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We are the Stuff of Broken Dreams
Piece by Shard by Bit b-- (whole.)
[Fanfiction] Weightless Light 
29th-Aug-2011 12:14 am
Released Caged Bird
Title: Weightless Light
Rating: T
Media: Fanfiction
Genre: Introspective  
Word Count: 1,574 
Warnings: Much angst D:
Prompt: Virtuous Martyrdom
Notes: Originally posted in the now inactive vistamihawk comm here.

Summary: Memories are the stuff made of dreams. Never clear, never certain, never defined. Sometimes, the only thing you remember is a smile. Stunning, stunning and so, so bright. It’s not much, but it’s a good way to go.  

 Weightless Light

The moments just before your last are always the clearest, so he’s heard.

He wonders if that is why the sweep of the other man’s blade seems slower than it usually might have. It is still light out, even though the sound of battle around them appears to have been raging on for days. It’s not bright, but the effect of dull sunlight reflecting the sheen of a sword is always dazzling. Always beautiful.

As he parries another blow and marvels at the force behind it – the intensity of the sullen gaze right before him – he thinks of women.

He thinks of the women back home and, by default of that sweet nostalgia, believes himself to be a boy again. So he thinks of the women back home, and is a boy again, just for that split second.

They always say that a split second feels like an eternity.

He’s always disagreed, but this time may be an exception.

He’s always been fascinated by the refraction of light. The way that slow fire, embers or a lazy, roaring bonfire, plays and bounces off the hoops that the women of their village wear in their ears. Like a glinting sword, he used to think. He still thinks that way, but women are few and far in-between in the travels that he remembers embarking on with his crew. As part of the crew. Physical release is a necessity, so he has had some women in the towns that they stop-over in. Just those few.

Nothing ever lasts beyond the night, and they never wear the same hoops that the women back home did. Do. They didn’t look the same, smell the same, dress the same, smile the same.

It is different.

The light reflecting off the blade of a sword is infinitely more beautiful than that coming off the hoops women wear in their ears as they sway in the firelight – feet tapping lightly in the earthy soil, hands clapping to a constant beat (known by heart, recognised by the spirit) and singing (he’d sway to the wailing notes that sounded like passion, like hom—) – and dance.

He remembers thinking that a blade looks especially divine in the moonlight, cast aside in pairs as the heat of bodies take priority, seeking contact and more heat.

Swordsmanship is a craft, a practice, an art and a habit that requires the clearing of the mind. Only the virtuous wield blades so clean, so sharp, that it slices through walls and concrete the same way it does through butter. Like the butter they produce at home, made from goat’s milk and eaten with bread that M—

He lets the ringing of the next parry clear that thought away.

The past is something to keep, but not something to live by.

He’s always lived for the future and stows his past safe somewhere he hopes he only finds during the loneliest of nights. He wonders, again, as he studies the physique before him – hardened and wearing the lines of both battle scars and age – if the fact that the past is resonating about him signals the coming of something else.

The end of a future.

He thinks of the blade, the light coming off the blade, and that only. A virtuous sword is something he will need to defeat the man before him. Because friendly sparring with wooden swords and dancing around the village fire with girls who wear skirts of embroidered red and laugh as the silver in their ears wink, are relics of a past he has left behind.

Because the man before him has a laugh and a smile that is now kept – not lost – safely away, together with a past that nobody knows about. It sharpens his blade and his mind.

So they are told. Were.

But he knows better and keeps his smile. A grin that stretches widely beneath the moustache he grooms to keep himself busy. To keep the bloodlust at bay when the days are peaceful.

He is the only one who knows what the cross the other wears around his pale neck symbolises. Pale, so pale, and so rare a shade for people from their village (all passion, fire and smoke).

It does not symbolise a religious inclination. Not any that he knows about. Nor is it, (laughably enough, the peacock) a mere accessory.

It is the symbol of a blade, the same as the one that he carries, strapped across his back, his burden to carry, the sin of slaying so many with one blade (beautiful, beautiful, beautiful in the moonlight) and a reminder to keep the memories and emotions at bay. To remain virtuous (sharp). Blank.

