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Love Never Dies

Post by Shula Brighton on Mon Aug 26, 2013 11:43 am

-Admitted afternoon of June 3rd to Central's main hospital. Following unconsciousness, it should be noted that Shula's body fights organ failure and shut down for an additional 30 hours. This isn't really a thread-thread, but if you have an IC reaction to the news about South and Shu that will have hit the news, feel free.-

Here I am once more. This place where most lives start and many finish, and where mine has come back to over and over again. Stupid hospitals. Their gowns are cold and itchy, their beds are never comfortable, and everything smells like disinfectant. I've been here so many times in my life- not this room, but the same room in different hospitals. I could do my own IV lines if the nurses asked me to. This time is different from all the others, however; this time I know I'm not going home ever again. And with every fiber of my being, I wish it weren't so.
The door to my room is shut, and there must be half a dozen machines plugged in around me, beeping endlessly. Seriously, how do they expect anyone to ever rest in these places and feel optimistic when everything is always so autere and cold and terrifying? That fight with Shinku... This was all my fault for underestimating him. I really thought I was better-prepared to take on any enemy, and then when Axel showed up, I thought my odds were better. But he had all the cards in the end. I was good at cards growing up, but I never could beat Spade in a hand of anything; how could I have ever been a match for one of the few people he'd consider his equal and a real threat? But I had to charge him. I wish it had turned out differently, and maybe it's just what's left of my pride, but I don't regret fighting him for the sake of trying to defend South. I lost, and I'll have to take that with me, but even against an enemy I had no chance to beat... I don't regret facing him.
Dear Ishvalla this hurts though. Shinku said it would, he wasn't kidding about that part. But I have a high pain threshold, and this... is so far beyond. Of course, you might not know it looking at me right now, bandaged and strapped into this bed by a dozen plastic lines feeding into my body and trying to siphon things out. That morphine pump's been dripping nonstop for the last few hours. Shinku threw Axel at me and bolted out the window, three stories up. He got away as South was rattled with fire. Every channel on TV is covering the story of how South HQ was infiltrated and single-handedly attacked. Twenty dead. A hundred and twelve injured. Three missing. More than a third of South HQ was leveled into the parking lot, every news anchor buzzing with questions and panning to the citizens of South. My city. My people. They're feeling angry, betrayed. I was appointed the post in order to help protect them, and yet a single man did all this. I don't know what Spade's offical comments as Lieutenant General of Amestris were, or what Hans' were, either; I told the nurse if anyone turned the TV back on I'd kill them. I won't really, but it's tempting.
Axel's helicopter got me out of South and into Central, and thank Ishvalla nobody other than my doctor and nurses know which room is mine or those stupid newshounds would be in here. Or maybe they do know and they're just not allowed in. Either way, I understand more and more why Spade can't stomach them. They're like vultures and always waiting for you to screw up so they can publicly rub your nose in it. It's been some hours since they admitted me. They took that antidote and ran off to see if it was legit, and if it was, if it was strong enough to save me. The fever was unbearable, and the coughing like coming home to the prison I never wanted to see again. And all I could do was lay here, helpless. They called my family- informed the retired General Brighton about my condition, but so far he hasn't come through that door. Nobody but my doctor and nurses have. All I want is Spade, though. I want him to come into this room, smiling, telling me that it'll all be alright. That lopsided grin, his hair a mess, his sunglasses halfway down his nose, and those green eyes shining. My Spade. Like that time he stopped on the way home and actually picked me flowers. Top General of the country picking flowers for his bride. I wonder if he knows how much that meant to me. How much every single kiss meant to me.
Does he know everything I tried to say whenever I kissed him or caressed him?
I'm crying again, but my pillow was already soggy, so it hardly matters. But dammit could they hurry with that antidote? Either tell me you can save me or not, this waiting in suspense thing I could really live without. Fuck, where are you, Spade? Why won't they let me see him? My lips are moving, I think, but am I even making any sounds? I'm calling his name.. Can't they hear me? That morphine drip is making me itch, but I honestly don't want to buzz the nurse again and listen to her tell me the same things she's been telling me. Yes, they're doing all they can as fast as they can. No, I can't go home yet. They won't tell me anything about Shinku or if they caught him yet. Or how furious Hans must be with me. Or why they won't let anyone in to see me. Do I look that terrible like this that they don't wan't anyone to have to see? Don't they know that right now I need them?
Csilla... My nurse reminds me of you. The younger one, not the grumpy old lady. She's got the same shade of blonde hair as you, and she really is sweet. I know she's trying her hardest. But I swear every time she comes into this room I hold my breath just a little, hoping it's you, even though I know you're so far away from me right now. I'm sorry I never took the days off to see your new house like I promised. I wanted to, though. I wanted to see your little cottage and all  your paintings hung up, and the rose bush outside your door. I was going to bring you flowers, you know. Snowdrops to plant outside your windows, for hope. There was so much I wanted for you, Csi. Still is. I still hope things work out well with your boyfriend. I still hope you're happy together for a long time, and I hope you get to be a mother. I know Spade wasn't keen on having kids, but I really did secretly hope we'd have one someday and watch them play with your kids on visits. I even have some of my eggs frozen in the lab from when I went to see that I could have healthy babies. They told me yes, you know.
I swallowed down the pain enough to scribble a few notes. Instructions. For the closest thing I will ever have to a child of my own. Salazar. I'm sorry that I kept it such a secret from everyone, I just didn't think they'd understand. I don't know who will tell my Sal, and I wish I could tell him myself how sorry I am. I know I promised him I wouldn't go away. My poor kitten... But my watch is for him. No, not the  one that melted, but the one I had as a replacement. That has all the information he'll need to access the two bank accounts set up in his name, one for now, and one for when he's grown. I really had wanted to see Sal all dressed up for my wedding. I really had wanted to live long enough to attend his someday.
My pillow and face are drenched, but I don't want to move my hands at all to try and wipe my face because I know it'll hurt. Every shudder and twitch brings a ripple of pain that rings from one end of my body to the other, only to be chased by the cold sting of the drugs trying to counteract them. No rest has come all night, and no will to eat this morning, my body too conflicted between pain and numbness to care to make an effort. I'm coherent, though, and the doctor isn't too thrilled with my attitude. He wants me to stay quiet and calm, I want answers. I want to know what's going on and what's happening. I want my fiance. And unless Spade's run right after Shinku to chase him personally, they'd better let him in. I don't care that the doctors took my fire bracelets off of me when they brought me in, I'm clever and I am resourceful and so help me Ishvalla I will find a way if I need to.
