It's about time for another one-shot, don't you think? I'm immensely proud of this one.
Dark Pit, Viridi
It was a few years after Hades' defeat that Dark Pit began to feel something.
After being dropped to the ground by Palutena, blue glow fading from his dark wings, he was met by an enthusiastic Pit. "I can't believe we did it, Pittoo!" he exclaimed. "Everyone is safe!"
"We? I had nothing to do with it," Dark Pit scoffed. "This is your victory, Pit." He'd turned to walk away, only for Pit to chase after. He paused, and Pit tentatively tapped him on the shoulder. "Um...Dark Pit?"
It had to be a serious question for Pit to use his real name. Dark Pit turned around. "Yeah?"
"I was wondering...would you like to come to Lady Palutena's Temple with me? I don't know where you've been the rest of the time, but...I've really liked having you around."
Due to the look of confusion, disgust and typical Dark Pit annoyance, Pit quickly continued speaking. "Not like that! I think? I-I mean...we could probably work something out...you don't have to serve her or anything..."
Dark Pit waved a hand and gave a response that just felt right. "No thanks. I appreciate the sentiment, but I like living alone. And I'd rather die than serve a goddess." With that, he left. He would have preferred to fly off majestically, but he had no Power of Flight for that.
Dark Pit had spent the years alone, as promised. He was a nomad, wandering around and finding new places. He also helped in quashing minor Underworld attacks, something he was sure Palutena appreciated. Yet not one place truly appealed to him, even if he stayed a while. Currently, he was spending his fifth night in a hollowed-out cave in a cliff. It was a place he'd discovered shortly after running from Pandora, the first time, easily accessed by flight. However, Dark Pit no longer had that option. This secret cave was a butt to access, one of the reasons he was considering moving. Again.
Dark Pit fiddled with his traveler's pack, something he'd picked up in a village a while back. Human nomads seemed to have plenty of good advice. He could get along with them pretty well, so long as they never questioned his wings. He always took the pack with him, and it contained the barest of essentials. Dark Pit wasn't one for fancy trinkets.
Bored, Dark Pit cast a look outside. Heavy raining. Of course. The rain had been bad these past couple days. It had never been that bad before while he was in here. The dark angel was mildly worried the cave would flood and he'd be ejected from it prematurely.
He pulled out a heavy cloth and wore it over his tunic to keep the heat from leaving his body and wings. Pressing his wings closer held in maximum heat, and also helped to hide them in times of dire need.
A drip-drop sound reached his acute hearing. Dark Pit turned around and frowned. The roof was leaking.
Dark Pit supposed he'd be leaving soon in search of new shelter. Sighing, he tried to rack his brain for new haunts as he packed up his things.
Most of his living dwellings were in natural locations, like caves and trees. Rain and snowfalls had the tendency to upset his plans. But then Dark Pit had a moment of inspiration. There was a human village not too far from here, if he hurried. Perhaps he could find an abandoned house or something to hide out in.
Slipping the pack onto his back and taking a deep breath, Dark Pit clambered his way outside and began making his way down the ledge, cursing every time his hand or leg slipped. He began to bitterly hate himself for making this his current home. It was good for defending against enemies, but what good was that if you were good enough to beat them anyway?
Dark Pit glanced down to see the ground a few feet away. Taking a chance, he dropped from the craggy cliffside and fell to the ground. His landing would have been smooth if not for the wet ground, and he slid and fell sideways, crying out and frustration and pain. Rain pelted his face as he lay, squinting every time it dropped into his eyes. The sky was dark and tumultuous. Finally, the wind began kicking up. It tried to drag him away from the cliffs. Dark Pit grabbed on by his fingernails, but felt himself slipping and succumbing to the wind's blows. My roots, he thought in despair. Though not one for omens, in his state of panic, it entered his mind: was he being punished for his choice? Pit's words came to him then. Would you like to come to Lady Palutena's Temple with me?
I've liked having you around.
We could probably work something out...
With a shiver, Dark Pit rose against the relentless storm. Pit wouldn't want to see him beaten by clouds and water. He just had to reach safety. Plodding on, he winced every time pressure was put on his left ankle. It just needs rest, he tried to assure himself. The wind tugged him here and there, even tripping him, but Dark Pit continued getting up and walking. His pack was soaked to the fabric, becoming limp, dead weight on his back. Dark Pit's dark bangs stuck to his forehead, hiding his eyes. He didn't even care as his laurel crown slid down his face and settled around his neck. As far as he was concerned, it meant nothing. He just had to keep going...
