definewisdom: (dark)
[personal profile] definewisdom
Title: omnia mutantur
Fandom: Sherlock (BBC)/Sandman (Gaiman)
Characters: Sherlock Holmes, Mycroft Holmes, John Watson, Mrs Hudson, Molly Hooper, DI Lestrade, Moriarty, The Endless
Rating: R
Warnings: Desire... and Despair. I think they should both come with warnings. Weirdness?
Disclaimer: Sandman and the Endless belong to Neil Gaiman (and to themselves), Sherlock Holmes is by Arthur Conan Doyle and, though currently in the public domain, I take no credit for the characters involved. These versions of them belong to Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat.
Author's Note: This is possibly the strangest thing I've ever written. Beta'd by [livejournal.com profile] shino_hoshi who I shower with praise. I must make some mention of the Firefly/Sandman crossover Endless Moments by Fay-jay which gave me the idea (and if you know the fandoms, read it, or listen to the podfic. It's tremendous).

Summary: Chance (and not so chance) meetings between the Sherlock characters and the Endless.



The garden is a labyrinth: paths cross and overlap and when you turn around and go back, it is not the same way you came. There is no going back.

Mycroft is seventeen the first time he ‘visits’ the garden. He does not know what else to call the strange journey that brought him here. He had been on his way home from school, on the train. He had not thought he had fallen asleep, but he might have been mistaken. He thinks, for one fantastic second (in the literal sense of the word) that maybe he has been transported to Narnia, like the Pevensie children were. But that, his mind reminds him, was always a metaphor for heaven, and this does not seem like heaven.

He walks the pathways that twist and bend, round trees and hedges, ornamental pillars and strange water features that seem to defy the laws of physics. He is not dead, he knows that in much the same way he knows his own name. He is also not sleeping, which makes this scenario even stranger. Because to be on a train one second and in a garden the next is not something that he would have considered normal.

He does not know how much time has passed when he sees the man. It seems like no time at all and yet it seems like all the ages of the world.

Time does not pass in this garden, he thinks. It is not his thought. Here, it is always now.

The man wears a grey cowl, and he is tall, taller than any man Mycroft has ever seen. He carries a book, though it is chained to his arm. Mycroft wonders whether the book is chained to the man or the man is chained to the book. It is not a logical question, but there is something to it, some kernel of truth that escapes him.

The man turns to him and, though Mycroft can’t see his face, he understands that he is supposed to follow. So he does.

He follows the man through twists and turns, over bridges and alongside streams. It is a long walk, but eventually they get to a clearing, where the path widens and many routes intersect. The man turns around.

“We are chained to each other,” he says and then he is gone and Mycroft is alone, surrounded by ways and routes and-

He opens his eyes on the train again, pulling in to Kings Cross Station.

Mycroft returns to the garden several more times, but he never sees the man again.

Years later when he has an office and an assistant and a fleet of unmarked cars, he remembers the man and the words. He looks down at the papers that make up his work and at the pen and sees - for a second - chains around his wrists.

“To each other,” he says with a sigh, and signs a name that is not his own across the line.

*

Detective Constable Lestrade has seen death before, but never like this. There is blood on the wall and bile in his throat and he is out of the door before he has even had a chance to breath.

Outside, he sits on the wall of the garden and tries to banish the image of the girl from his mind. After a few seconds he feels a hand on his shoulder. He looks at it warily. He doesn’t need to be seen to require comfort, not his first week after the promotion.

But it is not one of his colleagues. The hand is so pale it is white and the nails are black with polish.

He follows the line of white skin up to a shoulder and then a head.

A girl with black hair and black make-up is smiling at him kindly.

Gregory has never seen her before, knows she shouldn’t be beyond the crime scene tape, but there she is, sitting there, smiling at him. Around her neck there is a heavy pendant that’s almost a cross – almost but not quite. He recognises the symbol but he couldn’t say where he has seen it before. Like the girl. He knows that he has never seen her, but she feels familiar.

“Do I know you?” he asks, feeling a niggling doubt.

“Oh, we met a long time ago, Greg,” she says, patting his shoulder. She swings herself up beside him on the wall and kicks her feet back and forward. There is something peculiar about her. She shouldn’t be here, he should be kicking her out, but he doesn’t. Her presence is comforting and when she smiles he thinks he might have just fallen in love a little bit. He shakes the feeling off.

“I don’t remember.”

