There is a certain comfort in the idea of a Heaven, even of a Hell. Not so much for the continuity of one's own life, with a reward or punishment for one's deeds, but for the concept of reunion with those we lost, and that some day we, too, can be reunited with.
Nairobi had never been a particularly religious person, but honestly, religion had little to do with this. It was a transcendent concept in human nature; that there might be something else after the end. So that the idea of ending might not be so scary, perhaps. So that there might be a light of hope in such a dark moment.
It's strange and hard to tell exactly how much of it is a memory, and how much is something else. There is a part of her that tells her that, actually, it doesn't really make a difference. What does it matter if it's before or after? It's now.
It's familiar but different. It's a sunny, a very pleasant day, and the colors of the grass and the sky are so bright and full of something, perhaps happiness, like those summer days when everything seems to be bursting with life and you just want to go for a walk and have fun. Maybe that's why it looks and feels like a memory, because it's like she had already felt that. The breeze that grazes her face is so nice, and Nairobi holds a flower between her lips. She rolls it softly on her fingers shortly after. There's a soft conversation buzz nearby, but as she doesn't know if this is more memory or more... something else, Nairobi shifts to her side on the white quilt over the grass, towards the voices. She's wearing red, but it's a dress and not a jumpsuit. She likes to see herself in the dress a lot.
Berlin is sitting at the table with Oslo and Moscow. The two greet her with a nod, and Berlin is the last to turn around at her. Despite that familiar feeling, kind of like a déjà vu, Nairobi feels something else, more intensely that overlaps it: relief. It's warming and comforting, and it makes her smile to Moscow and Oslo like old friends she hasn't seen in years.
That feeling is stronger with Berlin, and perhaps for that reason, more palpable. She remembers the last time she saw him. It's been so long. With him, she could feel this clear passage of time because she recalled her anger and sadness so clearly, what she felt when she had realized he was going to stay behind. What she felt when she saw him, always so psychopathically impassive, show a flicker of emotion in the end.
"You big son of a bitch."
Berlin lets out a laugh. The sound is so strange because it is so real and so familiar, but so pleasant that it makes Nairobi smile immediately in return. Moscow and Oslo don't hide their chuckling either.
"Well here is our Nairobi. Such sweet words, my dear."
Nairobi snorts, smiling even wider. She'd never truly thought she'd miss Berlin; after all, he was a son of a bitch, and their personalities had clashed pretty much since the first day. And yet, even with all the life she had lived with Helsinki, with all the adventures with her dysfuncionally perfect family of robbers, Berlin had never been forgotten. Nor Moscow or Oslo, for that matter. Nairobi did not forget people. But Berlin was like her own little pet hate, a feeling that wasn't corrosive but rather soothing and almost comforting in a way as time passed, to the point of it feeling like missing. Like wishing they could meet again for a moment even if it was just to fight again. It kind of feels like it becomes a distorted friendship.
"I was starting to miss you already."
Berlin smiles and nods his head.
"I also missed the company of a more astute mind. My good friends," he says, turning to Moscow and Oslo. "You know I love you, but we cannot hold that many lengthy conversations."
Their two companions snort, probably already too used to it after having to put up with Berlin for so long, and Nairobi rolls her eyes. What a little shit, seriously.
"I took the opportunity to paint you," Berlin adds, turning to her again with that sketchbook of his she used to see him so often in Toledo. "I hope you don't mind."
Nairobi stares at the painting and blinks. It's artistic, no doubt, and there was no doubt it was her in those lines, but her own taste for art was slightly different from his.
"Why do I look so weird?"
"My dear, I paint what I see."
Nairobi snorts loudly and offensively despite smiling, feeling like throwing something at Berlin, but as the only thing she has nearby is the little flower on her hand, she decides against it. Instead, she holds it closer to her chest while she laughs, feeling again that warm relief. The beautiful flower casts a shadow over her.
Thanks for reading. Inspired by a gifset on tumblr by raquellmorillo, by the fic "E questo è il fiore del partigiano, morto per la libertà" by Alley on ao3 and by the video La Casa de Papel | Wars of Faith (S4) by Aida Dayai. Disclaimer at the end but obviously don't own anything in La Casa de Papel.