justice: (aren't you spectacular?)
Alison ([personal profile] justice) wrote2013-06-02 11:31 pm

(no subject)

Title: All This Fear Falls Away
Characters: Feldt Grace, Sumeragi Li Noriega, Tieria Erde
Rating: PG
Word Count: 2,531 words
Warnings: Spoilers for all.
Summary: Among those stars, they remain, their legacy and their hope, watching over a world that shifts to change.
Note: Title comes from "Signal Fire" by Snow Patrol. There are aspects of ships in this, but I prefer to think of it as gen.

There are aspects of this world that are cold, suffocating, despite its flowers and rivers and green grass. Feldt remembers this world in pictures when she was younger, her mother’s arm looped around her to hold her on her lap, explaining the different flowers and colors. Very little of it stuck, but she remembers the fabled aromatic plants and the color of the sky during the daytime. It’s enough to draw her to the surface, gripping the chirping Haro in her arms as it explains roses and palm trees to her. But she can’t leave now; now she’s held down by gravity and regulations, a fake name and no perspective future.

It doesn’t fill her with distaste like it does the brooding and increasingly uncomfortable Tieria, but some part of her longs for the stretching sky and the distant stars. There was a time when she was convinced they were a lot closer, looming just so she could reach out and take them. This isn’t that time. Here on earth, she can only see them at night. She still reaches her hand up toward them, but for a different reason now.

Now, she reaches for her tattered letters to her parents and Lockon, and longs for the chance to place letters never sent to Lasse, Lichty, and Christina. Among those stars, they remain, their legacy and their hope, watching over a world that shifts to change.

-

Only a name is enough to find out her family’s history, stretched out over papers with meticulous details, bloodlines, and the past. It’s the least she has to go on, accepting her mother and father’s names as reality in a world where secrecy was of utmost importance. They left it with a small note, telling her that one day, when she carries on their legacy, she can find out where she comes home. It’s the least she knows, even if she doesn’t know how they cried or how they died, only that one day they did and she was recruited two years later for her analytical skills.

Feldt visits France first. The city is nothing like the short films her mother let her see when she was younger, but she finds herself entranced in the surroundings; the towers, the language, even if this is a world where France is quickly losing its unique identity as it becomes the International Federation, she feels at home among its people. Few of the women look like her mother, but she pretends with a smile and a whim, because this is her mother’s heritage, her mother’s home.

She walks down the streets and thinks of the reputation of this place; even with the lost identity, it remains the center of the world’s fashion. Feldt wonders if Christina ever came here due to the temptation of garments handing in windows and the reputable designer clothing gained. She wonders if she wandered through the same stores, brushing her windows over high quality silk and other materials, held up short dresses to her thin frame, and flounced out of the store with an easy smile and a wave to the girls running the store.

It’s a city that connects her to her mother and her friend. Feldt tells herself that it’s enough that she can live on now, walking there instead of them, and thinks to write them more letters about the nice woman who turned her nose up when Feldt didn’t end up buying the dress, or the unusual menu in the restaurant across the street from the same store. She smiles somberly when she has to leave. This city is the echo of her heritage and her existence, but she can’t help but look up toward the sky and wonder why it’s even more distant, why the lights of the city washes away her ability of seeing the stars she finds so familiar.

The stars don’t reveal themselves even when she touches down in her father’s homeland. This London, and as she stumbles through the bustling streets and finds herself startled by the large busses, she wonders if this is really not so far from Lockon’s roots. Their pasts were ones in conflict; she imagines that Lockon’s family harked back to the days of terrorism and Catholic identity. She imagines that they detached themselves from that identity, and maybe they could have known her father from infrequent visits to London, even a wave passing down the street while Lockon peered up at his mother and father.

