At the end of it all, it is fire and blood and purple eyes, flickering
The sword in your hands is shining: and it is gone. Magic is rising in a swell, in a wave: something tidal and tremulous, breaking over your head.
It’s like waking. If waking is death: it's like winning, if winning is losing everything.
Monou Fuuma wakes in a dead world, a world made of trees and vines, clear cool water and birds chirping. His hands are clean; he stands, shaking, and finds his clothes are gone. All the dust on him is gone, all the blood.
[Kamui is gone. there is only Fuuma left: Kamui is gone. Fuuma is the one who won.]
He has never been able to see his own wish but now, here: he knows it.
He takes a brief, staggering step forward, and a breath. The sky is sharp and piercing and blue; he looks away, at his bare feet, soft against the ground. He cannot (will not) grant his own wish. There is too much magic in him.
He takes another step, and the world cracks open.
The dimension witch takes the only things that matter: she takes his memories of Kamui and Kotori, before. It hurts to agree; less when it's done. He only remembers watching, trapped in the body (his body), only remembers Kamui's eyes, betrayed and Kotori's hands, limp. He remembers the guilt, the emptiness in his heart; he remembers the soap opera that was Seishirou and Subaru, remembers the way Kakyou used to look at him, wary and cautious, but he does not remember the way his little sister smiled: he just knows that she did.
In return, she gives him wings.
He travels through myriads of worlds, multitudes. He does not know what he is looking for: does not know if he is looking for anything.
[He can still see Wishes: he wonders if Kamui is still there, if he was there all along.]
He grants the Wish of a small girl in a town weighted down with snow (to fly); sweeps her up with all the strength of his wings, that have borne him through dimensions and then sets her down softly: she smiles at him and says, thank you and he wonders if this is what his sister sounded like, when they were small, and then he leaves: the sky swallows him, like he is home.
In another world, in a city that smells like smoke, he teaches a little boy to fight, hand-to-hand and with a sword (he was never any good with guns), and he wonders if he ever taught Kamui, if it might have made a difference if Kamui had known this. The boy looks at him with grave eyes and he watches his Wish change, take me with you.
[He wants to.]
The river runs clear: he stops going to places that look like Tokyo.
There is a world with a Wish that cries out to him, a Wish that echoes his, so strong even through all the others. He follows it, because he can.
[It is not Tokyo: that is for the best. He's never been to America before.]
He finds a masked man and an empress: they call the man Zero but it's not his real name, not a name he has given himself. He watches them, and feels the strength of not-Zero's wish burning through his gut. The empress looks like Kotori, he thinks: Kotori had she grown. The thought does not hurt.
[If you look hard enough, long enough, you can learn everything about a person by their Wishes. Fuuma has all the time in a hundred thousand worlds.]
Zero is Kururugi Suzaku, in the way that Kamui was Monou Fuuma: his wishes are many, but there is only one that is strong, and it is strong in its desperation, in its futility. He wants to die, but he does not think he can.
There is a gravestone, in Japan. Fuuma does not go to see it, but the computers here are easier to talk to than Beast: he sees pictures.
He does not think of Zero as Zero but as Suzaku. There is a purple-eyed man in the centre of Suzaku's small petty wishes: Lelouch, come home. Fuuma can not help but see Kamui, cannot help feeling like there is something connecting himself to Suzaku.
He wonders if Kururugi Suzaku is an alternate version of himself: wonders if this is what makes him want to grant the other man's Wish. He wonders if he's getting soft, or if this is what Kotori and Kamui gave him, and he is only now starting to feel it again.
Fuuma waits in Zero's headquarters, hands folded together. He lets the magic he has never wanted wrap around him, making him invisible.
Kururugi Suzaku has soft footsteps, quick and careful: a soldier's. He takes off the helmet slowly, shaking out messy brown hair, blinking sharp green eyes: Fuuma is hit by the despair in those eyes. His fingers are long and elegant, calloused if Fuuma were to look hard enough.
He lets the magic fall away. "Konnichiwa, Kururugi Suzaku-san," he says, half-smiling. He reminds himself of Kamui, so he drops the smile and looks at Suzaku with a level gaze.
There’s a gun trained on his chest, on the spot where his heart should be: Fuuma would laugh, if he cared. He’s not even sure if he can die, anymore, or if there's something that comes with being the winning Kamui that means you have to suffer. "Who are you," Suzaku says, voice flat.
"Doesn’t matter," Fuuma says. "You’ve got a Wish. I’m here to grant it." He sounds a little like Kamui, but he's not, and he knows it. [All he has are Kamui's memories, harsh and flat: we do this because we can.]
Suzaku’s wishes are in turmoil: he wants to know: who is this and what does he mean, and, deeper in his thoughts, do it. He says, "I can't, yet. The empress needs me."
"Okay," Fuuma says, and he shrugs. "I’ll wait." He tilts his head. "Oh, if I’m going to be here a while, you can call me Fuuma."
