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Celestial

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Sometimes David can't stand to be inside of Division 3. Even the largest rooms, the wide open spaces fit for military drills, can feel claustrophobic to him. He and Syd have their private room, but it's not really theirs, not really private in a place where they're always being watched. It's been years since David had a home, a real home and not a room, not a cell.

That's why he likes the rooftop best. It's where he goes to meditate, to find his inner peace, now that he has one to find. It's been a long time since childhood nights with crickets chirping outside his window; now he has the noise of the city, bustling even at night, the steady flow of cars and people somehow soothing.

The only problem with the city is that he can't see the stars. Even on clear nights, there's too much light all around. There's something in him that yearns for those dark, brilliant skies of his childhood, something calling that he needs to answer.

There's something changing in him, something new. It's more a feeling than anything else: his power seems to lie just under his skin, and it makes him feel too hot and too cold, it makes him feel like he doesn't fit into himself. Like he's going to--

He hasn't told the others. He doesn't even know what he'd say. They'd only worry, and they shouldn't. (He knows they shouldn't, that nothing is wrong, even if he can't explain it.) As if he doesn't hear them worrying about him anyway, as if he doesn't hear them wondering, doubting, wanting, thinking all the time, no matter how much he turns the volume knob down.

A whole city full of thoughts, a collective, whispering roar. And then beyond that roar, something singing, too quiet to hear. His mind strains for it anyway, has strained for days, weeks, and maybe, maybe he can almost--

Syd. He hears her walking up the stairs, hears her thinking about him long before the sounds of her feet reach his ears. She's not angry at him, not really, but she's worried like the others are worried. It doesn't sit easily with them to keep the company of an unstable god.

People keep telling David that he's a god, but he's never understood what that means. In this age of mutants, miracles are commonplace. Besides, the last thing he wants is to be worshipped.

He opens his eyes to see Syd striding towards him, and he knows worship is the last thing he's going to get from her.

"I know, I know," he says, preemptively throwing up his hands in surrender. They don't really need to have arguments out loud when he already knows what she's thinking, and he hates fighting with her anyway. Especially when she's right.

She narrows her eyes at him, but accepts his defeat with grace. She sits down next to him. "Good," she says, crossing her arms over her stomach, holding herself.

He opens his mouth, still trying to find the words to explain what he's feeling, but he gasps instead as he shivers all over, as hot and cold flush through him.

"David?" Syd asks, concerned, one gloved hand raised but not reaching out. "What's going on?"

"I'm not--" He shivers again, and there, at the edge of his mind, there it is: the singing. It's so far away, but so familiar. If he can just--

"David. David," Syd calls, aloud and in his mind, and he's pulled in both directions at once. Follow the singing or stay with her, he has to do both but he can't--

"I'm going to get Cary."

Her fear for him is stronger than the singing. "Wait," he says, pulling himself back together, pushing down his power even as it threatens to burst out of his skin. "There's nothing wrong."

"How can you say that?" she asks, wide-eyed. "David, what is going on?" She looks down and her fear spikes again. "Your hand--!"

David raises his hand, both his hands. Glimmers of light shimmer on his skin. He wipes at them and they fall like embers, but they're quickly replaced. They're coming from inside him, peeking out of him like distant stars.

The stars. He needs to see the stars.

The singing is louder now, drowning out the whispers of the city. The hot and cold shivers run through and out of him, falling away, and he feels his body rising, his feet lifting from the ground.

As he rises, he reaches for her. He can't stop this but he can't leave her behind.

"Stay with me?"

She hesitates to touch him, but then--

As he takes her hand, the shimmers spread. Flecks of starlight appear on her glove, on her skin. He still doesn't know what's happening to them but he feels like he's becoming, and he knows somehow that everything will be okay. He smiles, beatific, and Syd stares in wonder as they transform into something more.

There's starlight all over them both, now, and they're rising together. Her hair and lashes have changed to pure white and he thinks his have, too.

They rise above the lights, up where the air is cold and thin but it doesn't bother them. The moon is dark, so they can see the full brilliance of the night sky spreading out above them. They hold each other close, dancing together above the clouds.

"They're singing to me," David says, thinking of those childhood nights, the dark sky, the crickets chirping, and the stars talking to him, calling to him, singing for him to join them as he was always meant to.

"I can hear them," Syd breathes, quiet with awe. "What are they?"

David shakes his head. "I don't know. Something old. Something good. Do you want to find out?"

She looks around them, at the ground far beneath and the endless sky above. The starlight on her skin glows against her compass locket. She reaches up and grips it in her hand.

"What if we get lost?" she asks, even as he hears her making up her mind. She's the only one who's never been afraid of him, not really. The one woman who dares to love an unstable god. Who dares to love him, and is loved in return.

"If we get lost, we get lost together."

She pulls off the locket and lets it fall. They rise together, towards the stars, dancing to the music only they can hear.