nagachika hideyoshi & kaneki ken
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|HIMURO TATSUYA ϟ||
Posted: Apr 10 2015, 04:50 AM
"don't you ever get tired?" he teases, with a smile that implies he'll file this away for blackmail purposes, but he doesn't say 'no.'
later, in the bathroom under harsher light, the telltale brusies on his throat prove impossible to hide, though he sees no reason to.
the world ought to know what we mean to each other.
and it's all his fault.
he doesn't quite register taiga ignoring safety protocols until he's there, untangling tatsuya from the cords from where he's dangling, half-past consciousness and ridden with guilt, though anger joins that emotion in his veins when he hears the pity in taiga's voice (it's concern, he knows deep down, but taiga's exhaustion had bled into him, right before their connection was severed.)
"i'm fine," he says through teeth gritted against the ache in his muscles and his lungs, that trembles the limbs inside his suit and has him gasping for breath like someone drowning on dry land. he won't be the weak link here. he can't afford to be.
"let's go again."
i did this to you. he tries not to linger on the phrase, not when they have a kaiju to defeat and a city to save, and it's about the hardest thing he's ever done. and i can't take it back.
he can feel taiga doing the same, pressing down on every errant thought, burying them six feet under before the drift unearths them as easily as sand sifts through to the bottom part of an hourglass. if only ignis mirage could move easily too, but it's by far the biggest victim of their newly discovered incompatibility. every step is disjointed, a toy they'd broken with their innocence (and his incompetence.)
it couldn't be worse, until taiga says it, until the memories slip free from his flimsy hold.
until he's chasing the first partner he'd failed.
you can fix this, can't you, shuu?
|KAGAMI TAIGA ϟ||
Posted: Apr 24 2015, 01:29 PM
Kagami slides into his seat beside Himuro, an arm slung around his shoulders, possessively, lovingly. Everything about him is telling: his liquid ease, his undemanding smile and the way he just leans into his partner. Whatever questions others had about them should have their answer, now.
Time and time again, he runs out of words, so he lets the way he bites into his apple and chew happily with a childish grin speak for him.
He’s never been happier.
Words he could live by, words he will probably die by. They’re his, not Tatsuya’s yet they still find their way to the other man’s lips, stolen from this firestarter whose flame is whittling down to nothing.
His hand lifts to caress his cheek, urging Tatsuya to look into his eyes. When did their roles reverse, Kagami has to wonder. When did he become the fixed point, the strength to lean on. It takes a great effort for him not to tell Tatsuya ‘you’re not fine’ because that would break them, it would shatter the illusion that they’re okay.
(He’s afraid, he’s so afraid that if he acknowledges even a small part of them is not what it used to be, he’ll have to witness them crumble into nothing.)
Is it that bad?
“Okay,” he acquiesces.
Just like them.
Tatsuya pulls at the fringes of his mind, coaxing him down an old road, one that’s deceptively warm, but he knows where that goes. (He knows how that ends.) It’s his fault, if he could just buck up and be better, then they wouldn’t be treading so closely to the path of insanity.
(Doing the same thing over and over—I’m fine, you’re fine, we’re fine. God, he hates that word.)
He reaches out to catch him and pull him back. It’s not far enough, it’s not good enough. Slipping, he can feel him slipping. Panic sets into him, taking shape in the small tremble in his fingers.
Desperation is a black hole, sucking in all the things that threaten to tear him down and shoving them further and further down his throat, suffocating him. Realization numbs him, reminding him of where he is, what he’s doing.
(He calls it realization, but the jolt of a kaiju knocking into them is what ties him down to this reality, suddenly. There’s a mission ahead of them, he’ll do it alone if he has to. He’ll succeed because he has to.)
