|The Taste of Rain
Author: Aphel Aura PM
On a rainy day in Solaris, Hyuga thinks about life, love, and how both have affected him. Hyuga/SigurdRated: Fiction T - English - Angst/Romance - Citan U. - Words: 3,855 - Reviews: 5 - Favs: 1 - Published: 09-17-03 - Status: Complete - id: 1523485
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Rating: PG-13 to PG-15 for some m/m interaction
Summary: "This is his own bit of rebellion, at least the way he sees it, because only he seems to appreciate the drastic shift in weather [when it rains]."
Pairing: Citan [Hyuga herein] + Sigurd [nothing beyond soft shounen ai and implied sex]
Spoiler Warning: ...only because this fic takes place pre-game and mentions characters that may not have been introduced yet to players. There are also references to Citan's mysterious circumstances, so I would advise readers to exercise caution so as to not spoil the game.
Disclaimer: Xenogears and all of its related characters and locations are copyrighted to the infinitely amazing group of people who make up Squaresoft.
Author's Note: I was originally going to make my first venture into the world of Xenogears fiction with two different characters of the new generation. However, after seeing enough interaction between the once-Elements and gaining more insight on Citan Uzuki's mysterious past, this story literally wrote itself. All I did was supply the computer with which to write it and the caffeine to keep myself awake during that time. If you aren't offended by themes of male/male relationships between characters and a general bit of angsty musing, then by all means, enjoy. As a final note, I don't have any direct references as to the weather on Solaris; since there seemed to be nothing but sunshine during my characters' brief stay there, I had to wonder whether or not there was ever any rain at all there. Enjoy!
Additional Notes: Originally written and published in 2003, now with minor grammatical fixes.
The Taste of Rain
Contrary to popular belief, it does indeed rain on Solaris.
The instances are infrequent if not rare, as though the weather itself were controlled by some unknown force that could not fathom why a downpour of water would be necessary in a world already drowning in a fabrication of deception and lies.
Still, when it does rain, it usually occurs in a series of short, temperamental bursts of water laced with wind. Every once in a while a spark of glimmering lightning can be caught in between the thick mass of clouds, but it does not happen often; even less often does the natural phenomenon of a prism of colors occur.
No one remembers what a rainbow should look like in Solaris, because none of the living inhabitants have ever borne witness to one; the last such instance must have been a longer time ago than anyone can care to remember. Some people believe that the arc across the skies of Solaris, if it only showed its face more often, would be a spectacle to behold, all indigos and oranges and blues and greens, supreme in its majestic beauty.
Others believe it would be comprised of but one color, the color to signify the wash of blood that, though long since wiped away, still stains the very ground the Solarians tread upon. It would be red, they believe, as a reminder of that which has soiled Solarian history since time immemorial.
He will not admit it, because it seems strange and even a bit childish, but Hyuga prefers these sullen rainy days to those of radiant sunshine. He does not understand why, nor does he care to; for a man who has lived for knowledge and because of it, even he must retain a sense of carefreeness in some respect.
This is his own bit of rebellion, at least the way he sees it, because only he seems to appreciate the drastic shift in weather. Kahr cannot stand the rain for reasons unknown; his mind has always worked on a different level from even those closest to him, so it would seem that this deep dislike for cloudy skies and violent rain stems from a source that no one else could understand.
Jesiah does not seem to appreciate the simple, elegant beauty of a rainwashed day, either; if it interferes with his ability to go out and drink himself sick or to follow the thick sweetness of female perfume to the nearest willing girl, then days such as these irritate him to no end. He will stomp into his single dorm room in a huff of annoyance and proceed to polish his beloved firearms collection until the rain finally passes.
Sigurd, much like the other two, does not have any sort of affinity for rainy days either, but Hyuga understands why; sleepless hours of silently watching over the silver-haired man during stormy nights confirm that there is something in Sigurd's subconscious that fears the dreary weather. Memories long since locked away, perhaps. Things he will never speak of, but that exist nonetheless.
Hyuga understands, because he himself has a lifetime worth of secrets that cannot be brought to light even to those he cares for, yet he still wonders, and he still worries. It is an odd sentiment, one that he has not experienced for eons at the very least, and yet there is nothing foreign about caring for this man; Hyuga finds that Sigurd seems to make it much too easy for others to become attached to him.
