Agellos

A Dirty Pair Flash Fanfiction

----------

/word/ - indicates stress, like italics //word// - indicates thoughts --------- indicates brake or change in scene *description* - indicates the present situation or time

Warning - This is eventual shoujo-ai, Kei and Yuri pairing. If you don't approve of such a thing, please read no further. Emails criticizing the pairing will be ignored or ripped apart, depending on my mood.

------------

"We watched our friends grow up together And we saw them as they fell. Some of them fell into Heaven. Some of them fell into Hell."

The Pogues, "A Rainy Night in Soho"

------------

*Years ago, a little piece of hell in the middle of space*

------------

Of all the elements, of all the materials that bound these worlds, fire must surely take after humanity the most. Molly hadn't been sure how it had started, or how it had spread so fast, how this mission had gotten out of control so quickly.

They had no backup, and Molly knew that they would die, would rise up and burn, only unsure of for how long, and how much it would hurt.

Would the flames lick up slowly, eat away her clothes first before consuming her hair, burning her skin, eating her flesh? Would she go up at once, like a phoenix that couldn't, wouldn't rise again? They were morbid thoughts to have, but appropriate thoughts to have, at a time like this, a time were she could feel the last moments of her life slowly drain away like water through the fingers of a man dying of thirst.

The click of a safety being released on a gun drew her thoughts back to the situation, the possibility of death by a method quicker than fire.

//Damn it! We are the Lovely Angels, and I will not go down that way! //

Snarling at herself, at her morbid thoughts of death when she was not yet dying, at the man standing before her with a gun raised, poised with all the cold certainty of authority and fatality. Her mind screamed at her, tried to get her to do something, to recognize the man, to step behind Iris and defend his shoots, to do something, anything!

//Fine! Fine! I'll do /something!/ //

//Even if.even if it is the last /something/ I do.//

//If it's for you.//

A memory came then, like the gentle scent of wildflowers in the rain. Her first day as part of the Lovely Angels, knowing she'd never be able to live up to the predecessors who had held that title, so afraid of failing, of falling .

And she had met her partner, her brash, trigger happy partner, and she was immediately terrified of her. A woman with a man's way of moving, of speaking, too harsh and headstrong, someone who would immediately hate her.

How could she feel anything else for her? She had walked into that office and felt all her insufficiencies magnified by the other woman's confidence, and felt the cracks on the facets of her soul.

One look, one long measuring look, and she was so sure that the other would scowl at her, at her obvious poor blaster skills, barely balanced by her fine swordsmanship..

//And then you smiled at me.//

Molly smiled at the memory of that, her first smile from a person who had become more important than life itself, a person who had become her life from that one moment, that first smile.

Holding that to her, Molly raised her sword over her head and charged the man. The grating was slick with blood from small wounds inflicted on them and mortal wounds given by them previously, and her boots slipped and skidded on them. She lurched once, dangerously close to the railing and felt the nausea writhing at the sight of the roiling mass below, the red interlaced with the strands of far away catwalks: walkways across the abyss.

There was so much sound everywhere, from the fire and the shots, that when the familiar sound of her sword blazing through flesh met her ears it was almost welcome, the smell of cauterized flesh preferable to that of burning fuel.

Slowly, the man fell, not quite together when he hit the ground, and Molly allowed her one second of triumph - she had done it, she had done it - and then another man melted out from the shadows behind the corpse and shot her.

She hated blasters, hated any type of gun, hated the loudness of them, the force, the inelegance. Of all the routes of pain she hated most the feeling of a blast tearing through muscle and bone, to explode out of her right shoulder, going straight through and throwing her backward into Iris.

Her own blood dripped onto the grating again, but more than before, and she stumbled forward, trying to escape from the burning sensation in her shoulder, intensified by the contact with Iris's back.

Escaped the pain, but not the vertigo, not the slippery blood on the already slick surface: she felt her legs stumble, felt her balance give way, saw the other side come up past her and watched the edge fall past as she closed her eyes tried to remember to scream.

//You know, you'd think I'd feel the acceleration by now.//

Molly paused for a long moment, felt time stretch into the chasm below, the fire waiting to claim her. Cautiously - //don't want to see it happen, don't want to see it eat me!// - she opened her eyes, to stare into Iris's own orbs, Iris's hand gripping her left arm so fiercely she wondered how she couldn't have felt it, how terror could have blocked it out.

