The pen scratched across the paper, carrying just a taste of its wielder's desperation.
"It kills me not to be there with you, but I'm sure you and Izi and Yogurt have things under control. I'll be back as soon as I can. But it might be a while."
The thought of being stuck in the First for years - like the rest of the scions - gnawed at her. The idea that it would be years before she could see her beloved little sister again...
At least Amah would still be as she left her, even if Tala wouldn't be the same. Unless... the time difference were to flow the other way, and she were to return what she believed to be weeks later, and find Amah an old woman...
She swallowed hard, putting an end to this train of thought. She could always leave, after all.
And put two worlds in danger? Not likely. I'm stuck here for the long haul. If I want Amah to grow up safely, this is where I belong.
"Looking forward to seeing you again soon. Love you! - Tala"
She folded the letter, placing it in the envelope, putting her seal on it, and setting it aside for the pixie to take.
At least she wasn't alone. She looked around the room. Three sleeping forms, tucked into three beds. Her closest friends in all this world - or any other.
And inside her... quiet though she was... her beloved.
You doing okay? Tala asked, leaning back to commune with the demoness mentally. I haven't heard you even complain, so I KNOW something is wrong.
Tala tried to call forth the diminutive doll-sized form Lixia normally took, but the demoness refused to budge. Tala could feel her girlfriend's energy wrapped tightly around her heart. Hey, I was joking, but really, is something wrong?
I'm from the World of Darkness. This is the World of Light. I'm not exactly comfortable. Lixia's voice had an acid tone that was completely unlike her usual smooth seductiveness.
I'm sorry, Tala said, feeling oddly stung. Can we talk about it?
Okay. I'm here with you whenever you need me.
Tala moved to get ready for bed, but Lixia finally summoned the pluck to speak. I used to fantasize about what this must be like, you know. Back when I still had a life of my own.
About what what must be like? Tala asked, settling back down into her spot.
Lixia finally manifested - a tiny little doll of a thing, but manifested nonetheless. She settled on Tala's shoulder, resting her head against Tala's. A grimace twisted her face - the pain of manifesting in a body made of darkness-aspected aether here. "A world overrun by Light."
"Mmm... Is this what you pictured?" Tala asked, tilting her head slightly toward Lixia.
"Hells no," Lixia said, snorting a laugh. She reached a tiny hand out to block out the brilliant skies where they showed through the inn's blackout curtains. "I imagined a place where everyone was happy, giddy, full... where crops were thriving and the only problem everyone had is that they couldn't imagine that there was a problem until it was too late."
"Heh. Not exactly what we've found." Tala reached up, brushing a fingertip across Lixia's tiny cheek.
"I think... that's what hurts the most. Not the excess of Light... though it does feel like being locked in a sauna." Lixia fluttered down to a seat on Tala's lap. "But... I imagined this place, this heaven, to get through the end there. In the Void. Even as my body felt like it was freezing to death no matter how hot the fire, even as the fog of darkness grew heavier, even as more and more people around me started to lose themselves to the darkness. As long as I could imagine this paradise of Light, I could handle it." She lay her head back against Tala's stomach, stretching her small legs out. "And there's a part of me that feels the hopelessness that my younger self would have felt, if I'd told her what it would be like."
"Hopelessness is in the air here," Tala said, resting a hand on the top of Lixia's head and caressing the demoness's hair between her horns. "It's not just you. It's not your fault. We're all feeling it a little bit. It's in the air, and... well, you've seen what we've all seen. This is a world on the brink. It's depressing. And maybe seeing this place like this is a little too familiar for comfort for you."
"Heh." Lixia rolled onto her side, peering up at Tala. "You got that right."
"You aren't one of the four of us with a date with destiny, though," Tala said. "Our host graciously offered us a portal to return. If you'd rather go back to the Source..."
"And leave you here?" Lixia sat up suddenly. "No. ... No. The loneliness was the worst part of the end. I'm not going to leave you. And I'm not going to allow you to leave me alone. I don't want to be there, on the Source, wondering when you'll come back... if you'll come back. I've been through far worse than this with you. I'll stay with you to the end, no matter how bad it gets."
"Thanks, Lixia," Tala whispered, curling her arms around the succubus. "Love you."
"Love you too," Lixia murmured, nuzzling against Tala. "When this is over... when this is over, do you think you'd consider..."
"Just, you know, celebrate... us, somehow, I don't know, I- you know, mark our relationship somehow, some kind of... ceremonial thing, maybe, make that promise official, between us, not leaving each other alone, I don't-"
"You want to get married," Tala breathed.
"Only if you do!" Lixia said hastily. "I don't... I don't remember what that's like. I don't remember if we even had it, before my world turned into the Void. But if you're okay with it, if it can even happen, just..."
"I'll ask Yogurt if she can find me some information about it in my next letter," Tala whispered, suddenly feeling ten times lighter. "We'll need to find engagement rings... I can wear both of them while you're riding along... Oooh, what would perfectly symbolize us?"
Exhausted by the exertion of manifesting in this hostile world, Lixia lay back and melted back into Tala's body, letting her host's sudden surge of joyous energy fuel her as well. Let this be what carried them through the rest of this adventure...