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not when i'm home, sweet home

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The unmoored Bastion is a silent place. It floats into tomorrow, technically full of forgiveness that doesn't mean ease.

Kid recovers slowly, and his careful movements are painful to witness. Rucks mutters and drinks and swears when they come close. Zia retreats into manic cooking and stops singing. And Zulf - he feels no shame for what he did, but he mourns their small, makeshift peace he shattered.

There are no debts to settle between all of them, not after the grand finale. But Zulf is restless, haunted, left with no anchor.

He overhears Zia quietly despair over her pot one day, before yet another dinner where nobody would look up. And so, when they anchor over the bazaar somewhere and wander its stalls, Zulf smuggles back dozens of little green seedlings hidden in the sleeves of his robes.

There's a quier corner of the Bastion where the soil is dark and rich, and the process is easy enough: dig, plant, water. The dirt is warm; it hides under his nails and clings to his fingers. The air grows redolent with smells he doesn't know, neither Caelondian nor Ura, just fresh, green, sharp. New.

Zulf spends days watching the seedlings grow, rolling the stray leaves between his fingers. Rucks wanders by one day, and grumbles something about good ideas. Zia finds him, attracted by the smell. Zulf explains and cuts the first handful of fragrant leaves for her, and she forgets to catch her delight before it escapes.

Finally, Kid comes. He stands over Zulf who's kneeling in the dirt, silent, and Zulf doesn't know what to say; he hadn't since the Terminals.

Then Kid grunts, sits down; before Zulf can blink, he's asleep next to Zulf's small garden, stretched out on his side, face serene and young, unguarded.

Zulf smiles.