As the small, dingy shuttle flew through space, Marshall Crux felt like he left his heart at Canaan House, not only his ex. The trip home from visiting Teacher always hurt, but this time….he just felt empty. Even though he always took this trip alone, this time felt different. He was not simply alone, but he was really, truly alone . The world suddenly seemed much bigger and colder now that he had lost his grounding point, his guiding light, his one true love. Space had always been an exciting new frontier for Crux to explore but now, it just felt like an empty and endless expanse. His eyes were drawn to the darkness instead of the spattering of stars which he usually found quite beautiful. He was just a Lone Wanderer, catapulting through the vacuum void, taking on the emptiness, and playing Fast Car on repeat through the grainy dash speakers.
Upon landing, Crux came to a stop, pulled the ebrake, and just to be careful, shifted into first gear. But most importantly, he wiped a single tear away as it slid down his ashen cheek. He could feel the beefy, calloused fingers of his left hand brush against his own face, remembering the days when Teacher’s soft, delicate fingers would caress his cheek like that. The other hand held a polaroid of Crux and his ex-boyfriend? Lover? Something entirely different?? The picture was slightly blurry from the dripped condensation off the stalactites but their radiant smiles were still clearly visible. The joy Crux had felt in that moment with Teacher perfectly paralleled the utter despair he felt now, alone, sitting in the deep dark depths of Drearburh. It hadn't even been that long ago, maybe...hours since he had felt such warmth and happiness. Which means it had been even shorter since that horrible fucking moment when Crux's whole world crumbled through his clenched fingertips.
But now, he just felt alone. And he was by himself a lot, he enjoyed the quiet solitude of his own space, but he had never felt truly and completely alone. He always had plenty of books that Teacher had lent him, or letters of Teacher's to skim his fingers over the handwriting and smiiile down at. He had an old shirt of Teacher's that smelled like him, or a bottle of Teacher's favorite maple syrup in the corner, or a rock he had picked up from the beach and given Crux because it looked slightly like a heart. And this polaroid, held between his two fingers. He should rip it, or burn it, or do anything with it other than look at it and feel…..nothing. He couldn't bring himself to do it though. He could just look at the little off-rectangle in his hands and drift off into a fraught sleep.
Crux woke the next morning to dry skin under his eyes. Fucking god damn it, he muttered, rubbing the sleep out of his eyes and rolling out of bed. He felt heavy, heavier than he had the last time he had to carry hundreds of pounds of bones for his Lady. Maybe the weight of losing his soulmate hurt more than anything yet.
Crux had never thought about his heart. Skeletons didn't have them, and he had just assumed he didn't either.
Breakfast , Crux thought. He was an oatmeal kinda guy, just enough nutrients to get his day going but today, he fed himself on his sadness and hurt. But you know, breakfast IS the most important meal of the day so Crux decided to have something , anything. Into his glass, he poured some rum. He looked at the swirling amber liquid and diluted it with some crushed ice and strawberry margarita mix. Perfect , he thought. This was Teacher's favorite drink, after all and the sweet, fruity taste reminded him of better times. The now-pink beverage reminded him of Teacher's pink lips, full and soft, the only comfort in Crux's harsh and brash life. Now, all he had was skeletons, bones, and broody teenagers. Not exactly the most bright and shiny future he had to look forward to.
The silence was beginning to grate on Crux's ears. "Alexa," he grumbled, "play the most recent track".
"Playing from spotify," responded the faintly robotic female voice.
Hot For Teacher played in the background.