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new love, new skin

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Part of me knows that much time has passed; there is no way for us to know how long, of course. And there’s no point in thinking of how we came to be here, my darling, but you know how my mind is prone to wander.

I suppose you always were just a little too much for them, weren’t you? Just a little too strong, a little too powerful. They never quite knew what to do with you. You loved them to death and they loved you back just as hard, but they used you—and they used you, and used you, and used you until you were spent. Every little thing they asked of you, no matter how impossible—you took it all, all of its weight onto your shoulders and smiled, every time. And you kept going, until finally you simply couldn’t.

The light was eating you alive. You fought it desperate and screaming at first, like a thing possessed. But soon it was too much for you. It would have been too much for anyone. The world was so cruel to you, my darling, but you fought it like hell.

They tried everything to save you. Gods above, how they tried. But they knew—and you knew—that you were too far gone by then. Bless them, they tried not to show me that they were already grieving. But who could know you better than I?

Some nights I’d lie at your side, feeling your pulse flutter weakly against my wrist as I held your hand, listening to your breath, praying that your heart would hold til morning. Still here, but barely—slipping quietly through my fingers like silken fabric. By the end, on your bad days, you hardly knew I was there.

You still thought you could save everyone, and gods help you, my darling, I know you believed it. I believed it too. But that last morning, when you kissed me and promised me you’d return, I tasted the light on your lips. I knew this was the end. They had to tuck themselves beneath your arms to help you walk.

I never saw them again—I think you must have killed them, or maybe they drowned. It’s not important now, I suppose. For all those years you walked with them happily, and in return they kept you on a leash, held it slack in their fingers as a gesture of goodwill. I did love them, but in how they treated you, they were no better than the monsters they commanded you kill. They should never have taken you for granted, my love.

And then they took you away to die beneath the seas. As I watched you go, something in me broke.

I went to Kholusia not long after you left. I stood on the cliffs overlooking the water for hours. I thought about jumping, but I knew I couldn’t. I knew you would come back for me.

I stood there and watched until the ocean collapsed back in on itself. The waters sunk back into their bed, roiled and bucked. The shores and their settlements were all but washed away in its towering waves. I waited, and listened to the roar.

The sky grew blinding, and the stagnant, sticky air settled around my throat like a dead, choking hand. The light above had grown close, closer than it had ever been, and it was boiling hot. I waited, and I think I felt my skin begin to burn.

But I didn’t care, because then I saw you rise from the ocean.

You weren’t you anymore. I could see you, though—the old you. Something in the way you moved; no longer in pain, free and beautiful. Your eyes were still amber, though the rest of you had gone porcelain and gold. Your wings carried you across the isle to me, like I knew they would. I’d have done the same.

You were strong enough to crush mountains beneath your feet, but your footfalls were soft as you landed. You were tall enough to weave the very clouds through your fingers, but you knelt before the cliff, lowered yourself to meet my gaze. You waited, quiet and still, and I saw the light dripping from your lashes like tears, sizzling when it splashed into the grass at my feet.

After a moment, you reached for me. I held my breath. And it’s funny, but I think I heard your voice: just a whisper brushing across my skin, bidding me to shut my eyes. It sounded just like you.

I felt nothing, I promise. It was easy and quick, just like I knew you would do it. The change took me quickly.

And then we rose together like twin suns, into a new morning of our own creation. And oh, how we burnt.

Now everything—everyone—is gone. The world is empty, blinding white and crumbling. We wrung it dry in our hands. Memories of those we used to know still linger deep down, but they drift hazily through our minds, difficult for us to grasp. That’s alright; I don’t think we need them anymore, do you?

All is silent now except for you and I, and the song of the light. It’s beautiful, like millions of bells and twinkling glass.

And still you are still and strong and steady beneath me, my darling, and we fit perfectly together—in these, our new bodies, taken by the light. Our wings are free, our hearts are one. And now, love, we fly.