A.N.: This is just a little oneshot of an alternate take on my favourite part of this game. Because it is such a dramatic incident, I'm quite surprised we don't get a more in-depth look at how any other character reacts to it. Especially when it triggers such a dramatic character development for our favourite recolour (he goes from multiple attempts at murder to saving Pit's life. Twice. In a row.), and yet all we get from him is two or three fragmented sentences. So, I figured I'd dig a little deeper, use a little imagination, and try and recreate a possible explanation for what the other side of the coin experienced. Call it a dramatic headcannon if you will, but hopefully you'll enjoy it.
Also I experimented with a new style, so hopefully it works.
Out of the Darkness
Alone in the silence, you feel nothing, you think nothing, you are nothing. Then, suddenly, there is an explosion of your senses and you find yourself gasping for breath like a landed fish. Forgotten sensations return in a rush, each stronger than the last: a piercing pain in your eyes, a harsh burning in your nostrils, a sharp chill on your tongue. Unbidden, your body tries to take it all in at once, wasting no time in reaching out to the world around you. The sheer enormity of it all overwhelms you and you instinctively bury your face into your chest in a feeble attempt to shut it out.
It only gets worse. You start to violently tremble as your awakening senses expand ever farther. You cringe against the deafening pounding in your ears. You press your eyes shut to blot out the... light? You gag in repulsion at the taste and smell of... dirt. You shudder as something cold - wind? - brushes against your wings.
Slowly, you become aware of yourself, of your arms bunched into your chest, of your wings wrapped around your shoulders, of your legs curled into your stomach. Your shaking fingers clench into fists, and then spring open again to free the gathered bits of earth trapped within. You slowly allow your eyes to open - the only bit of control you seem to have - and peer out cautiously at what lies behind your eyelids.
You keep your head down, away from the light - you never did like the light much. The first sight that greets you is your own hand, pale, trembling and halfway between open and closed. You twist it experimentally, tentatively wiggling your fingers into different positions. The motions are familiar, and yet alien to you, but at least they don't hurt.
Strangest of all to you, though, is the concept of simply breathing. You never took notice of it before, but every mouthful of air you gulp brings with it new tastes and scents that you once knew, but took for granted: mud, dust, even you own sweat is a brand new experience for you. How long has it been since you last drew breath? Minutes? Hours? Days? How are you still alive? Are you alive? Is this all just a dream? An illusion? A trick? A lie?
Your head spins, as panic and confusion engulf you. What is going on here? What happened? Where are you? How did you get here? Why is every little thing your senses perceive so utterly overwhelming? Why is this happening? Just as you think your brain is about to explode, it finally seems to turn itself on and start searching for answers. Recent memories are all you have to go by, so you struggle through the dizziness to conjure them up.
You remember flight. You remember you were off on your own, exploring the vast expanses of the world, trying to keep yourself as detached from the hectic affairs of the gods as possible. There were strange creatures attacking you, the likes of which you had never seen before. They seemed to be trying to emulate familiar enemies, like minions of the Underworld Army and the Forces of Nature, but they were clearly just cheap copies. The only thing they'd gotten right was how easy it was to kill them. And you'd been doing just that: killing off whatever freaks dared cross you - real or not.
After that, there is nothing.
You flinch at the memory - or, rather, lack thereof - because the nothingness that engulfed you was so powerful, so consuming that there was less than nothing left of you. You weren't dead, but you weren't alive either. You existed in absolute paralysis, if such an experience could be called "existence".
Your mind still spins and you keep gasping for breath as you try to push yourself up. How long were you frozen like that, heedless to the passage of time, numb to the touch of the breeze, deaf and blind to the world around you? It must have been long enough that even just lying on the ground has your senses completely overloaded. This is nothing like your first introduction into this world, emerging from the Mirror of Truth in a triumphant shower of confidence and broken glass. Now you can barely move, quivering like an infant at your sudden re-exposure to the world. Absolutely pathetic.
How could this happen? What could have stolen your life away like that, and yet not kill you? Was it those wannabe minions, or maybe their leader? Did they strike you with such ferocity that your entire existence was put on hold until now? And how and why are you back now from wherever it was you were?
Try as you might, you can't remember, but you silently vow to find out who or what did this to you and thoroughly kick its ass.
"Hey, are you alright?" a voice calls out. You flinch again at the sudden noise (you're still not used to the sensation of sound yet, and really, interaction has never been your forte) and whip your head up to face it.
