1:9 – You and I

She was surprised to get a message from him just a couple of days later, asking her to meet him at one of the cities best lounge bars. It had surprised her both to hear from him so soon, and where he wanted to go.

“This version of you.. it is different, yet familiar.”

She knew she had a couple of more stops along the way to get her work done, but she told him she would join him there soon.

“But… I…”
“I know..”

She hated having to reap them when it was sudden, and to make it even worse, when they were very young. No one had found this guys underlying heart condition, and now it was just to late.

“So where to now.”
“You’ll know when you get there, I promise its somewhere good.”

She watched him leave, before walking away, heading to what she really had no idea what to expect from.

I hope you don’t mind, I ordered you a drink, same as you ordered last.
“Nah, it’s fine.”
Busy day at work?”
“Not to bad, just a last minute customer that I had to help.”

She noticed the way he was looking at her, it made her slightly uncomfortable if she was honest.

Sorry.. I know I keep looking at you.”
“Why?”
Okay.. I was thinking I was insane, but I think I need to talk to you about this.

He motioned for them to move a bit away from everyone else, making her wonder what this would bring.

I’m sorry.. I know I am being all weird and creepy.”
“Eh.. kinda?”
But I need to know.. do I know you.. I mean..
“Know me?”
Yes.. from before.. sometime else, I don’t know how to explain..

She didn’t know what to say either. She knew the rules of this was clear, she was not to tell him much.. but this, he was pretty much asking her something she would normally try and tell him after a few years, to see how their time would be.

I am just messing all this up aren’t I.. I mean I sound like a rambling idiot.”
“Nah…”
Yeah I am, I can hear myself.. but I can’t get you out of my head ever since we met. And it feels.. familiar.”

She sighed, her mind racing to try and find a good way to answer him. Should she just blurt out the whole thing, that they had met in several lives.. or should she just let him wonder?

I should go.. I am not making any sense.”

As he was about to get up, she stopped him with pulling him back on the couch thing that had been sitting on.

“I normally don’t tell you this.. at least not this early..”

She sighed, and started telling her the things he normally told her after years of them being together.

How many times?
“I kinda lost count…”
This is.. insane.
“I know, I’m sorry… “
So in short.. you wait for me over and over and over..
“Yes.. “
Wow…

She let him think, she knew it was a lot to take in. She was kinda surprised though to how well he was handling it. Almost a little to well, as if he actually remembered being told this before. There was something about the acceptance off it all was a little scary.

“I’ll let you think for a bit, and just stand over there.. okay?”
Yeah.. okay.

She put a hand on his shoulder, before walking over to the side of the lounge, just looking out over the city. This round had really not been anything like how she expected, and she wasn’t quite sure how she should feel about it. She smiled when she realized that she felt like Hayle explained it the first time he told her about going home to his castle.. He called it scared happy, and it pretty much covered how she was feeling.

So…
“Yeah?”
Do I have a choice of my own?
“As in if you end up with me?”
Yes..?
“You do, sometimes we get married like the first time, other times I am just a friend.”

She skipped out on the part where he had been in love with someone else and had children. It was just a whole new can of worms she did not want to touch, at least not yet.

But you are always there?”
“Yes.. I tried not to be once… and lets just say it was a short life.”
Oh… Oooooh..
“Yeah, sorry about that.”
But it is my choice then if I want to be with you, in each life?
“Yes..”

But what about you?
“What do you mean?”
Do you ever get to choose not to be with me?”
“No, I always want to be with you.”
Every time?
“Yes.”

Then let’s make this round special?

“I’d like that.”

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1:8 – Something’s different

It had been such an odd night, and she couldn’t really figure out what had happened. Maybe she had just gotten to used to things being a certain way that she had forgotten something along the way. She had decided to head to the karaoke bar after finishing her job yesterday, it had been quick and easy job wise, the bar part had been.. well not so much.

“Mind if I join you?”

She had been snapped out of her own world of thought, her eyes fixating on the person standing next to her table. It was no mistaken who he was, so to not seem like a total weirdo, she simply nodded and motioned for him to sit down with her. Her mind was racing though, she couldn’t remember the last time that had happened, if ever.

“I hope you don’t mind my boldness.. I mean.. I am not really the type, but you feel familiar somehow.”
“I do?”
“Yes.. I’m probably just being dumb, but there is something about those red eyes..”

Now this had happened before, since she never changed her eyes even when she changed her forms he would recognize them, but not really know why.

“Well, red eyes aren’t all to normal, maybe your just surprised?”
“No… fairly sure you are familiar too me.. “

“Hmh… you do look a little like a toddler I met.. but that is many years ago.”
“Hmh… maybe, I mean my mom used to joke I had a thing for girls with red eyes when I was a kid.”
“But.. what would be the odd’s off that?”
“True.”

