Fanfiction, Starry Sky.

Oneshot, Amaha Tsubasa & Kinose Azusa

Word count: 1398

Warning(s): Character death, future!AU, depression, heartbreak


T- minus 40 seconds

It's been a long time since Tsubasa has set foot on this soil. The last time he could afford a visit back to Japan was for his grandmother's funeral. After that, there'd never really been a reason to return. Now, as the man surveys the estate that he grew up on and now belongs to him, he can't help but feel a sense of nostalgia tugging on his heart. When he feels the weather-worn paint beneath his hand and the squeak of rusted joints when he pushes open the wooden gate, he wonders how long since someone has intruded on this land.

The grass is messy and uncut, scratching against his legs as he navigates through the overgrown front yard. Fumbling slightly before he fishes the right key out of his pocket in order to open the front door, he coughs at the dust that fills the air. This place really has been empty for a while, hasn't it?

Trailing one hand against the grime-covered walls, he remembers running along these hallways of a child. Back in those days, he never would have imaged this house as empty and desolate as it is now. Aquamarine eyes stare blankly ahead, not searching or directed to any destination in particular, but still his feet bring him forward.

His mind barely registers this movement before he finds himself standing before a garden. It's not as vibrant and neatly maintained as it used to be, but nevertheless it is, or at least used to be, a garden. Among the weeds and grass he sees the descendents of several flower bushes his grandmother had planted many years ago, and-

It's just lying there, broken and unmoving but still relatively intact despite the flow of time. The color has faded and the plastic is coated in a patina of dirt and filth, but the shape of the item is unmistakable. It's an elephant-shaped watering can.

Tsubasa curls up on the ground, and for the first time since the Accident, he begins to sob.

T- minus 30 seconds

Kinose Azusa never has a proper funeral. What remains of the bodies that were found at the wreckage are too mangled and melted to be identified, so his family has to make do with a glossy picture in a wooden frame atop an altar. No media coverage of the event is permitted. Tsubasa had received the privilege of choosing which photograph to use, and the cheeky smile on his cousin's face cuts into his chest like a knife for every moment that he looks at it. It'd been taken during a press conference several days before the launch, and Azusa had been telling the reporter his motivations for becoming the youngest astronaut to go into space. "'I want to open up new horizons for mankind," He'd said (and Tsubasa remembers this word for word). "Who knows how much there is out there to be explored? I don't want to be restricted by the fear of the unknown." One of the things that Tsubasa regrets most is that despite these heroic words, his cousin never even made it out of the stratosphere.

Tsubasa doesn't remember much of the actual ceremony, only the stabbing pain that dulls into an ever-present ache somewhere along the way, and the numb, buzzing static that fills his mind. Yet another one gone, he thinks to himself, and the corner of his lip almost curls into a self-loathing smile. It's your entire fault. That dark voice at the back of his consciousness that is starting to sound suspiciously like his late cousin taunts him incessantly and Tsubasa has learnt to just accept it by now. He's alone all over again (not that he shouldn't be used to it at this point) and there's nobody to blame but himself.

As the mourners file out of the cemetery, numerous hands brush against the purple-haired man's shoulder in attempted gestures of comfort, and he barely even hears the whispered condolences that they offer him as they walk past. He is the last to turn his back on the picture of Azusa's smiling face, and his footsteps echo cold and hollow as he walks out of the funeral home.

Tsubasa thinks that he must have been a truly terrible person in his past life, in order to bring so much misfortune and calamity to himself and those around him.

T- minus 20 seconds

The blueprints and plans are spread out haphazardly across his desk as Tsubasa pores over them for the millionth time in the past night. Everything was perfect; the entire system should have run without a hitch, not explode in the sky like fireworks on New Year's Day. As the head engineer, he'd inspected the entire shuttle up to the smallest detail prior to the launch, and nothing had seemed the slightest out of place. What went wrong? They've inspected the entire launching area, and it's nothing like the Columbia or Challenger disasters- there's no piece of broken off foam or failed seal. NASA has no idea what happened. Tsubasa can't help but an extensive record of failed experiments all throughout his youth, mostly ending with explosions (though of a much less destructive scale), and can't help but wonder if this was simply fated all along.

Wide eyes desperately scan over the reports until all the words and numbers all blur together, and even now, Tsubasa just doesn't know what fatal mistake he committed, what mortal oversight caused his cousin's death. Part of him still can't accept that the space shuttle that he had conceived from his mind, had created with his own two hands, had become the instrument of such a tragedy. A million what-if's run through his head, and he can almost see a million fingers pointing at him. Your creation is what killed them, you're the murderer. Cradling his aching skull in his hands, Tsubasa doesn't even notice when his tears begin to drip onto the documents, rendering the inked words illegible.

The next day, nobody is surprised when NASA's head engineer resigns without warning.

T- minus 10 seconds

As the space shuttle begins to rise, celebration erupts. It's only the beginning of a nerve-grating process, and few in NASA will rest until that rocket lands safely on Mars, but for now, the success of this first, initial step is enough to bolster the morale of the entire nation. Tsubasa watches with bright eyes opened wide, following the shuttle's ascent, and marveling in wonder at the fact that they've succeeded. Azusa's finally become the astronaut that he's been working so hard to become, and his space shuttle is finally flying. It's like a dream come true.

The spaceship is shooting off higher and higher into the sky, becoming little more than a dot in the blue expanse of the sky, and at about that point, it should be beginning to break through the earth's atmosphere. It's at that moment, 86 seconds into flight that the Adventurer explodes.

It happens in mere seconds a cloud of white smoke and then pieces of flaming debris scattering and hurtling towards earth as the entire shuttle disintegrates, and Tsubasa can't believe his eyes. Seven men are on that shuttle, but most importantly, his cousin is on that shuttle. He watches the disaster with a blank, unreadable expression despite the screaming and horror around him. He barely dares to move a muscle.

It isn't until he watches the official news report and hears the words, "there were no survivors", that the reality of it all hits him, and Tsubasa realizes that this isn't a nightmare.

9

8

7

6

5

4

3

2

1

Azusa's smile is wide and confident, almost bordering cocky, as he slaps hands with Tsubasa. "I'll be fine. After all, I'm a prodigy, right?" He laughs reassuringly, and this familiar banter can't help but soothe the engineer's worries. Giving a 'nu' of laughter, Tsubasa grins back and ruffles the shorter man's hair playfully.

"Then I'll see you when you get back, Azusa!" He replies joyfully, because the excitement in his cousin's bright purple eyes is ridiculously infectious. Azusa rolls his eyes and gives a mock frown as he pushes the taller man's hand off of his head. Just before he leaves, he raises a hand into the air and flashes a thumbs-up.

"I'll be back before you know it!"

Takeoff.

*The Challenger and Columbia mentioned are other famous NASA disasters in which space ships were destroyed without survivors.

a/n: I'm not completely satisfied with this. The ending's a bit rushed, and the vocabulary is simpler than I'd like, but it should do for now. I might fix this up a bit more another day. I apologise for factual inaccuracy, this was written on a whim and I have little to no knowledge of space engineering. If you're crying (or feel like it), then I've done my job right. Thank you for reading!