I melt for non-real men like nobody's business... mostly Final Fantasy evil boys. *Thinks of Kuja and melts*
Anyway, I thought you might like to see my fanfiction (yaoi, soft)
Or maybe it's just that I'd like you to see it.
If you haven't played SaGa Frontier, it might not be as amazing, but if you want a quick thrill look up Tomomi Koyabashi's artwork for the game.
Anyway, without further ado... (be forewarned, it's very, very long)
One More Step
Although his breath was labored, his clothes disheveled, and his hair more mussed than he preferred, Blue's mind remained poignantly sharp. His strong psyche, forged over the searing flames of incantations and hardened in an utterly icy and sterile emotional void, was relentlessly locked in his sole purpose's trappings.
No longer burdened with the imbalanced psychic weight of his mundane companions, his mind felt peculiarly refreshed in contrast to his physical body's exhaustion. A small bonus in lieu of his lost comrades. Now, in the profound silence that surrounded the magician, there was time to reflect. Blue would
not allow himself to be distracted from the task at hand, however. Distraction leads to permutation, permutation leads to disorder, and disorder almost always results in a magician's downfall. Repeating the mantras of his childhood had always kept his brain safe and detached from the disorder around him. Dogma: the only way to deflect those pesky electrical impulses from making any un-wanted detours in the brain.
Had Blue the presence of mind to smile, he might have.
The ascent to the world above proved a formidable task. Without any of his magic at his disposal, Blue was left with nothing but the strength that had been naturally bestowed him by genetics and masculine biology. These things had proven most useful in the mangled remains of what had once been either a path to Hell or what served as a seal. Having traveled through the first time with transport magic he could not place his exact location in relation with any place he had already been. Also, he thought as his hand landed in a puddle of formerly biological ooze, the landmarks have changed since the battle. Before the underground had been somewhat familiar, with drainage pipes and the statues still somewhat intact. Now it was highly unlikely Blue would find anything he recognized from his previous trip through.
The magician's hands were now raw from the jagged walls of the massive cavern, and he couldn't help but recall an old professor's words...
"Your hands," Professor Verstein stated," are precious instruments indeed. As are your voices, your tools, and, most importantly, your minds."
Each boy in the large classroom listened with un-divided attention. The stately educator didn't even need an incantation of dominance to impress his will into the young magicians. Everything in his manner and voice communicated a deep knowledge of what he spoke of. He was not unlike any of the other professors in this respect. Blue was privileged to attend this particular academy. Or so he had thought.
"If you are very careful of how you treat your instruments," Verstein continued," they will serve you well. Remember this."
The bell rang with uncannily profound timing, leaving Professor Verstein's words hanging in Blue's mind as he made his way to the banquet hall. It was time for supper, and Blue realized that his stomach was cramping in hunger. In his studies he had neglected to notice his body's demand for food (which had been lately more frequent and severe, Blue noticed with some alarm.)
Blue approached the male food vendor, purchased a sandwich, thought for a moment, then added a side of a dibble fruit, a banana, and namble juice. He turned around quickly to avoid the raised eyebrow he knew was following him as he hurried up the stairwell to the dorms. He couldn't stand to eat around others at the banquet table under normal circumstances, and he definitely didn't want to be in the presence of others as he satisfied his body's copious demands for food.
Even in his hurry to reach his room, Blue couldn't help but admire the arcane artifacts and tasteful decor of the inner academy. In the dim light of the evening lamps, the corridors seemed almost comfortable. However, it was less relaxing to know that the evening lamps were intended to make you drowsy through the magic techniques used in blending their tinted panes of glass. Yes, it was a pity he knew this. The calming effect was very nearly ruined by this knowledge. Ignorance truly is bliss, Blue mused to himself.
Blue was at a crossroads. A tunnel had appeared in the midst of his path, going in a thirty-degree incline through the metal and rock wall of the cavern. It was difficult to discern whether the gentle glow emanating from within was in truth an exit or wishful thinking. Other possibilities crossed Blue's mind, but he shook them off. Difficult enough to choose a path as it was, without any imaginatory beasties. Up... or in? Blue took a final glance into the seemingly endless black space above him, adjusted his pack, and entered the tunnel.
Blue ate solitarily, reviewing the day in his mind. Although he had been taught nothing truly profound or exciting yet (a few simple spells of defense, telekinesis and the prefunctories of travel), the academy was obviously preparing the Magic Kingdom's most promising youth to excel in all manner of magic. Blue was one of the fortunate born with an above average affinity with magic, and so he was taken out of the barracks earlier than most and brought to stay at the academy.
