Have you ever sat and pondered the purpose of life?
Stopped whatever you were doing and sat down, because you needed to think, needed to decide on a direction before you did anything else, even if it was just to sway in the winds of your trials and troubles.
Because you didn’t know which direction to go anymore.
Didn’t even know if you were moving in the first place in order to stop until you’d actually sat right down and thought about it.
This was very much one of those moments for Neal.
He realized that this was likely what had happened to Star and Comet, his untouchable cousins who were more sisters to him than anything else. Unbelievably old in comparison to everyone and anyone they’d ever met and yet so full of innocence.
Somehow untouched by all that they had seen and lived through, though how you could call most of their existence actually living was a mystery to him for so many years.
There had likely been millions if not billions of times that one or the both of them had sat down and stopped to think just as he was doing now.
It didn’t help him at all.
Because he didn’t know just what two paths (or possibly more) that they were choosing between. What good could such knowledge do for Neal now anyway? It wasn’t likely that he’d choose the path that led back to his family (though they likely would never call him such again). Going that way would be far more painful in the short run (possibly even the long run if he was honest. Some things once broken can never be put back together, especially when the pieces have been ground down to dust and scattered.)
Continuing the path he’d tread for so many decades now (had it really been that long? It didn’t feel like it) seemed the far more sensible course to take. He was already familiar with this path in the first place after all, and it was an old friend (or at least, an only friend.) Could he really abandon something he’d fought so long and hard for?
(Hadn’t he already had to rip apart his own heart and purpose once? Shouldn’t that have been enough?)
(It wasn’t. He knows that, somewhere inside of what is left of the soul he traded for empty promises.)