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Oct 22, 2021 10:13 PM
the original ending was too depressing to keep
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She could invoke the oath. Tell Elathea to stop. 

The cold pit in Gleam's gut says that's a very good way to end up with Elathea suffering the oath's backlash. Maybe it actually would stop her, it'd be better than having this fight here -

Gleam loves her wife, she remembers, in a soft, devastating moment. She takes a deep breath, feeling like she hasn't fully stopped, fully breathed since this began. 

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She rises, tall and firm, and protects those behind her, as she has ever since she took her second breath. 

"By the oath you swore to me," she says, tone even and words clearly audible, in the moment between when she perfectly parries one attack and when Elathea reorients for the next - she says, instead of taking that moment to counter physically - 

"Your battle is with me alone."

She disengages, suddenly -

And takes off into the mountains, away from the life they've built together. 

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Fine, if that's how she wants it.

Elathea chases Gleam into the mountains.

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She's fast, when she wants to be. Faster than Elathea. She can't hold it indefinitely, though, even if she wanted to just - run away. 

She stops in a clearing well away from anyone they could hurt and stares up at the visible patch of sky.

She waits for Elathea to catch up. 

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Which she does, of course.

Angrily, like a comet crashing to earth, caste mark and spearhead blazing.

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She doesn't retaliate. She defends herself, dodges or parries what she can -

This doesn't feel real. She's angry. Scared. Heartbroken. Horrified. Grieving. Confused, desperate, hurt -

Nothing has ever hurt this much, and Gleam's brain is still very disoriented about her attacker being her wife. 

The crash of emotions -

Drifts off, or perhaps Gleam is drifting off. She'd do this as a mortal sometimes. Spitefully, when the thing wanted from her was a reaction, any reaction -

Gleam slows down.

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There's a body, and it hurts, and it's feeling some very unpleasant things, but that doesn't matter, because it isn't Gleam's and she isn't in it, she's somewhere far away, cocooned, painless.

Essence still coruscates around the body, but there's no one home to direct it. The body's injuries stop healing. The body stays standing where Gleam left it. It can breathe, and blink, and flinch, but it doesn't understand how to raise its arms to guard itself, how to stand if it's knocked down, how to do anything other than stare numbly at a person it recognizes but doesn't know. 

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When Gleam comes back to herself, her wife is standing in front of her. Blood-drenched spear held loosely in hand, tears running down her face.

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She looks up -

"Elathea?" she asks, voice uncertain. 

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Her weapon drops, clattering to the ground.

"Gleam..."

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She starts crying, too.

Stand and hug?

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Elathea should definitely sit down with her so Gleam can curl into her and sob.

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Snuggle.

She gradually drifts back into her body enough to realize -

She's still kinda in a lot of pain.

"Can you heal me?" she mumbles into her wife's shoulder.

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Hum.

Her hands begin moving in a soothing massage pattern, glowing with Essence

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It's nice. Wounds closing, and a warm slow pleasure curling through her -

Familiar, though usually under happier circumstances.

It's good that all the anger burned out of her. She's too tired to be angry.

She doesn't want to fight.

But.

"...I want you to apologize," she says, softly.

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Shrug.

"...Which ones will you apologize for?" she asks.

She feels... Small.

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"...Chasing you toward the house."

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Nod.

"...No others?"

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"You attacked me."

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She's quiet for almost a minute.

Then: "I tried to remove the thing you were working on from your hands, because - I was angry that you were acting like it was more important than our daughters being happy. That was my fault, and I shouldn't have lashed out."

"You then nearly broke my neck."

She squeezes her eyes shut. "That - I hadn't been so scared since I Exalted. You'd completely cut the blood flow off to my brain, if I hadn't figured out how to use Essence to keep myself moving - "

"Do you know how fast brain damage happens, when you cut off blood flow? Permanent brain damage, that not even the greatest healers can treat?" She's shaking, now, at the memory. "I - panicked, and I wanted it off - "

"And then you relaxed it - and - "

"I was scared and in pain and confused and there was an angry Solar standing over me, demanding I beg for mercy, and - "

"It wasn't you I was seeing. Attacking."

 

"And you don't regret it."

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"Mm."


"I don't like being interrupted while I work."

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Oh.

Okay then.

 

"If I asked you to remove my collar, would you?"

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