To Tegan's eyes, the snowstorm is a relief. Streets turn to impassable white rivers; bitter flakes bite at her skin, turning her fingers a raw red. Familiarity is not a comfort, and this is the wrong time of the year for snow. She squints her eyes, pretending to be anywhere else.
To her eyes, this is not home.
Years have past, some longer than others, and she has grown to hate the linear passage of time. It is not as though she has ever had any particular sense of Time's flow, but she can feel the grating of each moment after moment after moment; a monotony that she knows will not change. Years of hoping have turned her bitter in old age.
She still believes that he will come back.
She knows that he has not forgotten her. He never forgot anyone, though he often misplaced the memory. She is sure that he will find hers, and then he will come back because he will remember that they hadn't said goodbye. And she will forgive him, and they will reminisce and there will be laughter and smiles.
She had been strong, once.
The snow closes around her ankles, her feet are numb and she isn't sure if she can feel them anymore. Light from the streetlamps dances across the snow, a startling white against the black sky. The street is empty, the snow lies on the ground, untouched, perfect. Each flake is falling, though many twist and turn as they are caught in the wind and every one takes a different path.
So much movement; so little sound.
She looks beyond the snow, to where the stars should be. Flakes land on her face, melting and chilling her skin. It seemed so much more real, then. Before she returned to a hollow life, with her awkward laughter, her uncertain smiles, her frustration that nothing on Earth could ever distract her long enough to forget that the rest of the universe was still going on without her.
She has forgotten the nightmares.
And he's out there, somewhere. She doesn't believe that he's on Earth, that he's ever come back. He wouldn't come back without seeing her. He wouldn't forget that she had left in tears, crying and afraid and alone.
But time has done its work well, dulling pain, dulling sorrow, and leaving her regret a smouldering ember.
The last thing that dies is hope.
She closes her eyes, no longer feeling the snow.