The pain is wracking and mixed with frozen shivers and numbness. I don't know what's the poison and what's the medicine, or if there's even a difference anymore. Door shut or not, I know they heard that scream. The curtain over the window that opens to the hall is pulled shut, but I can see shadows of people moving behind it, lingering. Is that where you are now? Trapped out in the hallway and not allowed inside? Spade... I'm calling for you again. Screaming for you. Crying. Your Kyahr is here, and she needs you. Door shut, between frantic sobs, someone has snuck in and tucked themselves into the corner of the room and are sitting in the chair by the wall. That blonde hair, those periwinkle eyes. You're here. For the first time since Shinku came to my floor, I know I am smiling, even if it's bittersweet at best. Gustav... You've come back for me one more time. The last time you came to me in the hospital, I was dead. You laughed and said the look on my face was priceless. Jerk. But you'd said the wheel of my life was nearly complete, and that a few challenges were still ahead then. You'd said I was dead, and at that moment had a choice in whether I lived or died. I chose to live and follow my broken path to whatever end. And you're back again, though this time I'm still awake. I can see you, sitting there silently, patiently. I know you'd never hurry me to leave. But I am glad you're here. None of the nurses or staff can see you to throw you out since you're here just for me.
The fireflies of Meissan... I know I'm stil in bed, so why do I see them now? Why am I somewhere halfway between the hospital and the field? Spade... You're here at last. With me again, in that field. Do you remember? How I blindfolded you and guided you there as the sun sank down, and then how I took it off but made you keep your eyes closed? I love your eyes, how deep and green they are, and how I can look in them and feel all our lifetimes in them. You asked once how many times you'd fallen in love with me. Once? Twice? All seven? I don't know, except that every time you look at me, I know that the only answer is "every time." My wedding gift to you. I told you that the Northern Lights could only be enjoyed in Briggs and Drachma, and the Southern Cross only seen in Gelemorte. So I gave to you all the stars of Southern Amestris, and all the fireflies around us. Each one was a wish for us. A wish I'd made for you, for years, never knowing it. The tall black trees surrounding the field were lit up with millions of electric-blue glow worms that danced in the branches like tiny bolts of lightning while the fireflies lit up the high grasses of the fields. Oh, Spade, do you remember? Can you see them now, all around us? If I could I would catch them all to wish for just a little bit longer with you.
Your arms around me. I can see them, but not quite feel them. Shinku said this would happen, and suddenly I don't know anymore if you're really here or not. Are you real, Spade? Pain prickles up and down; I'm sorry if my nails are digging into your arms. I'm sorry if I'm screaming. I'm trying not to, really. I want to leave here. I want to go home. Can't we just sneak out? You snuck out of the hospital once. Drove off with Jay to go drink, bandages and all. We hardly knew each other then. I was still just that girl from the housing department that got roped into filing and paperwork like one of the secretaries. I only ran files into your office to plop them into your towering stacks that consumed your inbox that everyone knew would never get done. You didn't seem to mind when I started sorting them for you; you didn't come into the office until ten or eleven, anyway. But I'd sort them along with my own work, just because you had far too much to do and all those stacks just got higher. Oh please squeeze me tighter, while I can still feel it. At first I did it just to get it done so things would get processed a little faster, but then? I just started doing it for you Spade.. because I wanted to. Because eventually you seemed a little relieved about it, even if you never said so. You never asked me to, never called me from my office or asked my boss to send me over to do the work. I just showed up and did it with mine as I handed you your boozy coffee. Because I wanted to see you smile.
Not that goofy, hungover grin you'd give everyone. Your real smile. Every woman loved your wink and that playful smile and those cheesy lines, but I would do anything for that smile that was underneath it all. The one I knew you meant. Any tiny glimpse of the man underneath the sunglasses was what I'd cherish and work for until far too late at night and come in extra early for. Without awareness, complexities, or pride, I loved you, Spade. Even when my family begged me to stop my career after I'd become a State Alchemist, I kept going, not to prove my point out of spite anymore, but because there was something more to learn. It was a lesson grandfather tried to show me when I was young. I spent a month translating a text of his that he promised was the greatest power any alchemist could hope to understand. For a month I picked over his prose and symbols, carefully translating, only to find that every entry was a coded poem about grandmother. It was love. I was too young to understand then, but from working for and with you, from falling in love with you, and being willing to fight and die for you, I finally understand what he was trying to teach me then. Oh, Spade, don't look at me like that, please, I'm still making sense, aren't I? You're shaking, darling, are you cold? The fireflies make the grass so warm in the moonlight. But grandfather was right. There is no power greater than love. And Shinku's poison may be too strong for my body, but it will never destroy what I feel for you. And I would fight him again, over and over, if it meant there would be an outcome where I could see you smile like that again. Smile like you did in the field that night.
It's getting colder here, but I can't feel you shaking as much. Spade... You should know all that I have is yours. Primarily... my research. My house is a glorified library, you know that. All those months I spent researching for Raistlin. All those notes. I took them from so many sources never to give them back, to protect that information, but I never destroyed it. Spade, in my bedroom, in the wall you smashed your fist through when you proposed to me. Everything is there. No, don't you dare. I'm telling you this so you'll do the right thing and destroy it all, to make sure nobody else tries what is forbidden. I need you to swear it to me, please Sathina, I'm begging you, burn them all. My hands are strangely heavy and numb, like they're asleep, and gracelessly I see myself groping on the table for the ornaments that the nurses took from me: my fire bracelets, and my engagement ring. Wrapping my fingers around them is difficult, and you should know putting them in your hand is taking more concentration than I care to admit. I'm sorry about the whimpering noises, I know how you hate it when I cry. But they're yours, now. They have been a part of me since before South was destroyed and I came to Central and met you. They defined such a large part of who and what I am, and were completed by your ring. Your mother's ring, resized just for me.

