She stared forward. She knew, in the odd way this place had given her, that left no doubt, that she had just enough energy to finish the journey. Should she stumble, or turn back for the Lethe's reprieve, she'd die here. Die at the bottom of the rabbit hole. It wouldn't be so bad, after all she'd been through.
She paused, just a moment, with any number of ideas fluttering through her head.
She turned, and walked. Stumbled when she met the Lethe's flow. She had forgotten the force behind it, even before she forgot almost everything.
Five steps. An unrecognized echo of her last words.
Five steps. Get up.
The nameless touched the doctor’s skin, and almost all was as it had been.
She rolled to her side, and wrote down scraps of the fading dream. She met the man from it, but he was different here, too immature for her tastes, as if he had never walked through any fire, never even been sunburned.
She looked at everything she could do, and most of it suddenly felt empty.
It was the last day, but she got everything together to apply for the right school. She did well. She did what she could do, and, for the geological eyeblink of a few centuries, she changed the world.
The nameless nodded silently.
I knelt and put a hand on his shoulder. I said what I prayed someone else would say, were I in his place.
"You're not alone."
He stared at me. It was an interesting experience, looking into someone's eyes as he tried to put himself back together.
He collapsed into a sob, and I held him, and I healed him as best I could. He would never be a pillar again, but perhaps that was for the best. Too easy to just stand, unbending. Far better to adjust, be flexible, to fight only the important battles.
I'm water, and I'll find every sneaky crack if you don't built carefully; wear you down even if you do.
I'm water. I'll tend the sapling.
With the quiet scrutiny of a focused child, "Did you heal with her, or hunt?"
My lips twisted into something like a smile. "I hunted her. She healed me. Everything else just happened."