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At the End of the World

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Aries: An unmarked door in a deep shaft. The floor is all pipes and wires. Makeshift amenities make this little nook the closest thing to home.

Ikki looks up at the faint scrape of a shoe on stone, and sees Juné step into the small space they’ve made their own. He nods at her from where he’s curled up on the pile of blankets that serves as their bed. She winds her way carefully among the pipes and wires that make up the floor. The bare bulb that lights their alcove is off, the lights beyond their nook keeping it dimly lit.

He misses the sun. It’s feels like they’re all dying by inches, down deep in the ground, with all that’s left of humanity.

“How did it go?” Ikki’s voice scrapes in his throat, and he suppresses his coughing. Juné knows, though. Ikki’s sick, and there’s no telling if he’s going to get over this, or if he’ll die. They don’t have medicine, anymore.

“The trees have a bumper crop. We got more apples than we could carry. Here,” she tosses him one, and he bites into it after polishing it against his shirt. They’ve sung this shaft under the remnants of a farm in Spain, and it’s taken careful work to ensure that their efforts with the orchard, the kitchen garden, and the remaining herd of goats and alpaca remain healthy enough to sustain them without obviously being tended. If it’s too clear, they’ll get caught, and the farm will be seared from the earth like so many of their other strongholds have been. There’s still a less than zero chance the farm will get scorched anyway, if there’s a fight nearby, or if it looks like a decent target for target practice.

The Titans dont care what happens to the world.

Juné kneels next to the tiny sink, and washes her face and hands. The well had been easy to divert into their tiny homes. 

It’s a tiny, cramped space, but they’ve made it a home as best they can. If they’re all dying, at least it’s in what comfort they can scrape together.

Ikki can’t hold back the coughing anymore, and it hurts, deep in his chest, and leaves him breathless. Juné fills a tin cup of water and sits close by, eyes worried, but doesn’t touch him- she knows he doesn’t like it. 

When he’s done, she passes it over, and Ikki takes small sips. The water is warm, and tastes like metal. 

“When you were young, did you ever believe we’d live to see the Titanomachy? The end of the world?” She asks, voice quiet. 

“I didn’t believe much of anything, as a child.” Ikki says, laying back down and trying to stretch out his aching ribs. “I know I never even imagined dying like this, though. When I was young I always thought it would be a blaze of glory, not a slow slog through the mire.” Juné’s face falls.

“Like Seiya.” She says quietly, and pain flares bright in Ikki’s chest, pain that has nothing to do with his illness. 

“If Shun hadn’t pulled me away the way he had, when he realized there was no winning that fight, I would have died with him.” He says quietly, swallowing hard as his eyes burn with grief. Juné rests a hand on his thigh, mouth twisting in sympathetic sadness.

“For what it’s worth, I’m glad you’re here now.” She murmurs, and he nods quietly. Ikki had been born to be needed, and that someone still needs him is… probably the only thing keeping him alive. 

Though- she doesn’t need him. Not in the way Shun had when they had been children, or Esmeralda had when he’d been training. She likes having his company. Likes knowing his rare laugh, likes how warm he is when they sleep.

Still. It’s enough, here at the end of the world. 

It has to be.