I know I'm crying, though I can't feel it. I can see you squeezing my hands, though I can't feel that, either. Without a sacred fire or the blessings of the priest, without any witnesses other than Ishvalla and us and these horrible beeping machines, I will give you my vows, Spade. Please, I need to. Whether you're really here or not, whether I'm speaking in coherent Ishvallan or Amestrian or not, I need to give them to you. Spade, in your sorrows, I shall fill your heart with courage and strength. In your joys, I shall rejoice. I promise you that I will please you at all times with sweet words and take care of you and our family, and you in turn shall love none other but me as your wife. I will love you with single minded devotion as my husband. I will treat all other men as my brothers. My devotion to you will be that of a pure and chaste wife. This is my commitment to you. I will shower you with encouragement and joy, from head to toe. I will strive always to please you in every way I can.
I don't care that I'm crying, or that my words are slurring. I'm sleepy, but I will fight it, even attempt to sit up in order to give my vows to you. These vows are ancient and deeply sacred, and meant for the commitment that comes from marrying the one that you have and will spend each lifetime with. Know that through each lifetime it is to you I will always return. I promise to love and cherish you for as long as I live. Your happiness is my happiness, and your sorrow is my sorrow. I will trust and honor you, and will strive to fulfill all your wishes. Beloved soul mate, in all righteous acts, in material prosperity, in hardship and joy, and in enjoyment of acts approved by the divine, I promise I will will stand by you. Whatever promises we made were made with a pure mind and heart, Spade. I'm squeezing your fingers as tightly as I can, even though to me it looks as though they're simply limp against your own hands. Spade... Kiss your Kyahr, now, not as your bride, but as your wife. Kiss me now, before I sleep, beloved. Tomorrow we'll leave here. We'll leave for Creta, for our honeymoon. Leave all the world behind after we get some sleep.
I don't know that I've ever felt so heavy to myself, or that I'm just that sleepy. Hold me, Beloved, just a little longer? My Cretan's gotten better, too. I've been practicing just for you, even though my accent is still terrible. Just ask Csilla. But listen, I'll show you how good I am now, let me sing a little for you- There are nine million bicycles in Beijing. That's a fact, it's a thing we can't deny. Like the fact that I will love you til I die...
And you know that I will love you til I die.
Shula Faizah Brighton.
June 13, 1990 - June 5, 2013
"Life may be fleeting, love lives on."
Shula Brighton

