Johnny’s face. 

“No, still here…” V murmured, a smile barely cracking.

“We have to get to Mikoshi, V, it’s the only way we’re gonna make it out alive,” Johnny started, but V shook her head. “What? You don’t want to go?”

“Johnny, I barely made it up the fucking stairs,” V hissed, looking down at her feet. “I’m not going to make it to Arasaka Tower.” She glanced at the pistol Vik had given her, along with the pills from Misty. Johnny fell quiet and rose from the wall to take up Misty’s empty chair beside V.

“V. I…could get us there. Your body moves when I’m at the wheel, I could get us to Arasaka, to Mikoshi. Alt will be waiting for us, we smash through ‘Saka security, drop a few floors down, and boom. We’re in.”

They sat in silence for a long time. V picked up the pistol in one hand, the pills in the other, weighing them in each. Johnny watched her, resting his chin on his clasped hands.

“It’s never been my decision what you do, V,” Johnny said. “I know I’ve argued and been pissed, but I know in my heart it comes down to you, your life. Your body. You’re my best friend, V. Whatever you choose, it’s what you choose.”

V didn’t respond at first. Her hands clenched around each item, shaking slightly. “I know.” With a choking sound, she threw the pistol over the rooftop as hard as she could and stood, Johnny mimicking her as she held her hand out flat, the pseudoendotrizine lying in her palm. “Alright Johnny. Do your thing.”

V tossed the pills down her throat, her vision immediately blurring as they dug into her weakened system. She stumbled backward when a hand clasped her forearm, and she realized it was…Johnny?

“I got you, V. See you on the other side.”

And V’s world went dark.

where does her gaze fall?

she finds peace in
the steady rhythm of his breathing, the way jeans slide onto his hips, how the coffee smells when it snows outside, the crackling of wood in the fire, the shape of his shadow across her face, and the expansive territory of love that she wears like a quilt around her shoulders, naked while she stands at the window and watching flakes fall.

she finds meaning in
spoiling her treasure, sharing little talks, laughter low and light, listening and not waiting, folding the corners of a letter to be carried far away, being an equal and cherished because of it

she finds life in
his delights and victories, her work and milestones, penning a soul or seven, singing the praises of the gods of the seas, cradling her secrets most precious in the crook of her chest and the upturn of her mouth.


I think I need to do a series again. Whoops. Poetry book for next year, perhaps?

“a witch doctor told me once that, Africa will never let me die.”

       the plains of africa whisper and rustle
   shaking out the ancestors in the fields
           elder magic rising from the dust and dirt
        "you shall never -"

                tell us, draco, where do we turn
           where will be go
                without your guidance?
                   your presence was one of extraordinary measures
           as graceful as a dragon's steps,
                fueled by an inner fire -

    but you would smile,
       that twinkle in your eye that meets mine
               and you'd nod your head up.

        "to the stars. we've all the time in the world, lass."

In memory of Sir Sean Connery. Rest in the stars, sir.

The Autumn King.

Autumn King, with the Fae in your eyes, let your spirit bind my heart within the forests of crimson leaves and heady words that spill from your lips to my ears. Let the way you roll your wrists over my hips be the dance that I follow with every beat of your drums. The night does not give pleasure, only aids it, and I am willing to wager my soul in this life and the next that you, Autumn King, will be in my heart and throat for evermore after that. The worship and hymns that I would douse upon your mind would send you higher than your mountains when I speak of your prowess, your cunning, your sly smile and devious footsteps that you take when you stride towards me. I would sit at your right hand on bended knee, Autumn King, for you are all I can taste in the air; the sweet scent of decay and renewal, a jumble among the scents of rain and soil and new endeavors that the season’s change brings.

Autumn, like you, is vibrant and wild and beautiful, capturing my heart every year, no matter what. Autumn, like you, revives my husk of summer, tossing aside the meaty fingers of the summer, with its heat and sun, and replaces them with the caresses of cold fingers and warm toes, and the special way the creek water meanders down and across your arms. There are lights in the sky that you put there, Autumn King, with your crown of gold and antlers four feet tall. I hang my wishes and wants upon your crown, leave offerings at your bedside for a restful night, and give myself to your needs in whatever form you require them to be. And all because you, Autumn King, have the Fae in your eyes and a mirror in your heart, residing in the ever-depths of the forest you call home within your chest. Let me get lost in the cabin you built riverside, let me put snow angels in the drifts behind it, cut cords of wood with the smell of fire heavy around us.

