Stumbling in the DarkNSFW

‣‣‣ 1156 words ( read)

Anyi's despair finally overtakes the eternally cheerful angelkin - and she has no idea how to deal with it. As someone experienced in the unfairness of the world, Elissa shows her the comfort that can be found in simply accepting what is and moving forward together.

Author's note: This takes place in the not-nearly-distant-enough future where Elissa's heroic journey with Anyi at her side has started with Darkmouth being destroyed by the Tarrasque.

I had a lot of feelings about recent events, so I put them here so that I may send them off for good. This features Ria's character Elissa and general world of vorish Pathfinder.

Elissa looks up from her map as Anyi returns to their little hideout. The usually-bright-and-cheerful angelkin looks like hell. Her eyes are shadowed by dark circles and lack the usual sparkle they've always had as long as Elissa has known her. Her skin is pale, no longer its vivacious, rosy color. Her shoulders sag, and her steps are small. Her voice, too, is quiet, barely loud enough to hear.

"I'm back."

Elissa hops to her feet, rushing to the girl's side and embracing her. "What happened to you? I thought you were just going to look for survivors..."

Anyi barely returns the hug, sitting down hard on the little beat-up sofa they'd found in this abandoned home. "Yeah. That's all."

"Anyi. Lying is my thing, not yours," Elissa says sternly, settling in beside her and brushing her cheek. "What really happened out there?"

The angelkin closes her eyes, and a single, tiny tear slips out from between her eyelashes. More follow it a moment later. "I-"

Elissa is at a loss for words. She's never once seen Anyi like this. She's never seen Anyi truly sad before. It's unnerving. Even if it was anyone else, she wouldn't know how to handle it, but with Anyi...

"There are... so... so many injured. And dead. People who didn't have to die. People on whom no judgment was passed. People who were just unlucky enough to be in her way." Anyi lifts her head, a haunted look in her eyes. "She's... Cleria is... going through the wreckage too, looking for me. Eating anyone who pisses her off... soul and all. I only barely got away from her, and I don't know who had to suffer because she was angry about that."

There's not much one can say to this. Elissa certainly wouldn't know what to say. She swallows hard, nodding her head to urge Anyi on.

The tears are coming quick and fat now. Anyi sniffles, swallowing hard. "So much senseless death and destruction. And she's- she's reveling in it. She's happy about it." Anyi bows her head, scrubbing her eyes with her sleeve. "And there's nothing I can do about it."

"You did what you could do about it," Elissa murmurs, a hand on Anyi's arm. "You made a difference."

"And to what end?" Anyi asks, laughing miserably through her tears. "Those I was able to care for lost their homes, their families, their friends. Limbs, some of them. Beloved pets. Prized mementos of people long past. All gone. Because of her. Their lives will never be the same again. That they still have them is only questionably a mercy. And if they run into Cleria, they might not even have that."

Elissa falls silent again, letting Anyi go on.

"And just... she's my sister. I'll never be able to separate myself from our common blood. People will hear my name and wonder if I would do that too. If they can trust me." Anyi lifts her head, her eyes now red and swollen, her cheeks covered in the wet tracks of tears. "And I still love her. What she did, what she has continued doing, is... unforgivable. Truly evil. But I... I know how much she hurt. Right up to the moment I left, my heart ached for her losses. I still can't forgive her for the choices she made, but... I..."

Anyi hiccups, on the verge of a sob. "To make this situation better is completely beyond my power. And every moment I stay here, I risk my own life - and yours and Nanya's and Nimue's... It's hopeless, Elissa... It's truly hopeless..."

Elissa accepts Anyi into her arms for a tight hug, feeling as much as hearing her girlfriend's racking sobs ripple through her. Her mind races.

When Anyi has tired herself out, Elissa finally offers a small response.

"Anyi... You've never been in despair before, have you?"

Anyi shakes her head. "There's always been hope before..."

"There still is," Elissa murmurs. "I know it doesn't feel like it right now. But there is always hope."

A hiccup is the only response.

"Um... I'm not really much of a... talker. But... you, you're always positive. You're always looking to build a bright future." Elissa strokes Anyi's hair softly. "And right now you don't know if there is one, let alone how to get there, and that scares you. Right?"

Anyi nods.

Chewing her lip in thought, Elissa continues, "I'm... the opposite. I don't think things will ever get better. I don't think things will ever change, not really. But... maybe I can make things a little easier. For me, mostly... but, um, lately for you and Nimue, too." She sighs, mildly frustrated that she can't find the right words. "... Uh, I guess my point is, even though I've never seen a bright future or tried to get there, I've just kept on living and taking my pleasure where I can get it. And, um, even though I didn't think it would ever happen... I met you. And things got sooo much better."

There's a sniffle, then Anyi mumbles, "I'm happy I met you too."

Elissa nuzzles her cheek against Anyi's wet one. "Yeah... So... right now, right here? This isn't your territory. And you've never been here before. You're suddenly without your guiding star and you're hurting and it scares you. But I'm with you. I grew up here. I've lived in the starless shadows my whole life." She tips Anyi's chin up, gently squeezing her cheeks. "And I'll keep holding your hand until you can see the stars again."

"Promise?" Anyi whimpers.

"Promise," Elissa agrees. "Just promise me in return that you won't stop being such a sap and crying so much about everyone you meet. I don't want you becoming like me. I like you the way you are."

Anyi laughs wetly, a genuine laugh for the first time since coming back from her outing. "Okay. It's a deal." She smiles wearily. "And, um, I like you the way you are, too..."

The two exchange a soft, sweet kiss. It's brief, but... when it's over, Anyi's skin has regained its normal rosy hue. Somehow, against all odds, Elissa has managed to help pull her out of her despair.

"So... what do we do next?" Anyi asks, sniffling.

"Right now, we take care of you. I have some food and a comfortable bed for you. And next..." Elissa holds up her arm - now decorated with a string of interconnected bracelets with empty settings. Then she taps the map she's been studying. "Next... we fight back. Together. I have to ask Nimue, but I'm sure she'll be on board. None of us want to see you crying."

Anyi bursts into another sob, and for a moment, Elissa thinks she's messed up. But this time, Anyi hugs Elissa bone-breakingly tightly, and though Elissa can't see it, she can hear the relieved smile in Anyi's voice. "... Thank you..."