|A little talk
||[May. 10th, 2005|01:22 pm]
The All-Holy Shrine to Flut!
|||||Lifehouse - Everything||]|
In an attempt to build character, I bring you a Zack/Amata vignette. It's been very hard to write them lately, so I'm glad this one came so easily. Just a talk of fears and nightmares, and what it means to face them.
When she woke, it was dark, as it had been in her dream, though the faintest flickering of light reflected off the glass walls a distance away. The Ced person would be down there, she figured, or possibly Rem, keeping the material glowing so that they had what feeble light was possible in this place. As it was, she could see well enough to make out the hunched-over form of Zack, sitting kitty-corner to where she was now. It was hard to tell if he were awake or not in the dim light.
So she sat and waited, instead, drawing her knees up to her chin. She wanted to talk to him, because the dream she had was strange, and something she’d never had before, but she also didn’t want to wake him. They got such little rest in this place, especially since the monsters had attacked; every moment spent relaxing was important, and she didn’t want to wake him if he were sleeping. She wasn’t even sure it was something to wake him about, honestly. Things were still too new, too strange, and sorting through the myriad experiences she continued to experience only helped to confuse her.
But it wasn’t fair, either, to have others work them out for her. Watching everyone else, watching as they fought off the monsters together, or by themselves, she’d realized that it wasn’t possible to have someone do something for you all the time. You could work together, or figure it out alone, but there was no real way to have others solve it for you. Even when she’d been attacked, she had still kept the barrier spell up, for herself and then for others. She’d helped, in some small way.
That thought made her purse her lips briefly in thought. Help. Cutie…had helped her to leave the underworld, what felt so long ago. And he had helped his friends here, either to heal or to protect. It was fun, to watch him do the things he did, but also a little sad, because she knew it was hard for her to do such things. She wanted to help him during the battle, but she hadn’t even been able to stand. And even if she had…there was so little she could do, compared to all the wonderful things Zack was capable of. It made her wish she could do more, instead of just tagging along. Even the little humans seemed to be able to do more than her.
Not for the first time, she mourned the loss of her wings, and talons. She could have done something with those, fought perhaps, though she was not one for fighting. She never had been, not really, even through all those years at her river. A weak little thing, that’s all she’d been, even among the harpies, who themselves had such little power in the underworld. At the time, she’d thought nothing of it, but now that she could watch others, see how strong they were, how kind, she wanted to be strong and kind, too. It was how humans were, and more than anything she wanted to be human like Cutie.
He stirred then, pulling her attention back to him, and she rose, carefully untucking her legs and padding over to him. In the faint light she could see his eyes were open, glowing golden, and she smiled, sitting down beside him. She wanted to touch his hair, even reached for it, then stopped. She wasn’t sure why she stopped, but she did, and instead simply waited, biting her lip.
Zack blinked lazily, pushing himself up until his arms could drape over his legs. He smiled at her in the pale light. “Hey there. Sleep well?”
She started to nod, then paused and shook her head slowly. “Amata…had a strange dream, Cutie. It woke me up.” He quirked an eyebrow, eyes inquizzitive, and she frowned, searching for the words to describe what she’d had. “It was dark…and scary. And there were giant monsters there that ran after me and cut me. And…and they hurt Cutie, too, and your friends. But then they changed and they were harpies, but they looked like me, and Amata fell into a river and couldn’t find her way to the surface. It was hard to breathe. And then…then I woke up.” She glanced up at him, smiling tremulously. “Amata…wanted to talk to you about it, but Cutie was asleep. What was it?”
He chuckled quietly. “It’s called a nightmare, Amata. It’s just a scary dream. Everyone has them, sometimes.”
“Oh,” she murmured, scooting over to sit beside him. “Even you?” He nodded, still smiling, and she frowned again, pressing her chin to her knees. “I didn’t like it. It was scary. Amata…doesn’t like scary things.”
Again he chuckled, though he reached over to ruffle her hair, too, playfully, kindly. She liked it when he did that. It made her feel comfortable, and warm. More than anything she liked that feeling, especially from Cutie, who was her first friend, and the most dear. She giggled when he took his hand away, smiling at him, smiling in the way he smiled, because it was the first smile she’d seen, and she loved how it looked, how it felt. Whatever fears had stayed with her after the nightmare were gone, replaced instead with that soft and happy feeling she always felt with him. Her friend…her first and most precious friend.
