A white void glowed bright all around, and through closed eyes he saw the veins of his eyelids illuminated by the light just beyond them. He saw the red hue of blood flowing through them, ever so gently causing the thin strands of life to pulsate with refined delicacy. He saw each cell of the fluid for what they were as they greeted his consciousness, each tiny atom that made him into a living creature. Or, something close enough to it. The left one opened first, peaking into the brilliance with a curiosity that he was still thankful to have. What he saw took him by shock, and the right one followed soon after, widening as dull pupils adjusted accordingly. Radiance overthrew his view as he stared into nothing but a peaceful whiteness; a serenity in it that he had never felt before. It filled him up, cradling his body and molding to his form. He felt the void move, and him move with it. It carried him without touching him, but never ceased in making him feel like a child being reunited with an old friend. As if this invisible chariot were taking him where he needed to go, finally. His muscles relaxed and his posture titled back until he was almost laying down. The rush of calm felt unfamiliar, but still he made no large effort against it. It felt right. To let go. It just felt right. A peace he hadn’t been able to have for so long, unable to find it himself wherever he looked.
His eyes fell back, lids shutting over them as the tranquility lulled him into a sleep. He yawned before everything went black.
”So, I’ll ask you again, what happened to you?”
”After what happened between us, I was broken. I am broken. I lost everything.”
”You may have convinced everyone around you, might even have convinced yourself, but I know better.”
I know that voice. It was faint, and grew the more he willed his mind to listen in.
“We were too different and any relationship between us would end badly no matter what, but don’t you ever think that I didn’t know who you were. Question is, do you anymore?”
I thought I did. I thought I knew, but I was wrong. I was so wrong.
”You’re not the monster you think you are.”
You should have been afraid of me, and you weren’t. You never were, and that was what I loved you for. You saw all of my evil, stared it right in the face, and still you held me up. You never abandoned me even when I deserved as much, even when I abandoned you. I was wrong, Wisteria. I am so sorry. I was wrong about everything. You knew me more than anyone ever did. I should have never turned away. I-I’m sorry.
“You don’t think I’ve learned anything from you? You think I’m still that selfish boy you met months ago? You think I haven’t thought about you!? Missed you!? Wished that everything that happened to fuck this up never existed!? Is that what you think, old man!? I can’t get rid of you! You’re always fucking right there, testing me on every fucking decision I make in my life whether your with me or not! Don’t you get that?!”
Oh, Emery… I’m sorry I failed you. I’m sorry we ended up like this, and that I was too weak and far too stubborn to help you. I should have done better. I should have been better for you, when you needed it most. You were my son, and I should have held you close in our final days instead of leaving you behind. I am so proud of you, I always have been. You have always been Mother Moon’s favorite child. Please, Emery. Please, forgive a foolish old man who didn’t know any better. Please find a way to forgive your father after all of this.
The mountains of people who he was leaving behind slowly crept through his head, playing as if he were right there during those last moments he had ever seen them, and even some of his most memorable experiences with them. Having them all removed from him bore holes in his heart that would never mend, but he know he would see them again. One day. If not sooner, then later. And that, well… That was alright with him. Colette, Calvin, Asa, Wisteria, Emery… His memory would always be with them, and theirs with him. It would live on in their hearts when they need moments of bravery, and find themselves reminiscing about their pasts. He would never forget the few that made his world a better place despite the faults, and he was certain they would never forget him all the same.
Eyes fluttered open as the moving came to a stop. A staircase presented itself before him. Was this Heaven? A soft, familiar boyish smile painted along his features. Whatever it was, it felt good. If Vampires could truly die again and wind up somewhere, he would have wanted to wind up here. Slender fingers reached for the misty banister as one foot began his ascension.
”Michael, my boy!” A hearty voice boomed from behind him, stopping him in his tracks. A voice that had haunted him in the worst ways for years. His head turned timidly. ”F… Father?”
The large man’s grin was contagious as his arms were held out wide to his child. Michael’s smile turned upwards until it stretched across from ear to ear, as he felt himself start running to his Maker. Babanel laughed as they embraced, holding each other as the large man caught his prodigy. He collapsed against him, head nuzzling against his Maker’s chest. All the problems between them, the bitterness especially, washed away in that moment. It was lost with the void. “Welcome home, son. I have been waiting such a long time for you to find your way back to me. Come now! Emery has been blabbing my ear off for awhile now, and it’s your turn to shut his yap up, ye’?” Babanel wrapped his arm over Michael’s shoulder and led him up the staircase. The two ascending up to where they belonged, in a place free from the troubles of Earth. Together again, forever now.
In the end, all would be well. Maybe not for some, but for enough.
Long live Athoria.