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Re: Love Never Dies

Post by Csilla Angelis on Thu Sep 05, 2013 12:53 am

She couldn't stop watching the news on that June day. Csilla sat on her couch, dinner lying cold at the table. Breaking news had cut in about a vicious attack on South City that had left part of the HQ torn away and a lot of the city in ruin. Her heart ached for the fledgling city, so recently brought up from the ashes. Now it was brought back low again. No one was entirely sure at this point who was involved, but some (Csilla included) suspected RIOTE. It would not have been the first time they had torn apart Amestris. For the first time since her move, Csilla longed to be in Amestris, to help out. Her phone lay next to her, urgent messages to Shula and Spade sent out. She suspected an answer would arrive from Spade sooner. Shula had probably been in South when it had happened and she would be playing damage control. All she could do was wait. It wasn't like she had Chancellor Reinhardt on speeddial.

...Two days she waited. Two days with no word from Shula or Spade. The news had revealed that Shula Brighton was in the hospital. There were no solid details, and transportation into South City had been cut off to focus on relief, rather than concerned visitors. Nothing was coming and Csilla was struggling to find a rental car so she could blast her way into South, if necessary. Shula needed her. Who else was going to make her laugh and nurse her back to health?

Csilla had just gotten off a successful phone call, having secured a rental car. She was throwing the last of her clothes into a backpack when her phone rang again. Assuming it was the rental company, she swiped “answer” without looking at the caller id. “Hello?

Miss Angelis? ...This is Chancellor Reinhardt.” Csilla paused her packing to stand upright. “Sir? This is... well, a surprise.” Csilla heard the most important man in Amestris sigh heavily and his voice carried that weight as he spoke next. “And I'm sorry that I have bad news to bring you. Shula Brighton died this afternoon.

Csilla's breath caught in her throat. “Oh... sir. No.” The rest of the brief conversation was a blur as the Chancellor informed her that it was very much true and he had wanted to give her the news personally, as they had been so close. He had set up a jet to fly into London airport to bring her to South City, as the funeral would be within 2 days, due to Ishvallan custom. He had ended the call two minutes earlier, but the phone still was set against her ear. Finally she began coughing, releasing the pent-up breath she had been holding. The coughing turned very quickly into sobs as she crumbled slowly to the floor. Her phone lay forgotten... everything was forgotten.

Everything except for that petite woman who had been Csilla's closest friend and confidante. They had shared everything. Csilla's sobs grew harder as she thought of the news Shula had shared a month earlier; Shula was able to be a mother. Now she'd never get that chance. Csilla wouldn't have white-haired godbabies to teach Cretan to, or pranks to pull on daddy-Spade. She'd never have a date-day at House of Pi again. Nothing was ever going to be the same. Csilla was never going to be the same. She cried until their were no more tears, but the dry sobs kept coming. It wasn't for a few hours that she was able to rise and get some water to soothe her raw throat. In a brief moment of clarity she repacked her bag, walked to the dealer and drove her rental car to the airport.

The next two days were a complete haze. Csilla managed to keep herself together during the funeral, though she couldn't stop the tears flowing as she placed a sunflower on Shula's grave. She remembered comforting and being comforted... there were a lot who would miss Shula Brighton. Csilla had slipped into her state of quiet shock, much as she had done at the death of her parents and grandparents. Within one moment she was listening to a service, the next she was walking in the door of her cottage the following day. The funeral seemed to her like a distant, but vivid nightmare. She knew she had to do something... she had to celebrate the fact that Shula had lived and loved. But at this point, all Csilla could do was pull off her clothes and throw herself into her baggiest pants and shirt. She closed all the curtains and turned off all the lights. At her bedside, she lit a single candle and whispered, “Ishvalla... watch over my girl.” Maybe one day, she could celebrate Shula's life for what it was, but now all that filled her vision was sorrow over the loss. Csilla crawled into her bed and remained there for the next 3 days.


Fluent in Cretan and Amestrian
Csilla Angelis

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