Warning: Long chap (Now this is getting old aint it lol)
Credit to Livvielove for Kit’s dialogue! And also thank you love for the beautiful Minha ❤
Atris easily teleported us to the edge of Rustmeadow, and I slipped into astral instantly. I wanted to see where Rustmeadow even was on the Left continent – or at least that’s what I told myself as a reason.
In truth, I just needed a moment.
I just needed a few seconds where time was still. I just needed to take a long breath.
Just one more breath to let it fully sink in.
“Thank you very much Atris.” Aleccas said with exaggerated flair as the dragon flew to his shoulder.
I exchanged a satisfied smirk with Mouse, who seemed pretty glad with how the teleportation had gone down. We both turned to Kit, who’d straightened and looked around, making sure everyone really had made it in one piece. “Aye, we made it. Thank ye for takin’ us. It did save us a fair bit of time, and walkin.’”
“No problem.” Aleccas said with a humble shrug. I resisted the urge to snort. I’m glad he doesn’t seem mad at me for getting caught anymore. Or maybe I imagined it in the first place?
Kit nodded and stepped back, looking at the street signs.
“We’re not too far from a friend of mine. He’s usually got jobs for me to do when I’m in town. I’m sure he’s got some spare room for us too, so long as we’re not too picky. How does that sound, lad?” She said, looking at me again, asking for my opinion again.
I’m smiling. “I’m not picky at all.” I assured her. I noticed Aleccas glancing at me with mock disbelief. “I’m not.” I repeated for him. Well, definitely not when it comes to sleeping arrangements. I turned back to Kit. “And hey, if we’re paying with jobs, I’d love to help out.”
“Really?” Aleccas pushed teasingly. “Did I teleport the wrong boy?”
I grimaced. Yeah I know, this is all just jabs on what a horrible and troublesome student I was for you.
Kit walked over and placed her hand on my shoulder. I glanced up to see her shaking her head at him. “Hardly. He’s a hardworkin’ lad. At least he sure ‘asn’t been too picky thus far.” She said flashing me a smile. A proud one.
I turned my nose up at Aleccas. Maybe I shouldn’t take so much strength from someone I’d only met today, but Kit had already seen and heard more than most people who know me and she still solidly praises and supports me. “You hear that? Hardworking.”
“Yeah I heard it.” Aleccas said with a slight smile.
I just hope this isn’t a first impression thing. A lot of people liked me at first, before I tumbled into troublesome.
Not a lot of people ask for my opinion more than once though.
Aleccas picked up again. “Is ‘not too far’ a decent walking distance? Cause we can do another hop.” He offered. He sure is being generous.
Kit looked at the road before shaking her head. “No, thanks though. It’ll be good for us to do a bit of walkin’.” She paused and I looked at Aleccas who seemed to be wracking his brain for something. “That way we won’t be keeping ye.”
At that he reactively responded. “Oh, that’s fine. I’m not needed elsewhere.”
I raised an eyebrow. “I thought you were helping out the Drag-” The word stayed unfinished as my brain chastised me. The Dragons are gone now because the Hans had taken that information from my own brain. “-the rebellion in Stonebridge? Like aren’t you one of the main decision makers or something.”
“No-well yes.” Aleccas fumbled a bit, and it started to dawn on me how much he really seemed to want to stay with us.
“To be honest, I could use a bit of a break if you guys don’t mind me tagging along.” He admitted nervously. He glanced at Kit with a nervous smile, waiting for her approbation.
I narrowed my eyes at Aleccas as Kit thought it over.
“Aye, I don’t mind. It won’t be pretty nor fancy,” She began, supported by Mouse shaking their head seriously behind her. “but if these two don’t mind, then you’re welcome to hang about ‘til you feel ready to head back. I know what it is to need a break, sometimes.”
Aleccas gave a sympathetic smile. “Thanks.” He said, softly. Yeah kay, I’m really picking up something here. Aleccas seems to have a real hard time not looking at Kit. “I mean, would it bother you both?” He asked, managing to look at us.
I glanced at Mouse, who had Atris in their arms and was giving me a daring look. Refusing to let Mouse spend more time with Atris was going to cost me apparently. Not that I minded, if anything the idea that Aleccas was potentially harboring a serious crush on Kit was lighting up my day here.
I shrugged. “The more the merrier. Atris is definitely a huge perk.”
Aleccas snorkeled. “Without a doubt, he’s the only reason anyone remembers my name.”