"Molly! You idiot, just hang on!"

Of course, Iris would have caught her. Iris always caught her.

"Iris."

Iris was furious, and not all of it was directed at her, the fire's soot and ash had blackened her face, but trails ran down it: sweat, and blood, perhaps even tears.

"Where's our backup.I don't understand why 3WA didn't send our backup! Those bastards! Just hang on, Molly, I'll pull you up, and then we'll ream out the powers that be together."

One really doesn't appreciate the words "together" and "alive" until they might resign from their office as constants in one's life. Likewise, no one really hears how loud and long a round of blaster shots can sound when fired from close range into someone's hand and arm, save when that hand is the only thing holding one away from hell.

Molly felt herself falling now, felt Iris's blood on her face and the wind gathering about her as she fell.

//But shouldn't wind carry me to heaven? Or have I been rejected by all but the Inferno?//

.Could hear Iris's anguished scream of "MOLLY!" and could understand enough to answer it with one of her own.

"IRIS!"

//Iris...save me, Iris, I'm falling.//

The heat was growing now, the fire waiting to consume her, taunting her to pray to her gods, to repent and be its, forever.

//Falling.forgive me, Iris, for I have sinned.//

There was sound everywhere, the echoes of Iris's scream in her ears, the roar of the flames and her own terror all around her.

//I've sinned, Iris. And now I'm falling into Hell. //

Strange, that there was so much sound around her, and yet when she fell onto the catwalk and felt the harsh metal grating slice open her back, when she felt her skull bang against the black and the darkness come up to claim her in turn.

Strange, that there was so much sound around her, and she didn't hear any of it at all.

-----------

Justin Maer was a simple man. He grew up in the middle class area of Tokyo, where everyone aspires to lie comfortably and procreate. As he reached the age of thirty-five, he realized that, despite the relocation to a different system, he too was following this same path of reproduction and complacency that his parents had followed before him, but at that point had children and a wife and a house to support and thus could not complain.

Not that he would: he did love his kids; why else would he be on this hellish rock in the middle of the freezing space? He loved them enough to desperately hope that no one ever told them "daddy" was helping criminals in order to pay for that school trip, those new clothes, and those lessons.

He preferred the happy ignorance of his family, being able to go home and be someone's hero again. He didn't want to be rushing out of this hell, traversing catwalk and shadowed hallways, chased by the phantom of heat and death.

Perhaps it was a conditioned action: after being away from home for so long, he was trying to be someone's hero again. Perhaps it was simply the fact that, all things considered, Maer was one of the better examples of humanity. Whatever the reason, when he saw the girl lying there, her blood dripping off of the catwalk but the undeniable rise and fall of her chest verifying that she was, without doubt, somehow /alive/.he couldn't help himself.

//Oh my god.she's just a kid.//

No kid deserved to die in a place like this, whatever the reason. No kid deserved to have the feeling of cold steel slicing open their back the last sensation to carry with them into the next world.

Justin paused next to her, surveying her wounds. Grimacing slightly as the blood pooled around his hands, he lifted her up, wincing as he felt her shiver slightly in what was no doubt more pain.

//And my complete lack of medical knowledge is coming into play right about now. //

Still, it felt right to help someone, to do something lawful in that sordid place, something completely clean, not warped by the greed that had inhabited all those that Maer had seen working there. Even if she would die from the blood loss so evident: the girl was so pale, long hair hanging limply, encrusted with blood, at least he was trying to help. At least he was doing something.

With that thought in his mind and in his heart, Justin gripped his burden tightly and ran for the escape ships.

----------

Iris stumbled through the ship in a daze. The only time she came back to her senses was to eliminate any who stood between her and Lovely Angel. The pain in her arm was insignificant compared to the numbing sensation spreading out along the central axis of her heart.

She had failed.

She had /failed/.

She had failed and Molly was dead, Molly was /gone/ and there was no way to get her back, no way to reverse the flow of events, the long sickening drop into oblivion.

//You failed you mission, you failed your partner, you /failed/.//

She wanted more than anything, to go back, to make it all alright, to make the blast miss and to catch Molly, haul her up over the side of the harsh steel grate and for the both of them to get away, together.

But Molly would always fall, her hand would always slip and she would always fail.

