I'm Not Sleeping
by Rana Eros

Did I say drabble? Apparently, I've lost the ability to count words. Unbetaed, because I'm not going to make Eliza mainline all that fucked-up canon for the sake of a couple of short shorts (Subaru would have been happy with a drabble [well, okay, happy is not quite an apt descriptor of Subaru's state of mind at any point in time, but work with me here], then Seishirou decided to do his talking for him, and Seishirou is as inclined to shut up as, oh, Schuldig, and I hope they're both insulted by that comparison). Title from U2's "Bad." Spoilers for the anime through the end.

"He's made his decision," Kotori's voice whispers in Fuuma's mind, "though he doesn't know it yet. Now it's your turn."

Fuuma's not used to her new way of communicating, and now he knows he won't have time to get used to it. He grips her slack hand tightly and whispers aloud, "Which way did Kamui choose?"

"You know; he could never kill either of us."

He does know, but a tiny, selfish part of him hoped otherwise. "I wish--" he says, and closes his mouth on the words. It doesn't matter. He promised. Still, "I'm sorry, Kotori. You know what my choice has to be."

"I know." Her hand moves imperceptibly in his, but dreamers often move in their sleep. "I'm sorry, onii-chan. If I'd been strong enough to make another choice--"

"No." Fuuma's heart shies from the very thought of Kotori in his place, and he tries not to think how much of that reaction is because he wouldn't want to be where she is, helpless, destined to die before this is ended.

"He's coming."

Destined to die in a matter of minutes.

Fuuma closes his eyes and focuses, letting the power of the Twin Star flood him. It comes with the Earth's anger, with a need to lash out, and he wonders shamefully how often he'll give into that, just to hold back the pain. He'll do this, protect Kamui the way he promised, the way he wants, but he's not sure he's strong enough not to take the protection offered him.

"Onii-chan," Kotori says, calling him back to himself, and he opens his eyes to see her lying peaceful against the pillows.

Remember, he tells himself fiercely. Remember why you're doing this.

"I wish...," Kotori murmurs, a soft echo of his own words, and he presses his lips to the back of her hand.

"I'll grant it, sister, if you promise me something. When he comes to you at last, hold him--" Fuuma swallows against a sudden tightening in his throat, and he's going to have to give in after all, to get through this. He finishes hoarsely, "Hold him tightly enough for us both."

"That is my wish," she sighs, and sighs outside of his mind as well, her lips curling up just a little. "I love you, onii-chan. Goodbye."

He doesn't answer, just sets her hand down and hunches over in the chair. He takes a breath, then whispers, to the ghost of a girl not yet dead, to the boy he loves more than anything but that girl, "Forgive me."

He lets Earth's rage drive him after that, his words and actions, every attack, every murder. He makes himself watch, though, makes himself respond just often enough that Kamui doesn't lose the hope that will prove their salvation. The hope that will kill Kamui.

The Earth tries to soothe him, tries to lull him, the chosen vessel. The Earth is not as cruel as Kanoe, and has no interest in hurting any given individual. Kamui is an obstacle to reparation, nothing more. The Earth would prefer Fuuma to share that view.

Fuuma resists, stays awake for all of it. His sister took the dreamseer's path.

His choice is different, and he will live with it.


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