Welcome again to another of my musings. This fic was started back at the start of October but a week later we moved so I set it down until now and decided to go ahead and finish it. I dedicate this little glimpse of time to all my readers and hope you enjoy. I apologize in advance for any spelling or grammar errors. I've gone over it a few times but am sure I missed some and will do so again in due time. This is also a special dedication to another couple I love but that gets very little love and attention.
This is especially goes out to Rose-chan just as an insurance that I didn't abandon you guys :P.
With out further adieu, I present to you...
Out of Orbit
Dark and melancholy, smoke warms the liquid air as the hushed murmurs drown the clink of dingy glasses on mahogany and blackened stone. A sad lilt vibrates across the ancient radio, barely distinguished from the whispers wafting at the most sedate of pace. An era or more past it's prime, the ware shows true of it's loyal hosts, night after night, drinking the same drinks, grasping the same glass, sitting the same seat, and thinking the same think. Having wandered across that dank threshold a thousand times or more, the pungent acriss of air, urges the new to wipe at their eyes while the old savors the tang on their lips.
The stains on the dirty green floor hardly owes no mind to those who walk it's thread-bare path nor do the rings rubbed ever more into the high bar top, even as the glass raps on the same ole spot again, enhanced by the ice cubes gentle clank. Maybe it's been minutes but more then likely hours, time is only kept by the sign in the window flashing it's message that it's open to the pitch black world. The tap runs smoothly as the liquor pours true, with beat beat beat in the window and the ash trays get their fill, yet no one cares to notice how the hands of the clock never move from where they hang on the wall above the till.
Accepting another pour over the slowly melting ice, a word goes unsaid with the tip of the chin and the reflection of the golden brown in their sullen eyes. The days have been long and the nights even worse, stretching out like an eternity with no respite in sight. That confounding question still harkens like a pestering crow, forever cawing like a craven, why. Why. Why did time have to stand so still? But a sip of the tannic addiction burns away the answers to a dulling ache.
Clouding and misty like the oppressive air, she drops the half full glass back down with a thud, landing with out a glance in the ring of sweat which had beaded from the innumerable drinks she's had. Fingers thinned and hardened by work, her touch lingers on the yellowed glass, remembering the color in all the warmth it ever had. Such a good memory, it almost brings her back before another sip crosses her lips, scalding like fire akin to the black top holding up her arms. So many memories, so few spirits in the air.
Four years, eight months, twenty-one days, and a fistful of hours, that's how long it's been since she slid into the third stool from the door and ordered the keep to double her on the strongest stink he could sell. The stars called on her so long ago in the black of almost blue, another memory so it would seem, driving her to fall completely and madly apart. One thing though, remains forgotten in the blur, being what drove that first glass into her hand.
Sallow eyes stare down into the ill divined drink, dark against opaque skin, the keep never asked for name nor reason, and she was content not to give him one. It's hard to say why she picked this dive, lost amongst the labyrinth of streets of this forlorn town, but the reason she came back again and again finds itself written on her crumbling soul. No one tried to warm her other than her drink.
Adrift in thoughts and smells,feeling every crack in the facade and creek in the floor beneath her rusted out stool, the muffled sound of the keep's dingy towel on the other end of the long bar lulls her into another memory of tarnished loss and pain. So many colors and so many hurts, the liquor soothes it for one more stinging kiss, if only the rest of the world could feel the kiss of her frozen glass.
Having barely taken a bite in forever and the smoke since becoming second nature in her lungs, she finds her pallor skin resting much more loosely on her normally lithe frame. Muscle tone diminished and lengthening hair hanging limply against her back, she finds herself feeling older then she ever wanted to be. Age just being an abstract thought, the numbers reflect on her drawn cheekbones and dance in the reflective notes of her vacant eyes.
Entranced by the rivulets of melting ice swirling in with her precious amber drink, the low tick-tock rumble of the bar scene is disturbed with the over zealous entry of a new comer to the bar, allowing blinding white light to fill the dismal hole as they stand longer then necessary in the rickety doorway. A harshness not fully experienced in far too long, the woman huddled morosely at the bar can't help but to look to the entry along with everyone else and hold a hand up to block the brilliant shine. A pure light so intense, she's forced to remember one more time, choking at the memory before breaking the arrivals gaze to look back into her glass with a ferocity like no other before downing the best part of the drink.
