Death is sort of funny. Everybody tells you it’s so morbid, so dark, so sad, but really, dying is very much like living—at least, from Lucy’s perspective. Nothing has really changed: she still gets up at dawn and eats pancakes for breakfast before practicing archery in the fields or visiting her parents in their apartment or bugging Ed. In all fairness, death is a little dull and she occasionally envies her sister for having something to look forward to, besides the endless and infinite monotony of vacation.
People also forget to tell you that death is not a linear progression, either. Here, in the after life, Lucy notes how everything, all of time, seems to collide at once. She can take a walk amongst ancient Romans and stop to browse the internet at a cafe with free wifi, then watch the sunrise in the heart of Africa, amongst creatures as old as the earth itself before they crumble into dust.
She spends very little time (or maybe a lot of time—she never can tell) at Cair Paravel, preferring to revel in turn of the century Parisian art and feel the brush of thick grass against her ankles at the height of the Mongolian Empire. When she tires of earthly pleasures, she seeks out the lands that once could only be accessed by pools. She visits stars that were ruled by princesses and finds a favorite ice cream shop in a corner of London that had once been hidden from her eyes. She sees empires rise and fall and such beauty she could never have imagined in Narnia. All of existence is spread before her and Lucy cannot believe that she ever thought ruling a nation was the pinnacle of her life when death was the true beginning. In those moments, she does not envy her sister, but instead wishes she could show her the depth of millions of universes neither of them could have ever dreamed of. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust, but here, right now and forever, the sun is shining and Lucy is smiling and crying and screaming from every single emotion all at once and she has never felt more alive.
They dock at a waterlogged planet nearby one of their recent successes against the Galra, battle-weary and tired and ready for a break, even if it doesn’t last long and responsibilities still lay heavy on their minds. It rains a lot on this planet, so Keith isn’t surprised when Shiro and the others go to bed without so much as stepping foot outside.
Later, when Keith’s lying in bed, listening to the pitter-patter of raindrops against the ship fade into silence, he isn’t surprised to find the sound soon replaced by footsteps down the hall.
He doesn’t find Lance at first, but instead finds footsteps in the mud outside the ship. His first thought is anger, because who else would be stupid enough to wander into a foreign planet alone at night? But he’s tired, so he simply follows the trail.
Five minutes later, and Keith finds himself at the shore of some small sort of pond. There’s a figure swimming a ways off of the shore, gracefully sliding through the water as if it’s second nature, and Keith’s a little bit transfixed by the beauty of the motion. So he sits, and says nothing, and watches.
Lance gets tired after a while (Keith doesn’t know exactly how long it’s been, whether it’s been a few minutes or an hour) and heads back to the shore. He stills slightly at the sight of someone sitting there, but upon realizing who, grins and makes his way over.
“You scared me,” he accuses.
Keith frowns. "You left the ship alone in the middle of the night.“
"Are you my mom, enforcing curfew?” Lance laughs when Keith makes a face, opening his mouth to protest. He reaches out a hand. "Hey, come in. It feels great.“
Keith chews his lip, glancing sidelong at the ripples in the water. "No, thanks.”
“Oh, please. I think you deserve some time to relax.” He takes a step closer to Keith, grabbing a couple of pebbles from the bottom of the pond and running them through his fingers. "You were just sitting in your room, not sleeping anyways, because you just worry about things all the time. Come in the pond. Float a bit. Don’t think about things.“
Keith tries to ignore the fact that Lance has hit the nail on the head with that one, and instead pulls his knees to his chest, wrapping his arms around them. "I would,” he admits slowly, “but I can’t. Er, can’t swim, that is.”