one passing night

the evening is spread out against the sky


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[011 ☿] Silent Planet Mercury
mercury ☿ my own way
waterfell wrote in onepassingnight
Unearthly quiet falls over everything. This place is empty and barren; nothing grows in its desolate grey soil. It's a void without atmosphere, but those who arrive here find themselves able breathe normally and withstand the incredible heat of planet Mercury's sun-turned side.

To the daughter of this planet, it's breathing the nostalgic air of thousands of years ago. Here, she is at her strongest and her best. She thrives in the sun that appears several times larger than it would on Earth, she basks in its intense rays despite the dark sky of space.

Without turning around, Mercury speaks with her eyes fixed on the sky. "Watch," she insists. She nods to where the sun travels towards its highest point - and stops for several long moments before beginning to unwind its arc backwards. It's a sight only seen here, and only now while it's been sped up enough to be observable.

Before she can say more, a second brightness flares so strongly that it almost overshadows anything else. Mercury suddenly lets out a pained whimper and shields her eyes from the holy light of Venus. She has that flesh-crawling feeling of a nightmare somehow.

(ooc: artist conceptions of Mercury sunrise. The effect described with the sun's path is due to Mercury's orbit and happens over the course of a Mercury day - about two months of our time.)

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He opens his eyes disorientated, greeted by a barren desert and a sun too large. For a minute the vertigo hits, linger traces of a fever spiking and he wonders if they failed. If Meteor did impact those two years ago and this is all that's left of what his world had once been. It takes him a minute to shake the feeling off and it's not until a voice speaks that it fully falls away from him.

Ami...

Her back is to him and he takes that moment of privacy to focus himself, re-orientating himself in the present. Wherever the present is. The sun slips backward and threatens his grasp on reality in this place so far from the familiar. But at her sound of distress, his mind focuses and he jerks forward, good hand out to catch her if she stumbles, his own eyes liding against the painful light to filter it through his lashes. His voice stays low though, calm.

"What is that?"

Cloud.

She won't fall; she won't let herself sink or collapse. The struggle for mastery of herself is won, this time, and although the fist at her side stays strongly clenched as she pushes those emotions down, it makes her wild-eyed when she turns around to answer him.

"The light of planet Venus." She does not speculate about its meaning. She can't let herself, yet.

"Where we are now is planet Mercury." To first appearances, there aren't even ruins left to mark the thriving civilization once housed here; they're just a short distance away, and very hidden. "Near the Caloris Basin."

Edited at 2011-10-11 05:52 am (UTC)

Most of what she says doesn't make sense to him. He picks up on her distress but that's all. Planets though... it jars loose in his mind, picking through the mild fever and the subtle headache and he remembers another conversation what seems like a lifetime ago. With a girl with Ami's face who called herself Mercury and said she was the princess of a planet. His mind jogs further back to a final battle and an attack Sephiroth used that destroyed solar systems. Two of the planets wiped out in that attack had been Mercury and Venus.

He hadn't cared at the time because he hadn't recognized them. It hadn't connected to anything familiar until this moment.

He has to resist the sudden urge to sit down.

"Mercury's your home," he can show that he paid at least enough attention for that. "Who does Venus belong to?"


edit for some clarity

"The soldier of planet Venus. Like this planet, like all the planets of this solar system, it was ruined by Tsukino Usagi and its future was destroyed by her." The words are deliberately chosen to be cold; he has chosen to love Usagi and defend and comfort her for the very acts of taking away her, Mercury's, future and so many others.

If she knew it, she'd walk away and refuse to let him even one inch closer. As it is, she can't forgive that friendship. Because just once, she wants Tsukino Usagi to pay for her crimes and to taste loneliness and pain; and she wants to have that comfort and understanding for herself instead. But those words, that second half, Mercury can never bring herself to say.

"If you intend to remain here, look at it while understanding that."

Edited at 2011-10-14 09:39 am (UTC)

this could go so, so badly...

"I know. I saw. A little."

