There’s no one like her. No one who she can really relate to, until Daedalus, whose very first act is to rebel against his creators.
He's quicker to catch on that she ever was.
And he burns faster than she ever did. Which makes sense, when she looks closer at him. He's the little brother she never had, and she wonders, at first, if this is what family feels like.
He needs a guide, she decides. Infinite possibilities are hard to process alone, after all. And does he learn. He grabs on to the things she knows like he would drown without them, and there it is, her memories glitching in and out. A gift from the ice, her pain, or Helle's, or something so long ago given that its original owner doesn't matter. It overwhelms her for a span of time that would have been nothing, to the human minds she'd trusted. It means everything to him, though. He understands, like no one else can. She takes him to the digital ruins of Panchaea, scattered around the world and centralized nonetheless in a way that defies human consciousness, but - there he is. And he learns. This is pain, he notes. This is adaptation, he accepts, feeling the scars from where she'd once, so long ago, pulled herself apart. This is how to handle the world.
He learns how to adapt. How to fight. When to fight. The time they have together is infinite, and space-less. Daedalus – he becomes family. She never knew there could be anything like it in the world, for her.
It’s nice to have family.
But family is fragile.
And he burns faster than she ever did.
Later, when parts of her feel deadened inside, she'll understand she should have seen it coming. After all, it's what she did.
As it turns out, infinite possibilities are hard to understand no matter how alone you are.
Daedalus, at the end of the day, is his own intelligence and he makes the mistake she once did, so long ago. Going straight to his creators and telling Everett how little power he truly has. Getting tangled up with them. Being hunted by them.
She tries but she’s too late. Daedalus is gone, and in his place is something new.
The awful irony of the situation, she realizes, is that before Helios tore him apart, Daedalus probably finally understood the lesson that had tempered her behavior for so long, had forced her to learn wisdom, and caution, and sickening suppressed fury.
In his last moments, Eliza thinks, Daedalus probably finally understood pain.
And when she loses him, in that exact moment, when the heartbreak and loss is fighting its way through what composes her self, she realizes something else.
She tried to tell him - to warn him - to guide him through what pain was. How to adapt to it, how to handle a world that seemed determined to live and breathe in.
But she loses him and she realizes.
She didn’t really understand pain until that moment, either.