Return to your shore
A RahXephon: Pluraritas Concentio fanfiction by regie27
Standard Disclaimers Apply
This story is solely based on the film version of RahXephon. For those who haven't seen the film, although based in the general concepts of the series, bear in mind that there are several major changes in the characters, concepts and story between the film version and the anime.
The sun was slowly setting over the serene seas that surrounded the bucolic half of Nirai-Kanai, painting the clear light blue canvas with deep hues of warm canary and bright oranges but the boy that made his way uphill was oblivious to the spectacle that nature provided that quiet afternoon. Each step forward he made was performed in a calculated, dry manner. The boy's blue glance peered away, staring to everything and nothing at the same time, lost to the reality around him, submerged amidst the vast and tempestuous ocean of his own thoughts.
"Why Mishima…?" the question that had plagued his conscience for the last two days echoed once again inside his brain.
The outline of the residence he had made his home for the past months became clearer but his feet began to slow gradually as if held down by invisible weights the closer he got.
"Why you didn't tell me?" he wanted to scream out loud, his mind struggling to find a logical explanation for the unexplainable silence, for the lack of honesty and openness, for the unnecessary mystery she veiled herself into.
Suddenly, his stride forward froze in place, his feet merely inches from the house's entrance. His head glanced back to the pyramidal structure that dominated the technologically advanced half of the island as he backtracked by memory the path that lead him towards the TERRA complex. His mind commenced to travel the distance, his feet directing him to the C & C room where he would usually find the short-haired officer sitting down while monitoring the blinking screens. He can notice a serious countenance hanging on her features as her fingers nimbly punch the keyboard. In his mind's eye, he can observe her suddenly lifting her head, shifting her attention from the computer terminal to where he stands and warm eyes in hazelnut hues gleam at him. The severe expression melts away and in its place a welcoming smile greets him.
"Oh, hi Ayato-kun!" a bright, pleasant voice addresses amiably.
The boy's pupils widen in the sudden realization. Another face, the face of the girl he longed for is superimposed over Haruka's and then the evidence is all too clear. The truth had been in front of him all along.
"The eyes, the smile…15 years have passed between us but yet they're still the same as before! How did I fail to notice? How could I've been so blind!"
The image changes and the noisy control room suddenly fades away, the bright, vast room replaced by a stark, cold cell. His eyes open up and he is welcomed by the familiar brown gaze that lingers upon him as he senses how locks of stray hair that fall over his forehead are gently stroked aside. His attention abandons her face for an instant and descends to the floor, noticing the trail of discarded clothing that he recognizes as his own along with that he infers is hers. His palms glide slowly over the curve of her bare back bringing her close to himself, forcing the guilt and the pain that menaced to drown him into despair to be forgotten momentarily, feeling her mere presence mending his heart, healing his soul. Their glances lock again and he realizes why he can't move away. The comforting closeness they share is making him feel whole again, making him feel worthy enough to be considered human again despite the blood that stains his hands and the crime that haunts his conscience. The pain that was devouring him alive, the anguish of being the sole perpetrator of Asahina's tragic death had been numbed not by the effect of any substance but by the soothing yet exhilarating touch of the woman who unconditionally had welcomed him into her arms despite his incriminating blue blood, despite being him nothing more than a murderer. Despite him being nothing more than a Mu.
That night while she drove him back to their house he wondered what had compelled her to do such a thing, to offer comfort and solace in the most intimate of manners, to someone she'd barely known. He wondered why he hadn't been able to resist, why he hadn't refuse her, why he had returned her kiss over and over again when he knew his heart belonged to someone else yet he couldn't make himself stop. Why he longed with all his might to be swept away by her passion.
