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Holly’s and Lillies

It shouldn’t have bothered her so much. How many mortals had she watched fade and die? Why did it matter now? Why was it freezing her soul? Squeezing her insides until she felt like throwing up her organs? It shouldn’t matter. So, what if she was living with a woman with so little time left? That she was watching sickness drain what had once been beautiful and lively? It didn’t bother her. It didn’t.

And yet, claws of ice kept curling around her shoulders as she stared down at her sleeping roommate. Listening to her short, harsh breathing. The childish desire for safety burned in her stomach, so she fled down the stairs, practically flying. Unable to trust the thin walls of her own room, she went and locked herself within Lilly’s study. The walls filled with bursting notebooks and manuscripts, some unfinished, most waiting to be sent to a publisher, even though few had been accepted. The rest of the space occupied by purchased works and knickknacks.

There, on the carpeted floor she presses her knees to her chest, breathing in the heavy scent of fresh flowers and hot summer days that always seemed to seep from Lilly’s very pores. There, Holly calmed and rose once more to her feet. She wiped at her face and was glad when she felt no wetness.

She took another breath, chastising herself for her break of composure, but then, didn’t her walls always crumble around Lilly? Lilly who brightened the world with her smile, whose eyes made emeralds quiver with jealousy, who wore golden silk for hair. Whose soul was too much for her flesh to bear. Lilly, who was not long for this world. While Holly watched, unable to do anything to save her.

Unbidden, her mind turned to images of the graveyards she frequented. Was that to be Lilly’s fate? Her memory buried in mud, her bones cast away, out of sight and mind, forgotten? Holly looked up at the unfinished works set upon Lilly’s desk. Were her words destined to be scattered and forgotten like ashes? Would anyone remember her after a year? A decade? In a century would anyone know her name?

No. Holly thought savagely, fingers curling at her sides. The chill abating in the heat of her outrage No. Even if the mortal world forgot her dear friend, she would not. She would refuse to forget such a bright soul. It was the least she could do.

Something wet slipped under her fingers. Flinching, Holly raised her hands, finding small crescent shaped wounds pocketing her palms. She sighed, shoulders slumping as she watched the minor injuries mend before her eyes. Leaving unmarked pale skin, not even a stain of crimson left to wash away.

For a moment, she wished Lilly could be remade like herself. But Holly would never ask that of her friend, even if it were possible. Lilly was a kind soul, too soft for the work of an immortal servant of Death. A Reaper. That was Holly’s curse to bear.

Holly wondered if she would be the one to raise a scythe and cut Lilly loose. She curled back into herself and sobbed.

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