*The door flunk open and a puff of ash and smoke tried to escape inwards through it, as if the fire threatened to vanquish them as well, as if a roof that was already being burned out of existence could protect them. It clouded his sight, yet he made through it by shaking his arms around, coughing, gripping both swords tight.
The puff didn’t last long. The darkness of the night didn’t blacken it. He was unable to avoid his battle instincts scanning the entire wrecked field in less than a blink. Four people were present. Only two stood up, barely. And the other two…
Everything slowed down. Everything became an eternity. His eyelids wouldn’t go down, his shoulders dropped, the pounding in his ears drummed in an out-of-compass, ice-cold, hectic beat. That did not matter, however, because it was there, at the painful yet very real reach of his arms. Because they weren’t there, but a million miles away. Because it was so horrendous and nauseating, that, despite that disfigured corpse once made of living flesh being only a few steps away from him, he didn’t need to touch it to know the life had been burned out of him. And right next to him, he could have sworn — but, no, it wasn’t torn up. Not like that, not this time. Yet, it wasn’t alive, either.
Instead of realizing his own trembling, and how his knees were about to give in, or how the fire kept consuming the well the ground the house the roof the trees the entrance, or even trying to avoid the shocking image of burning itself on his retina, all he could see was… everything Faust would miss now that he was dead. Every event to which he would be absent. Every experience he would now lack and every desire now turned to ashes. Every goal of his, crumbling to the ground in a huge cloud of dirt.
He’d never have any of that…
The world rose from his feet, pulling him closer to the disaster. His knees barely held him up as he hit the ground. No cloud, no air went through him. The stench of burned meat had closed off his throat.
His heart jerked — unique action that got him to react, only because it came from his own insides —, pleading for a breath to function. He gasped, and his eyes mistakenly saw that as permission to tear up. His brain saw the tears and started shooting those images even faster. His entire body tensed to the melancholic pain and shook his neck. His heart saw all that and poured out a chord-snapping scream, only becoming stronger as the air left him for good…
Again, he was gone. Again. Again.
He still hadn’t caught a breath. Things started to get foggy and black dots threatened to wrap his sight. But his instincts kept seeing; the remains told of a fight, however short. One that had been initiated by the body on the left, unfolding in a sudden burst that took both their lives away.
It wasn’t long — almost right away, in fact — before his mind put together the pieces. What were they thinking during their last moments? What was about to happen before this? What had Faust and himself discussed about and come to no solution whatsoever? What was Faust’s limit on what he was capable of doing if he wanted to solve something?*
<Did you… do this… to release me…?>
*Again, Faust was lying dead next to him. Again, because of him.
Bullshit. This was bullshit. The second time— It was the second time Faust died. Why did he die again? Why did he keep dying? Was this going to repeat itself again, forever? He bit his lip so hard he almost chopped the piece off.
And then, he realized. What if this was it?
He tried shaking it off, getting up with gum instead of legs, and falling once more beside him, willingly deciding to ignore the walls behind him, up in flames, choking again at the stink, but his head kept nudging him with that question. What if this was it? What if this was a sign? Faust had been brought back to life, but for no more than ten days. Ten miserable days. That was nothing. Absolutely nothing. They didn’t get to do anything.
What if… Faust was really meant to die like this, no matter how many times he brought him back…? What if this was the last time?
Life is something precious, not to be toyed with. We live to die correctly, fulfilled. Life is only for the living. Yet, Faust’s life had been chasing after death. Was it all useless…? Did he have to accept it…? He couldn’t… step on his shoes, his fading footprints, and chase him back…?
What happened to the time when he opposed doing the exact same thing? The thing he had already done once and obviously was thinking about doing again? What happened to letting go of the grief and moving on?
His words kept replaying inside him. “Son, don’t make my mistakes. Don’t fight my battles.” As in, “don’t choose my same battle, because you will lose just as I did”?
