Lowering the recorder from her lips, Maya turned it off, sighing heavily, staring at the item in her left hand a moment longer. Her markings, usually quiet, pulsed lightly on her skin, a signal of discomfort. At least she was alone, or so she believed for a little.
It had been weird at first, but now she recognized this eerie feeling close to her, at first, it hadn't been anything more than that, but, as time went on and she honed her powers further, it became a proper manifestation.
"You're sad, young one." a voice spoke in her ear, the same voice that had been so foreign to her just a short while ago, had become a constant companion. Watching her, guiding her.
"I'm leaving a lot behind, I can't be happy about this." Maya replied. Just when she had finally found a family, and friends that she had wished for her entire life, it was already time to leave.
But she wasn't upset about that, no, such was fate, and no one, not even a Siren could go against it. She was so much more sad about the thought of leaving them, she knew they would suffer, all of them, and she could only hope they wouldn't take it so hard on themselves. Because they would have no guilt, it was just how things were meant to be.
"Suffer and sacrifice for a greater goal that we cannot understand, such is the life of us Sirens, young one."
Another sigh. "I know, Nyriad, I know."
It was weird talking with a spirit, the woman had first made her presence known through dreams, it was the easiest way she could reach her, while she was resting, to make sure it didn't take too much on Maya's mind to bear her presence close to her.
As time passed on Maya eventually adapted to have her around all the time, like a little angel on her shoulders. And this made her miss yet another angel, one that had truly lived up to her name. Just the thought of what it had been made her blood boil with rage, but maybe, she'd see her soon, without corporate megalomaniacs and psychopaths to divide them again.
Nyriad's presence hadn't been too bad to bear either, the woman preferred to stay in silence, and only speak when they were alone. She didn't look down on her, she didn't judge her and the choices she made, and for that, Maya was grateful for.
Even though she knew that she was just there to look over her and make sure she knew what her destiny was, and that she'll follow it. It was for that reason she had been called back to Athenas, it was Nyrad that pulled Maya to herself when it had been time to return home and do what was right.
But for now, there was still one thing that needed to be done, before it was too late.
Maya slowly descended the stairs that lead towards the cargo bay with the recorder clutched tightly in her hand, her legs felt as heavy to move as her aching heart, but this was inevitable.
She just prayed he wouldn't ask questions, she thought to know him well enough to know that he wouldn't do such thing, but, this was a one of a kind situation, that she didn't know how even he would react to it.
After all, after spending over a year together fighting Hyperion, they had all got attached to one another in a way Maya never knew how it felt, and, neither did he. They had both been reserved on their feelings, but there had always been exceptions even for them, for her more, but for him as well.
Being the assassin he was, he already knew she was going to him, as he already was facing her when she entered his sort of private office, or trophy room, she didn't really know.
She noticed Zer0 stopping what would have been a greeting, and, even though she couldn't see his eyes behind the mask, she knew he was looking at the item in her hand.
Much to her surprise, she didn't hesitate in giving the ECHO to him, and he didn't hesitate either in taking it from her.
"Could you give this to Krieg for me?" she asked, lowering her head. Sad, ashamed, angry, all these emotions mixing together once again for just having to ask him, and for not being able to do so herself, and see him one last time. Just like she had promised to do…
She hoped he would manage to come to terms with it by himself. It didn't take much to figure out that she had been a source of sanity to him, even if he struggled to tell her directly, she could read it in everything he did towards her, and that was enough for her. He loved her in his own way, and love was all she had ever desired, she'd take it in every shape and form.
Zer0 didn't talk for a bit, his mask was not displaying anything either, signaling that he was deep in thought. Maya turned around, attempting to leave him, as there wasn't more to say, this was hard enough for her to bear, and her heart was hurting so bad, that she thought she'd die on the spot from the pain.
The assassin however had other plans, he took her arm and dragged her back, not allowing her to leave, turning her around and surprising her with a hug. He held her tightly against his chest, something he had never done before.
"You will be missed / dear friend / may you not suffer."
She could feel him tangling his fingers in her coat and in her hair, trying to imprint her image in his mind one last time, and holding her more tightly than ever, as if she would disappear right in that moment.
"Don't make this harder, idiot." she sniffled, feeling tears stinging in her eyes, as she struggled to hold them back.
He let go of her, but still held his hands on her shoulders.
"Sorry." he murmured.
