This is Your Wake Up Call
Judgment would rather not wake up than the alternative. AU of v5c6. Angst.
When Sun returned blind from reviving Leaf, I resolved never to die in his presence. I made all the others promise the same thing. Even if they had to jump off a cliff in order to mangle their corpse and make it impossible for Sun to revive them, they must not die in front of Sun. There was no telling what lengths Sun would go to for us.
He was already blind. I was too afraid of what else he might lose on top of his sight.
I set out that night intent on finishing what I had started in the daytime, but I overestimated my own capability, and I underestimated hers. I was still weak from the injuries I had suffered during the day. Undead creatures surrounded me — I could have dealt with them had I been at my best, but I was not because of my oversight — and then there was her.
She attacked. Pain flared. I crumpled.
Some say you see your life flash by right before you die. I saw no such thing. I didn’t even know when I died from blood loss, nor did I even know I was dying in the first place. I had fallen unconscious long before that, or else no matter how much it hurt, I would have wrenched myself out of Tyler’s grasp and crawled away to die out of Sun’s reach. If he couldn’t find me, then he couldn’t use Resurrection on me.
I made everyone promise, yet I…
How could I have made such a mistake?
I didn’t see anything before I died, but memories did take over right before I woke. I seemed to hear everyone’s voices with Sun’s being the loudest, but I couldn’t make out what they were saying; then, I saw his younger self smiling before me, and everything else faded.
“Happy cooperation!” he exclaimed with an extended hand.
I stared at his hand, not knowing what he was doing.
He told me that there was no need for us to be true enemies. We only had to pretend that we didn’t get along. His words were absurd — I had never even considered the possibility before he suggested it — but after searching his face, I decided that I really wanted this to happen.
I wanted this “happy cooperation” he was suggesting. I didn’t want to hate him. If there was an alternative to being enemies, I wanted that. I wanted someone to know who Lesus Judgment truly was.
I reached my hand out to clasp his. It was warm.
“Happy cooperation,” I said earnestly and shook his hand.
It was a promise I planned to keep.
The boy smiled widely at me, and I felt myself relaxing in his presence. However, not a second later, his expression abruptly turned serious. He gripped my hand tightly, so tightly that it was starting to hurt. I thought this to be a dream, but it hurt… “It’s a promise! If you die, then who am I supposed to have a happy cooperation with?”
Light filled my vision, blinding me, but throughout all that, the boy never let go of my hand. “Lesus Judgment! I refuse to let you die! You better… Wake up!”
Air filled my lungs. I gasped and coughed. My lungs burned, like I could never get enough air.
What just happened? I was… dead?
When I finally regained my senses and realized what being awake must mean, I lifted my head and stared. Like I feared, Sun stood before me. He wasn’t looking at me — he didn’t need to, not with his eyes. I wished all over again that he hadn’t lost his sight. I couldn’t even tell what he was paying attention to!
What have I done? What have I done????
I crawled up with all my might, wishing I had managed to do this before dying, that I wasn’t struggling to crawl up after the fact. It was too late!
The words tore out of my throat, a mangled mess. “You revived me? You paid the price again? What did you lose?!”
Why did you revive me? Why?! You should have left me for dead!
But I’d known all along that he would never do that. That’s why I had resolved never to die in his reach.
It was all my fault.
What happy cooperation? In the end, I was merely a liability!
I grabbed his arm tightly. What did you lose? What did I take away from you?
Sun opened his mouth, perhaps to say that I was being too serious. The God of Light favored him and would not take away anything too severe, or else he would not be able to continue serving as the Sun Knight!
How I wished to hear Sun’s nonsensical ramblings, whether it was his complaints about this or that, or even his long-winded praises of the God of Light, it didn’t matter!
No words came out of his mouth.
He opened his mouth and closed it several times. He brought his hand to his throat. Then, with a tremble, he smiled and shrugged helplessly, letting his hand drop.
In the absence of Sun’s voice, even the slightest pin drop could have been heard.
Then came the torrent of reactions.
“Sun, have you lost your voice?!” “No! That can’t be!” “How can that be possible?” “How can Sun lose his voice?” “Why only Sun? Why not take the price from one of us? This is too cruel!”
In the midst of their disbelief, I struggled to stand up. Sun tried to get me to stop– again, he tried to speak, but he couldn’t.
