A/N: Hey guys, here we are at the end :) It's been a long, fun ride, but here it is - the epilogue, the final part of this story, and hopefully it leads nicely into the sequel... or at least what I have planned for the sequel. I don't think the sequel, Almost Dying (yes I'm sticking with that name) will be quite this long... then again it might be. It will be at least 100,000 words but I don't know if it will get anywhere near 200,000. But we'll see, yeah?
I would like to thank Kirihime for being my 300th review :) Thanks!
I would create a whole chapter dedicated to thanking everyone who reviewed but I'm lazy and that would take too long and I have homework to do XD So, yeah. You know who you are! Thanks so much!
I was going to add a list of songs I feel relate to this story and the characters, but again, I'm lazy and have homework and yeahh... but if you do want a list, I might add it as an extra little chapter, or just add it onto this epilogue or put it on my profile at some point XD Just let me know, I guess.
Now that it's the end... I find I don't know what to say. It's been a hell of a ride and I am going to miss it, but I'm also looking forward to starting the sequel. I probably won't post any of the sequel until I have at least 3-5 chapters written so there's not a horribly long delay between chapters, but I might be lazy and post as soon as I finish them like I did with this story. Who knows?
Anyway, I might do a series of one-shots focusing on missing scenes from this book and between this book and the sequel, but we'll see, yeah?
You guys have been so incredibly awesome and I love you all :D THANK YOU :D
I won't hold you up any longer ;)
Chapter (epilogue) length: 1782
As usual, I always went downstairs to retrieve a glass of water. Kieron claimed he was thirsty and I liked to have water on hand anyway. I wasn't entirely sure where we were – city, town, country – but the townhouse was fairly large, consisting of two floors. Kieron was getting better at going up and down the stairs, and could hold a decent conversation for at least a half hour, perhaps more, but then he always started to drift off. I was worried about this, but there was little I could do to speed up the healing process, especially when he always seemed to be healing me against my will. I'd tried bringing it up once, but he just glared at me and never replied, and I'd gotten a rather bad headache that day.
I hadn't tried again.
On this day, though, I was intercepted on my way to the kitchen. Ashere snagged my arm once I stepped off the stairs and led me into the living room, which I had only been in once before, and only in passing.
There was nothing special about it, though. It didn't scream of home, or of anything, really. It was a nearly empty room complete with only a wooden floor, blank tan walls, and a single couch somewhere in the middle of the room. On this couch, though, sat someone I didn't recognize.
Ashere led me to this woman.
Dark brown eyes blinked up at me. Dark red hair fell into her face in long, wispy waves as she got to her feet and extended a gloved hand toward me, full lips curving into a faint smile which reminded me oddly of Kieron, that secretive little grin.
"Terry, right?" she asked quietly.
I nodded. "Yeah, that's me. Who…?"
Who is this?
"My name is Bekkah," she said after we shook, dropping her hand back to her side, fingers lightly caressing the folds in her red shirt. "I am here to see both you and Kieron, if that is okay."
I hesitated. Kieron was barely able to stay awake more than a half hour. Healing took a lot out of him, especially when he seemed so intent on healing me as well, despite the fact I was fine. He had been closer to death than me, after all.
Finally I nodded, though, because the woman looked nice enough. I had to remind myself that the Master looked normal enough, too, but was anything but normal or nice. Still, though, I didn't get an evil vibe from her and I couldn't see the harm in her talking to the both of us. Kieron was awake at the moment, though I wasn't sure for how much longer.
"Okay," I sighed, nodding, frowning at Ashere in confusion.
Ashere nodded and sighed, looking at me. "Bekkah works for the Order," he explained. "She's like Kieron."
"Like…?" I asked, frowning, because that didn't quite seem possible. What did that even mean?
"That's his nice way of saying I'm low on the food chain," she said, rolling those dark brown eyes. "Anyway, this won't take long. I know you both are probably exhausted and need your rest after what happened."
I nodded, frowning, but finally turned and led her toward the stairs. She followed me up them and into the room I was sharing with Kieron. Quietly, I closed the door behind us and approached the bed. Kieron's eyes were closed but I knew he wasn't asleep. His eyes blinked open the moment I sat next to him on the bed, as had become our custom the past few days. It was this nice, quiet little ritual I found I actually enjoyed.
Kieron's eyes slid away from me and toward the newcomer. "Bekkah?" he asked, frowning.
"Hello," she said with a smile. "You look like hell, you know."
"Fucking thanks. I'll get right on that."
"Mm, please see that you do. You're making me look bad."
Kieron rolled his eyes, pushing himself into a sitting position. "What are you doing here?"
The smile slid off Bekkah's face. Silence wrapped around the three of us, thick and heavy, and I didn't realize my hand was moving until it stopped atop Kieron's wrist, fingers right above the pulse-point.
"Ripples, Kieron," she said quietly.
"Ripples?" I echoed, frowning.
She nodded. "A lot happened, after… well, after you two disappeared with Ashere. Exrie hasn't been caught yet."
She frowned. "Exrie – the Master," she clarified, shaking her head. "Right, sorry, I forgot you two have been out of the loop for a while now. Anyway, he got away and no one knows where he went, but that's not the main concern right now."
