THAT’S ALL OF IT GUUUYYYSSSS!!! Another book will be on the way.
It was midnight on Monday September 1st, and Kiyoko was leaving the Office for the night. Andrade had relieved her of duty, and though she had been livid at the dismissal, a part of her was nevertheless glad for the break. They could afford to take breaks now; the demons were more or less cleaned up, only the stragglers needing to be captured. The rest had wandered outside the city, where the county and forestry branches would have to track them down. The gates no longer functioned – they were closed forever.
She climbed the metal staircase to the Elevated platform, thinking again of the reports. She hadn’t been able to be there, of course. She had been tasked with keeping an Eternal down until 8 AM had come and gone, wondering the entire time whether he would truly do as he had said he would. She had wanted to believe him, but at the same time she hadn’t believed it possible for him to subvert what would at that time be his nature. Plagued by doubt, she had stood over the Eternal, cutting into it over and over.
The others had had to tell her what happened at the synagogue. Connors had been there, along with Sonia Reeves and two other Possesseds, and two Spotters. Forty minutes to gatetime, Ivers had walked in, sending the two Spotters present into a panic. But he didn’t attack, didn’t even look at any of them. Reeves had actually described him as looking dejected. He went to the front of the place, stood next to where the gate would be, and stared at the floor. Connors tried to speak to him, but he didn’t respond, and the Spotters pulled him away and explained what Ivers now was.
They didn’t know what he was going to do. He might have very well been there to welcome the others like him, or start fighting with them because just maybe Eternals liked to do stuff like that. The sun was starting to light up the inside of the building, pouring in through the broken windows, and Ivers had to kneel in that awful dust and cover himself with his coat. When eight o’clock rolled around, everyone decided it was best to act as if he wasn’t there and prepare to possess, wait for the gate to open, and go down fighting, much as it hurt to be Possessed in the daytime. But as soon as the gate opened it closed. Reeves was closest to Ivers, and had heard him speak what she thinks might have been three words, though it was hard to tell.
Then Ivers stood, with extreme difficulty, and dragged himself to the back rooms of the synagogue. His coat fell from his head as he rose and everyone there could see the deep burns etching into his flesh.
Reeves followed him into the dark silent rooms, saw him hide in the darkest, but he only told her not to come near to him. She knew he had caused the gates to close, though no one else did and she had to tell them what she suspected, until Kiyoko arrived and confirmed it.
When Kiyoko went to look for Ivers where Reeves had left him, he was gone.
The train was slowing towards her stop. She leapt up to stop her thoughts and nearly toppled over as it braked. There was no use thinking about it all now. Ivers had made his choice and it was done.
Then why did her heart ache?
Walking to her apartment, she forced her thoughts onto other things – the agents shipping down to Columbia to clean up the overrun area, the capturing she had done tonight, the fight she and Connors had over the last donut in the breakroom. She didn’t even like donuts. She breathed in the early morning air, finally smelling more like brackish city air and not smoke and burning fuel. The police force had been just as busy if not busier than the Office, getting people convinced that the gates had in fact not opened, that the demons about were just remains and not Eternals. Because the general public still had little to no idea of what the Eternals really were.
She brought her eyes down from the sky and saw someone up ahead. They looked wrong – no color or shape, only a clear crystalline structure about them. Her heart leapt. But it was too far away to really tell. As she approached the aura should surely fill in. It was just the city smog playing tricks with her eyes.
It couldn’t possibly be an Eternal.
She reached into her bag, grasping a walnut shell between her fingers. Not her beta; that beta was back at the Office, in quarantine, and to hell with the damned thing. These were just alphas in her bag, blissfully silent. The person or thing ahead of her hadn’t noticed her, seemed to be distracted. But as she came closer to it nothing about it changed. It remained vague and featureless. An Eternal. She took out her shell and held it close to her teeth.
“Who’s there?” she shouted, her voice enormous in the stillness.
It moved quickly as if surprised, diving between the buildings.
She pulled out her revolver as well, and with it and a demon prepared she inched forward.
“Show yourself!” she said.
It came around the corner of the building, peeking out at her. “Harper?” came his voice.
