Day 1: Wish/Dream
Blake sat down at a bench to rest, bags of groceries in his hands. The park was empty, since everyone would be working at this time. He let his heavy breathing calm, bringing his eyes to the monochromatic ceiling of the Facility.
“Maybe Keith was right… I probably shouldn’t make any more shopping trips on my own…”
Suddenly, he heard a shrill voice call out, and turned to see a woman about his age. “Goodness! Layla, is that you?”
The man winced, pushing up his glasses. “It’s Blake now, actually… I thought you left to another Facility when we were kids, Mia.”
“Yeah, my parents had to move away for their job. You look great, though! How’s Morgan doing? I read a few of her books, they reached all the way to my Facility.”
Blake smiled, brushing his long black hair behind his back. “Morgan became a journalist, but she never stopped writing novels. I visit her every once in a while, if I can spare the time.”
“Right… Your dad told my dad. It got worse, didn’t it?”
The man chuckled and got up, grabbing the bags. “I’m 30 years old already. At my age, with my condition, I am in top shape.”
“Let me help you with that,” his childhood friend said, moving to pick one of the bags off his hands.
“Thanks, sorry… I’ll offer you some tea when we get to my place. Do you still like red tea best?”
Mia grinned. “Yeah! It’s a shocker to see you remember my favorite.”
Blake led them to his home, leaving his old friend in awe of its size.
“This place is so big…”
“Well, when you’re married to four other men and plan to have children on top of that, space is a must… It took some time, but I’m proud of each of my husbands for the accomplishments that allowed us to buy a bigger, better home. That’s why I do my best to take care of it.”
“You married the boys? Wow, wasn’t sure Keith and Laurent wouldn’t duel each other to the death first,” Mia commented, setting the groceries down in the counter where Blake had already laid out the ones in the other bag.
“It grew into a friendly rivalry before we came of age,” Blake replied. “Marian and Amelia also helped with that.”
“Those twins… did they become scientists like their parents?”
“Yes. Top floor researchers, at that. They are not the type of men to cause trouble in the workplace, so I’m confident they’ll keep their jobs. Marian is especially hardworking.”
“What do the others do?”
“You can go sit on the sofa, I’ll bring tea for both of us as soon as it’s done. Keith is a gladiator, Laurent a soldier. Those are recent developments, though… they worked as a self-defense instructor and a scout respectively until just a few months ago.”
Mia sat down, glancing around the living room. “Wow. So Laurent’s seen the Outside?”
“... what is it like? Has he told you?”
“I… shouldn’t talk about it. How come you’re back in the capital, Mia? I don’t see you wearing a uniform.”
“Oh, well, I decided I’d go back to my roots and find a job here. I’m an engineer!”
“Will you work at the factories?”
“Probably… My uncle is still chief in the metalwork plant, might be able to sneak in that way.”
They were in silence until Blake brought out the tea.
“I like your clothes. I guess the one good thing about being unable to work is getting to wear nice clothes, huh?”
“I suppose… I can do every chore by myself, but trips outside the house exhaust me, so I usually can’t get groceries either… I woke up feeling good this morning, though, so I gave it a shot,” Blake looked down at the cup between his hands with a sorrowful smile. “You can see how that panned out…”
“Hey, that might sound depressing, but keeping a house like this up to standard on your own is already a lot of work!” Mia tried. “What did you want to do before your condition got worse?”
“I’ve always wanted to help people, and I was good at the proper subjects at school… so I wanted to be a doctor. With my unpredictable heart, they told me they couldn’t accept me in the academy and that I should finish my education without specializing.”
“Being married to a gladiator must mean you can apply basic first aid though, right?”
“In truth, I’ve been trying to learn the suturing spell.”
Mia cocked her head to the side, pointing at the purple marks on Blake’s forearms, then back to her own, in blue. “But you’re an ordinary human. I’m a half-mage and I can’t do that!”
“It’s a complicated spell, I’m aware. We can more than afford magic prostheses with my husbands’ incomes, so despite feeling guilty for leeching off the funds while we actively work towards our first child, I caved and bought some. So far, it’s saved Keith’s life a couple times…”
“That’s great, then! Have you tried being a sort of neighborhood doctor?”
“… everyone knows how to treat any sort of wound they might sustain while at home. No one will come to me because of a paper cut. I’ve given up on being a doctor, Mia.”
The woman leaned back, taking a sip of her tes. “That is… depressing.”
“Not to me. I’m… mostly over my childhood dream… Now, I just want to work towards a good future with my husbands. And… I’m excited to be a father.”
Mia furrowed her brows, concerned. “Then why do you sound so sad?”
Blake locked eyes with her, sighed and jerked his head away. “I don’t know how much I have left to live, Mia. Supposedly, I should last another decade with no problems, but I doubt I’ll be alive by the time my husbands reach their 70s, much less when they die at about 80. I want kids, we all do, but I know if I die, those four couldn’t bring themselves to go through with it. It would be too painful for them. So… I want us to be as happy as we can before things take a bad turn for me. I’d prefer to be healthy for as long as I can, too, an ill man won’t do much good…”
He realized Mia had finished her tea and had just stood up to get it for her when an alarm went off from the woman’s watch.
“Oh… that’s my uncle. I’m sorry to cut this reunion short, Blake, I promise I’ll meet up with you and Morgan as soon as work allows me to!”
Blake picked up the cups and gave her a warm smile. “Of course. You’re always welcome here, I’m sure my husbands would love to see you again.”
Mia winked playfully, about to leave the living room. “Laurent’ll die of embarrassment! To think he didn’t tell his ex he’d gotten married…”
“You know how it is with inter-Facility mail.”
“Yeah, can’t blame you, but it’s still a shame. I would’ve loved to attend. Either way, I really gotta go, see you later!”
The black-haired man smiled warmly. “Goodbye, Mia.”