Title: There’s no remedy for memory
Fandom: DC Universe
Word count: 980+ words
Summary: Out of everything Tim sees, Gotham River reminds him of Kon the most.
Notes: Inspired by Dark Paradise by Lana Del Rey, because that song is such a TimKon song, from the first line to the last. The title is also a part of a lyric in it. The song can be found here.
Out of everything Tim sees, Gotham River reminds him of Kon the most.
It was the only thing – the only place – Kon liked about Gotham. He said that it was the only part of the city that looked clean and alive, circling around all the dead metal and withered bricks. A sip of nature.
Tim wanted to argue. It’s not clean at all, it’s not healthy. I’ve done the analysis and there are some bacteria you really don’t want to meet, the phosphorus level is a bit too high, not to mention the amount of trash that people throw into it daily – but he didn’t word any of it. Kon was right – the river was beautiful. Alive. A rhythmic flow soothing Gotham’s concrete cliffs and sunken grounds. A fragment of normalcy.
The river had been their meeting point, whenever Kon came to visit. Tim would wait perched on the railing of Kane’s Memorial Bridge and Kon would tease him; would kiss him with water rushing underneath his feet, Tim crouched and chilled by gusts of wind, Gotham’s smell written into his skin and bleached into his clothes, something sad. Kon would kiss him harder.
(That’s all they did, anyway. Kiss. They were – shy. About each other. The time was shy. Summer nights too short for them to spill touch like they wanted, winter days too solemn to lie on snow and sculpture the proper press of bodies, the right signature. The time was hesitant. The river kept storming.)
They have never done anything new here. There was no confession or secret or feeling that hadn’t been introduced before. No new kind of intimacy or experiments or unknown taboos exchanged between them. No trades, no deals.
It was safety; a shelter.
Open wide and honest, like every word Kon would confide, every affection drifted across his mouth and teeth and tongue; Tim the recipient, the locked up chest; Kon found the key (in this river, the key to Tim’s chest).
Kon – Tim’s faded memory of Kon, the unreliable hologram – would say, in a voice that doesn’t match, too loudly: “This river reminds me of you. And – you know those moments where you make up a fancy metaphor and think you’re so clever and then realize it’s so dumb once you say it, yeah? Well, I’m gonna suffer through one of them, just for you. So. This river. It’s you.”
And in that moment Tim wanted to say – it was a current dripping down the slope of his mind – “not clean at all, not healthy. Diseased and acidic, bags and pockets of debris drown and pinned to the bottom, yet alive, right?” That’s me.
“It’s the only beautiful thing in Gotham.” Kon said.
“That’s not a metaphor.” Tim responded (instead). Felt cold and dry; he’s a desert. “And if someone’s a river, it’s you. Changing, growing up, yet staying the same. Chatty and moving – shifting; welcoming. (Warm and loving.)That’s not me.” Tim didn’t say.
Kon wondered about drowning. In this brook that reaches for salty seas and gets other brooks and branches pushed into its water instead; muted under bold waves, adjusting its frequency for them.
Tim is this river. He could drown in Tim.
Drown in everything Tim stands for. Everything Tim puts above himself; pinned by their weight. By their poetry. Because he has whole fields of poetry he hides; rarely unlocking the drawers he keeps them in, and when he does, it’s almost unconscious. Like an instinct he doesn’t need anymore.
So one week, Tim confessed: “I like Gotham for her song.”
(Tim was an illumination that day. It was so dim; the light so shallow. Tim looked like a see-through projection.)
Kon was pretty sure Tim was half asleep. His arms and legs stretched out, his body a human-shaped, uneven star; glowing yet unseen. Kon was a copy of Tim’s posture; their connected palms the center of their constellation. Kon’s fingers were warm, Tim’s warmed up. The summer grass tickled.
“Every city has a song. I like Gotham’s. Her voice is so low, alluring. But it can be high too, fast or slow; the tune so cryptic. I like the melody. Not necessarily the message – but the tune. It’s – like a Mother’s voice. It changes. Warm or angry or proud. Like a person’s.”
(His eyes blurred against the black sky for a moment, like he was reading its palm.)
“The river adds to it. It’s there in the background. In that reassuring, hidden way. You know, almost every song nowadays has several layers. Some of them are blatant, striking. Obvious at first listen. But what makes the song truly addictive are the more hushed, subtle layers. The rhythm you pick up only after tens of listens. The rhythms that make you realize what’s so good about the song. The rivers’ layer is one of them.”
“What is the obvious layer?” Sat on Kon’s tongue until it didn’t, until it escaped and travelled across their hands; nestled just underneath Tim’s neck.
“The sirens. The screams.”
“That’s why you don’t like the message?”
Tim’s not sure that his memory of that day is true. He doesn’t know why, but some of them are so hazy he’s not sure they weren’t dreamed. It’s as if the river grounded them inside her. As if she keeps them safe. No one will find them. No one dives in this water looking for memories.
To Tim, the river looks empty now. The song overplayed. A duet relying on one voice.
A record that jumps and croaks and it’s almost unrecognizable.
The whole world is out of tune.
(Tim read once, that every star and planet and person and plant is moving in its own specific rhythm, specific vibration. A specific melody; defined as a number. And maybe that’s exactly what’s wrong. Why the world seems empty.)
He can’t hear Kon’s melody anymore.
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