After what seemed like forever, the first lights of the village met his weary eyes. He gasped for breath and shook pebbles out of his sandals, nearly stumbling again on his left leg. Clutching his arms around himself in an effort to keep any warmth left where it was, he began searching for a place to stay. Most lights were off, further confusing him. He couldn't tell if the humans within were asleep or if each house was truly abandoned. The last thing he wanted to do was walk in on some humans, waterlogged as he was.
"You poor thing!"
Dark Pit groaned, the sound barely escaping his lips as he turned. He had been hoping to avoid the humans. An older woman was sitting on a porch with an overhang, blanket on her lap. Despite the wild weather around her, she appeared oddly calm. But she made no move to approach him. Dark Pit wondered if he'd imagined her voice. Yet she beckoned invitingly, and Dark Pit decided there was no point in ignoring her. He limped up under the shelter, safe from the flood beyond at last. She stood and wrapped the blanket around his shivering figure. "No, no," he started to say through his chattering teeth, but she persisted and offered him her seat. He shook his head, and she smiled. "You must want out of the rain, I imagine." She instead opened up her door and invited him in. He tentatively entered, and she pointed to a back room. Dipping his head gratefully, he made his way back. He burrowed under the many layers of covers on the bed and fell asleep instantly.
His dreams were as wild as the rain he'd just endured, but this time, he was in the hollow of a tree, comfortably wrapped in vines. Though the tree shook and trembled under the weight of the storm, he remained safe. Finally, it began to relent, and the vines let him go. He poked his head out of the tree to see flowers blossoming in the emerging sun.
Dark Pit awoke shortly after. All of the blankets upon him were making him extremely heated. Kicking them off, he began walking over to the window, only to wince as he felt the pain in his ankle. He settled down on the bed to look it over. Thankfully, it didn't seem broken, merely sprained. But it could put him out of action for a few days.
Action? What was his plan of action, anyway? Dark Pit looked out the window as he mused. A light rain was going on, not as heavy as before, though. He should continue to travel. That was what his lifestyle had been, and there was no sense changing it. But Dark Pit wasn't sure. He felt something in his heart, a feeling he couldn't identify. And for some reason, being a nomad wasn't so appealing anymore.
A knock on his door caught his attention. He blinked. He'd nearly forgotten about the human that had given him a place to stay. After wrapping himself in a blanket to hide his wings, he said, "Come in."
The door opened slowly, and the woman greeted him with a cheerful smile and a tray of breakfast food. Dark Pit's mouth watered. Home-cooked food was a rarity for him. Carefully untangling his arms from the blanket, he accepted it gratefully as she took a seat.
The woman was older, as he'd noted, with gray hair up in a tidy bun, a few spare wisps curling around her ears. Wrinkles darted from her eyes, which were a nearly white-blue. She wore a traditional dress for females. Despite this simple garb, Dark Pit decided she was special to someone, perhaps many someones, and was kindhearted and generally looked up to.
"My, you're a hungry one, aren't you?" she noticed as he wolfed down the food. "Sorry," he apologized with his mouth full. The lines near her eyes crinkled in amusement. But she said nothing until his plate was empty.
"So tell me," she began. "Why might I find one as young as yourself out there on one of the stormiest nights I've seen?"
Dark Pit's natural defensiveness began kicking in. "Why might I find one as old as yourself sitting on a porch on one of the stormiest nights I've seen?"
She laughed at that. "Quite a tongue you've gotten there! But I suppose that is a good question." Her ice eyes focused on him. "One might say I had a feeling."
"Yeah?" Dark Pit dabbed at his mouth with a napkin, red eyes equally intense.
"Yes." Her lips lifted up slightly. "Strange things appear in these parts. I saw an angel once, you know."
"You wha- I mean, you did?" Dark Pit struggled to regain a poker face. She nodded slightly. "Yes. A few villages over. I was visiting my children when he attacked."
Dark Pit flinched. Despite practically being in a coma during that time, he'd heard whispers of Pit's activities. And they were not too pleasant.