He never noticed.
|HIMURO TATSUYA ϟ||
Posted: Apr 29 2015, 12:39 PM
One kiss gives way to ten, which gives way to fifty, to a hundred, until he can no longer keep track. A kiss before they fall asleep in Taiga's bunk (the double decker is for mere pretenses now), a kiss after they wake in the morning; a kiss before sparring (insert something trite about making love, not war here) and another after a shower, soap still fragrant on his skin; a kiss before they drift (for good luck), a kiss after they win.
On occasion he thinks, faintly, of the few he's shared with Shuu, and wonders if this is inevitable, for co-pilots who aren't family.
Is falling for your partner a side effect, or a requirement?
Another press conference, another relentless interview. He's a pro at this, and the journalists are too. There shouldn't have been anything to worry about, until— until—
"How does this experience compare with your previous partner?"
The room, full of laughter and chatter one moment, falls deadly silent. No one had every broached the subject before, no one's ever dared; they usually know better. He tries to rationalize this with this guy's new, he doesn't know or we know who's getting fired later but his brain is buzzing static. Everything becomes sensory
(the rabbit pace of his pulse the sweat trickling down his spine the smile he so desperately plasters on)
and his eyes, panicked as they are, glance to his right, where his current partner always seems to be.
Sorry, can you take this one?
He doesn't remember if this part is true or simply an embellisment of the imagination, only that right now it's very, very real, and it's obscuring his vision of the kaiju. He's not worried, though. He's got the best pilot under the age of twenty beside him, he's got more than he needs, he's got—
He feels it before he sees it coming, the dread that floods his consciousness a second before the glass of the cockpit breaks, and then that fear gives way to pain unparalleled, he's almost afraid to look but he has to, he has to—
Stay safe, Shuu says, and then he's
Tatsuya reaches out for him, the arm of the jaeger following suit, and when the kaiju knocks into Ignis Mirage he's still got Shuu's name on his lips.
There are three people in his head: himself, a dead man, and co-pilot part two. Taiga is saying words like fine, fine, fine, and then alone, alone, alone, and Tatsuya is too paralyzed to agree with either one. He's forgotten how to fight, how to win, as his mind is ripped in half, asking a solitary question like a broken record.
How could this be happening again?
|KAGAMI TAIGA ϟ||
Posted: May 8 2015, 06:23 PM
”Tatsuya,” he says softly, reaching up to run his fingers through that soft dark hair. ”Are you still awake?” Kagami shifts on his elbow to look at him with a smile.
”I just…” Kagami never trusted words and he trusts Tatsuya knows exactly what he means. He wants to say what he means, he wants make it count. ”I just wanted to tell you,” he sighs. ”Thank you and I-I,” He can’t do it. Instead, he buries his face into Tatsuya’s neck.
His eyes lift at the interviewer’s, more in surprise than anything else. It’s not Kagami’s job to answer questions, mostly because all they could pull from him were mumbled ‘yes’s, despite what was asked. Of all things, even he knows it’s off limits. Clearing his throat, he sits a little straighter and tries to look a little more knowledgeable. (If his answer’s good enough, they won’t need to ask Tatsuya to elaborate.)
”Every partnership is different.” Sweat trickles down his temples, slicks his palms. ”I think no matter who we’re teamed up with, we all want to work together to accomplish the same goals.” He manages these without a stutter, a first for Kagami before the prying eyes of the cameras and journalists and hundreds of people watching, waiting for their heroes to tell stories of grandeur, love and loss.
Shifting in his seat, he slides his hand under the table to hold Tatsuya’s and offer a reassuring squeeze. Daring, but meaningful, especially in light of the subject that’s been brought up. ”I’d also really appreciate it if you didn’t ask questions without researching beforehand. That’s all for today.”
”What are you doing?” He hisses both out loud and in his mind, trying to pull Himuro back. Tatsuya is supposed to be their anchor, the one who pulls them out of this sandpit of a situation. No matter how many times Kagami tries to reach out to him, he’s met with a barrier—he’s met with a ghost of someone he could never live up to.
