Note: Hello! This fic has been a long time coming. I meant to write it months ago, after I finally beat the Adventure mode in Spirits from Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, but time and life got in the way. Anyway, this fic is a take on the in between period between Smash 4/SSBU and Kid Icarus: Uprising, because during some of Pit's guidance lines in the Smash Bros. universe, it's shown that since KI: U, Dark Pit has been working for Viridi "towards a common goal" and Viridi has control over the Lightning Chariot (so when will Pit's final smash get nerfed, then?). I always wondered how Dark Pit ended up working for Viridi, since he's so obstinately independent, and this is one rendition of what went down that day!
Anyway, long story short, please enjoy some character development and character study. I love my emo son.
There was something disquieting about being alone. Dark Pit would seldom admit it, because his pride was unbreakable, no matter how hard he tried to break it, and no matter how many times others took cracks at it. Still, he knew there was nothing to gain from feeling so devastated all the time—from having his heart crushed beneath his own heels, having dust gathered at his own fingertips so he could stain everything he touched. He knew it was a hollow, tragic feeling, one he gained too much gratification from than any living being should.
And it showed on a particularly stormy day, where Dark Pit took refuge in a cavern, and ducked into the space until the assault of hail and snow disappeared behind his folded wings. He could feel the soak on his plumes, and shivered as the ice cold water slid across his black feathers. The droplets fell off in discordant thrums, the drip-drip-dripping continuing on like a dull song in his ears.
He listened to that sound for a while, exhaling deeply as his chest felt unstable—like a deep flame trying to break through an age-old ice, breaths disappearing into shudders and desperate heat escaping him each time he wanted to draw life.
Yes, it was quite miserable in there.
He wondered how it got to be that way.
Of course, life was difficult when you didn't have a paradise like Skyworld as your own backyard. Of course, things were harder when you didn't have a radiant Goddess watching over your every move, protecting you and using you like a cherished sword. Of course, everything was much more difficult—much more taxing—when the only thing you could rely on was yourself.
And that was a funny word to Dark Pit, alongside a few other funny words he knew. Yourself, myself, himself. He was himself, undoubtedly, unlike anyone else he'd met so far. He was serious, truthful, straight to the point. He didn't bother with platitudes or lies or make-believe stories. He didn't pretend to be something he wasn't. When others would rather blindly revere the Gods in the Heavens, he would be the one to remind them that the divine powers were what caused living things to suffer in the first place. When others would pledge fealty and love to a being that didn't understand what either of those things meant, he would be the one to recourse the hatred through their bones.
He was himself.
And yet, he wasn't anything like that at all.
Because, he knew his origins better than any other. He knew that his entire existence spawned from a mistake, from a trap. Pandora's smirking face was never a frightening sight to see, but he could envision it, still—the way that her canines were pointed, bright eyes narrowed down to dangerous slits, hazy darkness surrounding her incorporeal form. He knew his creator and his technical maker oh-so-very well. It was her Mirror of Truth that reflected his being, her poisoned glass that brought ideas and emotions to life. It was her doing.
It was Pit, all courage and bravery and none of the thoughtfulness (unless the thoughts centered around combative skills, or how to best serve his highly revered Lady Palutena) that came with it. It was Pit, who stared at his own reflection, and watched as his mirror image copied his every move—right down to shattering the Mirror of Truth itself, and releasing something that should have never existed in the first place.
A shadow was born that day, and the shadow learned things like yourself, myself, and himself without ever really understanding what any of it meant. He wasn't Pandora's puppet, by his own admission and even hers, and he certainly wasn't a servant to Palutena, Hades, Medusa, or any other divinely celestial being with powers unimaginable. And he wasn't Pit's mediocre double, either, especially if he had any say in it.
But Dark Pit was just that: a shadow. He was, is, and will be the darkness that presides in Skyworld's favorite angel. The things that the original Pit could never say—the hesitance in following the light at all, the pressure that came with serving a Goddess endlessly and righteously, the anger and fear that bottled itself up without him knowing—became Dark Pit's everyday utterances. The secrets that Pit kept to himself, whether dark and burning or small and harmless, were Dark Pit's daily confirmations. He spoke out into existence what was never meant to be heard, he acted on inhibitions that were never meant to be felt.