Feldt realizes, only as she jumps on a plane to return to Sumeragi and the others, how little she knows about her mother, her father, Lockon, and Christina; she knows little anecdotes, and she can’t make up the rest. But as her plane carries her back, she pulls out a piece of paper and begins a series of letters, telling each of them about her trip, and how she wishes they would be there. One letter isn’t enough, but her thoughts will come with each scratch of her pen over the paper; if it takes two or three or five to make them know her experience, it will be enough. There is nothing sacred in this evolving world, only the fact that so few know about others. She’s not in a place where she can see them again and ask questions, but maybe the letters will be enough to prepare them, to tell them what she wants to know when it’s finally her time to join them again.

-

When she is sixteen, she tastes her first bit of normalcy with her first date. Sumeragi gives her a pep talk through slurred words and dark hair dangling in her eyes. “You’ll be fine, Feldt,” she assures her, but Feldt wonders if this is her place to leave on whims and fallacies, into a world where no boy knows her secret, her defined terrorism while settling in the skies she once called home. “Just remember to smile.” There is a cautious murmur before Sumeragi steps back and eases toward their living room; she is slipping each day, worse and worse until there are moments when she doesn’t even sound like herself. But Feldt can’t help her, she can’t give her the right words because Sumeragi often raises a hand and cups her cheek and tells her that she shouldn’t be here, she shouldn’t have ever been here; Celestial Being stripped her of her potential normalcy.

As she stands in front of a mirror, pulling her hair back, Feldt knows it should be her mother standing in the doorway with reassuring words and a caring hand. It should be Christina calling her or standing behind her, pulling strands of pink hair back behind her ear so it sits right, helping her pick out the right outfit and reminding her that her first date with Lichty wasn’t so bad. It would have been better if he wasn’t so awkward.

Feldt pulls the hair back herself and turns a little in her dress. Outside, the boy stands waiting to bring her to get ice cream and see a movie. She doesn’t know if this is normal, but Sumeragi assures her that it is. “Have fun,” Sumeragi calls as she starts out of the room and toward the door, but she can’t help but feel like she is abandoning her friend as she tips another glass toward her lips.

-

It is only after she becomes accustomed to this typical life that she begins to wonder if this is what Lockon meant when he said to live on. Feldt holds her boyfriend Gareth’s hand as she remembers Lockon’s easy smile and casual shrug before he walked down the hall toward a mission. This boy doesn’t carry himself like Lockon; he has bouts of arrogance and forgets to call her, but Feldt can’t fault him for this, not knowing that it’s a problem of his. She knows it’s wrong to compare him to a first crush—she knows, now, that it was that—but she finds herself wading in the unknown waiting for the known to sprout up and reveal itself to her.

But this boy doesn’t remind her of Lockon, and more like Lasse, with his cynicism and his willingness to flex his arms. “I’ll be a soldier one day for the Federation,” Gareth tells her, and she looks at him with his unmarred features and thinks to tell him that it’s unnecessary, that the world doesn’t need a force like that.

Instead, she stops answering his calls and stays home to help Sumeragi cut back on her drinking, hiding and pouring out one bottle after another until there’s only a little left. Tieria watches with disapproval, his own apathy toward their treatment of one another seeping into the room, but Feldt understands that he’s a little lost, too; this is what it means to live on, not to live in normalcy and in stereotypes that she’s been assured of being proper, but to help the remains of their family.

She starts telling stories; they are all factual, times on the bridge when they would stand together and things she noticed from her perspective. Feldt reads her letters the letters she wrote and grips Sumeragi’s hand as she cries at night, burying her face into the cushion of their couch as she calls herself a failure, never able to redeem herself from her crimes as Kujou or as Sumeragi. She deserves nothing more, but Feldt holds her close and continues speaking.

“You’ll live on, too,” she tells Sumeragi one day, and the broken stops cease and the woman lifts her head.

“I always thought you were so young.”

Feldt isn’t sure how to respond to that, so she just smiles, welcoming Sumeragi’s arms around her; it’s a step toward moving forward, piecing together their identities when they seemed to be lost in the explosive remains in space.

