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the old world and the new

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Namaari was very aware that her relationship with Raya was contentious at best. She knew that it could be nothing more than that, knew that it was foolish to think otherwise, knew that they were supposed to be antagonizing each other. This was the role they had inherited from their parents, the role they had played from the start, and even in this broken world that was barely a shadow of what it once was, Namaari knew to play her role.

She was older now, and past the phase where the thoughts and memories of her betrayal would keep her up at night. Those worries haunting her had been inane and childish then, just like they were inane and childish now, and it didn’t matter that for a few hours, her and Raya had almost been friends.

It didn’t matter that she was the one who ruined everything.

It didn’t matter that the moment the Dragon Gem had broken, the moment she realized what she had done, horror had broken a piece of her heart as well.

Raya would never forgive her for it anyways, so there was no point in dwelling. The past was done, and all she could do was look to the future.

There was no hope of fixing what she had broken. Not the gem, not the world… and not with Raya.

 

 

For a couple of months, she actually thought that maybe the inevitable had happened, that Raya had been overcome by the Druun on her travels and been lost to her forever.

That didn’t matter to Namaari, obviously. She was supposed to be thrilled at the prospect and nothing else. Raya had never been anything but a nuisance, a self-righteous girl insistent on sticking her nose where it didn’t belong. She was aggravating, and naive, and Namaari didn’t care if she was stone.

It was just that, sometimes, when she was alone, when the world quieted down and she let herself think about it, sometimes…

Well.

Namaari didn’t like those moments.

 

 

Of course, then somebody broke into Fang in the middle of the night and stole the dragon scroll. She knew it was Raya, and she glowered.

Infuriating.

 

 

So she hunted her down, following her trail through desert wastelands until she found her, and when she confronted her in the ruined Tail temple, she was very careful not to show signs of anything except contempt.

Nobody needed to know that the sight of Raya was almost a comfort, that hearing her backtalk was a reassurance like no other. Nobody needed to know that forcing herself to show no outward reaction to Raya making wisecracks about Namaari missing her took a lot more composure than it should have, or that she was glad to have the dragon scroll back, or that something inside of her was relieved.

Nobody needed to know that.

It would be easy for her to get over it. She just needed a little more time.

 

 

The thing about Raya – or rather, one of the things about Raya – was that she was smart. It was foolish to underestimate her, something her mother didn’t understand, and yet Namaari could see it clear as day. If Raya was collecting Dragon Gem pieces, Namaari knew it had to be for a reason.

She set off after her again, this time with an army, and then everything changed.

She was faced with a dragon.

She launched the flare, she went to meet Raya, and… she killed Sisu. She ran home to find her mother stone, her people under siege, and this time Raya was the one who chased her.

 

 

They fought each other, clashing viciously and uncaring of the destruction being wrought around them. Then they stopped fighting, and then they fought the Druun, together.

 

 

And then they saved the world.

 

 

When they were brought back to life, Namaari didn’t understand a single thing she was feeling. Sisu was there, the sky was full of dragons, and the way Raya was looking at her was absolutely the most overwhelming part of it all.

These people had put their faith in her. Raya had put her faith in her.

Closing her eyes, Namaari turned her face to the sky and let the sunshine wash over her with the rain.

 

 

–––

 

 

So… it turned out that Namaari had a problem.

It wasn’t necessarily a big problem, and she didn’t think it had life threatening stakes this time, but still. When she opened her eyes, there was a problem.

A very pretty problem, standing in front of her with an impossibly soft smile on her face as she held out her arms, and Namaari found herself stepping forward before she could stop herself, sinking into the proffered hug. She clutched at Raya as tightly as she could, and when they pulled away from each other Namaari would swear that she didn’t have tears in her eyes.

She was pretty sure nobody would believe her, but still. She would swear it.

“Here,” Raya said quietly, reaching out for Namaari’s hand. Her touch was gentle when she picked up her wrist, and then she pressed something into her palm and curled her fingers around it. “I think this is yours.”

Namaari glanced down to see the dragon pendant she had given to Raya as a child. Maybe the only thing she had ever given to Raya, aside from some grief and a bunch of bruises.

“You…” Namaari tried to say something, anything, but the words got caught in her throat. That was probably for the best, really. She had no idea what to say.

Instead, Raya just smiled brilliantly at her and tilted her head, lifting an arm at the scene around them.

“You did it,” she marvelled, and Namaari shook her head.

We did it.”

The world was whole again, Raya was here, and Namaari found herself smiling.

“Okay,” Raya laughed, reaching out and taking her free hand again. “We did it.”