Whoo... *lets out long sigh* Finally, I'm done! All in all, the fic has taken me—(counts from 7th Dec 2k2 to 7th June 2k3) wow, half a year exactly! (Okay, now's the time to launch into all the I've to thank blah blah blah for where I've got to today... never mind. I don't think anyone would be interested in that, & in any case, I'm not really given to writing mushy lines where anybody can read them, so there.)

(muse: then what's this afterword for? if it's a conclusion you'd have named it epilogue.)

Well, yeah... I would have.

So, I guess this would be where I ramble on about how I wrote the fic, & how I interpreted various characters + relationships in this fic's context. If you aren't interested in that sort of stuff, feel free to stop reading now.

Anyone left? Hello?

Ah well, I'll probably be ranting to myself. Sure, I do that all the time—sometimes even out aloud. (muse: *rolls eyes* only child... latchkey kids nowadays... sylphide: oh shush, that's neither here nor there.)


= Youji & Schuldig =

Since they're the main characters in 'Cicada', I'll chat about these two first.

When I first mentioned to a friend that's I'm writing this pairing—& rating it R in all honesty—she called me a stinky liar. ^^;; Okay, I admit, most fics concerning one of the two sex symbols invariably contain a lemon scene... I'm writing both of them together—& no horizontal action takes place? O.O In my previous incarnation in WK fandom (under a different pen name—if you can identify who that is, you're smart. ;) I've changed my style/outlook since then) I wrote enough lemon scenes to be called the yaoi sensei by my friends. They still don't believe I've turned over a new leaf since then... (muse: you haven't. . ) Well, yeah, I've my reason for abstaining from lemon in general for now, & I don't plan to go into it here—as it is, I've rambled out of point for too long.


In this fic's context, I'm interpreting both of them as people who put on facades in their dealings in everyday life. Youji knew damned well that he was pretending, but he preferred it just the way it was—at the beginning of the fic, anyway. I've read portrayals of him as a true playboy, but personally, I think it's all part of his elaborate cover-up. Oh, he's flamboyant, & he exaggerates his sexual exploits—yet, how often have we actually seen evidence of him indulging in one night stands? Just too proud to let others—people whom he knew would care—notice when he was hurting. And Schuldig? He pretended too—he's not quite the bastard he liked to appear—but I think he seriously didn't realise it at times. He's caught up in being the guilty one.

See all the potential angst material piling up, kids? ^o^

When those two met—I mean when they actually meet & get to know each other, aside from clashes in battle—I like to think that it's one of those pairings that could really work out; their personalities could really compliment each other. Straying from WK for I moment, allow me to mention that I'm also a fan of another manga series, Get Backers, & in it, one of the characters remarked (about the two main characters, Ban & Ginji—loyal friends, each complete with his own messed-up past) that the gaping hole in one's heart can only be filled by another with a similar ache. I think this can also be applied to Youji & Schuldig's relationship in Cicada. They aren't drawn together because one feels the innocence/hope/strength in the other & is attracted like a moth to a flame—they are attracted because they both have something missing in their hearts, & as they come closer, the gap in each's starts to fill. (That, by the way, is one reason why I didn't write sex into this relationship in particular: it's an equal relationship, dammit—frankly, I've no idea who can top who. ^.~ Another reason is that smut & deathfic do not go together in sylphide's dictionary.)

As their relationship progressed, sex—or even physical attraction, for that matter—didn't really come into the equation. They were more like friends—friends who can share everything except reality. And all along, I think both were dimly aware of the fact that what they had could not last; but neither wanted to probe that. Not until circumstances forced them into it. It was a situation full of questions and problems; they just chose to ignore all of them, by mutual silent agreement.

I liked writing about them just being pals—you know, talking about random stuff, tossing the cookie jar over, and so on. To be comfortable enough to just hang out, without trying to assert each's comfortingly safe masks... that wasn't easy, for either of them.

