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  1. Today, Lyra experiences a strange dream yet again after she falls asleep. Yet, this one is quite unlike the other two. The strange lucidity of her last two peculiar dreams are absent, as well as the particular means in which they are witnessed. This would be herself living in her own dream, as normal. Indeed, this is more of a 'standard' dream in many aspects... yet it would likely 'bite' more potently than most of her other nightmares.
  2.  
  3.         The white-haired witch finds herself walking up her driveway towards her house with Latona and their fourteen year-old daughter. Not adopted... modern science was an amazing thing, after all. She was in her late fourties now, and her house was a fair deal fancier than it had been. She didn't live on her farm anymore, but somewhere much nicer, although she still had quite the nice garden. She has other people running her business, so she can focus on her family and hobbies. The witchcraft is mostly behind her... After all, it was far too dangerous to stay in that world after their daughter was born, and she didn't need it for much more after she'd found a permanent solution to her lover's 'needs'. For their daughter, they'd become as normal as they could be. After all, after so many near-death experiences... neither of them wanted any of that for her. And it was so happy, cozy, and comfortable. Her more 'exciting' years were but a distant memory.
  4. And there is nothing that she could want more than this.
  5.  
  6. It had been a wonderful day in the city... And now, they were heading home to wind down for the evening. Lily would be in bed around ten, most likely... And after that? Well, then it was time for her and Latona to spend the evening caught up in eachother's company. Just like always... Just as it should be. She can't remember a time that she had felt this content but, then, it's a thought she has every day. And every day, it never gets any easier to accept... That everything is alright. That everything is fine. That she had the goddessdamned 'American Dream' that she had always mocked... Hell, they even had a pair of dogs running around their house for their arrival!
  7.  
  8. She's laughing at something as she becomes lucid. But whatever it was, she can't remember... She speaks, almost without thinking.
  9.  
  10. "Where do you get your wit, little girl..? It's certainly not from your /other/ Mother... Am I really that bad of an influence?"
  11.  
  12. Get inside. Start dinner. Make sure that everything is in order for tomorrow so that Lily didn't go to school without a lunch again... Simple, everyday, mundane worries.
  13. The dogs are jumping at the door whenever they reach it. Lily laughs at her mother's reply to whatever it was she said, as Latona gives a good natured roll of her eyes. "Yes, you really are, Lyra. This is what happens when you encourage her to hang out with the goths at school," she teases back. She still looks the same after all these years... but that's part of the package of having a vampire lover. Lyra herself has aged very well, fortunately. Something that's led to many comical moments upon meeting her daughter's male classmates. One of the amusing parts of being a hot mom, perhaps.
  14.  
  15.         Once inside, their daugther runs off towards her room. "I'm gonna go listen to music. Let me know when dinner's ready!" she calls back, leaving the two mothers there with a bit of time to themselves. Latona watches her run off, before looking to Lyra. "She really does take after you," she sighs happily, before following her into the kitchen to help with dinner.
  16.  
  17. "You think so..?" Lyra responds calmly, setting about to prepping the orange chicken that she had put in the fridge to marinate something of five hours prior. "Besides... What's wrong with hanging out with the goths? Is it so wrong that I want our daughter to have fashion sense?" She doesn't look up from her work. Because she knows who she'll see... She'll be there. Always be there, just the same. It's the security that they both chose.
  18.  
  19. A mundane life. Fuck the Camarilla. Fuck the horrible things she would've had to do to realize her lineage. Fuck all of it... This is her Nirvana.
  20.  
  21. "I think she takes pretty well after you too, you know. It's a wonder that she can read so much and still know the entire Deftones discography like the back of her hand." She shakes her head as she dumps the chicken into a bowl, setting to breading it with a contented hum. She maintains that sort of comfortable silence for a time... Before finally, she breaks it.
  22.  
  23. "Did you ever imagine... That we'd end up here, Moonlight? We literally have the middleclass dream... Isn't it crazy, what a kid can make an anarchist do?"
  24.  
  25. "Yeah, I really do," Latona replies to Lyra as she begins taking out the dishware. She chuckles at the inquiry, not too terribly serious about it. "The fashion sense is great. We just have to be careful, or she'll come home one day backtalking everything while smoking a pack of cigarettes right in front of us."
  26.  
  27.         The sound of music can be heard coming from their daughter's bedroom. "But you're right. I'm proud of how well she's doing in school. She's the top of her class... Hopefully she just figures out something to stick with by the time she graduates."
  28.  
  29.         She pauses once Lyra brings up the question, and turns towards the woman. A warm smile is worn upon her face as she steps closer to the woman. "It really is, huh? But really? I never thought we'd end up here, or that it was even possible, but... Here we are, and I couldn't be happier. There's nothing more I could ever want more than just being here with you, and with Lily."
  30. "She's gonna be a rock star." Lyra predicts, setting down the kitchen utensils as she turns towards Latona... And bridges the distance between them with a small bit of purposeful steps. "She's gonna be a rockstar, and she's going to make millions to be able to support me in my old age and decreptitude... Or, maybe she won't. Maybe she'll just end up with a nice girl, or a nice man, who just provides everything for her... Or maybe she'll strike it lucky." She traces her fingertips down Latona's arms... Eventually interlacing her own into her lover's.
  31.  
  32. "Maybe she'll find true love. And maybe they'll kick ass as a team..." Her head tilts as she hovers just a touch away from latona's lips... So many years, and even still it's like the vampiress is magnetic for Her. Impossible to leave alone... Impossible to resist.
  33.  
  34. "Maybe she'll be half as lucky as we are... And hey, wouldn't it be some shit if the daughter of a lesbian couple cured cancer..? I think that'd be something."
  35. Latona giggles at Lyra's predictions of their daughter's future. "Maybe she will be, who knows? She's way too strongheaded to settle down and become a stay-at-home mom, or something like that... I think she's going to go out and do something great." She gives a slight, affectionate squeeze after Lyra locks their fingers, gazing lovingly into her eyes. "After all, she has the greatest, most amazing woman I've ever known to look up to."