I rolled my eyes. Oh, it’s definitely not because you shout your name across every rooftop or anything.
“Speakin’ of names… I’m Kit.” She said, extending her hand. “You’re New Jesus, right? Er, that witch that everyone is always bustlin’ about? Who… escaped the Hans single-handedly or descended from the heavens on some cloud of dust or… Somethin’ like that?”
I couldn’t help it, I snorted and loudly. “Or something.”
Aleccas seemed to need to take a second. He probably had a lot to process, like the New Jesus nickname. I stifled the next snort, I can’t believe she said it to his face.
“I’m Aleccas Keeper, and that’s giving me more credit than I deserve.” He ended up declaring.
I raised my eyebrows. “How humble of you.” I mumbled. Oh boy, yup he’s really into her if he’s trying to tone himself down.
“Aye, indeed. Quite so.” Kit said, turning her attention back to the road as we started walking. “My friend’s house shan’t be too much farther. We can regroup and decide what to do from there… at the very least we can eat and sleep.”
I humorlessly chuckled to myself. Sleep.
If I can manage that after today, it’d be a nice miracle.
It’s got to be impossible to feel such pride when looking at a building. It’s just a building, stones and bricks and some wood, all material objects, but as a whole it’s come to mean so much. And to represent even more.
Every time I stand in front of it, I feel this glowing strength.
This place holds an incredible amount of meaning, and I think to me more than anyone else. I nearly died here, but the aftermath was a rebirth.
I was just a reckless newly made vampire, looking to defy the rules set around me. I thought I was big stuff. I was a vampire after all, increased strength and speed were blowing my ego up. But we made the mistake of picking on the famous young vampire king. He swept the floor with us, making us kill each other with our own weapons.
I can tell you I respected the golden-eyed royal family a lot more then. I got a little obsessed actually and risked my life again by going to see him a few days later. And a few days after that as well. To my grand surprise he didn’t kill me for it. On the contrary, he saw me as the useful individual I could be and started to put me to work.
From then on, I’ve been helping him wherever he needed me. I fetched information for him and I spread information, and I had the luxury of having his protection.
It was a glorious time. No one could touch him. He was invincible. But apparently that was just an illusion. For all his talents, his great power in mind-control, he couldn’t foresee something that didn’t have human intent. So he couldn’t see the beam that knocked him out.
And I couldn’t stop the Hans from stealing him away. He was a great man, but it had only taken a single moment of weakness for him to be viciously dragged down.
It…wasn’t an easy time for me, for anyone. James served as protection for hundreds of supernaturals, and his death caused everyone to panic and expect the worst.
I expected the worst.
But then I saw his house, this small homestead that had become a safe haven for so many…As the world started to crumble around us as the Hans took control, I realized this place could still be a safe haven.
Under the flag of his death, I gathered everyone here and we started to make a stand. More people started to join and we started to become a worrying force of supernaturals, joined on this small plot of land.
As the Hans began to view us as a threat, we started to make a reputation for ourselves. We started to receive a constant influx of supernaturals running to us, and we upgraded the house to fit them.
Even in death, the concept of him was enough to bring everyone together. His death might’ve been the scariest thing anyone had ever experienced, but as they say…once you hit rock bottom there’s only one place to go.
Now the place has been completely transformed and we make a formidable force to oppose them. James can be avenged and the Hans overthrown.
I navigated through the building, still feeling that sense of pride. I don’t mind that I don’t seem to get any credit for this, I’m not much of a leader type. I’m a silent behind the scenes kind of guy, so yes I’m happy to let the more charismatic folks take the lead here.
With the Dragons joining, that amount has increased a lot.
We used to have a pretty scattered leadership system, sort of democratic, but not really. Whenever decisions needed to be taken, anyone who wanted a say was welcome and usually the voices that shouted the loudest had a say. Once the lady Annie joined, things got a lot clearer hierarchy wise.
Being the leader of the Dragons she immediately asked who was in charge, and after receiving a lot of shrugs and vague pointing, she took up that mantle herself. That’s not giving her enough credit, she’s perfect for the role. She didn’t need to declare herself as leader, all she did was bring forth her opinions and everyone very happily fell in behind her.
She’s created a democratic board so things are more organized. When it comes to bigger decisions she calls a meeting with them. Her and Kevil, the white-eyed vampire, are always leading it. Though Kevil very rarely speaks – he’ll do so only if its pertinent – he seems more like her bodyguard in that regard. There’s hardly a doubt that he’ll back her up on anything.
