Curse you, Share thing. Ruining my formatting...
Cry For You
A rewrite and continuation by The Meibito
a: she cries
His eyes watched her carefully. The way she looked around, with her eyebrows knitted, and her eyes wide and full of emotion. She looked like the world had ended, and that it was her fault. It was a look he'd seen on her face on very few occasions— they were not very pleasant ones either. Her expression showed it all— sadness, regret, guilt, helplessness…
She wore her heart on her sleeves; at the moment, he wished she didn't.
He hated that expression, but it had more to do on what he always felt when he sees it than what it looked like on her face. He always felt his insides churn in inexplicable ways; his chest would burn, his lungs would feel constricted, his breathing would feel unnatural and false— there was an unbelievable urge to scream and yell and smash things. The feeling he gets when he sees her sorrowful face was reminiscent to how it would feel like if his core was to be slowly and agonizingly crushed into tiny bits of powder.
It was painful.
One would think that after a huge triumph in battle, particularly against the Lord of Jewels, one would wear a happy face, accompanied by a huge victory cry, and maybe a little dance. After all, his destruction, along with Alexander's, was a beacon of hope for all of the Jumi.
Was it really?
Elazul watched her carefully. She stood there, arms wrapped around her body as though she was cold. She looked even smaller than she used to, he observed. She suddenly whipped her head back, took a deep, visually shuddering breath, and shut her eyes tight. His heart jumped to his throat; he knew what she was doing.
She's trying not to cry.
Why was she so invested in this? Enough even to feel as sad as to cry about it. He'd always wondered about this. She wasn't a Jumi— the one feeling all that pain should be him. Although Jumi couldn't cry anymore, the one who should even feel like crying was him. Not her.
The outcome of beating the Lord of Jewels, it wasn't lost on him. Not one Jumi returned. Nothing happened. He'd expected this result. Destroying him gave only hope, but not miracles. Elazul knew this and had accepted it long before it happened. It was the harsh reality of life. He knew that he would dwell on this loss for the rest of life as, perhaps, the last Jumi, and he was prepared for such a life. However, he was not prepared for her pain— he was not prepared to face it.
It felt like an eternity to him, standing there as he watched her silent despair. He couldn't trust himself to speak or move. He just watched her feel enough misery for the both of them. He'd unknowingly held his hand to his aching chest, and before he knew it, he'd croaked out her name.
He watched as she took another deep, shuddering breath. But she didn't respond. He tried again, clearer and louder, "Imu."
No response. The silence was deafening; the only sounds in the air were their breathing, and even that seemed like loud, unbearable noise.
He swallowed what seemed like air, as both his mouth and throat felt as dry as the Duma, and took a tentative step towards her.
He did. Her voice was barely above a whisper, yet it was as clear as crystal to him. When she spoke, it felt like a spell had been broken. The time that stopped between them restarted. Breathing was normal again.
"Imu," he called again, a bit more loudly and confidently. He took another step towards her, his arm outstretched. He didn't know what to do or say, but he knew what he wanted. Just a small touch, between the two of them. For her comfort and his.
"Don't come any closer," came her whisper of a voice. She usually sounded loud and full of life, he recalled, but now she sounded dead, like a ghost. There was an unmistakable shakiness in her voice, a telltale sign of crying that was about to begin.
He swallowed air. No. She knew what would happen if she cried— she wouldn't. She couldn't.
I won't let her.
Elazul took another determined step, his face set. Another step, a hand outstretched, reaching towards her.
In a flash, Imu had her spear in her hand. "I-I said stop!" she stammered, weakly. "Stay away from me, Elazul." The blade of her spear pointed at him threateningly. But all he could see was a weapon that was held so shakily, it was more likely to miss than hit him.
"I don't see why I have to," he responded, his tone angrier than he intended. "Let's go, Imu." He walked towards her.
"Go where? You have nowhere to go to."
Elazul stopped abruptly. His brows furrowed in confusion. He couldn't tell if she was being intentionally insulting and insensitive or not. There was no malice in her words, but she was serious. He knew her well enough to know that she wasn't the type of person to say such things out of spite. But what she said was confusing this notion.