He lived in a life that was never meant to be. A shadow couldn't live on its own, after all—a shadow needed light or an object, just something to make it whole. A shadow was incomplete if left in the darkness all by itself.
But Dark Pit was more than just a shadow, as he came to learn over the years. Much like the water dripping off his back, Dark Pit was an experience, a sensation. He was meant to live and love and learn like any other creature on the earth. He was supposed to be, because otherwise, how could he possibly stand there, drenched in ice water and miserable all the while? He was supposed to feel, and no matter how hard he tried to deny it, there was no helping the surge of feelings he had whenever he was left to his own devices like this. It was easy to be offstandish (Pit's ridiculousness accompanied by Palutena's snark and sometimes Viridi's general disposition were enough to make him feel exhausted and seem snappy in comparison) towards others, it was easy to push them away.
The hard part was understanding that he, himself, was just like anyone else—like any of those people and creatures that he shoved blatantly to the side. And the fact that he tried so hard to differentiate himself from Pit was half the battle, because in reality, they were one in the same.
Two sides of the same coin. No Pit, no Dark Pit. No Dark Pit, no Pit. No darkness, no light. No loyalty, no independence.
No you, no me.
Being alone was a hard thing for Dark Pit sometimes. He wouldn't admit it, but he did find occasional joy in accompanying others. Saving humans was one thing, destroying monsters was another. Finding out where the line drawn between "humans" and "monsters" was a totally different thing, too. Interacting with animals and creatures of Nature's design, seeing the world and all its endless wonders—nothing was quite as exhilarating as all of that.
Even seeing his other self, the other "Pit" was a good experience now and again. As much as Dark Pit hated to admit, there were times where he really enjoyed the company of Pit. Despite the incessantly annoying nicknames (He wanted "Pittoo" to die and be done with, but it lived on regardless of his protests), insufferably cheery disposition, and straight up stupidity that Pit was known for having, he was a good person, angel, and being to be around.
He was kind, sweet, righteous, and funny. He was happy and energetic, yet serious and devoted. He was everything that Dark Pit was and wasn't—the same combative skills, the same agility, strength, and quick thinking, but none of the bitter words, seething anger, or pure anarchy. Pit was Dark Pit's rival, equal, and soulmate in every way possible.
But he was so naive.
And Dark Pit wouldn't be surprised to know that his other self was out there, somewhere—whether patrolling the Heavens or flying in the skies or whatever he did when he wasn't saving the world time and time again—enjoying his life and existence alongside his beloved Goddess Palutena, not realizing that the other side of him was having a terrible time by his lonesome.
A shadow needed the light. Whether the light needed the shadow, too, was something yet to be seen. What defined the shadow was the absence of light, after all. Light itself could remain as is: ever bright, oppressive, and lingering if it wanted to be. But darkness was another matter. Darkness had to be wherever light wasn't. Dark Pit had to be where Pit wasn't.
The revelation hurt the black-winged angel more than he cared to admit. He wished that it wasn't so.
Besides, Skyworld didn't need a two-man cast for a one-man show. The clouds didn't need someone as dreary and heavy as Dark Pit weighing them down, until they all turned to mist and air beneath his heels.
The Goddess of Light, Palutena, as beautiful and light and kind as she is, didn't need a defiant version of the loyal angel she already had.
Dark Pit was thankful for not being bound to anyone except himself.
But he was lonely all the same.
That cavern was full of revelations, as it turned out. By the time Dark Pit realized he was nearly wallowing in self-pity, the sun had come up. It shone through a harsh and dusky gradient in the sky, until the colors softened beneath its touch, and the Earth practically glowed in the dawn light. He could see the trees lining the distance of the horizon, tiny needles aimed skyward as birds flew overhead, melting into the morning sun with a crisp breeze following their every movement.
The dark angel couldn't help but shiver as the wind flitted around his cold body—dry from rain but chilled wet. He sometimes wished that Pit was wearing a sweater when he shattered the Mirror, because then at least Dark Pit would be wearing one, too.
"Hey there, sulker," said the light and airy voice as it drifted throughout the cave. "Not surprised to see you here, of all places."
"What do you want, Viridi?" Dark Pit turned to face her properly, not entirely sneering at her but surely frowning in the face of the Goddess of Nature herself. "Make it quick."
