one passing night

the evening is spread out against the sky


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[013 ☿] Even if the two of us are ever torn apart, I swear that I will change the world.
mercury ☿ i couldn't trust you guys
waterfell wrote in onepassingnight
The forest is quiet, and green. A cloaked man heads towards an altar in a clearing, already laid out with candles and, crosswise, his sword in its sheath. He takes a deep, cleansing breath, and picks it up.

"Kunzite!"

The voice interrupts him. He fires a swift, angry look in its direction, unwilling to let the blue-haired girl hurrying towards the clearing from the forest's edge interfere in this. Under his glower, the ground shakes violently and a chasm opens between them, stopping her short as she scrambles to keep her balance and can go no further. She shouts something else, but her voice is useless and the sound is stillborn. Her mouth works uselessly, frantically, as she tries to make herself heard, to no avail.

Kunzite frees the weapon from its rest, and throws the sheath carelessly on the ground. His hands are steady as he deals his own death blow and gives a great, wordless cry. Mercury can only watch, face tight with conflicting emotions and dark eyes forcibly dry.


--

There's nothing to explain how the forest has suddenly changed, but Mercury is still there. The chasm is gone. The altar has been replaced by a memorial tablet. Glimmering flowers, closed buds made of living ice, grow throughout the entire clearing; it doesn't take counting to know there are one thousand and ninety-four.

Mercury tends the grave site, as she has done regularly for three years now, as she will do tomorrow when she awakens. If the passing of time has helped to alleviate the impact, it has not lessened the importance. As she pours the water over the stone, her face becomes almost calm in repose as she sinks into reflection.

She could use a sympathetic presence.

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He feels like he's late, though he can't understand why he feels that way. He's missed something - or almost missed something - very important yet again. He's in his regular day wear, black, silver wolf, but his arm's in a sling on one side, bandaged to the shoulder and there's a dark wing of leather that tucks inward on that side. He doesn't seem aware of either deviation however. Instead all he's paying attention to is the woman in front of the memorial stone.

He understands that.

Not her specific pain but he's close enough to his own to understand a little at least. So the tread of his boots is slow but steady as he approaches, careful not to disturb the flowers of ice and light and they don't stop until he's directly behind her. Close enough that a step back, a step forward, would bring them into contact. It's too close, too personal an invasion of her space but he can't seem to help it. He doesn't touch though, doesn't speak. Unsure of his welcome or even if he has a right to be here.

It's just that he can't not be here. She might - she might need him.

At first, she doesn't even move. She might as well be a statue herself, carved from ice or maybe from the marble in that place where she first met the man resting here. She stays where she is, looking elsewhere so she doesn't have to see the disapproval, the turning away she assumes will come.

There is a question she needs the answer to, more desperately than she could ever say even if she ever would. It's such a telling question, and that's why she can only ask it to him, a safe person who only exists in dreams and a person she would like to convince herself might just tell her the truth. Might tell her why, even with Kunzite, it ended in her not being enough to stay for. It ended in being left.

Her voice is quiet, but steady. "Do you think I'm just the sort of person no one could want to be with?"

Edited at 2011-11-30 01:46 pm (UTC)

His eyes come up at her question and fix on the back of her head, even as his pale brows slowly sink over his eyes in confusion. He doesn't answer right away though. Not because he doesn't know the answer but because blurting something out wouldn't be treating her question with the seriousness that it deserves. Against his back, the wing shifts a little, a whisper of leather.

"I think," his voice is soft, very low, and he pauses, terrible with words and aware of his failing, trying to collect his words so they'll make sense. "I don't think he wanted to leave you. You're not an easy person to leave."

The trouble with trying to believe that is that he did leave. And despite her efforts, she is still too emotional to notice one thing: If he had no thought for her, why not leave immediately once the circumstances leading to it had arisen in his world?

He'd stayed, those months at least, for her. She had been enough to live for. But just as she's never known there was a chance she could have grasped for freedom and a peaceful future, she's never known it.

As for it not being easy to leave her... well. Kunzite is far from the only person to have done it, starting with her own father, who left the family. "It seems easy enough," she says evenly.

Edited at 2011-12-03 11:58 pm (UTC)

Cloud thinks he's probably the worse person in the world to be having this conversation with. Considering he's dying and they both know it now. That's pretty much 'leaving' her too, even if it's not his choice. Anything he says is going to sound hypocritical. So his head lifts and he looks over her shoulder, still standing at her back. Looking at that stone slab.

