Title: A God He Didn't Believe In
Rating: PG-13 for dark theme
Warning: shounin-ai, death-fic, spoilers for manga vol.10, manga-verse fic
Summary: I understood then that he was extremely close to me at such a deep level... That is why after all was said and done, I wanted to share my tomorrows with him... -manga volume 10/chapter 4
Eight days before I confronted Knives for the final time, I learned what it truly meant to leave your entire life in someone else’s hands; to leave your fate in the control of another and know with 100% certainty that you had nothing to fear.
I imagine it feels a lot like what ‘home’ feels like, though I don’t really have the experience of the latter to compare the two.
Yes, there were places, few and far between, that I might have called ‘home’, and some even insisted I could, but they didn’t really feel like how I thought they should. Actually, I guess the correct phrasing would be that they didn’t feel like how Rem had described it feeling. She had told us once, that home was a place where you could let your hair down; a place where you could drop the walls that shielded you from the outside world and relax. It was a place where you felt safe, a place where you could be yourself without having to worry about the constant scrutiny of those around you.
I’d been beginning to think that for someone like me, there was no such place.
And then Nick came along, seemingly out of the blue, just to prove me wrong.
He’d accomplished a feat that hadn’t been done since Rem had died- a time span of over 150 years. He’d managed to make me smile, an honest, real, meaningful smile, and he did this within one day of us meeting for the first time. He told me then that I looked better when I smiled. It made me wonder how someone who’d only known me for a few hours could possibly be so certain of something so trivial. But it wasn’t trivial, and he and I both knew it. What neither of us did know, however, was that one comment is when everything began to change.
Unfortunately, it took me all the way down to just a week before the end of it all to finally realize that ‘home’ didn’t have to be a fixed point on a map, where X marked the spot with a proper longitude and latitude. It could be something as insignificant as the place next to someone else, waiting to be filled by you.
I made a whisper of hope to a god I didn't believe in...
Apparently, fate had other plans.
Seven days before I confronted my brother for the final time, I learned what it felt like to realize you were in love with someone without question; to know that this was a person you could see yourself with for a long time to come.
Knives had used this word to try and make sense of the feelings I had for Rem. However, if it truly was love I felt for her, it was a different type of love, just as powerful, but altogether different. My feelings for her were tranquil, serene. Thinking about her made me want to curl up in a ball and have pleasant dreams of green meadows and flowers. Thoughts of her made me nostalgic for times much simpler than this.
My love for Nicholas, well it just kind of happened. It was possessive and urgent, and I often found myself acting involuntarily without thinking where he was concerned, like that day, when I found myself going after him when I realized he’d left without saying goodbye. Something inside me told me to go, so I did. It had me sleepless at night during times when he wasn’t travelling with me, wondering where he was and what he was doing; if he planned on coming back anytime soon.
Ironic how I realized what it all came down to in the middle of a fight, where life and death hung in the balance.
And I had never wanted anything else more in my life. Not even Knives’ head, which in all honesty, I didn’t really want anyway.
Part of me felt guilty at that, like I’d somehow betrayed Rem by placing someone else higher than her in my heart, even if it was just by a little bit. Another, larger part of me knew, though, that ultimately, it’s what she would have wanted for me; a life looking toward the future and uninhibited by the past.
I gave thanks to a god I didn’t believe in…
And so, seven days before the end, I was finally able to let the memory of Rem Saibrem rest in eternal peace.
Six and a half days before I saved the world, I watched the rest of my tomorrows fade away before my eyes. And my world ended.
It was stupid of me not to notice immediately. He looked like death. Literally.
I guess that’s what I get for being preoccupied with other things. If I’d had my head on straight, and not thinking about the future, perhaps I would have caught what was going on sooner. Perhaps I could have stopped it.
Logically, I knew there was nothing I could have done. There were only two options, and even they weren’t much of options. He could either: drink one vial of solution and die at the hand of his assailant while he waited for it to work, or drink two vials of solution, die anyway, but at least have enough adrenaline to take the guy trying to kill him out with him. Not drinking a vial at all wasn’t even up for debate.
