by Fushigi Kismet
/I'm sometimes quiet and sometimes screaming,
Sometimes awake and sometimes dreaming . . ./
Snatches of it. Sights. Sounds. Sensations.
The pounding of the earth beneath my feet, the spread of the sky and the touch of the wind and the cool splash of water . . . and always, always, beating through me with like the pulse of some giant heart . . . the flow of power.
Singing . . . Somewhere, I hear it. Someone is singing, with a voice like Sarjahlem, and I feel it filling me and rising up, spilling forth . . . the bright warmth of that melody. My lips move along, and I feel my voice joining that distant voice somewhere far, far away, and I wonder, as I sing, where I learned how . . . and why, if the song brings me such joy . . . why am I crying?
My eyes open in the darkness and I stare unseeing at my ceiling for what seems like hours but I know to be mere seconds of time before I sit up and stare at the cold glow of the moon outside.
This dream, at least, hadn't ended with my screams which would certainly have brung my mother running, and, if they were loud enough, maybe I would even have been able to sense the light in a bedroom of the apartment next to mine turning on as Alice heard me.
She always worries. Through two lifetimes she's been like that. Sweet, and uncertain, and always, always worrying . . .
I don't want you to have to worry anymore, Alice. Can't you just leave everything to me? Can't you just accept things as they are?
That you're Mokuren?
I don't expect you to accept me as Shion. Not as the Shion that you remember . . . I'm anything but that tall, brooding stranger that must have attracted you with his looks, his detached nature, his air of mystery and pain . . . Whose tears, once he let you see them, must have moved you to pity.
I'm not that man, anymore. Not the same . . . I'm nothing like him, now. Eight years old. A child. I have nothing left to me that was his except his memories, and the one thing that can draw you back to me across the lifetimes . . . pity.
I'm relying on your pity, Alice. Your compassion for anything small and hurt and in need of love, whether it be a plant or a kitten or an eight year old child.
I need you.
I need you when the bullets fly and men die . . . When the only father I've ever known is killed for no reason . . . When chances are lost and opportunities destroyed . . . When I reach out, grasping blindly, because I can't stand being alone anymore . . . and find no one.
Can you hold my hand, Alice?
Can you hold me tight and sing until I cry . . . until I really, truly cry . . . until the line between Rin and Shion becomes a line again and I can understand that I'm only eight, eight, eight . . . That I've dealt no death and suffered no loss . . . that my life is still mine to live and I still have you to live it with?
That I won't ever have to wake, screaming in the night, screaming and laughing and crying, because I've been alone for nine years . . . I've been alone forever . . . without a friend or an enemy, or anyone to love or hate but people who have been dead forever . . . waiting in the dust and the destruction, amidst wires and vines, a infinitesimal point of life within a sea of death, struggling, vainly, to succumb to death, cursing a healthy body and an honored promise, praying, praying, praying to die . . . to die . . . to die . . .
You're the only thing, Alice, the only thing I have in this whole wide world that can protect me from that. The only thing. I can think of you, and then I don't have to dream . . . I don't have to be afraid, because there you are and here I am . . . and if there's a world with you, how can there ever be anything to fear?
Until I'm grown . . . until I can find some way to compare to that man you remember . . . that you dream about . . . You do dream about him, don't you, Alice? When you dream . . . Dreams filled with light and song, when you care about him despite himself, for no reason that I can fathom then or now . . . He loved you desperately. He would sit, sometimes, and wonder why you couldn't have accepted him. He would wonder why you didn't hate him. Maybe even liked him. Do you still? Or can you love him as he is now . . . or as he will be in nine years?
Until then . . .
As I waited for nine years to die . . . Can you wait nine to live, Alice?
For the sake of everything that was, and is, and could be . . .
For the sake of the man who loved you, Mokuren, and still loves you, Alice . . . In the memory of the two of us that loved this blue Earth so dearly in place of the world we had loved and could no longer ever return to . . .
Wait for me . . .
And until then, hold me tight, and sing to chase away the dreams . . .
. . . that I'm sometimes dreaming.