“No one ever does,” she tells him, but she doesn’t seem dismayed by the fact at all. She is still smiling.

It should be horrific to him, that anyone can smile when inside there’s... he feels another wave of nausea rise up his throat.

“It won’t get any easier,” she says, “sorry about that.”

“I need to find out who did it,” he tells her suddenly, urgently. “I need to...”

“Good,” she tells him, still smiling, but not inappropriately. He has rarely felt so at peace as he does with her. It is a curious sense of belonging and comfort, almost like he felt with his mother. He feels like she could take all the cares of the world away from him if he wanted her to.

“Not just yet,” she says, resting her pale hand on his shoulder gently. “You’ve got some time left... and you’ve got Rebecca to think about.”

“Rebecca?” he asks.

“The girl inside,” she tells him. “That’s her name, Rebecca Worthington.”

“I’m not sure I can go in there,” he says, brokenly, like a confession. He wants to and he knows he should. She looks at him then, right in the eyes, and he feels like he can see for miles, for millennia.

“You really should,” she says, “for her.”

He nods, but he can’t move, rooted to the spot.

With a curious smile the girl begins to move, suddenly, impulsively towards him. She reaches up and gives him a small kiss on the forehead.

“You’ll be fine,” she tells him, whispered in his ear as she draws away.

Lestrade gets to his feet, putting away Gregory and becoming Detective Constable again. He walks to the door. When he reaches it he turns around, to say thank you, though he could never tell you what for. She is gone.

But the touch of her kiss lingers on his forehead well after an hour as passed. He feels it off and on for the next few weeks, right up until he has the arms of Rebecca Worthington’s killed yanked behind his back and he’s reading him his rights.

‘You do not have to say anything...’

*

Some are born to sweet delight...

The words make Sherlock smile to himself and almost giggle, a strange, hiccupping high pitched sound, so unlike his usual laugh it makes him want to laugh again.

He settles himself back and closes his eyes, letting the rush take him.

“Sweet delight,” he mutters again. He has always loved words, the edge of them, the shape of them, how they can explain and obfuscate. The world is slave to words and words are slaves to all. A pretty paradox.

He laughs again, though he can’t remember why. The rush is not enough, it’s never enough, but it quenches the thirst and the need for a while. He becomes lost in himself and lost to the world and his brain seems to fall into synch with everything and anything. The connections would come and the world would pass him by and he would be left alone to see what he needed to see, to find out what he needed to find out.

Solipsism.

He thinks on the word, expands it, contracts it. Solo...Solo performance, solitary, solar, solemn, solipsis.

Eternity in a grain of sand. No... the world in a grain of sand, eternity in an hour. But eternity in a grain of sand would work just as well, elide the parts and come up with a new meaning.

An hourglass, tipped up, with every falling grain an eternity of time. That is how it is. Every second takes an age and every hour a second. Time is relative, so few people realise how insignificant it is. Days and night are a happenstance of astronomical distances; hours and minutes, the leftovers of Babylonian counting systems. Such small views of the world, such small brains, limited, lost and confused and never realising.

“Hello,” a voice says, cheerful, wandering. He opens his eyes. A girl. She hadn’t been here before.

Bright hair, mismatched clothes, leaving her more than a little naked. Fishnet and leather, but she doesn’t look like the goth or bondage type, bright hair, in which the colours seem to twist and the lengths seem to grow and shrink. He closes his eyes again. She is of no consequence, all that matters is the thought - the brain - the mind. That is everything.

“Are you lost?” she asks, “You don’t look lost, but I saw a man on the street and he said he was lost, but he didn’t look lost and sometimes lost is in the mind rather than in the world and I think I might be lost. Perhaps I’m lost not you. Do you know where I am?”

“London,” Sherlock responds.

“Oh, I know that, I recognise London from the bridges and the big pointy thing by the river. I like the river, there are fish in there you know and I like fish. I have some, they change colour and sometimes they like to dance, but they’re only fish so they aren’t that good at dancing.”

Sherlock opens his eyes and she is grinning at him. There is a large blue fish swimming through the air just behind her ear.

“I came down to talk to some trees, but I think they must have moved since I last saw them because I could have sworn there was a forest here. Was there ever a forest here? I know that forests sometimes stop being forests and become motorways or buildings and I don’t know if I like that, but things always change, I suppose, that’s what my sister says. She says that things change and she’s always right about these things.”