"Everyone's gone," she said. Her green eyes met his dark ones. Sadness and sorrow were evident in her expression. Tears were formed in her eyes, tears that could fall any time. He stood paralyzed at the sight; his blood ran cold with fear at what could happen if even a single teardrop escaped her eyes.
He then understood.
"Don't," he managed to say, his voice hushed. "Don't cry. It'll be okay." He wasn't sure what he meant would be "okay" but he'd said the words before he could think about them.
"Sorry," she said, lowering her spear. "I'm sorry…"
He wanted to respond— even just a little "what" or "why". But he couldn't move or speak. His breathing almost stopped altogether. He was afraid of her tears; he was afraid that if he made the wrong move, or said the wrong words, her tears would fall and she would turn into—
"I couldn't do anything… I couldn't help…" Her breath hitched. "I'm just a stupid, nosy, little brat… just like you said. I failed. I failed everyone. I failed you." Her spear clattered to the ground as she hugged herself, lips pursed and quivering.
Elazul's heart broke at the sight.
"I-idiot!" he finally managed, his voice almost that of a shout. He immediately regretted the one word he had chosen to say in such a crucial moment. "You helped a lot, Imu. You—you are nosy and stupid, but you did everything you could. You didn't fail anyone."
You've always helped me. You stuck with me even though I'm a Jumi… even though I'm a danger to you.
Imu broke into a smile that didn't reach her eyes. "I'm sorry."
"I'm sorry about Pearl."
"Rubens, Diana, Esmeralda, Pearl… They're all gone. Because I failed.
…you're all alone, because I failed."
His chest felt like it was being squeezed. He felt that urge to scream and yell… to cry. It was true that he was all that was left of the Jumi— Florina herself was now on the brink of death. It was a possible reality that he faced with Pearl day by day as they journeyed in search of others. He'd prepared himself to face a future without his Guardian or without anyone else. In this regard, he had, for so long, known himself to be alone.
But when I met you, I felt like I'll never be alone ever again.
"I'm not, and you didn't." He approached her now with determined steps. His eyes locked with hers. "This is a stupid thing to cry about, Imu. I'm never going to be alone." He reached out his hand, and gently laid it on her arm. She was warm to touch, and he reveled in it.
"Are you in denial or something?" she said outright, tone incredulous. Elazul almost felt like smiling at the hint of her returning spunk. The normalcy her words entailed relieved him and the world felt right again. He let out a sigh and dropped his arm to his side.
"No, stupid," he replied, lightheartedly. "I just know that you'll always be around to bother me every now and then. How can I possibly be all alone?"
You were always there for me.
Imu smiled at him. It was a grateful, happy little smile that returned his insides to the right order. The little crinkle around her eyes as she did so left her unshed tears hung over her eyelashes, and without thinking, he'd reached out and wiped them away with his thumb.
"I'm sorry," she said again. She took his hand in hers, and held it close to her chest. "…I love you."
Elazul froze with shock. She said she loved him. What? Why? How? His mind worked with a million thoughts a minute, the idea of her confession sending his thoughts in complete disarray. Did she mean as a brother, or as a friend? Or as something else? She told him three simple words that felt like he could take ages to finally understand and respond to.
But he didn't have that time.
"I'll bring her back for you," she continued. She squeezed his hand tightly, her breath hitching. "This… this is the only thing I can do for you now…"
She locked her gaze with his— her tear-filled eyes with his confused and fearful ones. And slowly, a sad smile spread across her face. The little crinkle in her eyes as she smiled allowed a single teardrop to slide down her cheek. "…to cry for you."
Flesh turned to a stone gray in front of his eyes. The fingers that held his hand rapidly lost their warmth and their softness; all that remained was coldness of a lifeless stone.
The ancient curse of the Jumi has turned Imu into stone.
His mouth opened in a silent scream. Everything came crashing back down on him. The world felt as though it had crumbled around him— his worst fear had come to fruition. Her single teardrop was all it took for his whole world to end right in front of him. His chest burned with so much emotion that it seemed he was about to burst. His hand came free from hers without his notice— he balled it into a fist and held it against his mouth as he let out a single, muffled cry of anguish. Her name.
