Heather Reawakens with a scream, hands clawing to get them off of her.
There’s nothing on her?
She touches a shaking hand to her neck and pulls it away to examine it. There’s no blood glistening on her toffee-colored skin, no torn flesh hanging from her neck, no pain radiating from her body, nothing. How is she not dead?
She shudders as memories of frenzied moans and snarls echo in her head. Hopefully, her distraction had bought her friends enough time to get out of there. Herself, on the other hand… hmm. Maybe someone came back and got her after all? If that’s the case, and she’s been out long enough for her injuries to heal, then just how much time has passed? Where even is she?
She sits up, reflexively reaching for the knife she keeps by her side before remembering that she’s not in her and Sun’s quarters at the base. Actually… she’s not in the infirmary, either. In fact, if she didn’t know any better, she’d say this was her old dorm room.
That’s impossible, though. The entire east side of campus was destroyed in one of the Purging explosions. She remembers because Sun had to drag her away from the building when she tried to run in and save her dorm mate Katie.
And yet… this sure looks like her dorm room. Her purple laptop is over there on the desk where she always kept it, her old posters are up on the ceiling, and behind that dresser may even be the hole that Katie accidentally punched in the wall in an experiment gone wrong.
Heather’s eyes slowly travel the familiar room, a hollow feeling in her chest. This dorm room is the core of the wild ride that was her first few years in college, and she loves every little part of it. If only this were her life again.
Then she notices the girl on Katie’s bed.
Than had been strangely drawn to Heather’s pending Reawakening. She hadn’t understood why, but for the first time in millennia, she decided to listen to her instincts again.
Heather’s Reawakening had been entirely unremarkable. She’d abruptly sat up, screaming in residual fear from her dying moments. Her dark skin glistened in the environment’s soft light as her screams quieted, confusion evident in her actions.
Had this been any other soul, Than would have lost interest and moved on to assist her Reapers in another day of Collecting. As it was, something about Heather was peculiar. Off. Wrong. Her aura is familiar in ways that it shouldn’t be, almost as if…
…no. Her love had been driven away millennia ago, and Than had resigned herself to never lay eyes on her soulmate again.
Heather’s eyes land on where Than sits on one of the Dream World's beds. Than expects the girl’s gaze to slide past where’s she’s sitting, but to her surprise, Heather gasps and locks a gaze.
She can see her.
The weight of Heather’s stare is almost a tangible burden on Than’s chest. Those eyes are so familiar, and overwhelming emotions she thought she had stifled long ago promptly return.
All of a sudden, she understands.
“You shouldn’t be here,” the girl says quietly. Her tone is even, but Heather gets the sense that she’s sad. Lonely. Heather suddenly longs to help her.
“What is your name?” Heather says. She’s not sure why. She should be looking for her friends, getting out of wherever this is, but this girl… Heather has an obligation to her. Somehow.
The girl doesn’t answer.
Heather tries again. “I feel like… have we met before?”
“You’re dead, Heather.”
Huh. Heather guesses she hadn’t survived the attack after all. She hopes her friends are okay. She hates that she had to leave them behind. She had so much to do. They were going to find the cure together, they were going to save the world. It looks like they’ll have to do that without her.
She feels strangely at peace with this fact.
Now that Than has realized it, she can't stop seeing Lux in Heather. The girl has the same curve to her lips that had once graced his features, the same compassionate aura that he had exuded, the same sparkling eyes that outshone all the stars in the heavens.
This was some cruel joke Than decides. Some cosmic deity had first ripped her love away and let her mourn for millennia and then reintroduced him in a different body just as she had healed and moved on. This poor girl had been ripped out of her life before her time was due, and it was all Than's fault.
"I'm so sorry I did this to you," Than says mournfully.
Heather seems confused. "What? Wait, you mean me dying? How could that possibly have been your fault?"
Than frowns. "I–"
"Look, I don't know you, but I'm guessing you're Death or something. I died because I wanted to save my friends. That was my choice, and I dunno what you're thinking, but if you're anything like me then you're guilting yourself into depression about something. So just… stop."
"…Oh my gosh, I just back-talked Death. I'm sorry. Please don't kill me."
Than, stunned, watches in silence as the now flustered girl rambles apologies. Then, for the first time in millennia, Than grins.
Perhaps Heather was killed by some obscure deity, or perhaps her death had just had been coincidental timing to Than's Reaping day. Perhaps she was Lux reborn, or perhaps she was simply a girl that bore eerie resemblances to her old love. Regardless… perhaps it's time for Than to attempt to pursue happiness again.
"I'll consider forgiving you," Than interrupts Heather's flow of words, "if you give me a tour of your Dream World."
Heather blinks. "Dream World? You mean this is… wow. That makes sense." She beams at Than and holds out a hand. "Shall we?"
Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author's imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.