The barracks were in many ways similar to the school. Many young, fair-haired boys playing games insidiously developed by the Magic Kingdom as a way to test their latent abilities; the girls holding a dolly, painting or even reading to avoid the ridicule of doing poorly in the games. The girls did not have the latent psychic power to make the magnet switch polarities, or begin a simple electric current through the conduction tubes. They were the excused counterparts to the rare but loathed "darky" males that would periodically appear among the children's ranks. A boy with brown hair, or black ( "like a girl's," the gifted ones would snicker), or an unruly red. A boy without any magic. A mundane boy born in the Magic Kingdom, destined forever to be marked as useless. Most magicians would never understand their alienation, and would be invariably glad of it. Bitterly, Blue knew that he was more like the wretched, dark-headed Have-nots than the multitude of arrogant Haves eating together in communion below him. Now, as he ate his fortified sandwiches and Jutsu-restoring fruits, Blue longed only for the mediocre gruel of the barracks and Seth's soft voice and laugh. Seth whose smile blazed in Blue's mind when he smelled the warm breakfast honey bread. Seth whose primary classes ominously separated them. Seth whose quiet manner calmed him. Seth with the ebony hair of a woman.
Blue struggled to discover what was producing the delicate, nearly indiscernible light within the tunnel. It had narrowed slightly, and the incline was becoming less difficult to traverse. Could the rock be smoothing out?
Blue impulsively looked behind him, half expecting to see Gen or Lute staring up at him, impatiently waiting to return to their lives. Each of them... climbing back to their lives in the world above...
Blue sighed resolutely.
Best not to think upon these things. The past is all that's gone, the future is yet to come. Now is forever. But what was now? The reality of the moment hit Blue. He was voluntarily ascending to the kingdom that had originally intended to sacrifice him. For the greater good. The past leapt up with a strange soundless voice, intimate and yet foreign. A brain's chemical interpretation of audible sound. Such strange effects that those synapses have on one's consciousness... to hear the paraphrased words of the ones who came before him. The ones who left before him, too.
Somewhere from the depths a pebble fell and clinked many times before the sounds became inaudible. How far had he climbed? It didn't matter now. He would not be making this trip again. The only distance Blue was concerned with was that which spanned between him and the surface... wherever that might be. Perhaps the path led to an opening close to the one he had entered. Perhaps it led to an entirely different region. It didn't matter. There wasn't anyone waiting for him. He had no place to return to. Without any synergy or humans left in the Magic Kingdom, it was hardly worth rebuilding. Truthfully, Blue would rather it stayed hollow and dead. He had somehow avoided the zealous dedication to the Magic Kingdom imparted in wizards....
Blue was nearly finished when a quiet knock rippled his thoughts. Normally, room inspections only happened once a month and Blue was certain he had been checked just last week. But, expected or not, an inspection was infinitely more likely than a visit, so Blue kicked his books under the bed as he went to the door.
He opened the door, expecting to see an austere figure of hygiene authority. Instead, a girl stood in non-chalant defiance of the males-only rule in the dorm. Blue's mouth opened in shock. The rules were very clear and sternly enforced; no girls were to set foot on the academy's premises, under penalty of expulsion for whomever was housing her. He hadn't even thought it was possible a woman to get past the front entrance; yet here, daring chance with stark, unmistakably black hair, the woman had the audacity to smile at Blue as if there were nothing wrong.
It wasn't until the boy spoke that Blue realized what the true situation was.
"What's the matter? You look like you've seen a ghost..."
A tenuous, but most certainly masculine voice came out of the porcelain-looking... boy. With relief, the young adept un-tensed his rigid muscles. It was a boy. Fine-features and meticulously smudged eye-makeup (a stylish privilege of magic-users only!) had masked his rougher male facets, and the cloak he wore concealed a chest that was un-doubtededly no more endowed than Blue's own. A handsome boy without magic in the garb of a magician. That was all. The relief previously felt was replaced by new apprehension.
What was a person without magic doing at an exclusively magician academy?
Blue carefully tread the melted rock and piping of the tunnel floor.
The light he had previously seen had neither diminished nor intensified. He began to wonder if all the magic had not been drained from the region as he previously assumed. After the vortex and the violent magnetic and psychic upheaval, it was almost unthinkable that any of the uncommon energy could remain in the molested land of his heritage.