  36.  
  37.         Gently, the vampiress presses her lips against Lyra's. The kiss is held for some time, before finally being broken. "That'd definitely show the Christians, wouldn't it?"
  38. Lyra closes her eyes for the eternity in which their lips meet... Every time. Every time it's like a drug, and she's never been able to get enough. But when enough had been had by her lover- she passes her hands through her hair and gazes lovingly into her eyes.
  39.  
  40. "They could eat their fucking hearts out." Then, she pulls her lover in close... Catching her in a tight embrace as she nestles her head into her neck. And somehow, without thinking, she speaks something that is to her common sense.
  41.  
  42. "Do you want me to go get some fruit for you..? It's been a long few days. You have to be hungry, huh?" She doesn't draw back as she speaks. Instead- she just lavishes in this. Until her question is confirmed or denied- she's not letting this woman go.
  43. Following the warm embrace, Latona gently shakes her head at the question posed to her. She smiles softly at the woman. "I'll go get some myself... You just finish getting dinner ready before we get distracted again. Last time we ran late, I was afraid Lily was going to tear down the house. Our daughter has a terrifying appetite." She giggles, before walking off towards the back door, leaving Lyra to her tasks. The blaring music coming from their daughter's room quiets down a bit.
  44. Lyra lets out a small laugh as she turns back to continue working on their meal. She hears the music quiet down... And as it does, she calls out as loud as she can manage without sounding /too/ momish.
  45.  
  46. "Hey rockstar! Whatcha want for sides tonight? Fried rice or steamed?" She assumes, of coruse, that the girl can't quite hear her over it. But she doesn't really mind... After all, she's the same way when left to her own devices. What else was a goth to spend her money on than the single most killer stereo system in the whole damn state?.. In her own opinion. By now the chicken is breaded, and she idly drops it into a prepped pan of oil to fry. Not for long, of course... Just long enough to get it nice and crispy! The dogs of course, wiggle on over to her... To be given exactly what they wanted. The sinful woman gives them a piece each of unbreaded poultry, holding up a finger to her lips in a gesture she knew they would understand.
  47. Lily doesn't seem to reply to Lyra over the music, but it does faintly sound like she's talking to someone. Or maybe she's just singing along to the music, or talking to herself out loud while doing her homework? In any case, she doesn't manage to hear her.
  48.  
  49.         The dogs are quite thrilled to have chicken, hanging around to beg for more in subtle tell of the woman's sin. She has a bit of time before her lover returns to the house. Plenty of time to finish dinner.
  50. Lyra rolls her eyes at the lack of a response... And idly, she drops the rest of the chicken into the pan and pulls out her cell phone. She taps out a quick text- and sends it... To who? Well, to her daughter of course! The text reads something exceedingly simple... And assuming it isn't responded to in time, she would make the decision herself.
  51.  
  52. 'Steamed rice or chicken fried rice. Going once. Going twice...'
  53.  
  54. Frankly whether she responded or not, she had a new recipe that she wanted to try for a special soy sauce! Of course, it only went really well with steamed rice... So it's set into motion at the same time as the orange auce for the chicken. The kitchen was now a powder keg of delicious aromas the likes of which made even herself salivate at the thought of feasting... It's always better when you make it yourself after all! Just to be sure though... She sends a second text to her daughter.
  55.  
  56. 'Who ya talking to? Isn't that cute boy from history, is it? Or is it the girl from Drama..? Tell me tell me!'
  57.  
  58. Dinner is essentially set to be finished... It would just take a little bit more time for everything to finish cooking until it could be plated.
  59.  
  60. Little reply can be heard from Lily, but a text does eventually come in reply. 'Chicken fried rice' it says, of course. That's what happens when you ask when you already have something else in mind. For a moment it almost sounds like there's a second voice, but then after Lyra's text she gets too quiet to hear. It's probably nothing. Either way, she doesn't get a reply to her second text.
  61. Lyra clicks her tongue as the text comes through... And changes the plan on the fly. There's a benefit, after all, to being such a good cook. Adaptability! She listens for a moment as she hears a second voice... And there's a moment where she pauses, looking away to try to hear. She's always paranoid about voices... Who were they? What did they want? Were they invited? Or were they unwanted? She shakes her head, however... It's likely just whoever Lily was talking to right?
  62.  
  63. Right.
  64.  
  65. She makes her way into the living room then... Almost everything done. Almost everything ready. And she sits- taking out some trashy drug store romance that she hadn't finished just yet and setting to reading as the meal cooked.
  66.  
  67. Everything was perfect.
  68. Lily's room is quiet once more, save for the music. At least, as far as can be heard beyond the music. It becomes a bit louder once again, making it harder to hear whatever the teen is doing in there.
  69.  
  70.         Latona returns to the house through the back door, making her way to join Lyra in the living room. She looks quite... content after her trip out. She sits down next to the woman, smiling warmly at her. "Everything pretty much finished, or do you need me to help with anything else before the chicken's done cooking?"
  71.  
  72. Lyra leans in to rest her head on Latona's shoulder, if only for a moment. She closes her eyes then, but eventually makes a fairly simple request.
  73.  
  74. "Everythin'g set... About ten more minutes, and we'll be able to eat. You can have some if you want... I made enough for everyone- and it should taste just as good coming up as it does going down." She lets out a small laugh then, sighing a gentle sigh...
  75.  
  76. "Could you see what Lily is up to? Just... Tell her ten more minutes til dinner. She seems awfully preoccupied with something and I just wanna make sure they're cute."
  77. Latona sighs at the way Lyra phrases everything. "If she's going to have someone over, I wish they'd at least come in through the front door. What is this, the 90's?" She plants a kiss on Lyra's forehead before she rises, and heads towards their daughter's bedroom. "I'll go let her know... Should I ask her 'friend' if they're staying for dinner?" she asks before leaving the room, half-jokingly.
  78.  
  79.         After she disappears, the sound of a knock on Lily's door can be heard, following by it opening and a brief exchange between the two. No other voices can be heard. Eventually, Latona comes back down, and shrugs her shoulders as she looks to Lyra.
