The Stage sits, empty and quiet, dark but for the ghost light sitting center stage. Weak echoes of magic reverberate through the empty air, waiting for someone to stir them to life again.

The Muse sits in her favorite perch in the entire building; high in the air, in the house left catwalk. Her feet dangle over the void as she gently kicks them in a rhythm only she understands. Her arms are folded over the lower guard rail, and she rests her chin on them as her green eyes stare dully out into her empty kingdom.

A melody burns in the center of her chest; molten, golden notes that spark and swirl in her veins. The music is a sacred Call, one which could summon any or all of her Hoard to her side in an instant.

Well. All but one.

The typically beautiful music leaves her throat in scorching, sharp, piercing agony. The grief-stricken notes ring harshly through the Stage, reverberating through the space and amplifying the edge of pain that makes the music so discordant.

The music fades into aching, empty silence; He will never answer again.

He was gone before they ever got to Dance to their music; before she even knew Him as hers. She has been a conduit for the creative urge since she was conceived, but it's only in the last few years that she's learned to consciously use and direct her ability. Most of her Hoard found her before she even knew how to feel them; some of them before she knew how to create, herself. She's spent years catching up, learning to recognize her Own and how exactly Inspiration works.

He had been dead for years before she recognized the frayed, numb remains of the thread that had once bound them.

She falls a little bit in love with each of her Hoardlings. She can't help it; love is how she relates to them, how her Inspiration is sparked. She loves what they've already created with or without her help, which fuels her love for them as a Scribe, which pulses forth through their bond and feeds new creations. Inspiration is Passion; is Soul; is Love. Neither she nor they can create from apathy; they must Feel, and so must she.

Her love for Him – her Lost One – sparks uselessly from the messy, broken cord in her chest. She has fallen in love with Him in His absence, long after He has need of her. She had been too dazzled by His brother's darker, slower energy; too slow to realize He was also hers. She had only been beginning to learn Him when He left; and now it is too late. He doesn't need her, now; the dead have no need of Muses.

She doesn't know how to bury Him. There isn't exactly a guidebook for this; she is on her own to forge her own connections and paths. She hasn't had any of her others die on her, she doesn't think, and she's never been much good at loss anyways.

She wonders, sometimes, if it's only her grief she feels. She hoarded almost all of His brothers by accident, and while her ties to them aren't equally strong all around, it makes sense to her that they'd all be tied together through love and loss.

Standing, she climbs over the catwalk guard rail, hanging over the empty air for a moment before letting go. She freefalls through the darkness, enjoying the rush of danger before unfurling her wings with a snap, banking sharply to slow her descent. She glides in lazy loops around the house until she has slowed enough to drop gracefully onto the Stage.

For a moment, she stands still with her eyes closed, overwhelmed with the ache of His absence. What would their Music have sounded like, she wondered; how would His energy have felt as it twined and fed off hers?

She is tempted to Call to His brothers, to use them as a conduit to feel an echo of Him. It's selfish and wrong, she knows; it's not her purpose. She is meant to feed her Scribes; she shouldn't need them to nourish her in turn.

As if in response, she feels the magic of the Stage stir around her, fluttering and shuddering like the whisper of fingers stroking piano keys, like the reverberations of a struck cymbal. Drawing from her memory, perhaps, or its own recollections of His performances while alive, the Stage begins to hum to her, ghostly music echoing and vibrating in the air. His swan song; His final creation. Not His typical manic muppet hedonism, but something more real; his sincere love letter and farewell to His brothers… and, perhaps, to His Muse.

She can feel Him, in His music. It's impossible not to; He poured His whole soul into His art, like all her dear ones. And while He no longer breathes, He lives in His songs, and in that way maybe He's a little bit immortal, just as He always claimed.

Smiling to herself, she raises her arms, and she Dances with Him.

They will never create new music, and that knowledge will always hurt. But she is still His Muse; she can keep the last breath of Him alive. There is still enough of Him to love; she will always have that spark of Him to cherish.

She whirls in circles, and throws her head back, and laughs.