Blue halted a moment. That posed an interesting question: If magic still existed and the land wasn’t rendered obsolete, then would he be obligated to revive it? If it had lost all of it’s luster then surely the point would be moot; but what if the legacy of the gift still ran deep and thick as blood under the kingdom’s very ground-flesh? How could he bring himself to reincarnate the dogma of the past, drag up all those old deceptions and facades.
Blue made a decision then.
He placed his hands tentatively against the wall in an attempt to steady himself as the rock was quickly becoming craggy.
I will not make again that terrible serpent they called the magic kingdom.
A shudder passed through him as the veneration of tradition and magic carefully instilled within him flaked away. He had been living for them all along. He had to do something with his life now that he had it. But what?
The boy ponderously stared at Blue for a moment before posing the query he had ran through so many times in his mind in preparation for this moment.
“Are you… Blue?”
By this time Blue had regained his composure and managed to look calm and utterly without reproach. This look was one that had taken quite awhile to cultivate, hours in front of the mirror, mastering his own facial expressions.
“Yes,” He said, in stifled wonder.
The boy sighed with happiness and his face transformed into an open and beaming visage of pleasure. He lunged at Blue and wrapped his arms easily around his neck.
Blue, who had been tensed and half-expecting a battle to ensue, stood rigid and wide eyed. His heart beat wildly, despite his efforts to control it. And the boy wasn’t letting go. Beyond all reason, Blue felt his own arms moving to hold the person in his arms.
He sensed no imbalance in this boy’s mind. He obviously wasn’t insane. Blue’s mind raced to determine how this scenario had come about. As he thought about this, the boy disengaged. He had been closing his eyes.
“It’s been awhile…”
Blue’s eyes widened with sudden recognition. He sucked in a breath, his limbs tingling, his heart ready to burst.
“Seth,” he spoke nearly below his own hearing range.
The boy nodded eagerly, his tongue slightly visible between his teeth as smiled.
Blue’s own tongue was running across the perfect surface of his incisors, bicuspids, canines. It seemed it was unsure of what to do, a nomad in his mouth, clumsy and foolish.
No doubt it is eager to chant a spell of some sort because I have worked myself up so. It had happened before, and was prone to occur when young magicians in training became excited. It made him feel ashamed by his own lack of experience; though was the only time he had experienced quite a longing to use whatever spell his mouth wanted to cast. Steeling himself against the incantations humming through his veins, he motioned for Seth to sit. When he did, Blue put a hand up, one finger extended to the ceiling and moved to the anterior of the room.
Looking out the door cautiously in both directions and concentrating to seek out any nearby unexpected guests, he was relieved to find no one. He locked the door and turned to Seth.
A low rush of water was slowly but surely becoming audible. At first Blue thought it was merely his ears perceiving the minute changes on a spectral level, or worse, he was going mad, after all.
If that was the case, the irony wouldn’t be lost on him. Having killed, in effect, himself; realizing his life as the sham it was, lacking purpose and reason, a paradox; and finally, traveling into Hell itself to save the Kingdom that had betrayed his trust from daemons with the countenance of the sweetest angels. All this, and it would be a never-ending tunnel that did him in.
But no, it was ground water of some sort, or, at the risk of optimism, surface water.
He suddenly came to an epiphany. Why has it been the Magic Kingdom to possess magic all this time? Why wouldn’t any other have it to bestow upon its inhabitants?
Because not every other kingdom is linked to Hell.
Suddenly, with dreadful clarity, he understood. With this new understanding of his kingdom he became grim with certainty.
Defeat the Kylin, and you are the Lord of space, defeat the Time Lord, you are Lord of time. Defeat Hell’s Lord…
Blue stopped in his tracks, pink lips parted, face dissolving into despair. Of course the magic in the land had not faded. Its progenitor still lived. As long as the legacy continued, as long as magician kept slaying magician and inheriting his powers, the Magic Kingdom would still live in the glow of its eternal power... or curse. It was not just luck that had instilled the gift in its sons. Oh how cruelly deceived Blue's ancestor's had been! It had been the Lord of Hell's plan all along, a gift for a hidden but treacherous price to pay. Soon enough, within a few centuries perhaps, the Patriarchs of the Magic Kingdom had discovered its plight and devised a plan to sate the demonic retribution destined to come. They needed a scapegoat. They needed someone who embodied all the things that the demons needed to quench their thirst. To appease the powers that be... they would grant them the finest of their sons. The theory was contrived, at best, but what if it were the case? Was he merely taking incidental facts and making a theory like a quilt? Perhaps. But if not…
What had happened to destroy their plan? Were the demons not pleased by this offering? Were they aware of this?
