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I can carry you (but not your ghost)

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When it’s all over, Nebula goes to Vormir and finds exactly what she hoped she wouldn’t.

The planet’s atmosphere has preserved Gamora like an insect in amber. Of course she’d die beautifully, Nebula thinks, mind churning with heartbreak and bitterness, and begins to cry as she scoops her sister, her other half, into her arms. Gamora is stiff, hair matted with blood, but oh gods, she smells of sweet metal and fire, a scent Nebula will never be rid of.

Nebula hates how she looks so…alive. Like she’s sleeping, eyes closed to this new world. Like she’s being granted the rest she’s never gotten. And in a flash, Nebula even hopes. I can fix you, sister, she thinks, but unlike Gamora, she is mostly machinery, a piece of equipment easily repaired and clicked back together. Gamora was always too real, much too in-bloom.

Until she wasn’t.

“I will take you home,” Nebula says. She has already plotted a path to Zen-Whoberi, a planet she vowed to never visit. Gamora deserves to be buried with her kin, with her mother, with the people taken from her so many years ago. “Are you ready to go home?” She strokes back Gamora’s hair, kisses her cheek, then her cool lips.

She cradles Gamora in her arms and takes her to the ship, whispering old Luphomoid death rites beneath her breath.

If she could, she’d leave her heart right there on Vormir. But that was one thing Thanos never took away from her.