X/1999 Fan Fiction ❯ On Earth as It Is in Heaven ❯ Destiny ( Chapter 1 )
[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]
“Fate remains wholly inexorable.”
~Anonymous, The Wanderer
“How a person masters his fate is more important than what his fate is.”
~Wilhelm von Humboldt
On Earth as It Is in Heaven
August 26, 1999
Such sad eyes she wore.
He shared a great many things with his mother, but those large, expressive, melancholy eyes were among the strongest similarities. It was too bad, really. Neither of them needed anyone else. They didn't need the pity or the charity people offered them when they saw a single mother and her frail child—even less they needed the contempt and the scorn of a “slut” who had borne a queer boy.
Her eyes had always been sad, just like his. Or maybe it was the other way around. But they had never been sadder than in that moment.
She stood stretched out before him as her maker had intended. Spools upon spools of auburn hair whipped around her flawless form like so much water. Her thin lips wagged and wiggled, flapping like a fish on the shore, as she murmured his name as she smiled her sweet, sad smile. The spokes of her fingers spidered across the rolling plain of her abdomen, where they became the shovel digging at the Earth.
The Earth bore red water. The deeper she dug, the greater the wave of red that ran down through the valley of the sex that bore him, down the thin trunk of her legs, past the roots of her feet, and into the inky darkness that stretched on below, above, aside, and beyond. The void drank deeply.
And then she found the treasure, all gold and silver and platinum and awful beauty. He saw a star sealed within a brilliant ring, a star with the world's most stunning tail. It became a handle of cerulean threads, a hand guard to match the star, and a shock of sacred steel that went on forever.
She murmured his name again with her sweet, sad mouth. Destiny. She was talking about Destiny again. He hated his mother more than a little when she talked like this. Tokyo. She was talking about Tokyo again. He loved his mother so much when she spoke of the city, drunk on the foolish hope her words would be the prelude to their return.
That day never came. There would be no return for the two of them, not as long as the aroma of pork filled his nostrils.
The water of his mouth matched the water of his eyes. The treasure sailed toward him on ebony waves of the omnipresent void. It caught the non-existent light in its captivating length. Or maybe it was the light, loosing its precious luster in favor of an electric blue brilliance. And then it was his, stowed away in the vault of his heart. It hurt so much more than he thought it would, which is to say it was painless.
So much roasting meat, his mother upon the spit. The fated vultures swooped down with their unseen talons, ripping her to shreds in all-too-visible display of gore. Even as she burned. Wasn't it enough that his mother's pale, white flesh went up in smoke like the paper it resembled? Did they have to tear her into so many pieces to be devoured in the name of the dark director of the human farce?
His world was dyed in shades of maternal red.
Kamui Shirou awoke to a darkness far more vulnerable than the one that devoured his mother. (But that had been Destiny.) His cobalt blue eyes pierced the darkness like the sword in his chest, which pulsed not-quite-in time with his heart. He closed the eyes as soon as they were open, basking in the comfortable pitter patter of sword and shield. Really, what was more like a shield than the fortress of his heart?
The knocking came back to him like a boomerang. He rolled over, not bothering to glance at the crimson numbers of the clock glaring out at him. It had come with the apartment. He had little need or desire for that trapping of “civilized” life. The knocking went around for another trip, returning in so many knuckles on a thin, cheap door.
Kamui sighed, swinging spindly legs over the edge of the bed to push himself toward the living room-kitchen that was the portal to the outside world. He didn't bother changing out of the old t-shirt or the too-worn slacks, nor did he comb the tangled mass of hair that perched on his scalp like a raven. There was no one he had to impress, this man most of all.
His suspicions came to fruition, as a drawn, middle-aged man in a cheap suit and wide glasses greeted Kamui at the door. He was perhaps the only person who saw the boy with any degree of regularity these days, Mr. Kobayashi the grocer aside.
“Inspector Yamada,” he drawled at length. He did not want to talk to this man. This man wanted to talk to him very much.
“Kamui,” the officer nodded shortly, inviting himself into the cramped apartment despite the fact that Kamui had been standing in such a way as to keep him out. He sighed at that, allowing the door to swing to a close with a “click.” He took his appointed seat on the threadbare couch that sat across from a dilapidated wooden chair, where the Inspector sat creaking.
