A Xenogears Fanfiction by Amber Michelle and Rune Grey

The breeze smelled of ash, even after all this time. Or perhaps it was his memory of this place, Lacan decided. It had been so many years so far, and still he remembered every day of the battle. If it remained in his head after all of this time, through all of his changes, perhaps he was hallucinating about the smell.

Bending down he dug his fingers into the dry earth, letting it slowly trickle through his fist. His black cloak swirled around him, disguising the gold tunic and belt that he had added to the rest of his black body suit. For now, he was a shadow in a place of shadows, a lost soul in the depths of purgatory.

“It’s been ten years love, and I’ve survived. But I’m not sure how much longer I will be able to go on... if I can accomplish our vengeance before my time on this world is up. But I’ve discovered the truth now. I know who we are, for all the good that it does us,” Lacan said quietly, not really knowing why he bothered to speak aloud.

“I never knew... we’d been living something wonderful all over again, and we never had a chance to realize it. The others... they were able to rejoice in each others love for a time, but we were denied even that.

“Sophia, I will live as long as I can... but I don’t know what to do now. I had them in my hands, I had the power to destroy all of them, and I couldn’t do it. I killed four of the Gazel Ministers, one of them for each of our lives they had destroyed. And I killed Miang for you... they thought that her life was worth yours, and if they wanted to take your life away, then I will give them the same in return,” Lacan sighed, letting more of the dirt fall through his fingers as he contemplated the field before him. “But its not enough. Not yet.”

The footsteps were quiet, but not silent. She could not, she found, completely cloak her presence, any more than 'god' might, if he were awake... And the man before her, kneeling in the dry, sandy soil, was sure to hear her coming. Perhaps he might even recognize her.

And therein lay the problem... Her attire was different; her hair flowed in a river, where it had once fallen short of her shoulders. But her essence she could not hide... shades of hair and eye would always be the mark of death, for her, unless peace could be made. Somehow. And so she approached him... not hoping for, but expecting a resolution, one way or another.

Lacan didn’t stand up when he heard the steps behind him, chosing to remain crouched down for the moment. Let them wait for a moment... he would be finished mourning soon enough.

A flicker of energy passed over him, sending a chill up his spine as he recognized the source. He had learned much when he had come into contact with Zohar, but there were differences between an objective recital and seeing one of those theories come to live before him...

“Miang... it is you, isn’t it?” he asked quietly, still not standing from his place on the ground.

She halted, five feet from the crouching figure, watching with expressionless eyes. It was - almost - disappointing, that she had been right about him. He already knew far too much... "Yes," she replied simply, folding her arms across her chest. Waiting.

“I thought so,” Lacan chuckled in response. “Its been a while Miang... I honestly wasn’t certain if I’d see you again or not. I’d hoped that if you were killed by the Contact, it might put you out of my misery... I guess I wasn’t that lucky.”

Lacan lowered his head slightly, shielding the tear that ran down his cheek from her sight as he faced the small granite marker that had been set into the ground where Sophia’s ship had gone down. If she wanted anything else, she could wait until he was done.

"If only..." she replied softly, eyes searching his figure. It was simply shadows and lines, in the deepening twilight; she could make nothing of it, other than the occasional faint glitter of something. Tears, she thought, from his voice.

Reluctant to make any move that might endanger her welfare, Miang sank down to the ground in place, arranging her legs and skirt into the traditional sitting style the body's previous occupant had been most familiar with. It implied deference, delicacy, and weakness.... she didn't appreciate such things, but she knew better than to provoke Lacan... now.

But her patience wasn't infinite, sadly, and she hoped she wouldn't have to wait long. Submissiveness did not suit her one bit. Certainly not here, and now, with this man.

With a sigh, Lacan kissed the tips of his fingers and pressed them to the marker, the last gesture of affection left to him for Sophia. Levering himself to his feet, he turned around and faced Miang, moving a strand of his dark red hair out of his face as he looked at her.

“So why are you here woman? Decided that you haven’t taken enough from me, and hoping you can twist the knife in a little deeper? Or perhaps you are begging for me not to hunt down every one of your incarnations that I can find... mmm, and amusing thought, I must say.