"Wow, that's how you start off your greetings? Not even a 'hello' or 'thanks for saving me those few times in the past when you didn't have to but still did because you're so awesome, Viridi!' Not even that?"
"That's a mouthful," Dark Pit insisted. "Again, what do you want?"
"I just wanted to know why you're out here, sulking again." She sighed, and walked a bit closer to him. She ended up at his side, facing the early sun with an eager look in her eyes. He stared down at her, and couldn't help but notice the way that her hair looked a lot like the dawning sky— bright and pretty, almost golden, with thorns of colors near the crown which change with the coming seasons. And her staff was standing tall besides her, the spikes of the green thorns and the curves of the oaken wood worrying, if not entirely intimidating.
Dark Pit had been in her presence before, and yet he was still surprised that a physical form of the Goddess appeared before him like this. He assumed the voice speaking was some warped telepathy, and yet the image of Viridi, Goddess of Nature, stood there in the flesh.
Or, he assumed it was flesh. It didn't do well to think too hard about the Gods' appearances, however.
"I noticed that you were taking on some monsters by yourself. Since when have you gone vigilante justice on the whole world, hmm? Or was it since Hades was defeated by Pit that one time?"
"Since I felt like it," he corrected. "Why does it matter to you? I haven't messed with your Forces of Nature too much, not enough for you to come out here and bother me about it, anyway." He rolled his eyes, and turned his gaze from the Goddess to the horizon, a little annoyed that the colors didn't change so much in actuality. "Just get to the point, already."
"You're so impatient," she whined. "You and Pit. It figures, since you're both, like, the same person."
"But I really wanted to ask you this: why are you still here?" she waved her staff in the general direction of the world around them. "Why aren't you with Palutena? I assumed she'd let you join the Light Brigade, or whatever, since you helped out a lot that one time. Why aren't you lapping it up in Skyworld right now?"
"For that reason exactly," he said. "I'm my own master. I don't want anyone telling me what to do! That includes Palutena. And you, too."
"Well, that's rather stupid of you."
Anger flared, and whenever Dark Pit felt angry, he felt it everywhere. As if his whole body burned and resonated with whatever complexities resided within him. It made him wonder if Pit was better at hiding his emotions than he was, or if he just never felt things this intensely to begin with. But the dark angel felt his feathers bristle, his shoulders tense up, and he couldn't even try to hide the disgust in his voice when he said: "I don't see what's so smart about being someone's lap dog. But you wouldn't know about that, now would you, Viridi? When it comes to having lap dogs, you're the Mistress of them."
"You're lucky I'm so nice otherwise I'd just smite you, or something worse." Her eyes, deep green and narrowed, stared at him so hard he felt his skin would bear holes from such an intense look. He shuddered slightly, relieved to find himself unmarred by the Goddess' glance. "You can call them lap dogs if you want. In the real world, they're subordinates, and they serve their purpose like any other things in life. This arrangement is natural. If someone serves, then someone else leads. That's just how it is."
No thanks to you, Dark Pit thought bitterly. He didn't say it aloud, for once, which was good! Although his self-restraint was on the bad side, so only a minute after deciding he should stay quiet, he blurted out: "It's no thanks to you and the other Gods that things are like this. Take responsibility for once!"
"I'm offering you a deal."
"Listen, I think you're wasting your potential doing whatever it is you do out here. If you were to work with someone else, it would be better."
"Now, I already know what you're thinking. This goes against everything you believe in, right? You wouldn't just hand yourself over to me and let me use you as I please, right? Well, lucky for you and me, that's not what I want."
"Then what are you saying?"
"I'm saying that you and I should form an alliance. Of course, legally speaking, you'd technically be a part of the Forces of Nature—"
"No," he cut in. "I refuse."
"But you wouldn't be just anything!" Viridi reminded. "You'd be an officer. And even then, I swear on my staff that you'll get little intervention from me. Just think about the possibilities that could happen!"
"Even if you put me in charge of some of your forces, at the end of the day I'd still report back to you. So my point still stands."
"If that's how you really feel about it, then I can't make you join. I mean, I technically can, but it's better if this arrangement is wanted on both ends." She sighed deeply, and leaned against her staff with a dreary head. "Although, it's too bad about Pit."
"What do you mean? How's Pit involved in all this?"
