Scene Title 断腸
Synopsis (n.) heartbreak; grief; sorrow
Date March 5, 2020

The Bastion

Eyes closed, Asi rests a chilled glass against the side of her head, elbows braced on her knees while she sits on the edge of a seat. It's been a few days, now, since it all— since she came back to civilization and regrouped. What news there is of the fates of her friends…

None of it, none of it is good.

Her fingers curl around the side of her glass, grasping it tighter before lowering it away, opting to drink in the hopes it might relieve some of her tension. Still, her jaw trembles as she sets the glass aside, trying to ignore how her heart is rendered in no less than five different directions at once.

Asi isn't unused to the aftermath of having made mistakes. To err is to be human. To course-correct and learn from your mistakes is to be a better one. But this? This feeling tearing her apart?

It's been a while since Asi's swam in regret like this. She can't help but reflect what could have, should have happened differently. If she could rewind the last month, two months— no, if she could just go back to just before Christmas and have done literally anything different than what she did. If she could have talked with them more, if they could have changed her path or she could have changed theirs, if… if—

For once, she doesn't try to pry herself away from emotion. Her reward comes in the form of tears streaming away from the corners of her eyes. Some prize, she thinks to herself, but she knows she needs to let herself process, and refusing to be honest with herself was going to be the fastest way to crack. She had to acknowledge this loss, and come to terms with her grief. Her friends were the last bit of solid ground she stood on, the rock she tried to hold onto in the torrent of intrigue that could sweep away her agency if only she let it. And that's what they were— friends instead of allies, instead of acquaintances, instead of contacts.

大切な友. Precious friends.

Friends who were gone, in one way or the other, now. Some forever, and some who might as well be gone forever.

Godfrey's loss is the easiest for her to process, to point to and and realize she should have done more to protect him. She knew SESA would be acting soon, she could have intuited that from a mile away, and she did not take the ten seconds of time to warn him to stay away from his Shedda Dinu contacts while being wrapped up in her own business… in looking in all the wrong places for information. She failed him, wasn't a better friend or partner to him in failing to look out for him.

In the future, she needed to task more of her subprocesses to actively protect those she cared about.

Silas' loss is painful for her to face, because she feels directly responsible for connecting Eve and him together in this world. He knew a Mad Eve from his past life, and he'd have followed her anywhere, and he did— and this time, paid the ultimate price for it. His loss might hurt the worst, if she's being honest. He escaped a flooded world only to die at sea, and it may have been because she put him on a path that intersected with Eve's.

The knowledge she never could have known what faced them out at sea makes that guilt no easier to bear or discard.

Eve Mas was a whirlwind of an existence at her best of times, one whose core Asi admired until the end. She knows nothing could have been done to dissuade Eve from her course, but her loss hurts all the same. Her bright grins as much as her foul temper were honest, always, leaving one with very little to wonder as to what Eve was ever thinking about things. She was brave, she was brash, and she was determined. What Asi regrets is that she was not with her friend at the end, that she had traveled with her for as long as she had and gained her trust, only to not be there at the moment it counted most.

If she had been there, how much differently could things have gone?

Asi draws in a sharp gasp of breath once she realizes she hasn't for a while, her jaw still trembling with the force of keeping her reflections quiet and to herself. She's half-tempted to reach for her glass again, but she doesn't.

She can't drown herself. Not now. She needs to stay strong for what still lays ahead.

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