Author's Note: For some reason, this song seriously depresses me, so I decided to write a seriously sad song-fic about it. Warning: you don't want to cry, then I would stop reading now. I practically cry listening to the song, and…okay, second, this is written from first person, so if you're one of those people who it bothers, then you have been warned. Oh, and this is a MC/DA pairing, and there is character death…And I've basically just given you a lot of reasons why NOT to read this story. Not a good publicity technique for an aspiring author who wants readers and reviewers. Oh, well.

Disclaimer: I don't own the Storm Hawks. "21 Guns" was written by Green Day.

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Do you know what's worth fighting for?

When it's not worth dying for?

I killed a man today.

Does it take your breath away

And you feel yourself suffocating?



It wasn't like I hadn't seen death before. I sent the Dark Ace to kill Sky Knights, I read the fatality reports on various patrols of Talons. I have seen my mother murdered in front of my very own eyes and my father commit suicide. I wasn't a stranger to death at all.

But my hands, which had always been pure white, were stained crimson now with his blood.

This shouldn't be upsetting me so much. There are a thousand other things I could be mad about. The Storm Hawks just destroyed my entire empire. I'm stranded it a strange land with no food, weapons, shelter, or friends.

Plunk. Kaboom! Plunk…Plunk…Plunk, plunk, plunk, plunk-plink-plunk-plink.

To make things worse, it's started raining.

The rain hid the tears on my cheeks.

Does the pain weigh out the pride?

And you look for a place to hide?


Proud.

I had been too stupidly proud at the strength of my empire, and I had underestimated the skill and the determination of my enemies. Oh, I would keep fighting—after all, I was Master Cyclonis, and I could never stop fighting. Somehow, I wouldn't know how to be if I surrendered. It would mean surrendering a part of myself, and that would be too much to ask.

A small part of me just wanted to put my head in my lap and cry, and pretend that none of this was real, and wait for myself to wake up. I crushed it ruthlessly. There was no room for weakness, not on Cyclonia, and certainly not here in the Far Side.

Proud.

He had thought he was strong enough, and I had thought I was strong enough, and we were both stupid. We were both blinded by our pride. He paid with his life.

I had killed a man today.

How could I live, knowing someone's blood was on my hands?

How could I live, knowing his blood was on my hands? He was the only one I trusted, the only one I ever cared about, the only one who was more than a tool. He was…not a friend, as Masters do not need friends. He was a companion. He was a mentor.

I killed the Dark Ace today. Now all I could do was cry.

Did someone break your heart inside?

You're in ruins



"Dark Ace, how do you know if you're in love?"

"Easy—love doesn't exist. There's lust, but that's just the chemicals in your body overriding your brain. You know, you're a bit young to be thinking about this. Wait until you're thirty, then worry about producing an heir."

That wasn't what I had meant.

What I had meant was: was there some logical explanation why I couldn't get him out of his head? Was I supposed to worry about him every time I sent him on a mission, or on patrol? Was I supposed to go ice cold every time he glanced at me? Was my heart supposed to skip a beat, every time our hands brushed? Was I supposed to see him in my dreams?

Was I in love?

I stared into his eyes, refusing to be hypnotized by those deep crimson pools. "I'm serious, Dark Ace. Have you ever been in love?"

"No." His answer was far too quick.

I stared deeper, trying to penetrate the shields around his mind, his heart, his soul, but in vain. My own violet eyes stared back at me, reflected from the depths.

Quickly, before he could move away, I brought my face forward, connecting our lips. He pulled back immediately, leaving me with his sweet taste lingering in my mouth.

"Don't even think about it, Master. You're just a kid, and I'm twenty-eight…it's just not possible. There's the age difference, then the rank difference—it just wouldn't work. For your sake, I'll pretend this never happened."

I was hurt. Rejection always stung, especially when you were used to getting everything you wanted.

I had let him in, and he had pushed me away.

I couldn't let him see how much he had hurt me, so I turned away scornfully. "You're dismissed, Dark Ace."

One, 21 guns

Lay down your arms, give up the fight

I wondered if that was how he remembered me: the stupid teenage girl who was infatuated with him. It was just a girlish crush, and I was over it, by far. I was just upset now because this was the first time I had killed a person. One day I would look back on this and laugh. One day I would say, 'Killing is nothing special. I can't believe I made such a big fuss about it."