Of course she felt bad playing this game, but it was a game she knew she had to play. She couldn’t just come out with everything and blurt out she had been stalking him since he was a kid.

“So.. what is your name, person who sits here talking to me.”
“Ilari.”
“Now… that’s not a typical name for someone from around here.”
“No.. my mom used my grandfathers name, and they live far from here.”
“Ah.. let me guess… Finland?”
“Yes.. how did you know?”
“Oh I travel a lot in my work, I generally am fairly good with placing names.”

“Ah, sounds like a nice job. I just work as a police officer, not much travel with that.”
“But a nice job?”
“So far.. not to bad.”

He had only been in the police force once before, and she remembered that life all to well. It had just…. not been a very nice one. For either of them.. or well, mostly her.

“So..a drink?”
“Not holding back are you?”
“No.. figured if I can talk to someone this easily, I might as well push it.”
“For your bravery then, why not.”

She enjoyed the rest of the evening with him, but she was still very wary of what she said, and she didn’t really know how to feel about it. She knew she should be happy, but it also felt so strange, like if something in a time long dance had changed.

“One more question before I go, or my chief will probably have my ass handed too me at work tomorrow.”
“Okay?”
“Since I am on a roll.. can I have your phone number, I’d kinda like to see you again.”

The question caught her by surprise, but she did end up giving him her phone number, and him of course giving her his. After that, he left, and she sat there for a while until she finally headed home.

“I don’t know..”

She had actually called her dad and talked to him after she came home. This whole new direction stumped her, and she just wanted to check with him that there hadn’t been some change to the deal.

“Soo… “
“I never should have given you that key.”
“I don’t really need a key you know.”
“I know..”

“Your dad called me.. he was worried.”
“Seriously?”
“Yes… so.. fill me in?”

She told him everything, about the meeting, how it was different, and how it had made her feel and worry. Apparently enough to make her father worry which made her worry even more.

“I know this sounds silly, but just roll with it.”
“Roll with it.”
“Yes, it’s new, but see where it goes and try not to overthink it?”
“Coming from you.. that’s kinda funny.”
“I never overthink.”
“Eh.. yes you do.”

He did make her smile though, and she did agree. No matter what this was, she would simply have to handle it. There was no changing it after all.

“Tell Hayle to come over, we can have snacks and movies?”
“Sure.”

“I thought you said movies?”
“Games are fun too!”

She just chuckled, and focused back on kicking both their butts in Smash.

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1.7 – Waiting for you to grow up

She liked the pool on the roof, swimming underwater always have it’s own type of calm, like you were sheltered if only a little from the rest of the world around you. She knew how the time now would be spent, between her job, as long as it was close, him, and making time pass with friends.

At least she had friends, which was more than she could say at the start of this long dance. It oddly mad a world of difference to how it felt all in all. Floating in the water, she closed her eyes, recalling her latest meetings with him in his little cute toddler form.

She had to change her form and looks on occasion though, to not seem like some crazy stalker woman, the only thing she never changed was her eyes.

“I think my boy must like girl with red eyes.. you are the third one.”
“Wow.. you met someone else with red eyes?”
“Yeah.. “
“I wish I could say that..”

She often sat and talked with her mom while he played. She was a single mom, sometimes struggling with making the ends meet, so she seemed to quite enjoy having someone to talk to about it. Sometimes a stranger you have no ties too is the easiest one to just tell things too.

“So little man.. what do you want to do?”
“Swings!”

She was his nanny too sometimes, when his mother finally got that job she had been wanting, Nat took the role as a nanny whenever she could, not letting her pay for it, pretending to just be a helpful neighbor. In honesty she quite liked this part off it. It was uncomplicated, and mostly just fun.

“Swings it is then, and then we have dinner and you go to sleep.”
“Yes!”
“If every kid was as easy as you, this would really be a dream job.”

“Okay, now home, food and bed.”
“No more swings?”
“Not for now little man, not for now.”

He was a teenager by now, one of the life stages she always stayed out off. It was actually the one thing she had always listened to her father with. Something about what he told her just seemed right. He had to discover who he was without her there as a teenager. So she kept herself in the sidelines, close by, but never seen.

“Anyone home?”
“Oh.. hey Hayle, Chris at work?”
“Busted aren’t I?”

She pulled herself out of the pool and joined him innside. They were still watching Netflix shows whenever Chris was away, so she should have guessed he would be coming over.

“Did you know there is a festival outside your building?”
“Yes..why?”
“Should we check it out?”
“Sure, I can text Chris and tell him to meet us there so he doesn’t worry when your not home.”