It was strange, that in the beginning, Molly was the one frightened of failure, but Iris was the one who failed everything in the end. With that though, memory intruded, the spray of blood on her face from the last kill not disturbing its pull.

------

"Iris?"

Molly approached her in the firing range, hands clasped together behind her back, blaster cinched loosely at her hip. Her entire demeanor suggested the fact that she strongly believed in Iris's ability to turn around and consume her whole at any given second.

"Yeah, Molly?"

Iris dropped the blaster down from the firing position. She looked at Molly's face and decided to holster her gun. This looked like it would take some time.

"Ummm.I was wondering if maybe you could show me how to get this one angled shot because I keep on missing it and I'm not sure why, I mean this is if you're not busy or something.I mean, if it's alright with you."

It took Iris a few seconds to process the sentence, as it sounded like it was missing more than a few of the requisite commas. A week together as partners and the woman obviously still had her pegged as a cannibal.

"Sure, Molly."

Molly face lit up at her consent, as if it had been the last thing she'd been expecting. Iris thought it likely that it had been.

Molly stance was loose and easy, it suggested familiarity and distaste with a gun. She knew what she was doing, but from the lack of bend in her arms, the great distance she placed between herself and the gun, proved that she wished she was using a different weapon.

"Alright, so I want you to try holding the blaster slightly.no, not that much of a correction, just a little bit.good, yeah, that's right."

Under her criticism and praise, Iris saw Molly relax, saw the confidence creep over her face, like the dawn after a long night.

//Maybe this partnership will work after all.//

---------

She didn't remember getting into the escape vehicle. Her fingers flew over the data pad, programming it to go somewhere, anywhere.

She didn't care where it went as long as it /went./

She couldn't remember the blood on her hands, or how it got there, although she knew some of it was Molly's blood, and she knew where Molly's blood came from, she could remember where Molly's blood came from.

She couldn't remember anything else, save that long, slow fall into eternity when Molly's hand slipped from hers.

Her arm hurt from the blast, and her soul hurt from things far worse.

Iris looked down at the frayed flesh, the white bone and the black hole where her arm was. Where Molly's hand was. Where she had failed, and Molly had fallen.

Iris's world fragmented, dissolving into harsh shades of colors. This was black, and this was red. That was the black of the hole in her arm, the black of her uniform, the black of the blood in the shadows of her body. That was the red of her blood, of Molly's blood, the red that the tears that were streaming down her face wouldn't wash away.

The blood was seeping into the pores of her hand, numbing the nerves as it ate away at her. The blood, the red, the failure gnawed at the white bones in her arms and the black hole. She would have to remove it, she knew. Even if the appendage was salvageable physically, it was tainted by what she had done.

Molly was dead, she had failed.

She had lost her partner, lost the other half of the Lovely Angels, lost the only person that mattered. She had lost everything.

//MollyMollyMollyMolly.I'm sorry, I'm sorry, come back, come back, don't leave me, don't leave me /alone/. I'm sorry, I'm sorry, Molly, I'm /sorry/.//

And amidst the red of blood in the black of space, among the pleas of forgiveness resounding through her, Iris, formerly of the Lovely Angels, quietly and swiftly lost her soul.

---------

When the complex exploded, the brightness lighting up the black of space for a few, fragmented heartbeats, Justin Maer and his unknown invalid were safe and away from the debris and the heat.

He had never been so grateful for the remedial med kit in all pods as he was right now. The limited first aid he knew was obviously enough to stabilize the poor girl. She was breathing easily now, despite the slight hitch that came up now and then in each shallow, regular breath.

"Don't you worry, Kid, just hang on 'till we get planetside, then I'll get you to a doctor real quick. You'll be fine."

Maer was free with words, he spoke to himself, to the void of space, or to the unconscious invalid with comparative ease.

"Hey, you don't need to worry about anything either. You can stay with us until you get your feet under you. I mean my kids would be glad to have you around and I'm sure my wife won't mind either. She'll be glad for some adult company when I'm not around, and the kid's attach themselves to anyone. They're great kids, really and."

Molly did not respond, lost in nightmares of fire and falling and pain. Maer's words were swallowed up by the blackness of space as the ship sped on through the void.

----------

Author's notes -

1. Another beginning to a long haul of a story. Somebody shoot me, I have enough to write. Feh.