The cabbie made good time as we pulled up to my stop. I dropped a few bills into the front seat and swung out of the car, flowers in hand. I didn't look up as I entered under the iron gate and began the long walk down the path. I started to reach for a fresh smoke but stopped short, crumpling the pack in my pocket. She doesn't like that particular habit.
I stopped short again as I reached my destination. There she was. Slowly I walked the final few steps and looked down to her, at rest. Ever so slowly dropped to my knees and laid my flowers at her feet, clearing away the stray leaves and twigs that had taken residence. The grass was so green, the white marble a reminder of what I had lost. I read the inscription, the one I had read so many times before, and would read so many times again.
Here Lies Juliet Willing
Born April 2, 1980 Died September 14th, 2006
Missed By all Who Loved Her
From The Brightest Night to the Darkest Dawn
I had added that last line, something she use to tell me when I was struggling to control my powers. It had been her little way of telling me that she loved me for who I was, not what I was. I had never knew a girl like Juliet, she was special. She was also a Norm,
After I had came of age my Father had cast me from his house, his obligation fulfilled. He knew long before that moment that I wasn't going to follow in his footsteps. I was too much my Mother's Son, with to much of my Father's pride. I had learned to control by Night side, and I had learned ways to manage my Light half as well. It wasn't perfect, but I knew how to take care of myself for the first time in my life.
Mostly I wandered, performing odd jobs, everything from bouncing at bars to body guard and merc work. Eventually I landed a job working nights at The Copper Cup. The Cup is one of several free-standing local joints that cater to all sides. It's said that you kind find anything at The Cup, and in the three years I worked there I learned you were probably right.
The thing that made the Cup unique was that it was run my a Norm named Julian Willing. See, few Norms ever really get involved with our types of people, preferring not to know the truth about elves, dwarves or the other various species that go bump in the night. Truthfully, not involving Norms is in every ones best interests. They surely outnumber us, and despite our abilities, a full scale fight between the Norms is not what anyone wants. Fell mostly just resent them for taking their place in His eyes and just want to be left alone subsequently. The Night Tribes frankly consider most Norms as a lesser species, like you would a dog or cat. Something to be domesticated and used for amusement or work. Many times they use them as agents or conduits for thier abilities in times when they can't directly be involved. The Light Tribes, well we can just say that they don't much have anything to do with anyone anymore..
Julian, though, was raised in a family that had been apart of this world for generations. The rumor goes that a distant relative had once nursed a hurt elf back to life, and they fell in love afterwards. Whether it is true or not I don't know, but The Cup has been run by his descendants for over 250 years, with any traces of elf heritage long since faded out. Both sides unofficially claim it as a safe zone, but it is pretty rough joint. Fights were a nightly affair, and Julian kept a combination of Fell and Night Walkers on hand, usually with a User or two. It was my time at The Cup that introduced me to Juliet.
She was Julien's daughter, and they were the only people who didn't judge me for being a half breed. She was beautiful, with soft brown hair that fell to her shoulders. I remembered she always wore it in a ponytail when she was working. Her delicate features belied her toned physique. She had a sharp mind and an even sharper wit, someone who could take care of herself.
Julien had treated me with respect, like a person. Juliet....well Juliet showed me how to be one. As time passed and we grew closer together and Juliet opened my eyes to the wider world. She helped me to learn how to control my urges and harness my powers when I needed to. Yet she never had any powers herself, her gentle touch or soft words could reach me no matter what state I was in. She taught me to be myself. A Beauty to my Beast.
I always thought it funny, how a person as gentle and kind as Juliet could be found in a place like The Cup. But beneath her soft exterior, was a fierce heart. She would fight for what she believed in, and for her heritage. Being a Norm in our world isn't something easily accepted, and maybe that was why we fit so well together.
Losing her was the most painful time of my life. I was working the floor when a Fell User started fighting with another from the Night Tribes. Some small time punk who was tied to one of the older clan. He pulled in more power than he could handle and killed a lot of people in the bar that night. I got caught in the blast before I could take him down, and in the ensuing time he escaped. Juliet wasn't as lucky. If I hadn't been so slow...if I hadn't been so weak, I could have saved her.
In the time after that I lost control of myself. Lost control of my powers and worse of all, lost my way. I shut myself off from the world to wallow in self pity. Even things between Julien and myself grew tense. He blamed himself for getting her in this world and blamed myself for not protecting her. We both took our pain out on each other, fraying our relationship to this day. I try to avoid The Cup nowadays, it's just to painful.
It was the actions of the night that Juliet died that helped forged the Treaty, the bond between the Fell and The Night Walkers to not interfere with the world of man. A treaty that would eventually lead to the formation of my job now. Creating a pact with the Holy Church to represent the Norms, who knew about our side from the beginning, they eventually established my job. The truth was, I was the only option. I cared for Norms, and I didn't have any ones side. I was alone.
I realized that tears were coming down my cheeks as I rested on my knees at the foot of her grave. I moved the flowers under her tombstone and pulled out my rosary beads. Juliet had been a believer. She had claimed that God had brought us together. I wasn't sure that I could care about a God that would take her from me, but I still held her faith in me. Every time I rubbed my rosary, or every time Quint gave a blessing, they were for her.
I spent half an hour at the grave site. Remembering her and missing her so. Before I left I took out the bottle of scotch I had bought and took a small drink, toasting her memory. I gave a last caress of the headstone and said my goodbyes.
"I still love you Juliet, from the brightest night to the darkest dawn....I love you."
With that I turned slowly away and headed back towards the main gate. I reached for a smoke again but thought better of it, tucking them and the bottle into my coat pocket. Touching the pocket, I stopped short and just rubbed the leather, slowly running my hand over the sleeve and lining. I rubbed the coat again, Juliet's coat, and I once again realized that I missed her so.
End of Line.