A/N:I always wondered why Legato stopped the beating of the woman that time. If he'd wanted to show her that life was suffering, wouldn't he have just let the man continue? What I ended up with was a story about his mother, not him. No spoilers. Set anytime during the anime series.
She named me Bluesummers, not because it was her family's root but because she wanted a clan conjured from the very air to gift to me. It would be my inheritance, instead of what muddied waters her own genetics would try to wash me in. She knew nothing of my father but still would attempt to guess at times, taking my chin in her dish-scoured fingers and turning it left, right, delving for hints in the pout of my jaw or flare of my nose. It was a game we'd both grown used to. When she was in better moods, she'd try to make me laugh by teasing about how my father was a great man on some great quest somewhere; he'd left us only to pursue his mission but he'd be back soon. As I got older I realized the fact behind those desperate lies as clearly as if it'd been shouted to me, hand-in-hand with her sickened knowledge that giving me a dream would only make it worse but what else was she to do?
No. That wasn't it. Not all of it.
She named me Bluesummers by accident; she'd wanted to name me something even more musical, Legato Concerto or Legato Piccolo or something else that would have won me reason to be frustrated all my life, but I'd suppose she lost her train of thought midway through it and had taken whatever next struck her attention.
That was something she'd always been good at, my mother, starting halfway and reaching for one of the ends before just dropping it under a swell of futility and going quiet for hours at a time. There were nights when she would sit up by the windows on the second floor where we kept our living quarters, her feet bare and tucked under the opposite knees and her arms folded upon her chest like a little girl. The flash of her throat craned back and up would reflect the silver through the window as she would rock her torso back and forth on the chair. It would make small jarring noises when the force made it skid, like the ones coming from her lips, and eventually I came to learn that she did not consciously know she was making either.
Her eyes, dull and opened and drinking in the moon.
She named me Bluesummers like she wanted to name my sister Hope, to let us be the birds to fly free from this miner's town, free from the soil which coated everything and the drunken stubbled grins of the workers who leered at her from over the bartop, come here pretty lady, come here, leering, don't you wish you had a nice man around the house now lil' filly? If it was an option she'd have left, or sent us away to live with strangers but there was no place around which was better than here, this dustbowl town with its dustbowl brethren.
And she was still proud, my mother, even after the years which had stolen away her youth and left her with a child's eyes still hopeful in a face early lined from its toil. Capability of providing for her children was a prize to aim for and then hold tight once accomplished, and if she'd had to coax a bit of coin here or plead extra for supplies there then that was only a mother's due. Sometimes she would hide me behind the counters or curled up painfully amidst the coiling of the grill, long skirts shielding me as I tried to hide the inevitable hisses I would make while being baked alive. The low rumbling laughter of the dinner shift reverberating close, and then far. And then gone.
I'll tell you true now. Never once when she was watching did they touch me.
She named me because of the color of my hair, the same shade that the sky turned into when it was dark enough to obscure the details of the world and yet light enough still to see your path home. I was to be free as she was not to walk in the warm seasons that would stretch out endlessly before me and my path. My mother always did favor kitsch like that. It was during one of those same summers that the priests came by and had told me about God, and then fidgeted when I asked them why He was punishing my mother. I knew I couldn't believe in them when they tossed off something quick, about love and grace and then something else quieter and said only inside their heads about wedlock.
I knew it then. God wasn't a being in the sky that cared about everyone. God wanted to let my mother suffer.
God wanted her dead.
God wanted everyone dead.
I thanked the priests and told them I'd think about it and no we didn't have any money for donations please.