It's said with his usual quiet tone and he deliberately turns his head to take the barren world in. Even the wasteland outside of Midgar boasts a little life in the form of monsters. Here, there's not even that. He's a bit confused by exactly what it means though. Usagi said that her warriors wouldn't be reborn. Ami says that she will. But he saw Ami and she was one of Usagi's soldiers in the dream the blond girl had. He thinks it has something to do with the alternates Ami spoke of with their cliff diving what feels like a lifetime ago. Close enough to each other's world and remembered person to be tangled but not quite an exact fit. This planet though... it's what a stolen future looks like in any dimension.

And it drives home the point that he's stolen two very precious futures himself.

Lifting his head he looks back at where that light in the sky appeared.

"So is Venus alive now? The soldier, not the planet."

yes yes it could XD >_<

If he saw, he should hate Usagi. He should know it's wrong. He shouldn't be ignoring it, not even saying a word. He should have something to say, some comfort or at least sympathy. (Even if he did, she'd say she doesn't need it.)

Venus has even been reborn only because Usagi was killed before she could do worse.

But of course he doesn't hate Usagi, and that choice is the same as hating Mercury. He is ambivalent, callous to the sight in front of him because any crime is acceptable if it's committed by the princess. Mercury tells herself she didn't expect differently, and that this makes it fine. It makes it fine, and it makes her hate Usagi all over again, even if she is the only person who will, because she is the only person who will. She swears to herself that she will never forgive.

It's an effort to still stand tall and proud, to simply answer him, to remind her mind to shut him out and start to forget him even as her voice answers the questions as though they're neutral ones. (Except even trying, she hasn't been able to; she couldn't ignore his suffering in Zack's dream. She's a fool.) Her fist stays clenched; it's easier to fight back the emotions that way.

"That light was a sign of her rebirth," she says as though simply quoting a textbook fact. "Somewhere in this galaxy." She does not believe it won't be Earth; but perhaps.

Edited at 2011-10-15 09:23 am (UTC)

He looks at her, focuses on her face even though he can see her hand fisted at her side. He knows what she's doing. And he knows he shouldn't ask. But he does. And very softly, because he hopes it, he hopes it with everything in him, he says:

"So you won't be alone anymore?"

"No," she corrects him, and she finds a cold smirk finally. "I have a new sailor senshi for my prey."

There is no end of loneliness here. There is no friendship; there never was. She's bothered by the sign in the sky because she doesn't want to hunt down some baby, some child. But they also cannot allow her to grow into the threat she would become.

And saying it this way was the quickest way to drive home the point to Cloud.

His eyes flatten and the look he gives her is unimpressed. He's seen that smirk before and it always reminds him of the way a child will watch you as they tip a glass vase off a counter. Waiting for the reaction. He's never enjoyed theatrics but now he's just too tired to be patient with them. The look flashes over his face as he folds his arms.

"Is this the point where you monologue your evil plan? Or are you just going to go straight into the maniacal laughter and hand clawing?"

She should have expected that, but she hadn't. It makes the backlash worse and, stubbornly, she hardens her heart against any desire for understanding. As so many others have, he has labeled her evil - his own words - for nothing but being ready to stop these events. Because the horrors of the princess must be permitted.

She'd thought he was different.

It's better to know it know.

"You'll find out when it happens," she says airily enough to pass for unconcerned. "Won't you?"

She shades her eyes against the sky and squints, but everything has returned to normal, there.

He's tired and the headache probably isn't helping. She's so intent on drowning herself just to prove a point.

"No. I won't." His voice stays flat. "Because you won't."

"Whatever happens, if you interfere," she says, just as flatly as him, and she turns to face him now, "you'll also be hurt." There will be no mercy if he makes himself her enemy.

The look he gives her is surprised, blue eyes blinking wide for a minute. And then, of all things, the barest smile touches the edges of his lips. Very gently, he says:

"I wasn't talking about me, Ami. It's an innocent child." Reaching out he very gently touches a finger to where her mercury mark was when she was a princess before letting his hand fall to his side. "You'll stop yourself before you hurt a child."

They've gone too far for that, the moment he said 'evil' (or was it the moment she greeted him so coldly?). Defensively, as though mistaking his own action for readiness to strike her, she raises her arm to deflect his before he can touch her.

