That's what they'll call me in years to come.
One of the few who saved the world – the Earth, the Colonies.
And here I am, lying on the floor of a shuttle that's sailing to the ground because of a stupid mistake. The controls are useless. Nothing will respond. The radio's down.
And they counted on me. They counted on me, put their trust in me to keep them safe in returning to Earth.
What's worse, is my comrades are with us this time. They who put their trust in me time and time again.
They put their trust in me. Me, who beat the Zero system and learned to control it instead of the other way around. Me, who recovered from insanity. Me, who can feel the fear so thick around me you could slice it with a knife.
And it would bleed.
And I can't even tell them I'm sorry. They can't hear me. They can't see me.
I know they're there, but I'm here, and I'm alone. Trapped alone in this cockpit.
It's fitting at least. How could they forgive me? The way we're falling now, there'll be nothing left of us, or the shuttle on impact. How could I do this to them?
How many innocents will I murder when I go up in flames?
Oh my friends, I'm sorry. Saying it won't help. Thinking it won't help. Screaming it won't help.
It's only seconds, but it feels an eternity. The ground is coming.
Something's gone wrong. I don't know what. We've tilted into a nosedive as I step out of the miniscule restroom.
An explosion from up front and starboard tells me just before we are thrown to the ground.
And I am not there. I am here, not there. I should be there. He is alone.
I will stay calm. I will accept this. And I will not blame him. It wasn't his fault. He couldn't have known. It was normal two minutes ago. I saw the readings.
And through it all, he is probably blaming himself. I hear someone praying, murmuring things under their breath.
We are all scared. The murmurs become sobs, and I hear a comforting voice.
It will be soon, I think.
Gravity has a way of pulling you faster.
Or was it something about physics and velocity?
What does it matter?
He's alone up there, and I'm sure he's blaming himself. Cursing himself for killing us all, if that is what is to happen.
I can't get there. I can't get to him. I can't be there with him when it all comes down.
I. I, who can balance a tightrope without thinking about it. I, who has no fear while balancing by one hand on a lion's back. No fear of falling, and no fear of harm. I can't stand up and go back in there.
Fear weighs me down. Fear that swarms us all. Fear of what I might find.
No. I must get up. There is precious little time. Precious little time...
This can't be good. Someone should go let him know he's coming in too steep. I mean, we'll have to start this game over now that all the pieces have fallen from the board.
No. No, this is a nosedive. What is he /doing/?
No, no, /no/, that wasn't an explosion. I can't die here. I can't. There's too much left. Too much I have to do. I'm not /done/ yet, damn it! We made it through re-entry to die after the hardest part is over?
I hear my own voice as I reflexively recite prayers I learned when I was young. My voice shakes, but I don't stop.
I never showed fear before. I have stared Death in the face before. I have stared Death in the face and /WON/. Even when I gave up and offered myself to Death, He offered it back. And I won.
He must think I'm weak. I no longer murmur my prayers, I sob them. I am crying. And he is speaking comforting words to me. It's amazing what you never knew your friends would do for you.
I reach for my braid, holding it in one hand like one would a lifeline. It is a lifeline. I never cut it. It's mine. One of the few things I can say is mine. A reminder of my past. A reminder of my stubbornness. A reminder of why I did it. My hand pulls the band out, and unravels the plait. There can't be much time left. I was taken in with it down. I was taken in with it loose.
The other hand he has in his. His words don't register. My voice hasn't stopped, my lips are still moving. But I don't know if calling out to God will even help me even now.
I never believed in God.
But if we live through this I will. I will have seen a miracle.
All I think I'll see, though, is more Death.
And this time, He will take Shinigami with Him.
I can feel my balance tip. Even as I move to compensate for it, I can sense something is wrong. I only hear the ghost of the explosion as I am thrown to the floor on my side, my book skittering out of reach
What does he think he's doing?
Nothing, I answer myself.
My eyes open and I look around. The chess game I had been watching moments before I slipped into my book is now lying scattered on the floor, the board nowhere to be seen.
I feel something hot on my face, and I realize it's blood. My glasses have shattered. They must have when I landed on the floor. I lift my head to look around, but it's difficult.
I lay back down. I hear someone muttering to God. I hear words of comfort that are no doubt unheard.
They are afraid.
We are all afraid.
I am afraid.
Is it to end like this then? Is it to end like this after all we have done? Is it to end like this after our accomplishments, all the effort we have offered?
Is it to end like this? Am I to die now, and not honorably in the heat of the battles that are over?
What will Nataku think of me? And what of Khushrenada? Will they think less of me for dying like this instead of for what I believe in, or dying before it is my time in Nature?
Or will they accept me for accomplishing what I have?
It seems I am about to find out. I can already hear the screams...
No. Moving there will not help. I think he has improved.
But not that much. He won't tip the board now that – he's not. We're dipping. No. Diving.
The Front Right just blew. And there goes the rest, powering down in response.
Duo has fallen into me, and has started to murmur what sounds like a prayer, over and over.
I look up. Trowa is trying to get up, it looks like, to get back to Quatre. WuFei looks like he is coming to terms with this.
Duo is crying, one hand fingering his braid. No. He is unraveling it, and sobbing instead of speaking.
I take his hand and try to offer words of comfort. I don't think he can hear me. I don't think any of them can.
How many times over the past few years have I tried to kill myself? And how many times did I fail? Relena saved me. Duo saved me. Trowa saved me. Quatre saved me. Even WuFei saved me.
We are all going to die. The velocity with which we're falling is far too high for any of us, let alone this shuttle to survive.
I can't save them. Even I have to accept this time there is nothing I can do to stop us. There is nothing I can do to slow us. We're all paralyzed here by centrifugal force. Even Trowa has given up.
Have we all accepted this then? Have we all accepted that we are to die like this?
I haven't. I don't want to die now. I have been shown that I have not finished.
But it seems I have to at least understand that ... that this is it. Perhaps it is still my mission to die, and not to live as I believed. I close my eyes, and stop murmuring to Duo.
We have impacted.
*Ninmu kotowaru (Mission Rejected [declined]) is very roughly translated, and probably not in proper grammar, since all I have to work with is a Japanese/English dictionary, and no knowledge of Japanese Grammar. I tried to get as close I could though. If you know how to translate this better, please contact me.