Here is my entry in the forums yearly Ficathon put on by the wonderful and talented . The theme this year was "song fic" and this little diddy had been stewing in my head since I first heard the song.
As usual I own nothing.
I am the shadow
I am the evening come
I am your greatest fear
Your greatest love
Born in ten thousand ways
for each and every day
I am alive
Incubus – Recoil
It's not a word to be bandied about lightly. It's not a word often seen nor experienced. In fact even the scene that brings the word to mind wasn't the full extent of the feeling, merely the edge of the sword that can destroy all indiscriminately.
He didn't realize that at the time.
No at the time, Zoicite thought that the massive form of his brother-in-arms ripping through household objects and himself, without remorse, the most wrathful thing to be seen.
It was in his eyes. The way Nephrite threw his weight full force into every motion. How nothing, object nor space was left unviolated by his emotions. The snarl of his lip brought back haunting memories of a time when oaths were broken and all their souls were tainted by weakness.
The young blonde man would have liked to think that the savage beast he had seen on that battlefield long ago, when the Heavenly Kings all wore uniforms of a false dark queen, was the corruption of Nephrite's soul, the fraud of the witch that had ensnared them. But then that would be a lie, that brutal animal was always in him. Always restrained in the depths howling to get out.
It was why Kunzite always made sure to meditate with him every morning.
It was why Jadeite never let his teasing and mockeries cross that invisible line.
It was why Nephrite had taken up philosophy.
They all had this capacity for the worst of humanity. It was their eternal duty to watch over these sins, these four elements of human nature that could destroy the world if unleashed. But one had to wonder if they were closer to those evils now than ever before. If their collective moment of weakness had taken them from guarding the gates, to trying to stay out of reach.
As it happened on the night that the wind howled and the elements let out their own fury that Zoi, coming in late from a rehearsal of his play, wandered into the destruction of a guard who had slipped passed the gates.
Nephrite was single handedly demolishing everything with such avid passion that it was hypnotizing to watch. He broke through plane glass windows letting the pounding rain and wind from the storm outside in to mingle with his temper. The rain and blood collided on his skin fueling his rage further into frenzy. The couch lay in ruins mutilated by bare hands. Walls were pierced with bear-sized punches, bits of skin and blood dangled from the fractured rock adding to the ambiance of the brutality.
Pieces of mother-boards and broken bits of electronics glittered across the floor reflecting the lighting and thunder. The brown haired man in the center of it all pulsated with power, wildly lurching and destroying everything in his path. His wild mane, furthering the illusion of a beast. Zoicite caught sight of the blood that dripped from a gnarled gash on his bicep, that most certainly would need stitches, and moved to intervene, someone had to calm the madness.
A firm pale hand reached from the darkness and stopped to stop him, Jadeite's piercing turquoise gaze unwavering from Nephrite's raging in the living room before him.
"Jade, what the hell? We have to stop him!" Zoi pulled against the hand restraining him, it seemed dangerous to let this behavior go on. Jadeite stood solid, his hand gripping tighter.
"Just be quite and stay still." The voice was calm as ever, but there was a tremor of fear in Jade's eyes. Fear was not something the Jade showed often and with that earth-shaking knowledge the Lord of the North was paralyzed unable to do anything but watch the massacre in front of him. The room began to buzz with energy, making their mouths dry and hackles to rise.
The shadows oozed out of their corners seeping a darker black than should have been possible, swirling around and gathering closer to the source of the destruction, like ink following gravity's pull.
Zoicite glanced nervously to Jadeite wondering wildly if he too saw the demonic glow of eyes in the shadows, or if he were merely losing his mind. But Jadeite's gaze never left heaving figure of Nephrite, his glass face giving no hint that he too felt the unnatural sensations swirling about the room. It seemed like darkness was being let it, as if Nephrite were tearing a hole in the fabric of the world. Every time he looked around the walls moved in a little tighter. For a brief moment childish memories came rushing to the mind, what stood before him was not his brother. But the shadow, the evening come. Their greatest fear, and greatest woe.
Jadeite stared back at the center of it all, and took a horrified step back as childish terrors became reality. His eyes…his eyes glowed an angry red. His shadow on the floor mutated and convulsed flickering from the form of Nephrite, to angry blob…to a Beast of Nightmares. Howling with a demonic glee, if the beast could speak it would be laughing in hellish joy to be released. Over the raging sounds of the storm, came bone-chilling screams, the clash of weapons, the cries of destruction.
"Nephrite!" The voice cut through the air as steel, hitting its mark with accuracy. The dark seemed to waver; the beastly shadow flickered back to man with a dark growl, the screaming ceased.