Squinting thought the light that burns into your eyes, (damn, you hate light!) you see a figure approaching you. A large figure. Propped up on one elbow, you reach behind your back and grab the staff strapped between your wings. You almost grin with pride as your body remembers how to arm itself without direct command from your sluggish brain, but you turn it into a fierce snarl.
"G-get away from-!" Your breath catches mid-threat as your black wings flare out intimidatingly, exposing your back and shoulders to the cold air. The shock has you almost retracting them, but you fight the reflex while trying to regain your shaken composure with an even nastier grimace.
Your eyes finally adjust as the figure falters in its advance, and you can see that it is a man. A large man with an equally large sword slung over his back. Even without the sword, his massive physique alone is quite intimidating, with long, black hair draped over shoulders almost as broad as one of your wings, and forearms thicker than your legs. You don't back down, though, your fingers hovering over the trigger of your staff, ready to blow him away at a moment's notice.
He stares at you, frowning in puzzlement. "Angel face?"
You are momentarily struck dumb at his absurd greeting. What was that supposed to mean? Is he making fun of you? "Who are you calling 'Angel face', human?" you bark back at him.
The only indication that he has even heard you at all is the arch of a bushy eyebrow. He doesn't appear to be remotely intimidated by you at all, so you raise your staff higher, pointing it directly at his face. "I don't know what you think angels are like, but I have no problem killing you right now," you tell him with all the bitterly cold steel you can conjure.
His eyebrow climbs higher. "What's your problem?"
"You're my problem. Get lost."
He folds his arms and shifts his weight to one side, not going for his sword, but not leaving, either. "Right. Can you even stand up?"
Your grip on your staff tightens. "I don't need to to take you down."
"Heh." His mouth curls into a smirk and you strongly consider shooting him right here and now. "Alright. You win, hot shot. I'm clearly outta my league here." He frowns slightly before adding, "But seriously, can you get up?"
Your eyes narrow as a bead of sweat trickles down your temple. "Wh-what's it to you?" Seriously, will this human get lost?
He shrugs. "Humour me."
Your staff starts shaking you're gripping it so hard. "I don't have to prove anything to you, human!" you snap at him. "J-just get out of here before I-gyaah!" Your arm buckles beneath you and you collapse in a crumpled heap. You scramble to right yourself again in between desperate, heavy breaths, but your arms are shaking so hard you need both of them to hold yourself up.
You glance sharply up at the man, who has drawn his sword, but instead of taking advantage of your lapse into helplessness leans on it with an unimpressed frown on his face. "Very convincing," he comments dryly.
Colour rushes to your face as your temper flares, but as he seems to be showing no sign of aggression, you focus on getting to your feet. It takes a lot more effort than you remember it taking, and the sensation of your legs supporting your weight is as strange and unfamiliar as everything else seems to be. Your head spins with sudden dizziness as your weight redistributes itself, but you fight through it regardless. Your own weakness disgusts you, and you resolve your recently made vow to brutally murder whatever it was that made you undergo this humiliation. However, the more you move, the better you feel, and with a few steadying flaps of your wings and a bit of leverage from your staff, you manage to get yourself standing upright, albeit shakily.
You turn to the man, who still hasn't moved but still continues to watch you curiously. "Happy now?" you spit venomously.
He just shrugs casually in reply. His flippant attitude infuriates you, but you soon take notice of his stance. He appears relaxed, but you can tell that he is poised for immediate action should the need arise. The way he rests on the balls of his feet, and the way his hand rests on the hilt of his sword, ready to draw it at any moment tell of a level of combat experience you didn't know a human could achieve. Even the sword itself is terrifying: absurdly gigantic, as broad as your waist and as thick as your arm, it almost resembles a club more than a blade, were it not for its razor sharp, steel edges. You honestly don't believe he can wield that thing - it's taller than he is, for the gods' sakes! - but the confidence in his deceptively casual posture and the way his eyes are completely locked on you make you reconsider attacking him, especially in your current state. Even if you were quick enough to take him by surprise, there is enough muscle in those massive arms to take everything you throw at him and effortlessly hurl it right back.
Clearly, this is no normal human. But he still doesn't seem interested in attacking you right now, so you put your newly rediscovered senses to work and take in your surroundings. You're standing on a dirt road that runs alongside an open field. A wooden fence serves as a boundary between the two, but it's so old and flimsy that you wonder how it could possibly keep anything from crossing over it. Anything not tall enough to climb over it could easily pass between the long, thin logs tied together. Definitely a human construction. Only they could come up with something so useless and pass it off as functional.
