Item Icon

Oxygen SR3



Scarves of mist gusted through the Tower bazaar. It was quiet: The civilians had taken shelter hours ago when the rain was coming down in earnest, and most Guardians still awake had congregated in the Courtyard.

Zavala and Ikora sat together on a wooden trellis, legs dangling, soaked to the bone, looking out at the City lights below.

"Aunor leaked about a dozen documents today," Ikora said.

Despite himself, Zavala smiled. "Did she?"

"I managed to redact a few, but. She embedded the rest in your manifests."

"She reminds me a lot of you."

Ikora nodded, then leaned back to look up at the rain as it fell. "Yes. I agree."

Rain beaded on the tip of Zavala's nose. He raised his hand to brush it away, keeping his gaze fixed steadily on the City. "What would you have me do?"

"Nothing. She's mine to manage, and… She's not a child. None of them are, Zavala. We owe them all more than we're giving."

"Yes…" he agreed, then added gently, "But they owe us more than they're giving, too."

Ikora chuckled dryly. "Yes. Of course. The benefit of the doubt. And compassion. But." She squinted against the rain. "Our feelings don't matter right now. We need to be people they want to follow, not people they mistrust and want to fight."

"Respect is mutual," Zavala said, "but I agree." He took a deep breath, looking up at the belly of the Traveler: present but inert. Completely, maddeningly, heartrendingly inert. "We will be better. This will pass."

Ikora closed her eyes.

They were quiet a while.

"I wish Cayde were here," she whispered.

Zavala set his hand on Ikora's knee and swallowed a knot in his throat. "Me, too."