From the Story Arc: Three Days In December

Previous Story in the Arc: Sword by Belladonna Aura (Thursday, December 14, 2006)

Next Story in the Arc: Goodbye by Belladonna Aura (Friday, December 15, 2006)

(posted Thursday, December 14, 2006)

((cowritten with Kid Crisis))

It’s only love that keeps us hanging on
Until the battle in our hearts is won
On the day of reckoning, reckoning

KC was dreaming of flowers.

There was a mound of them at the front door of HQ, strange little bouquets wrapped in paper towels, stuck in pop-bottles. Official flowers too, despite Bella asking for donations to the Rebuild King’s Row Fund or the Alchemy of Love Foundation. But these…he hadn’t been able to make out what they were for, until he saw one of the folks from the Row leaving one. Then it struck him. Despite what had happened here in the Siege…the people of the Row were leaving their tributes. Zach had been out of the streets, like these folks. CCCP was KR’s first hero HQ. It wasn’t some impregnable high-rise, it was an old factory. The soup kitchen fed them when they were out of a job, the coffeehouse gave them a place to hang out. CCCPers gave them medical help, tutored them in English, taught them how to protect themselves. And the flowers…they were garden flowers, some from window boxes around here, but most, he would bet, from the gardens of the rich in Founder’s Falls, that were tended by the poor of King’s Row. It had tickled him, thinking of that, thinking of the luxurious gardens being snatched bald by the poor to adorn the impromptu shrine of a communist.

And now, he was dreaming of them, of a sea of flowers, and in them, a woman…

A hand on his shoulder woke him. He started up; he’d fallen asleep over the desk they’d given him.

“John, it’s all taken care of,” Bella said, in that gentle, too-calm voice. “You can go home now. Thank you. I couldn’t have handled this if you hadn’t helped me.”

He sat up straighter and looked searchingly into her face. Her eyes were dry…she hadn’t cried one tear…but in them was such unbearable loss he had to look away again.

This might not be the time to say what he suddenly knew he had to tell her…but it might be the only chance he’d get for a long while. And this was something that couldn’t wait.

“Bella,” he said, hesitantly. “I…need to talk to you.”

She looked into his eyes. “Yes,” she said simply. “You do.”


He hesitated, wondering at what he was about to do, the audacity of it, before knocking on the door. She opened it, was curious, surprised, happy at who she found. She started to ask him something, but he spoke her name softly, so softly, that it almost scared her.

“Bella, I…”

“I know.”

“I love you,” he whispered. They sounded right, felt right. There was no lie in the simple words, not even a little one.

“I’m sorry, I…”

“It’s okay.”

“I love you,” he said again, starting to smile. “I missed you. When you aren’t around, I think about you. If I lost you…” He blinked back a sudden rush of tears.

“Oh, god.” But she had smiled. A gentle, infinitely sad smile.

“John?” She whispered. “Oh, John…”

He reached out, touched her face softly, marveled at the softness of her skin, the brilliant, beautiful jade. Waterlily smiled at the touch, reached up to clasp his hand in her own.

Belladonna Aura had closed her eyes, then opened them again, and touched his cheek with a fingertip, weightless as a sigh. “For a genius, you’re so dumb sometimes. Go tell her. I’ll be all right. Really.”

It’s only love that keeps us hanging on
Until the battle in our hearts is won (it’s only love)
On the day of reckoning, reckoning

C’est l’morte d’Arthur
Can you hear the sound of it
Tell me can you hear, echoing…..

((All lyrics, “Morte D’Arthur” Miriam Stockley))