Chapter 1

Saint-14 and Osiris sat across from each other at the rough wooden table, focused on the array of wires, struts, and braces spread out before them. Mithrax had mentioned that his Splicer Gauntlet had been causing his arm to go numb, and Saint's overeager offer of assistance had turned into an evening of frustratingly meticulous tinkering. Mithrax had politely excused himself hours ago, but Saint and Osiris were so focused on their discussion of Savathûn's bargain they hardly noticed.

"We don't have a choice," Osiris said, threading a wire through the lacey frills of a tiny Ether converter. "The future the Witness is crafting beyond that portal is more terrible than we could dream. Anything is preferential to that."

"Anything but her," Saint grumbled.

"Even her," Osiris said defiantly. "If Savathûn knows how to pursue the Witness—and there is little reason to doubt that she does—we must work with her. There is no other way."

With an Exo's patient precision, Saint straightened a row of metal pins. "I do not know how you can say that. After everything."

Osiris raised his eyebrows. "I am a beacon of forgiveness," he said, but the words soured on his tongue.

"So you forgive her?" Saint didn't need to look up from his work.

"No," Osiris said quietly. He aligned a metal tab with its slot and pressed it into place, waiting to hear a click. It didn't come.

"The truth is," Osiris said, "I hardly think of her at all."

Saint looked at him flatly, but Osiris shrugged, his face open. "I know how it sounds. I have acknowledged what happened and… moved on, I suppose. I am here. Alive. With you. They say that's the best revenge, don't they?"

Saint coiled a stubborn spring and prepared to slide it into a support brace. "Is it revenge to allow the violator to avoid accountability?"

"The 'violator' is dead," Osiris said wryly.

"And will live again if Eris and the Guardians fulfil this prophecy or prediction—" the spring shot from between Saint's fingers "—or whatever Savathûn wants to call this new trick!"

Osiris heard the spring clatter in the corner near the kitchen and rose wordlessly to hunt for it. Saint sighed. "I do not know how you can be so calm," he said. "You sometimes act as though you do not remember what she did to you."

"I remember it all," he said softly, without turning away from the corner. "I remember being… helpless." The words caught in his throat.

Saint pushed his chair back and stood, but Osiris was already back at the table, a dusty spring in the center of his palm. "There is still fury inside me," he said, "fury that I will probably carry forever. I acknowledge it, but I do not let it consume me. I control it, and I take strength from that."

Osiris placed the spring on the table and sat back down. Saint moved to his side. "Denying your emotions is not strength," Saint said carefully.

"I admit that, if I could, I'd change what happened," Osiris said. "But not if doing so changed where it led me." Osiris reached out and gave Saint a half-embrace around the hips.

"Have we finished talking about this now?" Osiris asked, and Saint heard the rawness in his voice.

Saint kissed the top of Osiris's head and sat back down. It would have to be enough.