For the first time in perhaps all of his life, Blue longed for what he could not possibly have. Answers. Absolution.
Blue became aware of the silence in the tunnel. The stillness. Still only because he wanted it so.
Seth was smiling up at him. What does he expect?
There was something that stirred in Blue, unnerving as it was un-identifiable. Just a moment ago, he was musing on how he and Seth shared more than anyone, even in their incongruencies. Although both understood they lived separated by a thin veil of formality, they also knew that the scrambling masses searching for immortality and prestige were chasing after an illusion and by doing so were becoming shadows themselves. Somehow to Blue and Seth it seemed more and more that they were the only real beings.
Now Blue was seeing a stranger. It had been eight years since they had last spoken each other’s name. In that time an infinite amount of change had most likely occurred in them. How could they have anything in common? With a wistful certainty, Blue measured the difference in apathy and knowledge. Those were the only measurements he could go by. Physically, of course, they had both changed dramatically since the times when they were the same height and little differed the children to the headmasters but hair color and deftness. Shoulders wider, hips slimmer, muscular growth defying what little manual labour Blue had to perform. However, to Blue, who looked on his reflection every day with increasing dis-interest, none of things appealed. He had buried himself in study to avoid the depth of the emptiness that his new existence caused.
It was nice to exercise one’s mind, and surely it wasn’t the excessive assignments and training that bothered him. No. He was more abhorring of the hypocrisy of the Magic Kingdom. In a classic example of channeling his energies, Blue put all his feelings or disgust into his work and disregarded all else.
Now, finally, when his past did come back, it seemed too late; he was too deeply entangled with his compensative habits to ever return to the happy child he once was, long before the academy had defiled him with their corrupting lessons, making him a shadow as vacuous as anyone ever was who held glory a distant and unrequited love. How could he ever make his friend understand?
Seth was the same person as he ever had been, older, and most surely sharper and stronger, but he was not darkened or tarnished by the time that had past. Even now, he was smiling at Blue as if nothing was the matter. He doesn’t even see it, Blue could have cried, though the tears that he had once had had long ago frozen in his throbbing ice box of a heart. He doesn’t see it in my eyes, what they have made me.
Seth’s eyebrows knit.
“Should I not have come? I can go. I suppose it was silly of me to think you wouldn’t be busy,
Blue had surprised himself with his words. They had come amidst his torrent of thoughts and spilled out of him with equal passion. This was highly uncharacteristic. If any one of the professors at the academy could see him now…
Seth stood. A bird sung outside, but neither boys turned to it.
“So much has happened, Blue. So much. I wanted to see you. I heard about how well you were doing, and I finished all my studies… I have to leave the Magic Kingdom… I couldn’t go without seeing you one last time.”
The shorter and more slender of the boys once more assumed his position of holding Blue, who then realized that nothing had changed in the circumstances of their lives. They were once more the two separated a thin, detestable veil, and destined to be torn from one another. But no more. It wouldn’t happen again, Blue swore in sudden defiance of all the Magic Kingdom had instilled in him. No magician is better than this boy, this boy who has no magic. He may not possess anything that this academy could use, but he lives more fully and allows his emotions to clear the path of his life. He does as pleases, not as he is obligated.
And why should he be obligated? He has nothing anyone wants here.
Seth moved his head down until he could hear Blue’s heart through the layers of clothing in soft and delicate colours. It was this moment of unadulterated instinct that touched Blue. At once he cast away his barriers and ran a shaking hand up the hollow of Seth’s spine until it met the tips of his long hair, let down without any styling. Blue’s heart was beating wildly, though his lips stayed closed and his face showed nothing. The only action that might have revealed his intent was his fingertips tenderly running down the back of the young man in his arms.
As the bell rang to begin the next class, Blue allowed himself a moment without his fortuitous walls. He acquiesced to the pounding of his heart and blood and the warmth that had permeated his entire body, turning his vision misty with light. Blue’s lips moved down to Seth’s and he experienced an unfamiliar throb of desire. This was not magic. This was something so much more pure…
He made love to Seth. It was the only thing he never regretted in his life.
