Chapter One: Mal
Even the skies seemed to mourn her loss. Thick black clouds rolled in, thunder rumbled, and the heavens lit up as they opened on the gathering. Mal stood there silently, watching Anya's coffin lower into the ground. Around him, people, humans and Beings alike, sat and stood mourning the passing of his best friend.
Mal didn't know half the people there, but he didn't care. Everyone was dressed in black. Hell, even their umbrellas were black. Mal hated it, and so would have Anya. She'd always been such a bright point. She'd lit up his entire life. Now, she was gone. Mal hadn't bothered with any protection from the weather for himself. Instead his tears mingled with the fat drops of cold rain as they hit his cheeks and slid down his body.
Mal couldn't ever remember feeling pain like this before. What the hell was he supposed to do now? Anya wasn't supposed to have died. They were both supposed to find their great loves and live happily ever after. Anya had been constantly on the lookout for hers, Mal, not so much. He was more of the opinion that it would happen when it did. Until then he had his work to keep him busy.
His knees buckled and Mal collapsed to the ground with a heavy thump. The damp earth gave a little under the weight. His suit pants, already wet with the rain, soaked up the ground water as fast as they could.
Mal fisted the grass in his hands. Anger and pain coursed through him in equal measure at the loss of his sister's life. She was healthy and happy, there was no reason she should have been taken from Mal. He tuned out whatever the priest had said, his baby sister—by eight minutes—was gone and nothing anyone said to him could make that better. Around him, he was peripherally aware that people were moving. He ignored them all.
He stared into the hole that now housed his sister's final resting place. How had it come to this?
He'd tried everything he could think of to get the cops to listen when his sister had gone missing. But no one would take him seriously. He was assured she'd taken a holiday. Some of her clothes were missing and tickets had been booked using her credit card. None of them had any idea what it was like to have a twin though, what kind of connection they shared. There was no way Anya would just take off without telling him. They spoke every two days without fail, no matter where they were or what they were doing.
Mal had no idea how long he knelt there in the dirt at his sister's gravesite. He shivered in the chill of the wind as he absently wiped at yet another tear as it tracked down his cheek.
"How am I supposed to do this without you?" he asked aloud, not expecting an answer. Everyone had long since left. Mal felt so lost he didn't know which way was up.
Mal knew he had to leave, but he just couldn't bring himself to walk away from his sister, knowing he would never again hear the sound of her voice, the tinkling noise she made when she laughed, or smell the frangipani on her skin from the cream she used daily.
The air around him grew colder and the sky darkened as it moved on towards night. The groundsmen were probably waiting for Mal to leave so they could finish the job and cover Anya's coffin with dirt. A fresh wave of sorrow flooded Mal at the thought.
He sniffed loudly, wiped his eyes, then rose unsteadily to his feet. The cold had settled into his bones and Mal had to hold himself steady as he attempted to get feeling back in his legs so he wouldn't fall on his ass. That would come later tonight after he'd drowned his sorrows back at the hangar.
When he felt steady enough Mal walked over to the beautiful white granite marker with his sister's details carved in the stone. He placed a kiss to his fingertips and then ran them over the engraving. "I love you, be at peace," he whispered, fighting the lump in his throat. "I'll find out who did this and make sure they're brought to justice. I promise."
With one last look at the coffin lowered into the ground, frangipani flowers covering the gleaming wood, Mal took a deep breath, closed his eyes briefly, and turned away.
He walked back to where he'd left his helmet and jacket. The weather wasn't really conducive to riding a motorbike, but his only other form of transport was Nidhogg and the keepers at the hangars frowned upon him taking Nidhogg out on unsanctioned trips. Not that Mal really cared right now, he just didn't want to have to listen to them bitching at him, again.
Mal picked up his jacket and helmet, and slowly made his way across the grass through rows and rows of gravestones until he hit the road. His was the only vehicle left in this part of the cemetery. Mal swung his leg over the bike and shrugged his jacket on, zipping it up. Even though the jacket was specially designed to keep him warm while flying, it wouldn't work if he was soaked to the bone already. Right now he didn't care as a shiver raced through his body.
The engine roared to life, the sound echoing in the peace of the cemetery. Mal wiped his eyes one last time and pulled his helmet into place. He revved the bike, glanced back towards where his sister lay, men now shovelling dirt into her gravesite. Mal quickly looked away, unable to witness what was happening.
He took a deep breath, let out the clutch and gunned the engine. The wheel spun in the water on the road before it finally caught and shot forward. Mal planned to head home and drown his sorrows. Tomorrow was soon enough to figure out what was responsible for his Anya's death.