Side A – Yasgrid
Osdora hadn’t left Nia as a broken wreck, but that was only because Nia had been a broken wreck before Osdora had arrived.
“I messed up.” Nia slumped in her bed and held her face in her damaged hands. “I really, really messed up.”
She sounded so bleak that Yasgrid wished they could switch back into their original bodies, if only for a while. Just long enough for the pain to pass.
Except it wasn’t the pain her body was in that was torturing Nia. It wasn’t even the memory of the beating she’d suffered, though that certainly wasn’t helping.
Losing a fight inevitably means being exposed to a sense of powerlessness. In Nia’s case, the three on one odds made the memories both less and more chilling. On the positive side, there wasn’t as much social stigma to the loss. No one was really expected to come out of a fight like that in good shape, and Nia had survived, which spoke well to her resiliency.
On the other hand though, there was the knowledge that if she was in a similar situation, the results would be more or less the same. It was hard to feel safe with the clear and present understanding of just how overwhelmed she’d been.
The worst part though wasn’t the trauma which had occurred, it was the trauma Nia was continuing to endure.
The loss of the drums.
If she’d walked out of the alley, bruised, beaten, and in pain, but still able to play, she could have left the fight behind her. A bad memory maybe. One that would play in reruns in her nightmares or shift her steps away from shortcuts through lonely alleys, but one that could fade into the forgetfulness of past.
Even as her body healed at a fantastic rate though, the loss she’d endured worsened.
Yasgrid could see it in the tremble that shook Nia’s shoulders, sobs stuffed down that still managed to rattle her chest, and sorrow choked back as tears to drown in rather than let fall.
Nia had hoped to spend another night with Margrada. Yasgrid knew that without even asking.
And Nia and Margrada probably would spend the night together.
But Margrada would be there at a remove. Gently waiting for Nia to heal lest even something as simple as a hug shatter fragile bones.
And even if there could be tender kisses, it wasn’t the night they were supposed to have.
Not the triumphant aftermath of their first live performance as members of the Shatter band. Not the raucous cheer of a shared victory or the defiant moaning of a shared defeat.
They would be together, but not as part of the thing they both loved.
Not as Shatter Drummers.
Four weeks wasn’t forever. Yasgrid knew that, and Nia did too.
It wasn’t forever but it was so far beyond what either one of them could foresee.
Where would Nia be in four weeks? Where would the Shatter Band be? And how much would she miss in those intervening days?
It wasn’t for herself that Nia’s tears finally fell. They were for the woman she wasn’t going to get to be, the one she’d lost by making one bad decision.
Side B – Nia
The hug surprised Nia. She’d forgotten that she could feel Yasgrid’s arms wrapping around her.
“I wouldn’t be here,” Yasgrid said.
A flash of panic shot through Nia at the thought that Yasgrid was admonishing her but before guilt could overwhelm her, Yasgrid continued.
“You’ve done so much more than I could have to get us here,” Yasgrid said. “It doesn’t matter if you can play right now or not. This is your world. This is who you are going to be.”
Nia let herself sag into Yasgrid’s embrace.
“I’m a shattered Shatter Drummer.” She tried to make it into a joke but it only came out half comedically.
“Yep,” Yasgrid said. “But can you hear the important part of that?”
Nia could only hear the word ‘shattered’ echoing in what felt like the empty confines of her skull.
But Yasgrid was there.
And Yasgrid believed in her.
Was proud of her?
Because she was a Shatter Drummer.
Even as broken and battered as she was, Nia was a Shatter Drummer.
She was what she’d never known she needed to be, and what Yasgrid had struggled to be for so long.
It didn’t fix things. Losing four weeks was still unbearably galling, but Nia caught sight of a better mindset and let Yasgrid’s faith in her bear her up to it.
“Yeah, you’re right,” Nia said, leaning back when Yasgrid released her. “I can’t fix this, but it will get better, and so will I. Not getting to play sucks, but that gives me time to study. And just being here? How is that not cool enough? How greedy am I?”
“Careful, you’re starting to sound like a Roady now,” Yasgrid teased, which buoyed Nia’s spirits even further. There was a time for gentleness, and a time to recognize that even broken people still have strength in them. Nia needed both and Yasgrid was in a unique position to offer each in appropriate measure.
“Ugh, they are never going to let me hear the end of this,” Nia said.
“Technically, as a drummer, you don’t need to hangout with them you know?” Yasgrid said.
“Yeah, that’s kind of messed up,” Nia said. “I mean, their booze is utterly awful, and they’ve got as many erudite thoughts as I have working fingers at the moment, but they’re good people. Smarter than me too. I mean they did try to warn me before I went off to get the rest of my brains beat out.”
“To be honest, I kind of love that you hang out with them,” Yasgrid said. “Shatter Drummers are supposed to be about breaking the pieces of the world that have grown too rigid and finding better ways to put them together. I don’t know if any of the other drummers even see the boundaries that you’re so naturally willing to step over.”
“That does save them from beatings in bad alleys,” Nia said.
“And from falling in love with someone who once hated me,” Yasgrid said.
“Is it okay?” Nia asked, aware of how much she’d complicated Yasgrid’s life by falling for Margrada if they ever switched back, but asking so much more than that with the question.
“It’s more than okay,” Yasgrid said. “You two are going to be magical.”