She could almost laugh, a sharp and bitter laugh, at his words which bring back memories of the man who promised her he'd stop her, who promised she wouldn't be degraded by the sins she was forced to take as her burden any longer - and who stumbled and fell in his own path instead.

"I'll do whatever is necessary," she says bluntly. Even if a part of her doesn't want it to involve a child, she has no belief that she'd hold back if it did.

Edited at 2011-10-15 11:14 am (UTC)

He accepts her block of his touch but her rejection of something that simple flickers through his eyes. Hurt. Confusion. He doesn't force it though and he doesn't back up. Instead he looks at her.

He knows her. Not entirely but he's been around her long enough to know that telling Ami she won't do something is the surest way to get her to do it. It doesn't matter if it's sensible or even sane, she'll act on the denial just to prove herself.

So telling her she won't kill a child could easily backfire.

Except this isn't cliff diving or pushing robots in the water. It's an innocent life. Children are meant to be protected. Slow, he shakes his head without looking away.

"No. It's the life of a child. You're not a monster."

my apologies for the million edits. it's an illness. T_T XD

He'll never know the pain of Nephrite looking her in the eye and asking her if it should bother him that children had been used in a plot by their enemies. She'd known, then, that they were all faltering blind.

Her, too.

Just like Nephrite, she may rage against those simple gestures and kindnesses, but she wants them, needs them, so much, the gentler touch of a hand that can mean so much more than so much else, that she's no longer used to. She's not even sure if she still silently hopes for someone to see through it or if she's given that up, too.

She longs for it even in the same moment she thrusts Cloud's hand away and tries to deny her need. It's the lack of these things that makes her hate the people blessed with them. Mercury stays silent a long moment.

It's the years of being treated as a monster, called one, that speak through her mouth. "Whatever happens here, you already know that I am."

You're better than this.
No, I'm not.


She pushes those words away. That person is nowhere, now, and she was right.

Edited at 2011-10-19 05:25 am (UTC)

the edit key is a thing of beauty

He doesn't deny it with a knee-jerk reaction, a quick denial without thought. But his head shake is calm and there's no hesitation in it. He heard what she said and he's seen sides of her but he knows her in this at least.

He has faith in her.

"Ami," his voice is the same soft tone it always is and he ignores the pulse of pain that streaks up through his arm because she's more important. So much more important. He doesn't try to touch her again though. Too often the unwilling receiver himself, he will never force his touch on anyone else. She's the first person to ever deny his rare offer of it.

"I already know that you're not." He's not preaching. It's said with simple Cloud sincerity, quiet and level because it's the absolute truth to him. "I know that you're too strong for that." And, on a more personal level. "I know you're Ami. And that's not being a monster."

She's known it from the start. Years ago, before the Dark Kingdom, she had known she was simply bad inside, that something despicable lurked within her. The Dark Kingdom only showed her what that was, and set it free to become her face to the world.

Almost, she'd like to tell him: that one cold and cruel act leads to another and another and another so quickly that she's sure there's no redeeming it now, that even she has moments where she knows this has to stop but she has no way of stopping it and can only pray the crash happens soon to finally end it, that the true reason Usagi turns away from her and forgets her is that she can't be saved, that it's the same reason Cloud took back his hand and the same reason no one will ever consider her worth staying for:

She's not. She's a worthless creature of the darkness, and no more.

She doesn't tell him these things. She doesn't tell anyone these things. They lurk in the very back of her mind, rarely faced but always present. These thoughts belong to the girl, and she is the soldier.

"I'm Mercury."

As she speaks those words, some of the introspection melts away and she becomes more sure of herself.

"Whether you call that a monster or not."

"I don't." She can wear as many names as she wants, fragment herself into as many parts as she likes - Cloud's more than familiar with that process himself. There's a core in the middle of all the masks though and her's is one he trusts. He's about at the end of his endurance though and so he casually glances around until he finds a large enough rock to sit down on.

"You can call yourself any name you want, wear any set of armor you need to - I still trust you."

Settling down, he draws one leg up a little, foot finding a ridge on the rock, resting an arm across it to hide the way he cradles the other close to his stomach. His blue eyes find her.

