pospreterito: young man in black with a red tie against a red wall ({personal} ..ph swag)
[ pos.pɾe'te.ɾi.to ] ([personal profile] pospreterito) wrote in [community profile] copreterito2012-04-06 05:08 pm

{bracketverse, 31_days} and it's the sum of man

Title: and it’s the sum of man
Rating: PG? (potentially disturbing, discussion of violence)
Wordcount: 622
Story / World: bracketverse
Challenge: [livejournal.com profile] 31_days: January 09 2012, cast iron hearts go hungry for spare parts
Other: After There Are Bodies On The Ceiling And They’re Fluttering Their Wings, before the beginning of the High Hawk Season arc.
Characters: Tabot Funk.
Notes: He’s very strange-looking. (He’s very strange.)

and it's the sum of man, slouching towards bethlehem
a heart just can't contain all of that outer space

Tabot Funk has the worst luck with hands of anyone ever, he thinks. His fingers carry on a love affair with fire and blades and blunt brute force, entirely against his own will or want and invariably to his detriment.

He's a more efficient machine than anyone, though, so it's not like loss of limbs has ever proved a major setback. Still: surprising people heedlessly lost him skin from his left palm down to the elbow, having accidents with knives and fire that were never anything to do with the Queen (of course) have lost him at least one joint per finger, and a million tiny missteps and assaults he doesn't remember quite as clearly have chipped away flesh and bone and nerve all the same. More than the rest of him his hands are a crazed tapestry, every stolen piece particularly obvious. Tabot, unfortunately and obviously, is the only person who looks at all like Tabot.

Some things aren't worth fixing, though. He's kept the wide lines of burns down his forearms in case that will keep it from happening again, for example, and on the rare occasions that they show past his gloves and sleeves he assures himself they look more like a tiger's stripes than a traitor's brands. He's left the wide scar down his face, the stuttering line that rakes from brow to jaw almost and just barely missed his eye by luck, because no one's skin can change the way his does. In case he was optimistic about it, after all, the graft he was using as a bandage just to give it time to close certainly proved his stupid hopes wrong. The scar pulls itchy and awkward at his expressions, all the time, but so would a more permanent scrap of dead man's skin to patch it with -- he knows from experience that leaving it there would have been just as unsightly as the wound.

The unfortunate truth is that he's patched and mended, scarred and stitched, darned and damned so many times over, and Tabot knows as well as anyone that a construct that has to be fixed is in the eyes of anyone who matters a construct that has already failed.

(They cast him out with just his coat and his hat. By all rights Tabot has no reason to care. He shouldn't care. Instead he's gotten stunningly good at faking it.)

Tabot has quick, fine patchwork fingers, though, he can tear apart knots and pick locks and build up universes from dark nothing as neatly as you please. He does his creators' native magic better than they ever could. These days it looks like no one even treats with the Fae who didn't ask him first, no one goes to them who Tabot hasn't refused unless they're new enough not to know better or trying to make a political point, and if he said it wasn't something of a vindication -- well, constructs are liars, what else could one expect.

But he's not quite anything, even if his credentials for what he's not quite are plenty and fine. Not quite a free trader, or a cold young man with fraying sleeves; neither Fae construct nor, as he's so usefully reminded these days whenever he tries to smile, human being.

He's heard tell of a girl with burst-vessel red eyes and hollow insides lately. Everyone sounds so proud of her. So far, very, very deliberately, Tabot has neglected to wonder how long that will last.

(A long time ago, after all, the newest revolutionary thing was a manufactured boy who could do their own magic for them. Tabot already knows the end of every story they could care to make the world tell.)

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