They stood at the end of the world, the cliff overlooking the sea, golden waves of grass behind them, a champagne sea before them reflecting the explosion. They watched as the shock wave raced toward them. Beside them the wreckage of a skimmer lay smoking.
She put her hand in his. “Do you remember,” she asked, “when we started? When we thought we could save the world?” Blood seeped from a wound in her forehead and soaked places in her torn shirt. Her smile, though, was still so, so beautiful.
He huffed, his eyes locked on the blossom blooming in the sky. It would probably ruin his eyes. Who cared? It’s not like they were going to survive this. One of his arms hung useless at his side. “Yeah. I didn’t want anything to do with saving the world. I just wanted to be with you.”
She squeezed his hand. “You got what you wanted.”
“Yeah.” He swallowed. “You didn’t get what you wanted.” How much longer did they have? A few minutes at most? “I’m sorry.”
“You know they’ll write stories about us,” she laughed. “Diana and Bill, the two lovers who thought they could destroy the Red Moon, save the world, and have beautiful children. And maybe open that pancake restaurant.”
“Don’t laugh! My pancakes would sell like, um.”
She turned to him, pressing her lips together to keep her mirth in. A broken face, still filled with such joy.
“Like hotcakes,” he muttered. He sighed and turned to her. The light from the explosion danced across her skin. He traced the patterns on her face with rough fingertips. “We would have made amazing children. Do you think someone will write that into the story?”
“Of course. We had a child but left her behind, to keep her safe. And every orphan in Caralia will hope it’s them. The daughter of Diana and Bill.”
“Even the boys?”
“Especially the boys. They’ll think that a hero like Bill would only have boys.”
He reached to hold her close with his one working arm. Was it getting harder to breathe? The cliff began to shake. “They’ve got it all wrong. You’re the brave one.”
“Only because you fight for me.” She snuzzled into his shoulder. “Do you think it’ll hurt?”
“No. We won’t feel a thing.”
“Did we do ok?”
“Yes, Diana. We did amazing. We blew it up before it could be used against Caralia or anywhere else.” He held her tight. The ground bucked around them. He couldn’t shut his eyes against the light any longer, it was so bright. He wanted to whisper, but had to shout above the roar. “What will they call the story?”
“The End of the Ending of the World.”
“I like that title.”
The shock wave took them away.
At the base on the other side of the planet, they watched as long as the monitors would let them. General Caetus cleared his throat. “We have a chance. The Diabolos Nexus is destroyed, and for once we have a chance. A real chance. We can free Caralia. And all it took… all it took was our two bravest heroes. Diana and Bill. Don’t forget them. Remember their sacrifice. Tell your children about it. Don’t let them forget!
“They’ve won a chance for us. Captains, to your ships. It’s time to take the fight to Red Moon.”