“Humor and hijinks.. really?”
“That’s what they call it.”

“Hey.. that drink made you glow.”
“Hmh.. fancy, you should try it too.”

“So I guess that drink thing don’t work on you huh?”
“No.. it seems not.”

She loved these random outings, just for the simple fact that it made her world feel so oddly normal.. well if you could call sitting next to a dragon god and his husband normal. But well, for her it kinda was.

“Did you ever consider getting a cat or a dog? I mean, I know you spoke of a dog?”
“Yeah.. but it would feel kinda bad when I work, I mean leave it alone.”
“Well I am sure if we let your pet and ours get to know each other, they could be company when were all out?”
“Hmh.. I’ll think about it, how does that sound?”
“Good, I think the company would be nice. I know I love having Felix there when Chris is out.”
“I think I better wait, just in case you know who is allergic again..”

Chris chuckled, he remembered when she had several animals and he had started sneezing whenever she was around. Hyper-allergic to all fur, so she had to find them all homes.

She had watched the two off them leave hand in hand, before heading back up to her own apartment. She was pretty proud of her handywork, or well at least the kick in the butt and push to have Chris say yes to this whole thing.

“I guess I can at least I did one good deed there.”

She curled up in the sofa, closing her eyes, humming a song that he had ones sung to her, that she still remembered and always taught him whenever she could.

I’d climb every mountain
And swim every ocean
Just to be with you
And fix what I’ve broken
Oh, ’cause I need you to see
That you are the reason

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1:6 – How we got here

“So… Chris will be away for how long?”
“He said a couple of days or maybe more, he wasn’t sure.”
“Yeah..he drew the short stick this time around.”
“He said it was because you couldn’t?”
“Yeah, I am right now, more bound to here.”

She knew Hayle would love to know the whole story, and since she was now the reason Chris had to spend more time away as they were a team, it felt a little like there was no time like the present. It was after all, a fairly long story.

“So, want to know the mess I made of things?”
“The whole love vs rules of the universe?”
“Yep.”
“I think I might have to bring Felix here for that?”
“Probably just as well, can’t have him home alone for too long.”

“I’ll be back before you know it.”

She gave him a nod as she was let go of the hug. Hayle was getting better and better at reading others, so she wasn’t so suprised about the random hug. She did however dread telling the story to him, it would probably make him think off her slightly differently.

As he returned a little later, they decided to mix the story, with a bit of chess. Mostly it was for her own sake, since playing chess while telling the story took some of the focus away on her own stupid mess.

“As you know, my father is death himself, my mother on the other hand was from a race of shapeshifters from a completely different universe than this one. My dad fell in love, and well it resulted in me, which was kinda strike one on the list of things not allowed. The problem is, who tell’s death he can’t do something? No one.”

She knew the story well from her mother and her father telling it to her. Her mother changed her shape all the time, she hated being in one skin for too long, unlike her who preferred this one look over any others. From what little memory she had off her, her mother was a very sweet woman, and she still didn’t know why her father let her die. His explanation was simple, it was the laws of the universe, and he had already broken one law when having her.

“So this lawbreaking runs in the family?”
“I guess you could say that.”
“But your break was worse?”
“Yes.. I kinda pulled of something unforgivable.”

She sighed, it had been the first time she fell in love, and she was simply not prepared what that meant. It was over 10 000 years ago in Mesopotamian times when she had stumbled across him on one of her first solo missions. He was the the one that found the one who she was there for, and she had forgotten to fade away before he got close.

“So love at first sight?”
“I guess so..”
“Which I assume was not popular with dad?”
“About as unpopular as it can get.”
“But you stuck with it?”
“Yeah.. was the first time I used my shape shifting to fake age.”

Hayle looked at her, for a second or two trying to imagine how she would look as an elder.

“Did humans live as long as they do now back then?”
“No.. and when it all to soon was his time to die.. I couldn’t deal with it.”
“What did you actually do.”
“I knew I couldn’t stop him from dying.. but I had the grand idea of locking his soul to mine.”
“Oh…”

She should have known Hayle would understand just how bad what she had done was.

“So his soul.. is locked to an immortal being, forcing it to break every single rule of the natural order.”
“Yes…”
“Wow…”
“Yeah.. let’s say I thought my dad was going to kill me at first. I have never seen him so mad and scared in my entire life.”
“But he found another way?”
“Yes..”

There had been a meeting between other almost as old celestial beings with her sitting in the middle, with his soul in her hands. She had never felt smaller, and she was sure that they would kill her. Luckily for her, they all feared her father, and with some effort on his end they found a loophole to stop a full collapse of everything.

