Disclaimer: I do not own 5ds, but I do own my twisted imagination and sick, ironic sense of humor. Isn't it grand?
First Person POV
She was relentless in her struggles, no matter what damage I managed to inflict to her with a smile or an attack, her pursuit stayed viciously pointed, wielding the effects of our world of speed to their most perfect, synching her monsters and spells with her own troubled heart. From the view of any other, it would have been terrifying to have her as an attacker; the set of her teeth elongating her canines like a beast, the melting glare of her smoldering emerald eyes, and the deep scowl marring her beauty would have frightened them into believing her a personal demon from Hell, come to commit unspeakable acts of vengeance and fury.
Yet as I stared down the last onslaught her monster towards me and left my trap card unused, I couldn't help but disagree. I saw the way her breath caught as the attack landed, slicing open my chest with an already crimson lance. I saw the way her lips formed my name in a silent scream as I grunted against the pain. I saw the way her extended arm reached back for me, desperate to spare me from this war.
I saw it all and I smiled.
People often forgot the true nature of angels. They were not creatures solely of love and light and guidance, that job was for something else entirely, a voice that I had been hearing often of late. No, they were beings of justice from love, bent and heaven-sent on their missions, unrelenting until the job was complete or they were smite from the world they called home. They would rather bathe in fire and sunlight than fail, they would give any life they had for their cause. And in this way Sherry LeBlanc was certainly the third He had spoken of, the Angel to the Guide and the Star.
Remember. Remember your mission.
I can never forget. I'm sending her home.
As my body flew through the air, doused in the pain of a self-inflicted wound, one that Kiryu wasn't here to try and stop me from committing, I opened my eyes wide to the heavens, trailing the flecks of blood as they flew across the wide-swipe of her Ace and vanished towards the horizon where...
The sun... the sun...!
After being detained in the eye of my own hurricane for so long, drowned from light and warmth, the sight was dazzling and wonderful, the greatest miracle that could ever be given to me. When I felt water on my cheeks, I was amazed that I even had tears left to shed, let alone for something like this, something that brought me joy instead of pain. It joined my blood in the airways and I crashed back down to the bridge that I had already died for once, hearing my name screech across the warzone.
Luciano and José were no doubt watching from their throne room, giddy that I had completed their Circuit with my death, uncaring and ignorant about my motives and reasons and why I had to be the one to fight against Sherry. They barely even grasped the concept of God's Will, misused it, spat on it, and twisted it in favor of themselves.
Sherry would take care of them.
From an unfathomable distance, the shriek of breaking glass came alive, scattering across the concrete with the rings and chimes of church bells, bringing me comfort and serenity, even though I still was unsure if I truly believed. Light scattered across my face like a thousand glittering stars, coating me in the world of speed that I had just died for. Warmth spread across my chest with my blood, staining the riding suit of my team with the color that had claimed us long ago, and in a way, defined us.
A trembling hand rested across the surface, and withdrew crimson. I stared at it without interest, forcing my head to the side, past the sluggish haze that was slowly eating away at my sight. The bridge wavered under her feet as she approached, the glass became a whole shimmering mirror, and Stardust Dragon shone like a beacon in the midst of madness. I jumped when a dark card fluttered past it as Sherry fell to her knees beside me, then sighed as Z-Zone found its way to our side.
She took my hand in hers, staining her white gloves that deep red, spreading it from her cheeks to her chest to her very soul, the only trembling in the soft pink lips that she had ravished me with days earlier. Understanding flashed through us at her touch, and something came to life in her eyes, something deep within her unraveled under the gaze of my blue eyes.
Her hands jerked back and forth sporadically now, fighting the urge to burst out into sobs to accompany her sparkling tears, and her hair shone gold in the forgiving light of the sun. I wondered if she understood yet, if she knew what I needed her to, if she understood me as truly as she had claimed to.
"Do you think I wouldn't know my teammates Yusei?"
Could she see how similar we are? Could she see that our roles could easily be reversed—that she could be laying at my knees while I held her steady hands in my trembling ones—that she could have heard His voice in the wind and traveled towards a future bent on destruction? Could she see that this duel had saved her? Had saved me?
