aison: despite the circumstances (without what is within)
A ([personal profile] aison) wrote in [community profile] veiledallegory2012-04-04 03:32 pm

Enlightenment: moon and the motions.

Title: moon and the motions
Fandom: Enlightenment/Umineko.
Warnings: Not quite.
Word Count: 3522.
Characters: Alan and Lion. Will and Nigel.
Notes: Commission for [personal profile] psyches: "Nigel Kane, Bernkastel, and Willard H. Wright; on miracles."
This is part two of three.

Summary: Of this world, there are some that were never meant to be. By fortune or fate, they've claimed their path, and if it backs them into a corner, it's a fate they've chosen on their own. There are things people die for. For all the reasons that people live.

References: Gentle Homicide and [personal profile] psyches's "what the eyes can't see...".


It was a meeting of men, but one quelled under the gaze. Pit black against a rich auburn colored uniquely, and the one more vivid would always ascertain by strength of spirit.

“You haven’t even died yet, and still you’re determined not to live.”

---

He lifted the package with near suspicion, staring at the price sticker as if it would change with an intent enough glare. Unsurprisingly, nothing happened, and the man narrowed his eyes further. Then, with a brief sigh, tossed it into the basket. Take-out was seeming cheaper simply from the lack of risk. If he burned it again….

Giving another sigh, he turned to move up the aisle. Another had come from the other direction, long blond hair and a basket held in both hands. A light grimace, and he angled to move past her-- She turned to face one of the shelves, and he stopped to openly stare. There was something like smoke touching her arm, and then a long-haired cat was obviously perched on her shoulder. It nudged the side of the woman’s head and she waved her hand as if to shoo away a fly. Unamused, the cat batted at her hand.

“She’s probably hungry,” he found himself saying, and; “She’s always hungry,” was the response, bordering annoyed and amused. “She already--” The woman jerked her head around to stare at him, somewhere between guilty and wary.

He shrugged, uncomfortable. “…I have a cat. White, too, but not long-haired--just a scrap of a thing. The little brat’s always begging for food.”

The air was awkward, silence stretching, and he wished he hadn’t spoken at all. Finally, she said, carefully, “You see a cat?”

It was a strange phrasing, and said perfectly to make him suddenly paranoid. It was strange, for a cat to be in the store like that, and those shadows had-- But he remembered how she had responded, seemingly without thought, the natural tone of one used to being around cats. His eyes narrowed, making no attempt at politeness. “I see the cat on your shoulder that’s currently eating your hair, yes.”

The woman grimaced, her attempt to ignore the cat’s ministrations useless. She brushed a hand at it again, to the same effects. She let it bite on a finger this time. “She’s not mine.”

His expression didn’t change. “Snowflake’s not all mine, either.”

The woman’s face slid into a smile unwillingly, some of the tension leaving her form. “Snowflake?” He glared, then stared pointedly at the cat. The woman reached to pet the cat’s back. “Her name is Diana.” At her name, the cat swiveled her head to take in the man, then, unimpressed, she went back to eating her mistress’s hair.

“…Like the goddess of the hunt is much better,” he muttered, and this time, she laughed easily, a hand held to her mouth politely.

“I don’t know. It affords a bit more dignity.”

Surprisingly, he took no offense, and only shook his head. “So I’ve been told….” This gained another small laugh, and he shrugged, almost languidly.

“I’m Lion,” she gave, and held a hand out to shake.

“Interesting name,” he remarked dryly.

“So I’ve been told,” she returned, eyes shining.

He stepped forward, hand reaching out and bypassing her hand to hold out to the cat to sniff. She regally allowed him a moment of attention, then became interested in the basket Lion was holding. “It’s good to meet you, Diana. Lion.” He nodded, then stepped back. “I’m Alan.”

---

Nigel came home late, but Alan heard the door click over the playful conversation. He excused himself, and moved to the door, happy. He reached out to embrace the other, but was cut short by Nigel’s clipped words. “Who’s here?”

Confused by the tone, Alan paused. “…A couple I met today.” Already that was enough of an explanation for the human-hating Alan. Bringing home people just met was unheard of, and yet-- “I thought you’d be interested. They’re unlike any other existence I’ve met.”

And he didn’t understand when Nigel still didn’t thaw, when he only asked, even in tone, “What are their names?”

---

“Alan,” she repeated, precise and friendly. Despite his half-ignoring, she smiled at his attention towards the cat. His pale eyes glanced up, and she blinked, in some kind of startlement, before regaining repose and continuing. “So who named Snowflake?”

The grimace returned. “…I did. I didn’t want a French name,” was the mutter. She laughed.

