"You were already part of the Spartan family, Artyom," Miller says, and his hands are big and warm on Artyom's shoulders, through the thin, almost-formal shirt someone had unearthed and tried their best to scrub the stains out of, heating Artyom's chilled blood. "But now you're going to be part of mine, and I couldn't be prouder."
Artyom ducks his head, nervously, his heart shaking against his ribs; outside, Anna waits, in her own nicest-shirt-they-could-find. None of the three of them believe, really, in churches, but Miller had insisted ("For my girl, and for you, Artyom, this ought to be done right") and found a priest for the ceremony, emptied a room and filled it with benches and invited the surviving members of the Order, and Artyom's father, and mentioned to the world at large that Khan could come, assuming some ghost or spirit would mention it to the man.
Khan had not come, as far as Artyom knew, but Alex had, and he'd embraced Artyom, too, told him he was proud, said that he'd never wanted a life of violence for Artyom but hoped he was happy, and looked like he might nearly cry when Artyom had lied and nodded.
It was being done right. Miller was always trying to do right by him, right from day one, when he rolled into Polis on Ulman's railcar with nothing but Hunter's dogtags and a desperate need to be heard, and Miller had heard him, despite his silences, and set out to do what needed to be done, bringing Artyom with him, despite how raw and untested he had been back then.
Miller had always trusted Artyom with his life, and now he was trusting him with his daughter; if only he'd known how unworthy Artyom was.
A couple fingers curl under Artyom's chin, and Miller tips his head up, looks down at him and into his eyes, and doesn't hear what Artyom doesn't dare say. "Are you nervous, boy?" he asks, with a light in his grey eyes that's been too often missing since the battle; Artyom shrugs a shoulder, the one that Miller's other hand isn't on, so that he doesn't dislodge his commander's touch. "Suka, don't worry, Artyom! I was your age when I married Anna's mother, you know. You'll do fine. Anna loves you."
Artyom tries to smile at him, eyes sliding down-- to read his lips, he's told Miller before, written out carefully in the margins of a report, because of his bad hearing, and Miller had laughed and accepted it and asked if he could read lips from across the room, eyes alight with possibilities-- and watches Miller's lips move. His hearing isn't all that bad.
"It will be wonderful," Miller tells him, "and life's too short to wait, down here. There's nothing to be nervous about."
If only Miller knew! Artyom's heart cries, and lets himself be pushed out, to join the wedding, Anna beautiful and smiling at him and nothing at all like what he wanted.