A/N: I always love doing angst for this show… Angst, Tragedy, the works… You know what I'm talking about. Anyways, here's a little thought I had while listening to my SBT Playlist. Title comes from Avril Lavigne's song "Nobody's Home". Great song for this show, really…
Disclaimer: No, I still don't own. VIVA LA TITAN!
It'd been two weeks since the dying Galalunian warrior had come through the riff gate, hurtling in a busted ship to Earth only to pass along a message and then breathe his last breath.
The message: the war was over.
Galaluna had lost.
No, Ilana wasn't dead, but General Modula had given up sending monsters and had instead resorted to sending dying people with messages and pictures of all the burning buildings and the mass graves with thousands of bodies piled on top of one another, bloody body after bloody body, no names, just faces of people who had once lived.
And Modula had done this until the last of a dying race had been annihilated, all Galalunians dead at last.
Even the king.
Lance had watched Ilana carefully for the past two weeks. He'd been by her side every moment of every day. He wouldn't leave her alone, not when they were the last two. He was too worried that she'd snap, break down mentally to the point of being nothing more than a blubbering sack that only knew how to cry and moan. Lance wouldn't let the princess fall from her glory. She was the last hope their race had.
They'd buried the body eleven days ago, three days after the warrior had fallen and then died only moments later. They'd listened to his last words and seen the blood trickle out of his mouth as his heart beat one final beat before going eternally silent.
Lance had dug a hole, fingers raw from holding a shovel and nails coated in dirt. He didn't stop. He kept digging. In the real military, he wouldn't even get to bury his fallen comrade. To bury the last Galalunian warrior... He almost felt it was an honor for him to tend to his fellow fighter in such a way. Despite how gruesome it truly was.
Ilana was sprinkling rosemary over the warrior to keep the scent of death away from him and to keep him fresh for his next life. It was the traditional Galalunian ceremony. A few words in the tongue of ancient times and the blessing of rosemary over the body. She'd slick back the dirty hair and fill the mouth with water from the sacred river if she were back home, but here she had to suffice with a water bottle.
Tears had not yet glittered in her dark eyes. She had promised herself she wouldn't cry.
Lance paced up to her room with her quietly and waited outside the door while she changed into her nightgown before knocking gently, listening to her beckoning, and letting himself in. He'd taken up the habit of tucking her in at night, reminding her that she wasn't alone, that she had him, that there was still one more left.
Even if no one was home, they still had each other. Lance, the final warrior of the planet Galaluna. Ilana, the princess of Galaluna, last of the royal family.
He walked in to find her already curled up under the blankets, the light still on, one arm curled tightly under her blonde head, other hand pressed to her chest as she clutched a pillow as if for dear life.
He said nothing, just sat on the edge of her bed in his stoned silence, his heart beating, his mind quiet, his world still empty.
Nothing needed to be said. He didn't want to say anything. He didn't want to talk about it at all, really, being the last two Galalunians in existence across space and time, the last two in the entire galaxy, the entire universe.
How do you talk about things like that to the one who was supposed to be leading them all?
When it had started, she had cried. The first few bodies came by a locator ship that had traced their bio-signatures and landed nearby, Titan having to investigate as Titan always does.
The danger diffused after a moment of quick thinking (there had been an atomic bomb attached, no surprise there), Lance had begun working on sifting through all the papers that had been sent along with. He'd found three envelopes nearly bursting with pictures. He'd started with those- not showing them to Ilana right away as she and Octus carefully moved bodies from the ship to a nearby grassy area in hopes of searching for survivors.
There were no survivors.
Lance opened the envelopes and found countless images of mass graves. Individual faces stared out of them with blank, empty eyes. Dead eyes. He could even pick out individual people, people he knew. His teacher from the academy, a handful of his classmates, some castle guards he'd come to know, some pilots he'd flown with.
Faces. An endless array of faces that would never again express joy or sadness or love; just blank, empty, dead faces that stared into the air, seeing nothing, expressing nothing. Dead.
He showed Ilana only after they'd buried all the bodies.
It was the first time he'd picked up that shovel.
She sounded like she was going to cry. He almost always felt like he was going to cry nowadays. But he was holding strong. He'd done it when his father had died and that was when he was young and weak. Why was it harder now?
"I'm here," he reassured her, reaching for her hand to take it so that he could properly comfort her. He felt like it was all he could do. He couldn't bring her people back. He couldn't raise the kingdom once more at the snap of his fingers. But if he could, he would've in a heartbeat. He would've done anything to help her, to make her happy, to be able to see her smile. He just wanted to fix everything that was wrong, that was all. He just wanted to fix her, fix Galaluna, fix everything...
If only he could...
If only he could.
It only got worse as the weeks wore on.
More pictures of mass graves would turn up inside of ships that would contain piles of bloody bodies. Bodies that had throats slit, broken knees and necks, gouged out eyes, and bullets in their heads. Blood of warfare. Blood of hatred.
Ilana had taken to burying her people in the way customary to Galaluna. The rosemary and water ceremony that the mortician would always do on a fallen soldier.
