A/N: The results of my writing warm up before I go work on 'Careful What You Wish For'. You know what they say. A oneshot a day keeps the bad fanfiction fairies away…
…or something like that .
Disclaimer: If you recognize it, I don't own it.
It is forbidden to kill; therefore all murderers are punished unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets.
"How do you think history will remember us?" Rachel had asked one night, looking down over the lights of the city below.
They were on top of the water tower, the twilight hiding them from curious eyes. No Jake or Cassie or anyone else, just Rachel and Tobias enjoying the fading sun. It was their time, a stolen moment where they didn't have to fight a war or juggle their lives. It was nice.
Tobias cocked his head curiously in her direction. [How do you mean?] He asked.
Rachel made a vague gesture with her hand. "I mean this. In twenty years or whatever, when kids our age are learning about all of this in textbooks…what do you think they'll say about us?"
Tobias ruffled his feathers in the hawk version of a shrug. [Don't know.] He answered. [I mean, I guess I've thought about it. We probably all have...It just seems weird you know? Like even thinking about an 'after' might jinx us or something…which sounds stupid when you say it…]
"No," Rachel disagreed. "I get it. Thinking about the future is terrifying, because then you start thinking about all the things in between now and then and it just makes everything seem even more impossible than it is now."
[Not that it needs to get more impossible.] Tobias grumbled. [A hawk, an Andalite, and four kids vs. the whole Yeerk Empire…it sounds like a bad sci-fi movie.]
"Reality check Tobias," Rachel laughed. "Our life is a bad sci-fi movie."
They both laughed and it felt so good just to laugh that they laughed a lot harder and longer than the joke merited. The silence after the laughter was easy and comfortable.
Below them the cars honked and the street lamps came on.
[To answer your question,] Tobias finally said. [I think it depends on who won. I mean, if the Yeerks win they're not likely to put us up there with Gandhi and JFK.]
"No," Rachel agreed. "It would be all about how the 'terrorist rebellion' was crushed or whatever." A shiver ran down her spine. "Man, if thinking about us winning is weird, thinking about them winning feels downright wrong."
[Pretty hard to think about.] Tobias agreed somberly. [Especially when everything seems so impossible.]
"But even if we won…" Rachel went on more strongly. "…would we be heroes do you think?"
[Well] Tobias drawled. [Generally I think saving the world is pretty heroic.] He looked over to see a troubled look pass over the girl's features. [Rachel, where is this coming from?] He asked.
It was her turn to shrug. "It's nothing really." But her face and the way she pulled her legs into her body said otherwise. "Just something that happened in school. We're taking the Second World War, you know?" She glanced over at Tobias. "I guess it's just sort of resonating with me."
[Tell me.] Tobias entreated softly.
Rachel wouldn't meet his eyes. "It was just some stupid class discussion you know? They were talking about the A-bomb and whether they should have made it or used it against Japan…and it wasn't even that people thought that the president was wrong, but some of the things that came out of their mouths just sounded so…"
[Naïve?] Tobias suggested.
"Exactly! And it just made me mad! Like how dare these kids sit there and judge decisions that they couldn't even imagine, let alone make themselves. And they're just sitting there and arguing and making it sound like they were such bad people back then and…I don't know. I guess I started to wonder what they would think of some of the things that we've had to do."
[Like the oatmeal thing?] Tobias asked.
Rachel nodded. "It was a biological weapon. It doesn't matter that we could buy it at K-Mart, it was still a biological weapon and we were seriously considering using it on enemy troops. International law calls that war crime." Rachel's mouth tightened. "And you know the worst part? If we had. If we had managed to dump that stuff into the Yeerk Pool and watched the entire Yeerk invasion force lose their minds and trap their hosts in a never ending living hell?...It would be just one more nightmare for me. I'd get over it. I'd keep going…and I think that scares me most of all. Because what type of person am I if I can use a biological weapon on hundreds of sentient beings and not be haunted by it?"
This time the silence was not nearly so comfortable.
"Even if we save the entire world." She murmured. "How far does 'mitigating circumstances' go when the things you've done are so horrible?"
Tobias was quiet. Normally this was the sort of thing he would expect from Cassie. She thought about these sorts of things. Somehow, the fact that it was beautiful, fearless, warrior-princess Rachel made the question even more troubling.
[Oh Rachel,] He shook his head sadly. [I don't know.]
A/N: I know, I know. Me and my angst. I don't mean for the oneshots to come out so serious, they just always do. The funny thing is that I'm actually a pretty happy person, so I have no idea where this stuff comes from.
In any case, feedback is always welcome and appreciated. Please let me know how I did.