"Metaphorically, or in actuality?"
"Well," Viridi began to say, "think of it this way. Your life and Pit's life are intertwined. When his soul was stuck in that ring, wasn't your soul also thrown into a weird limbo?"
He stood there, paused, a bit stunned at this new train of thought she drove him on. After thinking for a quick moment, he answered: "That's true."
"The two of you affect each other, yet you're always apart. I mean, if you don't care about what happens to Pit, then that's another story."
"Of course I care about what happens to him," Dark Pit snapped. "We're one in the same. Different yet alike. The comparisons go on and on. I learned all this a long time ago, so why are you bringing it up now?"
"Are you stupid? Look at the big picture, will you?" Viridi huffed, and blew a wayward strand of blonde hair out of her face. "Pit risks his life everyday fighting evil, doing things for Palutena, blah-de-blah-blah. Sure, he's in danger, but he has Little Miss Perfect over there in Skyworld to protect him. Even when he gets hurt, he'll get healed in some way, so your life is never in danger on his end."
He averted his gaze, scarlet eyes so wretched in thought they could burn holes into the ground. It wasn't because he was scared of her (of course he was scared to some degree, but like hell he'd let it show), or because he feared her judgement, but rather he found his thoughts running wild on their own. He had to look away, distract himself, and think of anything else but the Goddess of Nature in order to regain his own bearings.
As crucial thoughts took root in his mind, a single word resounded throughout.
Oh, he thought suddenly. I know where she's going with this.
"But you on the other hand," Viridi murmured. "You are always in danger. You don't have a Skyworld, or any world to go home to at the end of the day. If you're injured, then you have to take care of yourself. But if your injuries go too far, then Pit will suffer, too, won't he? And if worse comes to worse, if you and your idiocy go and get yourself killed, then—"
"He'll die, too," he finished her sentence aloud, nearly gasping. "Why didn't I realize this before?"
"It's only through sheer luck that you're still alive! Well, luck and skill." Her face, which was once contorted into an ugly expression, lightened up as a crafty smile appeared in its stead. "You're skilled, Dark Pit. You're strong, too. If you team up with me, at least for a little while, then we both get what we want. You get to protect your other self, and I get a very capable fighter on my hands to lead some of my forces. And like I promised, I won't be ordering you around the same way I do to my other subordinates. Like how Palutena does to Pit."
She leaned forward again, this time on her tip-toes while her staff swung in precarious motions behind her back. He eyed the baubles on the wires and the gleam in her eyes before giving her full attention. He could see the smugness on her face, but he could also see true satisfaction. There wasn't the malintent or the absolute snobbery that Viridi was known for having, just as there wasn't an inkling of hatred or malice to be found, either.
She was being sincere. Or at least, as sincere as a divine creature could be. There was still an untold boundary between them. Even though she was more crass, cruel, and forthright than Palutena was, the two of them—and the rest of the Pantheon, Underworld, Earth, and Heaven included—had one thing in common.
There was an unspeakable difference lingering in the air around them. It was as palpable as summer humidity, and drier than the desert heat. It was insufferably cold, bone-chilling and spine-tingling like it travelled through waves. It was static, stagnant, and swampy—a miasma that dragged everything down into its depths. It was moving, changing, and tumultuous, like the sea that drowned anything that dared to crest its heights.
There was a stark difference between a deity and a non-deity, and it was so real and so present that Dark Pit staggered in its presence. As much as he verbally bit at her, and as much as she downplayed herself as a casual and fun person, he knew the truth.
There was a real imbalance of power between them, as real as the rain or the sunlight or the tremor in his step, and it wouldn't do him well to defy her too much. Yet despite all this, fear wasn't the main motivation for Dark Pit. Of course, the fear had a place in him (as did all living creatures), but there was also a spark of hope. A glimmer of relief that existed, which said that for once in his sorry life, he could catch a break. He wouldn't have to steal away into the night, away from prying eyes and bloodthirsty jaws. He wouldn't have to perform minor acts of sacrilege if it meant acquiring enough energy to power his flightless wings. He wouldn't have to save humans at the cost of his own life, something which damned them as much as it saved them.
For once in his long life, Dark Pit didn't have to claw his way out. He didn't have to survive.
He could live, instead.
