9-17-2002

Title: Opaline (1/?)
Fandom/Genre: Gundam Wing & Revolutionary Girl Utena crossover.
Author: Persephone_Elysian
Email: Persephone_Elysian@yahoo.com
Archive: http://www.angelfire.com/id2/avalon
http://www.kikotei.net.

Rating/Warnings: PG-13/R-ish. Language, adult content, yaoi and yuri content. Occasionally shifts into first person POV. The rating may/will probably change as this story progresses.

Disclaimer: I don't own Gundam Wing--it belongs to Sunrise, Bandai, and other such nice people. Likewise, Utena is also not mine. It is the property of Be-Papas, Chiho Saito, etc.

Pairings: implied/seeming R+1, 2+1 (leading to eventual 1x2/2x1). Past references to Utena + Anthy (and Utena + Akio).

Spoiler Warnings: Major spoilers for episode 39 of Utena. This takes place after Endless Waltz in the Gundam Wing 'verse.

Author's Notes:

Well, this is totally random. That's really almost all I can say about this ficlet set. I started it while I was off in Boston with no real idea of where it was going or if it was even going anywhere. Because of that the plotline in this one is going to be a tad more flexible. Translation: this one is for fun and I have a vague idea of where it's going (unlike some of my more meticulously plotted epics such as Walk this World and Le Jour des Morts). It *does* have a plot though... I promise! Mostly I'm just posting this one in response to the almost deadening silence on all my Gundam Wing lists at the moment. Just think of it as filler while all your favorite authors work on their stuff. ^_^

Feedback: Always welcome, always responded to, and properly adored.

***

Opaline
A 'Gundam Wing/Revolutionary Girl Utena' crossover
Persephone_Elysian

Part One: Silence

'There is a silence where hath been no sound,
There is a silence where no sound may be,
In the cold grave -- under the deep, deep sea...'
-Thomas Hood

There is a weight on my chest, greater than the sear of dying lungs, pushing me backward. The fall is a long one – filling all the spaces in between forever. After a few seconds I can see, no longer hampered by the influx of salted water, past caring how it scrubs my eyes raw. My arms float above my head, almost reaching but lacking the will for even that. My descent is sluggish in its swiftness, a corona of glittering light haloing above the surface of the water, like broken sparklers.

The last time I was here, Deathscythe was a protective barrier against the ocean’s grip, guarding its fragile human heart. He’s gone now, his metal hull a memory of times past, a ghost of feeling that escapes when I reach for it. Down here, illusions are stripped away and you can see clearly unencumbered as the oxygen melts away. There’s only the silence, so profound it hurts, loud because the mind races to fill its terrifying spaces with the familiar.

The back of my throat is metallic, throbbing as I swallow, lips sealed against the intrusion of salt. In it I can taste every battle and fear, the taste of smoke acrid and the scent of blood from every life I’ve reaped. I’ve long sense lost the feel of my body, the chill of the North Atlantic seeping into every pore, stealing circulation as it had already stolen breath.

I was stupid, so very stupid to come. Stupid to trust. Stupid, stupid, stupid. The word rolls around in my mind, without the chagrin it would normally evoke. I feel nothing now beyond the sensation of body and those too, are fading away.

These waters are a graveyard, the bones of wars past littering the sea floor and beyond that the wreck of dead civilizations. I’ve heard tales of a great ship once lost here, a miracle of engineering for the age of its birth and brought low by human error and folly. Now not even the skeleton of that vessel remains, having long since rusted away, disintegrating into the mists of history as the body of its human cargo had long since done. My mind lingers briefly on that image, almost certain I can see it the afterimage of metal prow, still pointing proudly upward from the crest of its broken seat. The fact that I’m miles and miles from that gravesite occurs only briefly to me.

I don’t know why but I expected light. Illuminations of some sort, like Deathscythe's search lamps, to pierce the murkiness. It was morning when I fell – have I fallen so long that a full day has passed? No, death would have long since claimed me if that were the case.

I should make some effort, try and force myself to kick upward. I don’t. The survival instinct that carried me through the war is quiet, no claxons or staccato gunfire to spur me. There’s nothing but bubbles of oxygen issuing from my lips and clinging to my skin. I’m exhaling slowly with nothing to replace what is lost. I’m possessed with the vague interest to see what will happen if I do nothing. Maybe I’ll black out before my lungs seize up. Or maybe my lungs will explode air sac by air sac in a domino effect that I'll feel throughout my body, unable to halt.

