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We Dared to Dream

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A thick fog surrounded her as she walked the ruins of the village. Was it the smoke from the houses they burnt down or just nature taking its course, she had no idea. The bitter smell made it impossible to tell. She looked at their faces, without any evidence of life. Killed at their houses, their farms, their shops; not even realizing who they were up against until it was too late. Not many managed to escape, they were weak, defenseless. They didn’t even deserve pity. After all, they brought it upon themselves by getting too comfortable, trusting their cozy little homes would protect them from whatever danger that may befall them.

It wasn’t her fault. She didn’t have a choice. She had a family to take care of.

The dawning sky did little to calm her twisted nerves. Vernal wasn’t there to make her morning tea anymore. There wasn’t anyone to massage her stiff shoulders after a raid, no one to listen to her while she talked about her plans for the tribe. Her hand wandered through the mess that was her hair. How long had it been since her last shower? Days? Weeks? She had no idea. Had she sent Vernal to her death? No, Vernal knew what she was in for. She agreed, she knew what it meant from the start. It was for the family.

Raven found herself thinking about him. Thought about his blond hair and gentle blue eyes, his soft smile, the familiar grief they shared, he was the only one that truly understood her. She didn’t plan to visit him, she never did. It was only when she felt broken, when she needed someone to love her. She didn’t know why she still tried, everytime the guilt and resentment would overcome any emotion after seeing him.

*****

Tai could never forget what she did, how easily she left them. But he couldn’t forget the time they spent together either. How they were happy, how they were gonna raise their little dragon. Even though deep down, he knew that was as happy as they could ever get. With the life they had, disaster was always at their doorstep. And it came, first with Raven and then…

The red-black portals he’d loathed for years was never a welcomed sight anymore. The pain of seeing her, still holding on to the hope she may one day change or come back to him. Seeing Raven again, was a disappointment as always.

A black bird with red eyes just stared at him for while, then it flew away.

“If only Summer were here…”, he thought to himself. There was just something about her, she always knew how to get through to Raven. In ways he couldn’t. Without her, everything was incomplete.

*****

Dear Raven,

Hey, how’s it going? No! That’s a stupid way to start a letter isn’t it? Well, this is the only piece of paper I have left so it’ll have to do

I miss you, I miss our home, our bed, I miss Eins. This is taking longer than expected, we should’ve kept the goodbye party longer. We definitely must have a 3-night one the next time one of us goes on a mission. One night is not nearly enough to make up for not seeing you two for more than a month. By the way, be glad that you didn’t come with me. You would haate it, all I do is try to make some shady people trust me enough give up information -too much human interaction-. I’m getting there though, I have most of it figured out. I’m pretty sure the ruins Ozpin talked about is somewhere near this town, just need the exact location and baam: clean the area and it’s home time!! I can’t wait to kiss you again.

Raven, are you taking care of yourself? Are you still having trouble sleeping? I know you have a lot on your mind, and I wish I was there to make some cookies for you -I know you secretly love them, those leftovers don’t just go up in smoke overnight- or anything you need, anything.

I met this little girl in the last town I was at. She’d lost her parents and no one was taking care of her. I shared my food with her and we took a walk together. But I couldn’t take her to a better place, I couldn’t help her Raven. Where I was going, the conditions would’ve been even worse. And I’d already lost too much time. I just, left her some money and took off. It affected me a lot, to be honest. We’re supposed to protect the people but at that moment it didn’t feel like I was protecting anyone. What we are doing is important but still, it doesn’t make things like leaving that girl any easier. So I decided to go back for her, maybe find a family willing to look after her. I’m sorry for delaying my return. I promise I won’t spend any more time than I have to.

Please try not to worry too much about me, when I come back, we can cuddle for hours and watch weird videos with Tai. Ohh, I almost forgot to tell you: I bought a brand new sash for you from a local tailor. I think his work is awesome, I hope you’ll like it, too.

I have to go now, gotta wake early in the morning. You are always on my mind, never forget that I love you, very much.

Your favorite girlfriend,
Summer

****

Raven folded the worn out letter and put it back in its box. There weren’t a lot of things that reminded her of Summer now. Most of her stuff was at the house and she couldn’t just ask for them, could she?

She was afraid, truly afraid of being alone for the first time in a while. She was afraid of dying alone. She wondered if the curse that is maiden powers would go to Yang after she died. She didn’t want them to be her daughter’s burden, but she wasn’t sure if she could stop herself from thinking about the biggest regret of her life. Yang was her only chance to do anything good, her only way of redemption. She left them when Yang was still a baby, trusting that her daughter -their daughter- would have a nice life under Summer and Tai’s care. After meeting her, she knew her lovers did a good job. Yang was braver than Raven could ever be, capable of loving people unconditionally.

It didn’t make things any less painful.

“Raven, we are ready to start!”, came a shout from outside of the tent.

Between the constant moving and chaos after Haven, the ceremony had to be delayed. But, it was finally time to say goodbye to their tribe’s second in command. Of course, a proper burial and a funeral were a luxury, so they had their own ways of sending their loved ones off. Raven left her tent and lit the pyre that would burn until dawn. A heavy silence fell on the camp. After the silence was over, Raven and a few of Vernal’s closest friends gave speeches about their dead companion. Then the food came, and all Raven could see was heartless people -unfazed by their tribesmate’s death- stuffing their faces and drinking cheap alcohol, like they were just looking for an excuse to have a drinking contest. She felt the guilt creeping up on her. This was not about honoring the fallen, this was a means to forget about them and move on. How long had it been since she lost someone important to her? When was the last time she let someone in?

She looked around, people were starting to get drunk, which meant it was time to resign into her tent. The wine bottles she picked up during the previous raid would have to do for tonight. She lit the single candle next to her mattress and opened the first bottle. Vernal wasn’t there to stop her after one bottle anymore, so she drank as much as she could. When her stash was finally empty, the shouting outside was dying. Then the tears came. She was thankful for them, they made her feel human. She looked around again, with no one in particular to look at. She felt lonely. Closing her eyes, she realized there was no one left to cry for her.