It was more than a coincidence that our fathers created and controlled Momentum, were both killed for trying to stop its destructive use. It was more than luck that cursed us with the same burden to bear. It was just simply more that we had found each other, despite the fact that we were separated by countries, languages, cultures, and belief. To have bonds this strong with someone, to be fated to meet them, to kill or be killed by them...
Did she know why I let her do this? Did she know why I had to do this?
I jerked towards her as she doubled over, sobs flowing off her shoulders as Yliaster's false white cloak had done mine, and in similar ways that were entirely her own, she bared her unweaving soul to mine. "I NEVER WANTED TO BE YOUR ENEMY!"
My hand left stains up and down her shirt with each chocking gasp she spluttered and scars in her eyes. Even so, the new wounds only caught more light past her tears, only shone brighter through the pain and misery that we had dealt each other, only gave me something that I had not held onto for too long, something that I was supposed to give others.
Looking up at her was never simply enough, and I lifted my hand past the tears that she needed to shed like I had to Rudger. Hers followed closely, unwilling to release me, wishing with all her heart that I would stay with her, that I would join her team, that I would heal her and myself and everything could go back to as it was before. And I simply smiled instead, offering her the only thing I had, all the hope and love I still held for her, for the future, for the friends that I had killed, for the world that she had to save without me.
With my thumb I wiped the dirt from her brow and traced a simple unconnected circle with my blood, blessing her as was my right as the Head Mark Signer, and imparted her with the last thing she needed to hear from me before her visit with the God of Destiny at the end of the Circuit, before she received the information she needed to stop Yliaster, before she chased after Bruno's evolutionary Synchro, before she fought in the sunlight with my name seared in her soul, "You never were."
The effect was immediate on both of us. Her tears halted and she stared at me, gripping my hand as if she could personally tether me to Earth when death lulled me away, she stared and put together the pieces as effectively as I could, she stared and stared and stared me to sleep. The light swamping me intensified, and I saw the sun expand, slowly leaking my vision into a tunnel with Sherry at the center, frozen between love and justice, between revenge and salvation.
It ate at her hair, setting her in brilliant frames, lending her the wings the God of Destiny had spoken of, and just before it claimed me, taking me to the final room where He would finally damn my soul to rest, she understood, and she called my name.
It became too much, and my eyes fell shut against the glare, but even then it shone through, promising to never leave me in the chaos of night and storms again.
The feeling of being uplifted seized me, burning sharply against the comfort of her hands clutching mine.
I tasted the sun on my lips, the sun or her, and found that the hands carrying me were marked in crimson as well.
Although I wanted to pull away, to push and shove and flail until they released me as I had with Sherry, to stop the agony and love and hate that came with his touch, I lacked the energy to move, to speak, to see, to do anything but lay before him and be forgiven without the strength to forgive myself.
"Yusei," someone spoke, the voice that I couldn't hear—didn't deserve to hear—the voice that I had truly killed with my own two hands instead of some sick twist in the curse I was born to whether...
"Yusei, I've been watching. I know why you did this, and I understand."
His hands touched my brow and although I couldn't see his face, I knew the voice, knew I was unworthy of him most of all, that by taking his life instead of my own that first night I had started down this path, that I had left his two kids alone in the city, that they were now without a father and a brother...
"Don't blame yourself. Nico and West found their way back. They have people to care for them there."
What could I say? That I was sorry? That I didn't deserve this forgiveness? That I really did care below the hate that had consumed me that night? That I hadn't ever wanted to hurt him?
I was slung over his back once more, he was carrying me from this place like I had carried him from the Dyne Mines, carrying me even though I refused it... just like he had then... "They really thought you were like Placido, Yusei. For a while, I was worried too. But you pulled through with that woman. She'll stop them—that's all she would ever think to do."
So was this the end? A death in perpetual light, tormented by the soft forgiveness of a voice that cut me swifter than any blade?
"Yusei—there's just one thing that I don't understand," he added as he took another step forward, suddenly dousing us in warmth and sunlight. The strength returned to my legs and he let me down to the ground, where I stumbled away, instantly doused in cool, weak helplessness.