Fuuma starts sleeping on Suzaku’s couch and raiding his fridge. He refuses to call him anything but Suzaku (Suzaku-kun if he feels like it, once Suzaku-chan) and disappears when Suzaku has company: the blond man, who might be a prince, Fuuma doesn't care; and occasionally a green-haired woman with gold cat-eyes.
Suzaku starts talking to him: once, late at night, he runs a hand through his hair and says, "Maybe you're my C.C."
Fuuma has absolutely no idea what he's talking about (he only did the research on Suzaku; he thought this was going to be a quick in and out thing) so he says, "Maybe."
"Figures," Suzaku says, "never could get a straight answer out of her, either."
Fuuma shrugs, leaning back into Suzaku’s immensely uncomfortable couch: you'd think he'd have done enough goddamn penance, what with everyone thinking he was dead; whatever. Fuuma's not really sure he has room to judge other people's quirks. "So how was your day?"
"Terrible," Suzaku says, "yours?"
"Not too bad," Fuuma says, "you're out of milk."
Suzaku blinks and says, "I don't drink milk."
"Neither do I," Fuuma says, "but your cat likes it." (He's got a knack for picking up on things that matter; he's always been able to read people, and Suzaku’s not a cat person, but he has a lesser Wish that involves a cat, so Fuuma just picked up the nearest stray that didn't seem too inclined to bite him.)
"I don't have a cat," Suzaku says. His mask is sitting on the table next to him.
Fuuma whistles, calls a little of his own magic to him. The cat, white and grey, follows his thread and jumps to his lap; "She doesn't have a name," he says, "but happy birthday, anyway."
"It’s not my birthday," Suzaku says, but he holds out a gloved hand to the cat anyway.
She wants to bite him; Fuuma dissuades her, just a little, and she butts her head against Suzaku’s hand.
Suzaku blinks, eyes luminous and green. (Fuuma is suddenly reminded of Sumeragi Subaru, who had had green eyes, before one of them had ended up all over Kamui’s fingernails.) "I thought she was going to bite me," he says, "that's what usually happens."
Fuuma smiles. "Ne," he says, "ne, Suzaku-kun, you should give yourself more credit. What are you going to name her?"
Suzaku's Wish morphs and says, Euphemia. Fuuma does not know who she is, or was, but the depth of Suzaku’s longing is like the sea. "I don't know," he says, scratching the unnamed cat's chin, "what do you think?"
Fuuma shrugs. "Your cat," he says. "Can I suggest, though--don't name her after a person. That way is never good."
Suzaku nods. "Thank you," he says, quietly. "Now will you tell me who you are?”
"I told you," Fuuma says, "Fuuma. Monou Fuuma, if you want to be accurate."
"Why haven't you told people who I am?"
"That’s not why I’m here," he says. He’d forgotten how much fun Kamui had had, being cryptic.
The cat purrs.
Fuuma smiles, again. "I’m here to grant your Wish," he says, "you know that. It’s what I do."
Suzaku says, "I’m going to bed."
[He is starting to understand.]
They fall into a kind of rhythm. Suzaku-who-is-Zero cannot go shopping, cannot buy basic foods and he is loathe to ask the palace staff, or the prince who is named Schneizel, to get them for him; Fuuma has no such qualms.
Suzaku leaves him lists, sometimes, eggs and milk and rice and some kind of vegetable, Fuuma, god, money clipped to the bottom of the page as if Fuuma needs it. He still has not named the cat.
Fuuma buys things that look like they should be healthy and does not eat them; he leaves them on the counter for Suzaku and sprawls across Suzaku’s bedspread, eating chips that crumb all over the place.
He reads about Suzaku, reads about what he has done. Fuuma is Japanese, has always been Japanese and has always loved Japan: but never like Suzaku. He has never had to fight for Japan (instead, against it, against Japan and the world and all her people, for the sake of the trees): he has never felt, like Suzaku, that he is Amaterasu's son. He wonders what it must be like, to have Japan at the forefront of your thoughts, of your heart: he wonders what it must have been like, to be named Eleven.
Suzaku speaks Japanese, to Fuuma: his accent is a little off, sometimes, and his pronunciation is rusty, but Fuuma does not want to tell him. He’ll figure it out, with practice and with time. He wears the Zero suit too much (all the time); Fuuma thinks he probably overheats, in the summer. That can't be healthy, Fuuma thinks, so he buys some t-shirts: stupid ones, with frogs on them and silly slogans (in English, not Japanese; he misses home, but then again: he killed home), jeans in a size that is his best guess (he goes two sizes larger than Kamui, because Suzaku is taller but built the same), brightly-coloured sweatshirts. The fashions here are weird and ugly but there are always staples and Fuuma is good at finding them.
Suzaku protests, something about what if someone walks in, but Fuuma overrides him: the shirts hang limply on his slender frame. He’s thin, like Kamui (and Kakyou, but Kakyou always wore yukata: Fuuma adds traditional clothing to his mental list), but he never smiles: even Kamui had smiled, even as the world was ending; he had smiled at the slightest thing, at a flower, bright in a little girl's hand. (Kamui had liked to watch those things: Fuuma had spent a long time screaming in his own head.)
