At first she figured it was stress; it's not like she doesn't have enough of that in her life. As the summer deepened into autumn and the cold set in, though, the dreams got steadily worse, until she could make out every detail of every expression, feel the ship shaking around her--
--the ship. She's back on the Archangel in her dreams. The Archangel sank in fire and water nearly twenty-two years ago.
Now, over two months after the dreams started, she's wondering if she should see a therapist or something. Honestly, she'd really rather not expose herself to something like that. She's a politician; she doesn't like people prying into her psyche.
It could be worse, she knows, and it's not like she doesn't have every reason to be a bit messed up at the moment. Her father is in the hospital dying. He's not likely to last more than a few weeks. It's no wonder her dreams are taking her back to a time when she couldn't have lived without him.
She'd rather not remember certain aspects of that time, or what she was like back then, but all the same...
She's lucky she has Kira now--she wishes she could tell him how much she needs him, but whenever she tries, the words lose themselves in her throat, somewhere amid the memories of her and the clamor of the perpetual war: all the things that stand between the two of them.
She looks at him, and she knows she can't burden him with herself. He's barely keeping his head up as it is. He wouldn't even understand if she tried to thank him for all he's done for her. Somewhere along the way into what's left of his psyche, her gratitude would turn into more guilt for him to suffer.
If Fllay had one wish, it would either be to end the war or heal his pain. Fix the world, or fix Kira. Maybe she's lucky she'll never get a wish like that, because she knows she couldn't choose.
The worst part of the dreams is kind of surprising. It's not the sense of being fifteen and unstable as shifting sand again, not remembering that she once threatened to kill Lacus of all people and she would have done it too, not even the way things are different--
--not the way her heart and mind and soul falls out from inside her when her father's ship explodes exactly like it didn't in reality--
--but the hate that comes afterwards.
In the scrambled moments before she wakes up, she hates them all, but more than anyone she hates Lacus and she hates Kira. Waking up with that hate poised beneath her tongue makes her sick to her stomach.
And one night she can't hold it down anymore. She wakes with bewildered grief battling with unbridled hatred between the beats of her heart, and she screams.
He's in the doorway of the bedroom almost before she can register that he isn't in bed beside her. "Fllay! What's wrong?"
He has that dim, drowning look in his eyes that he gets when he's been thinking of the past, and she's immediately sorry she worried him. "It's nothing," she says. "Just a dream. Come back to bed, Kira."
He hesitates for a moment, and his hand clenches into a fist around something. Finally, he opens his hand and carefully sets down what he was holding.
Fllay recognizes it immediately: it's the tiny debris of that old mechanical bird of his. Whenever Kira becomes preoccupied with the wreck of the Torii, it's not a good sign for his mental health.
Such as it is.
"Kira," she says.
He sits down on the edge of the bed. "This is a bad time for you," he says. "I don't want to burden you."
"Please," she says. It may be a bad time for her now, but it's always a bad time for him.
"I've been having strange dreams too," he says.
"How bad are they...?"
He turns to look at her, and his eyes are wide and startled. "They're good dreams," he says.
She falls silent, staring at him.
"In the dreams, he's alive," Kira says, and he's looking at the shattered bird as he says it. "And we're friends again. And a blond woman that I've never met, but she feels like family. And--" He cuts off and looks away from her, struggling with the tears in his eyes.
"And her," Fllay says. "And Lacus." It's not a difficult guess to make. For Kira, everything comes down to her.
Sometimes it feels like everything in the world comes down to her, Kira or not.
He only nods, and she holds him until he stops crying.
coming later: chapter k, "the lover & the broken man"
Yeah, yeah, I really should work on Spiral Out. Why are my other fanfic ideas mobbing me instead? At least I have the decency not to post this one outside of my LJ yet.