And when I finally had to kill them off... T.T On one level, I really didn't want to: outside circumstances aside, I think they could have worked out... pals like that are damned rare. (if you have one, treasure him/her. I mean it.) On another level, though, I knew it was impossible, given the set of circumstances. They were Weiß and Schwarz—and the way the two teams' dynamics worked, clashes between them were inevitable. So... *sighs* Killing them was painful.

At least, though, they were together in death. I hope that's something.

What's the Greek term for it? Catharsis?


= Ran & Youji =

If Schuldig wasn't on the scene... Ran & Youji might have worked something out eventually. I like writing Ran a lot, & I think his personality is similar to Youji's in some ways—more similar than either Ken or Omi would be, anyway. Both of them are capable of feeling things intensely—but under most circumstances, neither would show anything. As I see it, Ran's the kind who'd tell his friends to get lost with his dying breath—while Youji would probably joke & make light of his situation until he pass out forever.

Under similar circumstances, would the other members of Weiß have chosen the path Youji did in the end? I don't think Omi would; he's more rational than that—he may hurt for ages afterwards, but ultimately, he puts his head before his feelings. Ken? He's hot-blooded enough... maybe he would—only I don't think he'd allow himself to get involved with a Schwarz member in the first place. Ran... I'm not sure. I really don't know. He'd understand where Youji's coming from, I think—something that the two younger assassins probably wouldn't. I doubt if Omi would see why Youji would choose death, & Ken would hardly sympathise with falling for the enemy. As for whether he'd do the same... *shrugs* But I think he understood—although he probably didn't want to discuss it further; there was no point in probing that vein.

Sometimes, Ran wondered.

I think he's the only one who would.


= Crawford & Nagi =

"Schwarz comes first; you know that."

"Oh yes I do—and Nagi knows it better, I think." The younger man stood up and made for the door. "Besides, has it ever occurred to you that he'd take whatever shit you dish out, even when he's personally against it? Ease it; you don't need to push him the way you push me."

Part IV earned the remark that Crawford is unfeeling. *uncomfortable look* I don't think he really is... he just likes to convince himself that. As I see it, (& as I wrote it... hey, I like to quote myself. ^.~) he tries to reduce everything to the rational level of cause & effect, the level where stuff like emotions play no part. When he does allow himself to reveal anything, it's probably in the form of lashing out at others, in times of great stress. As for nicer feelings... the most he ever showed explicitly was a silent thanks to Nagi—& that was in response to something Nagi did for the team. I doubt that he'd allow anything done for him—it'd make him uncomfortable, that. Few ever enjoy feeling that they owe others, & Crawford most definitely doesn't belong there.

Now, Nagi... Crawford's, in a way, the pillar of his world. No, I don't think there's any sexual undertone there. He simply accepts the American as the rightful dictator of his life: if Crawford wants something done, he'd do it. Finito. He has his own opinions, but he seldom argued for his own stand against the leader of Schwarz. Please don't think that I'm writing him as a pushover—at least, I don't think I am—he simply keeps his own feelings out of the equation when it comes to decisions.


= Omi =

*shifting uncomfortably* Dunno... I've always been uncomfortable about writing Omi. From what I'm read, fanfic portrayals of him can usually be grouped under one of two headings: 'Angelic Omi' and 'Takatori Omi'. The former puts him as the innocent kind chibi, but... personally, I find his 100-watt grin unsettling. He may be only 17 years old, but he's been raised as a killer—a killer who effectively separates his daytime occupation from his night one. He goes to school & he pays attention; he works at the flower shop & he cares about its profit or lack of; he kills at night & tries to do a good job of it, too! In some way, I got the impression that to him, all these are tasks & he should do his best for all of them. The other Weiß members angst about killing & definitely rank the flowershop business way below their night time profession when it comes to prioritising—Omi views them with the same equanimity. He cares openly for his teammates, & I don't think it ever occurred to him that there's anything ironical about killers caring for one another. I don't think it's about different points of view or perspectives anymore, his very mentality—the way he thinks, the way his mind works—is vastly different from his three teammates, who, up to the point when they got dumped into the underworld, led relatively mundane normal lives. (muse: go on along this vein much longer, & you'd start planning a Farfarello x Omi fic... sylphide: erm... I've received that request before... from an Omi fan, no less... O_o)