We had fought. We had fought a lot as my plans got bigger, as the stakes were higher, as the Atmos became mine. He was more resentful about the Storm Hawk kids, and I was angrier when he failed me. I threatened him. I stopped trusting him. Anything that might have been called friendship between us was quickly broken, shattered into a million pieces.

What if he hadn't forgiven me? I had never gotten a chance to tell him how sorry I was. What if he went on thinking that I hated him, even to his last moments?

It was more than a girlish crush. He was the only person I ever let under my armor, into my heart, even if we only shared one kiss. Even if he pushed me away. He was the only one I ever loved.

Cyclonia was gone. My legions of Talons, my armies of elite Nightcrawlers, my vast resources, great factories, abundant mines, all my crystals—they were all gone. He was gone. How could I keep fighting?

But how could I stop fighting? I knew no other life than fighting, than conquering, than mindless destruction and acquisition. Was there a better way? Was it too late for me?

One, 21 guns

Throw up your arms into the sky, you and I

The rain poured down on me, and I took it in. Rain, to hide the salty tracks down my cheeks.

Was he watching from above? Did he know how sorry I was? Did he know that someone missed him, that someone loved him? Did he know that someone cried for him?

Almost as sad as death itself; lack of mourning. Would there be anyone to cry when I died? Did I deserve to have any tears shed for my sake?

I shivered. The rain was really pouring now, and it was a lot colder here than Terra Cyclonia. My armor and cape were completely soaked. My skin was cold and moist from the pouring water.

What was I doing here?

What had I been thinking, taking over the Atmos?

I killed the only man I loved, and it was all my fault. I cried.




When you're at the end of the road

And you lost all sense of control


I was done. I was finished. The only thing left would be for the Storm Hawks dragging me back to Terra Atmosia for trial.

There was nothing left for me.

What was I doing here?

Who was I kidding?

My life had been spinning completely and utterly out of control, ever since I had stepped up to that throne. My life had never been my own; I had been molded from birth to be the perfect empress.

I had failed. Cyclonia was no more. I was all that was left. This was the end.

And your thoughts have taken their toll

When your mind breaks the spirit of your soul

What had I ever been thinking? What made me worthy to rule the Atmos? I was just a weak little girl. I had never been good enough. I had never been strong enough. My own parents didn't love me, because they saw the weakness in me. They had crushed it out of me.

Not totally, I guess. I broke down, sobbing.

I was evil. I was nasty, and bossy, and tyrannical, and psychotic.

Was there any forgiveness for me? Was there some sort of higher power that would look down with pity on my broken heart, on my broken soul, and help me heal?

Was I past the point of no return?

The ghosts of my past were haunting me. Every nasty word, every Talon I punished, every threat I uttered, every innocent life I had destroyed hit me. My conscience had finally caught up with me, and it didn't feel good, not at all.

Your faith walks on broken glass

And the hangover doesn't pass


I'm not sure how long I sat there crying.

Do you know the feeling when you cry so hard that you can't really breathe anymore, and there are pins and needles in you hands and toes? Do you know the feeling of when your nose is swollen and your eyes are red and puffy and your head is pounding?

It wouldn't go away.

The tears wouldn't stop streaming, my headache wouldn't disappear.

It wouldn't go away.

My heart kept bleeding, for every little sin I had pushed to the side.

I had killed a man. A mortal sin. I was unforgivable.

Nothing's ever built to last

You're in ruins



My empire, my armies, everything was gone. Even Terra Cyclonia, my family's home for more generations than I cared to count, had been destroyed, and it was all my fault.

Ashes to ashes, dust to dust.

Everyone and everything has a time to die.

Was I going to die, too? What happened after death? Not heaven; I know that there was no heaven for me. But was there a special place, not just hell, for girls who cried before they died? Was there a place for those who felt sorry? Was there a place for me?

I was in ruins. The all-powerful empress mask that I had worn so long had been discarded. What did my real face look like, when my face wasn't twisted in disdain?

I glanced at a rapidly forming puddle, but the rain was coming down too fast for me to see a true image.

Who am I?

A monster, and yet, a monster that cried.

