Ashita Made (Until Tomorrow)
Sites: Four Stars, Yume no Kage
Pairings: M+R+M, KxC
Warnings: shounen-ai, implied yaoi, slight het, angst, AU-ish, some OOC, slight Japanese
Archive: Ask first. E-mail addy is above.
Writing Conventions: + + + + + = scene change; emphasis, 'thoughts', "speech"
Disclaimer: Only the plot, OCs, and a couple characterizations belong to K. Everything else belongs to Kouga Yun, Shinshokan South, etc. K gains nothing but the happiness writing brings her, so please don't sue. She's broke, anyway.
Summary: One secret leads to another. Past, present, and future -- all gets resolved... maybe.
Notes: (AKA things you don't really need to know, but K thought she should tell anyone who wants to)
1) This is the final version of the fic. K promises she will keep her hands off it from now on. No matter how much she wants to edit it again.
2) This fanfic was started in May of 2001 and was unofficially finished in late 2002. This final posting has only come about because she wants to get the damn thing off her back. And because she went into Fickle Mode and, ever insecure about her writing, decided to run it across more betas than you can shake a stick at.
3) The 'infamous' usotsuki lines are most likely inaccurately translated. K begs forgiveness, she's not fluent and she did the best she could.
4) about the AU tag above, under 'Warnings': until early 2002, nothing was known -- not here, stateside, anyway -- about what happened in Eden at the 'end' of the series but the whole Metatron thing and Kagetsuya and Chihaya's banishment to Earth. This fic was written as a speculation piece focusing on the archangels Michael and Raphael, way before it was found that a sentence of banishment was also given to Michael-sama. As such, it's now labeled as it is. Ergh... Plus there are details concerning a certain couple that are a little iffy, even if the explanation could still fit. What couple? Nothing. Nothing! Ah hah hah. K still feels kinda bad when she thinks about it so... yeah. It's easy to figure out, anyway, so she'll leave that to you.
5) about the OOC tag: the manga is not completely translated and, unfortunately, much of the scenes she really, really needed, she had to translate herself. As stated in note 3, she is not fluent (yet) in Japanese and translated to the best of her abilities. So while not entirely wrong, she is pretty sure that she didn't hit the bullseye for the most part. However, because she learned plenty in the time she wrote this, by the time rewrite time came around, she looked at the manga again and went through it with a fine-toothed comb. Thus the realization that she got many, many things wrong. 'OOC' is included in the warnings because incorporating all the epiphanies she had while rewriting this meant that she had to scrap the entire fic and start over again from the beginning. Call her a big, effin', extremely lazy idiot, but she didn't want to do that, the main reason that this is her pilot fic -- pilot chapter fic, can't forget those other one-shots, and yes, this means there's more coming because besides being an idiot, K doesn't know when to quit -- and scrapping it, for whatever reason, was the one thing she didn't ever, ever want to do. As it is, she has changed this as much as she could without butchering the original intentions. She is aware of the many, many inconsistencies with canon contained herein. K knows that no amount of apologizing and begging for forgiveness can help her with in this aspect. All she can say is that she knows better and she promises future fics will be more accurate.
6) Colorings have changed slightly for... er, two charas, I think. Because it seemed like a good idea. I realize that yes, the same rules might not necessarily apply to angels, but they mingle with the Earthians. Someone is bound to notice them sooner or later.
7) Long after this fic, K has been trying to break herself out of the habit of putting Japanese phrases in her fics. Thus, with the exception of the usotsuki lines (because K isn't that sure about its translation and because she thinks it sounds better in Japanese) and honorary suffixes -- left in to indicate that in the language of Eden, there is some similar way with which one denotes the level of respect accorded to others -- it's all gone. She really didn't want to take them out, because some terms add certain feelings to some words that cannot be expressed in English, but they got really annoying, interspersed randomly through the text as they were.
Special Thanks: Kouga Yun-sensei, for bringing Earthian into existence; MD-sempai, Hika-chan, and Tenku-chama for supporting me and pushing me to write, even when I wanted to call it quits; Seravi, for all the beta work and for throwing things at me and forcing me in front of the computer when I really, truly needed it; Keil and the rest of the Rewrite Band for all the help with editing, even if you weirded me out with your self-appointed name; and last but oh-so-definitely not least, everyone on FFN and the Earthians ML for reading, all the ego boosts/feedback, and for just plain putting up with me.
"...And..." The tall, young angel with the flame-orange hair on the screen hesitated and looked away, then straightened again. "Raphael-sama, I... I request a change of partner."
