A/N: This fandom has so few fics that it's sad. Downright sad. The latest update was in August last year. All four fics are completed. I repeat, sad. Besides, those who exists all surround Thor, and sometimes Zagi. Third is such an amazing and complex character, he definitely receive to little attention! Well, here's my contribution! It's about Third and Rada. Rada reflects around the being that is Third. I think this could have happened sometime on Kimaera, but we'll never know. I've also tried to keep it as accurate as possible by rereading the manga, rewatching the anime and such, filling plotholes, etc. All in all, I think this might be the most time I've ever spent on a one-shot/chapter.
Anyhow, the anime portrayed Rada as a bespectacled man, though in the manga he is never seen with them. I am aware of the fact that I have called him "the bespectacled man" twice or thrice, but try to ignore that. Also, Third's character is a tough cookie, I only pray I did him right.
Another thing, please remember that although I'm not writing in first person perspective, this is Rada's POV. He don't know the real story behind Third, he doesn't realize that he's bluffing. Still, Rada is rather close to the truth, if you ask me...
Disclaimer: I obviously don't own Jyu-oh-Sei, or anything related to it. I'm just having fun.
Warnings: Long, describing paragraphs for the daring. Yay.
The Third Soldier of Rhea
Rada yawned while walking down the hall. He was bored. Bored out of his mind, actually. Top hadn't given him any particular orders that day, so in theory, he could do whatever he wanted to. He just had nothing to do. He wanted to do something, but right now, he couldn't think of anything interesting he could do in this goddamned fortress. Castle. Stronghold. Whatever.
He hadn't seen his best friend Third today either. Best friends. He snickered at the thought. Was Third really his 'best friend'? Sure, they had a strong friendship, or comradeship, but they weren't the typical best friends. The ones who does everything together and sacrifice anything for the other. But, they were probably as good friends as one could be on a planet where the inhabitants were almost without exceptions criminals. Come think of it, rather few of the people here actually acted like cold-hearted killers. Because that was what most of them were. Killers. Only serious crimes gave you a one-way ticket to Kimaera. Sure, there were those who came there for other reasons, like treachery against the military, but those people were usually just as cunning and fearless of others as the murderers.
Rada halted when he realized that despite all the time he had known Third, he did not know why the mysterious man was here at Kimaera. Third had never mentioned it, but he had never asked either. For a brief moment, he wondered why, but shrugged it of and started moving again.
He wasn't sure if he wanted to know either. The man had always been an enigma to him, from the first day he had arrived on this feral planet and to this day. He didn't know the third-in-command's name either. But that he had asked him about. What had Third answered?
After a long pause, Third looked expressionlessly at him. "I don't remember."
Could it really be possible? To forget his own name? Rada knew that Third was in his twenties, so it seemed surreal to him that he could've been third-in-command for so long that he would forget his own name. It would usually take long time before you became as high as third-in-command. Then, to have your original name replaced by your title in your memory would take years. How on earth could Third have managed that? Did he come to the planet at a really young age? Was he born here? No, he didn't seem like a yado, and Rada had been told different. Maybe he had amnesia? Nah, he never mentioned such a thing. Was he just simply... Lying?
Rada sighed as he rounded a corner. No, Third was probably a mystery not meant to be solved. At least not by him.
He rounded another corner and found himself on a balcony with high pillars and low stonehedges. One of those stonehedges, with his back against one of the pillars, sat Third, watching the sunrise. With one of his legs curled up, and his hand resting on top of the knee, and the other hanging loosely over the edge, he watched with distant green eyes as the glowing ball slowly crept further up in the sky.
Rada halted again. Third looked so serene, yet plagued by something unknown to anyone but himself.
"What are you standing there for, Rada?" Third suddenly asked and slowly turned his head. A small smile crossed his lips. "Won't you come join me?"
Rada grinned and suppressed a small laugh while seating next to his comrade. "Didn't know you were up so early?"
Third blinked slowly, still with his little smile. "The sunrise is beautiful," he simply said. Rada raised an eyebrow.
"The best time to think is during sunrise," Third continued, though a little distant, as if his mind was somewhere else and turned away towards the horizont again. "You see everything so much clearer, everything is just making much more sense. I don't know why, but that is the case. Just like dawn brings light to the day, what was unclear to you before makes so much more sense now, and shines through the fog of confusion." He closed his eyes for a few seconds before talking again. "Don't you think so too?"
