Author: Dyslexic Angel
Fandom: Kingdom Hearts
Length: nearly 2000 words. =D
Disclaimer: Still don't own Kingdom Hearts. Still not queen. There is much work to be done.
Rating: OT. Very grim. Lots of implied dieing, losing hearts, general bad stuff. No smut.
I don't agree with you, that it was set from our first meeting, really just a brush of shoulders and a polite smile. I'm not certain it was ever set in stone, but I, as you so blithely put it, am a “cynical stick-in-the-mud who only believes in what I can touch.” Now, don't blush so. They're your words, are you ashamed of them? At any rate, my first glimpse of you was just that, a glimpse, as I fought my way through the snarl of moving bodies. I remember noticing even then how bright you seemed, held against your world; this place was ripe for destruction, lush with despair and dark misery, but you were singing as you walked.
I was the only operative there at that time; several of the others had been and gone, to sew the seeds of chaos. I was their unenthusiastic gardener, a popular journalist with a part-time job keeping the books for a small secondhand shop. It was not fascinating work, but slow and precise, and I was as close to happy there as I ever was, then. The Organization was a very different place in those days and I was glad of the time away. So I worked the careful threads of imminent destruction, and never gave you another moment's thought. I had other things to worry about; this world was nearly ready, and the door must be opened at just the right time. Why, you ask? When a person mus fight the heartless, strength of heart matters almost as much as physical attributes, you know that right? When a world must face the heartless, it is even more so. The more unhappy and despairing the people of a world are, the faster it falls to us, and the more completely. That world was truly a work of art; hopelessness was thick in the very air.
I opened the Door on a Wednesday afternoon, during my lunch break. The effects of shadow crept slowly into the world, sluggish with bright daylight, and I anticipated nightfall when the shadows would come in waves.
You did not wait for nightfall. It was barely sunset when you crashed through the plate glass window at the front of the store, ruddy light making the flying glass glimmer like drops of blood. Trouble was already hot on your tail; hardly surprising, considering the strength of your heart. I could sense it now, a gentle warmth that filled the room like molten sunlight, and the shadows growing darker as they fed. I wondered for a brief moment if you were a keyblade bearer, so strong was the taste of power in the air about you. But your weapon, I saw as you flashed me a cheery smirk, was a length of wood that had once in its life probably been a broom handle.
The pack of shadows followed you in, and you fought with surprising skill; you actually frightened them away, though I believe you thought you had killed them. You walked over to where I stood in the shadows behind the counter.
“I don't suppose you have any weapons?” You asked, holding up the stick which a bad blow had snapped in half. Anyone else would have been panting, shaking with reaction after that, but you? Your fingers trembled slightly on the splintered wood, but you almost seemed to be enjoying the rush, cocksure and optimistic.
As a matter of fact, the shop did have a small selection of antique weapons, and I was seized with the sudden urge to show them too you. I knew you were an enemy—knew I should destroy you, love—but I was seized with a sudden, maniac desire to see just what you were capable of. Surely, one heart could make no difference ? At any rate, I led you back to the table tucked away in a dusty corner, behind a bookcase. There was not much there; it is only now that I wonder at that, the choices you were offered and the choices you made.
There were only three objects on the table, lined up on a piece of velvet the stained and faded color of deep water. The first was an antique broadsword, carefully tended, sharpened and polished to a high sheen. Beside it was a shield, a heavy heater shield battered and worn but enameled with the crest of a snarling lion. The third object was a short staff, too short to be an effective weapon were it not for the magic it commanded, laced through runes that covered both ends. You studied each of these carefully, picking them up and laying them down again.
“More will be here soon.” You looked at me sharply, but didn't ask how I would know such a thing.
“Then I'll have to choose quickly, won't I?” The slightly ironic cast to your words froze my voice in my throat. Whole, you were captivating—a man who commands all attention in a room, as effortlessly as breathing. You turned away from the table of weapons as though displeased with what you had found there, and your eyes fell on a carved walking stick where it protruded from a bucked of worn black umbrellas. This, it seemed, was what you were searching for; a length of pale wood a few inches shorter than you stood, polished and carved with an abstract pattern of ripples and ridges. You tested the balance, gave an experimental swing, and grinned at the feel of the stick in your hand.
