Now with 50% more useless text Circulation: 180,126,803 Issue: 447 | 11th day of Relaxing, Y12
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A First, A Forever


by silverskinwolf

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The rain began just after Fae went to bed. The lights were turned out, the Neovision clicked off, and her work set to the side of her desk for the next morning. It was an icy rain, leaving a chill that seeped under thresholds and through the cracks in window panes. Somewhere in the background, the space heater thrummed steadily in a way that usually wouldn't be noticed in the hustle bustle of day life. The clock hanging from the far wall ticked faithfully onward. Prevailing over everything else, though, pattered the rain across the roof and against the window across the room from where Faeriegh slept in her bed, dead to the world.

     Across from the bed where Fae slept peaceful was one who could be her transparent twin. They were different, yet the same, two parts of one whole and complementary to each other.

     Silent and unmoving, the apparition sat weightless on the window sill, staring out into the rain barely visible to even his sharp eyes. Even so, he continued to watch, fascinated, as fat drops pounded against the glass.

     "Kad?" A groggy voice rose from the bed. The ghostly figure turned his head to the side, just the slightest of motions that was so easy to overlook.

     Sitting up slowly, the Chocolate Xweetok who had just recently been slumbering soundly propped herself up against the headboard. Yawning, she ground her knuckles into her drooping eyes in hopes of dislodging the temptation of sleep from them.

     "What are you doing up so late?"

     Turning to face his companion, Kad stood and approached the bed. His footsteps made no sound, his movement no stirring of air. He was nothing more than a phantom, passing between the worlds. He held no claim to this one, not without a form of his own.

     "Did I wake you? I'm sorry. You should go back to sleep."

     "No, it's alright," Fae mumbled sleepily, swinging her feet over the side of the mattress. Her pale magenta pajamas clashed pleasantly with the black Kad wore. "Why are you up? Is something wrong?"

     Kad shifted. Frowned.

     "No. No, nothing's wrong. I was just..." Slowly, he turned to look back out the window. Thunder grumbled in the distance, stealing away whatever he had been planning to say. Eyebrows furrowed.

     Fae followed his gaze.

     "Did the rain keep you up?" she asked curiously, seeming much more awake.

     Silently, Kad drifted towards the window once more and brushed away the curtains with the back of his hand. They fluttered aside as if buffeted by a sudden breeze. A flash of lightning lit the sky dark purple and the clouds dangerous turquoise. The rain was blinding white, falling in thick ribbons from the sky.

     "Kad?"

     "It's strange."

     Fae shuffled over to stand beside her counterpart and they stood together, yin and yang, at the window to watch the rain fall.

     "What's strange?"

     A pause. Befuddled, Fae stole a glance at Kad's spectral face. Even though he had no physical form in the world, the light still played across his phantasmal skin, setting his features in a sharp contrast. His cobalt eyes glowed ghostly silver as a sliver of moonlight broke through the mantle of clouds the sky wore so heavily. The outside world lit up, and the room seemed all the darker.

     "This land," he answered after a moment, "where rivers fall from the sky. That is what is strange."

     Fae, more lost than ever, remained silent, reassured that Kad could feel her bemusement and would explain.

     And explain he did.

     "It's curious for me, to see this thing you call rain. Unfamiliar."

     "You've seen the rain before, Kad." He was always watching, so surely he had seen...

     "...Yes. I was distracted, and with good reason. I never stopped to watch and be in wonder." A sigh. "And it is strange," he stated with an alarming amount of finality.

     Fae tilted her head up.

     "Strange?"

     Smiling vaguely, almost not a smile at all, the Spirit returned the gaze with far off eyes. What Fae thought was strange was how his eyes seemed the most solid part of him, always so real and full of light and life, though his own body had died many millennium ago.

     "In my time..." Fae felt a shock go up her spine at the longing in that voice, "...it did not rain. Living was the good river, our source of water and prosperity and life. I went my entire life without knowing what the rain was, because the rain did not exist in my time but rarely. My time..." He trailed off, eyes sliding back towards the window. Lightning reached towards the land. The sky roared.