Sherlock can’t concentrate, her words are infiltrating, sliding into him.

“Why did you put that stuff up your nose?” she asks, curious, leaning down to look at the last traces of cocaine where they lie on the table. “It doesn’t look very fun. I once had a monkey up my nose. I put it there for safe keeping and then I forgot about it and I didn’t know why all my bananas kept disappearing... or maybe I remembered and I fed it bananas up my nose. It’s hard to remember.”

She talks nonsense and idiocy. Sherlock wishes he could blot her out, just blot out the world, all of it, and be himself.

“But I think that that stuff might be the only reason you can see me and I’m glad you can see me, even if you aren’t very talkative. My brother’s not very talkative. He says that he only says what he has to say and he would know, but then my other brother’s not very talkative either. He sort of scares me but sometimes he’s very nice and I like talking to him when he’s being nice, but not when he’s being scary, he’s nicer than my sister-brother though...” She pauses, taking a long length of pink-purple-green hair and chewing it thoughtfully.

“Do you just sit there all day?” She asks. “That’s very boring. I once sat in one place for a long time, I think it might have been ten years, because I was trying to remember where the fishies had gone. It was very boring... Do you have to sit here because you put the white stuff up your nose? Have you forgotten where you put something too? I can help you look if you want. I’m good at looking for things. They’re always in the last place you saw them, or is that the moon? I know that one of them’s always in the last place you saw it... it might be the moon though, because the last place I saw that was in the sky and it’s still there now.”

“I take cocaine to stop being bored,” Sherlock tells her, though he’s not sure why. “This world is so... dull.”

“Oh, you’re just looking at the wrong parts. I haven’t seen anything dull. I saw a woman with a big bag earlier, and a man who kept looking at his watch and I saw a car hit another car and they went bang and then I saw a bird flying and I followed it for a little while, but I couldn’t keep up so I stopped to talk to a cat who wanted a mate, and the kitty let me stroke him for a bit and then I crossed a road and a man yelled at me, and then I came here to talk to the trees, but the trees weren’t here so I talked to you instead, and I haven’t been even a little bit bored.”

Sherlock thinks that that might deserve a response, but he can’t quite think of one. His brain is muddling through her words, like she can talk too fast for even him to understand. It is a terrifying feeling, being left behind.

“Sweet delirium,” he says, the words coming to him, but they are not quite right. It should rhyme with night, for Blake did love his simplistic rhymes. She pauses and smiles at him.

“If you want to be interested all you have to do is look at things, and walk around. Sometimes I look at things very closely and I find that they’re all made up of bits. Under everything people and plants and buildings and the kitty cat and even my fishies are all made up of bits. Little bits, and if you look at the bits then you can’t see the whole thing and you can’t tell if it’s a people or a plant or a building or a kitty cat until you look out again, but the bits are still important.”

“Detail,” Sherlock agrees, “is the key. No one observes anything, no one really takes the time to look.”

“You can’t see anything if you’re in here all day. You should come with me to look for the trees. I’m sure they must be around here somewhere, though they might be a piano or a pirate ship by now.”

Sherlock blinks at her.

“Ooh... a pirate ship. That sounds fun. I think I’ll go and find a pirate ship and sail around and talk to all the big fishies in the sea and the dolphins and the octokitties.”

She is gone in the blink of an eye, an afterimage on his eyeballs and Sherlock looks down at the cocaine residue and his hands as they blur a little. Are they moving? He can’t tell.

The rush of the drugs is gone now, replaced by a feeling of displacement, an unsettled feeling in his stomach.

“The strongest poison ever known/ Came from Caesar’s laurel crown...” he mutters, closing his eyes and thinking about details and trees that aren’t trees anymore and people walking on the streets outside.

Some are born to endless night.

*

William is not a kind man. She has known that since she married him. He is not unkind, in general, unless he has been drinking, or thinking, or talking with his friends about the wrong sort of things.

She had hoped, by coming to America, to Florida (where the sun always shines on the telly and everything is glossy and smooth) she would get him away from that, but it hasn’t worked.

She looks in the mirror and puts on her face.

He will be back tonight, drunk again she has no doubt, and he will call her lazy. He will sit back and expect her to make him tea and dinner and he will tell her she forgot the salt.

Not for one minute has she contemplated leaving him. Thirty years of marriage isn’t thrown away so casually as that and she does love him, underneath it all.

