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A rather sombre affair

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It was surprisingly Han’s idea to celebrate the silly little holiday the posties haven’t thought about in ages. Out of the original playhouse posties and the carnival gang only Michael, Jill, and Asha had any fond memories of family, and even those were fading and growing cold. The suggestion would have made more sense coming from one of the older posties so when Han suggested celebrating the event everyone was taken aback for a moment.

“You...are you sure about this Han?” Raven asked. After Han Mi’s storytime theatre Raven wanted nothing more than to sit her down for a talk to check if she really was alright. Han always insisted that the past no longer affected her but Raven and Lloyd had their doubts. They weren’t strangers to suppression, using humour and sarcasm as a coping mechanism (hopefully Han didn’t feel like trying alcohol anytime soon...Michael and Raven both hoped she wouldn’t follow in their footsteps).

After a bit more mother henning from the older posties Han huffed and stated that she wouldn’t suggest the idea in the first place if she wasn’t sure about it. The others finally backed off and agreed that it’d be nice to have a little celebration at the newly built playhouse/carnival, sort of a christening for their new home.

The Floozies were their first target. It was them that helped pull the posties out of their heads for the first few days after their initial reunion. The Floozies were a soothing and constant presence that instantly put their minds at ease. She and the other hers always knew what to say, were always ready with a kind word and knew when to give the playhouse residents space or when they needed physical reassurance that they were alright. The Floozies loved the banner put up in their honour.

-/-
After the Floozies it was Asha’s turn, much to her surprise. Lloyd shyly handed her a note with a hastily scrawled message on it with an owl pin taped to it. Jill, Micahel, and Raven all shared a knowing grin. Despite being one of their younger members, Asha clearly held something close to motherly affection towards Lloyd. In their early years it was Asha who always fretted over the others, Asha who would put herself in the line of fire with no hesitation if it meant protecting her friends.

It was Asha who did her best to hold the playhouse together after the post-human war and the years she spent away from Lloyd and the others left their mark. Lloyd, Jill, Micahel, and Raven wanted nothing more than to take away the scars left on Asha, but she just smiled at her friends and held her arms out for a group hug. Han awkwardly hung around at the edge of the group before Raven pulled her in. “Nope, you’re family, you take part in group hugs.”

“Gramps-”

“Listen to your grandfather, Han~” Jill teased from under Michael’s arm. Han rolled her eyes but leaned in just slightly into the hug. It felt nice.

-/-

“Hey, I’m ecstatic we’re all together again but I kind of want to show Han something alone.” Michael’s face fell. He thought they were finally getting close to how they were before all the fighting. “David…”

“It’s not what you think it is!” Raven waved his hands frantically in front of him. “I- Lloyd and I missed you all like crazy, and I’ll explain it to you once I get back but…”

“I can fill them in on it if you want?” Lloyd suggested. “I-I don’t want to assume but if it’s what I think it is-”

“It is.” Raven’s voice lacked it’s usual flare. It startled Han. She took a step back and shot her grandfather a concerned look. Raven only gave a weak chuckle in response.

“C’mon kid, there’s someone I want to introduce you to.”

-/-

There was a tent on the outskirts of the playhouse/carnival that Han was told never to enter. The few times she wandered near it, the Floozie would kindly, but firmly remind her that the tent was off-limits and that Raven and Lloyd would not be pleased if they caught her near it. Now Raven was leading her over to the formerly off-limits tent.

“I don’t know if I can go in there without crying. Just a heads up.” He didn’t wait for Han to respond. Raven stepped forward and lifted up the tent flap. Inside on a table was a photo of a woman surrounded by a pair of unlit candles held up by silver candlestick holders. Raven waved Han inside. He swallowed hard, took a deep breath and tried to hold back the tears.

“Hi Isa. I...I know this is late but…” The tears rebelled against Raven and slowly made their way down his face. Raven felt Han place a hand on his shoulder. He sniffled a bit and continued talking.

“Lloyd told me. About Son Mi. I couldn’t- I-I couldn’t be there for our daughter o-or our granddaughter because well, Lloyd sort of died but he’s okay now and yeah he-he’s a few generations late b-but..but…”

Han finally pieced it together. This was the great-grandmother she never got to meet. She suddenly felt shy in front of the picture. The woman in the frame died years ago, but inside her tent Han felt as if she were a child being introduced to her great grandmother for the first time. She could almost imagine the way her hands would feel, brushing back her hair and tilting her face up. Maybe Han’s great-grandmother would say something like, “You have my nose,” or, “It looks like Raven’s lips run in the family.”

“Hi...I’m Han Mi. I’m your great-granddaughter.” Han awkwardly waved at the picture and forced a smile. Raven kept sniffling beside her.

“Han Mi is so much like you, Isa, right down to the hat stealing and sass. Gods...she would have loved to have a kid like you,” Raven said, turning to face Han Mi. “She had other kids, you know. Not mine, of course, Son Mi came way later...we could visit him someday...anyways, I’m going to head back. You can stay if you want?” Han nodded. She waited for Raven to leave before she went to sit in front of Isabela’s picture.

“I know I have matches here somewhere….hold on….aha!” Han finally fished out her matchbox and lit the candles. The soft glow made Isabela look alive for just a brief moment. Han set the matches on the table and leaned back on her hands.

“So...a lot has happened since you...well passed. But if there’s any chance you’re hearing this, happy mothers day.”