The light breeze that ruffles your hair and feathers carries a sharp scent. You'd noticed it earlier, but you couldn't place it, especially with everything around you demanding your full attention at the same time. You turn towards its source, a small human city standing nearby. Though you could hardly call it standing. Even from as far off as you are, you can see crumbled walls and piles of rubble scattered around its destroyed foundations. Anguished wails and cries emanate from the few humans wandering about the ashes of their homes, looking for survivors and begging for help. Thick smoke rises from the ruined town, looming over it like a flock of vultures waiting for something to die. Its sickly haze lingers stagnantly despite the wind, and shows no sign of dissipating.
You wonder what could have happened here. You've witness the wild carnage of the Underworld Army, and you've seen the utter destruction of the Force of Nature, but this is completely different. The sporadic piles of rubble, the relatively intact structures, and the fact that there are still humans skulking about are all indicative of an unfamiliar force, one you can't recognize, but one that you can still sense the remnants of a divine presence lingering from.
"You lost or something?"
You glare harshly at the man, still leaning on his ridiculously oversized weapon in that infuriatingly casual slouch. It isn't even worth your time to answer him, so you flare your wings out and take off into the overcast sky. You almost allow yourself a smile as the familiar feeling of weightlessness and freedom of the open air surrounds you. You forgot how much you relished the limitless bounds of the heavens. It doesn't matter what happened here. Maybe the humans have found another way to destroy each other, the only thing they are remotely competent at. What does matter is finding out what attacked you and tearing it into so many pieces it would take a thousand years to even begin putting it back together.
"If you're looking for Pit, he took off the other way."
You stop so abruptly you nearly fall out of the sky. You regain your balance and stare incredulously at the man who now stands up straight with his sword lying across his back again and his arms folded across his chest. "What did you say?"
A knowing smile spreads across his face. "Figured you must've known him. Friend of yours?"
Outrage and disgust fills you at the thought that you could be at all friendly with the idiotic, obnoxious goofball that shares your face. You beat your wings harder in reflexive repulsion, lifting yourself a few feet higher into the air. "No," you say with as much hatred as one syllable can hold.
That eyebrow of his arches again. "Really? You look just like him, though."
"Doesn't mean I like him." You bring yourself in a little closer to him, curiosity piqued. "How do you know him, anyway?"
"We've helped each other out a couple of times. In fact, I just finished getting him out of a ring."
"A ring?" His words are nonsense to you, but for some reason a cold sense of dread begins building in your stomach. "What are you talking about?"
"His mind was trapped in a ring for three years while something else controlled his body. I had to help him get back to normal."
You barely hear the last half of his answer. Your heart starts pounding as his words slowly sink in. "Wh-what?" Did he just say three years? You're no mathematician, but it doesn't take a genius to know that the numbers don't make sense. "But that's... that can't..." Your confusion flares into anger, and you lash out at the obviously lying human. "You don't know anything, human!"
Both eyebrows go up this time. "What are you all fired up about? You asked."
"Obviously that was a mistake! What you're saying is impossible!" Why does this matter so much to you? What are you getting so upset about? Why is your heart racing? And why does that sinking feeling of dread keep getting stronger and stronger?
"You sure about that?" His face holds an odd expression. You can almost see the gears turning in his head, piecing together the final pieces of some puzzle you can't fathom.
You almost sneer at him. Of course you're sure. You haven't even existed for three years. And the idiot was in his oh-so right mind when you last saw him. "I have no idea what you're talking about. And I don't think you do, either."
"What's your problem? I thought you didn't like him."
"I don't! This isn't about him!" you snap. You feel like you're being crushed, the anxiety in your stomach spreading to borderline panic in your chest. You don't understand why his words are having such a strong effect on you, but you won't let him trick you into believing what you know can't possibly be true. "Look, I just fought with him the other day! He's fine!" You know you're right, but as the words leave your mouth, they feel weak and empty.
At the same time, the proverbial light bulb clicks on over the man's head. "Uh-huh. You're sure it was the other day?"
His tone irks you. He knows something you don't, and he's making sure you know it. "What are you getting at? You think I can't tell time?"
"How long were you lying there before I found you?"
Your breath catches. Your mind races, going back to the emptiness that consumed you, that became you for so long. You can't dwell on it for long, instantly recoiling from the memory, but a single question lingers: how long were you forced to endure that purgatory, trapped in between death and life, without hope, without sensation, without existence? Has it really been three whole years?