Kunzite strode forward calmly, a silver figure amongst the shadows. He stood face to face with Nephrite whose entire being pulsated with crimson wrath the shadowy figures swirling around him. Nephrite snarled, the beast gnashed with fury against invisible restrains, and Kunzite simple stared back.
"Nephrite. Center yourself. Put him back."
There was no sign that Nephrite even registered what Kunzite said, and for one brief moment the younger men wondered if Kunzite would be able to take down Nephrite in this state. Kunzite stepped closer, the beings of undistinguishable darkness wrapping themselves around his legs like tar.
"Nephrite." His voice was softer, not a command, just a call.
At his name he looked up, the crimson red in his eyes receding, his teeth grinding under the strain of power he had only semi-released. Kunzite put a hand his shoulder, brotherly gesture that would never have occurred in lifetimes before.
"Nephrite, let the Horseman go."
The world stood still and the room seemed to grow smaller, as if it would implode upon itself. And then…then it was gone. The darkness retreated to its unassuming corners, the beings that had danced with devilish delight vanished into the night, the shadowed beast let out a menacing howl. The energy that had surged insurmountably with such ferocity sizzled out, leaving behind a chill. Suddenly the room felt lighter, the storm outside less invasive.
Zoicite let out a breath he hadn't realized he'd been holding, and watched the air come out in foggy mist.
Nephrite shuttered like a horse overwrought from exhaustion and sagged to the floor under his own weight. Kunzite easily slipped an arm over his shoulder and silently motioned towards the two men who stood rod still at the doorway. Jadeite moved forward to help, stumbling just a hair in his agitated state. It took the strength of both of them to carry the hulking body of Nephrite from the wreckage of furniture and glass.
As they carried him up the stairs Zoicite heard the harsh whisper of Nephrite
" They're in my head." he rasped like a man lost in the desert "They know my name. My name is…death, but-but I'm alive."
Zoi shuddered clamping down firmly on the dark spot of his own mind. No one had ever seen Nephrite lose his temper… never seen him immerse himself in that power…
"I've never seen a man so broken up…ripped apart…as if he." He just stood there breathing trying to shake the images from his mind.
"I told him not to do it, that she needed more time." Jadeite sauntered down the stairs and back to survey the wreckage, hands in his pockets once again the image of languid perfection.
"You know what happened?"
Jadeite raised an eyebrow, the one he raises when he feels the answer is obvious. Just as Zoi was about to get indignant and walk off a quiet voice revealed itself from the entrance way.
"He talked to Makoto."
Zoicite jumped and turned to find the golden Minako Aino standing behind him a serious look upon her usual bubbly face. Dripping wet she moved farther into the living room, eyes moving with precision to take in the damage. The ruined funiture, the structure exposed walls, the glass and debris scattered across the room as morbid confetti, the rain and wind that continued to pour in through the shattered terrace door. Her survey completed, she gave the still perplexed Zoi a smile.
"No way we'd be having a storm this massive without a little help."
As is the case when you realize that two plus two equals four, Zoicite was suddenly ashamed he hadn't put the pieces together before. It had been a bright clear, hot summers day in Tokyo this morning. Then quite suddenly, as if by magic, the storm rolled in and the electricity went out in downtown cutting his rehearsal short. But while Nephrite wasn't always known to say the right thing at the right time, him talking to Makoto should have been a good thing. They had avoided each other since the Shitennou's resurrection, for three months not a word, and now destruction.
"She rejected him." Zoicite looked horrified even as he uttered the phrase.
"You expected her to say differently?" Jadeite looked genuinely surprised.
"Of course! I never thought...I mean how could she?..." Zoicite turned empathetically up the stairs envisioning the mass of Nephrite. "Doesn't she love him?"
At the window staring morosely out at the raging storm still crackling above, fresh droplets mingling with the damp of blonde tresses the Senshi of Love gave the answer.
"Love isn't always enough."
Jadeite looked down, as if the thought wounded him in some way, and then began the task of cleaning up the mess. The room was still, and unearthly, the blonde at the window took it all in. How unnerved both the men where, how the storm continued unwavering in it's ferocity, how her heart ached for both of them, the unfairness of it all. But there were other matters to attend to, her duty would not allow a possible threat to go undiscovered.
"The question now is, what in the name of the Moon happened here." Her voice was quite but commanding, and bit through the silence like a bullet.
Zoicite looked up from his reverie, he didn't know what to say, if he could say anything at all. Could anyone put a name to the almost atrocity that had just swept through the living room?
Jadeite stood straight up from his sweeping position, a sneering smirk of a mask on his face.
