Fate of the Innocent
The Microfic/Drabble Meme
Prompt: "The loss of millions of innocents, or the loss of the innocent most dear."
Flower: Orange blossoms
Sheena knew, all along, the purpose of the Chosen.
Raine knew, all along, the purpose of the Chosen.
Colette knew, all along, the purpose of the Chosen.
It was something all three women shared. It was something all three women hid. It was something all three women decided, unanimously, without ever actually speaking to one another, not to discuss.
It was something that none of them wished to dwell upon. Colette showered people with her love in the time she had remaining. Sheena argued with Zelos to keep her mind off of things. Raine immersed herself in the lives and pasts of people who no longer lived.
And they all wondered if, someday, in the distant future, children in a classroom would be awaiting the sighting of an oracle, a guiding light, that one beacon of hope in their lives that they didn't even know required the sacrifice of another human being.
But then, they thought to themselves, turning restlessly in their sleep in yet another unfamiliar bed, maybe they did know. Maybe it was something they'd pushed to the back of their minds so long ago that they never thought about it anymore.
Because to them, the Chosen was supposed to fulfill some ancient prophecy. The Chosen had to keep the balance by enduring hardships, by giving up everything, piece by piece, until all that was left was a heart, and then, in the end, that too disappeared.
The Chosen was supposed to die.
"Why couldn't it be you, instead?" Sheena found herself saying to Zelos on more than one occasion. "Colette is beautiful and kind and innocent. She doesn't deserve this…this fate!" But then she'd find herself looking away, her face flushed with anger, and Zelos understood, deep down, that she didn't mean it. She didn't want Zelos to die, not in Colette's place. She didn't want anyone to die, and why couldn't they save both worlds without giving someone up?
I'm glad it's me, Colette thought to herself every night as she looked up at the stars, even when she lost her sense of smell and taste and touch. I'm glad it's me, because if it wasn't, it would be someone else. Everyone admired her for her bravery, for her camaraderie despite knowing the path she was being led down, but it wasn't really as difficult as the others thought it was. When she no longer needed sleep, she'd watch the others as they slumbered, and her heart warmed with the knowledge that she could do something for her friends. She could save their lives, their world. And that meant everything to her.
"It is a wretched, horrible fate," Raine told herself, fingers stroking a stone that had been, at one time, part of the foundation of an ancient building. It was crumbling, now, and she gave it a sad smile. "I could stop this," she said to no one. "I should stop it."
Silence wrapped around her like a glove that was two sizes too small.
"But I can't. I can't. It wouldn't be right."
But was it right to watch the life fade from that sweet, innocent girl? Was it right to make one child sacrifice herself for the "greater good"?
What about the rest of the world?
While the rest of the world waited, a young woman died. Slowly. Piece by painful piece.
What about them? What were they doing to help?
"They're helping her to die," she said softly as the moon glowed overhead. "Just like I am." The silence hurt, or maybe it was her heart. She wasn't sure.
If Sheena had to choose between her own death or the death of a million others, she would choose to die to save the others.
If Raine had to choose between her own death or the death of a million others, she would choose to die to save the others.
Colette had already chosen to die.
So there shouldn't have been a problem. Everyone should have agreed that the Chosen's job was to fulfill the prophecy.
But it wasn't that easy. Perhaps they were selfish to want her to live. They were all faced with the same difficult choice: the loss of millions of innocents or the loss of the innocent dearest to their hearts.
Sadly, the choice to begin the Chosen's journey was easiest for…none other than Colette. It was exceptionally hard for everyone else, though, because losing those we love is one of the most difficult, painful experiences in life.