“I think Diana named herself. He never mentioned picking out a name to me.”

Alan shook his head. “I don’t think ’flake is smart enough to name herself.”

Lion shifted the basket, and made a motion to move forward. Alan walked beside without a thought. “So her nickname suits her.”

“Extremely,” the man replied. “But mostly in the way that she steals and hides things, and then forgets where they are. And then just cries….”

Lion chuckled at his dry tone. “Diana suits her,” she gave as an admittance, motioning to the cat. “Especially when I first came into things. She shredded nearly everything that I owned. Though lately….” Lion eyed the cat currently trying to shove its head in the basket to investigate the contents and cling to Lion at the same time. “…Bacchus, maybe?”

When he found himself laughing, Alan was pleasantly surprised.

---

“Lion, stay here,” the dark-haired man reminded Alan of Nigel, then, despite the differences in type. The command came to much the same result as Nigel would with Alan. The difference being--

The dark-haired man yelped at the pinch, yet still moved instantly to argue it. “Lion, it--!”

Lion had a dignity present. Alan would note that. “You didn’t let me fall to nothing.” A story in it, a heavy weight. “I won’t let you either.”

The pair stared at each other, then the dark-haired man’s gaze fell as he sighed, resignation present. “Right. Then Alan, you--”

“Like hell,” was the snarl, calm turning to fury, and he stormed out of the room first. The man was left looking confused.

Lion let out a light laugh and patted his shoulder, “For one who claims to see the heart of things, you’re awfully bad at reading people.”

The man grimaced, a mimicry of Alan’s earlier, then yelped again as Lion passed him, trailing Alan out the door.

---

Unexpectedly, or the opposite, Lion and Alan’s conversation continued to the doors. Then, and only then, did they pause, the awkward motions of strangers realizing they had rambled, and Lion moved to speak. Uncharacteristically, Alan interrupted, “If you like, you could stop by for coffee or drinks.”

The offer seemed to surprise Lion, whose gender, by now, Alan was less sure of. It wasn’t something uncomfortable, despite that, and it suited Lion; the blurred lines and general vague division. Like one who had the potential to move in whatever way they liked, and instead held themselves above the choice and lived in yet a different way. It was apt, perhaps, and it might have been why Alan offered. Once, he, too, had--

He had once lived in a different way.

Lion’s bearings were regained, and blue eyes were blinked, somewhat pleased. “I’d be happy to, Alan. Though I need to--”

“You can go if you want,” came the deeper voice from the right of the store. “I finished my errand, but I don’t mind if you’re out longer.” The man, dark-haired and golden-eyed, familiar for that aspect alone, spoke as if Alan wasn’t there. It was an annoyance and an irregularity all at once. “…Though if Diana wants to come with me,” the voice had taken on a whine passed off as a croon. He seemed to halfway pout at the cat-- An action which served no purpose. She only looked at him idly before going back to bathing an ear. “I’d be happy to feed her early….”

“Bacchus, indeed,” Alan muttered with a snort, when the mention of food perked her attention, ears swiveling forward, and Lion started, staring at him for the second time that day. That reaction was mild compared to the other’s, who stepped forward without delay, a hand angled down near his side as if reaching for something.

“Lion, have you attracted a crazy man?” the dark-haired individual asked pleasantly. Any response aligned with the question was put aside as Alan’s eyes flashed, snapping up to lock on the man.

“You’re crying over a cat in public and you call me crazy? For what, exactly?”

The anger was genuine, legit, and turned to confusion and wariness in a second. The dark-haired man had only raised his chin in response, then turned to look at Lion and Diana in bland question. The former of which was staring at Alan. “…You can see him, too?”

…Ah, now. That… Was possibly awkward.

---

“And now?”

The annoyed voice would only belong to the white-haired man, and where Lion would step up next to Alan and motion him to wait, the third in their group would take a step further, reality shifting beneath them.

There was something familiar in that sensation, Alan thought.

There was also something familiar in the shadows that crept from the cracks in the air, from the trees torn in half and the ground quivering as it shifted elsewhere. The world was changing; incorrect: They were moving somewhere than what was generally accepted as the world, and Alan had led them to this spot, Alan had brought them here, because here was where he had felt--

“It’s easier,” Lion said, “if you close your eyes,” and Alan said nothing because there was nothing to say. He stared at the shadows and waited for the reality chosen to solidify.

Alan Kane held to no beliefs or faiths-- The commonly accepted ‘reality’ was no different. It was simply another perception, another method of motion, movement to break against the rocks of the mind, and he--

Waited. Waited for the world to show him what he sought.

