Title: A New Beginning
Fandom: Casshern Sins
Word Count: ~890
Characters: Dune, Luna
Summary: When Dune comes to his road's end, Luna is there before him once again.
After Luna's death, Dune's road is strewn with sharp things. Glass shards reflecting the world at odd angles. Broken bodies claimed by his blades, the only part of himself that remains sharp. And then, when he comes to its end, Luna is there before him once again, as bright an impossibility as a lone flower in miles of parched earth -- except that she is surrounded by a field of flowers blue as her eyes, all of them smelling of her.
It is hard to believe it is not just another broken-glass reflection. Even then, the part of him that has not yet fallen to Ruin wants to weep for joy at this, the first beautiful thing to come of his madness.
When Luna speaks his name, the madness peels away like dead leaves in the wind.
She does not smile at him. Perhaps they have both been through too much for that. But her eyes shine as she offers him healing. He refuses. To be in her service again is overwhelming. Healing beyond that is too much to contemplate.
With Luna watching Dune as he works, he forgets that he is not healed. It is like he himself is blooming, joy brimming up and spilling over inside him like water from the buckets he hauls to her flower garden. She who he once failed to protect is here with him again, an endless font of life in the midst of a death that stretches out past the ends of the earth -- life that she doles out from her veins one drop at a time to the robots and humans that come seeking her with cupped hands outstretched. The occasional fights that break out among the pilgrims are easy enough to ignore as a consequence of so many gathered here in desperate circumstances, and for now he is strong enough to quell them if they go too far.
No matter how many come, it does not dim her brightness. Her dancing footsteps are as light as ever on the earth, her eyes bright with her own inner light.
One evening, when the sky fades to tawny shades of cinnamon and the blue flowers to mauve, Dune picks one and brings it to her, that she may have something beautiful to keep with her after giving so much of herself to so many. She recoils from his outstretched hand, hands clutched to her chest.
"But it's already dying," she says, eyes wide and fearful. "There's nothing I can do to save it, now."
This from the same Luna who once smiled at him as she reached up to place a flower in his hand. But that was before. The flower almost falls from his fingers, but that would distress her more.
The stone door grinds open every morning, and Luna goes out to bleed for the masses, light undiminished no matter how much she gives. But something has left her along with the blood. She has no smile for the suffering, no touch beyond the barest contact necessary for her blood to pass to another. And it is no wonder. How much can one person give, after all, even if they are the light of the world?
He would give her comfort if he could. She comes to him at night and huddles against his chest, but Luna does not weep. She leans into Dune as if he were the very bones of the earth, as if he could hold her up. And he tries.
"Please," she says one frigid evening, her words muffled against the folds of his coat. "Please let me heal you, too."
"No, Luna," he says, not wanting to add to her burden. "You have done enough."
That is the last night she comes to him. Though he is sad, that too is her right.
Dune is his service, and he does not falter. Sometimes she is still there watching, his Sun and Moon, the only reason why anything at all in this world still lives and breathes. He tends flowers and shepherds crowds and hauls away the bodies of those Luna does not save, and he wishes he could make her smile.
It is some time before Dune begins to understand that Luna does not love him anymore. His insides collapse on the knowledge like the edges of scythes grinding together, because it is only in this moment that he realizes she once did.
He could have borne it if it were only him she did not love.
The realization does not stop him from standing at her side each day as the door opens and she squares her shoulders to face the crowd. Dune looks out at the faces of those who have gathered: dirty, faded, scarred, hopeful. All of them are dying as surely as the flower that she rejected. He no less than the rest.
She is full of life and without mercy. She is not the Luna he once knew. He loves her still.
Just when Dune thought his road was ending, it began again, only to turn into another endless middle. Dune may not be good at middles, but he knows them all too well. He will serve and he will wait, and perhaps he will live long enough to see Luna toward some manner of new beginning.