They had given her a proper burial, in some grassy field right next to the river, a headstone and everything. But it didn't change the fact that everything still hurt. He arrived a little late, but only because his muscles felt heavier than ever before, as if they were readying themselves for seeing Sonya's body be buried in the ground, and they expect him to be there. All throughout the funeral, he stood within the shadows of the trees surrounding the field despite every effort to be mature about this, he simply couldn't. Everything spun around him, sky becoming ground and the ocean becoming the forest, the muffled sound of footsteps and voices, stifled by the deadened haze he had sucked himself within. He stared ahead, unseeing, never moving from where he was, shoulders fallen, the memories surfacing.
She was an angel, she was supposed to be bullet-proof. Unstoppable. Invincible. Now he knew those words were as good as the dust, clinging to the floors until being easily whisked away. He had always made the mistake of thinking that death would strike further from home, and it had cost him every time he lost someone.
He finally looked up at her casket, reinforcing the knowledge that she was gone, that at any moment he might crack.
He left before it was over, he didn't need to stick around to know how it would end.
When he got back to his room, he drank and drank and thought of things that would take his mind off of her. They sing ballads about this type of thing, He knew, but he couldn't remember the words. He had studied the Latin etchings on parchment paper, some were even love stories about how if you love someone you should let them go; mercy and all that. But it does not look like this. Mercy does not look like this.
He held his head in his hands. The images flickered behind his eyes. Being curled over her, her legs around him, knees pinned to his ribcage, dark hair brushing his face as she laughed.
The pain curled around him; it made itself a home. He laid back and sighed, there is a slosh of longing, an inkblot of black on the clean slate of his mind.
When images of Sonya lying like a slaughtered animal would canon-slam to his chest, he would lock himself away and not speak to anyone for days. He wondered if normalcy was something, like vision or silence, you didn't realize was precious until you lost it.
It was Sonya who cleared his mind and opened his eyes to new perspectives. It seemed to him that people were too used to having a certain chunk of years with the people they cared about, natural spans and what have you, but in reality, they were amazingly lucky to even encounter one another, considering how vast time and space are. It hardly seemed fair that Sonya was dead when he was the tainted one, he was the demon, and she was the opposite, she was good and pure. People would say that the world was going by so rapidly, his loss was nothing compared to others', but he allowed himself to be selfish. Just for her.
It was times like these, when he was lost in thought, that he was grateful that an absent hole would appear in his mind so that he could recede into when he was troubled.
He heard a door open and he heart lifted, maybe it was Sonya. But he looked up and his door was still closed, and if it was Sonya, she would have enveloped him in her arms, bathing him in vibrant smiles, and her thrums of positivity would have elicited stolen laughter from his throat.
Pulled violently back the stark cold reality, Hellboy shivered. He should know better than to expect this feeling to dissolve, this pain to lessen, he had experienced this before.
The door creaked open and Abe slipped into the room,fingers brushing against the silver knob.
"What d'you want?" His words were slurred between half-open lips, eyelids drooping halfway. Abe brought himself closer to Red with uncertainty.
"You look exhausted." Came Abe's nervous words and Hellboy glanced at him and shrugged.
Abe's eyes darted away and he found himself speaking words delicately, desperate to comfort him, it was the least he could do after what happened. "Red, what happened to Sonya, you had no control. It was fate—"
"Says who?" He grunted.
"A death to suite life," Abe said. "You know that there was nothing you could do. You tried everything you could, amulets, supernatural crosses, everything."
"Just leave me alone, Blue."
Abe went to the doorway and lingered there for a moment, studying his friend. Where were Hellboy's blessings? Where was the comfort he needed? Where was his shield in the face of the torrential downpour of bullshit that life thought itself entitled to throw at him? He needed something, Abe thought, Sonya had been that something for him, the skin to wrap around him and block him from harm. This harsh apathy he had now cocooned himself in provided no protection.
Hellboy finally fell asleep one night, the darkness taking him into it's spindly arms, and suddenly she was there reaching for him with soft skin, gentle arms, and the ghost of her hand across his face faded with the dark and his eyes opened, death once again far beyond his grasp.
Suddenly there was a tremendous noise coming from his bedroom door, he glanced over at the clock it was three in the morning, he stumbled forward, eyes bleary as he answered the knocking.
"Isaac?" He grumbled sleepily, confused by his presence.
"It's been a week," he replied in an obvious tone, as if that should be answer enough to clue him in, but Hellboy remained fixed in the entryway, staring at him blankly.
"We have to go see her," he uttered quietly and he stared at him in surprise.
"I just can't."
"You have to," Isaac spoke as if he had no say in the matter and Hellboy frowned.
"Why? For consolation and all that bullshit, no thanks."