It is no doubt dangerous, in a position such as the one that Hyuga has been in for as long as he can remember, to allow such human feelings to penetrate the years and years of meticulous planning and the layers and layers of emotional walls. Yet there is something infinitely more unbearable about not being by this man's side as often as he can, something indescribably painful in imagining a life without bright, topaz-blue eyes and hair spun of silver silk; the mere thought of relinquishing Sigurd to any other living being causes a dull ache unlike any other in the center of Hyuga's chest.
And so Hyuga opts not to think such thoughts, even though they are inevitable and he will have to face up to them one day. It is simpler not to dwell on the circumstances, on how different he is from this man although they match one another seemingly in both age and in intellect, on how great a risk he is taking each day that he grows closer to him. It is simpler to just be, and to damn the world and its "preordained circumstances". It is easier to feign ignorance and live in bliss for the time being.
It was not always this way, though. Hyuga knows this, even as he stares out into the rain-soaked world through the single window just above his dormitory bed. It is meant for only one person, yet by some miracle he and Sigurd have come to a compromise of sorts, so that if he sits close enough to the wall near the window, his companion can doze with his head in his lap and the rest of his body half on the bed and half over the edge. Little wonder that Sigurd often complains of backaches…
Still, it was not always this way. Thinking back hard enough, past the newly formed memories which he treasures and keeps close to the forefront of his mind, Hyuga can remember a time when Sigurd's impossibly blue eyes looked to him not with a love so overwhelming that it hurt just to look at him, but with the distanced admiration of a youth learning from his master.
Perhaps, if they were not so physically close to one another in age, Sigurd may have never developed such feelings for him, or may have simply written them off as hero-worship. At times, when Hyuga sits alone in a dormitory that is entirely too small for only one occupant, he wonders if perhaps that may not have been the best way for things to have happened. To not have to betray eyes so full of trust and love with every kept secret, to not have to question his own existence with every shared moment of intimacy… Hyuga wonders at times if this would not make his existence this time around less complicated and more bearable.
Yet when darkness falls like a shroud from the heavens, and his arms are filled with a body so different and yet so similar to his own, Hyuga fails to remember what his purpose is anymore. When an urgent mouth presses against his sweetly, sliding and melding and sealing his worries away with a simple brush of lips, when sun-kissed skin fits into the curves and crevices of his own pale form, when long fingers thread into his thick dark hair, pulling the strands free of their constraining ribbon and holding, grasping, clutching… Hyuga wonders if life would be life at all without this.
There is a certain magical quality in the taste of lips and the feel of skin that he has yet to find anywhere else, and so Hyuga believes that up until this moment, perhaps he hasn't been living at all. Existing yes, because to exist is simply to be, but never living, because to live is to be filled with this passion, and this fire and – dare he say it? – this love.
It always startles him, the moment just before he can count the stars that explode behind his eyelids, the instant just before Sigurd tenses and becomes still against him, the heartbeat just before it is over… the moment when the only thing he knows is this one man, this one feeling, this one overwhelming love. At times it is too much to bear, and so Hyuga will hush his still-writhing lover and beg that he close his eyes to preserve the moment, when in actuality it is so that he can fall no deeper into eyes the color of a cloudless sky.
Sigurd does not question, and Hyuga will not explain; there is mutual understanding that moments such as these must be memorized and carefully stored away into the dark, hidden depths of the heart. There Hyuga has many of these memories tucked safely away, so that he may draw strength and comfort from them during times when his beloved is not at his side. During these times of solitude he does what nearly the entire populated world has not done for years and years: Hyuga prays. He does not know who he prays to, only that it must be to the higher power that people's faith is often placed in. He does not know if his prayers are heard, because they are not so much prayers as silent pleading.
He pleads to carry these feelings and memories with him into his next life, and into the one after, and into the one beyond that, because he cannot imagine having to bear the cross of knowing that he once loved, but not being able to recall who stirred such deep feelings in him nor how it felt to be loved in return. Perhaps this 'higher power' listens to his thoughts and weighs their value; perhaps he is simply placing his faith in an empty sky that will not do him the kindness of allowing him a mortal life.
