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NullCase

One More Day

Mar 24th, 2021 (edited)
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  1. "One fish...two fish...red fish...blue fish..." A voice in the other room reads softly, a pair of small giggles following. Turning the corner, you see your wife, Amelia, sitting in her favorite recliner near the fireplace, your children sitting before her and watching in awe. "Black fish, blue fish, old fish...what comes next?"
  2. "New fish!" The children reply in unison. Amy seems particularly proud while Nonny, your son, simply breaks into another giggle fit.
  3. "Good! Very, very good! You've been paying attention," Amelia beams before she notices you. Her face explodes into a warm smile. She's just as beautiful as she was when you married her fifteen years ago, grays be damned. "Look, daddy's here!"
  4.  
  5. You smile, kneeling down as both of your children bolt up to you, clinging to your body. Your heart aches as you clutch them to you, embracing them as if your life depended on it. It hurts so badly. The last time you got to hug them was...
  6.  
  7. "You being good for mom?" You ask, holding back tears. The pair of them, oblivious to your emotional state, nod happily. "Good! Good...do you mind if I have some alone time with her? I need my batteries recharged."
  8.  
  9. Amy pouts but nods, dragging her younger brother with her as he complains about not finishing the story. Slowly, Amelia closes the book, and the two of you are left in silence save for the crackling of logs. Her smile softens somewhat as she looks up to you, tears softly streaming from her eyes. You move to join her, kneeling down next to her, resting your head on her shoulder as she reciprocates, holding you to her.
  10.  
  11. "I miss them, Amelia," You say as your voice cracks just the smallest amount. You wonder how they're getting along. Hopefully, Nonny's growing into a fine boy. "But I always look forward to seeing them so much, even if it feels like my heart is breaking in two."
  12. "I know, honey," She replies, softly grasping one of your hands in hers. "They're bigger now...n-not by much, but..."
  13. "But this is what I remember, right?" You respond, voice hitching in your throat. Amelia sadly nods in response. "I wish I could be there for them..."
  14. "D-Don't worry, we're working on it! We've...we've made progress with it, but..." Amelia trails. As she starts to sniffle, you wrap an arm around her. You can just barely register the warmth of her body. It takes a lot to hold yourself together.
  15. "Amelia, please. You can't keep doing this to yourself. It's--"
  16. "Don't. Don't say whatever it is you're going to say. Unless it's something positive, I don't want to hear it."
  17. "Honey," You begin, sitting up a bit. She looks over to you as she grits her teeth, staring at you in anguish as she continues to cry, holding back sobs. "I can't stand seeing you like this every time. It's not worth watching you deteriorate like this...Look at you. You look like you haven't slept since the last time you did this...You're not still trying to solve it with time travel, right?"
  18. "What am I supposed to do, then?!" She yells, breaking down completely. She clings to you as she weeps, sobbing into your shoulder. "We're so close! I know we are! R-Rushia's doing everything she can! Gura's searching everywhere she can in Atlantis for leads, Ina's making deals, Kiara's blood and feathers are working wonders, Calliope--"
  19. "But what about you?" You cut in, still struggling to stay composed. "You're falling apart. You can't handle the stress of this anymore, Amelia...it's going to kill you, too."
  20. "I don't care! At least then we could be together properly, not like...like this..." She continues to sob. The room around you flickers for just a moment. Time is running out. "I just...I just miss you so much! We can do it, we can--"
  21. "Amelia..." You trail, clinging to your wife. She feels so distant.
  22. "I'm not letting you go! I won't stop until you're back!"
  23. "Amelia!" You shout with more urgency. You're slipping. You can't hold on much longer. "Amelia, listen to me!"
  24. "Just a bit more...j-just a bit more! You'll be back soon, I promise, then--"
  25.  
  26. "AMELIA!" Calliope shouts, bringing the detective to her senses. "Amelia, it's--"
  27. "...T-Time ran out already?" The stupefied detective asks, looking around the room. Gone is the familiar living room. Gone is the fire, the comfortable chair. Gone is...Anon. Tears continue to pulse from her eyes as she stares dumbfounded. Kiara and Ina avoid looking at her directly while Shion and Rushia pant in a corner, their magics apparently expended. The illusory room is gone once more. "But...w-we were barely there for--"
  28. "You..." Calliope begins, almost getting angry...before she sighs, kneeling down a bit. "You can't...keep doing that. You can't keep trying to bring him back before we have something permanent ready. It's harder each and every time. You're just kneecapping yourself."