Autumn King, you sit on your throne of ashwood and mountains, and I cannot help but be in awe of the presence you present, the aura you exhibit, and yet I stand here unscathed, nay enshrined, in the promise of adoration and love. I care not if the world says your soul did not know mine until the year’s turn. I would and will pledge it to yours for the rest of my returns. I have no wish to leave your court, nor want to stray from your side, nor lay down the arms I took in your name. Autumn King, you leave me turned over like so many leaves, spellbound in the way the frost follows your footsteps. The way you turn the skies into masterpieces. You are in a kingdom of your own, and you fit the way a tree branch does within the foliage of the forest. There is never a dullness in your aura, and you waste no time on time wasted, for time is at your fingertips, and you are eternal and forevermore. 

Autumn King, I proclaim before your court that I do so swear to love you through the winters and springs, and love you through the summers of heat and scorching flames. I will love thine body, mind, and soul for all the years you wander the fields and trails, and within those years I will call you home, for home is where you reside and it is there that I may bask in your presence. There is no place I would rather reside than in the cracked marble and stout wood, the gaudy prismarine and dark oaks, the soft wool and stretched silks and smoothed furs that line your bed and fall upon your shoulders.

I feel you here, Autumn King. Your leaves of passion cascading around me as you open up to the glory of your reign, and what may a sea witch do when she embraces the heart of the mountain?

The walk from the foot of the peaks is a pilgrimage I take gladly and with longing, as the changing tides swirl around me, following me up the stone-cut steps to the Autumn King’s realm, steady and willing. The sway of the birch that watches my journey whisper words that echo in my eagerness, ready to catch me if I should fall – but I will not fall. No, not I, not for anything but the King. And so I press up the rocky face, writing down the things the King may deign to grant me, though I dare not ask him for more than I think I am due. The way he perceives my magics and the way he watches my movements makes me feel like a hare beneath a wolf, and it is an exhilarating thrill to be considered good enough to be eaten.

The doors are of oak and steel, sturdy like his roots, and I press them open with the tenderness of a lover shutting the door on their dozing partner. It was never my intention to be starstruck, and yet I was when I soaked in the gold and green mottled together in a stunning hue of the spirit of the wild. The court was filled with hardy grass, thick and lush, waiting for soft footsteps to befall them. Logs of spruce and the way the ceiling tilted away from the door to the sky made me feel as if I was already being watched. Of course I was, I was the King’s and that is the way one feels under his gaze, in the umbrella of his protection. He knows and he will give and take as his desires and whim wish. I prayed for the times he gave, and prayed harder for the times he took away. 

***

My body dances a wild, shamanistic rhythm that the Autumn King conjures within my bones, already ready to embrace the way I kiss him. So, let me tell you the ways the Autumn King delights the sea witch.

The first step is to lay eyes on him. 

The orbs that gaze back at me are buried with intelligence and wit, ready to twinkle with a laugh, and ready to raze entire kingdoms if they so wish. Seeing the Autumn King is like watching a bonfire build in the hills of the most majestic mountains. You can watch the embers twirl into the air, giving thanks to the jagged formation that protects us from the southern winds. Seeing him is like sharpening a sword and licking the blade immediately after. He is a room full of presence, and he does not need to be in the room to feel him. The Autumn King moves in a predatory way, and it sets my senses aflame when he stalks his prey. There is no stopping his kill, there is no mistaking the claws that dig into the ground to root themselves with the ancestors to become more.

There is a way his jaw moves when he thinks, the way his eyes tilt to the sky as he considers his words. The sprawling plains of his chest and shoulders, bearing the universe like a woolen cloak. The Autumn King embodies the energies of the wild with the reach of the cedars and evergreens, tasting of mint and sunshine-soaked acorns. He carries only what he wants to. The throne suits his cut figure, impressive and overbearing – just the way I like it. He fills the halls of my water-locked chest with the way he fingers the bracelet around his wrist, when he must dig deeper into a mystery. The Autumn King charms me with his laugh and grin, and I cannot help but swear fealty to the way he breathes. The rise and fall of empires resides in the palm of his hand, and with merely a word, he will topple usurpers.

The second step is to listen to him.

The way his laugh rumbles like a snowy avalanche, smothering me in the same way a lullaby may lull a child to sleep. The pronunciation of his words are careful and invigorating and always leave me pondering what I can do better to match the elegance and might that fill his throat. His humming is intoxicating, a sound I wish I could hear every morning; the coffee of the gods living in his noises. The way he sighs when I am too much, when I am more than too much, the way he adores nature and the rustling of the weeds and grasses between the trees. The way the Autumn King breathes is synonymous with the feeling of flying without wings – daring and addictive and perhaps dangerous, but I would risk the wolves to hear his howl in any of the moon phases.