  80.  
  81.         "Are you sure there was anyone in there? I think she was just talking to herself or something, unless they're really good at hiding. She was just sitting on her bed."
  82. "Then..." Lyra begins, her lips parting then closing again as she shakes her head. "I must've been hearing things... It's probably nothing. Yeah. Is uhm... Is she ready for dinner? I can probably get everything plated all nice and neat and have the table set in two minutes. Wanna help?" She seems keen on leaving that train of thought behind. Wherever it was going? It's not something that she wants to think about. Tonight is a good night... And there's no need to befoul that with negativity.
  83.  
  84. None at all.
  85. Latona nods in agreement with Lyra. "Probably just her music. She really needs to turn it down a bit, or she's going to ruin her hearing. But yeah, she said she'd be down in a few minutes. I can take care of the setup if you just wanna sit around for a minute, love. You did most of the work already, after all."
  86. Lyra gives her lover a sweet smile, placing a gentle kiss on her lover's cheek. "You're the best, Moonlight... I'd love that. Just make sure everything's plated nice and pretty, okay? Presentation is like, 20 of the taste. You know I'm right."
  87. Latona chuckles as she heads over to collect everything, waving dismissively. "Uh huh, whatever you say, love," she teases as she gets to work setting the table. Meanwhile, the music finally ceases, and soon enough Lily shows up just before everything is finished.
  88. "Hey Lils!" Lyra chimes as she snaps her book shut, "Nice album choice tonight... Birthday Massacre, yeah?" She moves over to the table to slip into her usual seat, picking up a fork to idly gesture at her daughter. "Crap... I said I'd teach you one of their songs, didn't I? Er... Whatever. Another time. Uhm... The soy sauce might taste a bit weird with the chicken fried rice- but I made it from scratch. It should taste okay anyway but it was planned for steamed rice... Miss unpredictable." She huffs as she plucks up her beverage glass- full of soda, of course- and takes a generous sip.
  89.  
  90. "So... What are we thanking the Goddess for tonight? Your turn to pick, Lily."
  91.  
  92. Lily rolls her eyes at her mother's guess, as one would expect of a goth teen. "No, mom. Birthday Massacre is like, ancient. I was listening to The Head Sisters, duh. You should keep up with modern music. It's way better than whatever they had back then." And so the cycle of each generation thinking the last's was shit continues. And likely vice versa.
  93.  
  94.         There's a disgruntled sigh from the teen as she's made to pick. She idly toys with a fork for a bit, looking down at it as she thinks for a bit, before smirking and speaking her sassy answer. "Modern music," she teases, looking at Lyra. And yet, as she does, the woman hears another voice. It's quiet, almost drowned out by her daughter's voice, and likely easy to play off as a trick of the mind. But whatever it was, it sounds like it says, "Eighteen years..."
  95. Lyra looks exceptionally insulted by the accusation of musical age. She had speared a piece of chicken with her fork already, and waved it tauntingly at Lily. "You really need to hve an appreciation of the classics if you want to be a musician, girl. Like really... Everyone who's anyone cites the classics as influences y-" She trails off. Silenced, for a moment, by a strange voice... And a seemingly arbitrary number. Her eyes go wide, and her lips slightly part... Halting her speech and musical lecture, before she simply shakes her head. Though...
  96.  
  97. She can't remember where she left off.
  98.  
  99. "...Whatever. My point is, modern is good. But modern wouldn't /exist/ without the /classics./"
  100.  
  101. Holy shit if only she could hear herself.
  102.  
  103. Latona seems to catch the momentary change in expression, giving a brief look of concern, but seems to write it off as something harmless as the topic continues. Lily, just rolls her eyes as she argues with one of her mothers. "Whatever, /mom/. I guess that the old music inspired the good stuff, or whatever. But it's, like, way worse than what came after it. You should get out of the past and take a break from the oldies. Like, you'd probably like Ten Shouting Black Goats way better than those crappy 'classics'." Latona, meanwhile, stays out of the argument. This was a normal occasion when you had a goth daughter to a goth mother, after all.
  104. "Oh should I? Come /on/ Lils... Like, let's look at this musically yeah? Look at the Head Sisters. What makes their vocalist so different from Chibi, huh? And they both use the 80s style synths for their melodies? Uh, HELLO?" She sets her fork down on her plate, narrowing her eyes at the mini-her that she is engaged in debate with. "And for your information, I've listened to Ten Shouting Black Goats. And you know what? I think they sounded an awful lot like Devildriver. Oh... Wait... What's that? You mean they cite Devildriver as an influence? No /way!/" She mimes a gasp then, slamming back a swig of soda as the impassioned matriarch took her points a step further.
  105.  
  106. "Maybe /you/ should take a break from 'modern music' and listen to some more of the 'oldies.' Maybe you'd learn a thing or two about song writing in the process, huh?" She shoves a piece of chicken into her mouth, chewing furiously as she expectantly watched her child...
  107.  
  108. Frustrated though she is, there's obviously pride in her expression.
  109.  
  110. "You've got alot to learn, little gothling."
  111.  
  112. Lily remains defiant as the argument continues. "Whatever, mom. So what if there's /some/ similarities? It's, like, in the same genre. It's just better now. The Birthday Massacre and Devildriver probably sounded a lot like whatever influenced them too. Why listen to them when you can just listen to, like, the first bands in the genre?" She shakes her head in annoyance. "You just don't get it, mom. The new stuff's way better. You're just nostalgic and crap."
  113. Lyra rolls her eyes as she settles back and holds a palm up in Lily's direction. "And in thirty years, you'll be telling your tasteless kids the saaaaame things that I'm telling you. I've raised you well, gothling. THere is nothing more I have to teach." Her words are layered with /intense/ sarcasm. Sarcasm that she simply can't be bothered to cover up as she turns her attentions, instead, to her love. And then the dreaded question comes...
  114.  
  115. "What's your opinion, Latona? You /have/ to have one. Right?"