And for a second, just for a second, he wondered if this was the safety, relief, and euphoria that Pit felt when he served under Palutena. He wondered if the promise of doing good and doing it for a long time was what motivated his other half. He would never understand Pit's naivety or unwavering loyalty, but he could understand goodwill and compromise. Life sucked, but if there were arrangements along the way that could make it suck less, well, then those were certainly worth taking!
Dark Pit sighed deeply, and rubbed a bead of sweat off from his forehead. The cave was warmer than the rainstorm outside, but the summer heat still burned through the barriers, anyway. It was stuffy and humid, and there wasn't much else in this cave except for stalagmites, stalactites, and tiny lizards that scampered over the ground (one of which scampered over his own two feet, and he screamed like a little baby. Thankfully, Viridi wasn't there to see that). He'd be more than glad to leave this place.
Would Viridi's domain be any nicer?
Time to find out.
"So, what do you say, Dark Pit? Care to form an alliance with me?"
"Let's make some things clear." He crossed his arms, but otherwise he didn't look more displeased than usual. "First, this arrangement is temporary. This is just so both of our goals are met, for now. I don't plan on sticking with you forever."
"Well, duh. I don't know if you noticed this, but, like, you're a real pain in the neck. Truth is, I couldn't stand you for long, so there's no way that this alliance will last forever. Besides, "forever" is a long time, you know!" She pouted, an expression that ended with drawn brows and puffy cheeks.
There was a distant thought in Dark Pit's mind that said She's kinda cute when she does that and he killed it on the spot.
He went on to say: "The second you start ordering me around like a lap dog, I'm out. I don't care about Phosphora or anyone else, either. They can do what they want, but if anyone tells me what to do, then I'm gone."
"That's fine," Viridi said. "I wouldn't order you around too much. You don't need orders, anyway. What you need is guidance."
"Don't mince words with me, either," he warned calmly. "I'm not like that other idiot. I know a bad deal when I see one."
"Sure you do." Viridi rolled her eyes and groaned. "You angels sure are cheeky these days! You should be thankful that you have the opportunity to serve in the first place, y'know. Plenty of humans and other creatures would die to be in your shoes."
"Then they can die right now, for all I care," Dark Pit scoffed. "You Gods will call it guidance, I call it manipulation."
"Call it whatever you want. The gist is that you don't want me on your back, yeah? As long as you pull your own weight, then I'll fulfill your little wishes." A wry smile replaced her more refined, crafted one, and she leaned in so close that her breath—hot and acrid—lingered on Dark Pit's face. "Any more conditions and I might just rescind my offer, y'know."
"Fine. You know the deal, Viridi."
"I do. So, are you in?"
A small pause ensued. This was the moment, now. He made clear his intentions and motivations, as did she. Whatever strange alliance was to come out of this agreement was something he would have to deal with for a while. In fact, even though the words "not forever" were spoken just now, he knew that this wasn't a short-term arrangement. Without her saying it, Dark Pit knew that Viridi intended on having him around longer than he wanted, only because she truly needed the help.
They both had their own goals, and those things weren't so lofty that they'd be fixed overnight. Their resolves were made out of steel, of the planetary metals that burned in the core itself. Even so, things wouldn't change just because he wanted them to. Regardless of singing his name over or not, Dark Pit knew that he was in for the long haul.
And even then, Dark Pit knew he could hold his own. As chaotic and unpredictable as Viridi was, she was also equal parts forgiving and compassionate. Although she despised humans, she cared for the Earth, and knew when to give up her vindictive ways for the greater good. Hell, if it wasn't for her help before, then Dark Pit would have never restored Pit's destroyed wings, and the Chaos Kin would have never been defeated.
Viridi was more cautious and callous than she appeared to be. Dark Pit owed her a great deal—she was long due for a favor, and it was very kind of her to let him think otherwise for all this time.
He sighed, a wave of anxiety leaving his body through his breath. It collected in the air, and he felt a bit lighter. Then, with full confidence and pride, he took a small step back from Viridi, and extended his hand.
"Alright," he said. "I agree."
Her smile became more childish in an instant. "Seriously?"
"Yes. I'm serious. You've convinced me. I'm on your side, Viridi. At least for now."
