{aura} the dog days are over

Poppy wasn't sure what she was expecting, but she saw the shock on Aura's face, and it shook her almost as much as it had done to her mother. Already Poppy was feeling the heat rolling off of her, sliding away until all that was left was a bellyful of guilt and a throbbing headache. She'd always been like this, quick to flare and then just as quick to release it, but always just a moment too late to stop herself from doing damage. She opened her mouth at Aura's words - she wasn't sure what she'd planned to say, but there had been something on the tip of her tongue - but the woman was already gone. She hesitated, her hand lifting of its own accord towards Aura's shoulder, and she yanked it back when there was just a finger's breadth between them - just in time, too, as Aura turned back and held the door open for her a moment later. Poppy hesitated, then, tipping her chin upward in a stubborn expression, sauntered through the door after her mother. She stopped just inside the doorway, close enough to peek into the room and the woman there, but not so close that her fading vision would catch sight of her.

Her breath caught as Aura changed, not just her appearance but... This was the Reaper, a woman with a purpose that was more than her, more than their messy family situation. They were gone - Aura and the spirit of the woman - a moment later, the woman's body growing still and quiet. It took her a long, sluggish moment to process what she'd seen, what had happened. She finally stirred enough to poke her head out the door and summon a nurse, someone to record Fleur's time of death and take the body... wherever it was that they took them. The morgue? They cleaned the body carefully and took her away, leaving Poppy alone in the room with the empty bed. She took a seat in a nearby chair, steepled her fingers and bowed her head as she thought.

She became aware of Aura's return a moment or two later, but didn't raise her head. She just spoke, softly and reluctantly.

"I'm sorry," Poppy said. She wasn't really sure what she was sorry about: her sharp words or interrupting Aura's duties. She just knew that she was. Her shoulders drooped, her gaze reluctantly lifting to her mother's.


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