"How the hell is that not the main concern?" I asked, eyes narrowing into angry slits, because what the hell? That should have been the biggest concern on their minds, over everything else, no matter what! He caused so much death and pain and…
He needed to be stopped.
"Ripples," she said again.
"The hell does that mean?"
"Exrie tried to kill you, Kieron. And he very nearly succeeded," Bekkah said, watching the blue-haired immortal. "In fact, he should have succeeded. The fact you are even alive is a miracle in and of itself, and unprecedented. And believe me when I say it will probably be tested, because the Order's not too happy."
I wasn't aware I was growling until Kieron's fingers entwined with mine, a calmness brushing against my consciousness. Warmth ebbed through my veins and I felt myself relaxing involuntarily.
"In killing perpetuals," she continued as though I never growled, "he broke several of our laws, not to mention he decimated our beliefs. Perpetuals are dying. There is more than one weapon which has been found. We still are not entirely sure what is making them, or how they are being made, but they're definitely out there, waiting.
"The hard part comes when you add in the aftermath of all of this. Not only perpetuals were killed, you know. So were normal Etherians. The screamers tested the knives on Etherians first, then managed to capture a few perpetuals, who were also killed. None of them are happy. A Tribunal met two days ago to decide what to do next, and it's happened."
"Happened?" I asked, because I had no idea what she was talking about. Kieron's grip tightened marginally against mine and I held my breath, waiting for the anvil to drop.
Bekkah took in a breath and released it slowly, looking at the ground for a long moment before she finally dragged her gaze back up, looking from me to Kieron and back at me again. "A war has started," she said quietly. "I don't know all the details, I just know that it has unofficially been declared and it's only a matter of time before the paperwork is sorted out and it becomes official, and the killing really starts."
Silence, for a long moment.
"But… really starts?" I echoed, eyes wide. "You mean it hasn't even started yet? But… people have died!"
Many had died. I didn't know how many perpetuals, how many Etherians, but I knew there was a death toll, and it was only rising. Blood on my hands… because of me…
My head throbbed sharply and I quickly brushed those thoughts away, even as Kieron tossed me a sideways glare before returning his focus to Bekkah.
"This is the preamble," Bekkah said, shaking her head, long, wavy strands surrounding her face. "The calm before the storm, as you would say. A war hasn't been declared here – against our own people, between and among Etherians – in nearly 500 years. We have joined in on human affairs from time to time, but this… this is different."
Silence again. My head ached and my mind spun around me. It was certainly a lot to take in, and I didn't really want to think about it. All I wanted right now was to lay down and go to sleep and keep Kieron next to me, despite how corny that must have sounded. I couldn't help how I felt, nor could I stop it… nor did I wish to do so.
"Great," Kieron breathed, and I looked at him to find his eyes sliding closed, a heavy sigh escaping his barely parted lips. "Just fucking great. Fuck. Anything else?"
"What?" I asked, looking back at Bekkah, unconsciously tightening my grip on Kieron's hand.
"Etherians are getting restless," Bekkah said quietly, averting her gaze to the ground for the first time since she'd gotten here. "They blame perpetuals for those who have died, and they're right because it is essentially perpetuals the screamers and Exrie are after…"
"What are you saying?" I asked, voice just as quiet. A knot of dread formed in my stomach though I wasn't sure why. I knew it would be bad but what could be worse than a type of war here in Atlantis?
Bekkah took in a breath, held it for a moment, and released it slowly, dragging her gaze back up to me and Kieron. "Not only is there a war between Exrie, the screamers and us… but now the general public are waging a sort of civil war against us as well."
"What does that mean?" I asked, even as Kieron stiffened next to me. I tightened my grip on his hand even more.
Bekkah's expression flattened. "Etherians want perpetuals out of power, and the screamers want the perpetuals gone. Now we are fighting two separate wars. The death toll is steadily rising, and we have to kill the very people perpetuals swore to protect. As if that wasn't bad enough… the general public wants to get rid of perpetuals…"
"What does that mean?" I asked.
"Remember when I said there were was a way to get rid of unwanted perpetuals… back when we couldn't get killed…" Kieron said quietly, and I stilled, nodding slowly because yes, I did remember him saying something like that.
"A war is coming," Bekkah said slowly, "and like it or not, you two are caught in the middle. The majority of us are one your side… and what was foretold once is now happening. However, the screamers are upset that Exrie is upset, and the general public wants those responsible to be taken care of. That means you."
Silence wrapped around us, a heavy, unwanted blanket, and I closed my eyes, sighing heavily.
"Well," Kieron said, breaking the silence, "fuck."
I choked out a shaky laugh, opening my eyes to look down at the barely open blue gaze. "Yeah," I said quietly, "that's one way of putting it."
Read More in the sequel:
Almost Dying ~ Coming Soon
A/N: And there's that, the final chapter/epilogue of Almost Living. Like I said, it's been a hell of a ride. Thanks for bearing with me through all the headaches and plot holes and everything. You guys are the best and I love all of you! Now for the last time on this story - thanks for reading and please review!