Kamui closed his eyes and allowed the older man's questions to roll over him in a sea of white noise. Sometimes, he would deign to answer. Most of the time, he didn't. But when he did, the Inspector rarely got more than a monosyllabic response. They both knew the game by now, so why did this stubborn old fool insist on playing it?
“Kamui,” his voice had suddenly grown very grave, punctuated by the sounding of his pen and pad crashing to the table (or what passed for a table in this dump). “I know I'm asking a lot of you right now, with your living conditions and your mother's recent passing, but you need to give me something. I can't help you if you don't help me.”
The boy's eyes slit themselves open, cooling regarding the other. One might have taken him for a serpent ready to strike. “I can't help you.”
“God damn it, Kamui!” The man snapped furiously, nearly cracking the delicate glass of his spectacles between his fingers as he absently shined them with one hand, the other rubbing away in futility at a tension headache. “I know you're mourning! I know you've been through something terrible, but you can't just throw your life away!” He paused, shifting, returning the glasses to the bridge with a conspiratorial glint in his eyes. “I'm not supposed to tell you this, but we have reason to believe your mother was murdered.”
He didn't even bother feigning interest.
“Yes,” Yamada steamed ahead, mistaking his apathy for shock. “Certain things have come to light as of late. The coroner's report was particularly unsettling. Your mother's body, despite the poor condition after the fire, showed signs of profound and grievous wounds inflicted upon it before the fire got to it.” The silence would have slipped into infinite if he had let it. “Kamui, you need to realize this is very important. Your mother was brutally murdered by a madman who is still on the loose. It wasn't enough that he took your mother from you; he destroyed your home in an effort to conceal the evidence. Don't you want to help us catch the perpetrator?”
He almost laughed at that, air escaping his lips in an accidental whistle. How could this frail, misguided little man possibly confront the cogs of the machine? It was some cosmic joke. It had to be. Of course, that could be said of ever facet of life, really.
“No, I don't,” he rose to his feet with the popping of joints. “It's not my problem. My mother is two weeks in the grave. I've already buried her. Why can't you?”
“Because I care! Unlike you, I'm not some zombie. I care about the people around me. I don't just glide through life, sleeping the days away and living off of my mother's inheritance like a slug in a dingy little corner of the world like this!”
The seconds ticked off the clock, silent. The silence filled the room like the smell of ozone.
“You have a way with words, Inspector,” his words held an edge to them. Where did the coward get the balls to say that to him? As rumor had it, this man was much the same as Kamui, trading lethargy for drive. The men at the station murmured all sorts of things about him, that he loved his job more than he loved his wife, which was why she ran off with a man ten years his junior. He may have looked better off to the layman, but he was just as empty as the youth he railed against.
But that wasn't what really made Kamui angry. From day one, the man had never trusted him. He had been entirely sympathetic, but not trustworthy. There was something in the surly, sullen youth that set him on edge. Even before the police had any reason to suspect that his mother's death was anything more than a tragic accident, he had looked through those thick lenses with suspicion. The youth's stone-wall tactics, the absence of a murder weapon, no prints, no other suspects. So wound the web the Inspector spun.
But he would never pounce. Kamui could see it in his eyes, as afraid and desperate as they were angry. The man had a reputation to reckless zeal. He couldn't afford to collar the grieving son of a murder victim with little more than a hunch and hope to maintain what little respect he had left. Kamui held a dim hope that this little outburst would be the beginning of the end, but he very much doubted it. The cycle would continue.
He didn't feel the least bit bad when he flipped on the grainy television set, filling the room like a fishbowl. Television was another of the things Kamui didn't care for, but it was the best way to get his point across. He was done with this man.
Mercifully, he took the hint, but not before parting with a “Don't leave town, Kamui.”
It was hard to think of his mother these days. He clung desperately to the notion that he was still alive, still in a position to affect some sort of change, amidst the sea of his guilt. Even the found memories ran red with shame.
It hadn't been as peaceful as he dreamed, even if it was very brutal. The dream always left out his baser urges. He had wanted that sword, coveted it so. Scrawny fingers found a home around that ornate hilt with a vicious yank and a litany of low curses against her for keeping it from him. Disemboweled had she been in his lust for his birthright.