The single, crystalline teardrop that hung from her now dead stone face shone as though in response.
It was a nightmare. Everything was just a horrible dream. None of it happened. He squeezed his eyes shut and held his head, and forced himself to wake up from this awful nightmare.
He would simply wake up in their room in Domina's Inn. He would wake up to find that he'd dreamed it all up during his sleep. Imu would be asleep on the floor beside her bed, because she couldn't stay still even in her sleep. He would pick her up, tuck her in, and go back to sleep for another day traveling. Imu would then wake him up with a pillow and they'll start another normal, carefree day…
Warm liquid slid down his face through his eyes. It reflected the burning ache he had in his chest. It was a strange sensation. It wasn't sweat— it was coming from his eyes. He held his palm to his face, examining. They were warm and hot and they wouldn't stop flowing. They were tears.
He was crying.
Suddenly, his lapis lazuli core shone brightly, and his senses tingled with familiarity. A crowd seemed to have formed around him— a crowd that his core resonated with. He opened his eyes and looked around to find strange and familiar faces alike staring back at him.
Esmeralda, Rubens, Diana… and dozens more others with different colored cores shining and twinkling brightly with his. Florina stood amongst them, her formerly scarred core now smooth and shining brilliantly with theirs. Everyone has returned. All the Jumi has been revived. It was, certainly, just like a dream.
"E-Elazul?" came a voice that was all too familiar to him. Elazul turned to see his Guardian, Pearl, standing beside him. She looked confused and surprised, her hands held together in front of her uneasily as she surveyed him. Her eyes were wide with wonder as she studied him. Hesitantly, she reached out and touched his face. He let her.
"Tears…" she breathed, astonished, "Elazul… you're crying. But the Jumi—" her words died abruptly. The reason reflected in her eyes; she had seen Imu.
The dreamy surrealism of the moment had turned into a reality. He knew what she had found. A thing that he denied only as his nightmare has become reality through his Guardian's eyes. The unmistakable twinge of sorrow that their cores shared for a moment was the proof that he'd indeed lost a very valuable friend.
"She cried for us," Pearl whispered through her hands. It was an odd sight, but she, as well, had tears in her eyes. "She cried for us… and revived all of us…"
No, she didn't.
A buzz went through the room and its inhabitants. None of them knew the girl that had been turned into a stone as well as Elazul did, yet there was a similar ache that was shared between all the cores of the Jumi. Words like "hero" and "teardrop crystal" were heard all around, but none of the name of the person who had saved them all.
Yet in his head, he still called her name, as his nightmare went on around him. He still had the vaguest hope of waking up and finding himself being playfully smothered awake with a pillow by his mischievous blonde haired friend.
But everyone had other ideas.
"She cried for everyone and saved us."
"Risked her life for us!"
"She's a hero."
"She created a miracle!"
He held his head and silently disagreed. He felt an unbelievable urge to scream, and yell, and smash things. If only he had told her earlier to stay away— if only he hadn't brought her into their lives, if he hadn't allowed her be too involved with the Jumi, she would not have turned into stone.
It was his fault. He'd done this to her.
Thinking of only her tear-filled eyes and last words, he turned and embraced Imu's stone body to his… and wept.
"I love you."
…she cried for 'me'.
He didn't deserve her tears.
'Cos I die a little each time
When she cries
"When She Cries" - Restless Heart
Disclaimer: This is a rewrite and continuation of Seonaid Mist's "Tears for the One" fanfic. "Legend of Mana" is Squaresoft's, fanfic plot is SM's. I have permission, so don't report me or anything like that. No profit, besides enjoyment, is being made with this little piece of fandom. My idea for this fic is a bit different, but the basic premise is hers.
Tears for the One's Mia = Imu. Her new name is a shout out to the awesome Legend of Mana manga by Amano Shiro-sensei. :3
Thank you for reading! Review please. :3
—The Meibito (2011)