Warnings: Liberal use of myth
A/N: Written for originalfic_las for the prompt: "now or never.”
Summary: Do you think Icarus was foolish?
Do you think Icarus was foolish? You know the tale, the young man who flew to freedom on wings of feathers and wax. Yet he could neither fly too high or too low. Too low and the spray of the sea would damp the wings, and he would fall. Too high and the sun would melt the wax wings, and he would fall.
But put yourself in his place. You’ve been imprisoned for months and months, child of a great inventor that had fallen under the disfavor of a cruel king. Your father will not bend in his principles to create for him, and while he refuses to relent, you are in jail alongside him. Perhaps you are resentful, but your father loves you and wants you to be happy.
To fool the king, your father asks for building materials and fashions wings for you so you can escape. You’ve never been very apt, but you help anyway. How could something so fragile hold you up from drowning in the ocean below your tower prison? Yet you know your father is a genius, so when he straps the wings on you, you believe they will work. You look outside your tower with hope for the first time in months, and realize that in mere moments you’re going to be free. Your father gives you the warnings and instructions, embraces you and tells you he loves you. You hug him back, and then fling yourself into the sky.
Think. For months and months you’ve been imprisoned. The hot sun on your back is a delirious pleasure after the cold stone tower. And you’re free, finally free. The temptation comes to shout and cavort and wheel like a bird, but you’re not supposed to. You’ll fall. You’ll die.
But remember this. You are not a modern person. You’ve never, ever seen the world like this before. Flying like this is like being one of the gods themselves. How can you resist trying to do what the gods do? Also, land is far away. For too long you’ve been locked in a tower, and weakness pulls at you.
Perhaps you look over your shoulder at the distant prison tower. How long will your father be able to avoid the fact of your absence? The king will be furious that he was duped. Perhaps now the king will find another way to force your father to use his genius. Or maybe he will be killed; the king is cruel enough for that. Or worse yet, perhaps the king will send his men to your mother’s house, where you intend to go.
Tragedy awaits you even if your freedom was assured. You will never see your father again, this you know.
The sun beckons, warm and inviting, soothing you all the way through. Blessed Helios smiling upon the audacious youth. You have your choice. Glory, or safety and uncertainty. Your wingbeats falter. Now or never.
The sun has never been so beautiful.