  116. Lily rolls her eyes back at her mother, clearly not willing to give any ground on this. Latona looks up from her plate when she's called out, momentarily wearing a deer-in-the-headlights expression before collecting herself.
  117.  
  118.         "My taste in music is absolutely terrible as far as either of you are concerned, and you know it Lyra. I usually listen to classical music when it's just me."
  119. "...Well... I mean... Classical is tasteful. I listen to some of Mozart's concertos sometimes too... Don't you remember that I /bought/ you those vinyls?" Her head titls, and she idly picks at her rice... Now the only thing left on her plate. "You /know/ I like everything. It's just, you know... Some of it is just objectively better! You get it, right?"
  120.  
  121. There's desperation in that stare.
  122. "You know that music is mostly subjective, Lyra. I'm just happy that she's not into mumble rap or something like that," Latona replies to her, desperate to try to stay out of the fight. Their daughter looks confused by that. "What the hell is mumble rap...?"
  123. "Some things are just better left unspoken of, dear... But you know what? I'll show you some later just so that you and I can agree on something for once." Lyra practically utters that to herself as she shakes her head... Then, under her breath?
  124.  
  125. "I got broads in Atlanta... Trick not to lean in a Fanta..." She shudders then, sticking her tongue out in distaste.
  126.  
  127. "It's shit, Lils. Plain and simple. We'll make fun of it after dinner. Actually... You know what?" She clears her throat...
  128.  
  129. "Andromeda, play Panda by Desiigner."
  130.  
  131. The AI assisted torment begins.
  132. The device makes a tone, before beginning to play the song. Lily is visibly disgusted by the terrible song, furrowing her brows as she hears it. "What the fuck? Is that, like, a joke song or something?" she questions, before finishing off her plate. "I'm going back to my room to listen to some /real/ music," she says afterwards, rising up from her seat.
  133.  
  134.         "I'll clean up," Latona offers, looking over to Lyra. "You can just calm down. I know how riled up music talk gets you," she teases with a chuckle. Neither of them seem to notice it, but in the middle of the song, there's a couple of seconds where it becomes a bit staticy. It's likely just a distortion from it being an old song few people care for, but... within it there's what sounds to be a girlish giggle.
  135.  
  136. Lyra can't overlook it this time. The first time was something she could... But that time? It's too obvious. She says nothing... Conspicuously so, as she rises from her place and follows Latona into the kitchen. As soon as she's sure that their daughter had gone somewhere else... She intercepts her lover and speaks in a low voice.
  137.  
  138. "Latona... Something's wrong. Something's really, really wrong..." She leans in, whispering something in the brunette's ear...
  139.  
  140. "Can you... See anything amiss..? Anything that shouldn't be here? I... I heard a voice. I heard a fucking familiar voice and I'm... I'm scared. I'm scared just... Please look around. Please tell me honestly, I... It..." She exhales shakily... Bouncing in place as a mixture of maternal instinct and an inherent sense of unease sent a chill slithering up her spine.
  141.  
  142. "/Please./"
  143. Latona looks quite concerned at her lover's worry, a small frown spreading on her lips. She looks around the immediate area, taking her time and studying it closely. "I... don't see anything around, love. Are you sure that you're not just feeling spooked? That movie last night made you jump a few times..." she queitly replies. "I can't feel anything either. But... if you want I'll walk around the house, and look outside a bit, and see if I can see anything."
  144.  
  145.         She sets the dishes down next to the sink. "Just... sit down and relax, okay? Listen to some music that our daughter thinks is shit, or watch something calming, and I'll be right back..."
  146. Lyra nods meekly, seeming to shrink... Several sizes, in fact. Like the proud woman that she had become over the past years was shrivelling away right before her lover's eyes. She doesn't know why... How could she? "I heard... In the middle of the song. I heard a laugh... And before that, a voice. A voice that said 'Eighteen years.' It's... It's been that long since... Since I..." She trailed then, shaking her head with extreme fervence.
  147.  
  148. "That was when I..." Whatever is said next, Lyra herself can't hear. But it's clear that the 'her' in this dream knew what she had said. Eventually she nods, and slinks off towards the couch to sit... Pulls out her smart phone, plugs in her ear buds and simply begins to try to vibe out.
  149.  
  150. Ignore it. Ignore it. Ignore it. It's nothing...
  151. Latona gives Lyra a tight hug and a kiss on the forehead before she walks off to search the house, and eventually the yard around it, for anything amiss. Fortunately everything seems quite normal as Lyra lies down and attempts to tune everything out. Eventually her daughter's music lowers when she presumably goes to sleep herself, and if she checks, everything around would be quiet and normal. It's probably just stress or something. After all, it is the anniversery of a rather stressful night, where a certain ghost was sealed away forever and her lover lost control.
  152. Though everything is slowing down... Though everything is steadily grinding to a halt, she just can't shake the feeling. Even in the security of her wonderful home... With her wonderful family- and with her wonderful dogs. There's a fear in her that she hadn't felt for a very, very long time. Her eyes are wide, and the playlist- far too long to ever really finish in one sitting- or even ten sittings. Eventually, she finds the will to close her eyes... Laying out on the couch, rather than in the bed she shares with her love.
  153.  
  154. Anywhere she can get it. The rest... The sleep.
  155.  
  156. Please just let me wake up and see that everything is okay...
  157.  
  158. Lily has school.
  159.  
  160. Everything is calm for a time as Lyra closes her eyes and listens to music. Her favorite songs play to help her relax, one after another, as nothing new happens. At least as far as she can perceive. But then, after the eighth or so song, there's a moment of silence when the next should start. And then, instead of it playing, there's a voice. There's no static or anything this time. Rather, it's loud and clear, and blatantly familiar.
  161.  
  162.         "You've had eighteen years to relax, and you still can't handle even a /little/ worry. You're such a pathetic failure, Lyra. It's no wonder you couldn't make it." There's that sadistic giggle. "I suppose even back then you were this week... Always turning to others for help. Whether strangers, or your 'cute' little pet vampire. But you could never handle anything on your own. Not really. And so here you are, in your nice big house, with your nice little family. It'd be a shame if something were to disrupt that... But you know, with as big as this place is... Your vampire couldn't ward everywhere like your old home with her silly little blood tricks. Why, I can freely slip /anywhere/ in here... and do whatever I want. If only you'd ever learned how to take care of yourself..." There's that cruel giggle again.