It was a little shocking to see him to be honest. I’d seen him in passing with James, but he always had eye contacts. To see him so blatantly out in the open as a white-eyed – no THE last white-eyed – was shocking but admirable.
Another of the authoritarian individuals that got brought over from the Dragons was an orange-haired man named Terrance. A little reserved, he has a lot to say about magic tattoos and seems to very easily earn the respect of all the younger members. Apart from that, he’s not the best…small talker we could say. He has little interest for it. You can only talk business with him – or well that’s if you’re not Minha.
Minha was one of the more opinionated of the rebellion. Her ideas generally made it on the final decision board, so it’s no surprise that Annie had her added to her elite group. What was a surprise was our usually very duty-oriented lady getting lighter and chattier in the presence of Terrance, and for him to have the same reaction.
Though, I suppose if you think about it, it’s not that surprising. It’s a sweet thing to see people fall in love in these times. Definitely boosts morale.
A noteworthy one, I have to say, is the young over-excited lady named Ashlynn. Ashlynn Credant – it’s my job to remember names. She’d eagerly joined just recently and had brought with her a cop from Ridgevalley who’d been building a case against the Hans, as well as the prisoners from the Cloverfield lab.
It doesn’t end there, one of those prisoners is one of the Werewolf Clan Alphas. Hartly’s presence immediately calmed all the werewolves among the rebellion and he’s contacted his dispersed clan to come join our force.
I wish James was alive to see this. I know it’s probably something that bothered him. Sure he was powerful and could overcome nearly everything, but he was one man. No one else seemed to have the gall to stand up and he couldn’t very well tell them nothing would happen to them if they did.
But now, look, hundreds of people have gathered to fight against this. All of them willing to try. After all they have no one else to depend on, but themselves.
There’s hope, I can feel it, it’s palpable – the Hans might seem invincible, but their lab certainly wasn’t.
James seemed invincible.
Everything has a weakness, you just need to figure out what it is.
“There’s hope yet.”
When she said we had space to sleep if we weren’t picky, I didn’t actually expect her friend to live on a farm and for us to sleep in a barn. The other three didn’t seem to mind, but I got stuck on the idea of a harsh bed of hay to sleep on.
We’ve got to be thankful for what we get though right?
Anyway, I sucked it up, and Kit thanked her friend and we got settled. The guy was really kind and fed us a pretty decent supper and then left us to our devices for the night.
Atris cuddled the kid to sleep just as the sun started to go down, and Nikolas followed suit soon after looking pretty drained.
I was actually pretty bummed that the night was ending so quickly, but not enough to say anything about it. All three of them had lived a rough day today.
On Kit’s part, that didn’t mean going to sleep early however.
I checked up on Atris again, smiling as I saw him happily purring with his new friend, before I made my way outside.
It was a fresh summer night – a definite plus of living on a farm – and I spotted her silhouette sitting on a log nearby.
She was staring off into space, the flames outlining enough of her for me to see. I walked over and she spoke before I reached the log.
“Thank you… for earlier. For stopping me. I was… I was out of my own mind… not thinking straight.” She said looking down at her hands, as if this was anything to feel ashamed of. I’ve had my share of not thinking straight.
“I think that’s understandable given what happened. I’m glad I could help.”
“It was a moment of weakness that shouldn’t have ‘appened. I can’t afford to be so stupid with meself.” She said looking back at the barn. “They need me to keep meself in check. I can’t have a moment of weakness like that again.” She said with a sigh.
That’s beating yourself up if I’ve ever heard it. Which I have a lot from her today.
I swung my leg over the log so I was facing her. No point in looking at anything else anyway. “You lost your family today. Those are the people who give you strength, so it’s only natural that you feel weak when they disappear.” If anyone knows how that feels…to have everything that made you who you are disappear with a snap of a finger…well I just get how that hits. Anyone who views anyone as lower for having that kind of reaction is a child. “I’m sure you’ve heard of the explosion that happened last year…Nikolas lost most of his family that day. He had his own moments of weakness. He definitely wouldn’t hold it against you. It’s human to have that reaction, it means you cared for them.”
