The First Year.
For the first few months, Wikus had alienated, no pun intended, himself off from the other Prawns. Out of fear, or perhaps disgust, of himself and them. He would stumble from his shack, the one he had claimed for himself after the raid which lead District 9 to become District 10, he would leave only once at night to gather his daily ration of one can of catfood, then stumble home again. After the months had passed, and he had grown used to his new body, he began to leave to forage more.
Though he had grown used to his mutated skin, he still stumbled over his feet, more then he ever did as a human, and occasionally he would simply not hold enough energy to stand on his own two feet. Some days, he barely made it from his own house due to this weakness. Then, there were the other days, which were the real ones which made him sick to his stomach, they were the days when he could have passed as any other prawn. He walked like them, his accent had diminished, until he could have been mistaken for any other god damn, fooking prawn.
Those were the days Wikus hated himself and would lock himself in his home, without food or the disgustingly brown water that could be sourced from the taps, until he was so weak that his body felt alien again, and he barely had the strength to stand.
After months passed, Wikus began to integrate further into the inhabitants of District 10. They were like him, in some ways, all afraid for their lives. He would catch many of them looking at the sky, and he would stand next to them, and repeat the story he'd told a million times. The story of Christopher, of Oliver, and how they would bring salvation to them all.
For the first year, Wikus was the Prawn Messiah. They looked to him, not for guidance or protection, he was too weak to be of use for that, but instead, they would look onto him for hope. When he told them of how Christopher would return to save them, they listened, some cried, or did the Prawn version of crying which was a series of mournful clicks and whirls, and others embraced him, arms grasping onto his firm shell and holding tight.
The aliens should have hated it, for his past, but they didn't. Perhaps they were tired of fighting, or maybe he had won their trust in the raid of District 9. After the drama which unfolded after Christopher's leaving earth, they had been ordered by the government to move. District 10 was formed, as the Prawns trekked further out into the desert. The towns grew further and further away, and stronger fences were erected. They were electrocuted, and held barbed wire which would tear through even the Pawn's exoskeleton. Any idea of them being refugees was impossible now, they were prisoners. Guards patrolled the gates and fences, and all who tried to escape were shot. Only few humans were allowed in.
The first day of District 10, a rally of Prawns decided to storm the front gate, trying to find their freedom. All were gunned down, and left to rot as the guards refused to enter the compound. Wikus had watched their bodies rot, and after several days, grew tired of their smell. He had moved towards the front gate one morning, when everyone was still rising, and ignoring the calls from the guards to hault. He hadn't wanted to leave, he had wanted to...help, in his own way. He had grasped the first lifeless body of the prawns who had died, and began to pull it away from the gate. Falling to his knees in the dirt nearby, he began to dig.
Most had stopped to stare at him at this point but he didn't pay them any heed. On his own, on his knees, he dug a grave for someone he would have killed unhesitatingly and left to rot not a month ago. Now, he gently dragged the bloodied corpse into the shallow ditch, and covered the fallen male in dirt. The other Prawns had caught on to what he was doing, and moved forward, grasping various fallen men and together they buried them. Some Prawn, who did not help to dig graves, placed various objects over the disturbed dirt, like tomb stones. The first male was given a broken gun, which was not salvageable even to someone who was brilliant with repairs.
The humans had watched them in disbelief.
Prawns had no emotions, they didn't feel empthy and they had no response to pain. That's what the MNU said, and that's what the guards believed. If they didn't feel empathy, or pain, why did Wikus feel sad when he saw a female Prawn, as he had come to recognize the differences, kneeling by one of the graves and giving those mournful clicks that meant she was crying, in her own way. No one moved to comfort her, but allowed her to cry, while they gazed at the graves.
From that day, anyone who died, whether by the guards or lack of food, was given a grave. It became their cemetery. They would not be thrown into the junk pile, or left to rot and feed the hungry birds. They would be buried.
Wikus was looked at with new respect after that, though it was only months later that he began to appreciate that respect.
"Wikus!" A familiar voice called to him, one day when he was collecting his cat food rations. Raising his head, he watched a figure move towards him. It was Janine, named by the humans, a prawn who had taken a liking to Wikus. She had five children of her own, though the humans only knew about two of them, or they would have killed the others.
She reached his side, taking her cat food with a grateful nod before they moved out of the line. "John spoke today," she said, sounding proud. John was her youngest, and had been the only surviving egg out of a den of fifty, after the guards had set fire to them.
"Already?" Wikus asked, trying to keep his voice interested but having a feeling he failed. They were prawns still. Fooking, dirty prawns. He wasn't one of them, so why should he care that some spawn said it's first word?
