Humans had lived on the earth for six million years. Humans had been creating things since they had realized what imagination was, what wonder and awe was, what they could make with color and sometimes not even that. Humans walked with a bounce and talked with accents and lisps and cared with all of their body and heart.
Humans had evolved from what could now be called creatures, called monsters, called animals. But they became human. That is fact.
Humans sometimes wished for more, though. Humans believed in something more than themselves; humans had put faith into false beings; humans had the occult living in their souls. That is fantasy.
Ever since humans could all gain balance and stand, could breath out sounds and make sense of the them, could finally understand their peers, there was an agreement of sorts. That this was fact and that this was fantasy.
Fact was passion and the raw sense of hunger—Fact was a disciplined truth seeker and information giver, a being who had been birthed as Athena was: from the mind. Fantasy, their eternal twin, had made a home in oral adventures and sweet lies; legends regaled their journeys by the whispering fire and in the dead of night.
Fact and Fantasy did not hate each other as humans often did. Their retellings usually intertwined with one another and so they met nearly every day. There was no resentment between them though - no regret. Fact and Fantasy respected each other deeply and were extremely fond of each other's company.
It had been a friendship millennia in the making. Stone tablets and worn tapestries had been dedicated to their union, carvings and paintings memorials to how they danced with one another in every language. Yet, their carelessness had lead to too many stepped-on toes and broken ankles. Fact, especially, had not taken their comfort with one another easily.
Concepts and pictures became words. Those words became language that became stories and traditions and religion - and Fact slowly lost themself as time marched on. Fact had started to notice that true events and historical accuracy were twisted and exaggerated into falsities—their delicate work and intricacies torn apart and stitched back together in a collage of improbable events. Their work in science and mathematics, sound and steady work, was ignored and real life occurrences were left as a footnote in an unraveling history textbook. It was as if classrooms seemed less like a well of knowledge and more like the ground where Alexandria's library had burned.
Fact, devastated and for once unknowing of what to do, grew bitter. They began to distance themself from their counterpart and Fantasy's myths and mysteries. Fact's self-loathing had created a fissure between them and Fantasy and, would they had been filled with all the poems in world, Fact would have called their empty relationship a song without music.
In turn, Fantasy had always seen Fact as a close friend. They had sworn to always be by their side, always in reach when evidence just didn't add up or when it simply was not enough. The sudden separation hurt their very soul, all of their romance stories ending in tragedy. Soon all of their ideas transformed into impossible lies or unrealistic goals—truth no longer had a say in what was written down. Ridiculous figments, mere shadows, haunted novels and short stories alike. Every scratch of a pencil was a tangent, a rant, with no substance. All of Fantasy was shaved down into the unlikely and so they, with eyes of retribution and longing, began the search for their beloved Fact.
And as their separation grew until nothing but a chasm was left, Fact too started to wilt and die. Their passion no longer flared and they became uninspired in the absence of Fantasy. The limits of science became stagnant. Research lacked minds to put interest into them; the stars and waves themselves had lost their beguiling nature and untamable resilience - now they were both nothing more than a map waiting to be made.
Yet they both carried a certain unwitting end to them. Fact, head and shoulders always above the rest, looked toward the ground, their feet planted and never moving. Fantasy, a floating and shy wisp of a blooming nature, was always tilted back, their eyes trained on the sky. Without the other Fact would surely bury themself while Fantasy would not take long to float along with the clouds. But hands clasped, their ideals working together, Fact had always been able to show the majesty of the forests and seas while Fantasy happily showed off the glories of the sunset and the planets far beyond what the both of them could see.
(Of course, of course they mixed. That wasn't the surprising thing. What shocked them both was that it had been Fantasy who had known first and Fact who had acted on emotion.)
It wasn't long before they slowly found themselves gravitating to each other for a second time. After all, facts without fiction was just a pretty way to say without intrigue, without interest. After all, fantasy without reality was just a pretty way to say with ignorance, with mistakes.
1818. The year of the ghoul. The year of the ghost. The year of bringing them both to life. A monster, stitched together with blood and insanity, rose through electricity—Science Fiction given life, child to Fact and Fantasy. A monster created by a monster, a marriage of silver horror and gold truth, and it seemed that Fantasy could not shy away from their parenthood.