"What caused all this?"
I looked up then, forcing myself as Sherry had, and saw the white room where 'God' had been, the room where He had gifted me my Accel Synchro Monster, saw Kiryu standing with one foot immersed in a large disk of light much like those Yliaster created to get into the throne room, smiling at me. He shifted to the side and I saw them all, crammed into the small portal, staring at me like I had done nothing wrong, that I had not spat on our bonds, that I had not betrayed them in the worst possible way I could.
All my wonderful friends... bound to me by more than simply crimson marks now...
With unison that could only be miraculous, all their hands extended towards me, palms up and open, beckoning me forward like I had done to Sherry that night on the bridge, as I had done to them in life, as...
I chocked on gratefulness as it swelled in my throat and released the stinging tears from my eyes, allowed my shoulders to tremble and my mask to drop before them, allowed them to take me in and understand me. It rinsed through me as I released it, tossed up all my personal demons into the hurricane I lived in, threw it outwards and into them, where they caught it and tamed it.
"Placido wasn't lying!"
My knees buckled and I fell hard to the flow, bowing my head before them, pleading condemnation instead of mercy, festering and rotting and broken in my own misery, in the wake of my own actions in spite of warnings against them.
The purple light that had slid over me, the charring heat that rattled me as Placido spoke of my father, the relief of the world of speed, the black pit in which I had been hurled into, the stars that had embraced me as the city was destroyed, the body of Dark Glass, helm smashed to bits to reveal Bruno, Kiryu racing towards me, the metal in my hand, the hospital destroyed, the Wheel of Fortune upturned, the stadium shattered, the streets burning, Yliaster's appearance, Sherry's arrival, Mizoguchi's sacrifice...
The will Sherry must now bear alone, the family Kiryu lost, the love in their eyes...
"How do I tell you I'm sorry?"
Kiryu crouched down before me, balancing on the heels of his feet, and extended his hand. His eyes shone with the same gold that framed Sherry's face, the blistering heat that was impossible to escape or ignore. He held out his hand once more, smiling softer than he had when I took his hand before, and said, "You take my hand."
I stared at it, the lifeline I had cut short, the porcelain skin that had already died once. Then my eyes shifted up to meet his, then back to meet theirs, and found they were all smiling, all waiting for me to join them, all waiting for me to shed my mask and find where it was that I belonged. They were all waiting for me to get off the path I had sped down alone and find theirs, find the one that Sherry was walking on now.
"I don't deserve you," I whispered. Crow shook his head in exasperation, Aki rolled her eyes, Jack snorted, Rua grinned, Ruca frowned, and Bruno's eyes softened. Kiryu chuckled lowly, offering instead, "I think we're even now, Yusei."
And I took his hand.
Third Person POV
When the light that had stolen all bodies from the ground whispered out into the sky, it left a single human untouched. Sprawled spread-eagle in a pool of another's blood on the Daedalus Bridge, her golden hair crafting a halo above her head, a card in each hand, one shining silver with evolution, one dark with control, one body was left behind to stir on her own.
Beside her was a machine spilled out on the floor, damaged but unharmed, around her was the shards of a completed mirror, which cast her body into the eerie light of salvation. When she woke, she would remember a world of chaos and destruction, an upturned mountain floating in a crimson sky, a vow to prevent Yliaster from reaching that place, and a gift of forgiveness from parents she had to let go.
But for now, she lay undisturbed on the ground as the sun burned towards noon, and perhaps it was for the better. Perhaps there are limits for a reason. Salvation is cruel at best. Needs are discarded. Justice is served.
But it all ends in questions answered: the end of truth, what she had sought all along, and the one question that had been posed to her at the edge of infinity, by a being that was certainly not God, but a man of destiny, a man that she could never forget.
Perhaps salvation needs justice?
She may not know the answer to that now, but she was willing to seek it out, to test it against the organization that had ruined so many lives, to fight for herself and the others that lived outside the destroyed ruins of Neo Domino, to save by serving justice.
It would start as it had begun.
With a body on the floor.
Thanks for reading,