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𝓣ꫝ𝘳ꪮꪊᧁꫝ 𝘴ꫝꪖ𝓽𝓽ꫀ𝘳ꫀᦔ ℓꫀꪀ𝘴ꫀ𝘴 ꪖꪀᦔ ᥇𝘳ꪮ𝘬ꫀꪀ 𝘴ꫝꪖ𝘳ᦔ𝘴

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𝚃𝚒𝚖𝚎 𝚒𝚜 𝚓𝚞𝚜𝚝 𝚊 𝚖𝚎𝚖𝚘𝚛𝚢  

𝙼𝚒𝚡𝚎𝚍 𝚠𝚒𝚝𝚑 𝚍𝚎𝚜𝚒𝚛𝚎  

 

~𝚃𝚘𝚖 𝚆𝚊𝚒𝚝𝚜


They meet, not at a time, not at a place, but in the centre of it all. A place between places. A time before times. A gathering like no other to be recorded, the only witnesses the participants themselves.

 

They’re good at keeping secrets.

 

Some may question whether they met at all, or if this is a mere rumour, spread by the souls that whisper and scream in the wind, for lack of anyone else to hear them. But with this tale, as fabricated or so entwined with myth as it is, there is one thing for certain. The participants hold onto the memory tight, kept under lock and key, precious under their care. Not for the joy it brings, for it sparks none. But the emotion. The what could have beens and the tears of burdens shared. They are alone in their respective universes, but together they are a mass of broken. Broken hearts, broken souls, broken minds. They suffer their tragedies as one. 

 

But the reminder is constant. These are the same people they hold dear within memories but different. The same faces but not. Their souls match but don’t align, vibrate at a frequency so slight in difference, but just enough to remind them that this just isn’t them. This is them where they share a burden they wish the others never had to bear, these are the realities that they failed them. One moment, one difference, and it ripples out into another decision of the multiverse.

 

They keep this to themselves. The tears already burned them once long ago. 

 

It starts, if at all, with him. The forgotten star, not forgotten in a sense that no one remembers his name — for the very fact is they do, fear and dread it with every ounce of their mortal being — but it’s forgotten nonetheless. For it’s our memory carried by the ones we love that matters most. For him, the boy he once was is lost to time. And that’s forgotten enough.

 

He sits at a counter. Maybe he stands. Some say he floats. Whatever the case, he is there first. Caught in a spiral of misery, drifting too long on his age old wait for Mizar. Her soul is stuck on the in-between, neither accessible by conversation plucked from where souls roam free, nor in flesh and blood. He suspects a few months before the latter can be accomplished.

 

The Mizar he receives isn’t the one he waits for. 

 

She pokes her nose in through the door to a building unknown. Some say a bar, some speak in whispers of a tourist trap, others talk of a shack, or a library, or a home. Some say it’s all at once, concepts of rooms passing in cycles, a kaleidoscope of buildings as one, a suggestion of a setting as mindscapes fluctuate, uprooted up from the deepest wells of memories. 

 

He recognises the soul in a heartbeat (or, at least, what the length of one would be. His heart had been charred years ago, since his body dissolved into ash). It doesn’t compute.

 

“Hey bro bro,” She says in a voice she simply shouldn’t have. It rekindles memories, draws them back to life, a voice that is but shouldn’t be . He’s heard that voice’s last dying breath, cried over that voice’s gave, tears of molten gold that spread nothing but decay and destruction.

 

This voice shouldn’t be tainted by the same power. Oh, but it is. Those eyes of gold — the ones he’s grown so acquainted with but never on her, no , never on her — she carries the same burden. 

 

The burden of another universe.

 

“How?” He croaks out, throat tight, constricting, eyes burning with acid. He does not blink. The tears do not fall. “How?”

 

She’s too knowing, a chaotic force of buried rage and loss masked under layers upon layers of glitter and stars, trimmed with an oil slick sheer. Her skirts twirl as she does, and the stars come alive, no mere stickers and sequins but star systems and planets trapped within. Her laughter has too bitter an edge to be that voice, to be Mabel’s. “You’ve got to ask the right questions, silly.”

