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broken shards of self

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Mysha's frozen in place, not by the wave of light that had filled the room a moment ago but by the weight of the prophecy whose golden letters still hang shimmering in the air. The gravity of what it could signify anchors their feet in place, holding them still with a pressure as firm and unmoving as Gideon's grip on their hand. Gideon's presence beside them is an anchor, a lifeline; the prophecy is a burden of uncertainty pressed against their heart.

Gideon squeezes Mysha's hand, grip steady even as they're frozen in shock as well. And while Mysha's heart is raw and aching, filled with rage and confusion and love in equal measure and consumed with something too strong to be soothed by the brief press of fingers to their own, there's still a comfort to it. Despite the words still ringing in their ears, still existing as a negative image when they close their eyes, Mysha dares to wonder if Gideon would want to hold their hand again in better circumstances. If she might want--

No. Too much has happened in the past hour, too much is happening now, for Mysha to look any further than one step ahead. They squeeze back, just once, and they don't let themself think about what it means.

All is still for a moment as the prophecy's final words fade, as if each of them had taken a deep, collective inhale, filled their lungs with it and now held it waiting within their chests.

And then the breath is released.

A voice rings out, familiar enough to tug at Mysha's memory but not familiar enough to place. Before they can react to the threat, before they can identify the target, they're staggered by pain, sharp and sudden, as their armor gives way to the force of the harpoon point. They let go of Gideon on instinct as they're pulled forward, flailing both arms to regain balance without pulling them closer to the edge and trying in vain to pull the barbed point from their chest.

I'm bleeding, they think, as a sickening pain radiates from the point of impact, but it's fine, Adri can--

A sharp tug, and Mysha falls over the ledge.

Mysha had heard, once, that time slows as you die, and now they know it must be true; the moments between their fall and the inevitable impact stretch out, slow and thick like honey. They see a glimpse of Gideon above, open hand outstretched and mouth open in a scream Mysha can't hear above the rush of blood in their ears, the crackle of magic below.

"No," they see, in the shape of Gideon's mouth, and they wrap the word around their heart as if it could protect them from the fall.

No, Mysha thinks, an echo of Gideon's panic above. I wasn't done.

They'll die a broken-hearted fool, after all.

It was a mistake to come, they know that now. But as their hand twitches just before the moment of impact, remembering the warmth it had held a moment before, Mysha can't manage to regret it.