She nodded slowly, her eyes clearly showing she was hearing me. “Aye. I did care for them. It makes me wonder where I could’ve done things differently. I knew that woman was out. I fought them on her, but I could’ve fought harder. I could’ve cared more and stayed more. Mouse was terrified when I got there with the lad… if I hadn’t come…” Her voice shook and her hands came to cradle her face. “Oh god…”
I put a hand on her back and leaned closer. How do I convey that this isn’t in any way her fault? “But you did. You did the best you could’ve, what were you supposed to do? Drag them all out? On what grounds? You managed to get Mouse out, and that’s a win. That witch is…she’s a curse all on her own. You’re as responsible as I am here.”
“I could’ve gone to visit the Troupe more and seen this and prevented it before anything bad happened. Actually, I’m more at fault because I actually have teleporting which makes it easier.” I mean, if you really think about it, it’s not false.
She shook her head and met my eyes. “I disagree.” Oh, I guess it’s false then. “Ye may have a lot of magic, yeah, but ye can’t bear every problem the world has.”
I doubled down, this is good. If she doesn’t think I’m at fault then she can hardly call herself at fault. “I’m the one who gave Assaria to the Talent Troupe for safekeeping. Also, I could say the same about you. You weren’t there for a reason I assume.”
“Well, I mean, sure, if ye want the blame, ye can have it.” She gave me a weak smile, but sighed.
“You’re right, though. We did the best we could’ve. It could’ve been better… but it could’ve been worse. I know I feel guilt over it… but I wasn’t there for a reason. The Talent Troupe was my home… but only ‘cause I had nowhere else. Hag took me in, and I was always grateful, but now I keep going over everythin’ in my head about the conditional nature of which allowed me to stay there. I mean, it was leagues better than where I’d been, but…” She let out a frustrated sigh. “Anything had to be better than domestication, right?”
Domestication? Wait, does she mean… “Is that…” I lowered my voice, afraid I was wrong and that I was about to insult her. “Are you talking about slavery?”
“What? No! Nothin’ like that. I was only sold once,” My eyes widened and she corrected herself rapidly, putting her hand on my knee. “but not in that way.” Not in that way? Sold is still sold?
“I was five and ‘adn’t a home to live in anymore. I would’ve starved if I ‘adn’t been found by ‘em. The lady I’d been squatting with had passed a month ‘fore they found me. I don’t remember much from those days, just that the smell was somethin’ awful. I don’t even remember her name, isn’t that sad?” My stance softened as I listened to her. “The old lady who found me: blind as a bat, she was. She thought I was a kitty cat, called me that up and down ‘round dinner time when she’d feed me whatever she had in her cupboards. I sure didn’t mind being a kitty cat if it meant I got fed, and it’s the only name I’ve ever known.” She looked at me again, and her eyes seemed greener than the last time. “Ah, ye don’t need me goin’ on ‘bout this.”
“No no, I – if you don’t mind sharing, I’d love to hear it.” I tried to give her my most sympathetic smile.
She seemed to take it well as she returned it – only better.
“Aye, if ye don’t mind, it might be good for me to get it out. It’s been on me mind a lot, and I can’t figure out if it was me not seeing clearly or… or I don’t know what else. I’m not like you or the lad, my sense for magic is… different. I was taken from the woman who named me when I was five and got stuck into domestication for years and years until…” She frowned and stared at the ground. “Hag just showed up one day, and I always counted meself lucky but… now I don’t know anymore.”
I nodded along. “The old lady never really seemed like the maternal type. More of a…business type.”
“Yeah, she was, but I guess it didn’t matter much to me, ye know? I wouldn’t have known maternal if it had hit me upside me head. Probably would’ve thought it was a trick… but Hag showin’ up was just… too convenient. I was twelve at the time and just gettin’ old enough for the other sorts of jobs women in domestication had… only I didn’t like it. I didn’t want it to go that way and I… fought back. Then… there was Hag. My… My saving grace.” My heart was beating heavier hearing this story, and even more so seeing the emotion in her face. She took a steady breath in, her gaze focused forwards.
“I thought for sure I’d be punished… if not killed for what I did, but she promised she could make it all go away if I worked for her. It was me best option… and me only one – really. So I took ‘er up on it.”
Oh, Haginda took advantage of her. A wave of good riddance passed through me.
“It was hard work, but it wasn’t like domestication. Sure, I was makin’ the Troupe money, but… it was also my money in a way, too? I started out doin’ odd jobs and honing me own skills, and eventually got me own act. The price for stayin’ was easy: drink whatever concoction Hag came up with and tell ‘er the results. It was like livin’ a dream by comparison. She used-ta give me this cheeky smile and say ‘tell me if ye die by the mornin’!’”
