Title: Purple Ink
Summary: It might be a few years before she could offer the comfort that she wanted to, but that didn't mean she wasn't listening.
Author's Note: ***Spoilers for Ghost Story***
I used to think the diaries were the hardest. In my head and in my eyes I saw every word scrawled, jotted, embellished, smudged, written, and of all the books, articles, figures, scripts, lyrics, the diaries were the ones with phrases that reverberated. They came from all minds. I knew the words of a girl in love with a friend she didn’t know was dating her brother, I knew the words of a husband who still wrote about his deceased wife in the present tense three years after, I knew the words of a serial killer traveling from one city to the next in the Iberian peninsula. I knew them all, but would never meet them, never speak with them. For some, I was happy at the prospect of never having any interaction. For others, I would have loved nothing more than to hold their hand and hear it put to voice.
The constant introduction of new information moved like spider legs over my brain, and I quieted it to the shushing of wind in leaves, likened it to a forest to be visited at my discretion. I could see it in a panoramic view and be aware it was there, or I could move closer and read the veins of each leaf. It made the vastness of it bearable, made the impartiality bearable.
By that method of organization, in the center was a tall golden tree in a clearing, separated from the green of the rest.
These leaves held the words of my friends--- because despite what many of my predecessors had felt, and despite what several supposedly-unbiased parties had tried to impress upon me at a young age, I was allowed to have friends.
In reality, my view was of London sky. I was at my desk in the sitting area of my hotel room, transcribing what was for me, in that moment, the most important diary in the world. In some of the first pages, its owner had confessed a love of purple, and so it was with purple ink that I busied myself copying it onto the paper in as perfect calligraphy as I could manage. She’d seen the mother of her adopted family artfully render similar letters, and I thought that one day, should she see my work, it might make her smile, and that made the work important.
I copied the words down in the same mix of languages that she did, changing only spelling and grammar in places ---people who kept diaries from young ages to adulthood often complained of not being able to understand their childhood accounts, I’d found. Then, below those duplicated entries, I wrote my own in a green pen I’d found in a comic book store that called the color Poison Ivy. Harry would have found it funny, I’m sure.
(If the coded, increasingly furious correspondence between the Queen of Winter, currently residing on Demonreach, and her daughter that I occasionally caught glimpses of before it slipped away somewhere beyond this plane were any indication, Harry might still find it funny one day. The Fae were often out of touch with time, but even they wouldn’t speak of a dead Winter Knight in the present tense, especially in conjunction with discussions of healing and preservation magic.)
Her fifth entry was the one that cemented my decision, the one that put a pen in my hand and made me reach for paper: It’s hard to talk out loud, but I can write. I wish I had a friend to read this.
That’s when I started transcribing. That’s when I began to write down the words I would have spoken if I’d seen her in person.
And some day in the future, because I would meet her face to face, I would give Maggie Dresden the hand-bound journal, give her evidence she could touch that she’d always had a friend to read her words and understand the horror of being taken, of being trapped. There was more than that horror; there was purple ink, and heartfelt words, and trees stretching to the horizon of people and truths, and neither of us were alone.
We were so very far from being alone, and so very close together.