This cannot last forever - of this Hyuga is certain – because there will come a time in which it will become apparent that he will not age a day past twenty-nine. Still, this unavoidable fact does not keep the small flare of hope alive, and so Hyuga awakens each and every day hoping to feel the weight of age at last. It is an overwhelming urge to want to see the signs of aging – a deepening in the lines around his mouth, more pronounced crinkles near the edges of his eyes, a strand of silver within a sea of thick black hair -, yet it is a hope that continues to be crushed each and every day.
Humans seek this "immortality", prepared to sell their own souls if it could keep them from aging but a day, and yet the only truth that such perpetual youth brings with it is the unchangeable knowledge that some day, in one way or another, his beloved will die, and pass on, and become no more than a memory. It is painful to think of Sigurd ever falling victim to the grasp of death, and yet it is something that cannot be avoided: it will happen, and in order to fulfill the cycle of life in all human beings, it must happen. And when it does, only Hyuga will be left behind to mourn and regret and curse the name of his god in both the ancient tongues and in the new, because he will chase helplessly after an unattainable death, an eternal rest that was not made for him.
He will live on, for many, many lifetimes to come.
But Hyuga does not think of this now, not when life and all of its uncertainties and aches have been reduced to a single bed that it is far too small for two occupants. Sigurd has often claimed that the beds in their shared dormitory were made smaller than those in Kahr's or even Jesiah's as part of a conspiracy to keep the two of them celibate. Hyuga realizes this is an over-exaggeration; however, there is too much of a gleam in Sigurd's eyes and too much of a curl in his smile to make him admit this. And so he often says nothing, and simply smiles back.
Sigurd is not complaining today, though, and Hyuga thinks he knows why; the blatant splatter of wetness against the glass window confirms his suspicions that his beloved is not himself on rainy days. He wonders for a moment if he should bring this up, now that his fingers are lost in strands of silver silk and his lap is occupied by the warm weight of Sigurd's head, but Hyuga is not one to push matters; if Sigurd finds the will to speak to him of his fears, then he will do so in his own time.
Apparently Sigurd's own time is sooner than even Hyuga himself anticipated, because the soft hair threaded through his fingers begins to slide through his hands as the other young man slowly draws himself up to a sitting position. It isn't the most comfortable position in the world, granted, because both he and Hyuga aren't nearly far enough from each other to balance the bed out evenly, but it will have to do for now.
"Is something the matter?" There is no need for Hyuga to hide his concern now that Sigurd has chosen to banish the spell of quiet comfort.
Sigurd is hesitant as topaz-blue eyes meet his companion's softer, darker ones, and when the words finally arrive they seem a bit strained. "I can't stand the rain, Hyu."
Hyuga smiles though he isn't sure why, and Sigurd misunderstands his gesture because he grins somewhat self-consciously. "That must sound pretty stupid, huh?" he asks with a bit of strain to his voice.
"It does not," comes the soft, immediate response; instantly, the forced good humor in Sigurd's expression dies down as though he is relieved to be able to show his companion his true face.
"I thought you'd say something like that."
A moment of silence passes; Hyuga, with his glasses resting precariously low on the bridge of his nose and his hands folded neatly in his lap, studies the faint flashes of worry in the other man's eyes. When time passes and still nothing is said: "Sigurd?"
"It's so stupid," Sigurd repeats himself, though he isn't quite looking at Hyuga now; the pupils of his eyes are dilated, his gaze unfocused, staring without looking at a spot just beyond the green-clad man's shoulder, "But it's the only memory I have of my life before the day I woke up down in the medical lab…" There is a pause.
This will be important; Hyuga knows this from the distant expression on Sigurd's face and from the faraway tone of his voice. Without moving his gaze from the other's face he sits up, just a little more, listening with an air of calm patience; if Sigurd so wills it, he will wait forever until he is ready to continue.
Forever seems a bit of a stretch, however, because no more than a full minute can pass before that voice drowned in pained nostalgia continues, "When it rains like this… I don't know what it is. Maybe it's the sound of the rain or just the sight of it… but something inside of me wakes up. It's some little part in the back of my mind that's trying to tell me something, almost. Like there's some… unfinished business I have left somewhere, if only I could remember what it is…"
A thoughtful furrow appears between thin eyebrows as his voice trails off uncertainly, but Hyuga gently smoothes it away with the brush of his fingers over Sigurd's forehead. Catching those bright blue eyes within his own line of vision he offers softly, "Perhaps if you tried to recall what that unfinished business might be…?"