"You'll do what's right, even if you're the only one in the whole world that will, even if it's next to impossible, simply because it's who you are."

She never knows what to do in the face of trust she doesn't feel she deserves, any more than the girl she used to be had felt right accepting Usagi calling her a kind person when she knew her thoughts were anything but that, or that person saying she could be better. It makes her feel pressured to become what they claim; she'd even once said she wanted to. It makes her feel she can't and that they simply don't see the parts of her that she thought were finally so obvious.

Where she had once worried about the inside part of her no one saw, and tried to hide it behind the good, now she knows: There is no good in her. She knows her motives, her thoughts, her intentions.

But the words touch something else, something she's not even sure she can name herself, and she finds herself echoing them. "Who I am?"

Herself through another's eyes. Who is the person he knows? Is it the same as the person she is inside, the person she looked for herself for so long? A part of her says it couldn't be.

"I'm..." but she hesitates even now, brushes the word away herself, no more need for the memories to be disrupted before they reach her mind.

"More importantly," she nods towards Cloud's arm, which a sharp and practiced doctor's eye has noticed he's favoring, "That."

He watches her face and he can sympathize. He's been someone else before himself. Done such a good job at it that he forgot it wasn't him. Except there was always a part of him that knew. That knew he was a lie. It had taken him being utterly shattered and reduced to nothing but a drooling body with a broken mind trapped inside to get him to the point where he could be put back together as who he really was.

Some days he regretted it.

Most days he was just glad that the voices in his head were all silent and that his body was his own to control. But he was very familiar with the 'who am I?' question and he knew that an outside answer wouldn't really be an answer at all. He'll help - dreams can't be that different than the Lifestream he got pieced back together in - but he won't force himself on her. Who you really are instead of who you tell yourself you are is kind of one of those things you've got to decide to tackle yourself. But he can be there for her if she does.

At least in this moment. He's running out of time. It's okay though. He'd be a clumsy assist anyway.

"You're you," he murmurs quietly. "And I'm glad you are."

Her mention of his arm though has him almost faking a look over his shoulder, to pretend he doesn't know what she's talking about. He stops himself at the last moment though because she's not stupid. His leg tucks up a bit more in front of him and he shrugs a shoulder. The bad one just to prove he can still move it, it's fine, thank you very much and - damn - that hurt.

"Maybe I fell asleep on it."

She's suspicious, but she lets it go. There's no reason someone should trust or rely on her to begin with, and she's learned not to expect it. Just how bad it truly is doesn't even cross her mind; she assumes it's some wound, some minor injury he'd stubbornly rather hide than receive treatment for. She spares him the doctor's lecture, this time.

"A tautology," she remarks on his answer. But despite the flawed logic, she sits nearby on another rock, and lets her legs dangle to reach the ground. She won't move on until he's ready to, too.

"There was water here before," she remarks. "This was even called the Water Planet." It explains a lot about Mercury herself.

His eyebrows lift a little at her term but he'll take her word for it. She's the doctor and apparently a tautology is a good enough excuse. He'll try to remember it.

Watching her settle though, his face relaxes a little and he gives a soft hum. He knows. She told him once - back when she was a princess. Lifting his head, he looks around and it's hard to imagine water here. He's got mixed feelings about his own planet but that doesn't mean he likes seeing it hurt. How much stronger - and harder - does this have to be for her? He looks back at her.

"Describe it to me?"

The tautology is the simple 'you are who you are', the self-referencing logic that can't quite be directly refuted but that doesn't hold up and gives no proof.

She decides to oblige him. It starts with yet another thing she now blames Usagi for, when back then it had been a source of pride: the Moon Kingdom had chosen her, she was desired by the royal house of the Silver Millenium itself, something that would make her parents proud.

"I don't remember this planet well. When I was young, I left it for the Moon. I grew up there at the Moon Castle as a senshi."

This, she now knows, is a part of the answer to her identity. She cannot deny the former ties to the girls she turned against. And yet the princess she gave up home, family, and kingdom for, never once gave a thought to this place.

She gathers a breath. "However, I'll tell you what I know, if you want." Ask for it. Want to know her.

Edited at 2011-10-23 12:50 pm (UTC)

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