For Tera and Keith
In Memory of Britty
People say it is darkest before the dawn. What they don’t say is exactly how dark and how long it will last before that dark gets there. Sometimes it has nothing to do with night, it has to do with other things that make the world go dark even in the middle of the day, moments where we wonder if the dawn will ever come at all and when we would be hard pressed to believe it will.
Tera, Queen of the Succubi sat next to her Eternal. That is far from unusual but anyone who knew her at all would see something was wrong at once. Her head was lowered, and her tail, twitching and swishing in an unending dance of her mood lay flat on the ground with no animation at all. Neither Tera nor her Eternal said anything, they didn’t need to as they both knew how deeply the other was hurting.
Tera held a simple collar in her hand and from time to time would stroke it with her thumb. The collar was filled with a million memories, moments of joy, moments of exasperation, moments, of laughter, of love. But right now it was only one memory that stayed when she and her Eternal looked at it and that was the memory of what had passed.
They both had cried for a long time and the constant tears had, at last ceased. But, from time to time, a tear still escaped and neither did anything to stop it. Loss, they say, is part of life … but no one tells you how to deal with it when that loss hurts so much. So people, even succubi, deal as best they can but there is no easy fix, no way to change what you wish wasn’t.
They had both been sitting there for a long time, mostly motionless; how long neither knew or cared. They simply took comfort it their bond and each other and tried to support each other but both needed support. They both always need each other, but this moment in life had driven that home more than ever as neither could get through without the other.
Tera hears the faintest scrape of something behind her and turned slightly. Neither of them wanted to be bothered right now. Out of the corner of her eye she sees the hood that means it is Legion. She doesn’t feel like having him here right now, neither of them did. But no words came from him. He simply walks up and lays a hand on each of their shoulders. She doesn’t have to see his face to know the look of sympathy and understanding is there and that desire to help. But she doesn’t want to talk … she doesn’t have the strength, will, or desire.
But he remains silent. He simply sits down next to her as she sits in the arms of her Eternal and looks to the distant sky like they were.
Before either of them could think any further another sound comes from behind.
Glancing back they both see Tera’s Heart walk up beside them and smile sadly, nodding his head. He briefly lays his hands on each of their shoulders and sits down beside them as well.
Tera is confused at what is going on. She doesn’t wish to be rude but this time … she isn’t sure she could …
Another sound behind … and then another … and another … and another still, and Tera realizes they have all come.
Tera’s Song comes to her and lightly kissed her cheek and sits down right behind Legion.
Tera’s little brother rested his hands on both her and her Eternal’s horns.
Tera’s little sister hugs them both tightly with a smile.
Her Hero pats her knee with a smile of encouragement.
Her Angel enfolds them for a moment in her wings.
Her friend the Robot wasn’t so robotic as she caressed Tera’s arm.
Tera’s Krispy artist is as still as the rest of them as he gives her a little hug.
The redheaded mermaid, for the moment without her tail, strokes her hair.
And more come still, their sisters and brothers, their friends, and loves. All a part of the web of family that Tera and her Eternal had given so freely of their hearts had come when both her and her Eternals heart had been so hurt.
No one speaks, no one has to. Of the great many who came, all know words would not solve the loss. But none care. They all sit, in a greater and widening circle behind Tera and her Eternal, being there at her back as she had always been there for them. And that was when they both noticed something in the distance they had not noticed before.
Across all the sky in front of them, little points of light that couldn’t banish the darkness or take it away … but stood there, giving off their points of light to give a small amount of illumination to the darkness. They had been there when she and her Eternal had sat down, hadn’t they? But it had seemed so dark then.
Both Tera and her Eternal look behind them and see the great host that has come here. Small lights there, just there for the two of them, so the darkness of loss didn’t overwhelm: not talking, simply supporting out of love for the family that had been created through their lives.
The faintest ghost of a smile tugs at Tera’s face as she looks back to the sky and the stars there. One she notices shines a bit brighter and seemed to dance with its twinkle in the dark. The twinkling star sits there and shines and though it was far away now … it is still lighting her life.
She feels a light tug from behind and doesn’t need to look to know what it is. The tip of her tail, just that pointed tip, has risen and, while it doesn’t swish or flow, it rises to look at the stars too.
Neither of them ask how long everyone will sit there. They know all would sit there, silent, supporting, and loving until the dawn would come and the darkness would pass. It might take a while, it might take a long time … but she didn’t doubt that no one would move … all would stay until they were sure. Because that is what she would do.
And as Tera leaned hard against her Eternal and he into her, she squeezed her hand tightly around the collar. No, the loss was still there. But one thing had changed. She felt that, sometime, the dawn would come and even what had been lost would never be fully gone … it would just become a twinkling star she would hold tightly against her soul.