Blue could feel the currents around him changing. The magic was returning in flows… then torrents. As his power was fully realized, Blue felt the spectral world tugging at him. The physical plane shifted for a moment, as if diffusing through static. His vision darkened, then lightened. Blue became aware that he was holding his breath. Trying to breathe, he found that his lungs were held by a barrier. He fought the urge to panic, discovering soon that he had no need to respire.
Am I dying? A feeling of levitation… of falling… going through the very ground… no feeling… I am dying… I am dying… Just one more step until home… one more step… I was free… I was free… I am bound now. I am bound to this existence. Trapped in the womb of an egg… here in the nauseating warmth… Oh please, someone… take me out of my misery… I was one step away from home… One More Step…
Everything stopped. Blue realized he had been in darkness as light and form suddenly returned. Trees swung around his head nauseatingly, as if sweeping up into around a sphere. He fell to his knees and vomited. Raising his eyes skyward, his pupils adjusting, he grew more accustomed to sight.
Back home. Above ground. Blue was standing up now, shaking, sweating, but still surveying his surroundings with acute senses. The chapel was half-gone. Pipes jutted hapharzardly in and out of what were once structures turned inadvertent works of modern art. The sky was azure and the clouds rolled by at a normal, slow pace. All was silent. A piece of paper, obscure and white blew by, making a tiny scratching sound across the pebbles that were once a perfect marble fountain. Water flowed with a mournful gurgle, an after-thought of life. Thankfully, no corpses lay within sight.
Blue turned to face the entrance to the deceptive service tunnel that contained the sacred magical machinery of his creation. There was no longer a rainbow fountain of water over a monumental hole; the pipes and magical equipment had melted into a dis-coloured black mass, shiny and appearing as igneous rock. It was a mottled and grotesque shape, starkly contrasting the more bio-morphic and natural portions of the Magic Kingdom’s remains. From where he looked now, Blue couldn’t see any possible exit from the giant gleaming monument.
“So why am I here…?”
Still shuddering at the sound of his own voice, the magician tried to work a simple spell. Words past his lips with a feathery tingle, forgotten as soon as they were uttered but re-workable nonetheless.
The communicable nature of the spell had been completely nulled. Even in regions with limited magical conduction a spell moved through the air, vibrating every atom and facilitating a change in the kinetic energies contained therein…
When the words were spoken it was not anything like that; it was muffled, acoustic. Not a good sign.
At least the theory that his gate magic was working against his wishes could be ruled out. But still the mystery remained…
Startlingly loud bells rang suddenly. Blue recognized the tolls as the sound of the ceremonial chapel. Half-expecting to see a restored kingdom behind him, he turned to see the ruined remains of the temple just as they were before. The sound continued, increasing in volume menacingly.
Blue felt defenseless. His mind clouded over with an emotion that had no name. It was not fear or apprehension; no, he had come far beyond that range of feeling. This was simply a massive rush of chemicals and adrenaline colliding in a brain rendered useless for all defensive purposes.
No magic control his surroundings, to protect him, to create… nothing… the last magician with nothing. Physical form worthless… mind worthless… training worthless…
Without warning, Blue screamed that word.
It penetrated everything. The tolling stopped, though his voice at full volume could scarcely be heard over the bell’s sinister call. All things stopped.
Blue was not himself.
Rouge stepped delicately over the rubble, heading north toward what was once a port. Looking to the sky he could feel the warm breeze on his cheeks and reveled in the feel of the sun on his back. A pleasant feeling passed over him. His hands, legs, face, groin, all warm and tingling with life. Such feelings were taken for granted by The Other.
The new magician removed the intricate hair ornaments Blue had found so stylish. He regarded the remaining cloth and trinkets adorning his body. Suitable. The hair ornaments fell to the ground, shining and beautiful in contrast to the scarred flesh of the former Magic Kingdom.
“Time for you to really live, Brother my darling.”
Rouge clasped his hands together and considered his next relocation. He wondered how Mei-Ling was faring, and if she was still open to an advance or two after Blue had to callously rejected her.
Certainly, she had left the party in embarrassment, but Blue had never told her why he had opted for sleeping alone the night before his final mission. She wouldn’t know that The Other was a homosexual. Therefore, Rouge could use his intimate knowledge of his brother to…
Mei-Ling would probably be back in that Scrap dive.
Very well then. To the bar I go.