She noted his reaction. "Many people there lost their faith. They could not believe that those of light could turn on them." She sighed. "Mankind is fickle. We can be easily misguided, juggled from opinion to opinion like a traveler in the wind." Dark Pit snorted at that. "But there are always at least two sides," the woman added. "For twenty that lost their faith during that time, twenty strengthened their faith after watching that same angel smite Hades."
"Your point?" Dark Pit interjected. The woman shrugged. "I suppose you're hearing mad ramblings of an older woman. Yet something about you makes me think that you don't truly understand the human race, good and bad."
Dark Pit thought about this. As he did, the woman picked up his tray and left. "You may stay as long as you'd like, dear," she called to him. "I so enjoy company."
Dark Pit watched the woman from his window. The rain had faded from a light drizzle to dry cloudiness. She tended to the flowers and hedges that has been mowed by the storm, scattered birdseed around, and cleaned up her yard. Her silent efficiency made him envious. She lived apart from her family as well as most of the neighbors. How did she do that while, at the same time, maintaining a stable home and optimistic personality?
The woman found Dark Pit sitting on the porch when she got ready to go in for supper. "I have a question," he said. "How do you do it?" He spread his arms for emphasis on his vague question.
She took a seat. "You are a traveler, I am a widow," she told him. "Why do you come to me for advice, knowing our views will be so opposite?"
"I don't know if I'm doing the right thing," Dark Pit admitted. This revelation made him want to throw up. He rarely admitted his faults to others, let alone a human he only met the previous night!
She nodded. "I see." Taking her place by on the porch ledge, she removed her gardening gloves. "You need roots, young one. You are bold, and want to believe you need the help of none. But you cannot travel like this. Travelers like you will just get flung away, never to be heard from again."
"I don't care about my legacy!" Dark Pit growled. "I just wanted to be free..."
"You can be free and rooted at the same time. If your own intuition brings you to home, is that not the freedom of your choice?" She gave him a sharp look.
Dark Pit gritted his teeth. He'd never thought about it quite like that before.
"I'm not one to say what you must or mustn't do. However, I'm sure you know people who would welcome you back anytime you'd like." She rose to get up once more, but Dark Pit grabbed her arm. "I...I need to think. Can I stay just for dinner?"
"Of course," the woman smiled, and left him to prepare a meal for the two of them.
Dinner was quiet as Dark Pit's mind whirled. Pit wanted him back. Palutena could use another angel. Was that his destiny, to rejoin Pit at Palutena's Temple? Pit assured him that he didn't have to serve Palutena if he didn't want. But Dark didn't think that could be right. He could live there just fine, of course, but what was the point? He would become a parasite in their dwelling, and his existence would be as shallow as his current one. It seemed to be the most inviting option, though, if worse came to worse...
Dark Pit ran a fork through his salad, when it finally hit him. His eyes widened as the fork fell to the bowl with a clatter. Viridi!
"Is something wrong?" the woman asked. Dark Pit smiled. "No. Something's right."
He was sure of it. Viridi had no angels to help her fend off threats. Sure, she had her three commanders, but Pit had proven he could fight them all easily. Viridi would need someone strong to lead even them. Though he disagreed with her "kill all humans" mission statement, perhaps he could work on changing that. Viridi would give him work to do... if she didn't hold it over his head for the rest of time.
After the meal, he grabbed his things from the back room and took off the cloth around his torso, letting his dark wings free. Putting pressure on his ankle revealed that it was still slightly sore, but walkable. A knock on the door heralded the arrival of the woman. "Come i-" Whoops! His wings!
He wasn't able to hide them fast enough before she entered. Her eyes widened in surprise, but she didn't stop. "I suppose you needed advice more than ever, didn't you?" she mused rhetorically, giving him a small box. "Here. Take this with you. And open it when you find your place."
His wings tightened in embarrassment. "There's no need! I did nothing for you. If anything, I should give you something."
"Hogwash," she grunted. "I've had this for quite a while. It reminded me of home. But I'm here now, and no amount of thinking can change the past." He accepted the gift from her, wondering what it could possibly be. "Tell me when you leave, alright?"
"Yes," he murmured, tucking the small gift away and preparing his things.
After leaving the house, where she wished him well, he took off down the village roads. Some people stopped to stare, but he kept jogging. He needed to find an empty spot to contact Viridi. He visualized what he'd say for this. He needed his sharp tongue more than ever.
