Exeunt Puck
by Morvoren

Sometimes Neil thinks it's hopeless to wish that it could be different -- that his father wasn't so stern and unbending and that he didn't always have to follow orders. But that's the way it is and the way it always has been and the way it always will be.

His father barks an order and he will be obeyed.

No matter what Neil wants, in his heart, his father's word is law and nothing changes that. Not an impassioned plea, not the fact that this play was what he wanted. Nothing changes Neil's father's mind and so nothing ever changes. Not really.

The faces will change, the men that he laughs with now will be replaced as easily as a snap, as quickly as the passing of a second, as coldly as the decree of the father becomes law.

Nothing sways him. Nothing ever changes.

But this time it'll be different. This time it isn't just about rebellion and punishment, this time it was everything he wanted crushed by his father and he can't just get up and walk away and keep on doing it. This, this was everything and it's all gone with a short sentence, gone and he will never get it back.

This is the end of the dreams of fulfillment.

This is the end.

Neil takes off his crown of branches, opens his window and breathes the cold air, not hissing as it hits bare skin and burns into his lungs. He stopped feeling anything when his father walked away. He stands by the window and breathes in the air and knows what he wants. What he has to do.

It's simple enough. The drawer isn't locked, the floors easy to navigate for a man who's walked them from the time he was young. The gun is wrapped in cloth, as if that would make it harder to see, harder to find. Neil peels back the cloth slowly, every movement calm and detached, like this is someone else's life and he's just watching.

Neil lifts the gun, learns the touch of cold steel in the palm of his hand and feels the kiss of it on his temple. This is easy, after all. After the years of quiet rebellion and stifling everything inside of him, this will be the easiest thing he's ever done.

A smile slides across his face, an echo of Puck's rakishness, as he pulls the trigger.


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