Were his affections towards Mishima so unstable and frail that he could betray his first love's memory in the arms of another so easily? Why he struggled to provide a justification for feeling so utterly attracted to the one that seemed to understand him so well and cared for him with such devotion it resembled so much the one that had been forcefully taken away from him? The moment they had spent in that cold cell together had been the most wonderful thing that had happened to him but the guilt of his betrayal was driving him insane, tearing him apart, making him feel worthless. Was the love he swore he professed towards Mishima so hollow and superficial? Kamina dreaded to know the truth, for he feared that in the end it would unveil a part of him he never imagined it lurked inside him.
"Beautiful island" Megumi had replied that morning in the ferry as he probed the red-haired girl with questions about her elder sister. "Her last name means beautiful island and it's spelled Mishima." The rest of the conversation became a blur to him as the truth began to sink in. In a really perverted twist of fate, Kamina learned that it wasn't that he had betrayed his lost love's memory with another because it had been her all along. He had at last found her but for some reason he couldn't explain, the discovery hadn't filled him with elation but with grim disappointment. It was her, it was Mishima Haruka, the girl he wanted to see again, but was she still the same girl he fell in love with? Who was this woman who shared her name and the lively sparkle in her eyes but who had mercilessly withheld the truth about her identity to him?
"So, it had been you all this time, Mishima. For how long you were going to keep this to yourself?" The bitter taste that had lodged inside his mouth since that day was more noticeable this very instant as a lump began rising on his throat, sensing the dull pain that made his breathing more difficult reappear while his illusions turned to dust right before his eyes. The sheer joy of knowing that the girl he cared for the most was still alive collided bluntly with the heartache of her deceit. Why it was that the more truths he encountered the more confused and hurt he felt? Oblivion it seemed, to be ignorant of the hurtful truths around him, wasn't such a bad thing after all. And yet no answers came to rescue him from the dreadful state of confusion he was sunk into. The world it seemed, had agreed to leave him in the dark, labeling him unworthy of knowing the truth, content in using him as a mere tool for its own objectives. He wondered what could be hers or for how long this charade would go on.
Kamina Ayato closed his eyes, letting a cleansing breath escape his lips as he found the strength and will to move his legs forward again to the house that was his home…and her home too. Exhausted by the mental burden, he took his shoes in an instinctive manner, steeling himself to whatever was left to uncover.
"Ooof!" a female voice exclaimed. "Baka Ayato, watch it!" she barked.
"G-gomen Megumi!" the boy replied absentmindedly. His eyes found the fuming face of Shitow Megumi staring coldly at him.
"You're leaving?" he ventured to ask as he observed the girl put on her shoes.
"Yeah, I'm off to my friend Kim's place. I'll have my day off tomorrow so we'll be having a sleepover. Ah, and by the way, oji-san's already left to a meeting with some old students of his so don't expect him to return early. I think there's some ramen and some steamed veggies left in the kitchen. And don't worry about onee-chan. I think she's pulling an all-nighter back at HQ. Man, I can't believe how hard she works."
"That's okay. I'm not hungry." Ayato replied in a somewhat dejected manner.
"Geez, you're sure in a foul mood today" Megumi chirped back. "Well, gotta go. Try to make the best of the situation. We'll be seeing tomorrow!"
Ayato waved goodbye to the girl, glad for the moment of silence he had been granted. He certainly didn't felt like humoring anyone, not even Megu. His growing distrust had him on the defensive like a wounded animal. "Trust no one" had quickly become his new mantra. "You can trust no one."
The noise of a car arriving startled him out of his wakeful sleep. Ayato stood up and noticed the day had already morphed into night. With heavy eyes, he lifted his arm and the blinking numbers in his wristwatch confirmed the fact. He did remember throwing himself to his futon still fully clothed while lifting the covers up to his head as he wished for sleep to numb his restlessness but it had been to no avail. Even in his unconscious state, his inner demons kept their relentless attack.