---

The yelp was unexpected from the nearly foreboding-looking man. Lion, expression fixed like a mother punishing her child, pinched him again. The man hopped away from the blond, glaring back. “…Someone being unable to see you is no excuse for rudeness. Diana agrees,” Lion added, the aforementioned cat neck deep in the bag Lion dropped in favor of pinching the other for calling Alan crazy.

“Diana agrees with anyone with food in their hand,” the man muttered, rubbing sore skin and watching Lion warily. To that, Lion only smiled.

“Good thing I’m well-stocked, then. Diana,” was the call, and Lion reached into a pocket for a small piece of something. The cat instantly stopped her rummaging and trotted over with a friendly yowl. The dark-haired man just watched, openly mournful.

Alan no longer had any idea what was going on.

Perhaps it had been folly to simply accept the cat’s existence, but creatures like that were not all that rare, and he hadn’t really… Cared about its origin. But this was a completely different matter, and a man who was not a man was--

The one in his thoughts looked over to him, golden eyes watchful. “It’s curious.” The subject of the statement was obvious. Alan glanced away with some annoyance and watched Lion feed a treat to Diana instead.

“…I guess I’m that type of person.”

The man straightened, recovered from his war wounds, and walked nearer to Alan. In all honesty, there was nothing for Alan to realize the other was not physical in the clearest sense of the word. No signs, keys, or tells-- “I’m not some kind of ghost, if that’s what you’re thinking.” At Alan’s unfathomable look, the man sighed. “…It’s complicated.”

A poor excuse. But, really, they were in the same situation. “A complication and a curiosity. I suppose I can deal with that for now.” Until all became clear, and things were explained. There was time. It was that kind of feeling. If they had wanted, the pair could likely have left with their cat instantly. But they had stayed. More than likely, because Alan’s existence intrigued them as well.

It wouldn’t be the first time.

Surprisingly, the man laughed. “It’s a simple way of putting it, but it works. What’s Lion, then?”

Alan watched the blond, who pet the cat once more before picking up the bags dropped down and looking over to them. Alan smiled slightly, a bit wryly. “A confusion.” The man snorted ungainly, and inclined his head in acceptance. Unable to leave it like that, Alan slid his gaze to the man. “…Though to you, I’m sure Lion is the boss.”

The man sputtered, and Alan laughed, and he realized this was the second time today. How strange. It was almost like--

---

--Long lost friends reaching to be found, ones alone finding those alike, calling to those who could understand, and even so, Alan led them on. Unwavering, and perhaps that was why the silence behind him. Because there was no hesitance in his steps, no pause in his movements, just the continued motion of one walking forward, to find what they had lost. What they wished to find. That was his ability, his perfect curse. To slip beneath one’s skin and seek them out. It wasn’t altogether difficult when that was what was truly wanted.

And it was. He couldn’t remember the reminder of the day; in truth, Alan couldn’t remember if it had been hours or days since they had started walking, if there were actually others behind him if he turned to look, or if there was only nothing and emptiness instead to call out to his mind. Or perhaps they were only three people walking, little else, and certainly not this sea of stars, certainly not this empty vessel of a universe waiting, for Alan only felt--

Potential. Mired and shored. The longing to reach out and just shift--

But there was another thing felt, another one longed for, and that was the one they drew nearer to; that was the one Alan followed in an almost blinded daze.

This was how it would always be, Alan thought. Nigel would run and vanish, and Alan would follow and find him. Forever, into eternity. An absolution for sins not his own, for where others had left, Alan would--

Always find him. Never doubt it.

---

“He’ll be home soon,” Alan explained, unlocking the door. “But I can try to make something in the meantime….” He half-winced at the thought, and Lion passed him, shrugging off the coat worn.

“You won’t mind if I use your kitchen, will you? It’s been a while since I’ve been able to cook for more than one person; I’d like to be able to take advantage of it.”

Silently grateful for Lion’s kindness and tact, Alan accepted, and instead made tea for Will and Lion and fed Snowflake, and became the perfect host he never was. The food had grown cold and was eventually eaten by the time the door unlocked, and the conversation had already shifted past explanations of other worlds and different existences and beings, trapped in a place that was no home to them. This, Alan knew. Even if it was not a truth to him, he understood it. And thought the other would be interested.

And yet he didn’t understand when Nigel didn’t thaw from his mood, when he only asked, even in tone, “What are their names?”

…Alan blinked, and saw no reason not to answer.

---

And Nigel had vanished, disappeared without a trace, with only an envelope left behind that the pair seemed to recognize, though it held nothing familiar to Alan. And now they were walking in darkness, in a place that existed in-between, all for the sake of one who had seemed to have gone mad. The scenario was similar, if not the method. Alan supposed he should appreciate it. Instead he only wished to go home.