I study the words between his words, the music he tucks away into the sentences he lays out for me to read and research. There is an order to the library of his mouth, and I want to spend years reading the experiences the Autumn King has felt and lived. For where else would I learn to sink into sleep and love and empowerment than when he fills my ears with the singing of a hundred lifetimes? He is a choir while the world is off key. Golden leaves grow from the litany of his knowledge, and in the grand scheme of things, what is one witch mewling at the King’s feet? I am unremarkable and yet he makes me special in the way he reserves words for my ears. I am a court of intrigue to his tongue.

The third step is to taste him.

Notes of steel and ash surround me, and the Autumn King’s tongue carries the taste of whisky, fresh air, and telltale notes of chocolate. He is sweet and soft, and loves to remind me what royalty tastes like. Thunderstorms of nerves and lightning casts itself from me to him, where I drink the magic that he allows me to. There is nothing without governing and when he says swallow, I do. When he wishes me to wait, I do, and when he wants me to drown, I will do that too. The senses are perfectly intimate and the tip of my tongue delights in tracing the sharp edges of his jaw and collarbone, the hollow of his knee, the cusp of his wrist.

Don’t clean up the mess around my ankles and throat, no, let my skin soak it in to savor you regardless if you’re touching or not. The wine you serve paves the way to new places on your body, like the ice cubes you drag over my hands and set loose down my spine. You cling to my lips, where the lingering feeling of smoke and bones settles itself into my head, and forevermore you are the fog and mist that brings to life the fireflies that ready themselves to feast on the evening. I want to be the food you indulge in, the resting flank before you, the thing you tear into when you are insatiable. I want to be the feast you return to every evening.

The fourth step is to touch.

My favourite spot is between the Autumn King’s fingers where mine may intersect when he grabs mine. The way his back slopes into my hand when I knead him soft, is delightful. I revel in the way my palms fit over his shoulder blades, the tips of my hair dragging along his spine and across his neck. The way he cups my cheek, the way his lips fit mine just so. The way my face angles into the crook of his neck where I drop kisses like butterflies. The way my legs curve around his when he cradles me to him. I love the way I fit into his lap when he sits me upon him and his throne, daring the court to whisper of the witch. I celebrate the way he taps his foot to our song within our blood to annoy a lesser man, a lesser woman. I glory in the beat of the Autumn King’s chest beneath my ear. I want to live in the hollow of his throat, and call hearth and home the rugged peaks of his shoulders. I want to dance down his abdomen with kisses and praise, cross the rivers of his hips and blaze a trail down his thighs, exalting each in the way they are meant to be exalted: with care and attention and pointed playfulness. I will fall into the footsteps he leaves in the bed, and I will follow the finger that dips between my lips. The descent of his hand is a signal of quiet, and the splaying of his fingers is a sign of pleasure. 

The last step is to scent. 

When he enters a room, the presiding smell of the Autumn King is power. Of that tantalizing aroma that so many aspire for, and will never truly grasp. The way of holding oneself as a king translates into notes of stone and musk, of evergreen and flighty rivers, of the exquisite pouring of commands. It is in the smell of the hunt, blood and fur and leather and adrenaline, when the King wants to buck even after he hunts. Might so lingering that I am drunk from the mere idea of being in the throne room with him. The Autumn King is of deep trails, of thin air, and the threat of snow and ice; of the dagger that traces the wood and the wild, of the steel that rends life from death, and carries it like a trophy. I can smell the way he tastes, sweat and exertion and the clean taste of what the body does to the mind when you want something more than you want to breathe. I can feel the drifting of want, the desire underneath the robes of gold and green, of the way he bathes in waterfalls of quartz and sandstone, carved to fit him the way all things should fit the King. I want the scent of the gods to fall flat before him, and I want the way he drifts into a room long before he ever arrives, and long after he has left, to be the one I remember in all my life and times. The one I can trace across the seas and trenches. The sea witch will bottle the way the Autumn King bears his title. And I will never forget the way he knows how it makes me feel, and the way he casts it knowingly over me.

***

I awake in the hall of the Autumn King, trees stretching on the ceiling above my head and heart. The sheets of cotton are held back with my knees as I let the chill air flow in from the balcony. A mastercraft of wood and stone, my four poster bed is decorated with the dances of stags and the flight of the sparrow. The rug tickles my feet when I swing them onto the floor, reminding me of softer things that held me last night, the welts in my thighs a reminder of the harder things that cradled me last night.

I dress and wash the way the Autumn King likes; a dress of blue and gray and an anomaly in the land of sage and thistle. A witch is a previously strange creature, and the gods would watch me closely as they do their charge. I would not disrespect either powers that are within these grounds, or ever. Not if I wanted to return to the side of the Autumn King, and I do so wanted to return to his side. He haunted me between the sheets, long after he left in the wee hours of the morning. I had seen the barefooted steps across the floor after he had left, and I wished they had turned around at the door to embrace me once more. But I will walk for that embrace. 

