The Final Night

Erichthonios banished the aetherial chains that bound Themis to the bed. “This will be the last time, I expect?” he said with no small amount of regret to his voice.

“Oh, do not be like that...” Themis snuggled up close. “You shan’t dissuade me from my course.”

“I didn’t mean to!” Erichthonios protested. He wrapped his arms around the smaller man. Would that he could hold him close like this forever, never let him go, never lose him to... But behind the blinds covering the window, a flash of light reminded him that the sky yet burned. There really was no other choice, was there? “I’m sorry. If you’re truly sure this is the only way...”

“I am.” Was he imagining some sadness in Themis’ voice, too?

“Then... then I’ll join the sacrifices.”

Themis glared up into Erich’s face. Even at a time like this, the expression was adorable. “You shall do no such thing. Should the wards of Pandæmonium weaken, you will be needed to restore order.”

Erichthonios’ eyes fluttered shut in resignation. “You’re right...” The last thing the star needed right now was for the creations interred there to run free.

“Besides,” Themis teased, “should Zodiark prove to be a threat to the star, I shall need you to imprison Him.”

“Oh, you shall, shall you?” Erichthonios pushed Themis onto his back and smirked down at him. “I’d best get some more practice in ere you leave, then...”

Themis did not point out the sadness in Erich’s eyes or the way his voice trembled when he made that playful threat; as thanks, Erichthonios did not call attention to the shine of tears in Themis’ eyes or the tightness of his hug when they returned to their sleepy cuddle.

Morning came. Themis departed.

They would not meet again in this life.