The bruise on her neck is almost vanished now, thanks to the new concealer he bought her.

She puts on the necklace he brought home last week and sighs again as she sees how it lies against her collar bone. It’s not her sort of thing at all, all lines and angles – a young woman’s pendant. She never asked him where he got it. She doesn’t want to know the answer.

This is how it is, she reminds herself; this is how it is and how it will be forever. She will wait for him to come home and she will make him his tea and let him dress her up in the clothes he wants.

Sometimes she imagines that she will poison him. She has even gone so far as to buy the poison. Nothing fancy, just rat poison.

They have the death penalty here in Florida, but she wouldn’t mind that much. And she knows that she could get off far more lightly if she told them about the nights she washes the blood from his clothes and showed them the bruises.

But something stops her. Perhaps it is the idea of people seeing her properly, for the first time ever, seeing what she has become. The idea drags into her heart like a fishhook, gouging out a piece of her.

There comes a knock at the door and she sighs, brushing down the front of her dress.

For a second, as she turns to go, she thinks she sees someone else in that mirror, standing behind her, short and ugly: a woman, naked as the day she was born, fat rolling off her and a curiously smug grimace on her face. There is, and she can’t be sure about this, a sharp hook in her hand and, out of the corner of her eye Mrs Hudson sees her dig it into her own breast, tearing at the skin there.

Then she blinks and the strange, terrifying sight is gone. Though there is something in her head that says she has not imagined it.

It is not her husband at the door, it is a police officer. He asks her if he can come in and then he sits her down and tells her that her husband has been arrested for murder – a teenage girl.

If he expects her to be surprised, he is sorely mistaken, but tears roll down her cheeks and she’s not sure if she’s sad or if she’s happy. Because people will know, but she is free.

Five weeks later, when it seems like he might be coming home again and she is once again in front of her mirror staring at herself and wishing she could just tear at her hair and her face and her clothes, there comes another knock on the door.

She thinks it is him at first and starts with fear. She doesn’t dare look to the mirror in case that face, that figure, is there again, haunting her mind.

It is not her husband, it is a tall man with sharp eyes and quick movements. The first words out of his mouth are ‘you knew he did it’ closely followed by ‘did he always hit you where it wouldn’t be seen?’

She is terrified for a moment. For one brief second everything hangs in mid air and she knows that it’s falling, falling, tumbling down like a house of cards. All her careful preparation is gone and she is scared that when everything she has built up is gone, there will be nothing left of her.

In the aftermath, making this strange man a cup of tea, she re-examines herself and discovers that she is not gone at all, but she is changed, like alchemy. She is hard now, under it all, not malleable and brittle like before. She sets down a mug in front of the stranger (Sherlock) and quite calmly she says:

“I should have poisoned him when I had the chance.”

“Yes,” he agrees. “It might have been simpler.”

He knows her, she can see it in his eyes; he can see her despair and her hope and her horror at herself and her husband. He can even see the most shameful thing: that even now she still loves her husband, even as she hates him. She should feel naked, but she isn’t scared anymore. This is what she is. He sees that and he has no pity or disgust at her, just knowledge.

“I want him gone,” she says, firm and steady, before taking a sip of tea – it’s so difficult to get decent tea this side of the Atlantic. After the trial she shall go home, to London and she will take in lodgers.

“I can help,” Sherlock Holmes tells her.

And he does.

She never sees that face in the mirror again, but she never forgets it either.

*

Out in the heat of Afghanistan, John has a fever dream.

He dreams that he is back home. Harry is sitting at the end of the front room, her feet up on the table and she is laughing and she is drinking.

His parents are there too, laughing. And he is the only one who doesn’t know what the joke is.

Then it changes, as things do in a dream world and his parents are not his parents and they are not people at all, but statues, caught in a moment of laughter, and Harry’s still there, but she’s also his CO and her laughter is the rattle of machine gun bullets.

He looks down and he is standing on quicksand. His feet are sinking, deeper and deeper and he knows that struggling won’t help. He knows that quite certainly in the dream world, the sort of certainty with which you know that places can be both your living room and the classroom of your primary school, that the lady with the grey hair you have never seen before is your grandmother and that something is chasing you, even though you can’t look round.

He knows it deep inside him. If he struggles he will fall faster and it will swallow him. So he stays still and he waits, because someone may still save him.

