Fandom: Bokurano
Title: Haunted Eyes
Author: SweetFirefly
Rating: PG-13/T
Genre: Drama/Tragedy
Main Characters: Jun Ushiro, Miku Tanaka.
Spoilers: Up to the last chapter of the manga.
Summary: For a moment, she forgot her grief and locked eyes with the strange boy, who was staring at her as if he'd never seen anything like her before.
Disclaimer: I don't own Bokurano. There isn't enough sanity on my mind to produce something like that and stay functional.

A/N: So, I haven't died yet. I just started to write for the 1 sentence LJ community and stopped working on my personal projects for a while. The results can be checked on my LJ (scarlet-paire(dot)livejournal(dot)com). As I've finished all five themes recently, I decided to publish some stuff I had written long ago. This one is for Bokurano, with which I have a love-and-hate relationship.

Miku Tanaka is Captain Misumi Tanaka's daughter; this scene happens in chapter 53 of the manga(Jun Ushiro 1), and, after I had read it, I started wondering what Miku thought when she faced Ushiro. Here's the result.

As I'm not a fluent English-speaker, this piece may contain some grammar errors. If you spot any, please warn me, so I can correct it. Thank you.

Haunted Eyes

She touched the chair.

Mothers, Miku had heard an old man say once, just after the first serious attack of the black monster, the one which had killed seven thousand people, should never die.

She didn't know that man. She didn't know if he had lost a mother, or if he had seen other mothers die, a thousand of mothers (and fathers, and sons and daughters and siblings and cousins and families) dying under the feet of that thing. But she had agreed with him with the very core of her heart, chills running through her spine as she thought of her own mother. Of how fortunate it was that her mother was still alive.

And now, her mother was just another of those unfortunate victims.

She touched the chair again, unable to believe in everything it represented. The man in glasses at her father's side had said her mother died fighting alongside the black monster, protecting Earth and all of their lives. She had been a hero, she had died a hero.

She was gone.

The thought wobbled her legs, and, slowly, she slid to the ground, as the first desperate tears streamed down her face.

Mothers shouldn't die, she thought, kneeling next to the chair as if her life depended on it. Her mother should never have died, not so young, so full of life and smiles (even though she had stopped smiling as often in the last weeks). Mother shouldn't have died.

She heard a brief exhale of surprise from her father's side, but she didn't care.

Her father hadn't said anything since he entered that hangar, nor had the man in suit which was accompanying them. It was as if talking, as if the voice of the grief that everyone held in their hearts would tarnish the greatness, the holiness of her mother's brilliant sacrifice. As if just one word could erase the light of her mother's star.

She didn't want to stay silent, she realized, and there were so many words caught in her throat she couldn't speak. She didn't want to stay silent. She wanted to scream, to bellow, to demand an explanation of the world. She wanted to ask everyone else why there would be no more of her mother's terrible food, no more goodnight kisses; why there would be no more Sunday afternoons sitting in the sofa and long walks in the park. She wanted to shout that she would never be able to ask her for money for an ice-cream with pleading eyes again, she would never see her mother's calm and tired smile during dinner again; she would never be able to lie awake in her bed waiting for the sound of her steps in the doorway to finally close her eyes, because the steps wouldn't be there anymore.

Why, she choked a scream, why is Mother never coming home again?

Why it had to be my mother?

"Let's go, Miku-chan", her father murmured with a strained voice. "Let's go."

She got up slowly. Her body felt heavy, as if she was swimming; better saying, as if she wasn't really there, in that world; as if her mind was detached from her body, was gone along with her deceased mother.

Chivalrously, her father enlaced her shoulders with an arm, supporting her small frame. She let herself be guided, every step painful and slow. Walking on the moon must feel like that, she thought stupidly, feeling a heavy burden on her heart, as if an anchor had settled there its place, prepared to bring her down like it brought her mother.

It was when she saw him.

Him was a boy, a tall, pale boy, wearing dark clothes and glasses which had seen better days. She wondered, briefly, how she hadn't noticed him before; he was surely standing out, standing there completely still, as if he was the only real thing in a world of passers-by.

Besides, his eyes were searching hers.

For a moment, she forgot her grief and locked eyes with the strange boy, who was staring at her as if he'd never seen anything like her before.

His eyes were bright, clear, very alike hers. In fact, the entire boy was very alike her, the black straight hair just a little longer than decent, the facial structure, the sadness on the corners of his mouth which reminded her of someone.

Hadn't they seen each other before?

And then there was the briefest look of surprise and awe on his face, when he noticed she was looking at him too. But surprise couldn't stand much longer on that face; his expression was soon taken by grief. Grief that, she noticed now, was also on his shoulders, on his legs which didn't seem to be much steadier than hers right now; he was also crushed by the weight of losing someone dear to him, maybe lots of people dear to him. People she didn't know but that she could have known as well.

She focused on his eyes then, and trembled.

For his eyes spoke of grief, soul-wrenching grief, much more tormenting and dark than her sadness. And not only of that; they spoke of a series of terrors, one worse than another. They spoke of things no person should ever have seen, of death in its most terrible form; they spoke of unwanted fate, of helplessness, and of despair.

They also spoke of longing, bone-deep longing. As if the strange boy was really a soul with no place on the real world; as if he longed for everything he couldn't live, for a mother, for a father, for smiles and laughter and a family and a normal life.

As if he longed for her.

Unable to stand the whirlwind of emotions taking her heart any longer, she turned and hid her face on her father's shirt, tears staining the fabric. There her eyes remained, till she left the room. She didn't dare to look again and know for sure that such an infinite sadness like the one the boy's eyes held really existed.

She never saw him again.

Later, she would ask the boy's name to the man in glasses, and he would look at her with a weird expression, before telling her that that boy was named Jun Ushiro, and was one of the few survivors of the battle on which her mother had died. He had lost his younger sister, and his mother, too, along with a handful of friends.

Jun Ushiro.

She never knew of the true burden he held on his shoulders, the destined pilot of a robot which was the very figure of Death. She never knew he'd killed about ten billion people, one by one, in a desperate tentative to save their planet. She never knew that, that day, she wasn't the only one to find meaning on another's eyes.

She never knew that her own eyes, teary and hurt and full of things Jun Ushiro would never have, prompted him to make a decision. She never knew that, while he was fighting, he was thinking of her.

She never knew that he died with her name on his lips, and that the last thing he saw was her face.

Still, sometimes, when she went to the cemetery along with her father, she spared some moments to search for the boy's grave, to look at the kanji carved on the marble, to try not to look at the haunted eyes in the picture and to wonder if he had found any peace. To remember the brief moment they'd shared the world.

She never knew that he was her brother.

My own personal soundtrack: Uninstall, by Chiaki Ishikawa -- Bokurano's opening. This song is awesome!

Thanks to: MangaScreener staff, who translated the manga, and the Kaihou Fansub, who translated the anime to Portuguese. Thank you!