  29. "But--"
  30. "No buts, Watson. Yes, we're doing everything we can, but...every time you bring him back like that, you're ripping part of him away. Permanently."
  31. "Y-Yes," Rushia blearily mutters, attempting to sit up right. "The pall of death is only a temporarily crossable barrier...so far. Though the more you attempt to bring him back through it permanently, without the proper precautions or a vessel, the more damaged the soul will become, until it is unrecognizable..."
  32. "Then why can't we just get him a body?!" Amelia yells, anguish starting to flare up into mishandled anger. "I-If it's that simple, couldn't we just patchwork together something like Ollie?!"
  33. "That's exactly the problem, Amelia," Rushia sighs, finally managing to stand up, though she staggers. She seems to be in pain, grasping one of her eyes as she continues. "It's NOT that simple. If it was just a body, then yes, anyone could be bought back easily, but souls and the forms they inhabit are...fickle. There's more to it than anyone understands..."
  34. "Which is why," Calli steps in, planting a hand on the detective's shoulder. She flinches. "You can't just...keep doing this. I-I know that you miss him, that you need him, but you're ultimately hurting him more than you are helping him..."
  35. "Am I just supposed to wait, then?!" Amelia shouts, pulling her arm away from Calliope as she scowls. The Reaper merely looks on apologetically. "Everything...everything so far hasn't worked! I can't--"
  36. "The more you selfishly cling to him like this, the greater the chance that he'll be lost forever!" Rushia yells, suddenly very angry. Amelia shrinks. "Don't you understand that?! Not only are you marring his essence, ripping away parts of who he is, you're also causing him a great deal of grief! Didn't you see it?! Or were you too busy feeling so sorry for yourself that you ignored his pleas as he tried to comfort you, telling you to stop?!"
  37. "Rushia!" Kiara yells over, but the Necromancer continues. She's beyond angry; she's livid.
  38. "It's torture for him! Do you even think about how he feels about this!? He even said that watching you like this tears him apart! Listen to him, listen to us, and cease your childish behavior before everything we've worked for is for nothing!"
  39.  
  40. Amelia stays silent as Rushia finishes, the tiny Necromancer still furious as she storms out of the room. Concerned, Kiara follows, chasing her as Ina continues to meditate, tentacles twitching erratically as she does so. Calliope once more plants her hand on Amelia's shoulder...before moving in for a full hug. The blonde begins to sob once more, with enough force to begin shaking.
  41.  
  42. "C-Calli, please, tell me it'll be fine..."
  43. "Look, I won't lie to you..." Calliope lingers, looking uncomfortable. "Chances are slim. His soul isn't going anywhere, I...worked out a deal with the boss, but...you're asking to bring someone back from the dead. Even with all of us working together, that's no small feat..."
  44. "But there has to be a way," Amelia weeps, leaning into the disquieted woman. "W-We have all sorts of magic users, demons, everything in between! There has to be--"
  45. "I'm not saying here isn't! Don't get the wrong idea. It can happen. The world's a big, terrifying place. We have people from OTHER worlds which are just as scary, if not scarier! But you need to be patient. Rushia lost her cool, but...she's right."
  46. "But Calli, I-"
  47. "You need to let go. If just for now. Please. He loves you. You know he loves you, he knows you love him. That's more than most people get. I'm not saying give up. I'm saying...just give us time to work. For his sake."
  48.  
  49. The pair of them stand there, one barely supporting the other, as Amelia continues to weep. She knows they're right. She knows they know more about the afterlife and its nuances than she ever could. But still, her heart continues to rip in half. She continues to try and bargain.
  50.  
  51. "Please," She pleads, limply clutching to the reaper's robes. "J-Just one more day, please...not yet, I can't, just...please..."
  52.  
  53. Though Calli shakes her head, she continues attempting to soothe Amelia. This was the last time they'd do this. They decided that before they even started. Amelia continues to beg and plead regardless. Just one more day. One more day with the person she loves, and she'll be fine to wait until something can be done for good. It's a deal she's struck a dozen times. If she has her way, it'll be a dozen more.
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