  163. Lyra finds herself steadily drifting... Off and off into the realm of sleep- free of worry and free of fear. But still, she finds herself unable to truly quell that fear that /something/ is wrong. That /something/ is amiss. And indeed... When one song ceases and the other should begin? Her suspicions are answered in full. A voice so familiar... Though one she had tried so very hard to forget. She had spoken with Carver about this just recently, in fact. TO make certain that she was still securely locked up in that box. But why, then... Why is she here? Why is her voice filling her head? Why is she making idle threats again?
  164.  
  165. "N-no... No you can't be here. I sealed you. I /dealt/ with you. You lost so why are you... Why are you here?" Her voice quivers. But she doesn't open her eyes. She can't open her eyes. She doesn't want to risk the possibility of seeing that which caused her this horrific existential terror because if she did so? Then, well, it would be real.
  166.  
  167. "No... No no no no. You... You fucking bitch. Don't. Stay the fuck away from my family. Stay the /fuck/ away from my daughter or... Or I swear on my life I'll rip you apart with my own two hands. Do you understand me?"
  168.  
  169. Desperation. Though it's a threat- it sounds much more like pleading than anything else.
  170. The giggling erupts into more uncontrolled, mocking laughter. "Oh, I bet you'd absolutely /love/ to do that, wouldn't you? But you'd never dare try. You're far too afraid, just like you always have been. After all... /you/ never did anything to me. Not really. It was always someone else. Especially that time... All you did was hold some silly box someone else made for you, while someone else fought on your behalf. You always give up when it's not someone else doing all the real work, just like now. You can't even open your eyes and face the truth, can you Lyra? Do you want to know a secret...?"
  171.  
  172.         The air grows colder around her, enough to cause goosebumps to spread all over her skin. She can almost feel breath beside her head, and the voice sounds like it's coming from right there this time, rather than from over the headphones.
  173.  
  174. "Last time, I had to hold back and play by certain rules... I couldn't kill you... directly. But now, after what you did? After all these years...? I can do /anything/ I want to you. And there's absolutely /nothing/ you can do to stop me. I'm sure your pet vampire would try, if she weren't a bit... 'tied up' at the moment. You know... those fangs really hurt the way she used them on me. It's far different than how she uses them on you... Aren't you curious to see the difference?"
  175.  
  176. Lyra begins to shake. Quiver, like a leaf in early fall. She doesn't dare open her eyes even still... She doesn't want to. And as it hits her- she noticeably shrinks. Sinking back into the soft leather couch with a shakey, shallow whimper as her head shakes. "No... N-no... Stop. Stay the fuck away. Please... /Please/ Stay the fuck away..." Everything that she had done since that vaunted night is still clear in her head. Every step she had taken... Every path that she had ignored for the road more traveled. For security. For happiness. For a mundane life, rather than embracing what she had loved in her youth. She had instead devoted her life to her lover... To Latona. To making her feel as human as she possibly could. For enjoying the time they had together for all that it's worth, and for all that they are to one another. But she can't. She knows that it's about to end... For some reason? She just /knows./
  177.  
  178. "Stay the FUCK AWAY FROM MY FAMILY!"
  179.  
  180. And her eyes burst open. Frantic.
  181. When Lyra opens her eyes, she doesn't see anything amiss. Not immediately. There's no sign of the ghost, aside from the voice continuing to haunt the woman. But still, it continues to haunt her.
  182.  
  183.         "Now, now, Lyra... If you keep yelling, you'll wake Lily up. You wouldn't want her to see what happens next, would you? I think you know... I think part of you always knew this day would come, but still you did nothing about it.~ Eighteen long years, and now it's far, far too late.~" She giggles, almost manically, before her words escape her.
  184.  
  185.         "You're going to die tonight, Lyra. And there's nothing anyone here can do to stop it. Not anymore. You knew better, and now it's time to pay the price.~ You have no idea how much I'm going to enjoy this, Lyra. But first... why don't you get up and give your vampire lover one last kiss?~ She's been waiting so patiently for you to get up. You know, her kind are just missing /something/ deep inside... For all their strength... it makes it ever so easy to play with them."
  186.  
  187.         If Lyra does look towards the back door, she'd see Latona standing there. But something's clearly... wrong. Her posture is all wrong... It's like she's a puppet on strings, being held at rest before the start of a performance. Her eyes are desperate and pleading, looking directly towards Lyra. "P-pl...ease... r-run..." she barely manages to struggle out, before her lips twist into a familiar grin clearly against her will.
  188.  
  189. It's just like that night.
  190.  
  191. She sees the horrible state that her lover is in... She sees the sight that ought to inspire fear in her. Inspire her to flee, to run far far away... But instead? It petrifies her. It causes her such fear that she can hardly rationalize it. Her lips part, then close... And part, then close until at last, she bites down on her lower lip. Bites down hard enough to draw blood. But there's something new now. Something that she has to look out for. Something she has to protect... And something she /will/ protect, as best she bloody can. It's not much. It's really, truly not much. But she screams. She doesn't call. She screams for her daughter...
  192.  
  193. "Lily... Lily, WAKE UP AND RUN!"
  194.  
  195. The shrill voice is bloodcurdling. Chilling, as she falls to the floor from her comfortable position on the couch and begins to push herself backwards.
  196.  
  197. "Love... love, love love love... Please. Please, I know you can beat her. You... You did it once, you can do it again. Please just... Just push her out. Push her out and we can forget about this. Please... Please I... I need you. I need you both. I need you both so fucking much and, and..." She's babbling.
  198.  
  199. Babbling babbling babbling... Until finally, she presses her back to the wall.
  200.  
  201. In the corner.
  202.  
  203. There's nowhere to run. But as she looks up towards the angel of death that her lover had become, she assures just one thing...
  204.  