I couldn’t help it, I grimaced. I know Hag was important for her, but I already didn’t like the old woman very much and this story doesn’t help. “What? I mean… I thought it was funny. Yeah, the potions could kill me, but what life did I have outside of the Troupe? Well, I didn’t… not ‘til we found Mouse.” At that, her entire mood changed. She beamed at the mention.
“Mouse was a wee baby when we found ‘em. So little! Aye, precious too. There was a child worth livin’ for, and I begged Hag to let me keep ‘em. When the world went bad well… I… I couldn’t let Mouse grow up to a world like that. First me travels were just so I could scope out the grounds… to ensure that wherever the Troupe went would be safe enough for ‘em. Then I got caught into some politics on the Right Continent and I started to realize that if I was gonna keep Mouse safe… I needed to fight at the source.”
She’s so proud of that kid. And I get why, Mouse’s got a good personality and Atris fell in love at first sight.
Kit frowned again. “I trusted Hag to take care of Mouse while I was gone… but I don’t know. I had a bad feelin’ in me gut. One I just… couldn’t shake. Hag… started wanting me ‘round less… she’d push me out the door with somethin’ new she needed someone to get a handle on.” She did about the same to me thinking about it, but that’s a story for another time.
“I was skeptical, but I also wasn’t thinkin’ much of it. I wanted to believe the Talent Troupe – my home that I’d come to see it as – wouldn’t take advantage of me. Mouse got jumpier, though… like every time I’d see ‘em. They wouldn’t tell me anything though. I remember I once made Hag swear she wasn’t feedin’ Mouse them potions of hers. I don’t think she was, but it was like a threat that loomed overhead. Like if I didn’t perform right… but that makes it sound more than it was. I’m reachin’. I keep tellin’ meself that. It’s just reachin’ but you ‘aven’t hit nothing.”
I stepped in then. “My mom used to tell me that you never owed anything to the people you loved. That if you did, if they made you feel like you owed them something, they didn’t deserve your love. That’s just not how it works, it’s not how family works.” I reached to hold her hand and she let me.
I looked at her as genuinely as I could, I need her to feel the weight of these words and to believe them. “I don’t think you’re reaching, your gut gave you a warning and you heeded it. And now Mouse is safe thanks to it.”
She gave a light squeeze back. “I’m relieved to ‘ear it. Hag used to tell me… she used to say if I found enough of a threat that the Talent Troupe could aid against that I was to let her know so she could. That’s why I was always out… I was there when the lad’s trial was going on, though… I ‘aven’t told him that yet. He has enough people judging him for his past that I thought he might do better with a fresh start. A clean slate. Somethin’ I never got. Hag knew what I did. I knew what I did. I’d just met the lad after I encountered some Hans thugs in Legacy Island. He chased me down an alley thinkin’ he was slick.” She snorted, and I grinned. Unsurprising of him.
“Thought he could follow me without me knowin’? Ha!” She shook her head with a smile. “I admired his tenacity… and when he asked me to train him…? I saw… me. Perhaps I was just projectin’, but when he persisted and continued to press for it… I knew I’d need to reevaluate everythin’.”
I chuckled. “He’s got that effect. I trained him myself for a bit, and he was always very eager to learn which, well in my case, is the opposite of how I was at his age. He’s a great student… when you teach him what he wants. He’s lacking some discipline still.” I shrugged.
“Aye, he’s very young still… and he’s seen too much of the world for someone his age. You should’ve been there earlier, Aleccas. Ye did train him in magic, right? At least a little? The lad took on his father all by ‘imself…! I told ‘im I’d be there if he needed me, but he didn’t. His father was spouting all this crap about how he had never done what he was told, and when the magic came out… well I thought I’d have to hop in fast but I needn’t. He had his father disarmed faster than I could blink… suppose he learned that from you, hm?”
I grinned. Of course he managed that, Niko’s many things and smart is one of those. “So yeah, his discipline isn’t the best – what kid his age would be? I can’t help but see meself in him, so it makes me soft. When I agreed to train him… well I swore to him that he’d be stuck with me if he agreed to this. Honestly I was just tryin’ to scare him off, but… I think he actually wants to believe I won’t and it breaks me heart. He’s so used to people leavin’ him that he’s gotten used to pushin’ them away first. At least… that’s me guess. That’s how I was.”
