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400 Moments

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He was so far away, so out of your league that it wasn’t even funny.

Every year he got stronger, and every year he was gone for longer and longer. He was in a place you could no longer reach, no longer catch up to, not when you’re so weak.

Although sometimes, when you hear rumors of the things he’s done, you are almost glad you will never be close to the same level as him. You are often told that you’re too soft-hearted and too weak besides, so you never leave the village where you grew up, but you do contribute in your own way. Today, after what seems like forever, you spy a familiar back and brighten.

“Lucci!” You call out his name, running to catch up to him after catching sight of his back. You smile up at him as he glances back at you, still walking. You greet, “I didn’t know you would be back today. Welcome home!”

Lucci kept walking, staring straight ahead. He half-listened to you chattering as you walked, going to turn in his report. You knew better than to follow him into the building, failed CP9 candidate you were, and he left you outside without a second thought. When he finally exited the building after delivering his written and oral report, he wasn’t surprised to see you still waiting.

(she was annoying like that)

“Lucci,” you say brightly, standing up from where you’d been sitting. You grin up at him from the bottom of the stairs. “I’m sure you did a great job!”

“I never fail,” he replied shortly.

“Yes, I know,” you say with a nod. You fall in step beside him as he walked through the village, happy just to walk beside him. He rarely tells you to get lost and today isn’t one of those days.

Lucci silently accepted your offer of a drink at a local restaurant. You’re sure that you get on his nerves from time to time, but you’re usually competent enough to understand his silence and his unspoken words. He stares at you through the steam of his coffee as you sip your tea, and you fidget slightly under his intense gaze.

Once again, you wonder what it would have been like if you had been able to reach even Kalifa’s level of strength. When you were a child, you had gotten very sick and had stayed sick for a long time. By the time you had recovered, the other candidates and the current CP9 members had left you far behind with no hope of catching up. Your sickness never really went away for the next five years and had been dropped from training. Despite your body being somewhat frail, you had kept on doing what training you could manage and your reward was that you were stronger than most average Marines. Still, no one, not even you and least of all him, expected you to ever be a member of the CP9 or any other Cipher Pol squad.

Instead you lived in the village and pitched in where you could, repaying the government that way for the time and resources spent raising a failure like yourself.

Having looked away, you glance back at him and see him seemingly ignoring your presence across from him. You suspected that unflattering thoughts about you had probably crossed his mind more than once, but he was still here drinking with you. Lucci—stoic, bloodthirsty, amazingly strong Lucci—was sitting here with you.

(she is soft and weak, but she has always smiled at him, a face he can’t forget despite having thought he would

his purpose flashes across his mind, the path she can longer follow, and then—)

"When my time comes,” Lucci said suddenly, surprising both you and himself, “Forget the wrong that I've done."

He stands and leaves you sitting there.

It will be a long time before you see him again.

No one can confidently say that he will still be living tomorrow.