And Nick. Stupid, silly, amazing Nicholas. He never entered a fight he knew he couldn’t finish. Leaving his opponent left to be dealt with by me would have been a shot to his ego, dead or not.
Still, I felt as if one decision, one action would have made all the difference. Had I’d noticed him gone sooner, or even been there to stop him from leaving at all. But what good were regrets now? They only served to hold me back.
Six and a half days before I saved the world, I learned how to truly hate a person.
My heart filled with so much sorrow, so much pain; anguish I hadn’t felt since the day Knives killed Rem. At that moment, I could no longer stop myself from hating. Without realizing it Knives had taken everything from me that I ever would have wanted to live for.
Granted, Knives had not been the one who sent them out to the killing field, that had been Lagato Bluesummer, but I couldn’t bring myself to hate that broken shell of a man. I pitied him, but didn’t hate. It was Knives who had created the Eye of Micheal, Knives who had gathered together the Gun-ho Guns. Knives was the one ultimately responsible for sending Nicholas D. Wolfwood down the spiraling path to his own doom. And it was Knives who I swore would pay for it.
I cursed at a god I didn’t believe in…
It’s then that I started to formulate a plan.
Six days before the gauntlet fell I buried my soul-mate, and began to walk toward death.
I’d made my decision, and was determined to carry it out. I’d track Knives down, and force us both to drain out power supply, and then we’d both fade away to nothing. This world had no need for us anymore. I wondered if it ever did.
We were monsters, abominations. We should never have existed at all. We brought chaos wherever we went. If not for us, Rem would have lived a longer life, Nick would be sitting in a bar, having a drink. And everyone else who’d died by our hands, or because of us, would have had a chance at a better life.
I never let on to the others what my real intentions were. If they knew, they’d try to stop me. Futile, regardless, but less stressful in the long run.
I focused solely on the task at hand and locked all emotion away. I had no need for them where I headed. I felt as if they’d all been run dry, anyway.
I prayed to a god I didn’t believe in…
And then, my journey ended.
Two weeks after the ark crashed to the ground, I awoke alone.
My brother had used the last of his power to save my life, and then faded away while I slept. I’d never forgive him for what’d he’d done, but I couldn’t bring myself to hate him anymore.
The planet was saved, the earth ships had landed. The people of Gunsmoke rejoiced daily.
As for me, I remained empty inside.
I let the guilt, the pain, the regret wash over me. There was no reason to hold them back any longer. It was so easy to use what little power remained in me and just die, but my life had been spared twice now, and it wasn’t right to betray the sentiments.
At least that’s what I told myself during the night when sleep never came, and I could think about nothing but him.
As the weeks passed I began to ask questions to a god I didn’t believe in…
And then to the world, it looked like I just disappeared.
A year after the death of a friend, I let the memories flow free.
Sitting in front of his grave, I took a bottle of his favorite whiskey and poured half of it over his tombstone.
Were he here right now, he’d be having a fit. I could imagine him, clear as day, griping to me about wasting a good bottle of expensive booze. Then he’d pull two shot glasses out of his pocket, as if it was perfectly normal for a priest to carry two shot glasses on his person at all, and fill each one up after having snatched to bottle from me.
I’d give him that smile then, the one I realized too late could have only been meant for him, and then we’d make a toast. Probably to something stupid like staying alive or a sunny day for the next day of travel. Whatever it was, we’d be satisfied.
And then we would drink.
By the end of the evening Nick would be wasted, and I’d have only pretended to be drunk. Eventually he’d fall asleep, and I’d end up spending the night watching him, wishing the night would never end.
But he wasn’t here, and I drank his portion for him.
As night began to fall, I looked up and made a promise to the god he believed in…
…and immediately started to look forward to coming again next year.
And because he said I looked better when I smiled, I smiled the smile that could only have been meant for him.
Okay, so please review if you are up to reading and let me know what you think. It feels a little disjointed to me, but I think it's just the flow of the story. Please keep in mind that it's been close to two years since I've written anything, and the first time I've written for this fandom. Sorry for the gloom, the Vash-muse that materialized wouldn't leave me alone to plot Wolfwood's rising from the grave without writing this out first.