John has only ever dreamt in colour since he went to Afghanistan. Colours used to be implied, not seen, but now, in the immediacy of life, he can see the colours of the dream world clearly. The sun is blood red and everything is lit by it.

He is still sinking.

People pass him by, people he knows and people he doesn’t know yet. People he will never know. Some of them are men he has treated, their wounds still bleeding, others are people he left at home.

Harry is still laughing.

And no one helps. His feet are covered by the thick sand now, and he is stuck there waiting for help. He does not panic, he does not move, he just waits.

Then someone walks past who isn’t like the others. While everyone else is lit in the red glow of the sun, this man is not. His hair and his cloak are inky black, so black that they seem blue. And when John isn’t looking directly at him, there seem to be stars in that blackness. Pin pricks of light that disappear when you try to catch them directly.

The man stops, but he makes no move to help him.

“Who are you waiting for?” he asks, sounding curious.

John looks into his eyes and wishes he had not. While the stars that may not exist on his cloak disappear when you glance at them, the stars in his eyes do not. They burn brilliant white, almost painful and it is like looking into eternity and it is like looking into yourself.

The man does not smile, he is tall and impassive and so pale he might almost be a ghost. The red light does not touch him.

“I don’t know,” John admits, looking down at the sand still sucking him in.

“Why don’t you struggle?” the man asks again.

“It would make it worse.”

“Better to suffer the slings and arrows,” the man intones, thoughtfully. “He did see so clearly into the human condition.” John blinks, the words ring a bell, but he can’t quite place them.

“Who are you?” he asks, taking in the wild black hair and the almost regal bearing. This man is not a part of his imagination, he knows that as clearly as he knows everything else in this world. This man is separate. Although, it occurs to him, as the sand reaches his knees, that ‘what are you?’ might have been a more appropriate question.

“I am passing through,” the man tells him.

“Right...” John considers asking the man to help him out, but it doesn’t seem right somehow. There is someone coming for him, he knows, but this is not the person.

“Goodbye Doctor Watson,” the man says and John doesn’t ask how he knows his name. This is his dream after all, it makes sense that anyone passing through would know of it.

The man leaves and John waits.

He doesn’t remember his strange visitor when he wakes up, but he remembers the sinking and the hacking sound of Harry’s laughter. He will have the dream again and again, even back in London, always sinking and always waiting.

Until he meets a man who reminds him of someone he once met, or a dream he once had – tall, pale and impassive. It’s like déjà vu remembered from a dream.

*

Moriarty wants to see things burn. He wants to watch the chaos unfold and know that it was him that set things in motion. He has always liked breaking things.

The sound of breaking things is delightful, delicious. It echoes through his mind. There is nothing so satisfying as hearing glass shatter or watching things crumble and snap.

The arsonist is barely out of his teens, and he’s sloppy, but Moriarty does so like to watch him work.

He has a front row seat, too, the building across the street, so he can see all the little people flooding out of the doors and he can watch the first flames lick out of the windows and, before all of that, the first puffs of smoke appear.

He has had the fire engines blocked out as best he can, causing little street dramas here and there. He wants to sit and watch this forever. He can feel the heat, even all the way across the street.

“You,” a deep voice says behind him and Moriarty turns, slowly (no need to show his alarm just yet) to see a huge man standing behind him, arms crossed. He has a pony tail and muscles that bulge. Moriarty reminds himself that brain trumps brawn nine times out of ten.

But this man shouldn’t have been able to enter this room, and Moriarty should have heard him come in, but he didn’t. He is unimpressed by these events. This man is not welcome.

“You are a big part of the reason I quit,” the man says. “Why? Why burn the place?”

“I imagine the man who did it had a reason.”

“But you don’t,” the man replies. He doesn’t sound angry, just tired.

“I just like the view,” Moriarty tells him, looking back to the glorious devastation with a smile. The first firemen are there now.

“Enjoy it while it lasts,” the man says. Moriarty hears him stand up, but he doesn’t hear the door and, by the time he turns back, there is nothing behind him but empty air and a wall.

He shrugs and makes a note to find the man at a later date (and have the men who were supposed to be watching the door killed) and then he settles back to watch the worthless ants try to piece it all together.

The fire burns, and it is beautiful.

*

The day she finds out about Jim, Molly gets a haircut.

She does this because it’s normal, because it’s what you do when you lose a boyfriend and because she needs to do something and stabbing corpses in the chest with a scalpel is frowned upon if you aren’t Sherlock Holmes.

