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14 December 2007 @ 04:13 pm
[Fic] "The Transient and the Eternal: Naptime" -- Angel Sanctuary  
I'm doing thirtyforthree for Kira Sakuya/Mudo Setsuna/Mudo Sara from Kaori Yuki's Angel Sanctuary. There will be spoilers in nearly every theme -- given the characters, it's nearly impossible to avoid them! -- and a lot of potentially objectionable content. This is because the source manga has a lot of potentially objectionable content. If incest squicks you, or you know you'll be bothered by some strange and/or negative interpretations of Judeo-Christian theology, you're probably better off not reading these stories.

With that said...

Theme: #21 - Naptime
Warnings: spoilers!
Note: This ficlet is set pre-manga, during and immediately after Alexiel's rebellion, i.e. the Second Holy War. It's one story, but it's told as a series of seven drabbles (strict form, 100 words exactly), mostly because I like to play around with structural forms, but also because seven is a mystically significant number. *grin*

For those curious about timeline issues, "Naptime" occurs around 300 BCE, as Jomon culture gave way to Yayoi. Irrigated rice farming seems to have reached Japan around that time, as well as metalworking -- first bronze, and then iron. People lived in settled villages and the islands were divided into a patchwork of small, independent principalities, whose rulers did collect some form of tribute or taxes. Rosiel's prison is in the greater Tokyo area; Yayoi culture seems to have either originated from or first arrived on Kyushu, and then spread to Honshu, Shikoku, and Hokkaido. Clapping hands in worship is an ancient habit, dating back to either Yayoi or Jomon culture.

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The Transient and the Eternal: Naptime
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1.

As Alexiel's spell surged toward completion, his edge bit into Rosiel's chest; tainted blood drenched his senses. Nanatsusaya vibrated like a struck bell, balancing the opposing powers for a heartbeat, and one more, and one more--

"Now!" Alexiel shouted.

He channeled her spell into Rosiel, body and soul, until the mad angel was gagged, bound in astral chains, and slammed down through primal chaos to Assiah's embrace. One breath of peace. Then the power lashed back.

Suicide or sacrifice, it made no difference. Nanatsusaya shattered.

For you, he whispered in that last moment, and then his thoughts winnowed to darkness.

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2.

Death refused to hold him. Nanatsusaya waited, bound to the wreckage of his body, until a gaunt human ventured to the impact site. The man clapped his hands to placate restless spirits, plucked a blade shard from the earth, and marveled at the refracted light. Surely these jewels were a miracle sent to save his family from starvation.

Yes, a miracle, Nanatsusaya said, and twisted the fragment to slit the man's wrist. You are dying. Give me your body. In return, I will find food to save your children.

He moved into the corpse and set about gathering his body.

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3.

The man had a wife, three children, a large extended family, several drought-stricken plots of rice, and ruinous tithes. Nanatsusaya knew nothing about farming, but he understood obligation and intimidation. It was simple to find a prosperous group of bandits along the river road, seize a sword, and take their lives. It was equally simple to deliver the money and a message to the local warlord.

Sparing one family from taxes would only raise the neighbors' resentment. He spared the entire village, for ten years. Satisfied, the man's soul moved on.

Nanatsusaya remained, painstakingly reforging the shards of his body.

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4.

Eventually, angels came to investigate Rosiel's prison. "We don't have the power to free him," one concluded, grimly.

"God will save him," another said, "or the tribunal will force Alexiel to lift her curse."

So Alexiel had lost. Nanatsusaya gripped his stolen bronze sword. She should have killed Rosiel, not tried to save him. He'd told her that, but she had only smiled, distant and sad, and refused to change her tactics.

"Rosiel is my other half; killing him would kill me," she'd said. "Once, you might have understood... but perhaps not. You've always been pure in your darkness, Nanatsusaya."

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5.

"A demon haunts the river road," people whispered. "He takes the shape of a dead man, with blood on his chest and ice in his eyes, and he carries a diamond sword with a blood-red hilt."

"He only kills those who attack him first, or who prey on travelers," others countered. "They say he gives money to the poor. Maybe he's a kami."

"He's still dangerous," everyone agreed. "It's good he keeps his distance."

Nanatsusaya, sitting quietly in the tavern with the blood crystal tucked beneath his clothes, poured another bowl of sake. They were right; he didn't belong here.

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6.

Nanatsusaya. Nanatsusaya. Nanatsusaya. A voice whispered into his mind, calling him from his silent watch over the dead man's family.

He found Jibril kneeling over Rosiel's prison, running her hands along the invisible bars of power that fenced him in.

"Alexiel is dead. You and I have no cause left in common," Nanatsusaya told her.

"Wrong," she said. "Uriel sentenced Alexiel to reincarnation, to life after life of suffering and pain. You promised to stand by her side. You know the taste of her soul. You can find her. Will you spare her what pain you can?"

"Always," he said.

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7.

He began traveling in the dead man's body, but soon he realized that Alexiel might be born anywhere in Assiah. The earth was too wide to search as a human. As a spirit, though, he could move wherever he wished. The trick was shifting the blood crystal out of the physical plane and into spiritual form. Fortunately, Rosiel's blood, already partially out of phase with the natural world, made an excellent medium.

Nanatsusaya left his borrowed body and drifted, waiting.

Seven decades later, lightning sparked in his mind. The soul bond snapped back into place.

He was done with resting.

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End of Story

Cross-posted here on thirtyforthree

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In other news, I am nearly (finally!) finished with chapter 12 of "The Guardian in Spite of Herself," and with any luck will be able to post the beta draft on Monday. Of course, knowing my luck, I wouldn't hold my breath. *sigh*
 
 
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