Gripping the console tightly, he has no choice but to take the reigns. Kagami grits his teeth and welcomes the entire neural load of the Jaeger. Waves crash against both the metal leviathan and his mind—he can feel every single thing like acid in his veins. Sheer agony brands into him, a kind of toxicity he won’t be able to wash off.
I’m bleeding, I’m bleeding, I’m bleeding—but he can’t find where.
”Tatsuya!” He screams so loud he can feel his throat raw. ”Get a grip!” He raises his hands to defend against the kaiju, trying to power up the plasma cannon. As the energy gathers, he can feel it drawing directly from him, sipping at his life’s blood. ”You’re going to get us killed! You’re going to kill me!”
And the realization that that might not make a difference terrifies him.
|HIMURO TATSUYA ϟ||
Posted: May 9 2015, 12:02 PM
It seemed unspoken that it had to be something every pilot had to try for themselves.
(Tatsuya has tried it twice and attests to the fact with two particular faces in mind: I cannot live without you.)
He feigns sleep some time after midnight, eyes blissfully shut. Feigns, because he's attuned to each of Taiga's habits and this is usually when he's woken up by Taiga's hunger pangs, the two of them sneaking into the kitchens to make snacks (like the children they are, the children they should've been.) But right now Taiga's voice is gentler, and decidedly not the voice of a guy who only wants a sandwich.
"No." He smiles, eyes still closed, knowing that if he opens them the first thing he'll see is Taiga's face looking at him like he encompasses the world, and it wouldn't be an exaggeration.
"I know," Tatsuya finishes for him, lips directly against one reddened ear. "You don't have to say it out loud."
(What they forgot to mention in the academy is that every word counts, that he's wrong, wrong, wrong.)
That's the only way Tatsuya can explain it, sitting besides a version of his partner who didn't trip over every other word, who faces the cameras head-on as he would any kaiju instead of glancing left and right in search of salvation. Tatsuya is usually the one who supplies that with a smile and a wave of his hand, but right now he's caught in the trappings of a cruel memory and it's up to Taiga to cut its strings.
And he does it so perfectly that Tatsuya has to question if Taiga has been abducted by aliens and replaced with an eloquent counterpart.
But then fingers slick with perspiration find his under the table, and there's no one else in the world daring enough to do that (the way he'd kissed Tatsuya in a crowded hangar, the way he'd slung his arm around Tatsuya's shoulder while wearing an expression of pride, as if to broadcast, he's the best, and he's mine.)
This is the real deal, and this Taiga is his.
Barely minutes after the conference room has been emptied, Tatsuya grabs him and presses a fierce kiss to his cheek, so overwhelmed and fond and grateful that it could only be translated into a litany of, "I love you, I love you, I love you."
That much is obvious, given the pain in his side and the cruelty he pulls out of Taiga's voice—did I do that to you?—but he's far, far beyond able to do anything about it. The fury in their splintering connection is twofold; Taiga's and his, both directed at him. Every expectation he's failing to live up to hits him in time with the kaiju's attacks, and it would be bearable, it really would, if only it didn't seem so familiar.
I lost someone else here, says a part of him he tried to silence, a part of him he had to silence to have any hope of succeeding with a new partner. Someone important.
And he feels it, Taiga's frustration at not measuring up to someone he's never met, someone who should mean nothing to him but now holds his life in transluscent hands. Feels it and wonders if this learned helplessness is a kind of hazing ritual for every pilot. Some things are out of your control, the marshall said once, sagely and distant, and chasing the rabbit seems to be one of them. Taiga hates him, surely, for how easily he accepts it.
Slowly, agonizingly, the crack in the armor grows, and the weight shifts into an uneven burden on Taiga's end. That, too, is familiar for Tatsuya; that's something that has to happen when your co-pilot's good as dead. It's inevitable, that they fall out of alignment. The way they'd met was far too traumatic for either of them to overcome. He just thought it would be gentler, reminiscent of the time they spent together, not Taiga's last words ringing in his head—you're going to kill me!—like a prayer to the devil he's about to meet.
