Imperfect Goodbyes

** IC DATE if applicable
Black Moon Bay Hold - Beachside hut**

She woke to the smell of the ocean, the soft thunder of the waves against the shoreline echoing in her ears. Next, to her, a mane of gold spreads out over the pillows and sheets, the inked surfer's eyes shifting behind the lids as if dreaming. The moment her feet touch the smooth wood floor, a soft fussy noise comes from nearby and Tanit moves to scoop the child up before he can stir into full wakefulness, stepping outside under the glittering starlight and the full light of Belior and Timor.

The sand is cool beneath her feet as Tanit walks, shifting the infant to her shoulder, and humming a half-remembered lullaby drawing closer to the water. Though the child's eyes seem colorless in the moonlight, it is easy to tell that they are not Cenrie's. The color close enough to her own, but the shape - the shape belongs to someone else.

"I know what you are thinking you know." Tanit murmurs, rocking the boy in her arms the child no longer fussing, but awake. "That this should be enough. That even though the man in there isn't your father, he would raise you just the same if asked and protect you as though you were his own."

The waters shimmer and glow against the black sands, flourishing as the waves touch the shore. Cool to the touch but not cold against bare feet. The toddler shifts, chubby fingers knotting into the loose knit fabric of her shaw. Her lips press briefly against the child's temple. "This place is paradise, and I could continue my work here, maybe even get married and raise you properly. That would be the right choice wouldn't it?"

The boy just looks at his mother, eyes fixed intent before flinging an arm out toward the water and reaching or waving for something with burbling noises. Sea-green eyes follow out to where sleek shapes cavort in the moonlight. The Black Moon pod, at play.

"Maybe someday you will understand and forgive me for lying to you and your sister. Maybe you will never know. I just know I would be better sister than I would be a mother. I know Cenrie deserves someone who can give him her whole heart, and swear to do so for the rest of their life. But I think there will always be little pieces of my heart that will be stolen by others. Faranth knows you and your sister stole a piece before I could even put up a defense."

The boy, tired and unable to comprehend the words just buried his face in her throat, sleepy once more. Cenrie sat on the bed, awake and waiting when she returned. A patient knowledge in his brown eyes. "You finally made up your mind to go back didn't you." He asks, reaching for the child and getting him tucked back into bed.

"If I stay any longer, I won't ever leave."

"Would it be so bad?" Warm hands drawing her close, lips pressing against her forehead softly. "It's your choice Tanit, always has been."

Her hands find his wrists braced on either side of her neck, green eyes tipping up to meet brown ones. "I'm too selfish to stay, Cenrie." His name soft and apologetic on her lips.

"You are young." The emphasis placed on the last word echoing a conversation that felt like it was a lifetime ago to Tanit.

"Old enough."

No response is given to the words, just a nod of acknowledgment, waiting patiently in the quiet, the sound of the wind and waves and the children breathing the only sounds in the room.

"They can't ever know Cenrie, Jae and Sev can't ever know either. They deserve to grow up with parents who will be there and make them the priority. It would hurt them and my mother if the truth came out, and I don't want that."

No words, just another patient press of lips against her forehead.

"You aren't coming to Half Moon with me are you?" Tanit asks finally, hands still resting on his wrists. "I know everything with us moved far too fast. You have no obligations here, and I am grateful for everything. I want you to be happy." The words were out, simple and honest if perhaps not comfortably spoken.

Several minutes of silence passed before Cenrie gave an answer "I'm going back home to Ista when you leave Tanit."

Tanit swallows slowly, nodding letting the words sink in, absorbing and processing them in the wave washed silence. "Of course."

"This, whatever we are, is up to you." His touch still lingers, neither closing the space between them nor adding to it. "I'll be in Ista if you ever change your mind."

A flush of emotions too quick to decipher, and then it is Tanit who closes the distance, her mouth finding his briefly. "Then I guess we had better make tonight count." And then there were no more words.

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