Oh, then there's Omi's obsession about justice. 'Never forgive the bad ones'. Hello? Does that sound like what a 17-year-old would say? Or a 6-year-old? Sometimes I think a part of him never grew up & just stayed a kid—kids tend to view the world in absolutes, & of the four Weiß members, he's probably the only one who actually sees the distinction between Weiß and Schwarz—& note, he's the only one in Episode 20 (the psycho lawyer episode... at least, that's how I think of it) who griped with the idea of justice. The rest have probably resigned themselves to the fact that they are just murderers, but not Omi. Justice remains to him an ideal that Weiß is working for. (although, personally, I think it got degraded to power play between the Takatori brothers... ) Omi sees black & white, not grey.

"Aya-kun?" His voice was thin and tired.


"Can you tell me how to get mad?"

Erm... I distilled that particular problem from real life... ^^;; Actually, it's a problem that I have. I grew up in a home environment with parents who never fought, never argued—not in front of me, anyway—and seldom even raised their voices at each other. When they scolded me, they were rational about it, too—how this is irresponsible, how that can be improved... It hit me one day that I had no idea how to blow up. When I get angry, I just feel angry—but most people don't even notice it. Screaming or yelling doesn't let out any steam for me. I don't get upset very easily, but when I do, I don't know how to let it out. Punch the pillow, yeah, sure, that's ridiculous. Anyway, given Omi's rational mindset & his uncommon upbringing, I think it's quite likely that he never had much exposure to raw emotions, either. So, I gave him that.


= Farfarello =

A fascinating character, my regret here is that I didn't get to dwell on him as much as I'd have liked—it'd distract the plot too much. Farfarello is in a league of his own, and he needs a hell lot of building up to be truly three-dimensional, while this fic deals primarily with Schuldig & Youji.

I've tried to stay away from the somewhat clichéd let's-hurt-god aka blender-is-fun portrayal (speaking of which, why blender? I've never understood that point... please can somebody enlighten me?), but I don't know how successful that is.


= Ken =

Since it's set after the original TV series but before the OVA (& hence before the Dramatic Precious Albums), I decided to keep Ken a little unbalanced, but not really all that obviously so. If you don't know what goes on in those, I won't spoil you here... it'd suffice to know that as time progressed, Ken slowly went from the good boy next door to an assassin who actually, on some level, enjoyed killing. He's jumpy at times in this fic, but not really losing it. If you blink, you'd probably miss most of the references to the changes in our soccer lover.


= Imagery =

(muse: 'imagery'? sylphide: so sue me, I took literature in two languages last year. muse: O.O & now you're a double maths student... what does that say about your lit grades? sylphide: *sticks out tongue* I'm talented in many areas. muse: err... right.)

The cicada itself is a metaphor (muse: more professional terms? helloooo?), & light/darkness plays a major part in the images I'm trying to invoke, especially in the later parts. I won't state them again here. Go back, & read slowly. *grins*

The last thing he needed was to have it haunt him for the rest of his life—especially since he did not intend for it to be a short life.

^___^ Why am I including this here? It's hubris. At least, 'hubris' as my lit teacher explained it: act of defiance/belief that one had control over one's own life, et cetera et cetera—which brings about divine intervention just to prove one is wrong about the assumption of freedom. I'm laying stress on this line because this is a deathfic, and Schuldig will check out at some point in the future (this is taken from Part II) but, as yet, he didn't know that fate (sylphide: that's me! *waves* muse: *sweatdrops* excuse her... she's in holiday mode, not to mention that she's getting to the end of this way-too-long Afterword & feeling giddy over that, too...) had other ideas.


(*pause* muse: oi, aren't you done yet? sylphide: hang on while I switch back to sane mode.)

Yes, I'm done. Thanks for reading (both the fic itself and this long ramble... ^^;; ). I personally feel that reading a long story is like travelling a long journey together with the writer, into the world the writer has created; thank you for coming this far with me, and I hope we'll be travelling companions again some time.

~ sylphide ~ or