Chapter Three

Zac had gone to bed later that night with a heavy heart. He wanted to know if Starlight was okay, but she hadn't come back and he didn't know how to summon her. He didn't think he actually could summon her. She just came. He slept restlessly, afraid she wasn't coming back and feeling horrible for upsetting her. It was two hours after he'd crawled under the covers that he sat up, and thought he heard someone crying. He looked around. Taylor and Isaac were out at a party, and his little sisters were at their grandmother's house for the night. It was just him and Mackie...but Mackie didn't cry like that. It was more mature...more...female. Zac looked around, until he noticed a shimmering figure in the easy chair in the corner. Starlight (or her apparition, anyway) sat curled up in a ball of silver and black material, sobbing into her hands.
She looked up, tears streaming down her cheeks and disappearing into her skirt. With a sniffle, she responded,
Zac winced, uncomfortable with her in pain.
"Come here, Starlight."
She disappeared for a split second, then reappeared on the bed beside him.
"I ask again, what?"
Zac touched her cheek gently, and thankfully didn't go through her shimmering flesh.
"I'm sorry," he whispered. "I didn't mean to make you cry."
Starlight shook her head.
"It's not that," she mumbled. "Mistress...she said if I don't prove myself worthy of her afterlife soon, I'm straight to the underworld." No sooner than had she said it, the tears began to slide down her cheeks again.
"Hey...Starlight...don't cry. Please..." Zac put his arms around her suddenly, impulsively. He'd never held a girl before...especially not one that was older than him. Starlight didn't seem to care, burying her face in his shoulder and crying softly.
"I want to be alive again," she moaned. Zac ran his hand through her hair and put his chin on top of her head, but didn't say anything. There wasn't much he could do about that. Unless...he shivered at the thought. Ew. Not for him.
"Starlight..." Zac turned her chin up and gazed at her. Her eyes, grey as pewter but shiny as silver, seemed to sparkle. He looked closely at them, and saw the most amazing thing on earth...they were reflecting the night sky, milky way and all. He leaned forward, and kissed her softly.
"You're beautiful," he whispered after pulling away. She sniffled, and touched her face to brush away tears. She pulled her hand away suddenly, frightened by something. Zac watched as she squeezed her eyes shut and concentrated extremely hard. Her halo appeared, shimmery and silver, but her wings were transparent. She touched one, and a few feathers fell onto the bedspread. She broke into a grin.
"Look...look what you did! I love you!"
Zac was extremely confused. Her wings were dying...wasn't that bad? She noticed the dumfounded look on his face and whispered,
"You're giving me life, Zac. In small amounts. It's a dishonour to be given life by fucking someone...but it's homourable to be given small amounts of life at a time, by small gestures of affection. If you do that enough, I can live again!"

To Isaac coming into the bedroom, all he saw was Zac, sleeping peacefully with one arm across his chest and the other across his stomach. He thought nothing of it, and went to bed. But to Taylor, it was something different. He could still see Starlight, curled up against Zac, asleep, wearing Zac's boxers and a Nike t-shirt. Judging by the fact that Ike hadn't seen her, Taylor decided they hadn't done anything indecent by his mother's standards, and went to bed without complaint. He wondered about the silvery feathers lying on the floor, but simply picked them up and tucked them into a shoe box under the bed. They might serve as delicate memories later.

"MMMBop Girl? He called you that? Fine. From now I'm calling him Dumbass-because-he-didn't-go-out-with-Ronnie boy."

- Jenn Hudgins, after reading On My Own.

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Chapter Four