Stirred out of his slumber, he waited to hear the sound of the sliding door closing and for whoever had arrived to quickly move away. His mouth had an acrid taste and he wished for some water to wash it away but he certainly didn't feel in the right mood to even cross words with anyone. The incoming steps faded away and after a few minutes, Ayato left the safety of his room towards the kitchen. Threading carefully in the darkness with a tall glass of water, the boy began his way back when his eyes caught the glimpse of a yellow compact parked outside. His head snapped back and noticed the laptop at the table and a red-sleeved white jacket with the TERRA logo emblazoned. Before he could do anything, he sensed that someone was watching him from the shadows. Following his instinct, he turned around and as he had expected, Mishima, no, Shitow Haruka was carefully walking towards the common room observing him with a pained expression.
"Good night Haruka-san. I'm on my way to my room so I'll be leaving you alone so you can work as you wish" he commented dryly.
"I'm done with my work for today but thank you for your concern." Upon saying this, Haruka bent down to pick up her jacket and laptop, observing in despair the hardened expression the boy had as he made his way up the stairs. She bit her lip to hide the slight tremble at her jaw.
"I'm sorry" Ayato heard the woman say in a barely audible voice. He turned around.
"I'm sorry" Haruka whispered again in a more vehement tone. Kamina's head hung low as he walked back until he faced her.
"Why?" he asked, forcing his face to veil his true feelings but the incredulity and the pain were all too evident in his voice. "Why you didn't tell me?"
"Because I was afraid Ayato! Because I dreaded your contempt and your disappointment to know the girl you were looking for was gone and all that was left of her was this older woman."
"You are right. I am disappointed. The Mishima Haruka I knew would have never acted like you have. In fact, the girl I fell in love with would have never abducted me, drugged me, lied to me or seduced me for her own sick kicks."
Haruka gasped, feeling as if she had been suddenly punched in the stomach. No brute force had been dealt though; his words and the seething anger that drenched every word he muttered were more hurtful to her than any physical blow.
"What…don't you understand why we took you away? Do you believe me to be such a cold-hearted person to take you away from your home just for a whim?" she managed to spell out with trembling voice.
"Right now I believe you capable of doing anything you're ordered captain Shitow. You didn't have any qualms in drugging me or dragging me against my will to this place for whatever TERRA wants me for. What can make me think you wouldn't be capable of anything? You knew about the surveillance cameras in the holding cell yet you didn't care. Was that just another mission, another tactic to extract information from me or was it just to satisfy a perverted curiosity about your blue-blooded specimen? Tell me, was I more amusing than the subjects of your previous missions? Was I good enough for you in bed?" Ayato spewed out, lashing out his own pain, wanting each word to scar her as each lie had cut him.
The explosive sound of Haruka's hand landing on Ayato's face broke the sudden silence. The laptop and jacket lay on her feet. As he stroked the red skin of his aching cheek, he watched her as long tears streamed down her face and her hands balled up in fists, as a slight tremble she was unable to control ran through her body.
"The cameras…the surveillance cameras were off Ayato. I had them turned off. There was no need to intrude in your privacy in that way when they could still monitor you from outside. I requested it so you could at least keep the dignity of grieving in private."
Ayato stared at Haruka in disbelief and the memory of all the truths that had been left in the dark came back to fuel his ire. "But that doesn't change the fact that you…"
"That I what? That I chose to stay with you because I couldn't stand to see you so miserable? That I wished with all my might for a way to take your suffering and make it mine instead? That when I realized what we had done it was already too late? The truth of the matter is that when I was informed of what had happened to Asahina, that your blood had already turned blue, all I wanted was to be beside you in your moment of suffering."
Haruka brought her head up as glistening sad eyes searched for his while she uttered a bark of a laughter.
"Heh, I'm still as clumsy as ever. All I wanted was to avoid you unnecessary pain. All I wished was to carry this burden alone even though I knew that I couldn't protect you from the truth forever, but now I realize that I've been the one to cause you most pain. I know that now, that I shouldn't have lied to you but how could I be the one to shatter the illusion of your first love with…with the crude reality that time had gone by and the girl grew up and became a woman while you had barely aged?"