"Why did he do it? Kill himself like that?"

"To understand that..." She'd asked Kunzite to make her understand it. She'd been left to understand it for herself. So her answer now has to come from her.

It's a fuller, more honest answer than she's given others, because Cloud just might understand that pride and that single-minded pursuit of one's beliefs; but she waits for what she tells him right away to sink in before saying more.

"First of all," Mercury says, "Kunzite was already dead."

He's not in any hurry. He's got all the time in the world for Ami right now. Or... as much time as is left to him, he's willing to let her have it. Because he wants to understand.

He wants to help... even if he doesn't know how.

So the wing at his side spread and curls, almost as if it would curl protectively forward over her even though it doesn't touch and he makes a low, soft noise. He's listening. He wants to know.

"Like me, he died in the war in our past," Mercury says. That much is perhaps not hard to imagine. "However, he and the other shitennou weren't sent into new incarnations like I was. Instead, the one to revive them was Beryl."

He'd never asked for that life. He'd treated it as a chance to seize his vengeance, but he'd never asked for it and, she thinks from his eyes when she saved his life in Econtra, perhaps he never wanted it.

"She was the one who set herself up as queen. However, she was nothing." And no pride could suffer being under Beryl's thumb. "In the end, he took her life, when she would have taken Nephrite's."

She's talked about past lives and being reborn before so he understands that part. The rest - it's vague. He can understand that something went wrong with the man's rebirth, that it sounds like servitude and he wonders, in passing, if it was anything like being a puppet the way he had been. If so, he can understand the way it felt to be trapped that way.

"He killed the fake queen," he can offer his understanding of that much, at least what he thinks he's pieced together so far. It still doesn't tell him why the man killed himself. So he waits for the rest of her story.

"Of course," Mercury says, as if this is self-evident. No one who'd been there, who'd seen it firsthand, could forgive Beryl. She herself had met the truly sharp edge of Beryl's anger only once; but it had been enough to stir an anger in her in turn that made her wholly understand Kunzite's grudge.

"We, together, were able to overpower her - Kunzite, Zoisite, Nephrite, and me," she explains. "And then, she died on Kunzite's sword." A grim satisfaction for the man she'd pulled into this life so unwilling.

Cloud absorbs the tone of her voice as much as what she says, hearing the fierce hatred behind it, understanding that maybe better than she'd expect him to. He'd been a pawn, a puppet himself, controlled by a creature he'd hated with every fiber in his being. Or so he'd thought...

He can understand the satisfaction of killing your puppet master too and so he makes his own grunt of satisfaction. It's obviously not where the story ends though because they're here and Kunzite isn't. So his voice is soft as he prompts:

"Go on."

In the way she has, she's mixed the two together: the Kunzite who lies here, and the Kunzite of her own world. She comes back to the man who is here.

"This Kunzite, probably had no intention of accepting a life given to him by her, once his vengeance was complete."

That part Cloud can't understand. Even when he thought he was a clone, a nothing, a borrowed memory of someone else... he still hadn't wanted to die. Give up? Yes. And he'd accepted what he'd thought was his end. But taking his own life because of it...? The opportunity hadn't been presented and yet even if it had, he couldn't see himself...

"So he killed her and then killed himself?"

"It was almost like that." Except there was more time there, and... "He also took his vengeance on the prince."

More than that, she doesn't know much of herself. He'd never been forthcoming in telling her his plans that didn't involve her directly, and being from different worlds, they hadn't seen each other often.

She's being so factual. He can understand the safety in that. He's lost the ones he loved, the ones closer to his heart than most. Trying to talk about it... he just usually won't. But she's trusting him enough with this and it's obvious the other man was someone very precious to her. Maybe he shouldn't but he raising his hand, hesitates, before resting it gently, easy to pull away from, on her shoulder. He remembers last time. She may not want his touch and he's ready to withdraw if she does. But it's hard to know she's hurting and trying so hard not to show it.

He's not really interested in the prince or vengeance. Because that's not what's wound around Ami's heart when it comes to this grave.

"How did you know him?"

She lets it stay there. For all the times she says she isn't looking for comfort or kindness, she is. But to explain Kunzite is something that's still difficult to do, a mix of confusion and how do you explain someone who dominated your life for a year - four years if she thinks of her own world and not just the man laying here?