"Wonderful!" she cheered, and took a step back, herself. "Then, it's official. You, Dark Pit, are now one of the leading officers in the Forces of Nature. Let's work together, you and I. Okay?"
"Fine," he said. "Let's get out of here."
She smiled even wider. "No need to tell me twice. How about we give you a proper send off, then, huh? I don't think I want to ask how you were able to fly all this time without some divine help, but you probably don't want to tell me, either."
He shivered. "You got that right."
"Very well. I'll grant you the Power of Flight, and show you back to my domain. If you thought Skyworld was hot shit, wait 'til you see what I've got going for us." With a flourish of her staff, Dark Pit felt revitalized. He felt his wings, soaked and listless, rise up with life. If only he and Pit were like the other angels, then they'd never need the assistance of others to fly. But if being handicapped in this way set him apart from the others (if it gave him a chance to prove his true skill and to learn power the hard way) then so be it.
He walked over to the edge of the cavern, which was a small plateau that transitioned into a harsh cliff side. The rainstorm was lessened into a light drizzle, although it was hard to tell since the skies were lined with clouds as dark and grimy as dirt. The horizon was smeared with the same fog, and Dark Pit wondered if things would ever be easy for him.
As the scent of flowers and autumnal leaves filled his nose, he knew that respite was in sight. Life with Viridi would be different, difficult, and unlike anything he experienced thus far, but perhaps it was the best alternative to living on his own. Scampering from place to place, barely making it out in some cases...he thought back to those times where he feared that it was his last stand against cruelty and the world. He wondered what Pit was doing in those times, and if the happy angel had any clue that his own life was about to be forfeit, as well.
Actually, all of this had been for Pit.
Dark Pit realized this as he dived off the edge of the cliff, hurtling into the dark forest below him.
When his wings stretched out, and when he felt his body lift up and veer away from danger—when he felt the cool night air wrapped around him, and the rain of water above him—he finally understood Pit. At least, he understood him in the regard of being a God's companion. There were still some things that would never be clear to either of them, still some mysteries regarding the myself yourself himself themselves issue, but one thing was for sure.
The sky was true freedom, in and of itself. It had been a while since Dark Pit last flew, but the motion was natural as he turned and flipped in the air, soared above the trees and skimmed over rivers. He dipped low into valleys, and high over mountains. Then he zoomed through canyons, arms outstretched to feel the smooth rocks, eyes trained towards the coniferous forests ahead. When he zipped through the woods, he felt his fingertips skimming the edge of thick, green leaves.
Then he broke out into the cold air in a graceful sweep, a dark silhouette standing out against a white moon. With wings outspread, he felt higher than the clouds overhead, cooler than the wind around him, and brighter than the light cast against him.
He felt outstanding.
Viridi laughed, her voice materialized in his head, just now. "Nice moves, show-off," she scolded him lightly. "But you know the Power of Flight only lasts for a few minutes, right? So quit boasting, and just get in the portal already!" As soon as she said that, a vorpal of earthy darkness appeared ahead, rendering the sky in a warped move of space and time, contracting and stretching all the while.
Dark Pit laughed. "If you think that's showing off, then watch this." He spiraled in the air, and did multiple loops and spins. It was a gaudy display, sure, but he was as lithe in the air as he was on the ground. This agility and bodily knowledge was shared between the Pits, and he was ever grateful for it.
Viridi laughed along with him, and Dark Pit rode the cadence of her voice (and the currents of the air) as he sped towards the portal.
Up until now, the underlying question was always "His life or mine?" Who was more important, who lived the best life, and who was worse for wear? Pit or Dark Pit? Light or shadow?
Up until now, Dark Pit agonized himself over the answer to this crisis, and did his best to differentiate himself in every way possible. And while he could never give up on his own individuality entirely, he had finally accepted the answer in full.
The answer wasn't either/or, it was both. Both Pit and Dark Pit had a place in the world, and they needed each other more than they didn't. Just as light needed darkness and darkness needed the light, the two of them were irreversibly connected—together yet apart, forever yet momentary. Even though they'd still disagree on just about anything, even though they'd probably fight (and help) each other until the day they both die, that connection would remain the same.
And as Dark Pit flew into Viridi's portal, effectively disappearing from reality and reappearing in a Godly temple, he thought it was just as well.
Maybe things won't be so bad this time around, he thought.