One, 21 guns

Lay down your arms, give up the fight.

He was going to be forgotten.

In a few years, the name 'the Dark Ace' would just be in old mother's tales, told to frighten their children. A few generations, and none would have heard of him. He would be just another forgotten hero.

Because that's what he was: a hero. It didn't matter what the Sky Knights thought, to me, he would always be a champion. To me, he would always be a role model.

He was a hero, and he deserved a hero's funeral.

There were only rocks around me, rocks and the pouring rain.

Slowly, I picked up a rock, and piled it on top of another.


One, 21 guns

Throw up your arms into the sky, you and I



Thunder crashed above me, and for a second, the entire sky was illuminated. I could see my work better, as I began making a huge pile of stones.

He deserved better than such a makeshift cairn, but that was all I had to give him. I hoped he forgave me for that. I hoped he forgave me for stealing away his life. I hoped he forgave me for everything.

Did you try to live on your own

When you burned down the house and home?


In the end, I was the one who had destroyed the great Cyclonian palace. I was the one who brought my one and only home tumbling into the ground.

Did you stand too close to the fire

Like a liar looking for forgiveness from a stone?



I looked down at my hand. I was holding the last rock for the little memorial that I was trying to make. It was huge, longer than me, and half my height.

Who was I kidding? I had killed him. A pile of stones would never make it up.

I could search for forgiveness all I wanted, but I would never receive it. Even if all the innocents who I enslaved decided to forgive me, even in the Storm Hawks and all of Atmos decided to forgive me, even if he rose from the grave and forgave me, I still wouldn't be cleansed. I could never forgive myself.

I couldn't lie to myself. I couldn't hide my true nature from myself. I was a monster.

When it's time to live and let die

And you can't get another try


"Lark?"

His voice? How could I hear his voice? He was dead; he couldn't be here!

I shivered violently, trembles shaking my entire thin frame. It was so cold. The rain penetrated deep, soaking me to the bones. If I didn't get shelter soon, I would die of hypothermia.

"Lark?"

"Go away! You're not real! Because there are no second chances in real life!"

Something inside this heart has died

You're in ruins




"Lark, I am here, because I exist in your heart. You've kept me alive."

How could that be true? It didn't make sense, there was no logic in that. He didn't even care about me in return. It was just my imagination, hallucinations brought on by the cold.

"Lark, my greatest regret was I never told you how much I loved you."

Tears, which I had thought I was done with, were streaming out of my cheeks again. I was a mess. My heart was in ruins.

One, 21 guns

Lay down your arms, give up the fight

"Lark, I really am here, and I'm here to take you away from here."

I felt so cold, so numb. So this was what it was like to cry.

"I'm scared," I whispered, my voice cracking. "Dark Ace, I'm only fifteen. I don't want to die. I just wish I could have lived a normal life."

I felt his arms around me, warm in contrast to the icy knives that were the rain driving into my skin. "Shh, it's okay, I promise. It's just like falling asleep."

One, 21 guns

Throw up your arms into the sky

"I'm so sorry," I sobbed. "It's all…my…fault."

"I don't blame you, sweetheart."

I sniffed, wiping my nose. "So…how does one die?"

"Just lay down," he whispered. "Put your head in my lap. And you'll just fall asleep, as easy as that."




One, 21 guns

Lay down your arms, give up the fight


There was nothing left here for me. There was no reason left to fight.

I did as he said. I gingerly lowered myself to the ground, and he was there, cradling me.

My entire body went numb. I didn't even feel cold anymore. I didn't feel anything.

I was dying.

Some part of my mind told me to stand up, to move around, to get dry, to find shelter. I ignored it.

I was ready to die.

No one was ever really ready to die, but I was as close as I was going to get.

One, 21 guns

Throw up your arms into the sky, you and I

My eyes fluttered closed, and the last thing I saw was his face.

Was it his face? Or was he just a hallucination?

My heart was slowing, and my thoughts were sluggish. The blackness of unconsciousness hovered.

And I let go.

Death; and so we would finally be together.

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I'm sobbing uncontrollably now. I don't know why I write such sad things when they disturb me so much.

Please review. I really want to hear what you think. I'm not really sure how this turned out, and it means so much to me to hear your opinions. Thank you.