Author's note: for this one you really would have needed to read OAW first. Sorry lol.
She knew something was off the minute he walked in the door. First, his wings never touched the ground unless he was upset. Second, he wasn't glowing. His eyes, which typically displayed his emotions, were empty sockets. And his shirt collar was turned up and partly unbuttoned, completely unlike him.
Gabby stood from her desk and hugged him.
"How was your day?" She asked.
"It was good. I got some stuff done. Dardanelles told a joke. How was your day?"
"Decent. Cyf came over about mid day with stomach troubles, but she's asleep now. The particle accelerator article is... Not even half way done, but it's getting there."
"Remind me to read it later. We must make sure there are no spelling issues."
She chuckled. It was his normal brand of humor, but it felt much weaker a joke than usual.
"Beck dear made jambalaya for dinner. Shall we?"
Gabby kissed his forehead and headed up the stairs to the guest room. On the low bed, Cyfillius lay on her side, covered by a thick blanket. Ambrose rested his head on his forearms, which were on the bed, while his horsey hindquarters lat curled up on a blanket on the carpet floor. She ignored Akira's mental giggles about how dumb he looked, and set her hand on his shoulder, shaking him awake.
"Wfvvv?" He said blearily, looking at her.
"Dinner time, dear."
He rubbed his face with his hand and stood up, shaking each limb.
He flashed a cheerful if not sleepy smile and left the room.
She then shook her daughter, Cyf awake. Cyf first hid further under the warm blanket, then, after Gabby brushed the soft pink hair out of her face, she mock glared and sat up. Her eyes still showed the powdery pink color, as they had for months
Three months, to be exact.
She got up, and the two women headed downstairs together, to find Ambrose and Beck laughing at the dining room table. Julius was smiling, but he still didn't glow.
The two sat down and served themself a bowl of the thick stew. After saying a quick prayer, the family dug in.
"You know, someone should make the whole rain thing a legit saying." Ambrose said between spoonfuls.
"Trademark it right now, or someone else will. Oh, too late, it's already trade marked. 'rain makes everything indoors more enjoyable' Cyfillius Archenson 2017."
"Ah, I believe you're too late, as that has been a personal catchphrase of mine since oh, maybe 1910?" Gabby countered. But as the 'ooohh!" Of the small burn went up, She caught notice of Julius again. Not glowing was exhausting, and it had been probably half an hour. He was clearly in pain, but too shy to show it. She waited for a small break in conversation before saying she forgot about a phone call she needed to make.
"And you, good sir, need to come with me. Got to make sure my terminology is up to snuff."
She pulled him out of his chair and towards the hall that lead to their bedroom.
"Don't stay too long, I made swamp juice as an accompaniment!" Beck said playfully.
"I'll try not to miss it. And you," she locked eyes with Cyf, "had better not partake."
Cyf smiled wryly.
"Believe me, this kid is already the pickiest little twerp. I won't."
In their bedroom, Gabby sat Julius down on the bed, and sat down next to him.
"Don't you need to make a phone call?" He asked.
She set her hands on either side of his head, right under where his ears would be, and pushed her spirit against his, tearing down the blockade he'd erected in his mind.
His eyes suddenly glowed violently cobalt, and tears began rolling down his sharp, angular face.
She smiled, feeling herself begin to cry as well. Pulling him forward to rest against her as he cried, she kept her gentle grip on his skull, making sure he didn't erect the wall again.
Cobalt was depression, anxiety, existential dread. All things a man who'd spent a hundred years shattered across the multiverse would feel.
"I'm lost. I'm lost. I'm..." He whispered.
"You're found. All of you. You're safe, and loved, and you never have to see the multiverse again. I love you, I love you so much."
He didn't try to argue, just sobbed uncontrollably.
Some days were worse than others. Occasionally, it was Gabby burdened by existence and in need of reasureance, but normally it was Julius.
Through it all, Akira stayed silent. There was nothing she could add to this situation. She had been stuck with Gabriola as a wayward soul for three months, and this was a common occurrence.
Eventually, Julius' dread passed, and Gabby laid him down on the bed, covering him with a sheet. She sat for a long moment over him, then kissed his temple for another long moment and got the book from her nightstand, and settled in for the night, in case her beloved woke up again.