Agi has always been quiet. Quiet is fine; it suits him. He speaks when there's a need to, and because he doesn't waste his words, the others listen.
None of them, save Soreto, knew he sang songs of his childhood in snatches under the cover of night. Just as well. He knows he is no great musician. The problem does not lie in his cool timbre, or in the execution of his breathing techniques. Agi could feel something lacking; his music is not yet complete.
But he has a job to do, important discoveries to make, and that was that.
Twenty-six/five hundred years later, he still sings songs from his childhood, from a land far, far away. This time, he has an audience of one – his sister. Belle was crying, clinging to the legs of his trousers, and he sang until she drifted into fitful dreams, slipping away with a burglar's footsteps amidst her steady whimpering.
And now… Now he still can't carry a tune, but it doesn't matter anymore; Ian's not going away anytime soon.
Flo shifted her foot impatiently, fingers toying with her hair while the old man inside the phone booth showed no signs of leaving.
She is going to see her father in a few hours, if things go well.
Soreto hasn't seen her father for a long time. She left home when she was sixteen, pursuing dreams of knowledge, the answers lurking at the end of the world. By twenty-three she was exiled, chasing after the ghost of their beloved princess and hounded by guilt.
It had been twenty-six years since then — or was it five hundred? Really, she ought to have grown out of it. It's just difficult to forget, sometimes.
The bell jangled, and she swooped into the glass booth, paying no heed to the disgruntled frown on her predecessor's face as he stepped aside hastily to avoid her.
Her fingers shook as she dialed the number, heart beating faster with each ring. On the fourth ring, a tired voice spoke up on the other end, and —
Finally, finally, she is going to see her father in a few hours!
Flo ran to the train station, eyes bright and heart light.
Thomas never made it home. Instead, he was laid quietly on a golden beach, with six mourners. Four of those six will forget him soon enough, though not by choice (or maybe they did choose, after all).
The sand were not the fine platinum grains Hesma longed for, but the water was almost the same shade of clear, pure blue as the waves swaying gently back home, once upon a time. He slept to the pulse of Greecian seas when he was just a babe; the lapping edges crooned a strange lullaby, too delicate and subtle for any scientist to analyze.
Hearing that familiar murmur almost made up for it.
The tide crashed on shore; golden grains soaked up the moisture. A flock of seagulls flew in the distance. Children cried.
Hesma slept forever.
Tarlant missed Wonder.
He remembers taking Wonder out for a walk in the mornings, sky brightened by dew; the heat beneath his palm as he scratched absently behind her ears; the soft padding of paws, a tiny skritch-skritch-skritch echoing on thick stone floors. Tarlant had Wonder ever since he could remember, and she stayed with him always, through his father's death and his mother's marriage to another man, through the birth of a little brother with whom he had nothing in common with, through the sickness that threatened to take his life.
Wonder left a week after he moved into the palace.
But this time, he was the one who left her.
He was the one who left her, when he decided to stay as a human. He was the one who left her, when he shed his dark clothes in favor for shorts and t-shirts. He was the one who left her, sending her away to rot on Kokuri Island.
The knowledge of knowing that one day, out of the blue, he'll forget all about her doesn't make it any better.
Hasmodai sat in the far corner of the rocking coach, huddling into his blankets for warmth. He doesn't know when he will fade away, leaving only Theo behind with years of empty memories and, maybe, a profound sense of loss.
It was like death in a way; Enma had them all, in the end. But this is what they chose, and Hasmodai was relieved that they finally had the freedom to chose this. He almost didn't know what to do with himself, now that he is just another child with a million-and-one possibilities in front of him; just Theo, whose family had been waiting for six years.
The coach reached its destination; Hasmodai stretched his legs and shouldered his bags.
On the long road winding down from the hills, he picked a bright marigold dyed in the colors of sunset, a sprig of rosemary, and five white lilies. He tied them together with a stalk of dried grass, an impromptu bouquet for Mother and Serena (to all the mothers he never knew but missed nonetheless, to all the fathers he longed to bond with, to all the brothers and sisters and everyone else who gave him love).
Home is still a way away, but he knows Theo's birthplace will surely be waiting, alight with stars.