The answer may not be positive. "He was the one who brought me to the Dark Kingdom in my world."

"And this man, from Econtra, I also fought at his side."

It sounds like a - disconnect? - for a minute. As if she's talking about two different people. Maybe she is. She's mentioned multiples in her world before. He's afraid to interrupt though, not wanting to draw her away from what she considers important. His wing curves forward a little, as if it would hover over her but is unsure of it's welcome. She hasn't shook off his hand though and so he leaves it there, fingers curved to hold her as much as she'll allow.

He knows she thinks coming to the Dark Kingdom was a good - or at last a necessary - thing for her. He's still holding off his own judgement in that area. He takes a guess at what seems more important though.

"He was more than a shield mate to you though, wasn't he?"

Cloud, you're asking all the wrong questions. Or rather, the right ones, and that's what's wrong. But Cloud, Cloud has earned some honesty.

"He was important to me." She considers the right word, always precise: "A mentor." There didn't need to be any more than that. The one minute in which they both were fools and he kissed her, is something to remember only for herself - and barely even that, as if remembering it too many times will make that moment of calm disappear.

They can't give up all feeling. Even if their actions can't be set according to those feelings, either, both of them on a course of vengeance that has nothing to do with the feelings they once gave to their master and their princess.

To say the rest, that he was also a man who doomed her to the same curse, who was rarely patient and sometimes violent, who thought not that they were partners but that he owned her very self to do with as he wished, is unthinkable.

"And in the end, we did everything we swore to do. The princess, the prince, and the Dark Kingdom are all gone." This might be surprising news - some of it.



Edited at 2011-12-30 01:51 am (UTC)

Zack was his mentor. But Zack was also his friend. His hero. His savior. 'Mentor' can mean a lot of things and so he absorbs the way she says the words as much as the one she's chosen to use. He doesn't expect her to really tell him what's going on or even the full truth but he's going to try to help anyway. Some of her news is new to him but it's the way she says it more than what she says that he notices and the doubt is in his voice, because she doesn't sound triumphant, as he says:

"So you both... won?"

She does grin now. "Was there any doubt of that?"

But what he's already sensed is right: It's a futile victory, when it was supposed to finally let them move on, and it never did. All those things are gone, she even has a new life separate from all those events as a doctor, but she is still tied to her past. Her world never went through the final steps that let other worlds be cut away from that fate.

"All our efforts were for that. And our power finally brought it about."

It's frustrating but he's not frustrated at her. It's himself. He knows there's more to what's going on that what she's telling him and if only he could find the perfect question, it would open her open and let him know what this is really all about. But he's terrible with words and he's failing her. Still, he tries, not willing to give up or leave her yet.

"Then what?"

Then came what's next for every world with the senshi. "A new enemy came, in my world. In his, I don't know. He never talked about it much."

It hadn't been just her; Kunzite had carefully kept the situation in his world from everyone it might be relevant to, to let him act more freely and with less interference.

She knows one thing she hadn't been told. "In the end, the others may have been gone in his world." He wouldn't have simply left the shitennou. If he could have taken his own life, they were probably not there.

"His world was different from yours."

Okay, he kind of understands that. Cloud's own world is different from Ami's. So somehow this mentor had come to her world, because she didn't know details about his to indicate it had been the other way around. He looks at the monument in front of them, frowning. He's missing a part, a key part, and it's Ami that has it locked inside of her. He keeps some things locked inside himself too. She talks about this man from a distance - yet she's here surrounded by her flowers, dreaming of missing him. It's prying but he wants to hear her answer when he softly asks:

"Did you love him?"

sldkjsldjlsds best worst question ever! lol /keysmashes for an hour

It's that he overshadowed her life. He gave her the power she boasts of, the truth she decided to believe, and the purpose she's meant to live her life by. No matter how much or how vehemently she asserts her own will, those facts shape her from the shadows.

And he was her first kiss. Was that something like love, the one single moment in which they understood each other, and let down their rigid guards?

Probably not. If he loved her, why is he buried beneath this ground instead of over by the trees, watching her with that sardonic smile? Why would he have left?

"No. It wasn't like love," she decides.

lol - Cloud's a dork like that. Glad he could be oblivious

He watches her while she decides and, to him, it seems telling. So his wing shifts, almost arches over her entirely on that side as he quietly asks:

"What was it then?"

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