“I was locked to this planet, and this soul until the day comes when it is ready to understand, and ready and strong enough for my bond to it to be broken again.”
“So it can be broken?”
“Yes.”
“But?”
“It requires what would be called an ascension of the soul into accepting it’s past, present and then accepting death and not knowing what will happen after.”
“Won’t it move on?”
“No one knows, no one but me has done something so stupid before.”

Hayle nodded, clearly taking it all in.

“So.. where are you with all of it now?”
“I quickly learned a couple of things, his bond to me means I need to be in close proximity, or as I learned the very hard way, he goes into a depression, and eventually kills himself.. this happened only once, and I never let it happen again.”

She explained that due to the link, if she wasn’t close by, he would feel like soemthing so important to him was missing, that he just couldn’t be happy, couldn’t focus, and simply had no will to live.

“Does he always love you?”
“Most of the time.. sometimes we are just friends though, but he normally doesn’t get involved in romance those rounds…”

He noticed her stop, and a memory from something Chris had mentioned came to mind.

“But?”
“But.. one time, and only one time, he fell in love with someone else. Got married, had a child, and I could only watch from the sidelines.”
“Oh… “

He could only imagine how bad he would feel if it was him having to watch Chris like that. Just from the sidelines, and not being able to leave and not be around.

“Does this mean something though”
“My dad thinks it means his soul might be ready, or very close to ready.. it hasn’t happened again after though.”
“What will you do when it happens, I mean when he is ready?”
“Let him go.. he doesn’t deserve this.”
“Neither do you.”

She looked up at Hayle who had taken her hand.

“I do, I almost tore up the universe.. I could have ended everything.”
“There was one more punishment for you, wasn’t there?”
“Yes.. I had to give something up, something big to make the rest happy about their deal.”
“Hmh…”
“So they decided the price would be that I could never have kids off my own. At first I didn’t see how that was an issue, until he wanted them.. then I understood the punishment in it.”

Hayle couldn’t help but pull her over to the sofa and put an arm around her, he could barely imagine having to tell someone over and over and over again that she couldn’t have children, seeing their disappointment and the hurt it brought was something he would almost call torture.

“How many times?”
“I lost count.. but many.”
“Do you want this round to be the last?”
“Yes.. and then no, then yes.. and no.”
“And he is back again now?”
“Yes, just a toddler still though.”

They sat talking for a while longer, Felix crawling up into the sofa with them. Their talk going from her story, to Hayle sharing a bit more about himself to take her mind off things.

“Will you ever take us to see you ice palace?”
“Would you want to?”
“I’d love too, they way you describe it makes it seem wonderful.”
“Well, I guess after this round of your dance?”
“Yes, I think taking a human there would break more rules, I done enough rule breaking.”
“Good idea, now.. this series you told me to watch, should we?”
“Stranger things?”
“Yes, about upside down and such?”
“Sure.”

She loved how easy it was to tell this story to Hayle, and how he simply accepted it instead of pushing her away like som many others. She also wondered what he would think of Stranger things, he had loved The Haunting of Hill house, so she thought he might like this too.

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1:5 – Our bond

“So what’s your name little one?”
“Ilari”
“Well, that’s a very nice name. I’m Nat, my name is long and silly, so people just call me Nat.”

“look momma, I am all the way up here!”

Sounds of a child’s laughter spread trough the park, pretty much making anyone there smile as well. There was just something about a child’s laughter that made almost anyone happy.

“That was fun!”

She put Ilari back down, watching him run over to his mom with an exited look on his face.

“I’m glad you had fun are you ready to go home now.”
“Yes momma.”

Nat walked back into the cafe to find her father being on what would have to be his third or maybe even fourth burger by now.

“You staying then I guess.”
“Yep, have some work to do close by soon.”
“Well enjoy.”

As she left she picked up her phone, calling the one person she knew was home, and probably wouldn’t mind a visit. She didn’t feel like heading to her apartment right now, and she knew he hated being home alone.

“Thanks for letting me come say hi.”
“Oh i think you know I hate being alone.”
“Maybe, we have that one in common.”

Hayle had been more than happy to have her come over. Chris had told her a little about what was going on with Nat, and he had decided to let her tell him the rest whenever she wanted too.

“I have to ask.. did it occur to you to go shopping for new clothes?”
“Ehh…”
“I’m going to take that as a no. And I say we need to fix that one day.”
“What’s wrong with my clothes?”
“Nothing, but you know, you can use more then one type of shirt.”
“Ah..”

She knew he hadn’t thought about it, why would he, a god rarely cared about these things after all.

“I have an idea.. if I beat you in a snowball fight, and no cheating with your powers mr, I get to take you out for a new wardrobe?”
“Deal.”