She shook her head, wiping the tears away, she couldn't allow weakness to show, not now, no one else had to know, or they would stop her, and this wasn't what fate had written for her. Didn't matter how much she would love to stay longer, her time was over, and she was sure that it wouldn't all be in vain.
"Fear not / your message is safe / with me." he spoke, nodding to her. "He will receive it / safe and sound / I promise."
After the exchange with Zer0, Maya had run straight to bed, holding her head low, covering herself with her hood so no one would notice how her eyes were still shining with tears.
In the end she hadn't managed to hold herself back from crying, like she had done many times when she had been alone on Athenas at night, when everyone was asleep and she was the only one wandering outside the monastery.
She was thankful to have had Zer0 there with her this time, they just sat in a corner, him keeping close to her in silence, comforting her with his presence alone as she let out all she had kept inside since she first set foot on Sanctuary again.
Maya thought she had come to terms with her destiny, but when she saw all the people that loved her once again, the pain came back tenfold. And suddenly, it had become much harder accepting her role in this universe. She didn't want to leave them, she didn't want to at all.
She hadn't thought at Krieg only, at him, his feelings for her and their promise. She had been so important to him, she knew, and she truly hoped that hearing about her demise wouldn't result in him doing something drastic. She truly didn't want him to do such a thing, she trusted him, but, given his already shattered psyche, there was no telling what it would be in the end. She had tried to be as clear as possible in her message, hoping it would be enough for him to hold on to life longer, even without her.
She knew what Zer0's reaction had been, and honestly, it had been very sweet of him, as someone that reserved contact only when necessary, and this, had been more than necessary, for them both. She knew he was sad, but he accepted that things had to be the way they did.
She thought at Lilith, and she was sure that she'd most likely take it hard, she had seen how it had been after Roland died, how many tears she had cried and how many sleepless nights she had passed. And now, already left suffering from having had her powers stolen, her pride of Siren, she didn't want to think how she could react at another loss, of yet another friend and a fellow Siren too. But, if there was anyone that could lead these people and lead them to victory, that was her. And Maya prayed she'd be strong enough to get through this all.
She thought of Ava, that little scoundrel she had taken with her, the young girl that would soon inherit her powers, and hopefully make good use of them, better than her at least. She knew she'd be the one the moment she laid her eyes on her, young and stubborn, just like her when she had her age, maybe even more. And Nyriad had only confirmed her feeling had been right, and that fate brought them to one another.
She didn't wish to leave her on Athenas with the Order either, because what they had done to her could repeat once she was gone and Ava gained her heritage, and she refused to let her suffer at the hands of those people that had ruined her life the moment she was born. She brought her to Sanctuary with her, to her friends, her family, the people she trusted, and that she was sure would love and look after her the same way she did, once she couldn't anymore. She'd have Lilith's guidance, and Tannis', and even Amara's if she wished to. Anything would be better than a repeat of what her life had been. She just hoped she didn't feel abandoned by the person that said would protect her, she had already lost her parents, losing her would probably be just as hard for such a young girl.
She thought at the new Vault Hunters, the ones that would accompany her to that place that will be her end. She hoped that, whatever would happen, they wouldn't interfere and let things be, and that they wouldn't be too hard to watch, and to bear the burden.
She thought at the rest of her friends, Gaige, Axton and Sal, how much she missed them, and how like Krieg, she wouldn't manage to see ever again. She wished things would go differently, so she could hear all the stories they would tell her, gathered around a table eating pizza and drinking until they were all completely wasted. Looks like they wouldn't manage to reunite the group like they said they would do one day.
Even if they did, one part would always be missing still.
And then there were all the others too, some she knew and liked better than others, but they were all friends still, and she was still sad to have to leave this way.
Maya put a hand to her chest, it hurt, a lot, but this, this would be the last time it would. Soon, it would all be over.
Nyriad made her presence known beside her once again.
"Are you ready?"
Maya turned to give one more look at the people of Sanctuary, unaware of what was going to happen, all focused on the assault of the Vault to care about anything else.
Her friends, her family, they were all there, confident and hoping in a success that will end in tragedy.
Her mind pleaded, screamed for her to say no, that she wasn't ready, that she wanted to stay here, that this had to be wrong, that fate didn't exist, that she wasn't meant to die.
Lowering the hood on her head and turning away she whispered one single word.