I felt bad that I didn’t write anything for shipweeks (and especially for such a good prompt) so I just said screw it, who needs sleep anyway?
“She realized he was the home she’d been missing”
Cinder never understood the concept of home. When she was eleven, when she was newly pieced back together, when they reached the little hut in the middle of winter, Garan had told her that she was home. She had looked it up, then, in the little netscreen she had just discovered was displayed in her eye.
1: one’s place of residence
2: the social unit formed by a family living together
3: a familiar or usual setting : congenial environment
One’s place of residence. She supposed that was this place now.
But slowly, surely, she had learned it was not. It was not so much a place of residence as it was just a place of existing. She was not part of that family, she was not living with them, she was just staying. And as for a congenial environment - it was a miracle if Adri said one command to her without the word “brat” or “useless” somewhere in the sentence.
For such a long time, home was an empty word. It was just Cinder, Iko, and Peony, facing the world together.
The first time Cinder reevaluated the word home was five years later. She had tried to grasp its meaning for once when she kissed Kai at the Peace Ball, but she did not even have time to acknowledge the feeling.
The second and fourth time she reevaluated was when mostly everyone was fairly safe on the Rampion, or as safe as a spaceship chock-full of rebels and fugitives could get. She felt - comfortable. She felt respected and known. She felt like she belonged. She understood that second definition so many years ago, finally - the social unit formed by a family living together. A family. But that had burst faster than you could say her full - real - name.
The third and 3.5th time she reevaluated was when she and Kai were in the cargo bay. When they had kissed, she was relieved that she could finally slow down and take it in. The gentle fire in her veins, the spark in her stomach, the growing, soft feeling in her heart when he kissed her, then when he comforted her. It was a feeling she had been yearning for her whole life.
The fifth time Cinder reevaulated, the weight of a crown and the weight of a moon pressured her decision. She had resolved herself to this, did not let herself consider anything other than this, pulled chains on her heart and made it sit on the regolith throne. In her speeches, she would call Luna home. It was her place of residence, that was for sure. It was beautiful and grand and pleasant, she supposed, but it never did give her the same feeling she had felt before so fleetingly.
The sixth time, she was on the Rampion, on her way to the Eastern Commonwealth’s Peace Ball, her first time out of the little moon in months. Thorne’s arm was hanging easily around her shoulder, and Cress was chatting with Iko in the corner, and as New Beijing came into view, she felt that feeling in her heart again. At first, she thought it was just because of the presence of her friends, that social unit she so treasured. But slowly she realized it was also the city itself. She was startled - she had never considered the city a home when she was in it. And yet, just then, she could place how she missed the taste of the dim sum in the marketplace every time she ate an extravagant feast on Luna, how her skin missed the humid air as much as she hated it. It was the memories that tainted the place, and she hoped to make a million better ones to erase them.
(The words place of residence flashed in her mind before she got ahold of herself and her fantasies - that she maybe hoped weren’t so fantastical after all)
The seventh and final time was a few minutes later. Cinder couldn’t remember anything between landing and stepping out and taking in the sun. All she could feel was his arms, his smell, his forehead pressing against the top of her head, his smile pressing against her temple that was reflected in her face, him. The feeling in her heart was hit with a ray of sunshine and it grew, it burst, it bloomed. If Cinder didn’t fit in anywhere else anymore, it wouldn’t matter. In Kai’s arms, she felt like she was meant to be there, like the switch that turned an ancient tutoring android on was clicked. It was a - a familiar and usual setting - that some part of her knew in and out. It was home.
One of these days Mokona is going to start one of these calls and catch Yuuko in the middle of a shower. She will be every bit as calm and collected as she is here, because Yuuko Ichihara, and Kurogane won’t even blink, because gay feudal ninjas have seen everything already, but Sakura and Syaoran will not survive the experience. RIP, future Sakura and Syaoran. You tried your best.
GUYS LOOK AT HOW FANCY THAT IS.
It’s not like we expected anything less from Tomoyo BUT STILL. WOW.