My gaze drifted to the ground at those last words. People leaving him. That’s pretty much what I did, isn’t it? I told him I wouldn’t train him anymore and then he got himself captured. “Yeah, he’s a great kid. He deserves better than what he’s been dealt. You’re really good to him, I haven’t seen him this… “ I gestured at the barn. “at ease in a long time.” He seemed so free earlier. I’m so used to seeing him down and tense and struggling with others.
“What a welcome wagon he gets, right? Drag him here so he can watch his only livin’ parent die. Asshole or not, I wouldn’t ‘ave wished that on anyone. I suppose it’s good Niko at least got to speak to him ‘fore it happened, but maybe that makes it worse?”
I took in a deep breath. Two hundred years and the world hasn’t gotten any better or kinder.
She brought her free hand up to run through her hair. “I just… keep replayin’ it over and over… I keep looking for the signs I missed… and bloody hell there are so many.”
“You’re so unnecessarily tough on yourself,” I said with a slight exasperation slipping into my voice. I squeezed her hand a little tighter, annoyed. Annoyed that she’d gone through hell and back already, and just seemed to accept that that’s all she could get and I was over here, a poster child for spoiled rotten and- “You’re incredible. You’ve gone through so much already, from one abusive person to the next, each person taking something different from you and yet here you are-” I stared at our interlocked hands, frowning at the shitty cards this world likes to deal.
“In front of you is literally the person who dropped this bomb over there, and you’re not even angry at me? You’re still sitting here only thinking of what you could’ve done? Which is already more than most could’ve.”
She let out a small snort. “I mean, I can be angry at ye if ye want, but I don’t think ye want that, I’m scary when I’m angry.” She laughed and shook her head, but gave my hand another squeeze – one that gently washed this frustration away. “No, I’m not mad at ye about it, and I just… can’t be. Ye dropped her off, but she’s not your responsibility. Her actions are all her own. She was the one who started the killin’… and she better ‘ope she don’t run into me, otherwise that box will look luxurious.”
I stared at this amazing woman as she spoke. Maybe it’s the lighting, maybe I’m tired, but I feel so entranced by her, and lord does she make me feel like a spoiled brat. I was just grateful right now that this beautiful lady, this badass lady had shared all of this with me. “You’re so gorgeous.” Hm, did I say that outloud? “You’re just – I’m…” The words leapt out before I could hold them back, and it slowly dawned on me what I’d said.
I started to panic as I saw her eyes go wide. She smiled a little and then chuckled and shook her head. “Do ye have a head injury?” She laughed, and maybe I do, but it’s the good kind of pain. “No, but thank you. I… I think I needed to hear this… all of this.” She looked down, realizing as I did that we were still holding hands. I swear I saw her cheeks go red a bit – yes in this lighting I swear I did. She gave a small shrug, letting our hands stay together. “Do ye have a heart-ta-heart with every girl ye meet, or am I just special?”
“Special is a weak word. You’ve blown me away.” This positive encouragement doesn’t make me want to hold back in the least. “And I’m really enjoying this feeling of constantly falling.” I looked down at our hands again to make a joke to go with my nervousness. “Thankfully I’ve got support here.”
I smirked and she snorted, laughing again. “Well considering you’re ‘ere for a bit, it’s probably for the best ye get buckled up.” She relaxed and looked at me again.
“I’m not goin’ to pretend I don’t need this…” She began gesturing at our hands. “I didn’t expect today to shake me as much as it did… or well… I didn’t ever think… I still ‘ave too many questions that won’t be answered… but… that’s not what I’m tryin’ to say. I didn’t expect today, but… thank ye for bein’ there. I know ye don’t have to be… and I’m usually not like this. I don’t want… them to see me so out of sorts but… it’s nice to know I don’t have to keep the mask on forever.” She sighed. “Or maybe I’ve officially lost me damn mind. Anything’s possible.”
I rubbed her hand with my thumb. “It might sound pretentious, but I get it. The mask can get heavy, and I’m honored that you let me see underneath. Truth be told, I needed this too. So really, use as you’d like,” I smirked. “I’m at your disposition.” It sounds like a joke, but I’m absolutely serious.
She smiled, that small smirk that’s making my stomach do little flips. “Aye, perhaps a bit pretentious,” She laughed. “but… thanks. ‘Opefully by tomorrow I’ll be more in me right mind and this fog won’t feel as heavy. It just feels like the world is really fallin’ apart now. It gets better… right?”
If only she knew. “Yes, it does. Absolutely. And support helps that happen faster.” I said, holding her hand with both of mine.
She added hers to our comfort pile. “I really hope you’re right.”