Finally, Dark Pit reached an open field. "Viridi!" he called for the goddess of nature. "Viridi, clean out your ears and hear me!"
After a long pause, he heard her voice. "Alright, alright! Shut up alrea- wait, Pittoo?"
"Enough with the nickname," he growled. "We have to talk. Send me to your sanctuary."
"Just do it!"
"Fine, fine." Dark Pit saw himself washed in green light from the skies above before he was whisked away. He materialized in front of a big, strong tree blessed with magic. Viridi's Sanctuary.
He ran a hand along the bark and breathed in the earthy scent of the sanctuary. He'd always felt reassurance in the earth, though he was unnatural. It was peaceful and genuine, more so than anything else. He didn't have long to dwell on this before Viridi arrived at the entrance.
"I've had a lot of time to think about this, y'know," Dark Pit began. "I need roots."
"You...what?" Viridi asked. She seemed utterly baffled at his presence.
Dark Pit sighed. "I need somewhere to call home, if you will. I've done plenty of touring, but not enough staying. It isn't my thing as much as I thought it once was." A small smile was growing on the young goddess' face. Dark Pit braced himself for the laughter, and tossed his pack on the ground. "So I'm moving in, if you'll have me."
Viridi began to laugh, to Dark Pit's displeasure. "Don't get me wrong, Pitt- Dark Pit, I'm more than happy that you're here! But seriously, what happened to you? You were lone angel on the run! Now you're groveling to me? Me, of all goddesses? Not Palutena? Hahaha, I'm sooo gonna rub this in her face!"
"There is no groveling," he defended himself. "I need somewhere to stay, something to do. And I feel my roots are here."
Viridi grinned. "Did I hear you say 'something to do?' Like, perhaps, serve me?"
Dark Pit growled. "I refuse to go that far. Maybe I'll help you with tasks and rising threats. But you won't catch me personally delivering tea or cleaning latrines or whatever."
"We'll see about that," Viridi giggled. "Come in, Pittoo. I guess I'll have to show you around, don't I?"
"Oh yeah. About that name. No more, if you'd please. Or I'll definitely go to Palutena," he threatened. Viridi shrugged nonchalantly and began walking in. Dark Pit followed, thinking to himself that it hadn't gone as badly as he'd thought so far.
"Dark Pit?" she asked as they walked in. She turned to face him again. "Why did you really come here? You understand I don't believe you, right?"
"I know," Dark Pit replied. He pushed his black bangs away from his face.
"You must have some secret agenda. Like, have you come to place a bomb in the sanctuary? Maybe you want a place to freeload. Or do you wanna mess with me? Convert me to a human-lover status?"
"Maybe all of the above, if you're not careful," he smirked.
Viridi groaned. "I'm serious!"
"Well I'm serious too," Dark Pit insisted. "Sometimes, it takes a storm to know you need roots."
Dark Pit had so many goals. He wanted to strengthen himself. He wanted a home. He wanted to learn from Viridi, just as she could learn from him. He wanted to potentially alter her view on humans. But he had to take one step at a time. Viridi finally nodded, accepting him, and they continued along the tour.
Viridi's initial joy faded into pride as she showed him around the sanctuary. And that further went to serious resolve, almost as one final confirmation he wasn't joking. Dark Pit confirmed that he would like to work at Virdi's Sanctuary, and she gave him a room. She also gave him a list of chores to do, in an effort for him to "prove himself right away." They'd argued about that for a while before Dark Pit retreated to his room, grumbling to himself. His room was simply furnished, most of the furniture made up of strong but beautiful wood. It had a new, fresh smell to it that calmed Dark Pit down slightly as he laid on the bed. He turned to open his pack in an effort to unload and make himself feel more at home. His hands soon found the gift the woman had gotten him, so he pulled it out and inspected the box. It was simple, an ivory cover with a black ribbon. He undid the ribbon to find out what was inside.
It was a tiny gold statue of...something. He gently pulled it out to look closer. The more he did, the more he understood. A small smile grew on his face as he put the trinket on a shelf. Though small, it gleamed with the light streaming through his window. It hit the golden tree statue brightly, a beacon and the final step in his quest.
I've finally found my roots.