No one can defeat death. Then, why? Why chase your own tail in the first place? Why keep chasing it?*
<…Because I don’t want you gone.>
*…But he was gone. He really was.
And part of him was trying to yank him back by the shoulder.*
<You cannot assume that anyone can be saved and be certain that that assumption will be made true.
The rescue is an endpoint, and you cannot properly predict those segments of a life. A rescue is never definite, is never a guarantee.
But if, knowing that, you still hold on, still keep that love in your heart and never let it go — that’s what matters. It’s the closest you can ever come, and because of that, it means more than anything else.>
*Were those words a hand over his eyes that he could only hold on to but not tug away, forbidding him of chasing his ghost, his corpse, his life, even if he could still see it, even if an illusion? Would that hand hold his tears and screams, veiling to ever see him again? Was he doomed to have his love only as a memory?*
*He held his breath.
His hands trembled towards Faust yet his whole body jerked at the infernal heat of his carbonized body. And, once more, in a jolt, his logical brain screamed at him that that heat was going to erase every warm memory he had of him if he tried to touch him again. And he wasn’t going to get any new ones. Ever again.
What… would happen of his shoulders, if they were never to be patted again? What if his hair was never going to get ruffled? What about… what about the pounding of his heart, never to be pressed and bounced under his fingers?
Sobbing interrupted his thoughts and tears blurred his eyes, falling freely.*
*The words barely left his mouth in weak whispers. The crying took over him and his head fell down, the rest of his body stiff.*
Please… Not again…
*He had seen many deaths. He knew how they happened. He knew that if his soul wasn’t here, it was probably back in Hell again. But he was still there!! His body was there, lying right next to him — right next to him! Right there!!!
Burned to a cinder!!!
A powerful cry coughed out of him as he couldn’t take it any longer and took hold of Faust, embracing him by the shoulders and slightly lifting him from the floor, painfully rubbing his forehead over his almost-charcoal cheek non-stop.*
Faust… Bad dream, a bad dream… Please, let it… Faust… Faust…!!
*He didn’t feel his cheeks and forehead burning. His sobbing took over his throat and he couldn’t speak anymore, now only crying his heart out and wetting his hot, hot, hot, very hot face with it.*
Lyserg was truly confused, his head hurt, his throat felt tight, his eyes were blurry—but he thought he managed to beat out all of the flames that had been present on Faust’s body—
Lyserg didn’t know how he was able to stay standing—his knees felt weak, and the smell of burned flesh made him want to vomit.
Lyserg had only spoken to Faust a few times, but Faust’s advice had been…fatherly…and Lyserg had never had advice from a father, not really…not ever.
Lyserg hardly even noticed Yoh. He couldn’t take in any noise, not really, he couldn’t comprehend it, couldn’t understand anything beyond the facts that Faust was dead, and Hao was dead too and couldn’t take the blame or punishment that he deserved for everything he had done.
He preformed oversoul, putting Morphine into his pendulum and causing the wire to become animate. Rage caused him to flail his arms wildly, and managed to put a couple of gashes into Hao’s corpse, though his blind hatred impaired his skill, and the gashes weren’t deep; they hardly drew blood, since life wasn’t flowing through Hao’s veins anymore.
Lyserg raised his arm to whip at Hao again, but suddenly a noise broke through his concentration of rage—the sound of a gunshot, and at once Lyserg felt happiness flood through him, for he associated that sound with his fellow X-Laws, and he would see Jeanne and she would hug him and everyone would be with him be be happy for Hao’s death but—but—
The rage came back again, but Lyserg had enough sense to protect himself. He willed his wire to form a shield, but he didn’t have enough concentration to keep holes from forming in the criss-crossed mesh, and a stray bullet grazed his shoulder.
He screamed in pain, and then completely forgot about protecting himself. He willed his wire into a different form, and within a second, the pointed end of his glass pendulum was hurting toward Mari.