     Concerned, Fae shifted nearer her closest friend when she felt a pulse of shrouded longing, almost sorrow. No matter how Kad tried to hide his pain, though, Fae could always feel it. Always.

     "Kad..."

     What could she say, Fae wondered, to comfort this gallant spirit, separated from his homeland for so many thousands of years, plunged into a strange world he didn't understand? In a land he was never meant to see, a time he was never meant to see...

     "My home," Kad continued as if Fae hadn't spoken, "never heard thunder, never saw lightning. And I never heard nor saw. And now I am here, experiencing these strange, unnatural things. If I had lived a normal life, I never would have..."

     Fae felt a sharp pain in her heart and a wave of despair engulfed her. Did Kad wish he had lived a normal life? But if he had lived a normal life, he never would have...!

     "If I have lived a normal life," Kad’s tone rumbled, voicing Fae's thoughts perfectly, and Fae knew she was caught. In the same way Kad could hide nothing from her, Fae could hide nothing from Kad. Cobalt eyes lifted, and Fae’s entire being and soul froze, not able to complete the thought. Not wanting to.

     The two stood, eyes locked, caught in a battle between the shadows and the light. A clash that was constant in the universe, opposing and yet completing at the same time. They clashed in merely being, in existing together as the purest of pure contraries to the other. The mere fact that they were set that ever struggling and balancing into motion, unable to continue without the other.

     And they stood, merely being, staring and unmoving like statues in that one moment. And for a moment, Fae was afraid, an irrational fear that Kad was unhappy and that Fae's friendship would never be enough to replace the love he had held and still held for his homeland and birth place, the place where he loved his people and paid the ultimate price to save them all. She was afraid...

     And then, Kad smiled.

     "If I had lived a normal life, Fae..." He lifted a single un-matter hand and brushed the back of his knuckles, as solid as anything, over Fae's cheek, comforting like one would a small child after a fiendish nightmare. "Then I would never have met you."

     The agony, that fear, drained from Fae's chest like sickness from the wound. Fae reached out and silently pulled the ancient spirit into a hug and she couldn't stop her trembling, from joy and from grief, because some small part of Kad was in pain. Would always be in pain. And she felt helpless, because there was nothing she could do to heal that pain.

     "Kad?"

     "Hmm?"

     "I'm sorry."

     Understanding passed between the two.

     "I know. And it's alright."

     And that was enough. No more words were needed, not for the two, because they were connected and balanced in the same way the sun balanced the moon or life balanced death. The two stood like that for a long moment before Fae glanced up with sparkling eyes, a grin spreading on her face in deviousness.

     "Now come on. There's more to rain than just seeing it."

     Grabbing the spirit by his wrist, Fae towed a confused Kad down the stairs to the game shop and then out the front door. Standing under the porch, she breathed out a cloud of steam into the air and smiled into the bleak, polar darkness that bit raw at her nose.

     "Fae, what are you---?"

     "Don't ask questions. You'll see. Now come on."

     Taking his hand, Fae then did something neither of them had ever done or tried. They always knew they shared a connection, some strange type of link that never of them could explain, yet at the same time always just know what it was and felt like.

     As Fae stepped out into the rain, she closed her eyes and concentrated.

     And for the first time, they shared the world.

     Shocked by the unfamiliar sensation, Kad laughed, a surprised, breathless laugh, and Fae laughed with him. The voice that rose from the White Xweetok’s chest was unreal, ethereal, deep and light, joyous and sorrowful, the world wrapped into one moment.

     Glowing sapphire eyes lifted skyward and squinted. Arms lifted high, hands splayed upwards, as if to take flight, or maybe even to swim weightless through the torrent until he reached the hiding stars above.

     Still laughing, they wiggled their toes in the sloshing, glacial puddles and shuddered as cotton stuck to their fur. Above, the brief flaunt of moonlight slid behind the cloud cover and, in the darkness that followed, shadow and light danced together, a single being that laughed to shame the stars.

     And Kad experienced rain for the first time.

The End

Much love for my two little Xweetoks who inspired me to finish this drabble I started out with. (:

 
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