Title: Five Stages

Summary: When the world seeks to topple you, every moment is a struggle. When despair is all you have left... (Drabbles, Aporia-centric, spoilers for all of season 3)

Rating: K+

Genre: Angst

Notes: This is named after the Kübler-Ross model sometimes referred to as the "five stages of grief". This model can be applied to a number of major life events such as terminal illness, personal loss, or other traumas. Not all stages occur definitively, nor do they occur in a particular order. I'm merely using them here as prompts.

Characters: Aporia, in all iterations. Mentions of Paradox, Antinomy, Z-ONE.

Content Warnings: canon character death; implied suicide ideation


Bargaining

You are childhood memories and an immature mind crammed into a robotic shell. The memories will never be yours. Filtered back through dust and sepia, happiness bleached away, only the despair stands out. An old man's recollections, worn thin by time.

You are emptiness. Gaps linger everywhere. You throw all you have at them with vicious intensity. You won't be consumed.

Each second you exist is an exercise in futility.

You don't want this! Just to be human a little longer. You don't want to be lost in despair – you want to live.

Can't you have that second chance too?

Anger

You, who have everything, are all we hate.

The future you build each moment you REFUSE to take RESPONSIBILITY for your part in its creation – yes, you, Fudo Yuusei and fellow Signers, with your insistence on Synchro. And the people flock to you—

why wouldn't they—

they do not see with our eyes. We see – and we detest all you stand for. You, who make it impossible to change things.

Should you become a casualty we shall not mourn you. Daresay we shall embrace it, though we are forbidden to do so deliberately…

Don't tempt a desperate man. We bite.

Denial

I am not the last. Antinomy and Paradox live on, in a fashion, and so I am not the last. Z-ONE lives on, despite being frailer than I and sustained mostly by machines, and so I am not the last.

I cannot be the last, not again. (Loneliness gripping at my heart; clinging to this hopeless wish; wanting to find someone, anyone, in a dead land.)

I cannot be the penultimate and leave him to be the last. (A man left alone to his madness, to the creep of time and decay, to become God.)

These cannot both be true.

Depression

They forget hope.

They forget hope so they turn to despair, the constant. And they forget what it meant to be human, once. They lose how to care—not suppressing it, as Paradox does, lifetimes and timelines away. They lose how to feel beyond despair and indifference—not like Antinomy, always the kindest of them.

They are nothing without despair and they cling to it.

They are nothing without despair so what will become of them in that distant world set right? Antinomy could find purpose, maybe. Paradox (wherever he is) maybe. But for them –

Not existing sounds like freedom.

Acceptance

Fortune dies with the turn of a single card. Somewhere, God is mourning him.

In a dusty dead landscape a hand reached out in silent recognition: welcome home.

He looks. Through the flames he glimpses a flicker of blue. Is that regret?

It was cold, always cold; he couldn't remember how to be alive, and they too only went through the motions.

Twin falls have damaged the momentum reactor of his heart. He can feel seconds slip away.

Cold, alone, he listened to the beeps of his time running out.

But they have a chance, now.

And he dies smiling.