"Oh come now, buttercup. Clearly our good ol' boy got a bit too friendly with a bottle or two of whiskey and decided to take out his drunk frustration on his living room." As he picked up the remains of one DVD player and tsked to himself "A pity too, was all top notch stuff."
It was not his imagination that the Minako who looked at him had a deadly gaze of gold centered blue. The smile that graced her lips was no doubt beautiful as it was frightening.
"Today is not a day to take me for a fool, Jadeite."
"The Horsemen is the only name that we've known them by, though it is by no means their true title." Kunzite stepped down from the stairs with a broom and a towel, he passed off the broom to Zoicite who shuddered at the name given to his darkest nightmares.
"Kunzite!" Jadeite hissed warningly. But his concerns were brushed way by his commanding officer with a sad smile and a hand on his shoulder.
"Secrets will out, Jed." It was with compassion and strength that Kunzite held them all in check these days, so very different from lifetimes before. It was for this sake that Jadeite bowed his head. "And if it is one thing we should all have learned, they can kill. We cannot be ashamed any longer, they cannot stay unnamed."
They each had them, a nightmare of humanity, and they had a way of seeping into their mundane lives. They were the reason for Jadeite's germophobia, for Zoicite's impulsive need to eat everything on his plate, and why Kunzite never went to funerals. But from these horrors, came their powers. Powers to save, powers to protect, it was a heavy bargain but one they were willing to pay.
It was not a fact that was widely known, Kunzite was chagrined to share it with their Lunar counterparts in light of how relations stood amongst them. But his liege had commanded no secrets and there was no way around it now, Minako had born witness, and she would not be appeased by anything but the truth.
"Nephrite lost control." He stated calmly, walking over and gently wrapping the towel round her slim shoulders and looking her dead in the eye, "The Horseman was beginning to open, to feed on his emotions." Kunzite stared unblinking, unapologetically in the face of the Leader of the Inner Senshi, knowing full well he was being judged.
"The Horseman…??" She made no move to further the distance between them.
"It is what each of us guards and where our powers come from. The Four Heavenly Kings to guard the Four Horsemen from being set free upon the earth."
There was silence, and he watched as those almost cruelly blue eyes worked with the pieces she'd been given, the pieces that she had stolen, and the ones that she could guess at. It was an amazing site really, how those eyes worked, in two lifetimes he never tired of it.
"The Horsemen…of the Apocalypse." It wasn't a question but hung in the air undecided on judgment or understanding. Zoicite fidgeted under the tension in the room and edged farther away from the blonde. It was understandable as the waves of displeasure she was emitting was enough to send any man into hysterics.
Kunzite headed into the kitchen, leaving her with her thoughts, with her judgments. There were things to be attended to, Mamoru would have felt the shift of power in his second in command, and be worried.
"Should I be worried about the safety of my charge around the Horseman of War?" She called out to him from where she stood staring at the carnage of the living room. While the question was asked with strength and resolve it was with worrying of teeth on an innocent bottom lip that had seen far too much punishment these past three months, she waited the answer.
He paused as he picked up the telephone, a sad half smile on his chiseled face, "No more so than around any one of us."
She chewed more vigorously on her bottom lip, mind running through the revelations before her. A crack of lighting struck with deadly power before her eyes, adding to her mix of worries and planning's. Things were so hard these days, there was no clear line of right or wrong, so many of her instincts were obsolete.
Mamoru trusted these men, and he was no fool. If Rei's premonitions were even half right, they would need all the help they could get. But dealing with these men, meant dealing with their own emotions, their own weakness's. How to make it all work, how to keep things running smoothly? How to keep the girls from destroying themselves?
Enveloped in her thought processes she wasn't expecting the question from Jadeite's lips dripping with disappointment, disdain, and self hatred.
"So. Is this the end of your endorsement of civil relations between the Shitennou and Senshi?"
She looked at the man, the tall cat like blonde with his oh-so-perfectly disheveled hair and casually elegant clothes. She took in the clenched fists hidden inside woolen pockets, the muscle in his neck that twitched with tension. But more importantly she looked at those tortured turquoise eyes. So much sadness, so much pain, and regret. Could such a creature be trusted to protect the world, the universe from destruction? What could keep such a beaten man fighting?
It was there past the pain, past the lifetime of regret, and the scars of evil that ravaged his soul. Was a spark, a flame in the darkness, that she would recognize anywhere. Love kept this man going, love of his lord, love of his comrades, love of his soul mate, love of his world.
She smiled a mirthless smile turning back to the window, her mind racing along the skyline to her sister in arms, whose soul was tormented by similar things to the man that stood behind her.
"We all have our demons, general."
Maybe one day Love would be enough.
I am in the process of making this a two parter and looking at the other side of this storm.
Questions, comments, and concerns always welcomed.