"Stouts!" A too pleasant voice calls, far more commanding then such a hovel deserves. Undeterred by the smokey haze and the patrons quietly slipping out one by one, the new guy tosses his discarded long coat onto the weathered bar top and flops into the stool to the sullen woman's right.
Attempting at being amicable, he grins at her as the keep saunters up to pull his drink but the only reaction he earns is the minutest of flicks of her eyes up from her empty glass towards the keep in tune with the rap of a knuckle on the battered top, signaling for a triple this time and not to be cheap.
Hearing the scrape of his beer pushed across to him, she nearly jumps at the second glass as it slides to her left as another man slips down on her other side. So long passing since the last time she had shared her spot, the hairs dance on end from the length of her arms to the back of her neck. Nodding a silent thanks, she wastes no time taking a wicked pull to ignore the looks the men share in appreciation of their own ice cold ale.
Though the clock hands regret to move, she counts the beats of the sign, knowing more then ten minutes have soon gone since that wretched door swung closed and the mens' pints are nearly halfway gone. Silence being the only thing lingering between them to show that they're still there. She begrudges a mournful look into her since emptied glass, knowing she may have blown past her well marked invisible line.
Feeling the warmth numbing her face, she lifts the dirty glass to gaze on the way the subtle overhead light dances in it's contours and the remaining shards of ice. Noting the bits of color with the running water and lingering drops of liquor, she wonders if the glass were crystal or just some old composite glass. So in tuned with her meanderings, the glass slips through her fingers when a voice shatters her trance.
"What orbit did you fall from angel?" That odd husky voice asks, earning a sharp gasp as the glass slips and falls from her finger tips, only to be replaced by a mortified look in her eyes, despite the quick reflexes of his partner as he catches it mid flight.
Swallowing a dry, gagging taste in the back of her throat, she grimaces one last regretting look to the should be sharded remains before finally meeting the too bright eyes waiting her response. Darkness smoldering in the depths of her own orbs, she takes a long moment to search his perfectly smooth face, noting the way he grins before taking a drink, unperturbed by her intensity, her desire to eviscerate his suave little lips.
"Angels don't fall..." She murmurs, voice flowing more sultry then she ever knew possible, "they only change course." Gaze sparking to life like embers, she ensnares him in her smoldering gaze, passing the feeling that the whole world held judgment at that very moment. Waiting for the moment that she feels his skin crawl, she then looks away to find the keep pouring three blue agave shots. Grabbing the drink without question, she downs it in a blink and slams the glass back to the counter, begging for another, much to the chagrin of the second man who lets loose a deeper baritone chuckle.
Sipping his own drink at a more sedate pace, he ignores the glare she's turned on him, never once bothering to meet her eyes or utter a word. Knowing how the story goes, he pushes his own shot next to hers, preferring to keep with his current brew. Dry and tasting of rich molasses, he finds himself guessing what brand is flowing on tap. So long hunting, in earnest and despaired, now all that matters is the brown in the glass.
Looking so similar, she keeps her eyes down cast, intent on the second shot and avoiding meeting their searching gazes again. Flexing her tired fingers, she grasps the still full glass and lifts it to her lips, letting the slow burn take her in time to hide the tears building in her eyes. Hating that she loves the way it makes her feel, her hands begin shaking, trembling so hard that the the glass rattles against the bar.
Signaling the keep for one last round and to top off her glass, the man to her left gently takes the glass from her stiff fingers, allowing his finger tips to graze hers. Studying her details, he finds she's changed so much yet not at all. So many words escape his mind as they focus on her delicate facade, blurred in the dank hovel she made her home, no missing quiet. The lonesome feel. His thoughts rolling on and on, he takes a drink from refreshed glass as the keep once again walks away, having no patrons left to tend to in sight.
Both men drink in unison, not missing the way her hands cup the whiskey glass but never touching it's outer shell. Knowing to say, it's the words they've been searching for so long just to say. Two simple words. No dramatics. No nuances. Just two plain and simple words.
"Kino Makoto," the man on her left finally says, confirming what they all know and breaking her resolve.
A sob breaking her lips, the tears follow soon after, she roughly grabs her damning glass and takes a drink in punishment for her sin. Straightening her back the best that she can, she drops the glass back down and wipes the back of her had across her chin. "Hiiro-kun," she whimpers softly, unable to look him in the eyes. Sniffing lightly in regret to her tears, she takes another long swallow until she's drained her glass.
