Original is here.
Every morning she still gets up to see the dawn.
She isn't sure why, but it still makes her feel better. She can't fly anymore, but she sits at the window and tilts her face up to the sky. When she closes her eyes it almost seems as if she can still see Helios smiling back down at her.
Mornings, afternoons, evenings...increasingly they have a routine. She's learning to cook now, and is putting on weight. She looks at the belly where she used to be able to count her ribs and sees smooth skin. Dave (just Dave...not Runeclaws anymore) tells her she is filling out nicely and he worries less about her. The smell of rotting meat makes her gag slightly, and that is perhaps one thing she has gained since the Change (she always capitalises it in her mind) because she never knew what the world smelt like. Now she's smelt roses and the clean fresh smell of grass under dew in the mornings. She knows what cooking bacon smells like, and devours bacon sandwiches. Dave chuckles at this and smiles more often. He has made her gold jewellery to wear and she likes the glimmer of the precious metals on her skin.
She and Dave have talked about children. She can have them now, without the fear of being grounded for months. Her father has commented wryly that he'd advise against children. They are nothing but trouble. She wrinkles her nose at him and asks him how the bookshop is coming along.
In the afternoons she paints. She paints in light and in colours and she paints as much as she can. The memories are fading. They will fade more soon and after a while she'll have nothing left inside her, and so she paints while it is still there. The glory of flight, the light of the umbra, the savage beauty of blood and battle.
People buy her paintings. Men have come from London in suits and talked about exhibitions, galleries, money. Dave deals with that side of it in firm and practical terms. Her adoptive parents come and visit. They aren't unnerved by the massive man with the fair beard that their daughter has chosen to marry now. There is no wolf beneath the skin, and she's heard her mother say that 'well, he looks a bit rough, but that's all surface. Dave's as gentle as a kitten'. She remembers Runeclaws in frenzy, snarling maw and frothing fury. She sees him smile when her family are comfortable with him and she knows it is a subject best left alone.
"I love you," she tells Dave as often as she can. "I love you. More than anything," she says and sometimes she clings because she feels very alone and very lost in this world.
"I don't know how to be human," she tells him one day. "I never really was. I was sectioned when I was fourteen. After that I was only...I was only ever in the hospital or I was Cloud...I was a corax. I don't know what it is meant to be to be human. They are so heavy. They are so slow,"
Dave folds her in his arms. "You'll work it out, leiben," he says, and kisses the top of her head. "You'll be OK,"
There's sometimes a sadness in his eyes as well. He remembers that which he has lost. He remembers Too Many Tales who was his adopted son and who is gone now. He remembers his pack, he remembers what it meant to be Fenrir, to be KLF. But mostly he smiles. The carpentry trade is doing well, he says.
"We should have children soon," she says.
"There's no rush. We've got all the time in the world, remember leiben," he says.
"I love you," she says and goes to sleep pressed against him. She does love him and on evenings when they curl up on the sofa, or on the day they went to a farm to pick out a puppy to take home with them she knows that she did the right thing. She is alive, and she is human and she has a life again with the man she loves instead of seeing a few short years burning up in front of her.
But she still gets up every morning to see the sun rise, and sometimes when she hears the birds crying in the morning air she cries too at the enormity of what she has lost.