The kaiju has Ignis Mirage on its knees, but for the first time in a long time his mind is terrifyingly silent.
I can't hear you anymore.
|KAGAMI TAIGA ϟ||
Posted: May 25 2015, 06:32 PM
He tells Kagami not to speak, that he already knows the words this hotheaded child wants to say.
Do you know? He pulls Tatsuya closer.
Do you know how I live for you?
Do you know how I’ll die with you?
Do you know that I only have you?
Who led them to believe that they know anything at all?
Perfect—a word he is only permitted to use because of the smaller man. A fleeting thought crosses his mind as he holds Tatsuya, has he always been this… small? He feels fragile in Kagami’s arm, as if these arms are the only thing protecting him from the outside world.
“I love you,” he says in return, like it’s the first time, like it’s the last time.
In his signature fashion, Kagami takes Tatsuya’s face in his hands. “Just a kiss on the cheek?” A lifted brow and a playful grin, Kagami swears to preserve this eternal happiness. He seals the promise with a proper kiss, one the world would pay to see, but it’s only for Himuro. It always is.
Whose face is in your mind, Tatsuya? Whose hands are you reaching out for? Whose voice are you hearing?
This is the end, flames and all, for them. Kagami refuses to lay his life down in these dark waters full of toxic memories, haunting monsters and kaiju. With more will than a brokenheart should carry, he forces Ignis to stand. (He is the fire, he is the fuel—there is no phantasm here.) Knives shoot through his legs, pain threatening to break him at the knees. The agony in his mind his much worse.
(He cannot carry the weight of two, as he had sworn endlessly. Word broken, he still refuses to forfeit his life. He is not the only liar here.)
Screams are torn from the very core of him, grating at his throat as they make themselves known throughout the conn-pod. The world pirouettes around him, visions of the outside flipped on their head—more effort is required to prevent himself from painting the inside of his bloodstained helmet with bile and other unwanteds.
“Tatsuya, please,” he begs one last time, feeling the trickle of something warm from his nostril. The assault on his body threatens to take his life, but nothing is more agonizing than the loss of Himuro, the only real thing he has in this world.
|HIMURO TATSUYA ϟ||
Posted: May 26 2015, 02:48 PM
And, just like any adventure, any Sunday morning sermon, it couldn't last.
The kaiju alarm blares and breaks the silence, summoning a groan from Taiga's mouth and a laugh out of Tatsuya's. They scramble out of the bunk, blinking sleep from bleary eyes, because monsters don't operate on any set schedule and have no sense of good timing.
"That's our cue." He reaches up to ruffle Taiga's fiery hair as they walk out on synchronised steps and exhales. "Let's go get them, Tiger."
Taiga's voice is loud as it is hoarse, like it's physically being torn from his throat like magician's ribbons. He's no longer in Tatsuya's mind but he can still guess what he's thinking, who he's comparing himself to, what he's punishing himself for. It's written in the desperate lines of his face, a painted panic in his eyes.
Tears prick like needles at Tatsuya's own, because Taiga's got it all wrong. This is Tatsuya's fault for not being strong enough, for not having moved on, not his.
You were always good enough for me.
Useless, now that it falls on deaf ears.
But it's that thought that shines a light on another promise he'd made to the boy he saved, to the man he'd watched grow up too soon just to stand beside him, here at the edge of the world. This is the least he could do, when Taiga is killing himself to support his dead weight.
So he stands, willing his side of the jaeger to follow suit, though their connection is severed and they have less of a chance of making it out of here alive than the sun burning out that very moment.
He lifts his arm and Ignis' with it, metal palm opened and ready to fire. "One last time, Taiga."
