Avrielle had never felt more conflicting emotions than in the past few days. Since she met Grivyk, she felt as if she'd aged thirty-five more years. Being with him made her feel more alive, at first, and when they were alone together, it was still so nice...but, she had also never felt so useless, so sad, such a grain of sand on the beach of life. In the past three days she felt like a piece of her had died twice. The only time she'd ever felt nearly this bad was when she'd decided her parents no longer cared about her. But, even that was different. Nobody had died.
She trembled in Grivyks arms as she wept, "So many people have died out here." She was speaking of open space, of the ship graveyard and of the two destroyed warships. "Grivyk, I can't take much more of this. I don't know if I can do this. I knew life out here was hard but..." and she trailed off, thinking once more of the burnt corpse. Who was that? She wondered.
She thought of the end of the mission, in another three months, and what could possibly happen in all that time. "Such horrible, awful things!"
She thought of the possibility of leaving Grivyk... As she looked into his eyes she felt such pain at the thought. He really does have good in him and I love him so much. Could I really just leave him simply because I am too cowardly to face death? She wondered to herself. She cried even harder at the thought of leaving him and he held her tight, whispering comforts into her ear.
I can't leave him! She told herself. Not even with all this suffering ahead, I can't. She kissed him. Just being in his arms gave her strength she didn't know she had. I'll do what I have to but I won't give him up. He didn't want any of this to happen either.
"Grivyk, I can perform a service for those who... lost their lives on those ships. Tomorrow evening, we could have a candle-lit ceremony for them; an honorable funeral. Would the others like that?" Grivyk nodded and she saw he had also some tears in his eyes. She added, "Would you?"
He pulled her into a tight embrace and told her he loved her. "I love you too, Grivyk." She was starting to calm down a bit. The trembling had stopped. The sadness remained. She wanted to feel close to someone, especially Grivyk because she loved him so much. She wanted solace, a brief moment of comfort, pleasure to numb the pain. She could see by the look on his face he felt the same way. This time quietly, solemnly and with none of the fan-fare of the first time, when nothing else brought comfort and the blessing of sleep, the couple resorted to making love. It was tragic and beautiful and, even through their tears at the end of it all sleep finally came. But, peace would stay elusive for a long time afterward.