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always gold

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"How many do you think there are?"

Lune's disposing of his boots at the pond's edge, leaving them on moist ground when the question is popped.

It's a good question. Thought-provoking. One that's greeted with an unintentionally long period of silence, save for the nighttime critters' vibrant chirrups and the stir of moving water. Slowly moving water.

With a hum he raises his head, not at the inquirer but at the entirety of Keya Pond, watching patiently, listening closely. The many miniature living lights that flutter above the water's maw almost resemble stars under the cloak of the evening; they're phosphenic, as are their reflections, which look like they're going to vanish when the water ripples. Lune's tempted to grab at them.

"A lot," he finally answers, voice gravelly (talking has always been shorter than second-nature), when he decided that counting all the fireflies proved more tiresome than he would've liked. The balls of his feet dig into the soil, and whatever tenseness was in his shoulders seeped down, deep into the earth. He takes another step, bigger than intended this time, as evidenced by the splash of water and the sensation of sticking his foot into mud.

Lune teethes at his lower lip, frowning subtly when he wades cautiously around in the pond's water—the hems of his trousers were soaked. He hears a chuckle in response to his actions and earlier answer which is followed by nothing else, so he bends over again to roll up the legs of his slacks, leaving them wet and bunched at his shins. 

He hears the other youth shuffling around noisily in the pond water when he's standing up again. He wonders what he's doing, but doesn't bother to ask.

Satisfied now that his clothing is out of the water's way, Lune raises his head moonward. The shallow water licks his ankles as he makes no moves to grapple for a croaking frog just out of reach. He stands still, silent, not doing much of anything (as it always went).

In fact, the both of them don't do too much of anything.

They're balancing on the image of the sky, floating amongst the glowing lights, shoes off, pants rolled up. Lune listens for Sol's (he remembers now, he won't forget that name) breathing, which is lost to other sounds among splashes and ribbits from hidden frogs. He knows that his brother is there though. That's what keeps him grounded.

"Hey Lune," he hears his brother call, and Lune is prompted to snap out of whatever cloud he stuck his head in. Sol's excited, he can tell without looking—his voice sounds like home. Like summer. He missed hearing it.

Lune steals a glance at his brother: the champion's hood that was draped over his shoulders proved to be a contrast to the night sky, with the illumination of the lightning bugs making it appear green instead of blue.

For some reason, Lune felt the dire need to look away. He didn't.

Sol hustles over with big strides that are almost as big as his lopsided grin, creating loud, sloppy waves in the water. His hands are cupped, Lune observes. He's holding something. Lune's wondering if he should have looked away while he had the chance, because he knows Sol from his head, shoulders, knees and toes; his gimmicks, his tricks.

And Lune knows Sol either has a frog, or a handful of water. 

He makes a face when Sol shoves his hands in front of him. I hope you're not holding what I think you're holding. He signs now that Sol can see him; he does so with friendly distaste, eyeing Sol with suspicion. Sol simply stares at him. Lune stares back.

"Just what do you think I'm holding?"

Something I don't want you placing on my head.

Sol laughs. It sounds like sunshine, like windchimes. Lune feels homesick. "You read minds now?" he asks, hands still secured.

Lune shrugs. Only yours.

"Fair enough." Sol snorts quietly, shaking his head. "But you're a terrible mind-reader. Look."

When his palms unfold (like a flower in bloom), immediately, their faces once wearing the shawl of the night are illuminated with a soft, yellow radiance. Lune doesn't gasp, but he felt like he should've—he looks up at his brother, whose gaze is transfixed on his capture. He can see light in Sol's eyes. He'd plucked a star from their knee-high sky.

The firefly hovers lazily in between the walls of Sol's palms, clearly not frightened enough to flutter away, only blinking its luminescence knowingly. (And maybe, Lune realizes, that Sol makes it look like it's the closest thing to godhood.) Lune reminds himself to stay grounded. 

Sol lifts his head, grinning. All teeth. "It's kinda like a star, huh?"

Lune doesn't answer, so Sol tries something else. "Here." He holds out his hands, inching them—and the light—closer to Lune. "Hold out your hands."

To this, without speaking, Lune complies. Sol gently lowers his cupped hands onto his, that enduring smile still on his face, and Lune can't help but crack a smile back. His brother's hands briefly brush against his as they round the top to shield the firefly and guide it into Lune's hands. This feels all too familiar.

When Sol's hands finally part from his, Lune finds himself cradling the lightning bug with a curiosity he hadn't felt in a long time. He hears Sol chuckle, again, and he looks to him. Mutual trust.

"Hey Lune," Sol asks when Lune does meet his eyes (they look different now, there's something missing, but Lune can't put his finger on it), to which Lune hums in response. "Can I ask you something?"

He nods.

Sol's gaze wavers. He looks to the firefly in Lune's hands. "When all of this is over," he says, arms now resting at his sides, "we'll see each other, like this, again, right?"

The foreshadowing of tension was there earlier, but it made itself known now. Quietude hangs between the both of them, with neither of them looking directly at each other, but almost past. As if neither of them were actually there, and that this meeting in the midst of the night, in their sky, was all but a dream.

A dream that was quickly turning into a nightmare.

It's a good question. Thought-provoking. One that's greeted with an intentionally long period of silence. One that makes the cavity in his chest ache with a feeling that he can't describe. One that makes the night seem empty save for the both of them, as if nothing else in all of Hyrule mattered except for the fact that they were both here, in the limelight of the stars—the ones up above, and the ones that flickered around them.

He doesn't look up this time, too occupied with stomaching the bitterness in his throat. As he holds the flickering light in his hands close to his chest, he swallows his worry with nothing short of emptiness in his eyes. The firefly seems to sense the discomfort, and rises quickly from Lune's hands.


Neither of them look at the living star as it flutters away.

Sol's voice is down to a whisper now, evidence that their previous euphoria is now long gone with the firefly. "Is that a promise?"

Lune doesn't make promises he can't keep.