Please note: this is a work of fiction. It has been crafted by the author and is not a direct opinion from AHS.

Dahlia wasn’t a crier. She hadn’t cried in the fourth grade when she fell off the tire swing and broke her arm, she hadn’t cried when she’d gotten married, and she certainly wasn’t about to start now, when she and Chrysanthemum were sitting in each other’s arms, watching everything end. Watching the fires outside.

They hadn’t tried to move, not after any of the warnings that everyone should get out of the big cities. What would be the point? They had lived, had loved each other, and if everything was going to hell…well, so be it. It was almost calming. A chance to just sit, to remember the good times. Time would soon stop, and then reminiscing would be all they could do. Wallow in their deaths, float from memory to memory. Dahlia was glad that Chrys was a part of so many of them.

Chrysanthemum and Dahlia were born on the same day, in the same hour, to two very best friends. Their destinies had been intertwined from the start. They had grown up together, their homes perfectly interchangeable. People who met them might not have been able to tell whose mom was the other’s, if it wasn’t for the telling physical traits of each girl. Dahlia had strict, sharp features, and stick straight hair that gave her quite the air of seriousness. And she leaned into it, of course. Straight As, never out past ten, and a way of correcting people that made them feel like they should question every thought they’d ever had. Chrysanthemum was the opposite. Bubbly and chubby, with huge curls that swayed when she danced or laughed or ran into her polar opposite’s arms. She found joy and brightness where Dahlia couldn’t. And somehow, they were completely suited to each other. They had an understanding of each other that was almost just nature for them. Some, when they reached that age where children would speculate about their secrets, would claim that they felt what the other did. Perhaps the way they would die was as they should: at the same time, together until the very end. Dahlia was willing to accept it. She was willing to celebrate it. An eternity of whatever came After, spent with Chrysanthemum. Too bad her wife was not so happy. The fire flashed outside their window, illuminating a tear running down her cheek. A spotlight on the one thing Chrys liked to keep in the shadows, perpetually waiting in the wings until this very moment.`

Chrysanthemum was crying. She didn’t want the world to end. She had a routine. She had flowers to pick, dinner to prepare, homeless shelters to volunteer at, a wife to spend the rest of her life with. And now it was being taken from her. She didn’t understand how Dahlia seemed so sure they would be together even when everything ended, when their bodies were lost to the flames already licking at their window. They had said their goodbyes, they had said their ‘I love you’s, and so she was meant to be content with being set on fire, she supposed. The fire that was licking at their feet already. But for once, she felt inconsolably sad, broken. Whenever Dahlia had mentioned death, Chrys had insisted that they had plenty of time. That they weren’t quite so old yet. But of course, that was before she knew their exact expiration date. And knew it was hopeless, beyond that. Hopeless. There was nothing either of them could do to change the course of fate leading where it might. For the first time in her life, Chrys chose acceptance of a sad truth, and said the last words either of them would ever hear.

“I love you.”

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