The archangel arched an eloquent eyebrow. "Nuriel, you and Teleise are at the top of your class and have been getting along fine since you were partnered. In fact, we've not had so compatible a pair in quite a while. Is something wrong? Has something happened?"
"Ah-- No, nothing's happened, sir, but... Teleise..."
Nuriel, born into Eden's aristocracy, usually didn't act so hesitant. When he first came, it probably would not have been so. He had been a haughty one, this angel, condescending to those lower than him. He did not seek them out, no, and never aimed to cause bodily harm, even once or twice halting his peers -- well, former peers now, most of them -- from dealing it out themselves. But he took every single chance he got to slight them, and it was those not noble born, who were admitted to the academy by merit of their high test scores, that he had taken a 'liking' to. It was a blessing that he had been capable of maturing. Some of that could probably have been credited to his assigned partner not only being one of that minority, but also one who had scored just as high as he had on the exams and had more often than not bested him during the physical tests. The presence of Raphael, his elder and superior, seemed to have a subduing effect on him.
"She is getting a little too attached to the Earthians," Nuriel stated after his pause. "Sir. I'm afraid it is clouding her judgment."
Raphael was silent for a few moments, dark eyes thoughtful. Those words were never to be said lightly among the investigative pairs sent to Earth. To make such an accusation against another angel was a serious matter to be considered, to do so against one's own partner even more so. On the screen, the fiery-haired teenager fidgeted despite the obvious restraint he was exerting on himself to keep from doing so, trying to keep his gaze from lowering as his superior contemplated on what he said.
"I'll consider what you say, Nuriel," he said at last. "However, I should like to talk with her first. And the matter has to be brought to the attention of Michael-sama and the other archangels. When Teleise returns from her errands, please have her contact me immediately."
"Yes, sir." The angel bowed, then cut off the link.
Well, there was another reason to stay put. The thought, laced with amusement, surfaced as he skimmed through his incoming messages for anything of importance.
The archangel stiffened and didn't turn around as Michael entered the room, then forced himself to relax, giving an inward frown as he searched for a reason for freezing in the first place. Turning off the screen, he watched the blonde's reflection as he glided with characteristic grace to the couch in the far corner and seated himself, oblivious to the dark gaze that followed him. If perhaps his movements were slower, a little more deliberate than usual, Raphael attributed it to the likelihood that Michael had taken a walk before coming here.
"I suspected you'd be in here," Michael continued, having noticed nothing of his second-in-command's reaction to his entrance. "I thought today's your day off." A light chuckle. "Miss your work already?"
Raphael shrugged noncommittally and picked up the book he had been reading before Nuriel contacted him to make his report, but found that the words blurred together and he could not concentrate. It seemed as if the book was written in a language he should have been familiar with, taunting him with an understanding that slipped like eels just out of his reach. For that matter, his gaze kept going back to the reflection on the blank screen. Michael had lain back and closed his eyes, looking quite subdued now that his eyelids hid the lively blue of his eyes, the slightest hint of his ever-present smile on his lips. The fingers of his right hand were entwined in his curls, twisting at the saffron strands absently.
Not for the first time, some unidentified feeling surfaced in his heart. His dusk-colored eyes softened and the corners of his mouth lifted in the tiniest semblance of a smile. Unnerved, he quickly masked the emotion and made another attempt to focus on his book.
"So, have you heard anything on the Earthians?" the query came all of a sudden. "Ash, Sirra, and their partners' reports have been forwarded to me; seems the winds are favorable for Earth these days." Then, "I believe Nuriel and Teleise are supposed to call in with their reports today, also."
This time, Raphael turned around. There was something in Michael's voice, some tone that evaded identification; he couldn't quite pin it down long enough to analyze. The other archangel opened an eye at his movement, catching him in those very blue depths. Unable to stop himself, he froze under that scrutiny.
"Nuriel has already given his report and Teleise was on an errand," he said quietly, willing his body to move again. "She'll contact us as soon as soon as she gets back."
A small, white light began to blink at the corner of the screen, accompanied by a soft series of beeps, signaling an incoming message. As he turned around again, he heard the other archangel shift in his place. Was that a hint of uneasiness in the action, or was it just his imagination?
"This must be her now," he murmured.
Raphael noted Michael's small gasp, but didn't look at him, deciding to deal with it and its implications after he took care of the call. The bright voice that preceded the image was unmistakable; the amethyst-eyed angel who appeared on the screen only confirmed what Raphael already knew.¹
"Ah-- Ra... Raphael-sama." The dark angel's eyes widened in surprise and -- was that a hint of fear? Tone uncertain, subdued, he added, "I -- umm... I thought you had the day off today..."