It had almost been an act of mercy when the fire took her, wiping away the ravaged remains of his desire to hold the sword that melted into his body like water to a sponge.
In spite of it all, she had smiled her sweet, sad smile.
“This world is coming to an end.” She was never one for small talk.
“I know,” he sighed. He enjoyed this closeness, as she sat embracing him from behind beneath the shade of the tree at the edge of town. But he hated her tongue. Time found him wishing he could rip it out of her head just as he had ripped the sword from her womb.
That's not how this memory goes.
He started over.
“This world is coming to an end.” She was never one for small talk.
“I know,” he sighed. “It makes me sad to think this will all be gone some day.” Nature had always been Life's crowning beauty. Sometimes, he thought it was the only thing that made life worth living—the song of the nightingale, the softness of a newborn, the smell of a coming rain.
“It needn't be that way.” She stroked his cheek lovingly. And, then, almost as if changing the topic (she wasn't), “Is there something in this world you love above all else? Is there some facet or face that you would sooner die for than see perish from this Earth?”
“Of course,” the answer came so simply. “I would do anything for Kotori and Fuuma.”
He wanted to go to them, but that was another memory for another time. This dream dictated he not stray from the path of a very specific memory.
She laughed with mirth, ruffling his hair. “That is only fitting, their destined threads being so tightly wound with your own.”
His anger, long smoldering, boiled over. “Why are you like this, Mother!?” He broke her embrace, stalking away, only to wheel on her in his outrage. He wouldn't let her think she had won an argument she didn't even know she was having. “Why are you resigned to everything? Destiny is just a myth—a fantasy—a fairy tale! We shape the future with every second of every day. We're not just dolls jerking on strings.”
The words had spilled from his mouth like so much lava—hot and unyielding. She was the sea that would cool his anger and leave it solid, unbreakable, and impossible to ignore.
“But you are wrong, my dear,” she rose to her feet, slow as ever. There was a time he thought she was graceful. More and more, he thought of her as weak, winding down. And it hurt him to know he thought less of her. “We all walk preordained paths. Our future has already been decided.”
He now felt the heat rising to his cheeks and the deep pools of the eyes his mother gave him. Hot tears threatened to spill down his cheeks at the notion of either of his precious persons coming to harm without any way of saving them. He had promised them—
“But you are a very special person, my son,” the slender fingers he had come to know so well ran their cool lengths across his burning cheeks, cooling them to a calm. “You may yet change the course of Fate. But that requires a great power and an even greater will. I have not told you to build your strength without reason. There will come a day when you put it to use for the greatest good—protecting the people you love—and you will need every drop of power you can wring from the reservoir within you.” She punctuated this in a stunningly simple way, moving her soothing hand toward the hollow place that held his heart.
This was before the sword and the fire.
Of course it was. Tohru, his one and only mother, was still alive. Of course he knew that. Why wouldn't he know that?
Kamui became acutely aware of the fact that he was not alone. So aware, his mind froze the dreamscape, now frozen under a film of his lucidity. The leaves no longer fell. His mother was no longer talking (although nothing could stop that odd twinkle in her eyes).
The branches of the three rustled and he saw a figure wreathed in white. His eyes burned in a golden fervor.
“It looks like you came to my dream to die.”
Kamui awoke with a start, eyes shining the same shade of a hilt he had not seen in weeks. The tree had gone. The interloper had gone. His mother had gone.
He slumped his shoulders, his eyes sliding back to their birth blue.
It was his ears that served him next, catching the edge of a report on some news station or another. Footage of the aftermath of an earthquake. The mayor of Tokyo making an announcement about the tragedy. A list of fatalities. Names he didn't recognize scrolling across a screen.
Then they reached the “M” section. “Monou, Kyougo,” peeked out at him from the bottom right corner of the screen, looking horribly out of place as it blended in.
He remembered a great many things. He remembered the Monou siblings, who he had cherished as more than friends, something surpassing even treasures. He remembered the man who had been their father, his “uncle” by association. He remembered tales of the world ending first with earthquakes. But, most of all, he remembered the sweet, sad smile that told him to return to Tokyo for the sake of his friends.
Kamui Shirou left for Tokyo that very night.