For Tyr-sama-chan. Um, merry Christmas? <grins weakly>
Bob: Only about three weeks late...
Hush. <grins> This is a little bit, er, trippy, so if the gift does not suit or please, bring it and its receipt back for refunds and exchanges.
Author: Lys ap Adin, firstname.lastname@example.org
Category: Drama, I guess.
Labels/Warnings: Shounen ai, angst. Weird. Verra weird.
Of all the mistakes I made, and I made many mistakes, allowing the urchin who later called himself Duo Maxwell to live tops the list.
Of all the mistakes I made, letting him live is the only one that I don't regret.
It got me cast out, of course. My kind don't get second chances, or so I thought at the time, and we definitely don't get the luxury of questioning our orders and disobeying whenever the notion strikes us. He was fated to die on that hot afternoon. Instead, he lived, and in spite of all that happened because of it, I am glad.
It was indescribable.
Where before there had only been the serenity of service and of communion, there was pain. Rage. Emptiness. Guilt. Things that I had never experienced before, but have since become used to. As far as I can, anyway.
Imagine living in bliss so pure that you inhale and exhale it like air, and you don't even realize that it's there because you've taken it so much for granted. Then imagine that it suddenly stops, like a hand crushed around your windpipe stops the air. And think of knowing that the pain, need, loss, and emptiness are all your fault because it's your own hand that's choking you.
That's a vague description of what it feels like to fall.
It takes exceptional people to fly mobile suits. The average soldier, the ones who fly Leos and Tauruses, learned to be exceptional.
We Gundam pilots are something even more than exceptional. And we never had to learn to be this way. It's something that you can call .... inborn ... talent.
Zechs Merquise was born exceptional. I think that someday it might prove satisfying to trace his bloodline and see why.
After the original Fall, others fell. Sometimes singly, or in pairs, or in small rebellious groups.
There were always questions. It's hard not to ask Why. Why them and not us? Why were we not good enough? What was so charming about free will, when free will means the ability to turn away? We were unfailingly loyal. We were perfect. So why not love us as much as them?
It was a question we all asked ourselves silently, and never dared voice.
Those who dared ... fell.
The colony was hot, and dry, and impoverished. It stank of garbage and death and sickness and unwashed human bodies, and had I not known it for a frail bubble of human technological triumph, I would have supposed it a place from the age of medireview Europe.
It was a colony dying by increments.
I hated it.
The people there died. They killed on another; they killed themselves; they starved in the streets; they rotted away from the epidemics that rippled through. They died, and I was on hand to attend each of them as it happened.
There were two children in a back alley, filth surrounding them. They had bodies too thin and dirty, eyes too large, and skin that was hot with fever. I took the first, the older: he didn't want to leave.
For all the hell that it was, he desperately wanted to live.
I looked at the other; he was already dying, curled up on his side, eyes angry, resenting their fate, and mourning his friend who had gone before. He was so thin that I wondered how he could have survived as long as he had.
It was my duty to take him, too, to separate him from the pain of the physical, whether he wanted it or not.
And I, looking at those angry blue-violet eyes, asked Why.
Shinigami. Have you ever noticed his incredible good luck, his narrow brushes with mortality that find him shaken, laughing, and live on the other side of the encounter?
Have you ever noticed how I smirk when he calls himself a god of death?
I fell, into the body of a child.
A man found me. His name was Odin.
He thought he had once made a mistake, and lived to make up for it. I never told him that his "mistake" was necessary.
Even then I had an inkling of what truly forbidden knowledge was.
There could not have been an Operation Meteor without the five of us.
That is not conceit.
More than exceptional. Naturally.
Fallen does not mean human. But it can come close.
Humanity can be learned, too, when exception is innate. I think I remember who Wufei's grandfather must have been.
In the first disorienting days, it was easy to let Odin guide me. Later, I chose to follow J, for the sake of finding a mission to replace the old mission.
It is my nature.
Eventually I learned to explore the approximation of humanity that graced my fall.
I was there when the quiet one fell. He was my friend before, and he was my friend after, when I destroyed Wing and pushed myself to the breaking point.
We never spoke of the past. It was enough to know that it existed. That is why I still don't know why he fell.
If I wanted to know, I would ask Quatre anyway.
I knew Duo instantly. He was too intricately bound up as the cause of my new existence for me to ever escape the memory of the waif he had been.
I wondered, at first, that he had become a pilot like I had. There was nothing in him that should have been extraordinary, or I would have noticed it before.
Then I realized that I was the source of the change.
I am as intrinsically a reason for his existence as he is for mine.
Somehow, he knew what I am. What I had been. If I had had the eyes to see, I would have been able to see the two of us, and the crimson ties that twined between us.
He raged at me the night I kissed him the first time, demanding to know if I had spared him just to make him my lover.
Only he could ever startle me like that.
His blood was thick and red over my fingers, too mortal, and only then did I wonder if the ties of destiny were red because I was the one who was supposed to see him through his passing.
One miscalculation. I was fallen, had forgotten I was fallible.
And I had carried out my last mission.
Serenity and communion reached out to enfold me, welcoming me home while my mortal mission fell to pieces and Duo lay choking his life out.
There are second chances, even for my kind. Whether we want them or not.
Duo glared at me with the same angry eyes I had seen once years ago, and I knew he was seeing the creature I had been then, not his partner. Not his friend. Not his lover. Just an angel of death.
I hadn't known the reason for my first fall. But it was the same as for my second.
I fell twice for Duo Maxwell.
When I woke, Trowa calmly told me that the mission had very nearly failed. If he approved or disapproved, he didn't feel I needed to know. He checked my bandages, and then smiled at me faintly, helping me sit up so I could look across the room, to the other bed, where Duo was lying, surrounded by machines and tubes.
Told ya it was trippy. This is what happens when I start thinking too hard.