“So I come home, to find my husband having a snowball fight without me?”
“Yep, and you can’t join until we have a winner!”
“Oh?”
“Yep, we have a bet.. if I win, I get to take him shopping for a new wardrobe.”
“And if he wins?”
“He gets to choose if he wants too?”

Chris just laughed and joined them both anyways. Trying to win a snowball fight against Hayle was almost impossible, so he teamed up with his friend.

“You are supposed to be on my team!”
“Not for this, for this she needs all the help she can get.”

Even with Chris on her team though, they soon found that Hayle was more than a match for both of them.

“Okay.. I give in, you win.”
“Hah!”
“So, you get to choose what you want to do.”
“Well I want you to take me shopping.. I just wanted to have some fun in the snow really.”

“So where do you two plan to go shopping?”
“Your not coming with?”
“Heck no, I want to come see when your all done.”
“Well, whenever Hayle feels like it, and I have time, I say we go do it.”
“I’ll message you then, and you can tell me where to meet you.”
“Deal.”
“So.. guys, the real question of the night. What movie do we watch?”

It was something they often did when they were together. None of them really needed sleep that often, so long movie nights was often a preferred option. It was also something they could easily put on pause if something happened, and work called them away.

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1:4 – Meeting again

Some people had no warning, life just ended in a heart beat, or a heart attack or a hidden illness that could suddenly take your life and there was nothing anyone could do about it.

“I’m sorry, but you will have to come with me.”
“But my granddaughter.. it is her birthday?”
“Yes, but I don’t think she wants to be scared by the ghost of her grandfather.. do you?”
“No..”

She watched him cross over, before she headed to the last one on her list for now. She had a feeling this one, was not ready to go at all.

“I just got married.. this isn’t fair!”
“No, it isn’t.”
“Wait.. you agree with me?”
“Yes, this isn’t fair, but it is what it is.”

“But, I was going to tell him I was pregnant.. we had finally…”
“I know.”
“How can you let this happen?”
“It’s not up to me, I am just here to help you get where you need to go.”
“And if I don’t want to.”
“Then you can stay, but you will still be dead.”
“A ghost?”
“Yes.”

“Please, I need to tell him.”
“I can’t, I wish I could, but I can only help you go where you need to go. Or you can stay here as a ghost.”

“I… I don’t know.”

Nat put a hand on the woman’s shoulder. She understood just how she felt, how hopeless it felt, and how much you wanted it to change.

“Do you think he would be happy, being haunted by you?”
“No he is such a wuss he can’t even watch the lightest of scary movies.”
“So, maybe you should come with me instead?”
“I guess so.. will he be okay?”
“Eventually.”

“So how does this work.”
“We go together, I show you the way, and you get to find out what comes next.”
“Okay.”

Nat was just happy she didn’t decide to stay, she knew the ending on that, and it was never a happy one. Now though, as morning broke, she had to head to where she would meet him again.

The buzz of the train station made her smile, people just going about their lives was one of her favorite things. It was perhaps a welcome break from what she did every day, to see them all not worried, not sad, and generally just going about their day.

She got on the train she knew would take her where she needed to go, watching people read books, chat on their phones, pc’s and a few people were sound asleep.

“Okay… now to find that park.”

As she was about to leave, she noticed someones presence, making her sigh and shake her head.

“I can sense you dad..”
“I know, I just wanted to join you.”
“Why?”
“For a coffee?”
“Right..”

“You are here to keep an eye on me aren’t you?”
“No, this place has my favorite coffee.. and well, the best burger in the city.”
“Well, you enjoy the burger dad, I don’t get your addiction to this world unhealthy food.”
“Its my thing.”
“Indeed.”

She looked outside the window, noticing a mom with a small child.

“See you in a bit dad.”

“Hello”
“Hi.”

She noticed his mother walking away, as the toddler stopped next to her.

“Play with me?”
“If your mommy says yes, sure.”

She took him by the hand and walked over to his mom.

“Oh god, I am so sorry, he is normally not the type to go over to a stranger.”
“Well, I’ll take that as a compliment then.”
“And he asked to play with you?”
“Yes, but I told him we had to ask you.”
“Sure, why not.”

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1:3 – Waiting for you

It was a quiet night at the hospital, she was at the ward where they kept all their critically ill patients. She didn’t mind this part of the job really, mostly they were all ready to go. They had been in pain for so long or just in so much pain for the time they had been ill that the idea of death was a relief.

She was young the first girl of the night, barely in her late twenties, but she had been fighting cancer since she was only eight. She was a miracle child several times over, but now, now her body simply didn’t have anything else to fight with.