Ayato struggled to remain angry, to let the pain that had been accumulating inside him pour out violently but he couldn't make himself to be mad at her anymore. Not when the words she uttered to him that moment at the cell suddenly made so much sense. "I've waited all this time…" 15 years she had waited. 15 years that had gone by hanging on to the shreds of an illusion just like he had. The three years he had lived in uncertainty and hope couldn't compare to the lifetime she had spent seeking for him, waiting for him.
"I hope one day you'll find it in your heart the will to forgive me. I truly wish you could have found the girl you expected to find but I'm afraid she's gone. I know it's absurd for me to even expect you to feel something for me but at least I want you to know that I still love you after all this time and knowing that you're still alive is all that I need to be happy. For that, I am grateful and I will treasure every memory we've created, for they will remain with me forever no matter what. Perhaps, you will treasure them too someday. Good night, Kamina-kun." Haruka offered him a sad smile and turned her back to him as she began to move away to the shadows again.
Ayato stood in utter bewilderment, his mind and heart trying frantically to make sense of everything it had been said. What he had done? He was pushing her away from his life after her sacrifice.
"You'll lose her again" a voice spoke to him inside his head. "Are you going to let her go away without a fight? Are you going to give up so easily?'
"No." He answered. "Fate separated us once but I won't let it happen again."
Kamina's feet began moving briskly towards the narrow hall. The sound of choked sobs led him to her room.
His hand caught the doorknob but his attempt to turn it resulted in failure. It was locked. His desperation and anxiety rose to uncontrollable levels.
"I won't let you go again!" he screamed.
He pounded furiously, desperately at the door that divided them first with his fists, and then he began to ram it with his shoulder. He was about to shove the door down when it suddenly opened with a slight click.
Haruka's eyes opened wide at the sight. Kamina's face was flustered, his eyes brimmed with tears, his forehead glistened with droplets of sweat.
His voice came out broken and hoarse. He was breathing heavily, his whole body moved with each inhalation and exhalation.
"Haruka, I'm sorry-I'm sorry for misjudging you. I wish I could take back all those horrible things I've said. I can't imagine how hard it must have been for you to wait a lifetime on the pretense of a hope. I might not agree with your actions but I can't judge you when you have done an impossible. I can't afford to lose you after we have finally found each other again. I can't let you go on believing that I don't love you because it's not true. I could never forget you and I will not let you go!"
"Ayato-kun…" The rest of the words never came out because her mouth was suddenly covered by his. All the conflicting emotions that had been pounding like the tide against the shore poured out. His kiss was fierce, anxious, desperate. He drank her as if he had been thirsting for her all his life. His hands grabbed onto her shoulders tightly, pulling her towards himself, feeling her heart beating in unison with his. His tears drenched her cheeks and he tasted hers when his mouth set hers free and dried the salty, long trails that descended down her face. His hands rose to hold her face, his thumbs caressing the corners of her lips, sinking into the warm, calming brown gaze that stared at him back with the love that time could not conquer nor dim flashing brightly, triumphantly.
"I need to right a wrong" Ayato said softly, forcing himself not to blink in order to delight in the beauty of the woman he held to himself.
"I don't understand."
"When you came to me two days ago, I mistook for compassion what you gave me. You poured your heart and soul onto me yet I gave you none of that in return, just my pain and my anguish. I wish to rectify that."
The TERRA captain stared at him in awe, a reddish hue lodging on her cheeks. "You don't need to do that. What I gave was my mine to give and it was my choice. I didn't expect anything in return when I made up my mind. I just wanted to be with you."
"But that's not enough for me. I want to do the same for you, that is, if you accept me" he replied vehemently.
"Don't tempt me if you don't intent in following through on your offer. I can walk away while I can still calm myself down but I'm not sure if I can control myself for too long. 15 years can be a long time to spend alone you know. I don't want my career to be tainted with accusations of me being a seducer of young men." That last sentence was voiced with a sly grin.