Sorry I'm not the hero you asked for.
|KAGAMI TAIGA ϟ||
Posted: May 26 2015, 09:12 PM
What is more difficult than trying to move the jaeger on his own is watching his Messiah fall. The one who was sent to save him is now the one who needs saving and Kagami doesn’t know how to be that salvation. He could do it for others, he could be a hero they paste onto recruitment posters and billboards, but he cannot return all the good Himuro has done.
(The pain, he allows to fester within him so that he can return it two—no, tenfold.)
Last echoes within him like a death sentence and Kagami can barely see past it. The end, an abyss with no future—that is what he will become with nothing left. One last time. It plays on an endless loop and rubs salt into freshly opened wounds. He knows with certainty that there is no place for him in Himuro’s heart.
Mirroring the movement, Kagami lifts his arm and charges the cannon, filling it with hate, blood and blame. If it wasn’t for the damn kaiju, they wouldn’t have met. If it wasn’t for the damn kaiju, they might have been happy, endlessly so. As the plasma flashes white and the blood glows blue, Kagami lifts his side’s arm and stabs the kaiju repeatedly. Small grunts are made with each movement, a sniffle in between, as he continues to carve new holes into the monster.
Even by the time the creatures goes limp, Kagami continues to tear into it. He’s throwing a tantrum and everyone knows it—Himuro, command and their LOCCENT crew back at the base. His sobs are louder, tears falling faster as he tries to wish everything away.
I have nothing.
|HIMURO TATSUYA ϟ||
Posted: May 27 2015, 05:05 PM
What is more difficult than willing his feet to remain firm on the ocean floor is watching Taiga fight alone. The one he had saved once, the one he had promised to save again and again and again, is shouldering everything for the two of them and there's absolutely nothing he can do. He's regret personified, paralyzed between Shuu's memory and Taiga's despair; he had tried to protect them both and he had failed. Twice.
Because this, or whatever's left of it, can only be considered a failure back at base. Even as the kaiju's blood splatters the glass he knows, with eyes burning hot and a mouth pressed to tremble, that this is the end of what they have.
He used to look at Taiga and thínk, we're compatible.
He looks at Taiga now and all he'd say, with a voice too high and too cracked to be intelligible, would be, we're a danger to each other.
He doesn't want to say goodbye. He isn't sure he could survive it, but he'll have to, if he wants Taiga to even reach his next birthday. An incident like this can't, and won't happen again. The best thing Tatsuya can do for him is to make certain of that.
The loss is imminent (it's already here) and he folds in on himself, helpless as Taiga performs overkill on the kaiju's corpse, expending energy he can't afford with a body that had had to pilot on its own.
"Stop it, Taiga." He rips away the trappings of his suit and takes off his helmet. The visor had gotten foggy, all of a sudden. "It's dead."
He means the kaiju, of course he does.
|KAGAMI TAIGA ϟ||
Posted: Jul 17 2015, 11:13 PM
It's not. Not to Kagami. This incident will haunt him for the rest of his days, proof of his incompetence—how he was simply not good enough. This nightmare will never die.
With tears streaming down his face, he continues to rip the kaiju into pieces, forgetting about the risk this poses to others. Kaiju blue, seeping in the the dark waters, bright and mocking. Its colour assaults him, on the screen. If he could, he'd reach out and tear out the display.
(Would that kill him? Would that end his new found pain? This agony that he can no longer bear. His heart was broken when Himuro found him and he was a fool to ever believe it completely healed.)
Was this even real? Were we?
It doesn't matter anymore. Tears stream down his pitiful face, his cheeks red from holding his breath. (Holding out for a hero, again?) He doesn't listen to Himuro anymore. All he can hear is the beating of his own heart—or the metal beating into dead flesh.
His mind throbs, brain pulsing under the weight that he's had to carry. Everything crashes onto him suddenly, waves brought on by all kinds of monsters. Suddenly, his arm is too heavy to lift, his eyes too tired to keep crying.
"I'm done," he breathes, although he's not too sure what with.
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