“It’s you..”
“Like I promised, all those years ago.”
“It is time, isn’t it?”
“Yes, you have fought so hard, but there is no more fight left to do now.”
“That’s okay, I am good to go.”

Nat smiled, putting her hand on her forehead.

“Then, you can let go, and I’ll show you the way.”

There was one last breath from the female, before the monitor’s started to beep, the lines going flat.

“So, where do I go now.”
“Now, you get to see what comes after and I promise you it is nothing to worry about.”
“I’m not worried, I not felt this good since I was five.”

Nat smiled, she had always liked her and they had so many meetings over the years, that it felt like meeting a friend. As she watched her cross over, she gave her a wave, knowing at some point, their paths would probably cross once more.

“And now young lady.. it is you and me.”

“What did you do to the other lady?”
“I helped her cross over.”
“Oh.. she died?”
“Yes, that’s right.”
“Are you an angel?”
“Well some would call me that, but I am not what you would call an angel.”
“Oh..”

“So, how about you and I go sit outside this stuffy old room, and we can talk.”
“I’m dead aren’t I?”
“Dying, yes.”
“Okay..”

She took the young girl out from the room with her, not letting her look at the bed where her body was lying. With children, their souls could sometimes leave before a heart stopped beating.

“Can I go back?”
“No.”
“So… I am dead?”
“Almost.”
“Is it scary?”
“No, and I will follow you where we are going.”

“How about my parents?”
“They will miss you, but you shouldn’t stay for them.”
“I can stay?”
“Yes, but you would be a ghost, like the stories.”
“Oh.. a good ghost?”
“For a while maybe, but in the end, you would become one of those ghosts you hear about in the media.”
“Oh..”

She could probably have said many things, but if there was one thing Nat had learned over the years, it was that being honest helped people far more than anything else.

“So, I have to leave them?”
“You can stay, but it wouldn’t help them or you.”
“What happens if I go with you.”
“Then you get to move on, see and try new things.”
“Okay, and you will go with me?”
“Every step of the way.”
“Okay, let’s go then.”

Nat pulled the little girl up, and swung her over her shoulders.

“Off we go then little lady!”

Her ears where filled with cheerful laughter as they exited the hospital and vanished from this realm. Nat keeping her word to follow her all the way. Her father would scowl at her of course, but she had long ago made it clear that she would do this job her way. And meetings like the two she had today, just made that choice worth it.

As she returned home for the evening, she knew she would have to travel soon, and she wasn’t sure how she felt about it. Still she knew what would happen if she didn’t so she would go, like so many times before.

“Round.. ehm”

She chuckled, she had finally lost count of how many times it had been.

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1:2 – It starts again

“So… we start again.”

She had felt him come back into the world, or well, his soul enter a new body, it would still be some time until she could enter his life, but it gave her the time she needed to prepare, and to find him and then their endless dance would start one more time.

She wished she could go back and change what she had done all those years ago, but she knew better than to mess with the fabrics of time. She would just have to keep living with what she had done, as would he, which hurt more than she would like to admit. He never had a say in it, this had all been her choice, and young and stupid didn’t really cover it.

She closed her eyes, memories forming innside her head, memories of many lifetimes together, and as much as she didn’t want to, she got dragged into remembering their dance.

She remembered all his incarnations, although the first time he was a female surprised her, she found that he was still him, just the body was different.

As much as they were all different, they were all the same.

And she missed every incarnation equally.

Some she could tell the truth too..

Others were never ready to know.

And some just didn’t believe her and laughed when she told them.

But they all needed her to be in their life.

Some as the lover on the side.

Some as a work partner, but then.. there was this one time.

She found herself standing still, and alone in the park, how she had gotten there, she didn’t actually remember, but it wasn’t the first time this happened.

“The one time.. you loved someone else..”

She suddenly felt arms around her, and how she was pulled into a hug.

“I figured I’d find you here.”
“Did dad send you?”
“No, I know you well enough to sense this happening.”

It felt safe in her best friends arms, he was one of very few that knew what she had done and didn’t shun her for it. He had been around for that one time when she sat afar and just looked at the love of her life loving someone else, and he knew how much it broke her heart and scared her.

After that time, her father had told her something that she was a little scared off, yet she knew she should be happy about. It meant the soul was close to being ready to make it’s own choice, the one thing that would break what she had done.

“Hey.. come on, Hayle said you had to come for dinner.”
“He did?”
“Yes, he keeps wanting to show off his newfound skills.”
“Sure.. why not.”

“Thanks by the way.”
“What are friends for if not this.”
“Still.”

She had gotten a hug from Hayle when she arrived, then he had vanished back into the kitchen to finish the dinner he had been working on.

