Someone to Protect

(For LunarWolfGoldCoyote 3)

Casshern walked along in silence. It was still hard for him to take in gloom of the ruin. The ruin that was his fault. Lyuze tagged along behind him. Casshern wasn't going to pretend he was irritated by her presence. It was nice to have company, even if said company did want to kill him.

His relationship with Lyuze was difficult at best. He was never sure if she was his enemy or his ally. Still, in an odd way, he was greatful that she had told him about his past. About his sin. He stopped walking and glanced down at his hands. The hands that killed Luna. The hands that brought about the destruction. More than anything, he wanted to cut them off, to cast them aside and rid himself of his accursed reputation. Since he could not do so, he had to find a way to atone for his sin on his own.

Lyuze watched as Casshern stared down at his hands. There was such a look of anguish written across his face; it was almost hard to hate him.

"I killed Luna with…these hands," he said., all the more remorseful. Casshern seemed to be having some sort of internal discussion with himself, and Lyuze was merely a spectator. Still, she almost felt guilty when she had claimed to hate him earlier.

"You, know," she said, finally speaking up, "I can't quite understand you." This was more of an understatement than anything. There was no way Lyuze would be able to understand the complexities of Casshern. How could he have done something so heinous as killing Luna, and yet feel regret? Or feel any emotions at all for that matter?

"I used to think you had no soul," she continued bluntly. "That you were just a killing machine created to fight and destroy." From what she had first seen of Casshern, this theory was completely justified. Casshern, though elegantly built and quite beautiful, was an instrument of death. The ruin followed him wherever he went. But, as she had mentioned, she only used to think that. Much to her dismay, she didn't hate Casshern as much as she had originally intended. She had developed an odd sort of respect for him. As much as she hated him, she had to admire that at least he was trying to fix what he'd done. Yet, every time she laid eyes on him, she had that fiery hate in the pit of her stomach. But now, she wasn't even sure it was hate. She wasn't sure what that emotion was. She couldn't believe it was anything but hate. It couldn't be anything else. She wouldn't let it.

Lyuze turned away from Casshern, preparing to leave. However, the terrain was slippery, and her footing didn't hold. Through instinct, Casshern rushed forward and caught her just before she fell. She was completely relaxed, as though she had expected him to save her. She looked up at him, her eyes speaking gratitude. He was entranced by her. She was truly beautiful. She began to talk, though the words from her lips didn't matter much to him. It was in that moment that he realized, he didn't care what Lyuze thought about him. He… loved her. He cared enough about her to risk his existence time and time again. Yet, at the same time, he realized having such feelings toward someone could be considered a weakness. And besides, Casshern had never been a very verbal being. And the fact that Lyuze would never love him back, was perhaps worst of all.

"Some things don't need to be said to be understood," Lyuze said, not noticing that Casshern's mind had been miles away. Her last sentence, however, had captured his attention completely. It was as though she could read his mind. Did Lyuze understand, then? Did she know that she was the only thing that mattered to him? Time alone would tell him, he knew that. Lyuze would be far too proud to admit feelings for Casshern. He understood completely.

A short distance later, they came upon a dying robot. The ruin was present on every surface of his body. It looked as though he did not have much time left, yet he was still struggling to press onward. It still appeared as though he had a goal.

"I must…grab…onto….something," the robot whispered weakly, outstretching its hand.

In an instant, Lyuze recognized the robot. He had been so disfigured by the ruin. This was once a strong, handsome servant.

"This is Dune, the god of death," she explained to Casshern. "He was so feared it was said that if you looked at him you would die instantaneously .He used to guard Luna along with my sister." She paused. She remembered him. "He loved Luna," she added, unable to help herself. "He would have died to protect her." She looked down sadly at Dune, pity emanating from both Casshern and herself.

"I think," said Casshern quietly, "some people develop their weaknesses when they try and protect someone other than themselves." He glanced over at her.

Lyuze found this impossible. Casshern had been protecting her all this while and only seemed to be getting stronger. There was no weakness he had that she noticed. If anything, she was the one becoming weak. She realized that she could no longer kill Casshern. It wouldn't feel right. She needed to, of course, to avenge her sister. Yet there was some unacknowledged weakness growing inside her. She could feel it taking hold of her heart. She knew what it must be, but she didn't dare to even think it. It couldn't be possible. She couldn't feel anything but hate for Casshern. He had killed Luna. He killed her sister. He was the cause of her suffering. To feel anything but hate for him would be masochistic.

"Some people develop their weaknesses when they try and protect someone other than themselves," Casshern said, glancing over at Lyuze. The wheels were turning in her head. If only he had the words to explain to her how he felt. If only he had the courage to hold her in his arms. If only he had the honor to make her happy. If only he had the audacity to kiss her lips. If only he had the strength to tell her she was his weakness, that he loved her. It seemed as though his body was too weak to sustain the emotion, that he would die without some sort of relief. Some sort of knowledge that, she too, loved him. In response to his impatience, Lyuze's words floated into his mind:

"Some things don't need to be said to be understood."

"I think people develop their weaknesses when they try and protect someone other than themselves." Lyuze couldn't begin to imagine what Casshern meant by this. Someday, perhaps, she would.