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In her wake

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Taako is tired.
     He doesn’t need sleep per se, but he doesn’t get as much rest as he probably should. That’s not why he’s tired, though.
     It’s as if someone drained all the light from him. Like someone hung him by his feet and waited for all the blood to flow down and drain away. And now it has, and he’s just a dark husk of a man searching desperately for his sister.
    Nothing feels right without her, everything is off-kilter. Jokes hang in the air without punchlines, sentences go unfinished, and there’s always a space beside him that’s too large, too wide, a gaping hole. Half of him is gone, it’s missing. Lost somewhere in this world they’ve barely even met, this world that they’ve ravaged.
     There's an ache he can’t quite describe. (Imagine losing a limb, an arm or a leg. You still feel it there, the ghost of something that shouldn’t be gone, but is. A phantom pain.) 
     He misses Lup. He worries about her. He wonders where she is and what she’s doing and why she left. (Imagine your soul, ripped down the middle and then thrown apart.)
     His mind can’t even understand that she’s gone. His head has yet to catch up with the devastating reality. (Imagine looking in the mirror every day and seeing the very thing that you’ve lost staring back out you with empty eyes.)
     Barry is as bad off as he is. Barely sleeps a wink, barely eats. Just searches all the time. It’s a shitty routine that they’ve fallen into. And it’s hopeless probably, but they’re never gonna fucking give up. They work together to track her down, and Taako doesn’t think he’s ever been more grateful for his friend, his brother.
     He doesn’t know how much more of this they can take. The crew is in shambles. The guilt in the air is palpable, and the grief. They’re mourning and exhausted and missing a piece and you can feel it when you walk into a room. They’re all beat, all so done. Dav walks around like a ghost, plays cards just to do something. He hasn’t seen Lucretia in days, she’s just locked in her quarters, hidden away. Magnus is constantly uneasy, waiting for the other shoe to drop, waiting for his relic to show up ruin everything, he’s antsy, there’s nothing he can do, no danger to rush into, just that terrible waiting. Merle makes jokes, tries to find the positive in the situation. They won, didn’t they? They saved the world, they stopped the hunger. But his smiles are cracked and strained, and his voice doesn’t really carry anymore.
     He doesn’t know how much more of this they can take.
     Haven’t they been through enough? Haven’t they lost enough?
     He just wants his fucking sister back. He wants his friends to be happy, wants to see them smile again. He wants the happy ending they fucking deserve and this sure as shit isn’t it.
     Taako is tired. He’s lonely and he’s angry and he’s sick with guilt and he's so, so tired. And he wants so many things. But none of them are ever gonna fucking happen. Happiness isn’t in the cards for them. As soon as they set foot on that ship their lives were over. They’re all stupid for not figuring that out sooner.
     Taako nods at Barry as he passes him in the hall. His eyes are red and the bags beneath them are dark.
     What did they do to deserve a fate like this? What the fuck is this penance for? They stopped it! They won. Why does it feel like they didn't?
     He balls up his fists and walks to his quarters. His and Lup’s quarters. Her things are everywhere but she’s gone. The room is too big without her. It feels hollowed out. Everything is hollowed out.
     He sighs and shuts the door behind him. It clicks shut and he’s alone.