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05 December 2009 @ 09:49 pm
[Fic] "The Transient and the Eternal: Tattoo" -- Angel Sanctuary  
I'm doing thirtyforthree again, this time 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 often negative interpretations of Judeo-Christian theology, you probably won't want to read any of these stories.

With that said...

Theme: #29 - Tattoo
Warnings: spoilers!
Notes: This ficlet is set way, way post-manga, well after Setsuna and Sara eventually die, with all attendant spoilers. (Randomly, this is both theme #29 and the twenty-ninth story in my chronological sequence. So by this point, the threesome-of-sorts is pretty well established.)

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The Transient and the Eternal: Tattoo
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"I feel naked," Jibril announced one morning.

"You are naked," Lucifer said, looking up from his writing desk. "I appreciate the view, incidentally, but I fail to see the point of announcing it."

Alexiel stuffed her head under a pillow and tried to ignore them both.

"The point," said Jibril, "is that you have tattoos and Alexiel has her brand, but I'm unmarked. It's not fair -- I was just as much a traitor to Heaven as either of you. Why should I be left out of the skin art club?"

"Why would you want to join?" Lucifer countered. "The marks are a sign of God's disfavor or Rosiel's madness; why should you care what they would have thought of you?"

"The marks are a sign of your strength of will," Jibril said, sitting up and resting one hand on Alexiel's shoulder. Alexiel twitched and reached back to pull the sheets up over her back. She wanted to sleep, not listen to inanity.

"They're a sign of failure," Lucifer said. His voice sounded closer than before, Alexiel thought. A sudden weight pressed down on the bed beside her. Ah. He had moved.

"Then why do you keep them?" Jibril asked. "You could unravel the spells holding them in place if you wanted to." The bed shifted, sheets pulling and twisting as Jibril leaned across Alexiel's back. "See?" she said. "The threads are already unraveling on their own, without Rosiel here to reinforce them. So why keep slave marks if you don't secretly like them?"

Silence. Alexiel dared to hope the others might be tired of this nonsense and willing to let her sleep in peace.

But no -- a hand tore the pillow from her grasp, and Jibril's body pressed down against her right side, warm and close and distracting. "Alexiel, what do you think?" Jibril asked, whispering soft and wet in her ear. "Why do you keep your brand? What does it mean to you?"

"Who cares?" Alexiel grumbled, trying to pull the sheets over her head. "Go argue somewhere else; I'm too tired for your games."

"No," said Lucifer, pulling the sheets back down. "If I have to answer -- and you know Jibril won't stop asking until I do -- you have to answer as well. Why do you keep the brand?"

"Because."

"That's not an answer," Lucifer pointed out.

Jibril wove her fingers into the tangle of Alexiel's hair, still whispering in her ear. "Does it remind you of the war? Is it a warning not to make God's mistakes? Do you like the way it makes angels nervous?" She giggled. "Did you just like the tattoo you got the night before we married as humans, and want to keep a reminder of that? Does it--"

"It reminds me of Rosiel."

Silence.

"Oh," said Jibril. She untangled her fingers and stroked gently along Alexiel's head, kissed the rim of her ear, rested her chin on Alexiel's shoulder. "I'm sorry. I shouldn't have pushed you."

Alexiel stared down at the bed through her closed eyelids and refused to answer.

"I keep mine because they annoy Michael," Lucifer said. He slid his arms underneath Alexiel's torso and lifted, turning her face-up before she could counterattack. "Open your eyes and stop brooding. What's past is past. You have a reminder; there's no need to wear extra grooves into your memory out of misplaced guilt."

"Misplaced? Misplaced? I sentenced him to madness -- centuries, millennia of madness. And then I killed him." Alexiel glared at Lucifer. Her sword was just across the room, resting on the lacquered stand beside his desk. If she summoned it...

"God sentenced him to madness, not you," Lucifer corrected.

"And you killed him because he asked you to," added Jibril, shifting to her knees. She wrapped her arms around Alexiel, resting her head against Alexiel's stomach. "You did everything you could. He forgave you -- don't you know that? Let us help you forgive yourself."

Alexiel pressed her lips together, biting back ten thousand incoherent protests. They loved her, she knew that. They were probably even right. But it still hurt. It would always hurt, just like the brand had burned and ached in those last days between her sentencing and her execution.

"You don't need any marks," she said to Jibril, her voice rough with sleep and swallowed words. "You're water; you wash things clean."

She could live a hundred thousand years, Alexiel thought, and still not understand why that made tears well up in Jibril's eyes.

"I agree," Lucifer said. Then he shifted, sliding back toward the edge of the bed, pulling Alexiel and Jibril with him. "But that's enough melodrama for today. We have breakfast to eat and work to do."

"Bastard," Alexiel grumbled as he helped her shift so she was sitting upright.

"So I am. So are all of Adam Kadamon's children," Lucifer agreed. "Now get up, or I'll tell Kurai you want her to choose your outfits for the next month. And Jibril? If you still want skin art, you might talk to Belial about face paint."

He was across the room and into their private bath before either Alexiel or Jibril could respond.

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End

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That was kind of fun to write. I'd had the basic idea set for a few years, but it never really clicked to life in my mind until this afternoon, whereupon I wrote the ficlet in about an hour. *shrug* Inspiration is weird.

In unrelated real life news, today it snowed in Ithaca! So I took my winter coat out of storage... and discovered that the zipper had broken. Last year, the pull tab fell off the part that slides up and down and locks or unlocks the teeth, but that was easy to fix; I just stuck a key-ring through the little hole. This year, the whole locking apparatus fell off, so I am left with nothing but two rows of naked zipper teeth.

Bah.

Fortunately, the coat also has snaps, so I was able to brave the snow and buy groceries, but I have called a tailor and plan to take my coat in to get the zipper replaced on Monday morning, because the snaps alone will not keep out the winter wind.

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Asuka Kureru: FF7_o no she ded DXaskerian on December 6th, 2009 06:50 pm (UTC)
I love how at the beginning they're here having a heavy, potentially painful conversation, and Alexiel is all... "... dude... i'm sleeping. Blahblahblah." Granted after that it comes across a little bit as if she was trying not to think too hard about any of it.

The washing things clean line was beautiful.
Elizabeth Culmer, only a *little* bit crazy...edenfalling on December 6th, 2009 07:10 pm (UTC)
Hmm. Yeah, there is a bit of tone-swerve, isn't there. I think that's because I was trying to write a light and fluffy thing, but it went unexpectedly angsty on me and I didn't go back and revise the beginning to make it match up better. I may rework that before posting the collected edition when I finish all thirty ficlets.

I confess, I am rather fond of that line. :-)