He just couldn’t.
My throat hurt– I felt like I was choking. I didn’t know if I could speak, but even if I couldn’t speak through the emotions that tore at me, I could still make keening noises. Sun couldn’t even do that.
He turned his gaze toward me, but I knew he was only doing that for my sake. He didn’t need to look at me to see. It was all pretense. Leaf’s revival should have been warning enough. How could I have let this happen?
I shakily got to my feet and pulled Sun closer to me. He hesitated for a moment, but then he let me. I held him tightly against me, this person who would give the world for his brothers, who would put himself through hell and back to see to his loved ones’ continual well-being.
“Sun, what have you done…” I whispered.
What have I done?
It should have never come to this.
Even in my arms, Sun didn’t tremble while I was the one who felt like shivering. He lay a hand on my arm, as if in reassurance. I threaded my hand through his hair. I didn’t ever want to let him go. I was afraid that he would disappear from my grasp, that instead of holding onto me through the blinding light, he would be gone once the light dissipated, that it wasn’t just his sight or his voice that the God of Light wanted to take away.
Why are you still putting on a strong front? Why did you even attempt to smile? How can you forgive me?
“I’m so sorry,” I choked out. “I am so, so sorry…”
Truthfully, I was the one who needed reassurance at the moment.
I wasn’t the first who noticed since I had been holding Sun close to me. One of the others gave a shout when a thread of water snaked past and twirled in the air to form letters.
Sun nudged me, trying to get me to pay attention. Eyes wide, I turned and stared at the floating words.
Don’t be stupid, the wobbling words said. Stop your damn apologizing!
Earth whistled. “Now, that’s some impressive magic. Way more impressive than your flailing swordsmanship. Why water though?”
Sun raised his eyebrows and let the water drop on Earth’s head.
“Hey!” Earth spluttered. “It was a valid question!”
Water threaded through the air. The threads etched out the following words: I would use holy light, but I don’t have enough at the moment. That answer enough?
Earth squeezed water from his hair and grumbled, “You better recover your holy light soon then. This sucks. I’m sure glowing lights will make for much prettier words. Drier too.”
Sun then turned to me, water dancing in front of him. See? I can still communicate — the water spelled out his words, previous words disappearing before the next formed — I’m sure I’ll figure out telepathy or something sooner or later, and then you’ll be dead tired of hearing from me!
I didn’t tell him that this wasn’t the same. It would never be the same, and I would never forgive myself for taking away Sun’s voice. Never again would I hear his shouts of joy, his whining, his teasing… Never again…
So this is what Leaf feels.
To my right, Leaf had a stricken look on his face, like the world had collapsed in front of him. He had his hands clenched. I now knew all too well what Leaf must have felt when he realized that Sun had given his sight for him.
If I could, I would give Sun my voice. Just like how Leaf wanted to dig his eyes out for Sun, I wanted to rip my voice box out for him. I didn’t need my voice! It didn’t matter that I couldn’t communicate by magic or that I wouldn’t be able to learn telepathy like he could. None of that mattered.
I don’t need my voice if it means that you’ll lose yours. I don’t want to be revived if it means you’ll pay a price. Why can’t you understand this, Sun? Why can’t you understand that we also hurt when we see you get hurt? You’re not the only one who hurts!
I wish I had never woken up, but now that I was awake, I could not throw what Grisia had given me in his face. I swallowed heavily. I was not ungrateful for being alive, but this second chance nearly cost too much.
Water snaked before me and even underlined part of Sun’s following words.
What are you all so gloomy for? Even if history were to repeat itself a hundred times, I would still make the same choice!
I know. I know all too well. That’s why I’ve failed you, to have put you in such a position in the first place.
Sun hadn’t finished yet though. The water continued threading through the air.
If all I have to pay is my voice for me to have my brother back, that is more than worth it!
I bowed my head. This was how important I was to Sun. This was how important his brothers were to him. I knew that. I’d always known.
“Happy cooperation,” I said softly. Just because of these two words, I had earned myself a lifelong friend and bound our fates together. Sun’s displeased frown changed into a wide smile after I spoke. I whispered, “Thank you, Sun.” Thank you for keeping that promise of mine for me.
Never again would I let any of us die in front of Sun. Especially not myself.