The corridors are quiet, empty, warm, and I gathered my skirts and shawl as I headed to his rooms for breakfast. It was a tingling sensation to be at the beck and call of such power, such hands and command. It was slavery, in the finest of forms, and I adored the shackles the Autumn King placed on me with care and love. The way they fit me tells me they were mine alone. The tingling spread from my fingers to my body, like drinking tea before it’s cooled.

Portraits of places and faces line the hallway. I can smell breakfast, but what it is is still a mystery to me. I hope my first meal is not bread but him. The King tastes sweeter than any fruit or wine I have tasted in my life. He does not wait for things, but he waits patiently for me, and I hurry to keep that minimal. The King is kind and demanding and I would bend to his will every time, without question.

I find him in his rooms, every bit as much a presence here as he would be in the throne room, presiding over court. He is burnished and soft, a stalwart defender, yet tender and yielding to the right hands. I touch his shoulder gently, before bowing low. He smiles, and it is the one he presented me with only hours before I became the tool in which he used for so many long star turns. The King burns me up just in his presence, and when he leans in to kiss me, it feels like coming home after eons of travel. The walk from my room to his went from miles apart to nothing but a step in the moment it took him to press his mouth to mine, with that fire he likes to consume me with.

I am the kindling of desire, and I wanted the Autumn King to turn me into that which adorns his palace: gold, red, and a higher purpose. To serve, that is a higher purpose in which I fall into gracefully. None would see the King without the passage given by the sea witch. Curses strewn among his enemies so strategically, they pin the blame on only themselves, and corrupt the ranks in which they circle. Leaving the King to his realm and better people to serve him.

The King wants me to taste the drink he has offered, and I take the goblet with no hesitation, running the spirits over my senses. Fruit and wood and musk. 

***

I will accept everything he gives me under no other terms but the ones he lays out for me. His, the Autumn King’s witch. She who watches the waters in the name of the mountains, she who curves the tides for the forest of the King. She who hunts the depths for the heights of his glory. I will cast circles and create runes and circumnavigate his enemies, no matter how they prefer to strike.

I love the wilds with as much fervor as I put into loving the Autumn King, and the blooms that crop up around his heels smell of the ocean rains and of the safety of the lighthouse. He will reign from on high, and I will guard the stairs to his abode. No resistance shall be given, not until he asks for the knees of the witch, in which he will receive all of me and more. The powers that flow from my hands are akin to the powers that are wrapped around his fingers. He brings a presence to the room that I will never shake from my body, nor would I want to. There is too much to love, there is too much to exalt. Will he ever wonder if the Sea Witch casts her nets with him in mind? Will the King think of my waves as a luxury, not a burden? No, these thoughts are gone – the Autumn King is one in mind and body and soul, and no other would understand better the way the waters always greet the earth. Why else would he build upon the ocean if not to steer the waves in which he controls to the best way it pleases him? There are no reins needed if the waters move with his pleasures. And she will always move for his pleasure.

Yours faithfully,
The Sea Witch

Bad Wolf Bay

Like fire and ice. I feel every heartbeat that pulses through that galaxy in your veins, the super novas and red dwarfs and asteroid fields and diamond planets that crisscross the expanse of stars that have formed your person. Ground shattering revelations make me quake in delight, lighting up the night sky in my eyes. The shade of blue that flashes through my memory, and all those times you didn’t say what I wanted you to say but I told myself that you said it through your body, every time you took my hand.

And there we stood, a lifetime stretching between us, but a brush of fingertips away on a lonesome splash of crumbled sand, the waves rolling in like a sigh from the beginning of time. I felt my heart aching and burning up like the sun, my whole being longing to fly to you, but you were just energy – a moment in between two worlds that let me tell you I love you. I never wanted you to be alone. I wanted to live out my short life beside your everlasting self, consumed by nothing but my one desire to be your companion for as long as I lived. I never told you, throughout the dangers and perils, the tears and the travel, the laughter and the memories. I had wanted so badly to hear you, the man who traveled far and wide, the god who lived through time itself, the only person to have seen what I had saw every time I stepped outside those doors with your hand in mine – I wanted to hear you say that I was too right to love you, that I’d be daft if I didn’t, and most of all I wanted to hear you tell me you loved me back. All those lifetimes, all those people, all those adventures – and you loved me.

And now here I am, light years away, and your name on my lips. And I still love you, ’til time takes me back for itself.