“You’re faltering.”

His smile widens, and he takes pleasure in seeing the intensity behind all that liquid gold heighten, wary (from experience) and he can almost taste the frown that curls at those lips. Like so many nights before.

“It’s your imagination, Juracule.”

It is one thing to see light reflecting from a blade – so stunning – but the light that is triggered from behind twin pools of gold with their pinpricks of the deepest brown is breathtaking. He pushes harder against their crossed blades and conveys an acknowledgment of that familiarity.

It is a language only they know. Something perfected through many fights (and kisses) under fragmented moonlight, disturbed only by clouds (and the rustling of soft cotton folds over flesh, stifled moans, roughly bitten shoulders and ‘I l—’).

“Then it is time we should end this.”

There is no regret, no recognition in that quiet declaration, its near-silent control contrasting so sharply with the noisy chaos around them. And that is fine, because he doesn’t know what else he would expect to hear.

He feels the disappointment anyway.

“We each have a point in our favour,” he responds blithely, even as he feels the keen sting in his side, where the strength behind the cross the other bears has become a heavy weapon.

It draws blood in a thin line, like a scratch gone too deep (raking across his back in irregularly numbered lines – fingers – after a spar, stinging with the hazy memory of sweet tightness and breathless murmurs). Their battle is interrupted by the collapse of the execution platform and the shadowing of the battlefield by Sengoku’s massive form. Neither is distracted, nor completely focused.

So he takes the momentary halt in their fight (no longer sparring, he reminds himself) to pull at the crucifix the other wears around his neck. The leather it hangs on snaps with one deft tug, as if the weight it bore prior to meddling fingers was too great, and he holds the symbol they both recognise in one hand.

The furious raw emotion, naked eyes glare he receives in return is almost worth the nauseating pain that strikes his side.

His smile now, he knows, is considerably smaller than what he usually wears, because of the pain (because it is a mask). It feels more real, somehow. He presses heavily against the blade, leaning into the other man’s personal space (invading) with the lazy ease of old familiarity, and he recognises the way gold shrinks away, even if the man himself stands rigid.


He revels in the blatant openness of that expression, letting his own eyes drill in the familiarity, the heat of their bodies as he draws closer. The heated intensity allows him to dismiss the dull ache against his ribcage where the sword sinks in deeper. Allies and enemies alike are too busy escaping the debris falling from the destroyed platform. A second of overwhelming heat and he knows that Ace is free, and that everyone is too busy panicking or cheering to notice two little boys lost amongst the wreckage.

He keeps his eyes open as their lips meet, and his hand, discarded sword dropped carelessly to the side (it pales in comparison to a moon-lit night), slips down and caresses. The tensing that he feels in the other man is like an emotional ambrosia, and it releases a flood of memories, clear, all clean lines, sharp ringing laughter and glistening youthful limbs.

If these are his last moments, they are nothing but pain and the sharp, bitter tang of his past.

The battle their tongues war between their sealed lips is different, so different, to the intense, sensuous exchange their eyes convey. Gold on Black. The exhilaration of such exposure sends a thrill of excitement that rushes down to his groin. It fades as soon as it comes when he pulls away reluctantly. He chuckles as he feels the lips against him physically restraining the urge to follow.

Crushing the crucifix in his hand, he draws away from the blade cutting into his flesh.

“Your sword cannot bear the weight of my blood, Juracule,” he murmurs.

Mihawk has sheathed his blade, but Vista feels the weight pulling him to the ground anyway.

The last thing he remembers before his knees hit the ground and a division member notices and goes screaming for help, is the hint of a small smile that tugs at the other man’s lips.

As the fragments of the shattered crucifix cuts into his palm, he thinks that it’s the same smile that the women back home have.

Dark and passionate, and the most blinding thing he has ever seen.

(For beauty.

For dance.

For dreams.

And for young love.)

He is blinded by light itself.


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