A/N: I'm so sorry for the lateness of this chapter! I've been pretty busy lately, unfortunately. I do hope you enjoy this, nonetheless.
Chapter Title: plains of eternity
Summary: It's the same sweet bliss, over and over again.
Pools of amber adorn the floor, the shafts of sunlight a gentle reminder that it's time to wake up. Eyes flutter open and take in empty space, and a lingering sigh escapes her. It's not like he's gone far, considering the tantalising smell of breakfast wafting towards her, but every time she wakes and discovers nothing, she can't help but be momentarily paralysed by a jolt of panic.
Throwing back the covers, Seven stretches, picks up the glass of cold water on the nightstand and devours it. It's become something of a routine, all with one purpose: to help her get up. She's really not much of a morning person, and while Eight isn't a lot better, at least he finds the will to get down and make her breakfast every day.
Keeping that in mind, Seven wraps a thin blanket around her shoulders and heads downstairs, the edge of the sheet trailing after her.
It doesn't take him long to notice her, and he expertly flips a pancake onto a plate before whirling around and presenting her with the fresh platter. His lips curve in a crescent moon and warm cinnamon curls present Seven with a temptation that's just a little hard to resist. (Un)Fortunately for her, he's distracted by the incessantly beeping icon on their notifications, and he walks away to check on the new message. She flops down onto the chaise, spooning the lightly-drizzled pancakes and berries into her mouth.
Eight returns soon, settling himself down into a chair next to hers. Jade eyes flick over, and the hint of a smile plays at his lips. Seven merely pouts cutely and continues eating, ignoring him. They sit in a comfortable silence for a while, using the well-deserved period of serenity to gather their thoughts and enjoy each other's company.
He breaks the quietude first with the announcement that all the current Council members have received. "You know, we've been summoned to the Council Hall." He grins and puts his hands behind his head, the very picture of openness. It's a small thing, this statement, but every time she hears it she feels a sharp twinge of anxiety before reminding herself that this has happened at least five times and it's never been about anything too drastic. Nothing like how she's ever imagined it to be, anyway.
But of course, Eight can see this – even if she hadn't told him – and he reaches out a lanky arm to twine his fingers around hers, stopping the mild shaking. Effusive warmth floods her and she beams at him. He stands up and bows jokingly, extending an arm towards her again, this time an invitation to be his partner in a flurry of whirling, swirling moments. She accepts graciously, placing a delicate hand in his warm one, feeling safe and secure as always. There's no doubt in her mind that what they say is true: "Home is where the heart is", and in some intuitive way, they'll always be home so long as they're with each other.
An elegant twirl from the lady leads the pair into a graceful pas de deux … or at least, what would've been a magnificent sight to behold turns into a befuddled mess. She accidentally trips on their chimaera's sleeping form, eliciting a yelp from the poor creature and laughter from Eight. Apologising hastily, a blush blossoms across Seven's cheeks, prompting Eight to dip her and plant butterfly kisses along her neck. Seven begins to tangle her hands in his hair before being interrupted by thoughts of the upcoming meeting. Eyes flying open, she releases herself from his grip (reluctantly), and tells him that they should, um, get going, lest they be late.
As Eight pulls her ever-so-slightly closer, hooking his arm around her waist, they walk towards the setting sun. She tips her head towards the crook of his neck, and a sense of rightness overcomes them both. Come storm or war, their matched souls shall continue a fluid dance of whimsy in the glimmer of constellations above, accompanied by a symphony of starlight strings and the sweet nothings of secrets shared but untold.
There's no subtle 'welcome back' to the land of the living this time. No soft sunlight to wake her up. Instead, she's greeted by a cold, still room, devoid of its former warmth and glory. The space next to her is curiously blank, and the white sheets are rumpled. Rigid hands clench at empty space and a sheen of sweat covers her forehead.
Sea-swept azure eyes tentatively survey the room. One look confirms her suspicions, but she does another quick scan. There's a quiet desperation to her glance, a fragility that makes her doe eyes all the more vulnerable.
She lies back down carefully, as if not to disturb anything, and curls up. She hopes for better days. She hopes to return to the land of fantastical dreams, where she can meet up with her beloved again, and escape this forlorn world that has abandoned her.