“Perfect. Thank you, --...?” You turned to face me, and I realized you were asking, however indirectly, for my name. I do not know, to this day, what possessed me to give you the answer I did.
“Ienzo.” The name rolled off my tongue as it had not in years, not since our destruction, my death and re-birth. You smiled at me, and for a moment I was him again, a a feeling oddly like hope soaring where my heart belonged. Then reality re-asserted itself; I could not afford this madness. You were not the brave young hero, I was not the wise man sent to arm and guide you. This was no battle the righteous could win; I had made sure of that. I had a job to do, and you were squarely in my way. I was sick with something that could have been regret, but that was irrelevant to the task at hand.
“Unusual name.” You commented. The words were almost flirtatious, but I was too overwhelmed by fury at you and myself to really realize what that could mean. You moved away, then, and I followed you without thinking as we stepped through the remains of the shattered window, and I saw first-hand what I had wrought on this world.
Shadows surged and roiled in the dying light, seizing and dragging under the rare fool who emerged from the darkened buildings. Most stayed behind locked doors, out of sight but not sense of the menace in the streets. For a moment old instincts clashed with present, and I was horribly conflicted between sick triumph and ecstatic regret. The two settled back quickly; they were merely shadows, and I the shadow master. Now was not the time for human feelings to encroach; and yet I followed you, and you accepted my presence as though I had every right to ride out at your side.
I watched you fight from the shadows. You did not seem to begrudge me my relative safety; did you mistake my conflict for cowardice? Or had you, even then, seen the true nature of my craving and hatred for the light? Was that the first step in our cautious dance, our persisting pattern of avoidance and longing? At any rate, you accepted my silent, unhelpful presence as I first learned about your savior complex. The streets were ripe with victims now; the Heartless had begun to cut into the buildings, shadow claws and fangs cutting through stonework as though it were soft cheese, and distant screaming filled the air like some discordant song. Your face was grim and strong, like any knight on his way into battle, and I wonder now if you had chosen the sword how long it would have remained ordinary metal in your hands.
A scream tore through the air, sharp and near against the distant chorus; you turned as though summoned by name. A woman and her child cowered beneath an overhang, trapped in the corner where two buildings met. The shadows writhed and danced around them, taunting their captured prey.
I knew what you would do, almost before you did. I watched as you charged the shadows, stick held high. I watched you spin in an impossible arc, knocking the shadows away, watched the woman run while the darkness turned to face this new threat. She might even escape, I mused, one of the lucky few to win free of this world. When I turned back you were still fighting, though it was clear you were tiring fast. The shadows feel no weariness, and you could barely wound them, strong as you were. Amazed, I saw you kill one, the sudden flash of bright hope and grim determination lighting your face for a moment like a brief flare of fire. It was not long after that you were wounded, claw marks down your arm that glowed vilely with poison. Even if you made it out of here alive, I knew, you would not survive it. But the chances of that were fading fast, as venom and blood loss and overwhelming weariness slowed your movements and weakened your blows.
I saw the darkness win at last, wrapping almost tender fingers around you. You fought to the last, movements slowing to a stop as at the last, you looked at me. I saw fear on your sweat-streaked face, saw the naked plea for help. I made no response, and saw the hopelessness cross your face as shadows wound around your throat. I watched you dragged under, and did not stir.
The shadows flared, the light of a new, strong heart bright in the dusky twilight. It flashed and faded, cycling through bloody crimson before shifting to become one with the roiling darkness around it. Just another shadow, I saw with a trace of disappointment. Nothing special at all, like this. I was about to turn and go, but something caught the corner of my eye. Deep under the overhang, more ordinary shadows were congealing into something solid. I watched it take shape, a form that looked like you, unconscious and pale, all the paler for being dressed all in black.
I studied your silent form with a small smirk, and picked you up. You weighed no more than air; no more substantial than darkness, as we are when we are young and barely formed. I called my own shadows, and stepped sideways towards Castle Oblivion.
Time to bring another brother home.