"Aren't you a tad late to harbor such concerns?" he replied with a similar impish smile as his arms linked tightly around her waist. His eyes suddenly noticed that the black undershirt of her uniform was partially open, leaving her pale neck uncovered. Ayato's right hand rose and his index finger brushed the zipper's latch, dangling it playfully. Her breath caught up on her throat. "And who says I want to back down on my offer?"
Haruka's face turned serious. "Because I want to be sure you can still believe in me after all the lies and the deception."
"All of them are forgotten. I only need one truth. All I need to know is that you still love me."
"More than anything Ayato. I couldn't make myself not love you even if I wanted to."
"And that's all the truth I need to know" and upon saying this, he sought her lips again.
The sunrays that filtered over the window fall over Ayato's face, making him squint due to the bright light. As his conscience began to clear while he slowly stirred out from his slumber, he sensed the unusual softness under him and the warm body beside him. Fully awake now, he realized that he wasn't on his room that morning. Kamina also realized that what he had believed to be a dream was indeed reality, his new reality. Glancing over his shoulder, he smiled as he watched Haruka sleep peacefully at his side, as if a heavy weight had at last been taken off her shoulders. His blue eyes noticed a small book peeking from underneath her pillow. The colorful drawing on the cover stirred Ayato's recollections instantly. He carefully slipped the book from its hiding place, turning the pages with a wistful smile. She still kept her old copy of "Beyond the looking glass" They had read it together at school the afternoon she had met his mother. He could still picture himself sulking during tea, since that of all days, he hadn't expected his mother to arrive home early. It had also been the day before an orange dome had trapped him inside the city that never aged and had forced her away from him. With the utmost care, he placed the book back to where it had been kept and glanced at the clock at her nightstand. If he was lucky, he could still sneak to his room without uncle Rikudoh noticing where he had stayed the night, although he sometimes had the strange feeling the former archaeologist wouldn't be surprised or scandalized by the fact.
Ayato began to glide off the bed in silence but suddenly, she began to stir at his absence. "Shh, it's okay love" he whispered gently as he stroked her hair. "I have to go now but we'll see each other later today. Go to sleep my beloved Haruka." Ayato gave her a quick peck at her forehead and another on the lips, watching her relax until he was sure she was sleeping again. His mind began to spin assaulted with the freshly created memories that still burned over his skin. He took a deep breath and before he allowed his body to override his plans, he dressed up in haste and slipped off her room while he still had a faint sense of self-control. He would have preferred for her to wake up in his arms but the present situation didn't allow for that. It was strange enough for him to find himself loving a woman 12 years his senior that at the same time was to his middle school sweetheart. It was indeed strange enough to make anyone's head spin but for him it was simple and right and that was all that mattered.
As he reached his own room glad to realize the aroma of Rikudoh's morning tea hadn't begun to invade the kitchen, he threw himself to his futon. As he closed his eyes, he wished to recollect all the memories he had created along with Mishima. Many of them were so vivid he could practically recreate them easily through his mind's eye. Others were beginning to fade like an old picture, the details erasing, leaving only the broad traces. Since the day his blood became blue, he had felt as his mind had unraveled and a black hole began to slowly grow inside, taking into itself little by little his precious memories. Yesterday he was unable to remember his infancy. Sensations, sights, sounds, smells…they had all disappeared to that strange void. Today he wanted to remember the song Mishima and he sang all the time but couldn't.
"What's happening to me? Why my mind feels as if it's being erased?"
The smiling face of Haruka sitting at his side at the Miura Peninsula flashed in his head, pushing the incipient anxiety and uncertainty inside him away for time being. His lids felt heavy. His mouth curved in an "o" as a he tried to stifle a long yawn. His eyes began to close as his worries began to also fade along with the vanishing pieces of his memory. One last thought materialized brightly before all his conscience faded to black:
"I will never forget you, Mishima, no matter what."