The Greatest Bird in the Heavens

How many times have I come back here? How many times have I looked out into that great-uncharted expanse and waited for you to come home? Even now, so many years later, I still come here. I still stare out into the endless blue. Sometimes, I think I see you, coming back to me. Even after all this time, it still hurts. You didn't come back like you promised. I know it's not your fault, but still…

What happened to you out there?

We built those ships together. They were flawless, and yours more so than mine. She was the fastest, the strongest, the greatest. We laughed so loud as we sailed across that endless ocean of clouds. I remember, you didn't even want to at first, until you saw the one I built. We flew her together on her maiden voyage, and you were so scared we were going to fall right out of the sky. But by the time we landed, you were standing in the prow with your arms outstretched. You said you felt like a bird out there, so we built one for you.

Even now I can still remember your smile, your laugh. I remember when you first flew her solo. That was the first time you challenged me to a race. High above the earth, above the sky… We were higher than the birds themselves except for one. I always told it was a hawk, but you never did believe me. You said it was a sign, that the heavens approved, and you named your ship after that bird.

The Falcon: a tribute to the glorious hunter that took roost on the rail of your ship for a few minutes. You told me that it looked into your eyes and gave you its blessing before it flew it off again. I wish you'd had its blessing that day.

You were so full of life. I knew from the moment I saw you that we were meant for each other. I was losing at blackjack; I never loose at blackjack. But you were the dealer. I think you jinxed me. No, I know you did. You gave me that arrogant little look, like I wasn't even worth your time. You gave it to all the men, and every one of us lost to you. I swear you were magic. I must have come back twenty times just to learn your name, and then I had to fight to get it.

You liked to string us along; we were all in love with you. But in the end, it was sky that won your heart. I told you I would give you the sky. You told me to shove it, but you laughed as you said it. You said it couldn't be done, not without magic. You said if I gave you the sky, you'd marry me. I did it, too, didn't I? I'm still waiting for you to hold up your end of the bargain.

Even now, after all this time, I come here to wait for you. Do you remember how we found this place? I was having engine trouble, and you were howling with laughter. I swear I could hear you over the wind even without our radios. I had to land there, and you flew circles over my head for the longest time. Then, when you finally did land, you grabbed my hand and pulled me up the hill.

There was a bird's nest there, an eyre you called it. I couldn't see the eggs from where we were, but I did see the falcon. You told me it was another sign; you always were superstitious like that. We stayed there long into the night, talking and watching the nest. The bird didn't seem bothered by us at all, but we were several dozen feet below it. You told me all about falcons and hawks, the difference between the two, and how you loved them for their freedom. You said I gave you that same freedom, then you kissed me. Our first real kiss, under the stars. I never knew a person could feel that good.

You were so alive back then; what happened to you? Thinking back, you knew it would happen, didn't you? You told me just that day that if anything happened to you, the Falcon would be mine. You were so serious; I couldn't imagine what you were worried about. We raced around the sky for hours, and we agreed to meet back our hill. I wanted you to come with me, but you wanted to fly higher. What did you know, Daryl? Did you really know you weren't coming back down? And if so, why did you choose to leave? Surely, you weren't…

I can't think like that. You were so happy, at least around me. If you let your precious Falcon crash on purpose, then it was because of something I did. I can't think like that. You would have told me if something was wrong.

Wouldn't you?

I waited for you for so long. I'm so sorry; I thought you had left me. I thought you didn't want to come back. Now, I know you couldn't. Did you fly too close to the sun, Daryl? Or did you just fly too close to Imperial airspace? It was difficult to tell in that burned out husk. I think seeing her like that is what struck me the worst. You were the same, you and that ship. You were the greatest pilot of the greatest ship in all the heavens or seas. She represented everything you loved the most: freedom, the sky…

Seeing you was like having my heart ripped out, but it was just a body. The Falcon was your spirit, and to see her in ruins was like seeing your soul ripped to shreds and scattered to winds. So I repaired her; I had to. I couldn't bring you back, and I wouldn't if I could.

No, that's not right. If I could bring you back as you, then I would. But you were a free spirit, and I know you'd long since moved on. But I could fix her, your treasure. She was your life, more so than me. I know you loved me, but it was a different kind of love, a different kind of union. Ours was the love of two souls that have found their perfect mate. Your love of the Falcon was like a soul, torn in two, that's found it's other half. And I'll admit, I was occasionally jealous.

But she was you in every way, the perfect embodiment of everything you ever stood for. And so, I repaired her and buried her with you. She belonged down there, with you. I could never do her the justice she deserved. A falcon watched as I worked on her; was that you, Daryl? Is that you I see now? I see you everywhere now, even after all these years. I never stopped loving you.

All That Glitters Is Cold 2 Fanfic Competition

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