You barely catch yourself in time as your feet touch the ground. You hadn't even noticed your descent. Despite everything, you're still having trouble accepting it. How could you have just disappeared like that for that long?
There is a slight motion in the corner of your eye - the human! - and in an instant, your staff is aimed directly at his chest, the tip glowing with a menacing, purple light. "Tell me everything you know. Now."
He takes a half step back, his hand flying to the hilt of his sword. "Hey, watch it, hot shot! How should I know what's going on?"
You glare at him icily. "First you know everything and now you don't know anything at all? I don't buy it."
He doesn't back down. "Look, all I know is that for three years the gods have completely turned their backs on us! Even the goddess of light has abandoned us!"
This catches your interest. You're no fan of Palutena's, but this doesn't sound anything like her at all. "Abandoned you? I thought she liked humans."
He snorts in disgust. "Not anymore. It was her centurions that demolished that town over there." He tilts his head in the direction of the smouldering ruins. So this is the destruction of the goddess of light. Never would you have imagined this. She has always done her best to help and protect the human race, and now she's deliberately attacking them? Has she lost her mind? "And your friend was leading the assault."
You glance sharply at the man again. "He's not my friend. And I thought you said he was trapped in a ring."
"His mind was. Something else was controlling his body."
"Beats me. I just helped him get reunited again."
The sudden lack of information he provides you with is incredibly annoying. Then again, it's your own fault for believing a human could provide anything remotely useful. He has given you a few clues, though, so you start to piece together what little you've gathered.
Three years. That's the key to this entire mystery, and yet is the greatest mystery in and of itself. What happened three years ago that started this whole mess? And how does it involve you?
You try your hardest to remember, but your last memory is one of battle. You can't even remember it being a pinnacle moment; one second you were in the middle of taking out a few dozen of the wannabe freak shows, and the next - nothing.
...Or was there something? At the last second, the instant before you lost everything, you felt something. At the back of your mind, for a split second, there was... a presence. In fact, you can feel it now, a tiny spark of life resting quietly in the depths of your subconscious; not you, but familiar nonetheless. Has it been there this whole time? It must have been there three years ago, for it was the very last thing you experienced, and when it ended, you ended.
Who or what was that? Oddly enough, you seem to already know. Who else could have such an impact on your life but the one whose life yours was drawn from? You were born in the reflection of a cursed mirror, and are simply that: a copy that can only exist at all so long as the real deal stands in the light. The circumstances of your creation demand it: he may be able to survive without you, but it is clear now that as the moon is nothing but a rock in space without the sun's light, so are you nothing without your original, much as you hate to admit it. And, speaking of light, one other fact ties everything together: Palutena's abrupt change of heart. Something drastic must've happened for her to suddenly unleash her wrath (does she even have wrath?) upon humanity, and you suspect that there lies your answer.
Three years ago, Palutena was robbed of her sanity. Three years ago, Pit was robbed of his body. Three years ago, you were robbed of your existence. It looks like you've got one hell of a thief on your hands.
"Figure something out?" the man asks dryly, still watching you with his hand hovering over the handle of his gigantic sword.
"Maybe." In truth, you don't know much at all. You'll need a lot more information before you can blast anything into oblivion, but that's exactly why you need to get moving and find some answers. "Which way did you say Pit went?"
The man half-smiles and jabs a thumb over his shoulder. "That way."
You nod and take off in that direction, climbing quickly into the sky. It was whatever happened in Skyworld (and, specifically, to Pit) that started this whole mess, and that is where you'll find the truth. Followed, of course, by a major ass kicking.
"Hey, hotshot!" the man calls out to you. What does he want now? "If you see your goddess, ask her to lay off on the attacks, would you? She's supposed to be on our side!"
"She's not my... whatever." You don't have time to argue with him. You couldn't care less about the humans' plight, but if you do end up getting Palutena to return to her senses and end her attack on humanity, then good for them. You really don't care much for her or Pit either, but it's clear now that your existence depends on them, whether you like it or not. Besides, you have to admit that after fighting with - and losing to - your double twice, he's earned a little bit of your respect. He's a valiant warrior whose skill is equal to your own, and a part of you wonders what it would be like to fight alongside him rather than against him for once, with your attacks combined instead of colliding...
One way or another, you get to dish out one hell of a beatdown. So you don't mind too much.
A.N.: Thanks for reading! Please review! Just a simple "I liked it" or "this was dumb lol" will suffice.