I think that sometimes the small, almost insignificant moments are the ones that most mark the story, this fanfiction was inspired in Chapter 18 of Full Metal Panic! Sigma manga, it only lasts four pages but to me it was one of the most beautiful, heartbreaking scenes in the entire story

Alone in a car, after being warned by Leonard of the intention of Amalgam to take Chidori, Souseke and Chidori wait for backup from Mirthl, there for brief moments Souseke thinks about asking Chidori to run away with him. This is my version of what was going on in his mind.

Full Metal Panic does not in any way belong to me.

Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Peace

Souseke had never been a man of words; frankly he never saw the need of them (unless of course they passed useful information, necessary to the success of the mission). Despite the opinion of the inexperienced, history had taught that it had never been words to solve the world's conflicts it had been soldiers, weapons and bloodshed, had it been widely known or swept under the carpet. Souseke had never needed words for anything, a peaceful solution; in his mind was merely one where there were no deaths, not the use of words. He had come to the realization, from his interactions with Chidori and their classmates that this view was generally considered wrong, he could only suppose that this was due to their ignorance on the reality of the world, since his earliest memories in that Russian institution he had been trained to be a mindless weapon, his only purpose was to obey whoever was paying for his services, at ten he could handle a gun like he had been born knowing, he could kill and torture with a coolness of mind that most would consider horrifying, for him death was a normal occurrence and peace was an unknown concept, Souseke had lived with these realities for too long to ever question them.

But now, for the first time in his life he knew the importance of words, how some to change entire futures if they ever uttered, there was no way to predict the consequences of their power, no strategies, no backup, once said it was taking a plunge without knowing if there was something to break the fall. Souseke knew what he wanted to say, these words were at the tip of his tongue, desperate to escape, it would be so easy to say them, there was no effort in it and it would only be a few seconds, and yet it was so difficult, everything inside him was in a state of confusion. He glanced at the cause of his turmoil, Chidori, quickly diverting his eyes when he realized she was still changing her clothes in the back of the car.

"…When we will we be back?"

She sounded confident, calm; once again he admired her strength in the face of the dire situation they found themselves, he was reminded of that time when she had cut his hair and told him she only trusted him to protect her, his first experience with the power of words, it was because she trusted him, because he wanted to protect her, that he couldn't bear to tell her the reality of their situation.

"That's… well…"

"Come back? To everything…?"

"I think that's become impossible now, Chidori."

"…What?" He heard her ask, but he still couldn't answer.

"Amalgam has gotten serious."

"There is no longer any place for you to return to in this town."

He couldn't tell her that, she trusted him, she trusted only him to protect her, he couldn't be the one to tell her that her life has she knew it was over, that from now on, she would live in a world of distrust and practically no freedom, under the constant surveillance of Mirthl, changing identities whenever it was required, never staying in one place long enough to establish any bonds… There was no way he could tell her that…

Again he felt the words fighting to get out, to be spoken like he wanted them to…

"Chidori…"

"Throw away everything, and…"

He wanted to say them; they were at the tip of his tongue…

"…run away with me."

He could say it; he could change everything between them, accept or not, if he said them she would never look at him the same way again, simply because she would know, she would how he really felt about her, what he was willing to do for her.

Saying them would mean betraying Mirthl, the Capitan, Kalin, Kurtz, Mao, his companions and everything he was taught since he was a child, it surprised him how willing he was to do it, to just leave their entire lives behind and go together. He could do it, just start the car and drive, drive away at top speed, they still had time, they could just grab everything they could and go, not stopping until they reached a place where no one would ever find them, throw away their identities and finally live peacefully, no more battles, no Whispered, no one trying to separate them, and they could finally have a future…

He loved Chidori, he wanted to be with her, to protect her, to support her, to argue with her, all other loyalties palled when faced with his feelings, she may not be aware of the depth of his passion but if he said those words there would be no turn back, he would show her his weakness and hope she didn't destroy him.

There was still time, they could still leave…

"You've killed at least 100 men."

Leonard's cold words pulled him to the cruel reality, shattering his hopes…

He was a killer, trained since before he could properly speak, his hands were dirty with blood from countless enemies, he had taken part of massacres and burned the bodies without blinking, Chidori's hands were clean, she lived in a world of light and peace, to ask her to run away with him would be to take her clean hand in his dirty one and steal her away from everything. How would they live? All he could do was to be a soldier, nothing more than weapon to be used for whatever purpose his superiors demanded, he was no different from the Arm Slaves. The worse was that before he came to Japan and met Chidori no one would see him as anything different, no one would even give him a chance to become anything different, and now he was to be forever like this, he couldn't even be around regular citizens without standing out.

He remembered back in Chidori's apartment, her expression when Leonard told her how much people he had killed, how she couldn't even touch him, never in his life would he ever forget the horror and disgust on her face, in that moment he saw his life, to his coworkers so unremarkable, seen through her eyes… he was monster.

Suddenly those words weren't so eager to be spoken, his hand no longer itched to start the car, Chidori was a Whispered, holder of secrets he could never understand, part of a world he could never enter, he could never truly understand what she was going through, he couldn't defend her against all the enemies that wanted her for their own dark purposes not to mention Mirthl would be after them too, he couldn't drag Chidori into his world, he couldn't force her to accept something like him, a being that had taken so many lives and until now didn't even care.

He loved her… it hurt so much, never had he imagined that an emotion that most craved could hurt this badly, like an open wound he couldn't treat. He can't forget who he is, he couldn't delete his past, or his actions, they were a part of him, they helped to make him Souseke, if it wasn't for his childhood, for his killings and for his job he would never have met her, it was a bit ironic that that was also what kept him from telling her.

"That's right. My hands are too dirtied with blood."

"For these past nine months. I've tried my hardest to lead a normal life as a high schooler, in a peaceful town but…"

The fear in Chidori's face…

"…Nothing's changed. To Chidori, I'm a murderess monster."

And if that was the price to pay to be able to keep her safe, the pay to pay for just meeting her… he wouldn't change a thing from his past.

"…nothing."

Time was up.

"Oh…" she said softly "…it's quiet."

The End

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