Day 31: Forget Whatever I Said

by Lucathia

Disclaimer: I do not own Bokurano and am making no profit from writing this.

Summary: Ushiro and Machi. Boku. Manga canon.

"What's so wrong about saying 'boku?'"

It was embarrassing getting caught trying to be polite. He never watched his words, but this time was different. This was the last stretch of their shared journey, their last obligation to everyone who had been involved. In front of all those left behind by the pilots that had gone before them, Ushiro felt himself becoming someone new. He was calm and accepting, cordial and forthcoming. This was who he was now, yet at the same time, it wasn't. He could feel Waku speaking through him with his optimism, Kanji with his acceptance, and Kana with her determination. He and Machi were the link for their voices to be heard. In front of the parents, the siblings, and the friends that had been left behind, Ushiro wasn't Ushiro.

He was all of them.

Of course, that didn't mean he wasn't embarrassed for acting in such a way that was completely out of character for him. He bet very few of them would have believed him capable of acting this way. Nakama, as kind as she had been, had thought him a monster for hitting Kana. Daichi, who had valued his family over everything else, had been outwardly disgusted with him. Maki, who had thought he had the safety of being related by blood, had worried that he wouldn't fight seriously. There was a large gap between who he had been and who he was now, because now, now he was just as involved...out of his own volition.

She thought it was cute how he had chosen to use "boku". Machi's time on this earth had been short, but she had never felt more alive than in these few months she had spent with everyone. She had watched in horror as Chizu stabbed Kako without batting an eye, as anxiety and confusion crept upon them, as their chairs emptied one by one all because of her.

She, as promised, was going to take responsibility.

Machi hoped that they had thought of her as part of them because although there had been times when things looked bleak, there had also been times when she had truly enjoyed herself. Walking by Ushiro's side was one such moment. She was glad he was with her, or else she wouldn't have been able to confront all those left behind by her misdeeds.

She hadn't thought she'd come to love this earth, that she'd think of this place as hers. Theirs. This blue sky, this miraculous world, this unexplainable struggle to live was all theirs. Zearth. The battles. The times they shared.

She cherished them all.

the end

A/N: And that's the end! Thanks for reading this collection of short fics. I appreciate any and all comments. I started this as a daily endeavor during August 2008 using 31_day's August 2008 theme set (31_days is a livejournal community), but I only managed to keep it up for half the month. I returned to finishing the rest during August 2010, bringing this collection up to my original plans of 31 fics. Thinking about what to write for each theme was challenging, but I'm glad I got to explore so many characters and situations! If any of you have any favorites out of this collection, I'd love to hear about it.