It was a simple matter of habit that brought Yew to the entrance of the Rub-a-Dub's bath. It was the place to wind down during their evening flights after a long hard day. Now that he faced the door he felt frozen.
It was wonderful to have finally, for the first time after all these years, have a real brother-to-brother conversation with Denys. How was he to have known it would be their first and last?
Yew shook his head, turned abruptly from the door and nearly slammed into Magnolia.
"Ah I'm sorry!"
Their voices rang out simultaneously and they fell silent as one, staring at each other.
"What are you," Yew started to say.
"I was hoping to," Magnolia said at the same time. Magnolia took over. "I was hoping to see you, Yew, but I saw you going to the baths." She cocked her head curiously. "You're not going in?"
Yew shook his head rapidly. "Not tonight."
"Would you like to join me for tea? I made some small cakes to go with it."
"That sounds great."
A few short minutes later found the pair tucked away in a corner of the ship with a plate of cakes between them and each cupping a mug of tea.
"Wow," Yew said after taking a sip. "This is really good. I've never had anything like it before."
Magnolia smiled and despite the heaviness in his heart Yew found himself smiling back at her.
"It's based on a recipe from the moon. I had to modify it. Certain ingredients can't be found here on Luxendarc. It's a little different, I'm glad it worked."
"It really does. I'd love to taste the real thing too sometime."
"O-Oui. Perhaps… someday…"
They fell into an awkward silence and Yew cursed himself. Magnolia's departure grew ever more imminent. Would they be able to still visit? Magnolia always looked so uncertain. His hands tightened around his cup. Would they have to part ways forever too?
"These cakes are really great too," he said in an effort to wipe away her discomfort. She smiled, but it seemed to lack the same brightness he normally saw in her.
"Hm…" Magnolia looked away for a moment before turning a sharp stare back at Yew. "Are you all right, Yew? Everything happened so quickly. There's hardly been time to gather ourselves and…"
Yew swallowed. "I-I'm fi… I'm…" The image of Denys standing tall, wielding the compass flickered across his mind's eye. Gone. Gone so far out of reach to the very edge of time. With that monster.
"We were apart for so long," he said quietly. "When he came back to me… We barely had any time together. I thought… I thought we could be a family again at last. We could restore pride and honour to the Geneolgia name together."
Yew clenched a hand. "He did. What he did… I'm proud to be his brother. I don't want his sacrifice to be in vain. I don't want to be angry or sad at what he did. But I…"
Magnolia leaned forward and laid a gentle hand over his. Yew trembled and bowed his head against the cry threatening to tear its way out of his throat. "I miss him already. I miss him so much."
"Oh Yew…" Magnolia shuffled over and hugged Yew, tentatively at first then more firmly as Yew leaned into it.
Yew felt his eyes prickle. He took a shuddering breath and tilted his face away from Magnolia.
"He did what he thought he had to and he saved us all," Magnolia said. "But he's gone now. Don't feel guilty for feeling sad. You cared for him deeply. It's, it's only natural to feel this way over losing a loved one."
Yew nodded and couldn't stop the tear escaping. He held onto Magnolia who tightened her embrace around him. They held onto each other until Yew wiped away his last tears. Magnolia leaned back so they were still close but could see each other.
"Thank you Magnolia," Yew said quietly.
"You can always talk to me. I'll always listen to you." She looked down. "Je t'ai…" she said nearly inaudibly and trailed off with an abrupt raise of her head. "Do you want more tea?" She nudged the plate toward him. "Or another cake?"
"Oh I uh," Yew stammered caught off guard by the abrupt shift. He took another cake. "Sure, these really are good." He nibbled at it before staring at Magnolia.
"And I really mean it. Thank you. I feel better now." His shoulders set. "Tomorrow is a new day. Whatever comes I know we can handle it."