Desperate for closure - for a closing of that canyon between them - Fantasy followed their monster home. They skipped past their old scribbles and paintings until they came upon numbers and calculations. And there, among research logs and exploration entries, Fact stood. There, among burned parchment filled with the script of men who lived and died for the same final truth, Fact turned.
Fantasy had only grown more lovely in time. Curled diamonds for hair, skin of secrets whispered at midnight and ghost stories told across fire, freckles like stardust and every grain of sand—their eyes were the shade of anyone who had ever told a story. They floated before Fact and reached out a hand of dripping ink and Fact could feel the dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin release into them, knew what was happening.
They did nothing to stop it and reached out to ground Fantasy yet again.
Fantasy beamed, their smile waves and particles of light, and Fact let themself be blinded. Fact, lined and angled with a precision only a ruler could buy, was long limbed in every sense of the word. Long arms reached with long hands to curl long fingers around the soft edges of Fantasy's face and Fantasy's smile turned supernova - no twinkling fairy light in sight.
Fact loved Fantasy with every language, every connotation to the word. "An intense feeling of deep affection" did nothing to revel in the sweet pulsing agony. How they could had ever thought to give up such a treasure, a fortune, a present—
("Why is it called the present, Fact?"
"Because the origin of the word stems back to—"
"Just ask me why it's called the present."
"...why is it called the present, Fantasy?"
"Because every day is a gift.")
—Fact swore to get it right this time.
So as Fantasy began to speak, their tongue curled over all the syllables that gave their words their dreaded melancholy, Fact did something unbeknownst to them. They interrupted Fantasy.
Shocked, and justly so, Fantasy blinked those human eyes at Fact and stayed quiet. Fact took a deep inhale of expected anticipation and exhaled untested hypotheses.
"I am sorry, my dear Fantasy. I apologize for my absence and my," Fact paused and the word choked out of them and Fact let themself finally fall into that pool of emotion, "ignorance. I apologize for my avoidance of you. I apologize for my wrongful thinking in that I could stay away from you. I apologize for believing our union to be a mistake. I apologize for believing you to be a mistake. My darling Fantasy, I apologize."
Fact bowed their head and removed their hands from Fantasy's face. They clutched at Fantasy's hands. Fact knew those hands as well as Fact knew themself but they took in Fantasy's soft hands with a religiously hungry zeal. While Fact's own fingertips had been worn away by years of quills and pencils and pens and keyboards, ink and lead forever staining the creased lines of their palms, Fantasy's hands were unmarked. Fantasy's hands were that of a pianist, thin and easily curved. Nothing marked their skin except for the childish painting they did to themself - anything from small doodles to intricate henna designs could mar their skin at any time.
At that moment they were blank and Fact felt their heart break just a little bit.
"Life without you is like the sky without the stars: utterly dull and just waiting for someone to fill it. It is like a sea without depth: unsatisfyingly shallow and too close to the earth. It is like a human without a heart: unable to live and unable to die. My sweet Fantasy, I love you. I wish for your company only until the end of time. I will understand if you are cross with me and do not return my sentiments, speak shortly and I will greatly step away. But I beg to be near you again."
Fantasy gazed upon the back of Fact's head, tears filled with the joyous cries of reuniting lovers running down their cheeks. They had never heard such strong emotion from their counterpart before—to say they were besotted would be a light thing compared to the utter enchantment Fantasy felt for their beloved Fact.
They pried their fingers from Fact's grip and quickly shifted them to Fact's cheeks. Fact's hands rose to lightly curl around Fantasy's wrists as they drew Fact's head up. Fantasy's smile was closed mouth and full of all the tenderness they could give. They kissed Fact on the forehead and felt them suck in a shuddering breath.
"Oh, Fact," Fantasy murmured, "I have always been a story without a teller, content without a bookmaker, words without a language, an explorer without a map. I have been waves with no compass and a forest with no guiding star. Truth is in every instance of what life is. Without that base a mountain has no height, a house has no foundation, and a story has no value."
Fact's eyes, black holes filled with dark matter, seemed to brighten. Their arms reached over and wrapped around Fantasy and the two collided like a shooting star, like a breathing dragon: filled with all the fire in the world.
"You have such wisdom you only show with me," Fact whispered into diamond hair. "If not for your love in return, I only wish to be in your presence from hereafter."
"You may have that and more, my darling, for I have always loved you."
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