Chapter 87: Longing

Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic

Reads: 387

Zooka met his eyes with a smile. There was an ethereal glow around her, a heavenly vibe. She grinned, but the words she said never reached Lance's ears.

She lifted a delicate hand, gently cupping the side of his face, his head turning in the direction of her hand. Feeling her thumb sweep across his cheek.

Lance opened his eyes to blue sky. He thought back, now hearing the words she'd spoken.

"I'll be waiting for you."

How could he know what her voice sounded like?

Zidane's memories. Even then, those were a few years back... The way she sounded in his dream... It was like she was actually there.

Lance looked up, noticing a mesh tent above him. An elliptical light followed his stare, allowing him to look outside without any interruption. Where were they? What happened to the cliffs?

I... Had another attack... The sight of seeing red atop the blue of the flaming waters came back. We still made it out?

He forced himself to sit up, feeling his shoulder muscles scream for him to stop. Raising himself halfway up, he suddenly saw Zidane crouch down, all of his weight leaning to one side as he moved the bottom of the tent up and over himself. With dark eyes, he softly glared at Lance.

"Hey, what're you doing up?"

"Uh." Lance tried to grin. "We made it out of that place, right?"

Zidane nodded, shifting to sit down at the edge of Lance's bed. "Yeah, I'm in the process of healing my foot. Had to ram it against a rock and rip off a few toenails in order to get us out of there, but hey, we made it, so no harm, no fowl."

Lance ignored his stomach snarling in disgust, glad he wasn't there to see it actually happen. He looked away.

"Sorry," he said. With his stare going above them, to the top of the mesh tent, he added, "Especially for slowing us down like this."

Zidane shook his head. He stood up, holding the wall of the tent up with a wrist and holding one foot in the air. "Don't worry about it," he said as he did this. "Just focus on getting better, alright?"

Lance nodded, dropping onto his back as he heard Zidane walk away. The crossbreed's voice came to him again as he shuffled through the duffel bag.

He had to carry my shit, too. The anger gave way to depression. Why am I so useless?

"You want anything to eat?"

Lance dismissed the question instantly, feeling his stomach silently ache in protest. In the next moment, a tray was being extended to him. Something that could change into any food he wanted. He looked past it, seeing Zidane holding the tray with lighter eyes. The smile on his face broke into a grin.

"In case you're hungry later."

A bit of a lie; Lance could only guess Zidane had seen through his own fib. He took it, immediately setting it aside with a quiet thanks.

"Just focus on getting better, okay?"

"You too."

Zidane nodded, standing again. Lance settled back, fatigue carrying him off to sleep.


It was that night when Lance was looking up at the stars.

"You think there's something out there?" he asked the silence around them. "Something that planned all this?"

The stillness stretched on for a beat, and from his place hanging by his tail, Zidane replied.

"I'm not really religious," he said. "Not very spiritual, either."

"What's the difference?"

"I've heard religion is looking outside for an answer; spirituality is finding that answer inside."

"Was that from Kazuo?"

Zidane nodded. "Yeah."

Lance was silent, staring up at the white streak in the sky.

"Do you miss him?"

A pause; a clearing of the throat.

"I do," the crossbreed said quietly. "I miss him a lot sometimes."

Lisa flashed in Lance's mind.

"Take a jacket will you? It'll be cold outside."

"What do you do, when you're missing him a lot?"

He peeked a little bit, enough to see Zidane shrug his shoulders. His hair was flipped upside-down, fully exposing tear-drop-shaped ears.

"Go spend some time with Zoo, usually," he said, keeping his eyes closed. "It's enough to wear the sadness down. I know she misses him, too, more than I do."

"He was her caregiver," Lance said, agreeing.


They were silent, until Zidane suddenly spoke. "Lance."

Lance slowly sat up, hair falling into one eye as he turned to look behind himself. He pushed it back, palm resting against his forehead, as Zidane continued.

"I know things might seem dismal at times, but we're making progress, just being here. I want you to remember that, okay?"

He nodded, feeling a soft tension sit against his stomach. "Yeah," he replied. "It's the present moment that counts."

Something Trent would say, he was sure of it.

Zidane smiled. "Exactly."

A comfortable silence came between them, broken when Zidane spoke again.

"Think I'm going to turn in for the night."

Lance gave a small hum. "Night."

When he didn't hear the sound of feet landing against the ground, he snuck another peek. Still hanging.

Lance grinned. "You sleep like that?"

Zidane grinned as well. "Meditating before," he replied. "Helps the brain relax."

Lance settled back down, closing his eyes to the sky again. "Wish I had a tail..."

"Careful what you wish for."

The serious curve to Zidane's voice made Lance's smile fade. He opened his eyes to the night sky. He almost didn't want to ask, but...

"How long," he began, "'til it grows in?"

A memory came back to him; a nightmare. Being on all fours, his spine shooting out from his tailbone.

"Do you like the new you?"

Lance blinked the voice away, trying to rid the horrible feeling it brought his gut as well.

"Can't really say," Zidane replied, just as solemn. "Might be months"—If I even make it that long, Lance thought—"Could be days. The cells seem like they've got specific targets in mind."

In a specific order... Lance added silently. For a moment, he wondered if Zidane heard the thought, but then remembered where they were. It was strange, being alone in your mind. Truly alone.

Like sitting in an empty room.

A familiar touch came to his hands, his fingertips specifically. He wanted to write. It'd been so long since he'd written any poetry, his main inspiration having forgotten him. He never thought he'd feel guilty, taking his own mom for granted.

"We're a few days away from Kiresune," Zidane continued, and when he spoke again, Lance could hear the smile in his voice. "I wouldn't worry too much about the tail thing."

Lance smiled, still feeling the uneasiness in his gut. "Yeah..."

Butthe aches in his stomach and chest didn't go away, even when his dreams were lightly dampened by nightmares.

Submitted: December 04, 2019

© Copyright 2023 Meaghan Kalena. All rights reserved.


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