Well, it’s frowned upon even if you are, but Sherlock Holmes can get away with it, quiet little Molly who’s always so nice just plain can’t.

She gets her hair cut, a jagged edged bob, and she puts on her make-up and the shoes she can hardly walk in and she says goodbye to her cat.

She hates herself when she looks in the mirror. It is a deep abiding hate, but it is not despair, not yet. She has hate and anger rushing up inside her and she wants. She wants to show the world that they are wrong about her and her life. They are wrong about everything. And she wants to show Sherlock Holmes and Jim from IT who was Jim the mass murderer (and how could she not have known, she should have known, why is she so stupid?) and she wants to hurt them.

And maybe somewhere in there she wants to hurt herself, but that’s buried deep down under layers of anger.

She goes to a bar and she drinks Schnapps. She has never drunk Schnapps before which is sort of the point.

She smiles at guys and turns them away when they dare to come closer. She smiles at the bartender and she needs this.

A man grabs her by the shoulder, he calls her pretty and she lets him kiss her for just a second before pulling back and dumping her drink over his head.

She’s never done that before either.

She almost apologises, but she bites down on her tongue and smiles. It feels brittle, stretched over her like a scab. That smile is fake and the world must see it, surely they must see that she is-

“Hey there,” the voice is smooth seductive, and Molly feels it ripple through her like a wave of fire. Her throat goes dry. “You look like you’re on a mission.”

A hand drifts along her arm, a not-touch, almost there but not quite. Molly’s pulse quickens. She turns to the man.

To the woman.

To the person.

She feels like she is looking at one of those pictures – the goblet that turns into a face, the old woman or the young woman in a hat, the duck or the rabbit. The person in front of her, she can’t tell whether it’s a man or a woman. The slope of a cheek, the tilt of an eye and the curve of the mouth, they leave her reeling, like she imagines drugs must feel. But she still can’t... her eyes dart down to the person’s chest, but there is still no indication.

He or she smirks, and Molly finds deep inside her that this is what she has been looking for. This is her punishment and her prize.

“Let me buy you a drink,” the woman... man... says, voice like velvet over a knife blade. Molly nods dumbly.

The alleyway is cold but Molly’s hot, so hot. And she wants to drown in sensation because if she drowns then maybe she’ll forget that this isn’t who she is, and this isn’t what she wants.

But she does want it, the tingle following those fingers across her skin tells her that much.

She is lost in herself, lost and buried, and she wants like she never knew she could want.

Lips and teeth across her neck and she still doesn’t know this person’s name, she doesn’t know their gender.

And somehow it doesn’t matter. All that matters is the moment and the second.

Her lipstick is smeared, her new hair a mess and her feet are aching in these stupid heels, but she is still so lost to all of those sensations.

The lips pull away, curved into a cruel, cat-like smile.

“You are just delicious,” the voice says, sparking down her spine.

This is not her.

The person leans forward and brushes lips lightly across the hollow of her throat, a butterfly kiss, that almost makes Molly’s knees give way.

Then she is cold, as the man (woman, thing, creature?) pulls back and smiles again.

“Lovely,” it says, and then it walks away, laughing.

Molly clings to the wall, the only steady thing in her wall and tries to take deep breaths. Her mind is fuzzy and confused, unable to focus on anything. Her lips are burning and the hollow of her throat feels marked, though that last touch was only the lightest of caresses.

She struggles to a taxi and finds her way back home, tears in her eyes though she couldn’t say why. She collapses on the sofa and Toby curls up in her lap.

She is shaking, shivering and still hazy with want. The world has tilted on its axis for her and she thinks that she shouldn’t have gone out. She should have stayed in; she should have locked her doors.

She gets up unsteadily and bolts the door, chaining it as well, though she knows it’s already too late. The creature is in her head and she can’t get it out.

She wakes up the next morning on the sofa and she dresses in sensible shoes and jeans and a t-shirt. She puts on no make-up and she barely looks in the mirror. She packs those shoes and that dress into a bag and, when she is at work, she tosses them into the incinerator.

She looks at herself in the mirror of the ladies toilets and says ‘enough.’

She has been to the brink, but she will not fall off.

She will not fall.

*




A few more notes: The title is a reference to Sandman (which is itself a reference to Ovid) meaning everything changes. The cut text is an alternative ending to that phrase meaning 'and we change with it'.




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