Rada shrugged. "Dunno," he said carelessly. "I've never thought about it before. I'm not as poetic as you, you know."
"Me, poetic, now?" he said genuinely surprised. "No one has ever called me poetic before, and most likely, no one will ever do it in the future either. But, you sure know how to make a man laugh, Rada."
Rada didn't answer, just rolled his eyes as silence overtook the comrades again.
The bespectacled man soon found himself amazed by the view. The sun was halfway visible over the hills at the horizont, and gave a warm, orange light over the already colorful jungle that hid numerous of deadly plants. Huge trunks stretched high, each trying to be taller than its neighbour. Once in a while, you could see the branches, or even entire trees bending from the wind. As usual, no wild animals were seen. A sudden thought came to Rada.
"Third?" he started. The man in question moved his gaze, now eyeing Rada with a playful smile, urging him to go on. Rada swallowed, not entirely sure of how to put his words.
"Well, I've always wondered..." he said hesitantly. "Why are you here? At Kimaera, I mean. I can't say that I can imagine you as a serial killer..." That was a lie. He could. He could easily create a picture in his mind of the soft-spoken, enigmatic man as a sadistic serial killer. They always said that those people were the scariest ones, because of their madness, or deadly calmness. Still, even though Rada could imagine Third doing such things as kidnapping young women and cutting them into pieces in the night, it seemed wrong. Third was cunning, sly, a real trickster. No one knew what he was thinking about, and that was probably how he liked it. Despite this, though, he never seemed to do anything he would gain something from himself.
"I wondered when you were going to require that from me," he said with a smile. "You never asked." Rada frowned.
"That is because you never seemed interested in telling," he defended himself. Third blinked.
"And you never seemed interested in knowing," he countered. "But I guess I was wrong, eh?"
Rada shrugged. Annoying Third, always ready with a quick reply.
"So you really want to know, hm?" Third continued before turning towards the horizont again. Rada nodded, and guessed that Third saw his movements in the corner of his eye, because he started retelling his story.
"I used to be in Rhea's Air Force Official School, the military, until about two years ago," he stated, chuckling softly when he saw Rada's surprised look. "Why is that so hard to believe? I'm third-in-command now, why can't I have been that before?" Rada smirked. Two years.. Only about a month or two longer than himself, then, he was so lying about his name. But then again, if he confronted the long-haired man about it, he most likely would get no real answer.
"I can hardly imagine you taking orders from a military general," he countered instead. Third tilted his head slightly, and looked at Rada with one eye.
"I'm under the Top now," he said slyly. Rada only snickered at him.
"Everyone knows that you're the real Top of the Ochre Ringe, Third."
"Do they, now?" Third seemed rather amused at what Rada told him, as if he had never heard such silly words before.
"They do," Rada continued. "Even though you might be the third-in-command, you rule this place. No one except the Top doubts that. We all know that you just don't want the responsibility, you want to be free. As the Third, you have your power, and you might be forced to obey direct orders, but you can god damn it do anything you want. If this was the military, or even the military school, that wouldn't be possible."
Third seemed to think about what Rada said for a minute, before he smiled lightly at his friend again.
"You might have a point there, Rada," he said gently. "I suppose I was a bit stricter with myself back in the all days. But, despite it all, I was at that school. Nothing major, I was just a plain recruit. And no one bothers with a mere student. I didn't even bother with myself. Life was just an endless routine."
"So how did that bring you here?" Rada frowned. If no one bothered with the students like Third, how did he get here?
"We had a rebellion." Third stated simply, and shifted his ponytail. "Under the lead of Dr. Klein, us youngsters tried to perform a coup, if you want to call it that, to overthrow Odin's dictatorship. You know of Odin?"
Rada shrugged. "Of course I do. Who in Vulcan doesn't?"
"Good point," Third smiled. "But needless to say, we failed. The majority of us were killed, although some were sent to Kimaera. I was among those lucky ones. Or maybe you should call us unlucky.." He hadded with a sad smile and his eyes got a distant, nostalgic look. Rada noticed, and raised one eyebrow.
"And you're the only survivor among them?" He asked, a bit sceptic. Third chuckled lightly, and turned his eyes away from his companion, now gazing over the violent, yet beautiful plants again with melancholic eyes.
"Yes," he whispered slowly. "They all died within the three first days. We were dropped here during the night, you see, and some of us just freezed to death. It was horrible, a tortured death. As some died, we even took their clothes to keep ourself warm. In the end, I wore just about every piece of clothing we had. Though it didn't really help me much... I swore revenge that day," he added sadly, refusing to look at Rada. "I swore I would survive anytime, at any cost. That's when I started to move. After a few days, I found this place. Have you heard of the day I joined this Ring, Rada?"