There was a crack of light before them, and he and Lion shielded their eyes. The third stared straight, as if nothing had changed. An inhuman existence, more and more, and the movements were not all that gave him away.

Nigel stood within a spot-light, stock still. Alan took a step towards him, then paused-- The look in the dull eyes frightening and worrying. A fear resided there, dark and deep, and Alan saw it, knew it, for it was the same as--

“So you’ve come,” Nigel said brightly, hands outstretched to his sides. “I almost thought you wouldn’t, though I didn’t think you’d bring my brother.” And now Nigel would not look at him anymore, as if resolved to a part played, and Alan would have no influence on it-- “It changes nothing, in the end; I’m sure you know what this is?”

The cheery voice was met by Lion’s polite tones. “A game.”

Nigel shrugged, the bright energy turning lazy and sullen in a second’s time. “A game is too simple, and I’m not fond of the word. How about a mystery,” Nigel said, smiling in a way known only to those dead. “A mystery of existences and how they persevere. --Though I have to say,” Nigel went on, a rambling slew of words, colder with each syllable until the light-hearted manner faced at the beginning had vanished. As if it had never been. “There’s a bit too many guests. I don’t mind Alan, but I don’t believe you were invited.”

This was directed at the blond, and Lion’s chin raised without due mention. “I have every right to be here.”

Only now did the dark-haired man speak, a low warning. “Lion….”

But Nigel was already going on, throwing hands up as if shocked. “I don’t believe that’s true! That’s not how things are, I’m afraid, and that’s part of this little play as well.”

As if in opposite echo, Alan took advantage of the pause. “Nigel….”

…There was a visible reaction. The man flinched harshly as if struck. Nigel took in a shaking breath, then stared at Lion as if Alan hadn’t spoken. “I’m afraid your time is up.” The dark-haired man stepped forward and Nigel’s eyes, wild even dim, darted towards him, grinning. “Tut-tut, it’s not your turn yet. One thing at a time.”

His attention turned back to Lion, and Alan, on instinct, moved closer. In-between both, and he didn’t know who he was shielding.

However, it was as if he wasn’t there.

“I’d say it in red if it mattered, but I prefer a different way. Doing it at the house would have been messy with all those rules in place, but here it’s a bit more simple, isn’t it?”

Now the man with Lion jolted, now he strode forward, dipping into a run, but it wasn’t fast enough, for always in nightmares, always you’re too slow.

“I much prefer oblivion, you know. Absolution, if you will. You all have your words in blue and red and gold, and I have mine layered in nothingness. Just like you, isn’t that right? Because Because Ushiromiya Lion does not exist.

There’s an expectance for things like that to be different. One to go out with whimpers or bangs, but Lion does neither. Lion was just gone, like the person of charming humor and crazy attributes dipped in manners never had been.

And Alan was easily read, always had been in this way.

“No. ‘Lion’ never existed at all.”

There was nothing to show Lion had stood there a moment before, and Alan was left staring at the point another had been standing in until a moment ago. This reality was--

Lights brightened as if house lights were being raised, and the scenery showed a path winding through summer and snow, a cliff and fields on either side. A mashing of memories, and ones that, also, ‘did not exist.’ For there had been no little girl to cure by traipsing through her mind. No, that--

But the emotions suited all the same. For those times that had never occurred signified a loss. And all things come full circle.

Lion’s companion had been silent, frozen the second Lion disappeared from this world, and only now he straightened, eyes closed as he breathed in. “…Your name?”

Nigel laughed, a high unhealthy sound. “There’s a few but none you need know. Are we trading for losses? I’ll remember you either way, with--” He inhaled, sharply, cutting off for an unknown reason. “Nigel Kane. And you are my opponent, Willard H. Wright, and are charged with the crime of escaping your confirmed demise.”

If there was any surprise in him, the man called Willard did not show it, and Alan only watched when he walked up to Nigel, when the sword that spoke darkness and shone light, that was emptiness and meaning both, materialized in his hand, and they faced each other, both armed with the nothingness of eternity, the completion of fate as their weapon.

Only Alan would be able to note the sharp tension, the heavy swallow, quick and jolting, the maddened grin that only meant the opposite and sorrow and fear. Only Alan could bear full witness.

Likely as only Lion could bear full witness to Willard.

“It’s Will,” the man replied to Nigel, and seemed to straighten, grow taller. “Come then, pawn of a witch. Come play your role, so I can cut you down by your own means.”

A means to a motive. A searing simplicity of desires. A forlorn wish fueled by loss.

An empty miracle that one would die for the chance of, all the same.

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