Template:Featured Articles/26-2015

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Moment of Awesome - Amanda Sefton: Trying to comfort her surviving student from end of the world, Amanda finds there's no words, especially when she has her own guilt.

The older witch sighed, seeing Topaz curling in on herself. And there's fuck-all I can do about that, is there? she asked herself rhetorically. Sure, she could point out that without Xorn's duct-taping of universes together there wouldn't be any places left, to hate or otherwise, but what good would it do? "I'd hoped time would make it easier on you," she admitted at last. "But it's not, is it?"

Topaz closed her eyes for a long moment, letting the words bounce around in her head before she gave up and just said it. "Everyone that died - Clint and Matt and Sue and Billy and Megan and just....everyone...and I'm the one who bloody lives. How does that work?"

Amanda winced at the names, the memories. She'd lost students, but Topaz had lost friends. "It's just how it is, kiddo," she said, voice breaking a little. She got up and shuffled over to where her student was huddled, sliding down the wall until she was sitting next to her, knees pulled up in an echo of Topaz's own position. "Believe me, I've been asking myself the same thing, every bloody day. Why it had to be Billy and Megan, and not me. And there's no fucking answers, nothing either of us could have done different."

The fact that Topaz didn't immediately shuffle away from Amanda was something. "I was with Sue. She was right there, we were all...fightin' together, and I don't even know how she died. I was right there with her and I have no idea how it happened." Losing them all had hurt, so much, but knowing Sue had been less than five feet away...that haunted her.

How could she tell Topaz that was how it happened sometimes? That all of their lives were so fleeting, and that one day it could just all end in a snap? "You weren't meant to be fighting," she said quietly. "None of you kids. That's why I started with the Trenchcoats, to make sure none of the students would have to go through the shite I had to. But 'meant to' isn't a guarantee. I just wish I'd taught you better, all of you. Maybe more of you would have come through."

Topaz squeezed her eyes shut, letting out a shuddering breath. God she was so tired. After a moment her head slid to the side, resting lightly on Amanda's shoulder. "Could've been me," she whispered after a moment. Sue had died, after all. And she had been right there. Sometimes she wished it had been her. But she knew better than to say that out loud. "M'so tired."

"Could have been any of us, kiddo. But it wasn't. Which is both sucky and not, all at the same time." Amanda's heart ached. She wished there was something she could say, something she could do, that could take some of the weight from Topaz's shoulders. She let her cheek rest on the sleek dark head, closing her own eyes against the burning of tears. Not now. "Need the couch?" she said after a moment. "'Cause it's yours if you do."

"Yes please," Topaz said quietly. She couldn't quite fathom the thought of going back to her suite right then. She'd been completely prepared to spend the night in the empty classroom, really.

Shifting slightly, Amanda moved her arm around Topaz's shoulders and gave her a squeeze. "C'mon then," she said gently. "I'll make us both a cuppa when we get there."