"He's already two weeks," Janine said, giving him an amused look. "Your human mind is still present I see. We walk at one week, and talk at two, or at least, we start to. Guess his first word, Wikus!" She prompted, undeterred by his following silence. They had reached the slum area of the district, which was, all of the sleeping dens. There were prawns lurking at every tent, eying them as they past and Wikus tightened his hand on his cat food.
"Wikus," Janine said, regaining his attention. There was a strange look to her eyes. "He said home, Wikus." She gave a light trilling click. "Home," she repeated, almost on a sigh. "Home." He recognized the look in her eye, it was need. Not a physical need, but emotional. She just needed to hear it, one more time.
"They are coming back," Wikus said, firmly, as they reached his tent. "They are."
He didn't promise her she would see her home again, it was implied, and he didn't promise she would be safe until then, because that was foolish tripe. There was no guarantees in District 10, you just lived one day at a time.
Janine's desperate look faded, a little, and the happy clicking noise returned. "I know, and so does John. Stay safe, Wikus." She left without a backwards glance, the patch of fabric that concealed her modesty, a human ideal, was stained with dirt and hung loosely from her boney waist. She was starving to death, for her children, and Wikus didn't know if she would ever see her home again, at this rate.
Wikus didn't know anything.
Slipping inside his tent, he opened the cat food and settled on the futon mattress to eat it. It was cold, and glancing at the label, he spied a picture of a fish. Yum, tuna. After a few weeks, the food had become familiar, and it wasn't a fight to eat it anymore, but he missed real food, like steak.
Curling up on his futon, the empty can discarded in a pile nearby. He didn't know what he would use the metal of the cans for, but he kept them anyway. Piles of junk littered the tent, things he may one day have use for, like an old electrical cable, a butter knife he found at the fence line, and a length of fabric which could make a good bartering tool with any of the female prawns if they had something he needed some day.
He was thinking ahead. He hated doing that. It meant that he was planning for a long stay, in District 10, when all he wanted to do was go home.
Tania. Tania was his home. His sweet, blue eyed, golden haired angel. He missed her so much he ached some days, and as he curled into himself, pulling the sheet of material which acted as a blanket up over his arms, he thought of her.
He could see her revealing a cake for his birthday, which she hadn't made but had commissioned a wonderful baker to make it. It had been beautiful, and her eyes had shined in delight as he muttered compliments over it. She couldn't have been more proud, even if she had made the cake herself.
It was the simple things which had made Tania happy, and Wikus missed those little things. Like sleeping in, and steak, and blue eyes gazing down at him when he woke every morning. It was the simple pleasures of being human that he missed, not the idea of humanity.
Many months later, towards the end of the first year, Tania had visited District 10, to find Wikus. At first, he had hidden from her, afraid of her disgust at seeing what he had become. When she had grown desperate, wandering further and further into the slums, he had given in.
Grabbing her wrist, he hadn't thought for a second that she may not recognize him, so her scream startled him. The guards began to shout, and pointed their guns at him through the nearby fence, taking aim. He clicked loudly, hurriedly, trying to catch his Tania, his angel's eyes. It took a few minutes, of screams and shouting, before she recognized him. Her wide eyes grew wider and she choked out, "Wikus?"
He had released her, nodding and watching as she screamed at the guards to put away their weapons, before turning back to him. "Wikus...I...I," she stammered, gazing at him with a look that spoke of sadness, and fear, and something Wikus hadn't seen in so many months, love. "Oh, Wikus," she gasped, and pushed herself into his embrace. He had clutched at her, with all four arms, trying to hold her as close as he could. They stayed like that, and he felt her shuddering and shaking, until she finally pulled back, gasping. "I-I can't!" She moaned, burying her face in her hands as she rested back against a nearby tent. "I can't! I want to, I love you! but I can't!" The sounds of her sobs tore at his heard and he tried to pull her close again, but she avoided him.
Her beautiful face was blotchy with tears and her makeup had smeared. "I love you, my love," she whispered, shaking still, as she backed away, "but can't you see that I can't?"
Can't...what? He wanted to scream at her, but she was already running. She raced towards the gates, pleading with the guards to let her out, which they did hurriedly. Wikus ran to the fence, ignoring the shouts from the guards. Tania! My angel! He wanted to yell, accidentally touching the fence and sending shock waves racing through his body.
Soon, she was gone. A car had snatched her up and whisked her away, out of Wikus' life.
He did not see her again that year, nor the next. Not even on his final year on earth did he see her again, but he overheard a guard speak of her engagement when the second year had passed. The news would have broken him, had he not already been broken to start with.
This story will be slash (Wikus / Christopher) . The rating will raise from T to M, but not until later chapters.
Updates will be as often as I can make them, hopefully every few days, or at least once a week.
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