"We must embrace pain and burn it as fuel for our journey."
- Kenji Miyazawa
Missy is in the hospital, sedated but dreaming, as hands remove her ruined clothes and wash her burnt body. In her dreams, there are memories of other hands touching her. Her mother's hands, dressing her as a child. The surgeon who implanted her cybernetics. Her drill sergeant. Her first lover. Magtok. Javert. Tarin. Latas. Divaonar. Enemies on the battlefield. Civilians she'd rescued. Healers putting her together afterwards.
One set of hands she'd only felt from the inside, during the last few weeks of her pregnancy as her baby fought for space.
"I never saw your hands,"
Missy says mournfully. She's speaking to a dark skinned androgynous child with indistinct features. "They'd be so big now."
The child shrugs, and runs away, like it always does in her dreams. Then the scene shifts to the hospital, the moment of pure joy as she heard her child crying for the first time. She puts her arms out, expecting her child to be placed in them, only to hear the cries grow fainter. A door closes.
"It's better this way, Submission. Your child deserves a proper home, and you're much too young,"
her mother says. It takes some time for the words to sink in, but when they do, she screams, and tries to get out of the bed, despite her feet being in stirrups. Her baby needs her. They're taking her baby.
"The human heart was not designed to beat outside the human body and yet, each child represented just that - a parent's heart bared, beating forever outside its chest."
- Debra Ginsberg
There was the moment when she stopped fighting, a few weeks later. It was when she realized her milk was drying up. It was the only thing she'd had to offer her child that the adoptive mother couldn't do better.
You'll always be in my heart, my beloved, my angel, my treasured one. I let you go, to give you a better life, but I never stopped loving you for a single minute. You're in my heart, forever, for always.
The indistinct child only waves, then runs away.
"Love is not written on paper, for paper can be erased. Nor is it etched on stone, for stone can be broken. But it is inscribed on a heart and there it shall remain forever."