After Eternal leaves, Falcon watches Dane shift uneasily on the spot. He takes half a step forward, but thinks again when he sees the flash of fear in his friend's eyes. Evidently he still hasn't forgotten what had happened earlier. Then again, Falcon doesn't blame him. If it had been him, he would have done much the same.

"What do you want?" Dane calls suspiciously, still not daring to come any closer. "Want to try and finish me off this time?"

"No!" Falcon protests, alarmed at Dane's words. "How can you think that? Look, I never meant to..."

He trails off with a sigh, looking pleadingly at Dane. "I'm sorry." he says at last. "I was being stupid, you didn't deserve that. I never meant to hurt you."

Dane snorts, "Sure, that's why you tried to choke me and broke my ribs."

"Dane please, don't look at me like that." Falcon reproaches him. "I was just having a rough time, I didn't know what to do. I couldn't tell anyone-"

"You could have told me!" Dane snaps, pointing accusingly. "I had no idea what you were thinking! You jumped in the bleeding lake, what did you expect me to think of that?"

Falcon opened his mouth to reply, but shut it again as he realised that Dane was telling the truth. Ever since he'd first met Eternal he'd been keeping so much to himself, heck he'd barely even spoken to anyone. Now he saw the damage his mistake had done. He'd shut everyone out, and that had simply made the problem worse. He'd almost lost his best friend because of it.

"I'm sorry." he says at last. "I'm sorry I didn't tell you anything. I should have known. Hell, I should have known better than any of this." He smiled grimly, "You have no idea how many times I've had to apologise in the past two hours. I've been such an idiot it's almost unbelievable. Can you forgive me?"

Dane fixes his leader with a long hard look, his mist-white eyes boring into Falcon's black ones. Then his face cracks into a cynical smile:

"Well, someone's got to keep you out of trouble you nit. But on one condition. I'm not getting left behind again. You ignore me, and I'll pester you so much your ears will shrivel up and fall off."

Falcon laughs and grabs Dane in a bear hug. Dane yelps and squirms in alarm, but the complaints are light-hearted. Finally Falcon puts him down, somewhat ruffled but otherwise unharmed. Straightening himself out, Dane says:

"Right, now all that touchy-feely business is over, let's see about that witch of yours. I doubt she's run off just to give us some privacy."

With that, the two turned and raced off down the tunnel after Eternal, the other soldiers not far behind. As he runs, Falcon realises he is still holding the compound. Exactly what he'll do with it he doesn't know, so he shoves it into his pocket and continues to run, Dane at his side. He can hear Eternal's voice up ahead, the sound making something twinge inside him. Broken-hearted or no, there's still some feeling there. The question is, is it enough?

The End

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