Finishing his second glass, the man to her right mournfully sees her tears freely begin to fall and can't hold back a moment longer. Touching her chin gently with the tips of his fingers, he turns her head to see her eyes. So bold, so green, so not worthy of what she'd seen. Giving her a apologetic smile, he tenderly wipes a few of her tears with the pad of his thumb. Cheeks flushed and raw, he knows those tears have fallen for longer then her life long share.
Sobbing again, she leans her cheek into his palm, having felt no warmth in so very long. "Duo-kun," she barely finds she can say his name, wishing so hard that she could be strong. Stronger then she'd been that day...that day she can't bare to remember still. "I'm sorry...I'm sorry," she beings crying again and again.
She knew it was her. She thought it was right, but it had to be her. She was on Libra and enlisted in White fang. It was her hands that leaked the info and it was her tainted hands that opened that door. The Zero system was madness and proved such when given to the most unstable hands. A duel was her idea and she put the epee in the mad woman's hands.
"Shh...Mako-chan," Duo coos, moved by her tears as he pulls her into his arms. "You don't have to cry anymore."
"But it's my fault...all my fault,"she professes, pushing him back to lock eyes with him, to show him exactly what she feels. "I'm why he's dead. I encouraged Milliardo to put her in that room. I put the sword..." she sobs again. "I put the sword that killed him in Dorothy's hands."
Moved by her words, tears prick Duo's eyes, making his words freeze in his throat. Seeing his comrades plight, he sees why it was so important they do this as a team, Hiiro pulls her from the other mans arms. Turning her on the stool, he cups her soft face in his cool and callused hands. "Makoto," he repeats her name. Still as reserved as he'd always been, something in his cold blue eyes implores her to hear his words. "He lives Mako," he whispers, almost insists.
Sobbing, she shakes her head, not wanting to hear words she's drank so long to forget. His hands slipping to her narrow shoulders, she drops her chin to her chest. "No," she whispers, willing him away with another frantic shake of her head.
"He's alive," Hiiro says again, "We got him out. Trowa got him out."
Still watching as she denies to listen, Duo chimes in, having found his resolve one more. "Quatre didn't die that day." He insists, with a conviction bordering on a shout.
Gasping a hard breath and feeling the cloud around her pulse, she hears the creaky door open and the casual steps that cross the threshold with a purpose still. Wanting to keep her eyes downcast she struggles to make her muscles obey. To not look up, to not open her eyes, to not see that ghost who just walked through that door. Cursing her lack of control in the losing battle, she resents having heard him speak that name. Resents the way her eyes longingly drift to the door, yearning to believe.
A ribbon of light still shows through the door as he stands there as serene as he could ever be. Casual as she always remembered and that charmingly gently shine in his eyes and angle of his face. Shy still in all his bold belief, he stands there with his hands deep in his pockets and gently biting his lip. It's that look though, those desperate eyes that longed like she, to see the one that he thought he'd done so wrong.
"Quatre-kun?" Makoto cries in question, hoping with all hope that he's real and not just some trick of the drink. "Quatre?" She begs again, stumbling to her feet, legs shaking as badly as her hands.
Melting heart, Quatre finally smiles the softest little smile, opening his arms on queue as she stumbles towards him with an unknown surge of power. "My strong Mako-chan," Quatre murmurs, pulling her tight in his arms, promising himself to never ever let go. Letting her sobs against his shoulder, he freely welcomes the tears to his own eyes. "I've searched so long."
Crying together, their friends give them space as they each come to terms on their own stretch of time. So many years wasted, they would fight to have it back. It took so long to recover and even longer to make the world somewhat right, he expected her to show up not long after but as the years ticked by, he broke down in begged his friends to help.
Seeing through the fog and lingering pain, Mako pulls herself away but stays put in his arms. Seeing him truly for the first time outside of dreams, she searches deeply for the words she's longed to say. The words she wanted to leave lost at the bottom of her glass. The words that would always be meant only for his ears. Smiling despite her tears, she gasps as he desperately wipes away her tears. His hands so soft, so warm, she swells with the feeling she felt with every liquid draw.
"I missed you," She proclaims, eliciting a sob from her fair haired knight. So strong and brilliant, cunning in battle and perfection in business, it's the emotion he so openly shows that won her so long ago.
"I missed you too."
And I hope you enjoyed! Thank you for reading and do let me know what you think.