The world around them is burning, a little more every day. Maybe it’s always been burning. Burning, burning, burning, from the moment her parents died on the bridge.
From the moment Vander and Mylo and Claggor died.
From the moment she lost her sister, again (for good, forever?).
Topside, the Undercity, it doesn’t matter now. All the world is fire.
For Vi, it’s no surprise those same flames burn their way into her dreams, endlessly consuming.
No surprise that when she wakes it doesn’t make a difference, because dreams and reality are all full of the same loss, the same anger, the same clinging, cloying smoke that makes it hard to breathe.
Sobs that tear their way out past her lips, and tears hot enough that they too, burn.
A voice, sleepy, and not burning but warm; warm as the arm draped around her middle, the body at her back. “Shhh, it’s alright.”
Vi sobs again, or laughs, because it’s not, it’s not, it’s never going to be how can you even say that look around us nothing is okay nothing will ever be okay—
Vi groans, whimpers a response, the best that she can do.
And then, she’s moved. Or something moves around her, shifting from her back to her front. Pulling her in until her face is pressed into a shoulder, and gentle fingers run through her hair.
And a song, a tune, a melody? She doesn’t recognize it, but it’s drifting slow and sleepy in her ear.
“Wha—what are you doing?” she asks. Chokes out around all the tears and fears and words and smoke clogging up her throat.
“Shh…” Cait ghosts fingertips against her cheek. Still sleepy, still sweet (like a cupcake).
Not burning, but warm.
“I’m scaring away your monsters.”