  205. "I... I love you. I love you and I know... I know that this isn't you." An inhale...
  206.  
  207. "...I love you... And I'm so, so sorry..."
  208. The marionetted figure of Latona begins to move towards Lyra, but she does so slowly. She's clearly in no hurry... After all, Lyra clearly isn't going anywhere. The grin remains, and aside from her sorrowful, pleading eyes there's no sign the puppeted host has a single ounce of control over her own actions. Her mouth opens, but it's not her own voice that comes out. At least, not not.
  209.  
  210.         "Don't worry, Lyra... She can see and hear /everything/. And she will the entire time... Until I'm done 'playing' with all of you. But you know... You're right. I won't pretend like she has any power here... /I/ am the one doing this to you, and you know it. She knows it. Buuuut..." Her grin widens sadistically. "Your daughter won't. How nice of you to have called an audience for our 'play'." She laughs through Latona's mouth, the voice gradually transitioning from Lillith's to Latona's own. She gets closer and closer, her fangs growing out threateningly. The sound of Lily stirring can be heard, but she's moving slowly. She's likely confused by the sound, but is slowly coming to investigate. She's going to witness what's about to happen.
  211. Lyra pushes herself up against the corner... Tightly. Harshly. The dogs are outside... Sleeping in their little houses, specially made by the family unit. Together. They wouldn't see this... THey probably knew. How couldn't they? That something is wrong. Something is very, VERY wrong and there's nothing that the Alpha can do about it. She stares in silence... But can't find the will to scream again. She can't beg her daughter to go somewhere else... She can't insist that she goes out the window and just... Runs. No, this is all going to happen just as the puppetmaster plans it.
  212.  
  213. She's trapped.
  214.  
  215. She's always been trapped.
  216.  
  217. She wanted to fight... But of course, how could she? How could she possibly fight when there was nothing to fight WITH? She didn't know how. She hadn't learned. She had surrendered the opportunity to learn...
  218.  
  219. She had signed on the dotted line by doing not a single damn thing.
  220.  
  221. Tears stream down Lyra's face, as she pushes herself to a stand. She always thought that if she was going to die... That she would die standing up. With fight in her spirit and fire in her blood. But now... There's no fire. There's no fight.
  222.  
  223. There's only enough will to stand.
  224.  
  225. It's essential suicide. Her lips quiver, and she says just a few small, weak things.
  226.  
  227. "I love you, Latona... And... And I love you too..." Her eyes turn towards the hall. Where her daughter is sure to emerge... Sure to see. And when she finishes her words, her expression breaks into something altogether pathetic. The name has never held so much weight... It had never hurt so much. But even still...
  228.  
  229. "Lily."
  230. There is struggle clearly present within Latona's expression. She attempts to say the words back to Lyra, but it only results in a bit of minor twitching of her lips and fanged mouth. She's left only able to reply with her eyes, with small trickles of blood beginning to run down from them as the helplessness becomes clear to Lyra's lover as well. There was no escaping this, for either of them. Finally, as the sound of their daughter's footsteps draw near, Latona's voice does quietly speak up, but it's clearly not her manipulating it.
  231.  
  232.         "You always were good at making peace with fate. Maybe that was the problem, hmm? But now, maybe it'll be a bit less painful for the two of you this way. Maybe. But here our audience comes. Are you ready for the curtains to draw, Lyra?" She giggles through Latona's voice.
  233.  
  234.         "Mom...? What is it?" the voice calls drousily from the hallway, approaching the doorway to witness the scene in a matter of seconds. And then Lillith speaks once again.
  235.  
  236. "Three."
  237.  
  238. "Two."
  239.  
  240. "One."
  241. "Baby..." Lyra begins, looking towards their daughter with the same warmth she had in the delivery room. An overwhelming dose of motherly love... She is everything. Latona is her lover. Yes. Sure. But nothing... nobody, has ever given her the feelings that Lily has. None so strong as the day that she had given birth- and none so strong as now. She knows, then, what's going to happen to her. Everything that's going to happen... And for all Lyra's bluster and courage in the face of the mundane problems that they had faced before? There's none of that in the woman's face now. So she speaks... A final thing, just as Lillith's count reaches zero.
  242.  
  243. "Be strong... For me."
  244.  
  245. And the curtain opens.
  246.  
  247. "Huh...? What are you...?" Lily begins as she rounds the doorway, not finishing before the violence begins before her. She's left standing there, complete shock on her expression, her jaw falling slack. She clearly can't process what she's witnessing, leaving her there, unable to move. As for what she sees, well...
  248.  
  249.         The change is very abrupt and violent. Right before their daughter can move around the corner, Latona's expression and body language shifts, hiding the more obvious signs of the possession. This was a performance, in part, after all. The first thing that happens is her unnaturally powerful arms fly forward, slamming Lyra into the wall with enough force to dent it, the sound of cracking wood flooding the room. It's a bit louder than the sound of snapping bones, although perhaps not to Lyra herself. The incredible pain floods her body as it's assaulted by something akin to being hit by a truck. But she only has but a moment to consider the pain, before it gets so much worse.
  250.  
  251.         Latona's mouth spreads wide, revealing her fangs. But when they fly down upon her shoulder, it's nothing like any of the times she's bitten her before. It's not even like the time she lost control and violently fed upon her in frenzy. There's no Kiss to dull the bite... in fact, it's so much worse than she could have ever imagined. Flesh is ripped from Lyra's body, releasing a spray of blood throughout the living room. It's not an immediately lethal spot, in spite of all of the blood... Lillith wasn't going to be so merciful as to make this quick.
  252.  
  253.         The only sound that manages to break through the flurry of violence to Lyra's ears is the shrill, horrified scream of her daughter.
  254. Whatever she had expected to come of this, it couldn't possibly have been any worse than this.
  255.  
