Summary: Yuka Azumi walks through the world on her own, always doing what needs to be done, always alone. Written for 31 days at lj, February 9, 2007: the wandering wife.
Additional note: At the time of writing, there was little to no canon on her and no translations for me to gauge her voice. So maybe canon will overturn this or make it OOC at one point, who knows.
The Corollary of the Universe
Azumi's life has gone by in a series of flashes, a series of going here to there, of leaving and running away and never coming back.
It's not much for her to remember. Just the steady step-step-step plod of an unwieldy journey, nothing more.
When she was young, she said many things in haste.
"You don't understand, sensei!"
"No – "
"No, you don't! You work here, but you turn a blind eye to everything that really goes on in this school! You think we don't know the secrets here? You think we don't know why all of us Alices are kept here? You're wrong. You're wrong."
"Azumi – "
"I don't want to hear it, sensei."
A sigh. "You think you know everything. You're impulsive, you're full of energy, and you're young. But sometimes, it's not what you think. Sometimes, it's not one grand conspiracy."
"I believed long ago that out of all the adults here, you were the one that we could trust. But no, you've turned out just like the others." A hitch in her breath. "I should've known! We all should've known. We're never trusting any of you here again." Pause. "I won't trust you, ever again."
"Azumi – "
"None of you guys are on our side, after all. None of you."
And then she was gone, she remembers.
Or maybe he was the one who left, because everything's a blur anyway.
Then came the truth, which she remembers crystal-clear like shattered glass.
A lightning bolt down on her memory, made up of three words.
He was wrong.
He was wrong, he was wrong, he was wrong, and he knew it. There was more to the school for Alices than what showed on the surface, and as a teacher, there was no way he couldn't have known. About the missions masquerading as special classes, about the means the school used to accomplish their missions, about the methods they'd use to destroy an Alice user's innocence to reach their goals.
Long afterwards, she'll ask him why he believed in the school; he'll say, he was wrong.
He was wrong. He was foolish. He was a fool.
But she was a liar, because she trusted him again anyway, didn't she?
He was wrong, she was a liar, and what that made them both in the end, she didn't know. But liars and fools went together the best companions anyway, as though magnetized.
It's not why she fell in love with him, though.
That – was because she's a fool. Anyone could tell it was a bad idea, but the idea of inevitable disaster never stopped her.
(It's the same thing, her mind whispers, and she learns to ignore it over time.)
The truth was, he actually hadn't known it all. On the contrary, he knew only slightly more than she did. And thus, after a bit of work and convincing, she had gotten him to join their cause.
But then things came to a head, and their little anti-Alice faction was faced with a sudden dichotomy: fight or flight.
The first one was out of the question.
(She hadn't expected to leave like this.)
"All things come to an end," she promised, looking the administration in the eyes before she left with the rest.
It's a double-edged sword, that comment, but she tunes it out again as effectively as before.
Another flash in her life. Another bolt of lightning, which struck here where she stood.
She remembers flickers of that, too.
But she remembers even less of what comes afterwards, before everything because the present instead of the past.
They did good work, she thought. They did good work.
Behind closed doors the leaders argued with each other about what was acceptable, how much was too much and how far was too far, how many Alices to kidnap, how many people to push out of the way –
His voice, rising above the surge, protested, saying the means wouldn't justify the ends.
She pretended that she didn't hear, even as she sat with a stony face and wanted more and more done, more and more and more. But when the day was done, she slumped down with a nineteen-going-on-thirty-year-old weight on her shoulders, and he put a hand on her shoulder.
He kept her from drowning. He kept the voices away.
(He magnifies them, once he's gone, and she refuses to think about that, doesn't does doesn't think about that at all.)
All things come to an end.
That – was as much as she could remember. As much as she still remembers.
Just that. Just that last flash.
After he dies – god, after he dies – the others in the organization tread carefully around her. Like she's more fragile than paper-thin glass.
(Whether she is or not is not the question.)
She's angry, she's distraught, and it's all painfully surreal. The present never felt so much like the present before. There had always been a future, and a would-be, and a must-be, but never a here and now so real, so painful.
What was it all for?
Azumi shakes her head and looks at her daughter, and remembers, god she remembers. Remembers the nine months of being careful, remembers his laugh as she kisses her brow and plays with the baby's hands, saying, "We should name her Mikan. Sakura Mikan. It has a nice ring to it."
Remembers his touch. Remembers his breath against her cheek. Remembers his name.
She looks at the baby again, and knows she can't do this. It's just too much.
Always too much.
Everything then becomes the present.
The organization had always expected that their child would grow up to have a special Alice, would become a key agent in their operations when she'd finally grown old enough.
No one asks where she's going the day that Azumi walks out with the baby bundled to her back.
