“Another attack on the city by fallen." Shadow sighs softly to herself. "I thought these sort of things would have died down."
Her ghost appears beside her, but stays silent. Perhaps he thought her a fool for thinking such a thing.
Much time had passed since the fall of the Taken King. A new age of Iron Lords had begun. Splicers, SIVA... Variks' people truly were a mess.
Shadow fights back a feeling almost like heartbreak. Variks was so different from these other fallen. If only more were like him. Perhaps...
Was Variks angry with her for killing so many of his people? If he was, he showed no sign of it. But as always, Variks was a mystery.
Yet through any new challenges, Variks was there to assist Shadow. And Shadow was always available to assist Variks.
However, lately they had both been busy in their own separate ways. Her mind drifted to him often, and she struggled not to miss him more than she should. [i]I wonder what he's up to right now... [/i]
Her mind wanders over twitching movements, gentle hands, textured gray skin-
She inhales sharply as her ghost's voice jerks her from thoughts better left in the back of her mind.
"To finish the Khvostov, we'll need a Golden Age firing pin. Shiro gave me a few ideas of where we could start looking."
Shadow glances down at the coordinates on the screen, her amber eyes wide.
"I laughed when I scanned the coordinates- they're [i]awfully[/i] familiar."
Shadow smiles broadly as she transmats from her ship to- indeed, very familiar- rusted floors.
"It seems like yesterday we were racing the fallen to get to that rusted old ship."
Shadow's chest swells with emotion. Had it truly been years since that moment? So much had changed since then.
"Now we just need one little piece of metal."
She glances at her ghost once before moving on.
The hunter remembers how terrified of the fallen she was back then. Now, she confidently thrusts her knife into the chest of a dreg without a second thought.
Once in the open, she shivers. A cold, snowy wind blows strongly against her.
"I really did spend a long time searching for you. I'll always remember our first day through here."
"So will I." However, the winter weather had made the landscape nearly unrecognizable.
After her scuffle with the fallen- so typical an adventure now- Shadow heads through a dimly lit hall. The only sounds are her boots against the floor and the creaking in the walls, the dripping of melting ice. An eerie blue glow reflects off her pale awoken skin.
"I count myself lucky I decided to swing back through Russia when I did. If I'd gone south instead of north, it could've been years before we met!"
"What a terrible fate for you," she jokes.
She pauses to sit for a moment, enjoying the quiet and privacy, as she always did in abandoned, small spaces.
"We did it, though. We got that ship flying and I got you back to the City."
She closes her eyes, reminiscing.
"And now look at everything we've done together."
"Yeah." Shadow grins wickedly and continues on. "Let's kick some more ass together." She swears she can see a smile within that little blue eye.
The hunter halts abruptly at the door. "Hey! I went on one of my first missions with Variks here..." Her eyes light up behind her visor. As if he could see it too, ghost rolls his eye.
She glances around the snowy landscape. She can practically hear his mesmerizing, rasping voice.
How little she had trusted him then. And now, they were good friends. And if one had asked Shadow all that time ago, if she thought she'd ever be friends with a fallen, she surely would have had her knife in their eye.
Her ghost floats closer. "Right... Variks, Variks, Variks."
Shadow distracts herself from the burning in her face by slaughtering more fallen.
Glitch follows her around easily. "You really like him, don't you?"
Shadow focuses on dodging a grenade rather than answering.[i] I do. I really, really do.[/i]
She unsheathes the beautiful sword Variks himself had gifted her, striking the head of a vandal. "Just like old times, yeah?" She grins widely at her ghost, adrenaline pumping. Surely nothing could be better than this?
A slight tug in her heart reminds her that there is still something she wants. Something that has always left an empty space within whatever was left of Shadow's soul.
She hops aboard the ketch, not just to get out of the cold. Diving into a mass of fallen, she swings her sword wildly. A captain swings in return, striking her hard in the head. Everything turns black.
Within seconds she's back, sucking in a lung full of air. She laughs as her ghost groans at her foolishness. She finishes off the fallen and gazes around the ketch in fascinated wonder. She wonders if Variks has ever walked here. If this is what the ketches he traveled on looked like.
"Hey! Take a look at that view."
Shadow starts from her thoughts.
"Can we swing over there?"
Surprised at such a shy-sounding request, she pauses before complying. "Sure!" She tugs her cloak tighter around her against the wind. She pauses, staring out into the landscape shrouded in snow and ice.
"Every Ghost is born knowing that we have to find our Guardian. We don't know what they look like. Not on the outside, anyway. On the inside, I'd always known who you were. And that together, we could be something more."
Shadow becomes thoughtful. Had Glitch really known her before he even met her? Had he known what an odd character she would be? That she'd be different from the other guardians?
"Yeah," she smiles.
"When you think about everything we've seen, everything we've done, I feel like I made the right choice."
Warmth explodes into Shadow's heart. Her eyes mist over. She struggles for words, choked up. All she can bring herself to do is turn to look at him, and she hopes he feels her love in return.
"And thanks. You know. For being my guardian."
A sob so soft it was hardly even audible slips from Shadow's throat. "And you. For being my ghost." She whispers, her voice shaking.
Acceptance, even though from a ghost, felt rare for Shadow.
The guardian gazes back out into the snow, enjoying the peaceful moment with her ghost. Whatever happened, this was her life now. Her fight for her home. Glitch was her family. And Variks... well Variks was part of her destiny too. She was sure of it. In a place with so many unanswered questions, perhaps that was the one thing she knew to be true. Some outlooks were bleak. But her fight was far from over.
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