She could have fainted. She could have cried. But she stepped forward and called “Ivers?”
“Yes.” He stayed close to the alley, out of the glare of the streetlights. She had to come to him, and could only see him due to his aura.
“What are you doing here?” she asked.
“Waiting for you.” His voice was slightly off. Deeper and eerie. Missing something.
“Then maybe you should have been watching for me. What were you even doing?”
Though he was in the darkness, she could see him shrink a bit. Embarrassed. “I was…watching the leaves. I’m still overwhelmed by so much aeon all the time.”
“Because you were in the waste.” It was a statement to test him.
“Yes. Because I was in the waste. But also…my human self never got to see the full picture. Everything’s so…beautiful.”
He didn’t answer right away. “Yes, but I wasn’t going to say so. I don’t expect you to understand.”
“You really are different from them.”
“I’m not really.”
“You are. None of them did what you’ve done.”
He went silent for a long time. She watched him, trying to find something in that empty aura, and it did seem to fluctuate so slightly and quickly she had no hope of knowing whether it was something she was truly seeing or just something she was hoping to see.
“My human half,” he finally said “took precedence. That shouldn’t have happened. I think I still can’t see things as they really are.”
“As they really are?”
“As the same. All one and the same. Perhaps I never will. Perhaps I made the wrong choice.”
“But you saved us all. Us and countless worlds.”
“Not that choice. I mean the gamma or… Never mind. Is the Office holding up?”
He was changing the subject, but she let him. She had pestered him enough to have built an idea of him. “Connors is about to have a meltdown, but we’ve almost caught everything anyway.”
“I’ve seen you guys capturing. I’d say you have two more nights of real footwork.”
“You’ve been watching us?”
“I haven’t seen Cam though.” There was a flash of something in his aura, quick but definite.
“He’s been in touch, but recuperating. He thinks he’s not up to capturing at the moment.”
“I want to see him but…I don’t think he’d want to see me as I am now.”
“He will, after some time.” She wasn’t sure whether that was true, hadn’t discussed Ivers with Knowles at all.
“And…Andrade? How is she?” Another flash – an idea of temperature more than anything else. A chill. He was thinking of what he had done.
“Her neck got infected, but she’s on treatment for it now.”
“And her arm?” He even sounded pained; she didn’t need to see it.
“Healing. She’ll be fine.”
“Tell her I’m sorry. Please. I never did tell her.”
“She doesn’t blame you for any of it.”
“Maybe she should.”
Kiyoko stepped towards him, her hand out, but he shrunk back.
“Don’t,” he said.
She stepped back, all the way to the gutter. “Then come out here. Don’t be so secretive.”
He came out onto the sidewalk, eyes down, hunched over. The streetlights barely got to his face. But he looked so like Ivers. He was even wearing a tie, like he was about to head in to work. But his eyes held something bestial and vicious underneath.
“And you?” he said. “Are you going back to Tokyo?”
“I don’t know. Everything’s up in the air right now.”
He seemed disappointed by the answer. She could see that now that she could see him in the light.
“Will you come to see me again?” she asked him.
He looked up at her, strange eyes wide, shocked. “Why?” He said it like he suspected an ulterior motive.
“Do you have a reason not to?”
“No but…I don’t know why you would want to see me.”
“Give me your hand.”
He laughed, baring teeth. “No.”
She held out her own, motioning with it. “Come on.”
He straightened and tried to stare her down, but she motioned again, until he sighed and took his hand out of his pocket. He looked away as she took it. It was scorching hot, so hot it felt it might burn her if she held it too long, but she knew that was only illusion. She interlaced her fingers with his and held them both before his face, so that he looked at them and at her, animal hunger in his eyes but also pain, sadness, loneliness.
“Okay?” she said.
“You’ll come see me?”
Again he nodded.
“Good.” She let go of him.
He turned away and slowly walked away from her, down the sidewalk, the light of the lamps pouring over him.
“Ivers,” she called.
He looked back.
“Are you okay?”
He seemed to think about it before answering. “I am and I’m not. But that’s what life it.”
He turned away, and he left.