“How are you guys doing anyways?”
“Good, learning new things is always fun.”
“How to train your dragon.”
I heard that!

She looked behind her seeing Hayle stand with his arms crossed, trying his best to look angry, before all three simply started laughing.

The evening turned into night with dinner, and one of Hayle’s many stories from before he took his current form. When she thought about it, even if it happened again, maybe it wouldn’t be so bad?

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1:1 – Prologue

There was a cold wind against her face, the moon peaked out between three trees, lighting the patch she was walking. She could see it in the distance, the flickering headlights of a car that had went off the road. She knew who was there too, a middle-aged man called Tony who had until ten minutes ago been on route to an important business meeting. A deer that jumped out on the windy road had set a quick end to his plan, leading him across her path instead.

“Help me. Please!”
“Are you sure you want that. Don’t you want to see your daughter again?”

The man blinked and looked at her again.

“Are you…?”
“Yes.”

There was a familiar silence, they often needed the time to wrap the severity of their own fate when face to face with a reaper.

“You look different than I expected.”
“Let me guess, you expected black robe, large scythe and so on?”
“Well yes actually…”
“Some still wear that, but most of us have fund a suit to be more suited for the job.”

She noticed the smile on the man’s face, she had found that many reacted that way to her word puns.

“So now what?”
“You have a couple of choices. We can wait, see if you get rescued before that internal damage you have becomes too much.”
“Or?”
“You can give up, and I’ll take you with me.”
“Does everyone have a choice?”
“No, some die on impact, or have too much damage to survive.”
“Do you have a name?”
“Yes, but I am willing to bet you can’t pronounce it.”
“Try me?”
“Náttsól, but you can honestly just call me Nat.”

He looked at her for a while. He was proving to be her favorite type of customer, the type that listened and understood what she was and why she was there.

“Nat it is then.”

Some saw her as a demon and evil, others thought she was an angel of death. There were those that would scream at her, those that would pray, and those that would just try and ignore her presence.

“Here, let me help you.”

She took a blanket from the blanket from the aid bag of the car and moved him a little, so he would be comfortable before putting the blanket over him.

“Are you really allowed to help.”
“This won’t change the outcome; just how comfortable you are until the time comes.”
“So if it could change the outcome, you are not allowed too.”
“No.”
“I don’t think anyone uses this road…”

She looked up, it was indeed not a well-traveled road. She knew why he had taken it, to reach that meeting that might change his and his family’s future.

“You’d be amazed where people are found.”
“I guess you have some stories about that?”
“Many, you want to hear one?”
“Yes.”

She moved getting herself comfortable against car door. She had many stories about people being found, but the one that had surprised her the most was the one she would most often tell. It was a story of a young girl who was in the Dakar Rally. She had lost her way, and her bike had broken down, out of water and food, all she had was a self-made shelter, and her ruined bike. She knew people would be looking for her, she had missed her check in, but she was far of course, and the chance of her being found in time, was almost none.

“Did she see you as well.”
“Yes, we sat much like we are, just a much warmer place.”
“How was she found?”
“In the most unlikely of ways.”

It has been the third day when it had happened. A young boy traveling between towns had decided to take a different route than normal, only to see if it was faster than the one the elders used, and it led the two of them together.

“He didn’t find out if the route was longer or shorter that day, instead he saved a life.”
“What are the odds of that.”
“Let’s just say your odds are a million times better.”
“Did she ever think about giving up?”
“Several times, but she always found a better reason to wait.”

Their talk stopped as the telltale sound of a car could be heard, the sound of breaks, and then voices. When he had been late for his meeting, his boss had tried to call his phone, when there was no answer, he had called his daughter, who called the police. She knew off the shortcut to where he was going and had begged them to please look there.

“Anyone down there?”
“I’m here!!”

She smiled before she got to her feet. Luckily her services had not been needed tonight, and a man would go back to living with the knowledge of death not being so bad.

“Wait… will I see you again?”
“Yes, so enjoy your life until then.”

She vanished from his sight as the rescue workers came to the car. Had it just been a dream, or had it been real? The blanket over his body told him it wasn’t, but could it really be?

“You are still much to kind.”
“Not everyone is as much of an ass as you are dad. I reap my way, you reap yours.”
“Just as long as you remember the rules.”
“Yes boss.”

She vanished from his side, the old man shrugging his shoulders before vanishing as well.

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1:64 – Mission Successful

They had enjoyed their new house and the garden the many years they had lived there. After a while, they were both busy most every day just keeping it the garden in order. She had joked many times that they should make it smaller, or they would eventually go insane with so many plants. Of course he had just shrugged his shoulders and kept on going with the endless watering and weeding. And instead of shrinking, the garden just seemed to be expanding. After a while, they had sprinklers to keep their crop’s watered, which helped a lot.