 

“Then.” He pauses, searching. “ Who? Who are you, really?”

 

“Well you know that. I’m Mabel, duh.” She moves up next to him, prods him on the nose with a ‘bap’. He flinches at her contact. “Well, I go by Mizar these days. You know, a super secret code name! Mizar the Discordant!” Glitter spurts from everywhere and nowhere all at once, spontaneously materialising as if confetti cannons have been hidden around. He knows there’s not. “Nah, I’d say this is more of a w͏͖̗̝̺h̟͕̼͎͘y̩͝ .”

 

He raises his head up to her, draws eye level as he squints, trying to get a read of her mash of an aura. It runs like mascara, clothing containing all the colour her aura cannot, and he comes up with nothing. 

 

“Why?” He cocks his head, curious, catlike enough that it sends a pang of bittersweet nostalgia through her. All that teasing. All those adventures. 

 

Just as she is not his Mabel, neither is he hers.

 

She sighs, deep with exhaustion only accumulated after thousands of years of endless existence. Even after the days of coming home from school collapsing, the only person who could communicate with her demon-turned-brother, she’s never seemed so haunted, so tired. It breaks him, her reality. And he wants to know desperately how a version of himself could ever allow this to occur.

 

Who knows what pain she feels from seeing him once more. Which begs the question, why risk it?

 

“Because we’re lonely,” She says after a beat, a little deflated from her dazzling entrance. Her shoulders are tight, hunched up in self comfort, eyes cast off somewhere, thoughts of those long passed. Mizar yearns, aches, and yet she still clings on. For if she can allude herself for having a reason to live by choice, maybe this whole eternity schtick isn’t all bad. Her eyes close, and when they reopen, the expression is wiped entirely clean. “You’re lonely, I’m lonely, and my stars if the others aren’t lonely too.”

 

He doesn’t know quite what to say. Offence at her assumption, or the fact that she is right. It’s a feeling he’s been running from. And once his feet left the ground, he found he couldn’t stop. Even after he began questioning what he was actually running from in the first place. 

 

But it’s this he doesn’t say. His voice hitches as he draws back, expression crumples, too crumpled, he no longer has the constraints of a human’s facial muscles. He gazes at her quizzically. “What others?”

 

“Aha!” She smiles, and it’s like he’s staring right into the heart of a star fuelled by eldritch flame. And she burns. “Ding ding ding! You, sir Dipdops have yourself a right question.”

 

His vision explodes, a supernova with her at the centre, her light as always his burning beacon from when he himself is at his darkest. She’s right. Of course she is. For unbeknownst to him — which is odd, oh so odd, every conjured atom in his body protests and twinges how such prescenes have gone under the radar — the pair aren’t alone.

 

“What can I say? I guess I got a little restless. And I though, hey, why stop at causing chaos in my own dimension when I can do the same in others. A few tears in reality are easy enough to fix, like a sweater!” She fixes him with a look somewhat inviting, flinging an arm out as if a presenter of her own show. “Bro bro, I’d like for you to meet the family. You’ll be pleased to know I saved the best for last.”

 

It’s the entirety of the wheel, from glasses to the question mark. Or, more accurately, his family. His people.

 

Except. One thing. It’s not. Not accurate. Not his family. Not his people.

 

There is gold upon black when there should be brown upon white. A metallic smell of heaps of power, oozing, overbearing and leaving his senses shaking, all concentrated in one place at a time. It’s almost an overload.

 

His twin star looks at him expectantly, drawing in every twinge of his eyebrows, drop of his mouth. She waits, patient. But the energy crackling around her, leaping heaps and bounds tells him she’s ready to get started. “How about we have ourselves an overdue family reunion?”

 

As he stares out, lost in it all and following her lead, the forgotten star wonders if he’s all that forgotten after all.

 

At least. So the stories say.