Fuuma wants to fix him: when Fuuma was younger, he thinks he had some kind of complex: he wonders if Kotori used to tease him, or if that is just something he hopes for, now, in retrospect (objects in mirror may be closer than they appear).
Also, Fuuma wants to kiss him. But the last time Fuuma remembers kissing someone, he was Kamui and violet eyes were telling him, I’m sorry; he does not quite know how it is supposed to go. And there is Lelouch and Euphemia, needle-sharp Wishes that cut, feeding the heart of him, the fucked-up broken pieces that make Suzaku and break him.
Kamui would have loved Suzaku; Fuuma is sharply, sharply glad that the final day does not seem to be applicable, here. (Or maybe it was Suzaku who died for humanity; Suzaku who was Euphemia's knight, smiling by her side, who now does not even curve his lips, Suzaku who looks at Fuuma blankly, like he does not even care.)
[Suzaku's Wish is strong and desperate, pulsing like a heartbeat whenever Fuuma looks at him.]
They do not exist in a vacuum: sometimes Suzaku disappears for weeks on end, is not on TV or in the newspapers (Zero, not Suzaku; never Suzaku) and Fuuma gets stir-crazy, walks through the world that is Britannia, pretending that he's not looking for Kotori, or Kamui, or even Seishirou, Subaru, Kakyou; but this is the future, and if they were ever alive here, they're probably not anymore. He tries to imagine the Sakurazukamori standing idly by, while Japan was named Area Eleven; he cannot imagine it. Seishirou was black like night, sure, but he was possessive and Japan, like the Sumeragi head, was his.
He does not worry about Suzaku, not quite: what is the magic good for, if it cannot keep track of a single man, a single man with a Wish that burns through the world? Fuuma knows where he is, which is alive and in this world, and that is all he needs. Suzaku, as Zero, is not someone who dies easily; Fuuma, as Fuuma, is not someone inclined to worry for no reason.
They do not exist in a vacuum, so Fuuma makes his own: builds it out of magic and knowledge and does not age. His wings are pinned tight to his back, invisible and unfelt, most days: some days, he flies. The skies here are always full: it is not the escape it should be. He would (could, should) wonder how Suzaku-who-hates-Zero has not gone mad, but he has seen the other man's eyes: sanity is a flimsy shield, these days.
When Suzaku returns, the latest time, he pets the cat and scratches under her collar and says, "Would Lancelot be inappropriate?"
Fuuma is the only person in this world capable of killing either Suzaku or Zero; he has never not delineated them, in his head. They are different people: Suzaku has loved, and Zero has not. Fuuma is the only person in this world who could kill either of them, if he wanted to. (He has read the files; Satsuki taught him a little of the way computers talk and it's not much different here. Suzaku is something beyond human; so is Fuuma, now.)
Suzaku's princess was named Euphemia. She is known as the massacre princess, if Fuuma digs deep enough: in the pictures with her, Suzaku is not smiling, but his eyes are. Her hair is pink, and long. Fuuma would wonder how Suzaku could have loved someone who killed so many of his people, but Kamui loved Fuuma, even when he was Kamui, and Subaru died with Seishirou's name on his lips. Zero shot her: Fuuma thinks he might be missing something, because there is no way in hell that Kururugi Suzaku, this sad quiet man that Fuuma has grown to know, would kill someone he loved with a single quick shot. Not even for the greater good.
[This does not explain Lelouch: the emperor, whom Kururugi Suzaku, knight of Japan, swore allegiance to; this does explain Zero, who killed him. Fuuma understands that he will not understand, even if something in him wishes he understood Suzaku's desperate violet-eyed Wish.]
Suzaku takes off the mask, puts it on the table. "I’m leaving court," he says, "they don't need me anymore." It's tulip-shaped, and dark.
Fuuma runs his fingers along the curve of it; does not meet Suzaku's eyes. His Wish has not changed.
"What’s my Wish?" Suzaku asks. His hand is on Fuuma's shoulder, fever-warm through Fuuma's shirt. He is not smiling.
Fuuma closes his eyes and opens them. Suzaku's eyes are green, but the mask is purple. They blur together in his head: he leans forward (this is magnetism, this is gravity) and his palm meets the line of Suzaku's cheek. "You know," he says, sighing.
Suzaku half-smiles, just a curve of the lips but god, it makes Fuuma's heart sing and throb at the same time. He leans forward and kisses Fuuma: his lips are cracked and soft and dry. He pulls back for a moment, whispers, "look after my cat," and then kisses Fuuma again; Fuuma cannot help but kiss back.
Suzaku kisses gently, calmly, sadly. Fuuma lets a little of his desperation bleed through, pushes against him, a little.
"I’m going to fight you," Suzaku says, low-voiced. "Lelouch told me to survive."
Fuuma says, "It’s okay. I’ll make it quick."
He takes Suzaku's body to Yuuko. He could burn it, but. He doesn't want to. Suzaku means phoenix; Fuuma hates hope, hates the way it flutters in his chest.
She looks at him with appraising eyes and tells him that he doesn't need her.
[He wonders what Suzaku would look like, with wings.]