Lance just couldn't stand it. He couldn't stand it. All these innocent people dying. All this war. All this blood. Over revenge? Over hatred? Why not for the greater good? He knew little about the greater good, but he did know what people had done for him once upon a time: given him a home, given him food, given him an education, given him a place to go. They'd made him who he was today. That was what the greater good had done for Lance. And look at how little it was doing for all of the innocent people...
All the women.
All the children.
All the innocent people...
He dug another grave as Ilana prepared the body. They made the best attempts to honor their dead. It was all they could do.
She sat up in her bed and looked over at him with the last little bit of hope she could muster, pain written all over her face any other hour of the day. Ilana was quiet but deliberate, knowing she wanted to talk even if she only got one-word responses. "Lance?"
He knew she didn't just want clarification. He should've known it from the first time she asked. He gripped her hand a little tighter and sent out a silent prayer. All they needed was strength, just a little bit of strength, just enough to keep on hoping, keep on believing that maybe, just maybe, they weren't alone.
"Yeah?" he asked, voice weak and fragile. His eyes burned hot with tears that wanted fall that he held back, prohibiting himself from showing any weakness. He had to be strong. For her.
He only wanted to be back on Galaluna when he could fight the Mutraddi, where he could sit in a prison cell, where he could live out his life the way he wanted to.
He missed home almost as much as she did.
He'd never admit to it.
One of the last few ships had carried only one body.
Ilana had no reaction to this. It was the first thing that scared Lance. After seeing her in her nightmares where her people and father were dead, seeing her so emotionless as the king, her father, lay lifeless in front of her, Lance was terrified that something was seriously wrong with her.
The week before, Lance had picked up the envelopes as Octus and Ilana moved bloody bodies. He'd looked at a few of the pictures, but part of one had caught his eye.
Arthur. Dead. In the background. His pudgy form was unmistakable.
They'd buried at least a hundred bodies by that point, the rest of the Galalunian dead still on their home planet in mass graves.
It was only getting worse.
Lance, as he dug another grave, the princess preparing her father for his funeral beside him, suddenly wondered if these people had been sent through the riff gate alive but hadn't survived the landing or hadn't survived the cross-galaxy journey.
The shovel hit dirt and that dirt was thrown over his shoulder. Ilana continued to prepare the king's body, sprinkling rosemary over him, the sweet scent of the herb filling the air but not enough to completely overwhelm the scent of death.
What would it be like for dying soldiers to be flying to an unknown planet and knowing they would die there? Terrifying? Heartbreaking? Painful? They would die on an unknown planet, carcasses going who-knows-where.
He suddenly felt good for burying them the way they did.
That day, the king was put in his grave six feet under and went to take his final slumber.
She pulled her hand away from his, relinquishing what little comfort he could provide. He wasn't protecting her from anything anymore. The war was over. Everything was over.
She folded her arms across her chest, eyes falling to the blankets she'd crossed her legs under. And she quietly looked up to the corporal with those sad, dark eyes.
"Do you think there's anyone else left?" Ilana asked, words tentative. She almost didn't want to know. But some part of her was still hoping, wishing, praying that this was all a nightmare, that she'd wake up in her bed with her father leaning over her and telling her to go back to sleep as he kissed her forehead and bade her a good night.
Lance drew his hand back to his side, running long calloused fingers through his ebony locks.
What did he think? That they stood a chance anymore? That there was still someone else out there? That it was still possible to win a war that you've already been defeated in?
He knew war better than most.
He knew what he thought. But what to say? She was Ilana. He couldn't crush her spirits, but he also couldn't lie. Lance always believed in honesty (to a certain extent) and cared for Ilana more than he did most other people. They were family now. The last two.
He almost sighed. But instead he gave his curt, cold answer.
The ship's glass lid had opened to reveal a coughing warrior smeared in his own blood, cuts and scrapes and bruises lining his body like war paint.
"Here," said Ilana, immediately offering him water in hopes of trying to keep him alive. They hadn't gotten any true word back yet on what was really going on on Galaluna. These pictures... All the bodies... It was the only evidence they were getting. As far as Octus could tell, all the images were real. Real bodies smothered in real blood in real mass graves.
All the innocent people... So many dead...
He drank no water nor told them any details. He coughed so much that they weren't sure he'd be able to speak at all until he managed to croak out hoarse, broken words.
"I am the last... of... Galaluna."
Death came to claim him, scythe taking his breathe, shadows stealing his soul.
Two hours of reeling in pain later, Lance set to digging the hole for the last Galalunian. Ilana was preparing the body, never crying, never shaking, just sprinkling rosemary over the pale, lifeless form of the final body they would receive.
She didn't cry. She didn't sob. She didn't crack, didn't break. Ilana, princess of Galaluna, last of the royal bloodline, sat there quietly and stared at her hands as if they were magic or something. Her eyes had gone wide, her mouth pursed into a straight line. Her body was still.
Lance took initiative and moved a little closer before pulling her into his warm arms, pressing her head to his chest as he saw the wet tears finally streaming down her cheeks. "It's okay," he whispered in her ear, not only reassuring her but also trying to convince himself. "It's okay."
There was no more home. Only Earth.
The death of Galaluna had finally come.