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celestial bodies

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“So you’ve learnt your lesson.” Six’s low timbre reaches her before he steps out of the shadows of the cave, and Song finds herself smiling. He’s not wearing his full mask, a piece still fitting over his right eye, but it’s always a relief to be able to see his face and know that she’s trusted.

“I suppose I have.” She sits down on a rock, overlooking the small mountain she’s scaled to find him here. He joins her silently with a soft sigh, cross-legged by her side. “I understand that Siete’s called a dinner for the Eternals because of me, but I thought I might visit you first.”

“For whatever reason?”

“I’d like to apologize,” she starts, linking her hands together. “I’ve spent some time with Silva, and every second, I had thought about the words you told me, of the all-consuming darkness from which one cannot return. I simply hope that’s not what you think of yourself—and if so, just remember that with me, you had failed to cut down a companion.”

She lets the words wash over Six, and watches as his shoulders relax by a fraction of an amount. Lately, Six has become more open, with himself and with others, and it fills Song with a contentedness that spreads through her bones. They’ve always been alike—in their isolation, in their fears, in their hopes—and what she wants for herself has become something she’s wanted for Six, too. “Is that so,” he says, more to himself than as a response.

“Of course. Sporadic our contact may be, all of the Eternals have been invaluable to me in my journey. And to yours, as well—although I’m a bit embarrassed that my episode in searching for power was rather cruel, whereas yours had been much more composed.”

With a wry smile, Six says, “Only because the right people intervened at the right time.” Song knows this; she remembers Siete passing a message over to her about Six challenging all of the Eternals, and she had expected the worst, that he had acquiesced to the darkness in his heart and willingly called himself a monster. But she had ended up facing a Six that was starting to accept himself, who was working to turn the voices in his mind away, leaving him with a clarity of his identity and the nature of his power.

Six’s challenges had come long before her own, and she wrings her hands thinking about the despair she’d put everyone through compared to him. She was never truly possessed by the bow she held, much as Six was never truly possessed by the fist, but she had acted more rashly than he had, pushing everyone away to protect them from what she thought at the time was the greatest danger.

But everyone had remained by her side, and that included Six, who had known so intimately the price one had to pay when destroying everything they ever cared for, and he had fought—along the rest of the Eternals—to bring her back. They’re by her side even now, news of the dinner starting to spread between the rest of the Eternals, and she thinks that between her and Six, the dynamics between all ten of them are slowly shifting, no longer as isolated from each other as they had been before.

Even warriors as mighty as the Eternals can fall without good support, and she’d like for them to be as such for each other. “You care more about us than you let on, don’t you?” she giggles. Six huffs out a sigh, and she continues. “Calling us ‘the right people’ may have revealed your intentions slightly.”

“The definition of ‘the right people’ doesn’t necessarily mean friendship.”

“But in this case?”

Six’s chuckle dimples his cheek, and he closes his eyes. “We’ll see.”

“If you’d like more evidence,” she says, a bit of a laugh in her voice, “I remember you’d told me as well, while I was wielding the Two-Crown Bow, that your actions in our fight were simply of obligation. That you never cared much about truth or justice or the like.”

“Are you insinuating that I lied? Keeping order does happen to be one of my interests.”

“But it’s not the only thing you care about.”

“It would be foolish to live life without a care in the world.”

“You know that’s not what I meant.” She can still imagine the fire behind Six’s eyes as he’d thrown all of his might against her, weaving between her arrows and continuing to stand where others would have been struck down. Her own eyes were empty, but he’d made up for it with every slash he’d thrown at her until she’d finally pinned him down, unable to move. Where he had lay, he had gritted out—barely a whisper, not of contempt, but of genuine warning—Any path that runs straight through your companions will be one of darkness and pain.“No one stands their guard as strongly as you had against me completely out of obligation.”

Six hums, and remains silent for a few moments. “Perhaps not completely out of obligation as an Eternal.” It goes unsaid between them: maybe out of obligation as a cohort. As a friend.

At the thought, Song laughs. She reaches out to take one of his gloved hands with both of hers, and he lets her. “We should spend more time like this. You’re a treat to be around.” It’s nice to be wordlessly understood, she doesn’t say; that would defeat the purpose of wordless, she thinks with a giggle.

She watches as a light flush of pink appears, high on his cheeks, as he looks away. It makes her own smile widen. “I’ve been told my conversation skills are... lacking.”

“No matter. Before the dinner, we should go into town. I’d like new clothes for when we show up to the dinner, and it would be fun to get you something that isn’t all black, wouldn’t it?”

“The colour is functional. It allows me to go unseen.”

“But I’d like to see all ten of us there. Siete may have the one to call this dinner, but it is for my sake.”

No longer able to bite it back, the corner of his mouth turns upwards, revealing a flash of teeth in his crooked smile. “So as long as your sense of fashion is reasonable.”

She bumps their shoulders together and smiles, soaking in the rare laugh that Six allows himself; her heart flutters with hope that one day, she can join with the rest of the Eternals like this, with light company and promises of friendship.