They sat in comfortable silence after that for a while, Amata smiling to herself as Zack leaned against the wall, opening and closing his eyes slowly. He was probably still tired, after everything that had happened. She wanted to heal him more, to help, but he said that no materia could make fatigue go away, only rest, and she’d acquiesced, though not happily. For a moment she thought of getting up and going back to her place, to possibly catch a little more sleep before moving on, but then Cutie spoke and she looked to him, instead, head tilted to the side in that bird-like way of hers.
“You know…nightmares usually show us what we’re afraid of,” he began, glancing at her from the corner of his eye. “That’s why they frighten us so much. Because it’s what we fear, and to see it happen hurts.”
She nodded slowly. “What…is Cutie afraid of?”
He pursed his lips, looking up at the ceiling as he thought. She leaned forward a little, tugging her knees closer to her chest while she waited for him to answer. When he did, it was quiet, and he kept his eyes closed. “I’m afraid of a lot of things, Amata. I’m afraid of what might happen, if I make a mistake. I’m afraid of losing friends, of losing myself because of these wings.” He motioned faintly toward his back and she smiled weakly, thinking of her own lost wings and how much fear she’d had when she realized they were gone. But Cutie was still talking, and she pulled her thoughts back to hear him. “I’m afraid of being powerless, really. I want to be able to do something, be able to control what happens, at least to me and the people I care about. But even though I’m afraid, I can’t stop, either.” He glanced at her again, and his eyes were a little sad. She wondered briefly what he was thinking about. “That’s the most important thing about fears: you keep going, even when you don’t want to, because giving up just hurts more in the end.”
They sat in silence for a while after that, Amata rocking back and forth as she thought about what Zack had said. “But isn’t it hard?” she whispered eventually, looking at him. “Scary things…are hard to face.”
Zack laughed quietly. “Yes, they are. That’s why it’s worth it to face them.”
She pursed her lips. “Amata…is afraid of being alone again,” she offered after a time, not looking at him. “And she’s afraid of losing her friends.” Zack nodded silently, listening as she talked, the once-harpy idly drawing on the floor with one long finger. It felt strange, to talk about something like this, especially since it was the first time she’d ever voiced it. Fears…were something for the humans who she placed in her river, not for her. To have her own fears now, to acknowledge those fears, because they were real and very much a part of her, left her with a somewhat sickly feeling in her stomach. But she also smiled, because she had something that other humans had, and it was okay to have them. They were scary, and woke her when she slept, but she was glad to have them.
Zack reached out and ruffled her hair again. “Those are good fears to have,” he chuckled; she laughed, ducking away from his touch, then reaching up to finger his hair, the strands soft to the touch. She liked soft things, just as she liked smiles, and friends, and the fears lurking in her heart. Zack smirked at her. “Do you fear anything else?”
She nodded, after a moment of thought, hand dropping from his hair. It was hard to explain this fear, because she didn’t understand it, but she tried her best, fingering the hair wrapped around her wrist. “I’m afraid…of not being a good human,” she murmured, not looking at him. “Amata wants to help…and grow and learn and she’s afraid…of not being able to. Is that silly, Cutie?”
Once again, he chuckled, a quiet, warm chuckle, then leaned over and wrapped an arm around her shoulder, hugging her. Amata’s eyes went wide, then she leaned into him, smiling faintly. He laughed. “You’ll do fine, Amata. And we’re all here to help you, so…you’ll do fine.” He squeezed her shoulder, then pulled away, and she smiled up at him. He ruffled her hair. “You’re stronger than you look.”
That made her grin, and she leaned over to hug him back. “Thank you, Cutie,” she murmured, pulling away and standing up. His eyes were still glowing in the faint light. “Amata will do her best, and…she’s happy, that she can. Goodnight, Cutie. I…hope you don’t have any nightmares, okay?” And she flashed him her best smile, the one she learned from him, and turned and went back to her place, nestling down to catch what rest she could before they had to move on again.