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For I had believed what I was sold, I did all the things that I was told
But all that has changed, and now I'm bold.


Aura lowered her hood slowly, wishing it didn’t automatically cover her head whenever she touched the Staff of the Dead. It added to the effect, but Reaper wasn’t exactly a helpful look right now. She moved around to the other side of the bed, closer to Poppy, sat down on the edge of it and leant the scythe against the bed frame. As soon as her fingers released it, her icy robes vanished and were replaced by the outfit she’d died in: a greyed-out tank top and shorts. The only difference now was that she was missing her shoes, long traded for passage through the Realm of the Dead, and she had her pendant on display. The silver and blue star winked in the light.

It was hard to look at Poppy; much easier to inspect her fingernails, which were clogged up with the grey dust which coated the roads in the Realm of the Dead. Aura chewed at them apprehensively, pretending she was trying to dislodge the grime with her teeth. She paused when Poppy spoke and slowly lowered her hand. It came to a fidgety rest on her lap and scrunched up some of the fabric in her shorts.

What was she supposed to say to that? Poppy’s chin and shoulders were low, but she’d lifted her eyes to meet Aura’s. They had exactly the same eyes, both in colour and in shape – it was the one thing about her appearance which Aura had generally kept the same throughout the centuries. They looked out of place on Poppy’s face, which otherwise bore more influence from her Greek father. The only other thing about her which resembled Aura was the copper-red gleam of her hair in certain lights. Aura was a natural redhead.

Personality-wise, they had next to nothing in common. There wasn’t even the bricks for a foundation of a relationship between them. Anything Aura said – I’m sorry too, I’m proud of you, I’ve always loved you – would be false under those circumstances. She couldn’t feel love or pride for someone she had no connection with. She couldn’t apologise for an action she wouldn’t redo, even if she was ashamed. Even if she regretted the consequences. She also couldn’t apologise for a person’s existence, or for the crappy circumstances in which that person had been brought into this world when she’d had nothing to do with it personally.

What was the right thing to say? What was the kind, honest, helpful thing to say?

The silence must have hung between them for several audible seconds. Aura pulled her legs up so she was sat on the bed in a cross-legged position and sighed.

“You don’t owe me anything.” Certainly not apologies. She tucked a strand of loose hair behind her ear and gave a sort of half-shrug. “Do you want to talk?”


A u r a
They thought I was weak, but I am strong; they sold me the world but they were wrong
And now that I'm back, I still belong.


image by ankur sharma at flickr.com


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