She named me because of the color of my hair, which she could not stop staring at in the revulsion that only mothers know how to mask and still let scream at the top of its desperate lungs, wondering if the lapis had come from the turpentine she had drank to kill me and the golden eyes from the Paris Green. My mother was an invincible woman. Her womb had been flooded with every manner of toxin and still her blood's creation had held on, drinking nourishment and poison both from the tube to its stomach where in theory every mother and child were bound. In love, in hate--regardless of what it had been or what it had finally evolved to by the time I had been breached forth at last, it was only desperate disbelief in the nightmare which shone in her eyes when she had first held me. It never fully left but reawakened every time I'd paw the ground for scraps to feed that same hunger, and she'd inevitably question herself if my need to devour stemmed from sensing the initial lack of nutrients I'd been steeped in.
I expect if I'd been extra a few toes I could have reassured her.
By the time my sister had arrived she had given up on the idea that she could stop her body, which demanded for her to be so strangely fertile when all about the land had been wasted. It shackled her to this life. Even when the first of the contractions had hit and I had dumbly stared at her screams while the squalling ball of flesh had freed itself, my mother was still trying to recall which of the one-night stands through town was the culprit when she'd tried to be so careful. Afterwards when we grew she'd still stare at us with lips pursed, as if the identity of our fathers would leap out one afternoon in between the washup and the prep for dinner.
My sister is thinking that I should have gone for a doctor before this. I forget if she's doing it aloud. All I can see is my mother twisting on the bed.
She named me Bluesummers because...
She can't remember anymore.
She named me Bluesummers because she'd had some fantasy or the other about giving all her children last names after colors and seasons--forgetting during the dream that offspring were the last thing she'd wanted when alone and scraping for pennies out of the pockets of miners with rancid laughs and fingers that were sticky as tar. In her vision, there would have been a husband strong and warm to help her and she would have had four in total, four loving babes each with some trite title saddled to them, Greenspring, Redautumn. Whitewinter. Never mind that all the seasons were the same here, and the spines of her storybooks that spoke of them were worn down to threads.
She is writhing on the bed. There is so much blood.
I can't remember if I love her or if I hate her anymore.
The doctor comes at last, but she has named me Bluesummers because this is not a labor that is going well and everyone in the room knows it. From the bellows of my mother's voice, it's quite likely that everyone up and down the street knows it as well. She'd never wanted to bring children into this world and had barely known what to do with us when we arrived but to love us in that clumsy way that adults too new to their roles have, still naive herself at heart to still wish on stars for princes while her body punished her by its own robust health. She didn't want to breed. She wasn't ready to yet. The future was something that was supposed to arrive and arrive now and no matter how long she watched the moon and broke inside no one came. She has named me Bluesummers. As hard as she'd tried to hide it, the pain came out as surely as the strangled cries from the bed now or the whimpers she would drag upstairs with her after a late night with the customers when we'd been sent upstairs early and had lain awake listening to the shouts just get worse and worse through the floorboards. My sister is tugging on my sleeve and crying, what's wrong, why is she making those sounds, and the doctor's assistant is in my eyes and trying to block them telling me to go downstairs and that we're too young to see this yet.
I catch myself wondering if he actually believes that.
But from here I can hear my mother best, not the screams which have faded away now into moans through cracked lips but the skipping record-patterns of her actual words. These are clearer than those of the assistant as he curses or the doctor as he calls urgently for the knives, saying something about saving at least one of them. She named me Bluesummers because of the dream she'd had for a future which never came no matter how hard she wished for it or worked for it or hoped. Or bled. Yes, mother. I can hear you. I have always been able to hear you. This has been how I know you have always been sincere in how you wanted so much for us. And this is how I know the world will never bend to let its people live.
She remembers why now as she forgets everything else and she has named me Bluesummers and there is no point to wanting a better future. There is the confused crying of my sister who I suddenly know will have the same thing happen to her when she is older, seeking love that will swell her body and condemn her to slavery feeding the workers in town until she could have sworn there was a way out or maybe there would be one any day now. But there is no reason to looking for a better tomorrow for there is no tomorrow worth waiting it out for and she has named. The innocent ones prove that every time they are ignored. There is only my mother's body on the bed and a God in the sky waiting for the rest of us to get on with it because there is something about death that He craves and she has named me she has named me Bluesummers.