(give her time, give her distance, give her a chance to breathe)
No one asks what happened when she returns late that night, minus the bundle.
She returns to his grave and doesn't cry for hours.
The others only mention his name rarely, as though reverent to a lost martyr for a dying cause. And she never brings any of it up again, which is the easy part.
Not thinking about it and ignoring that little voice with the sly whisper, that grows harder every day.
Everything stays in the present, afterwards.
She takes another child's Alice and tells herself that it's for the best, that the kid will come to realize what a blessing it is to be normal, to be free. To lack the weight that an ability brings.
But what if, her mind wants to ask, what if –
And she stops herself there, because if there's one thing she's had to learn in her life, it's to disregard the voices like that. To close her eyes to the blood at her feet that dripped from her hands. To close her ears to the screams, the yells, the cries.
(the voices, the deeds – )
Some of these jobs she just has to do, with consequences and corollaries merely words over the horizon that never comes. Because someone has to do the dirty work. Someone has to be the one that asks no questions.
And she doesn't regret it.
It's not her lifeline, but she holds onto it just as tightly. There are things that just have to be done, after all.
And someone has to do them.
(she's just never thought about how, one day, there'd be the future.)
The problem with her line of work in the organization is that somehow, she never entertains the idea that maybe she'll see Mikan again one day.
That is, probably, completely unreasonable. She and he were two of the strongest Special Alices, so the chance of their daughter having little to no ability at all was pretty unlikely. Very unlikely.
She should've known.
She's always known, deep down.
(And maybe she wanted it that way, too.)
Azumi meets her daughter for the first time.
The girl resembles both of them so much that Azumi doesn't know how she didn't sense it from the very first moment, how she had his beliefs, her spirit. Their eyes. Their everything.
(and yet, nothing from them, nothing at all.)
She meets her daughter for the first time, and how it hurts to look upon her face, how it hurts to know how she hurt her. What kind of a mother would do that? What kind of a mother could do that?
Another item to add to the list of things to not think about.
She locks her in a cell, slips her the antidote, and contradicts so many things. So many things. It's enough to leave anyone confused. It's enough to leave her confused.
She'd like to think that it was her daughter's influence that opened her eyes, set her straight, helped her see their leader for who he really was. At the very least, she herself deserves none of the credit, for she would have gone on taking and taking and hurting, taking and tearing, taking and taking and never giving back.
It almost makes her wonder what the point of it all was.
And then, no, no it doesn't. Because there was a point all those years ago when they ran and planned and did what had to be done. There was a point when they learned how the school used them, how they were nothing more than Alices to be utilized and children to be manipulated. There was a purpose, there is a purpose, and there always will be a purpose.
(There's a purpose in everything, as long as one looks.)
These children's ways might be enough, though – and again, she has to squash down that thought, because she's been doing this all these years for a reason, a damn reason, and it's too late for a premature spark of optimism and a maybe-if-then to change it now.
Just like her daughter. Too late.
She meets her daughter for the last time and vanishes into the air in front of her very eyes, and wonders, why?
Why had she done it? Why does she have to go? Why does she have to be –
No, she won't wonder why. Because if she does, she'll wonder, why did he have to die? Why did she have to abandon her daughter all those years ago? Why did she take the path that she took? And the floodgates will open, the tides will turn, and the flow won't stop, she knows.
She'll wonder, what was it all for? What was the point?
And she shakes her head, steps into the mist again, and doesn't think about it, doesn't think about it at all.
Because some things in life, you don't question.
(because if you do, they'll break you)
Some things in life, you just do.
(like shifting through the past to the present and letting the future blind-side you like a 10-year load.)
It's why she vanished with a promise to return.
It's why she left her tears behind and continued to push forward.
It's why she walks away and doesn't plan on coming back.
It's why she's best at not saying goodbye.
(always leaving someone or being left behind)
She doesn't have anything she values any more. Not him, not her, not the faction, not anyone. All she has are jagged, broken memories, memories that flash by like lights in thunderstorms that only blind her momentarily before flickering away like broken promises and hopes and dreams.
If anything, they only remind her of the dead weight.
There's a heavy load on her shoulders and her heart, but in the end, she's still walking. She's always walking. Always will be.
(there's nothing else she can do, is there?)
One of these days, the journey might be worth the destination.
She's still walking, still searching.
She's been doing it for years.
One day, she might stop at last.
Uhhhh. I take liberties with the canon here, as we don't really have much to go on and I can't remember much of the little that occurred. So if canon contradicts me in the future, uh, yes. Haha. Aaaand, since I haven't really seen Azumi talk before…voice issues probably abound here. Ack.
Yeeeeah. And as you've probably noticed, this is another thing in my trend of writing for the secondary (tertiary, at this point?) characters only. Ah well.
Thanks to Dex for the quick beta, and comments and the like are great. :D