It was perhaps odd to think off all that had happened in their long life together and how it had all started. How they went from just the two of them, to having a family, friends and in the end, a world where androids and humans were finally living, at least mostly, as equals.

Their children had children of their own, and eventually, they had grandchildren and their family grew around them. Madison would mock him that it was a bit like their garden really, growing ever bigger.

Not that she complained about it, she loved all of them! And the highlight of every year was when they all gathered at their home, to celebrate winterfest together. A house full of family was she could ever have wished for, be they blood or chosen family.

Being around kids so much helped her feel young, always being told what the latest new thing was, so she was always, at least almost, up to date on the latest new fab.

“Will you come to our birthday?”
“Of course I will!”
“Awesome!”

She had been to more birthdays than she could remember, probably more parties too by now. There had been plenty of weddings, a couple of deaths from age or accidents. But all things considered, it had been a very good, long life.

The mix between Liam’s and North’s two serums had with time been perfected. And was available for anyone that wanted to have a long life. They had decided that to make it equally available for everyone that it would be free, and all you had to do was sign a form that you were sure this is what you wanted.

They had several pets along the way, and although loosing one was always hard, they simply couldn’t imagine living life without them.

“You doing okay over there?”
Yep, almost done, how about you?
“Same.”
By the way.. I was thinking, should we get bees?
“Eh, why? Only yesterday you said we had enough work with this garden.”
We could get our own honey? and it would probably help the plants?
“Well, if you are sure, remember they can sting you.”

And so they ended up having bees in their garden. Which came with the popular addition of honey to their produce, something everyone in the family were pretty happy about.

He had asked her about her parents in the end. Curiosity got the better of him when he read one of the books she explained he himself had written about her growing up, just in case he would one day forget. At first she had been worried it would trigger memories like it once had, but there had been none.

“What will you do when I’m gone?”
“I don’t know.. something?”
“That’s not an answer.”
“Sure it is, besides, I have a better idea off how to spend our evening.”

He always avoided answering her one way or another. In the end she simply stopped asking it, even if she was still wondering what his plans could be.

Almost 1000 years after the speech:

“Good morning Beautiful.”
“Morning you.”

Her hair was now a shimmering shade of white. Much to his and her surprise it was the only outward sign of her age. She still looked almost as young as she had done since she became an adult, but time had finally caught up with her.

“It’s a beautiful day outside, if you want to sit there?”
“Not today.”

He looked at the machines she was hooked up to, noticing the numbers. He had warned their family she didn’t have much longer to live, so just a few weeks back, they had a grand summer party, where everyone had come together one last time.

“Anything you want then?”
“I don’t want to lie here.. I want to lie in bed with you, just one last time.”
“Oh come now, it won’t be the last time.”

He took her off the machines, silencing their beeping sounds, before gently lifting her into his arms.

“What will you do now?”
“You mean apart form lying here with you?”
“You know what I mean.”
“I have my plans, don’t you worry.”

He had already informed them all of his plan, and his choice. There had been protests, but in the end, they had all accepted his decision. The only one he had not told, was her.

For a while he simply held her, letting her decide if there was anything else they needed to talk about. Outside the gentle buzzing of bees could be heard as the sun peaked through the windows. After a while of this calm, his sensors told him her heart rate was slowly slowing down, so he shifted their position ever so gently.

“I love you.”

He put his forehead against hers as she slowly slipped away from him. When his sensors confirmed she was gone, he let his thumb gently stroke over her chin one last time.

He sent the message he had promised to send his kids. It was the last thing he would do in this world, the rest was up to everyone in it.

Epilouge:

It had been a shock to the world when the news of Madison’s and Liam’s death hit. There were speeches from several prominent figures and several memorial services held. But after some weeks, the world slowly moved on again.

“So this is the magazine cover view?”
“Yeah.. dad always said it was his favorite view over the city.”

It had been Hank’s idea for them to leave the annual winterfest celebration for a just a little to go down there and see the view in question. They watched the lights for a while before they went back to the house where the rest of the family was waiting for them.

“Hank?”
“Yeah?”

He looked at Luna who hung back as they were just about to enter the house. Much like anyone would have guessed the one that took it hardest was her.

“I miss them.”

He pulled his sister in close, hugging her tight.

“I do too, but, it was his choice, he had done enough.”
“I still miss them.”
“And we always will.”

They stood together out there for a while, with the cities lights in the background.

“It will be okay, I promise.”

He put his finger on her nose, and led her back innside to the rest of the family.

“We’ll all be okay.”

(The end)

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