  256. Lyra feels her body give way beneath the horrible force of he rpossessed lover- and her vision goes bleary with the horrifying scream of her daughter. She struggles, albeit in futility, against the strength of her wife... Yes, her wife. Her wife- whose fangs tore her asunder. Who ripped a gorge into her flesh that caused her blessed blood to spray their living space a vivacious red- and the horrible bleary eyed oblivion that came with it. She didn't know exactly what was happening. How could she? All that she knew is that it hurts. It hurts so much more than anything had ever hurt in her life... And it pushed her far, far down the path of no return. She shrieks. Flails. Falls limp, as bone is cracked and flesh is torn.
  257.  
  258. A puppet in the hands of a marionette.
  259.  
  260. She begs. Begs and begs and begs for it to stop. For everything to end. For it all to go dark so that she doesn't have so live through this anymore. But eventually? Even her thrashing comes to a sudden, screeching halt.
  261.  
  262. Lyra is as good as a corpse. Painted crimson- bathed in sweat and gore. And whether or not Lillith stopped... Well, that's for her to decide.
  263.  
  264. The Spark would sustain her well beyond...
  265.  
  266. Well beyond the point that she /should/ die.
  267. The assault doesn't end any time soon. Whether she could see or not, she'd certainly manage to feel her lover's fangs ripping into her body. Flesh and bone is ripped asunder beneath the vampiress' horribly strong fangs. But as devastating as each rending bite is, it's equally carefully targeted. Each spot is hellishly painful, but not immediately lethal. Certainly several of them are mortal wounds she'd have nearly no chance of surviving, but Lillith was making certain she'd live, and suffer, for as long as possible. Even after she was little more than a mangled pile of meat on the floor.
  268.  
  269.         She might not be able to see her daughter through all of this, but she'd at least manage to hear her. The thud as she hits the floor, the screaming in horror at the sight. The desperate, sobbing begging for one of her mothers to stop killing her other mother.
  270.  
  271.         "MOM! NO! PLEASE! Stop, stop, stop...! M-Mom! Stop hurting her- D-don't! Please...! Why?! WHY?! STOP!"
  272. Lyra wanted to speak.
  273.  
  274. She wanted to explain.
  275.  
  276. She wanted to tell her everything. About what was happening... About why it was happening. But, those are things that she would think about if she was even able to think. Her lips part as she tries to scream- but all that comes through is a horrible sobbing scream. Air, choking off her words... Choking off her attempt to be heard as the entirety of her body goes limp. She wants to help. She wants to stop this. But she knows that she can't... But if she hadn't given up.
  277.  
  278. If she had only done what she had to do.
  279.  
  280. None of this would ever have happened... And they could've had the same life.
  281.  
  282. The same life, but so much better.
  283.  
  284. She doesn't moved. She can't. She'll never be able to again. Lyra knows this... But how badly does she wish to reach out to her daughter. How badly does she wish to close her eyes and make certain she doesn't have to see it...
  285.  
  286. Would she linger..? Would she be able to watch over her..? Or would she just be Lillith's toy for the rest of eternity?
  287.  
  288. Don't think about it.
  289.  
  290. Things are getting too dark to think...
  291.  
  292. Sleep.
  293. Things grow darker and darker, and the sounds around Lyra grow more and more distant. Until at last... she suddenly has perfect clarity again. The pain is like a faint echo, still felt but no longer numbing her mind. She can see, hear, and think perfectly clearly now... It's hard to say whether she's dead yet, or has just hit some point of clarity on the verge of it, but she's still within her body. She just can't move, or even blink or move her eyes.
  294.  
  295.         When it all stops, she's left there, a mess on the floor. Her possessed lover stops, and she's left looking towards her daughter. It's likely initially a comfort that she'd be the final thing Lyra would see... But that wouldn't last long. Latona winks at her as she pulls away, her visage terribly bloody. It's a rather clear hint that where her vision is left is deliberate.
  296.  
  297.         "Shh... It's okay, Lily. Mom Lyra is just sleeping... I know you don't like when we fight, but now... I'll help you feel better, dear. So much better..." she utters whismically, slowly walking over to their collapsed daughter. She sobs in confusion, completely broken with no idea what's going on any longer. But even before her puppeted lover gets there, Lyra likely has an idea of what's going to happen.
  298.  
  299. Lyra can't move.
  300.  
  301. She can't move.
  302.  
  303. She can't MOVE.
  304.  
  305. This is too familiar. She's seen this all before... So very, very long ago. Over thirty years had passed since she had been in the exact same position as her daughter. But why..? Why did this happen when she had won? Why did Lillith suddenly not have a care for making her do this to herself? Why did it have to be like... This? Her lips part... THough it's not of her own colition. She bleeds. Bleeds from so many places. So many broken and torn places that she couldn't even identify them if she wanted to. But this... She can see it perfectly.
  306.  
  307. See what was about to happen as clear as day time tv.
  308.  
  309. Anything but this. Anything but this. Anything but this. AnythingbutthisanythingbutthisanythingbutthisANYTHINGBUTTHIS!
  310.  
  311. And yet all she can say... All she can utter, is a breathless gasp as her fingertips uselessly twitch. Trying to reach out... Trying to snatch her daughter out of the path of danger.
  312.  
  313. But she can do nothing.
  314.  
  315. She never could.
  316. Writing reality out to disk. Please wait...
  317. Reality saved. Thank you for your patience.
  318. Try as she might, Lyra can't look away as Lillith forces Latona to walk over to the confused, despair-filled pile their daughter has collapsed into. "Shh... It's all going to be okay, Lily. See...?" She kneels down next to her daughter, making certain to give Lyra as clear a view as possible of the entire thing. "I'm going to show you a really /fun/ trick I can do..."
  319.  
  320.         She leans in, fangs extended. She looks directly at Lyra as they sink into their daughter's neck. Fortunately, she doesn't give her the same treatment she gave Lyra. The telltale signs of the Kiss strike Lily, but even then Lillith uses Latona's hands to violate her further. And through all of this, all Lyra can do is watch. She can't even look away or close her eyes.
  321. There is nothing worse than this.
  322.  
  323. If the Christians were right. If Hell was real... Then surely, this is what she would see for the rest of her eternity. A witch that couldn't even do /that/ right. A witch who, in her failure, had ruined the thing that she loved most beyond repair. Her daughter... Her daughter is going to live the same life as she had. She is going to be horrified. pathetic. Weak and broken by something that she never needed to suffer. If she hadn't stopped...
