Part 1 [chapter 5]- Up Top

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Eurydice has felt romantic love, most certainly, but never familial love. Well, not familial love this strong and warming. A pool in her stomach like melted gold, she loved the way Katia brushed a piece of hair off of her cheek... and smiled. A good feeling, one she wasn't sure she could ever replicate.

"Thank you." she murmured, glancing over Katia's shoulder at Kryos, she saw him watching the two women with an intensity unlike she'd seen before.

"How old are you?" he finally asked, his eyes fixated on Eurydice.

"Oh..." she hesitated, having to think very hard as to when her last birthday had occurred. "I'm nineteen, yes, no, twenty. I don't know, my birthday is in February and I'm not sure if it's passed yet. So let us assume I'm nineteen... why do you ask?"

he shook his head, standing to join them. "So young, you're only a girl."

Her defensive side rose in her chest again, causing her hands to clench, heart to beat just half a beat faster. "I'm not a helpless girl, I can get by on my own."

Kryos laughed. "I see your stubborn streak is returning. The ground brings out the best and worst parts of our humanity. Our ability to love and our ability to be hateful and resilient and stubborn."

She ducked her chin, trying to hide her blush again.

Katia sighed, "do you know where to go from here?"

Eurydice nodded, her stomach bubbling and churning with nerves. "It isn't far, but we won't get there before nightfall, we'll spend the night out here."

Kryos' eyebrows furrowed. "How? It's freezing. And... the baby..."

"Don't worry, I've been spent many a night outside in the winter, and this is a mild night anyways. Spring is coming, I can feel it."

She had to believe it.

This was the effect Orpheus had on her, even as the trio begins their march through the cold forest, she can't quite tell that this burning of hope in her belly was because of her love for him pulling her forward, the message he left in her, the hope. Her hunger for him fuels her, deep down inside her she yearns for an embrace as calm and leisurely that they once were.

They walked, Eurydice doesn't remember much, except that Kyros and Katia's voices rang like wind chimes through the forest, and the sound of them didn't bring her comfort, no, they brought a chill. A reminder, even though they were free, that so much was Eurydice's shoulders. This couple relied on her, their baby was depending on her. She was just a young girl, just barely not a child, and she felt like she was choking on the ice bitten air.

The sun began to set just as the familiarity of the place began to dawn on her, dark crept in but the memories poured right into her. The small field where he made flower crowns, the trees that they sat on the boughs of, the patches of wildflowers long buried under snow. These are the places she fell in love, these are the places she was loved. These are the places she abandoned for heat, iron, coal. What a fool she was.

She quickly swept away the tears with the back of her hand. She kept her voice from sounding thick or watery. "We're almost there. We could be there within the hour if we kept at this pace."

"Where is... there, exactly? A house, an inn?" Katia asked, her voice tired and weak, but hopeful, still.

"A... bar." Eurydice said haltingly. "It'll be closed now, but I'm friendly with the owner."

Friendly was a strange way of putting it. Almost her god-father-in-law? Some sort of guardian who looked out for her well being? A friend? A parental figure? She could check off the "any of the above" box for sure.

Katia was exhausted by the time the outskirts of town came into view, and Eurydice bit back a sob. She had to keep it strong for them, only she knew where the bar was. Only she knew where they the extra, just in case, key. Only she knew where the extra blankets were in the basement. Only she knew that Orpheus lived just a few blocks away, she could knock on his door in minutes. It grated on her, how close he was. How far away she was, really.

Despite of herself, she felt the urge to run to his door, knock on it, and throw her arms around whoever answered.

but she couldn't, as buildings came into view, her footsteps got heavier, her heart did the same. Her mouth driar. She thought she'd be excited. She thought her heart would beat out of excitement, not terror. Though most of what she thought this would be was different, she never thought she would come back at all. she thought she'd be down below for eternity, working her soul away until she couldn't remember Orpheus at all anymore, not even a single note. But now, up top again, she felt as if someone's pulling her feet downwards. Gravity increasing on her all of a sudden.

Before she knew it, they were at the back door of the bar. She dug around in the empty flower pot until she finds the extra key, inserts it in the door, and turns it without even stopping to consider where her life was heading from this moment onwards.

She ushered them inside. "I'll get blankets, find a place to spend the night, we'll sleep here tonight and tomorrow, I'll try to get you guys somewhere more permanent."

Kryos stayed close to this wife but stopped in front of Eurydice as she closed the door. He took both of her small hands in his large ones.

"Thank you for what you've given my family."

"It's my pleasure." Eurydice smiled, despite of herself.

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