Sigurd smiles at the effort, but shakes his head with a flash of regret behind his eyes, so subtle and quick to pass that only Hyuga's trained eye could catch it. "I've tried, Hyu. You have no idea how hard I've tried… I lie awake sometimes after you've fallen asleep and push myself to remember. But it's no use… all I've got now is my own name and that feeling that comes up every time it rains."
"And, of course," Hyuga hastens to add with a sparkle of barely suppressed fondness in dark brown eyes, "A fellow student and… well, shall we say friend, who would help you to remember if only he knew how." What he really wishes to say is that he would do anything for Sigurd, that he would leave his own priorities at an indefinite standstill if only to bring some comfort to the person he loves, but the message weaves its way beneath his words and reaches his companion just the same.
"I know." The soft creak of the mattress beneath Sigurd's weight as he shifts forward is comforting, solid, as is the mouth that finds his for an instant and then moves away reluctantly, "And you need to know that no matter happens, I'm always going to appreciate everything you've done for me. I can't count the ways you've helped me get through this, Hyu, and I don't even know where to begin to make it up to you…"
Hyuga smiles a bit, a modest gesture that compliments the selfless simplicity of his next words, "It is nothing, Sigurd." When Sigurd opens his mouth as though to argue the point, he interrupts him gently, "And I do mean it when I say that it is nothing. You have been nothing but supportive and so patient with me while I… adapted to the idea of maintaining a relationship with you." Hyuga is quick to note the flash of understanding in Sigurd's eyes at this statement; they can both clearly recall how many uncertain rejections and indefinite responses it took for the dark-haired one of the two to finally consider becoming closer to the other.
"I didn't want to push you into anything you weren't ready for." Sigurd finally settles for these words, and as he says them a look of uncertainty crosses his features. Hyuga has no choice but to smile gently at this; the insecurity that flickers at times from beneath Sigurd's confident demeanor is nothing short of charming simply because it is so real.
"Nor did you," Hyuga adds with a bit of that same gentle smile, reaching for one of Sigurd's hands. Their fingers thread together automatically in a simple but affectionate gesture that speaks volumes, and it is little wonders such as how right the press of Sigurd's hand feels against his that fascinates Hyuga to no end. He wonders if Sigurd realizes how comforting and familiar it feels simply to be with him, and has to ask himself more than just once if there is any way he may have met this man in a lifetime before, perhaps so far back that he can no longer recall it. How else can he explain the feeling he gets when they are together, a feeling of safety and familiarity and – home –?
"…Hyuga?" Released from his thoughts, Hyuga focuses on the intent expression on Sigurd's face, blue eyes searching his own for something that has no name; perhaps he was not alone in feeling such a range of emotion only mere seconds before. For this reason he does not answer, only leans in to press his mouth to that of his silver-haired beloved.
For a moment there is no movement, no soft sliding or urgent melding of lips, no steady brushing or tentative questing of tongues. There is only pressure, slow and sweet and real until Hyuga realizes that Sigurd tastes just a bit different today, barely perceptible but certainly present. He opens his eyes slowly, takes in the sight of features he has engraved so accurately in his mind, and realizes for the first time why it is that days such as these comfort him to no end.
"You will find your purpose," he says simply, holding Sigurd's gaze steadily and hoping that his words are somehow able to brand themselves into his companion's mind, "You will remember what it is you need to do, someday, and you will return to the place that is your true home in order to do what you must. Do not trouble yourself until then, beloved… when the time is right, your memory will piece itself together."
He doesn't know if his words have any validity to them, but with the sudden realization that this man has shared such a deep concern with him, Hyuga can only bring himself to offer him the most comfort he can. A moment passes, then two, until suddenly there is no longer any space between them on that bed that is infinitely too small for two people, in a world that is infinitely too large and a life that is infinitely too short.
Still, it doesn't matter anymore because there is just enough space for silent comfort and still-warm passion, for the brush of skin and the feel of a love that grows ever more tangible with each passing second. And as the soft patter of wetness outside drowns out the fragile melody filling the room, Hyuga can only think a single thought: he will lose him soon to his duty, this man who has no memory and tastes of rain.
He will lose him soon.