-

With Tieria, it’s far more difficult. Taxing discussions and him leaving the room, telling her that she doesn’t know, that this isn’t the place where he should be. Feldt wonders if that’s the case. She can’t read through his words, but she knows Lockon’s feelings toward him; she knows Tieria is frail and needs reassurance, or he’ll fall apart. Each stubborn step or flick of his hand toward the television as a new world development is announced tells her of his uneasiness, his discomfort. It isn’t so different from the weeks after they found him in space, his time in his room and his blank gaze as he would look toward the ceiling.

He has since changed, instead wandering about the house and leaving with an absent gaze and coming back hours later without any change to his attitude. His actions are no less imperious than they were before their missions started, demanding and telling them that this is their fault. It’s their fault that the world won’t change for them, won’t understand their initial warnings, and it’s their fault that they can’t make them listen as they live as shells in a house in suburbia.

If only the door had been more secure, if only Dynames had been locked down, if only—Tieria’s life is a series of if onlys and desiring to not be here, but an unwillingness to fix that. When he sits alone, Feldt usually finds herself at a loss. There are some days when she thinks she has an answer, but he stands up and demands a way back to the sky, this earth is weighing him down, let him be back where he belongs, where he wants to be.

“He wouldn’t want you up there,” she manages one day. Her hands shake, and Sumeragi makes a muffled sound behind her, telling her no, no, she maybe shouldn’t. “He would have told you the same thing as me.”

“But he didn’t.”

“He didn’t have a chance.” Feldt eases toward him. Her steps carry her toward him, and she’s afraid that he’ll grab her and violently shake her like the time with Setsuna, but Tieria stands still and looks down toward her, his lips curving down into an unpleasant frown. She grabs his hand, gripping it and she tilts her head back. It’s still evening, but there are still faint hints of the sky they left behind up there. “I miss it, too.”

Tieria starts, moving to rip his hand from hers, and he corrects her: “You mean him. Times with him.”

She shakes her head, holding on, even if it leaves her stumbling closer to him. “It. I miss the sky, too. It was easier up there. Less weighted. Less suffocating.” Feldt raises a hand to press it against her to indicate that she feels the same weight. “But I’m happy to live on for them.”

Him.

“Them,” she insists, gripping his hand a little more tightly. “Them. They all are waiting for us. He’s waiting for you. So are Lichty, Lasse, and Christina. They’re all waiting.”

Tieria doesn’t respond, not completely. His features soften and he pulls away from her, stepping closer to the water when she finally releases him. He tilts his head back and looks toward the sky, and she thinks—maybe he understands now, but maybe not. Feldt isn’t Lockon, she knows; but maybe that’s because no one can be. No one can replace that person in their lives, but no one can replace the others. They can just try to find more people they care about, and hold close who they had before.

-

In this world, there are many facets that remind her of them. When she has to slowly switch her wardrobe out, she tries to think of Christina’s advice and Lichty’s careful tilt of his head as she would twirl around in a skirt. She tries to picture Lasse’s indifference during these discussions, dropping to the floor so he can start crunches. There would be the phone calls to Lockon and Haro’s eager chirping of his name; now they’re careful to mention his name around the robot, knowing that it could lead to another unintentional round of his repeated name. Lockon, Lockon—live on, he told her, and sometimes it’s easy to understand it. And sometimes, she wonders if she’s worked it out yet.

For in this world, she finds herself separate from the changes she helped cause, that her parents and her loved ones helped cause. Feldt knows that this is the world she has to experience before she joins them again, and she has a duty by the ones who remain to make sure they live before they get there, too. It’s a world that’s suffocating with its policies and lies, with its uncertainties and its lack of open space, but it’s the world where she has to live on in their place, walking down the streets they would never walk down so she can tell them in another life.

When they announce the Earth Federation, she thinks it may be the world where their values can come true; maybe not yet, as Sumeragi predicts with an uncertain glance, but maybe soon. Maybe they will understand, and when it’s time to see them again, she’ll meet them among those stars.