He was practically pulsing determination as he dragged him from the building without giving him so much as a chance to change, and he regarded him carefully as they walked to Sonya's burial spot.
That day, the woods were silent and dark and shadowed with empty spaces like discarded pieces of fairytales between which witches would beckon for children to follow at their heels.
There was a strange ferocity in Isaac's actions that seemed to animate his body, infusing him with movement and drive that helped him to reach his destination, a point A to point B. Hellboy turned around in a circle when they were deep within the woods, searching the landscape for a headstone or the field, but his eyes were still hazed with fatigue and he had lost Isaac in the process.
The forest was still and noiseless: no people, nor even any animals in sight. Hellboy looked up at the sky. It was blue and empty, laced with the reaching fingers of black trees at the edges.
"Come over here, Hellboy."
Hellboy grunted an answer that Isaac didn't catch. Isaac knew it was affirmative though.
They reached a small clearing in the forest; the heavy bank of clouds that had dogged them all day seemed to have finally lifted, for the sun was lighting up the clearing.
Isaac drummed his fingers on his blade, which had just unsheathed, eyes fixed on Sonya's grave-site. Isaac made a noise and gestured for Hellboy to stay in place.
Isaac continued forward, waist-high in the yellowing grass as it hushed in the soft breeze. He went over to the spot just above where she was buried and Hellboy arched a brow as he began to draws a series of arches and lines and curls that make an odd symbol not unlike the sigils he had seen Sonya studying in one of the Enochian books.
The trees begin to dance wildly as he pressed his hand to the center symbol. Crows flied overhead and fate seemed to curl around them. He started forward but stopped as the ground opened up with an odd sound, a stark black abyss. Isaac stared down into the darkness of the ground opening in front of her.
Isaac looked back over his shoulder to see him one last time in that sun-touched field, watching as he walked closer.
He was nearly about to fall into the pit, and Hellboy watched him move forward toward the gaping opening, sinuous and slow, an eternity between two steps. He heard Isaac's voice rise up above the wind, calling out words, old and not his.
Hellboy was assaulted by a blinding white light.
He could barely see once the light faded, but he hurried toward the sound of footsteps.
He stumbled upon a white mass in the brush, he thought it was a woman lying prone on her side, but it couldn't be, there was no way that was possible.
He gently, gently as possible, reached out to touch her, if only to get a glimpse at her face. She thrashed out violently and he pulled back.
There was a loud bang, and another glaringly bright flash of light and silence fell. He cocked his head and frowned, blinking, but the woman was gone.
But when Hellboy turned around, a young woman was standing there, the loveliest woman he had ever seen. She was snow-pale, with huge blue eyes; her great curtains of dark hair were tied back from her smooth white neck with a red ribbon, and she was dressed in something soft and ivory and entirely too thin for the weather. The hem of her dress flutters about her knees, the soft curve of her wrists make him think of poetry—something elegant and regal to it—and her bare feet, moving quick and soft in the dewy grass.
He knew her. He would know her anywhere.
With small, industrious fingers, he wiped away a splotch of dirt on her cheekbones, his touch tingling like a blush.
"Thank you," Sonya said, and Hellboy stared at her blankly. He had to be in some vivid dream, he thought.
But no. This was real. Time seemed to chose to stop around them. There was no birdsong; he did not feel the grass brushing around him; he could not even recall where Isaac was. Then Sonya laughed and turned her shining face, beaming at someone behind him, hands holding onto Hellboy's. Time felt slow then, slow as honey.
He found his voice. "How? How did you—"
She had no answer; well, none but this.
She kissed him. He inhaled her name into her mouth, and she trapped his tongue between her teeth; familiar as the inside of her own cheek. Her hands lock behind his neck. Her nails scored the back of his neck. They kissed and kissed and pressed and kissed. Where once there were words was obliterated now. The name of god stuck between them as she moved closer until he refused to pretend he ever knew where one of them ended and the other began.
He leaned in closer to kiss the air from her lungs completely. When he let go of her, she was pink and bright-eyed, lips red.
He repeated the only words he could, "How?"
"That would be thanks to me, actually," Isaac beamed, coming over to them. "I gave her part of my Grace. It will keep her alive but she's no longer immortal, actually, if I'm right—which I usually am—then I've given her a slowed aging process, which means—"
"We'll age together?" Hellboy asked.
He grinned at Sonya and she shrugged. "You'd expect nothing less, would you."
"Of course not," He said, and he dropped his forehead in against her temple, laughing low in his throat.
"Let's go," She smiled and he took her hand in his.
He knelt, and weaved his fingers between hers.
"You know," He said to her. "I never considered it much. But marriage could be in the cards."
"God help us," She said, disentangling her hand from his and placing it upon her hip, and laughing at a joke he didn't mean to make, it echoed, full and bright, against the trees. "God help us all."