Rada thought back, as he tried to recall what one of the older members had told him about the arrival of Third. Apparently, things had been so much easier back when Third hadn't joined. The men on Kimaera were mostly simple-minded, and everything that happened was clear and uncomplicated. Then one evening, in the middle of the Night, a guy with shoulder-length brown hair and dangerous eyes had entered. The older guy had watched the mysterious man take down the approaching guards with nothing but a small hunting knife, although he had a gun in a holster on his thigh. Despite obviously being close to death, with icicles hanging from his bangs and his many layers of clothes stiff from the cold, he fought like a devil. The rest of the Ochre Ring's population had pulled back from the stranger, mumbling among themselves. Who was he? Where did he come from? Did he plan to destroy the Ring?
But then someone had pointed out that the man attacked none but those who attacked him, and another said that his skin color matched that of the Ochre Ring's members. Maybe he wanted to join the ring? Apparently, the man knew what he wanted. How could he, though? With determined steps, he strode up to the Top's chamber. As he opened the door, both the Top and his younger brother looked up from their discussion. The smiling stranger had smoothly closed the door, and no one knew what had happened after that.
At first, no one had though any more of the newcomers presence. Kimaera got new criminals all the time. Not everyone were strong enough to get into a ring, and not even all of those were able to survive the harsh environment. Yet the stranger went through his days without any problems, as soon as he defroze. He easily adapted the life-style of the Kimaerians, and his remarkable skills were rumoured through the entire society. Despite apparently not caring about anything other than survival, the mysterious man stood out like a river in a desert. People were attracted and charmed by him, the Top as well. He decided that he really liked the guy, although it was obvious that his little brother did not. By the next Night, the man whose name was unknown, was appointed Third.
The man, which was now referred to as 'Third', didn't really seem to care about his position. Sure enough, when his Top gave him direct orders like 'Do this!' or 'Do that!' he obeyed, but nothing was done except when he had to. Yet he could ensnare everyone he laid his eyes on, make them execute his every wish, even when they themselves didn't know that they were being manipulated. He always seemed to have an underlying plan, sly and almost unnoticable, but his tricky aura betrayed him. You never knew when Third told the truth or just set you up. The previously so easy life of the Ochre Ring's members was starting to get uncomfortable, and you would always need to be on your toes.
The Top, though, found the whole thing amusing. While his younger brother always complained about how Third looked down on him, the Top would only laugh and tell him not to complain about such a great officer. Because although the new Third made life a bit more tricky for everyone, he added something as well. Both a spice in the boring everyday life, and with his unique understanding for Kimaera, combined with his combat skills, he made a great guard of the Ochre Ring and its forces.
Already at his first Mating Month, Third received many admiring glances. Women from every ring admired his beauty, combined with his mysterious atmosphere and irresistable charm. Yet none dared to ask him out. The reason was obvious; the Sun Ring's female Top Chen. Everyone knew who she had her eyes on, and that was the third-in-command of the Ochre Ring. Of course, no one was stupid enough to propose to him when they knew she wanted to. Although she surprised everyone by asking Yuuki, the Sun Ring's male Top, instead. Still, the fear lingered, and Third was left alone.
That was when Rada entered. Fortunately for him, he was dropped right outside the gates of the Ochre Ring's stronghold. At first, he had been reluctant to make a move towards the great mini-village. But when the feral plants of Kimaera had shown themselves to him, he wasted no time at getting there. The gatekeepers had hesitated when he first asked for admittance, but eventually accepted him.
Rada was no fool, and worked hard to adapt to his new lifestyle. He even made a few friends within the Ochre Ring. It amazed him how hardcore criminals could make such great companions, but they really got along great, and they weren't even half as bad as they record would say. They said he should sign up for the Ochre Ring's military, seeing as they were already there. Rada, of course, had deemed it as a nice idea. He was an opportunist, and the military would be the first step towards greater power and hopefully an escape from Kimaera. Or maybe he would find a better fate under the skilled hands of the Ochre leaders. Anyhow, it seemed best for him to join. Which he did.
