Giving

Mar. 22nd, 2016 09:37 pm
sideways: [orphan black] helena looking to the side (â–ºanother telepathic rendezvous)
[personal profile] sideways
Title: Giving
Rating: PG
Series: Bungie's Destiny (original characters)
Wordcount: 944
Remarks: I got to thinking about Guardian-Ghost etiquette, trust, and what shared revivals in Darkness Zones are like. nameless belongs to someone else, because at least when I'm writing with an audience in mind I actually write.

The Hunter is dying, nameless thinks.

Not with any great speed. The heavy weight against her side is still providing its own forward momentum, the head still twitches towards the sounds that reach them through the stifling press of the tunnel walls.

But the Hunter is slow, and quiet, and when nameless’ Ghost emerges briefly to guide them over an uneven patch of ground, his light also catches the oily slick of fluid coursing steadily out of the jagged rent that has cut through armour and casing both. She had known Exos could bleed; she had not known that they could bleed this much.

A trail of breadcrumbs such as this means there is little chance they won’t be followed, and it is with this thought in mind that nameless finally stops them, easing her companion back against the wall. Yarrow-15 protests the movement a full three beats after it has begun, and folds into a sitting position regardless.

“What is it?” the Hunter says. “Don’t tell me we’re lost.”

To be lost would imply they have a direction. They have not yet agreed on whether or not this is a retreat. “Your wounds aren’t healing,” nameless says instead.

Yarrow tilts her head, eyeing the tacky liquid already starting to pool in her lap. If nameless were able to take her helmet off, she doesn’t doubt the chemical reek would burn her first breath. “It was worse before. I think it’s just complicated. What? No, I’m not oversimplifying, that’s as much as I can tell. It all feels the same from out here, Az.”

“How does it feel?” nameless says, drawing attention back to herself.

“Fucked up,” Yarrow says matter-of-factly, and then suddenly snaps her head to the side. “Hive.”

She twists as well, gun at the ready, expecting to see the shadow of a Thrall coalesce out of the shadows to signal the start of the hunt in earnest. The dark mouth of the tunnel stays empty, though, to every sense.

“It’s Hive,” Yarrow says. “Right?”

After a moment, nameless lowers her handcannon marginally and nods.

“The moon,” Yarrow snorts. “Ugh. Well that explains…” The head turns again, towards something unseen, and the remainder of the sentence lies forgotten somewhere in the dark.

Human minds grow confused towards the end, and perhaps something not so different dwells inside the Exos. Or should she be thinking more of a damaged frame, locked into repetition as the same few objectives reboot, repeat, reboot?

“Look, I’ll be fine,” Yarrow says peevishly; and then with exactly the same inflection, “I’m fine. I’m fine. I’m…”

Fading, nameless’ Ghost whispers to her. There is no Light down here, and little of their own remains. Too little.

He does not tell her what to do. That has never been his way. She considers the options for herself, kneeling in the cold, carved centre of the moon with a dying Guardian. It had been her decision to venture into these depths; it had been Yarrow’s to accompany her.

“Ghost,” she says.

There is a pause, and then the air pulls apart ever so slightly to let the silvered form of Yarrow’s Ghost through. She has seen it before, in snatches; a presence at Yarrow’s shoulder blinking out of sight the moment they both realise their room is already occupied, or a brief interjection over the shared channel sounding stiffly apologetic for the interruption. It simply hangs there in the open now, its blue eye dull, silent but unshrinking under her gaze. It is unbloodied by whatever frantic ministrations it has been working from within, but an empty weariness drags at her just to look at it.

She lifts her hand, palm upturned, unfurling the boundaries of her Light like a sheet snapping loose in the wind. She thinks, somewhere in the darkness, she hears something rise in response to shriek hunger; she does not withdraw the offering.

There is less hesitance than she might have expected; just as the Ghost did not ask, it does not question. The tug is so gentle as to be almost an imagined sensation, but the effect is instantaneous: Yarrow jerks, one leg spasming, and makes a short, ugly sound, more machine than sapient speech. Shadows move across her belly, a rapid slithering as all that was clawed out of place pulls back together as if by its own will, mapping itself to some fundamental blueprint and making compromises where necessary.

Then suddenly Yarrow is moving to rise, shaking her head as if to clear a fog, flicking her hand to splatter the remnants of her own life fluid against the floor. “Finally,” she says, and her voice is full of the brisk eagerness that is her norm as she unslings her rifle from her shoulder. “Glory be, you hear that racket? Guess they figured our direction.”

She does not need to hear them to know of their approach. Her gun is still in her hand, and she is checking its ammo more out of reflex than real need when she realises Yarrow’s Ghost is hovering there still in the open.

“Thank you,” it says when nameless looks towards it, quiet but fervent. “Guardian.”

It is gone in the next moment, withdrawing as it should and leaving her with the gratitude of a being that has turned to her in the absence of its Traveler and found succour. A heady definition, that; to cast herself as a creator’s proxy. To be, in this moment, a god.

She shakes her head at her own folly a second later, and moves to stand at Yarrow’s back.

It is just as much to be, in this moment, a friend.
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