  324.  
  325. This wouldn't be happening.
  326.  
  327. She's frozen.
  328.  
  329. She's lost.
  330.  
  331. 'Just let me die.' She thinks. She pleads. She begs.
  332.  
  333. Lyra's life doesn't need to flash before her eyes... Because she's seeing it now. She's seeing both of the biggest parts of it rip asunder. She knows what's going to happen next... She knows that after this, Latona won't be able to live with herself.
  334.  
  335. She'll die.
  336.  
  337. Her fingers twitch, and her eyes... Goddess, her eyes. They're wider than they'd ever been. So wide that it seemed as though they might pop.
  338.  
  339. Kill me.
  340.  
  341. Goddess.
  342.  
  343. Please.
  344.  
  345. And yet, Lyra doesn't die. Unless she's already dead. It's hard to say. But either way, her torment doesn't end yet. Not until the entire horrific scene is finished. Not until her possessed lover finally releases their daughter, half-exsanguinated and in an infinitely worse state mentally. Not until after she walks towards her, gives her that horrid grin, and winks at her. And silently mouths words at her. 'I won'.
  346.  
  347.         And then, Latona collapses to the ground, as if she was a puppet that had just had its strings cut. She quickly climbs back to her knees, wearing an expression of utter horror. "Fuck, fuck, fuck! No!" She quickly stumbles up to her feet and sprints over to Lyra, pulling her into an embrace. The warmth of her bloody tears drips on Lyra's face.
  348.  
  349.         "I'm sorry... I'm so sorry..." she sobs pathetically. "Fuck! Why- how did this... Fuck, fuck, FUCK!" She reaches towards her lover, pausing as if she's not even sure /where/ to check for a pulse at. Finally, she reaches for the woman's neck, and utter sorrow strikes her expression. "I'm so sorry..." she pitifully squeeks, clearly certain that her lover is dead. And yet, Lyra can observe all of this.
  350. 'It's not your fault.'
  351.  
  352. Lyra wished so badly to assure her. That it wasn't her... That it's Lillith. That she has waited all this time to make her final play. But she can't speak. She can't move. For all intents and purpose? She /is/ dead. There is no heartbeat. There is no breath in her lungs. And rapidly, the warmth of her life's blood fades from her body in a way that makes a marvel of the fact that she is still lucid in spite of it all. That she can see it... The aftermath. Everything that was done. Everything that came after. The tears staining her corpse...
  353.  
  354. They spoke volumes for what she truly felt.
  355.  
  356. This is the end of the line... And she knows it.
  357. A sorrowful kiss is planted on Lyra's forehead, before Latona jolts as a pathetic groan sounds through the air. "Lily!" She quickly, but carefully sets the near-corpse of Lyra down, before quickly running over towards their daughter. But when she reaches for her, she's met with screaming. With desperate batting at her when she grows near. With pitiful begging for her to stay away. Eventually Latona gives up, turning away from her and walking back to Lyra. Her face is pale, her expression deadened with utter sorrow and despair. She's beyond broken herself. After all... what does she have left to life for...?
  358.  
  359.         "I'm sorry..." she weakly utters as she continues walking back towards Lyra. She collapses beside her, and takes out her phone. She calls 911, begging for an ambulance. The phone falls from her hand even as the operator tries to get more information from her. She scoops up the mess on the floor that was Lyra, and the mutilated woman gets to watch as her wife carries her outside, tears falling on her the entire time. Utter defeated sorrow within her expression. She falls to her knees in the grass, and gazes down at Lyra, who can at least still see her expression. She can also see into the sky. It's morning twilight.
  360. It was always going to end like this.
  361.  
  362. The moment that Lyra had decided not to pursue the difficult path... Hell, even down the difficult path. She knew that she would die here. Like this. With the love of her life and the song of her heart... Her Moonlight.
  363.  
  364. Her wife.
  365.  
  366. And what was more? She always knew that she would die first.
  367.  
  368. She doesn't speak. Because of course, she can't. But the corpse... Her lips. They still move. Soundless. Wordless. But the intent behind their movement is so abundantly clear.
  369.  
  370. Three syllables. Syllables with which the both of them are intimately familiar.
  371.  
  372. 'I love you.'
  373.  
  374. A single beat of the heart as the sun begins to paint the sky a dim morning orange...
  375.  
  376. And the breath that had sustained her, finally slipped from her lips. And weakly...
  377.  
  378. Lyra Grey passed on.
  379.  
  380. Her eyes, still open.
  381. Latona sits there, holding Lyra's lifeless body even as the sun grows threateningly close to the horizon. "I'm so sorry... I'm so sorry I wasn't strong enough to stop her... I... I should have prepared for this. I just... I thought everything was okay. I thought everything was over.... I love you so much. I-I... I'll be with you soon, Lyra..." She peers into Lyra's lifeless eyes, the focal point of what the woman can see in spite of her death. It's not the only thing she can see. As the light grows, she can also see the smoke begin to rise, steaming off of her lover's undead flesh.
  382.  
  383.         "Remember... remember all those years ago... when we still thought there might be a way...? You told me one day, we'd watch the sun rise together again..." She sobs, blood running down her cheeks, even as what looks initially like intense sunburn begins to cover her exposed flesh. "I-I was hoping it'd be a lot happier than this..."
  384.  
  385.         Latona pulls her tight, turning her head just enough to see the sun rising over the horizon. Her lover's skin progresses from sunburn to ever-worsening burns. Starting at first degree, but rather rapidly worsening underneath the sunlight. She lets out a shriek of pain, before forcing more words out of her mouth.
  386.  
  387.         "I-I... I l-love you, Lyra..." she utters, visibly fighting the urge to flee the sun's rays. She begins to combust, and then... After but a few more seconds, her burning flesh crumbles to ash, Lyra's body hitting the grass in the middle of the pile. And as it does, she's suddenly jolted awake.
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