Some months after he initially signed up, he was put in a small military group called 'the Ochre Rangers', led by Third. They dealt with most of the scouting and journeys to other rings. Occasionally, they would venture out with reinforcements and the Second. Third, of course, had other duties as well. Thus, he appointed a leader of the rangers, to supervise when he couldn not. Which was most of the time, seeing as he either was busy or just simply didn't bother. The first leader was a big, strong man who could hardly be described as 'stealthy', someting Rada would have thought a vital skill for a ranger. It soon proved to be like that, as he died at the hands of Verasona. Third hardly seemed to care, he just brushed it off as lack of skill. The next was his exact opposite; small, quick and apparently cunning. Rada never liked him. They never figured out what happened to him, but rumours has it that someone from the squad killed him because of dislike. Well, they were condemned criminals, after all. Third had even chuckled at his death, mumbling about how he couldn't even look over his shoulder to take care of himself.
Next, Rada was appointed their leader. Rada was well liked by everyone in the group, including Third. And for a change, Rada didn't die. While he lacked the obvious leadership one would expect from one in his position, he did what he needed while Third was away. A good soldier as well, Third had instantly taken interest in the man. A few months later, Rada was promoted. Or at least, that was what Third called it. Most other people would call it a curse. While Rada could boss more people around, live wealthier and generally have a better life, he was now Third's assistant.
Most people were frightened of Third, even if they never actually interacted or had anything to do with him, for that matter. Rada had to work with him. All the time. Many others would have resigned instantly. Rada, though, accepted the challenge he was convinced that Third had given him. Third wanted to see if he was weak, if he surrendered to fears and rumours. Rada would not give him that satisfaction.
Over the time, the two grew rather fond of each other. Though Rada still had his doubts about the other man, he found himself genuinely caring for him. And as far as he could tell, Third cared about him as well.
Thus they ended up where they were today.
Rada broke out of his reverie when he remembered Third's unanswered question.
"I weren't in the Ring back then, remember?" He said with a frown. Third looked thoughtful for a second before chuckling, a sound that once would have sent shivers down Rada's spine. Not today.
"Oh sorry, how could I have been so stupid?" Third said with a sly smile.
"But I've been told, so yeah, what about it?" The bespectacled man asked, changing the subject to cease Third's creepiness. Although they were much closer than they had been, Rada would never get quite used to that.
Third cocked his head. "Then you might've heard of my struggles as well?"
"They were all with one goal;" Third started slowly, with the most serious look Rada had ever seen on his face. "To get in here, find out what the hell is going on, and get the hell back to my home. Once there, I will revenge my companions, my friends. That is my goal. It is not a dream, but a goal, because I will make it."
Rada was taken aback at his words. He didn't know Third was capable of such fiery passion. It was not just his words, but also the emotions behind them that shocked him the most. Third had always seemed so careless, never even showing any sign of being unhappy with his current predicament. Well, that's how wrong you can be.
Third eventually blinked and turned back to the scenery with only a slightly less content face than usual, a tint of sadness in his eyes. Rada let out a small sigh as he recalled the information he had just received. Third had once been a perfectly normal, if not a bit eccentric, young man, with a bright future. Then, by fighting for something he believed in, that future was crushed, leaving behind a bitter, cold and cunning man looking for revenge. Certainly not a fairytale ending.
Suddenly, Third leapt off the stonehedge and walked towards the stairs as if nothing had ever happened. Rada, again surprised by Third's emotions, or lack of, just stared dumbfoundedly after him. When Third noticed his assistant not following, he turned with a slight smile.
"You coming, Rada? We've got work, you know."
As if Third would ever willingly work. Still, Rada rose and followed the trickster with a soft mutter of "Whatever you say, Third."
Personally, I believe Rada was a yado. I intended to make him one, but the story went so much smoother when he arrived later... ^^; Except for that, I believe this fic could have been canonical. Remember, Third is a great actor, and though he made up something to cover for himself when he spoke to Rada, most of it is actually true. The manga is much more revealing than the anime... But most of the story has roots in the plot! For instance, Third meant that Earth was his home, and the reason why he joined the scheme was to go to Earth. The home he speaks of here is also Earth, though Rada thinks he means Rhea.
I tried to be as true to the series as I could, and during the first 2/3 of it, I researched and reread alot to gain accuracy and fill plotholes. Though the last part was written half-a year after the rest... x)
Anyhow, I spent a lot of time with this, so if you've read, please leave a review! If nothing else, than at least for the sake of showing me that someone reads it! Even a "Hey, read it, fair enough" or "You suck, go die"... Hopefully not the last one, but you get my point ;-)