Shadow did finally kill himself. He wanted it so bad that Smear Lord of Ire gave him a hallucination. Shadow was down on his knees, a trembling knife in his hand. Wrist. Wrist. Thigh. Thigh. On the wall in his dorm room he wrote Corrupter. He was dead for about a day. The afterlife that Artist gave him was not a fun one, and when he sat up gasping and groaning his desire for death was sated.
In the end, Guardian knew there was no way back to Bekah. All hope he had of that died when Shadow started talking to Sapphire. He stuck around for a while talking to Bekah when he could, following her around campus and waiting outside of her classes to watch her walk home, but in the end, he just went away. He couldn’t take it anymore. Loss and pain and a knowledge that he was hurting her more now by not breaking it off clean.
He disappeared. We saw glimpses of him but didn’t really see Guardian for almost a year.
We found Sapphire and we broke it off with Bekah. She wailed and howled, and Shadow brought her to her dorm and dropped her off. He belonged to Sapphire now.
A few things had to change.
First, there was a list of things to hate. Shadow now hated the government, all white people, all water except bottled water, all filtered water except Brita filters, and all music except the following. We loved Bob Dylan. We loved the Indigo Girls. We loved Rent the musical. We loved Ani DeFranco. There was some good art. I would be informed on what that was later, and there was a general fuck you that we were supposed to view the world with. We were angry, goddammit, and that made us important and smart, edgy, and it gave us a future.
All of Bekah’s talk of not letting other people tell us what to hate went out the window. Now we had guidance. Just the kind of guidance Rose used to give us, only now it was sexy, angry guidance. I learned my lines and played my role perfectly.
When Bekah came the day after the clean cut, she was furious. She roared at me and she cursed, and she begged, and she wept, and all of it fell to Shadow like blades.
As soon as he was told by Sapphire what he hated, he had instantly forgiven Bekah. He didn’t care. Not anymore. Didn’t care about being the Corrupter. Didn’t care about her weakness in front of her parents or her betrayal. But it was too late now. Far too late to come back from that. There was no backing that cart up.
Before she finished her final rant, she looked at him and shouted. “I should have left you where I found you. In our apartment where we loved each other, and we were together. Where we were together. I should have left you to your dead-end jobs and your little life.”
And he agreed. He wanted to go back. He wished he could go back to the home of the Droogs. Let her be his woman again. In that moment, Shadow wished he had never seen SMSU a day in his life.
But he had. And it had cost him everything.
Bekah said she would finish school and go to that apartment. She would rent it forever and live in the only place she was ever happy. Then, she begged again.
Two days later, she got in touch with us and wanted to talk. Sapphire was not having it, but Shadow was not beaten by her yet, so he went. Shadow and Bekah ate a pizza on a bench by the street and they talked.
Bekah wanted to be friends. Wanted to stay in each other’s lives. She wanted to get to know Sapphire. Wanted to be around me. She vowed she would never get in the way. She just wanted to not have to give me up.
And so, began the dance of Sapphire. It would be long and dark and fraught with horror and pain. It would bring us to the point of madness and break another girl under the wreckage of our mind. Only malice was propped up where me and Sapphire stood.
But after that, Bekah again. We would get together and be happy long enough for my entire world to shatter. We’d have the rise of Guardian’s War, the hungers of Grasp, and four little faces. And at the end of that, I’d lose it all again. But that’s for another day.