"I do. But I thought of checking on a few things for a bit."
Chihaya looked uncertain. He was fidgeting, Raphael knew without having to see, probably plucking at the hem of his shirt.
"I'll let Michael-sama know you called, Chihaya-kun," he said, with a smile that he hoped was sufficiently disarming.
"O-okay. Umm -- thanks, Raphael-sama," the black-haired youth said haltingly, then muttered a soft, "Excuse me." before breaking off the communications link.²
Raphael turned back to his companion and found Michael sitting up, looking very much like the child caught with his hand in the cookie jar before dinner. The archangel's face was pale, his gaze on his hands, which were folded in his lap. He seemed restrained, looking as if he were to start squirming under his second-in-command's scrutinizing gaze if not for the control he was barely able to exercise over his body. Several curls had fallen over his eyes, effectively masking any emotion that coursed through them.
"How long?" Raphael asked, his voice soft.
Equally soft: "I've always maintained contact with the two of them." Then, softer, "Will you tell anyone of it?"
There was something in the archangel's tone that raised his curiosity. It was the same tone as earlier, but its meaning was not as evasive as before. It was almost as if... as if he knew something he clearly wasn't supposed to. Raphael suppressed any reaction to that.
"I may have to. You know it's against the rules to have contact with those who are banished from Eden."
Michael raised his head, soft blue eyes suddenly rebellious. "It's only a step above what you've been doing." His partner barely had time to blink before he murmured, "Teleise gave her report before she left on her errands. And she asked me to relay a message to you."
He didn't continue after that, but Raphael caught what he was implying. He'd assigned Nuriel and Teleise an additional task to go along with their being investigative angels on Earth, a task that wasn't in any official documentation. The two investigative angels had been sworn to secrecy, didn't even quite know the extent of what they'd been assigned to do. And Michael had just found out.
"So don't talk to me about breaking rules, Raphael-sama," the blonde continued, deliberate in his adding of the honorary suffix where he had not before. "I, too, know what's at stake. Maybe more than you think."
There were many things that he left unsaid. But then, he didn't have to say a thing. Raphael knew exactly what he didn't mention, could call up the exact wording if he so chose to.
"Anata wa dousei no ki o hikou to shita koto ga arimasu ka?"
Those lines rang strong and clear in his mind. Afraid of acknowledging their significance, he ignored them.
'Rules are rules,' he reminded himself; with an inward frown, he realized he'd had to do that a lot recently.
Lost in his thoughts, he didn't notice Michael get up until the archangel was standing in front of him. The air between them crackled and Michael's crystal eyes, now hard diamonds that were like closed doors barring any emotion behind them, bore into his.
"I meant it, you know," Michael said softly, as if he'd been reading his companion's thoughts. "Every word I said back then, everything I've ever said. I meant it all."
Before he knew what was happening, Michael kissed him, deep and sensuous. Raphael reacted in the way opposite of that his mind commanded of his body, his eyes fluttering closed, and he reveled in the feeling of the blonde's soft lips against his.
'This isn't right,' the thought flitted through his mind, penetrating the haze that surrounded it.
Gently, he pushed the other archangel away and told him just that.
Michael's eyes clouded over and he gave a slight nod, more to himself than to Raphael. "Some rules have to be broken," he whispered, voice so soft that he was barely audible, "or the pain builds and tears you apart." Then, louder, in a lighter tone, "Don't work too hard today, if you must at all, Raphael. It is your day off, after all."
He was out of the room in seconds, the door shutting with a soft click behind him, leaving Raphael to stare into the wake of his departure.
'No, Michael... No... It's not you... It's me.'
1: K debated with herself the most about Chihaya. She really wanted to leave his colorings as they are in the character designs, his hair and eyes having a slight purple/violet tint to them. So I compromised. I've only seen a line about his hair and wings being black (from either Michael-sama or some random person at the academy). If there's any mention about his eyes, I have not seen it, so I left them as that pretty violet color. Though I've made it that they're so dark, you wouldn't be able to tell unless the light hit them right.
2: Haha, this was originally, "Shitsurei shimasu.", or "Excuse me.", which in this context is something like "I'm going to be rude and hang up on you now." I left it as "Excuse me." because I like the politeness of it.
3: "Have you ever had homosexual feelings [for anyone]?" "Yes. For you." "Liar."