I could retrace those last fateful steps, the solid comfort of the carrier beneath my feet. I’ve never been one for military ceremony and God knows I’ve had to endure more than my fair share of it by joining Preventer. The sight of forty year old men rushing to salute a twenty year old is pretty damn funny when you think about it. Especially when I just don’t fit the officer profile. Quatre positively fusses when he sees me these days, my tie loose and awry, shirt barely tucked into rumbled pants. It's not that I don't care more that I can't be bothered. If I spent every spare moment nitpicking my appearance, smoothing over every crease I manage to earn through bad posture and sitting habits, I’d have no time for anything else. So what if I’m not pressed and starched? I do my job and that should count more than anything else should, right?

The braid’s still there, a little longer, more ragged and in need of a trim. I’d planned to get one after we docked. Doesn’t look like I’ll be keeping that appointment now. I hope Une manages to decode my shorthand or else there’s going to a load of unwritten casework dumped on some poor schmuck. Then again, they’ll probably give it to you and that’ll be the end of it. I’m sure it would take you an hour tops to work through my illegible scrawl and figure out what I’m trying to say.

It took less than that to break me. Congrats on besting yourself.

A whimper would escape my throat if it weren’t so tight. I don’t want to think about that, not here and now. Better to be swallowed whole by the silence, by the blue that could rival your eyes than that. The images come anyway. Wheat blond hair flowing in the caress of a playful morning zephyr held back by a demure hand. Two bodies stark against the early morning, your hand on her upper arm, enough to draw her close as two faces lean in mutual longing towards each other.

I wish I had never seen it. Watching the love of your life kissing someone else kind of ranks up there as one of ‘the all time suckiest last images to see before you die.’ It wasn’t as if I ever told you – the fault was mine. The crush was mine and I projected onto you something I desperately wanted to feel, to have reciprocated. Love. More stupidity. I’m pretty sure you were right when you called me an idiot all those times. Only fools hope. I’ve been from one end of hell and back and you’d think it would have been enough. And now I’ve gone and thrown myself in again.

If there is a hell, there won’t be brimstone or fires in it. I could live with those things. I could and have lived with pain. These are stock and trade in a soldier’s life, in my life. No, my fear of hell is that it will be that scene, repeated over and over--the hell of an emotion unrequited.

I don’t know why I fixated on you. Perhaps it was because you were so very different from me. Dark and glacial where I was more or less an energetic mass of nerves. I was a better pilot, capable of more innovations on the fly but your resolve was fiercer, and your dedication to a cause only you truly understood more resolute. I fought because there was nothing else I could do, nowhere else I could turn. I fought for revenge and for death. You fought because you could. Not with unsullied virtues, mind you but with a better goal in mind than I ever had. You fought for peace and somewhere along the way, peace became garbed in the flesh of a young woman, unassuming and naïve as she waited, dove-blue eyes seeing in you something greater than you knew. You weren’t a soldier to her, just a boy – badly in need of love, of being cared for. She can’t handle the other side though, the merciless killer and I hope for both your sakes that she never has to.

There will be some that think I threw myself over the railing, people like Quatre who will believe in grand romantic tradition that I died for love. It’s a sweet notion but not the truth. I don’t know love. I’ve never known it beyond the ephemeral moments of Maxwell Church, the images of my time there so broken that not even I can completely recall them. No, the love I’ve never known isn’t that between companions but that of two human beings, to souls in connection with each other. Not perfect, mind you, but joined by some thread that can only be broken by one or both. Mr. Shakespeare wrote so eloquently and foolishly of that tender, fragile sentiment in his plays and sonnets. For Byron, love was a grand adventure, a rough and rude storm that shakes the sufferer. Dylan Thomas saw it as more eternal, something of it remaining even when the honeymoon had long since ended.

‘Though lovers be lost…’

I know nothing of love beyond what is written and yet I wanted it, desired it. I thought I wanted it from you.

Now all I feel is the silence, as empty as a desert, stretching out before me. My vision is fuzzing around the edges and it’s not as fearful as I’d thought. There are those who will tell you that the end is devoid of light, of sound and it is but there’s something else—something that pulls you and lulls you as surely as a mother. Still, there’s a spark of Duo Maxwell left, my hand drifting upwards, fingers loose and open in mute supplication—

--that’s accepted as the thin bones of another grasp encircle mine, yanking me upward again.

 

***End Part One