Take Away the Pain
Yay! More Warframe writing! This...wasn't actually my idea. Credit goes to a YouTube comment I saw by a user with the name of Juan Dela Cruz.
So yeah. I don't own Warframe and I don't own the idea. I guess the only thing I can lay claim to in this fic is the writing itself.
SPOILER WARNING: Contains spoilers for The Sacrifice.
Limbs stretched into sudden action, the Warframe's still slumber dissolving. He shoved a leg forward, his movement jerky at first. Then it settled into familiarity, his mind reminding the body that it was still here. This was no biomechanical shell of Infestation like the others and he would never let it become that way. Even on the occasions he allowed the child's mind to join with his, he retained some portion of the control. They were two who had become one, not an empty puppet dancing on the strings of its master. Umbra was not going to let the last shred of the person he was before fade away.
The ship was silent and empty right now. Umbra assumed immediately that the child was gone on a mission, until a quick look around revealed that every Warframe the child owned was accounted for in the arsenal segment. Curious, because perhaps the child had gone somewhere without a Warframe, he moved towards the front of the ship, standing at the navigation console and staring out the windows at nothing but vast, empty space. The child could not be out there, among the stars without a Warframe. How strange.
A prickle of worry began to bother at the back of Umbra's mind. Never before had the ship been so silent with the child on board. Although perhaps the child was only asleep? How much easier this would all be if he could speak, to call out for the child or to ask the Cephalon about the situation. He'd have to search the ship himself. Hopefully this was just a matter of the child sleeping. That meant checking the living quarters first.
He headed silently towards the back of the ship, waiting in front of the round door. After a split second to recognize his presence there, it hissed open softly. The first thing he realized as he was presented with the room was that the helmet of the child's former caretaker was not on its pedestal. The second thing? He could hear choked back, quiet sobs.
Umbra turned away, into the room that housed the Somatic Link pod, even useless as it was now. The child had been kind enough to offer it as living space for him, but he rarely used it. It served more like a storage space now for his single, most important material possession.
The shawzin was not his own from so long ago, but a perfect copy of it that the child had crafted for him with the ship's foundry. Umbra picked it up reverently and carried it back to the child's room. This time he stepped inside, moving slowly towards the back where he could see the child on the floor, with that helmet clutched like a lifeline, body shaking with every sob released. Umbra sat beside the child, who looked up at him. Broken. Lonely.
There was a moment of silence before the child's words, choked out through the tears, broke it. "Why would she abandon me?"
Umbra could speak no response, so instead he lifted his shawzin, a deeply buried memory rising to the surface of his mind as his fingers began to pluck at the strings. It was clumsy at first, but this song was almost as integral a part of him as the blood of his son that stained his hands. He had played it so often centuries ago for his family that it only took the first few measures for his fingers to begin moving on their own, muscle memory overtaking thought.
As he played, he could hear the child's sobs grow louder, no longer being choked back and kept private. Good. His attempt to soothe was at the very least being accepted.
By the end of the song, the sobs had all but died away. With the last note fading into gentle silence, Umbra slowly laid the shawzin on the floor beside him. The child inched closer, the caretaker's helmet rolling from hands that now reached for Umbra. He froze as arms snaked around his waist, the child having climbed into his lap to climb tight to him.
His hand lifted. Hesitated. Then came down lightly atop the child's head, stroking softly. He felt the child nuzzle closer against him and took it as a sign to continue. Umbra wrapped the child in his arms. Sometimes he forgot about the child's age. So young, so fragile without a rock to cling to. Before, the rock had been the caretaker. But now that the caretaker was gone?
Well, the child had helped him heal from the death of his son. It was Umbra's turn to help the child heal from the loss of a mother.
He could be the child's rock now. He would be the child's rock now.
Short, I know. But quantity doesn't necessarily match up with quality. I chose to leave the identity of the Operator ambiguous because I didn't want to shove an OC down your throats. I felt it would work better if you each could place your own Operator into this scenario.
The YouTube comment that drove me to write this is as follows:
"Just imagine Excalibur Umbra somehow retrieved his Shawzin and still remembers to play "Smiles from Juran" and a cutscene in which You (Operator) can't move on or believe that the Lotus abandoned you. In the cutscene, the operator is in his/her living quarters of the ship, lonely, and crying for what Lotus did. From there, Umbra enters the room, sits besides the operator and comforts him/her with this song."
Now. I think I'm off to search for a couple of tissues.