“That was a beautiful scream Miang... I haven’t heard anything like it that didn’t come from my own lips. It was enthralling... it sent shivers up my spine,” Lacan added in a quiet voice, a hint of his madness flashing across his eyes as he looked down at her. “Beautiful... like you.”

Miang stared at him for a long time; or so it seemed, though it couldn't have been more than a few seconds. His eyes chilled her blood -- no, curdled it, within her veins... It took every iota of self control to keep herself from shivering in rememberence.

It was a risk, of course, approaching him. It always had been, likely always would be. But she hadn't realised, until now, how much she had been hoping that one death would sate his bloodlust. Foolish, that.

"I'm flattered," she finally uttered, a bit dryly, "That I have given so much pleasure with a few moments of my time." She twisted a long strand of violet hair around her fingers, pushing it behind her ear. But the rest of her body was perfectly still. "But as thrilling as that sounds, I'm afraid I haven't come for that."

“You haven’t? A pity... I was hoping for a bit of diversion later today,” Lacan replied in a similar deadpan voice that again gave Miang a chill. Whatever Lacan had become, it wasn’t quite human. The madness was always there behind his eyes now, with only Lacan’s limited control holding it back. And he had control only when he bothered to exercise it.

“So what is it that you have come here for today Miang? After all, such a brave, strong lady like you wouldn't venture into the wilds by herself unless she had a pressing reason... there are all sorts of miscreants out here who might cause you to come to harm...”

"I don't suppose you would accept the 'just for fun' response, now would you?" She folded her hands in her lap calmly, though she felt anything but calm. She thought if her heart tried to beat any faster it would stop altogether. "I came simply to ask a question. And yes, to offer you a diversion, if you'll take it. If not, I'll leave and be done with you. I've never been fond of Har's Contacts."

Lacan flicked his fingers towards her, gesturing for her to proceed.

The ends of Miang's lips turned up in a sharp smile. "I've come to ask what you plan, Lacan... if you are indeed sane enough to do so in the first place. I would hate to interfere with your business, after all."

“My ‘plan’? My plan? Oh, you just jest Miang... surely you know what my plan is. I have lost the only person in the world who means a damn to me, and you have to ask me my plan?” Lacan threw his head back and roared with laughter. “I PLAN to make them suffer. I PLAN to make them pay. I plan to repay every moment of pain I have suffered to this God forsaken world a hundred fold in return, THAT is what I plan!”

The energy from Zohar crackled around his fingertips, setting off his hair in a brilliant shower of sparks and lights. Bits of ether lightning danced around his fingers and flashed from his eyes. Maing slid back slightly, her own eye widening. He shouldn’t be able to channel this much power for Har... unless the Contact had been granted special privileges with that power...

But she once again stilled her body, facing the energy without further expression. His meaning was clear, though there was no small part of insanity in his response... "That's it?" she said after a moment, opening herself to the same power and allowing it to seep, ever so slowly, into her body.

He lacked finesse, this Contact... though he made up for it in brute force. Whether that could work to her advantage or not remained to be seen. She would be no easy target. Not this time.

"Is that all you want, Contact? Just... revenge? That, I can give you easily enough, in part."

“What else is there, Miang? Certainly it is a single purpose that continues to drive you on, is it not? The desire to reawaken your tin ‘God’ is what has motivated you for the past ten thousand years. But if I can not be with my Sophia again in this lifetime, then I shall content myself with knowing that there will never be another pair who will suffer like we have.

“There is nothing else left. There is revenge... and nothing beyond that,” Lacan finished.

"Impossible." The word was said calmly, without expression. Nothing else appeared to be forthcoming. Only the bitter smile gracing her pale, youthful face.

“That is a word I would not expect to hear from you lips Miang... and why is it impossible?” Lacan asked in a low voice as he bore down on her.

She immediately fixed her eyes to the ground in an attempt to emphasize her submissive posture, her entire body freezing painfully as she forced herself to hold her ground. Every inch closer was one too many; the memories were too fresh. Her smile however, seemed fixed in place.

"You can kill, Lacan, and spread death over this world until no human is left... but the cycle will simply start anew." A slight shudder shifted her frame, despite her best effort to suppress it. "I know from bitter experience. You don't have to believe me... but you'll find that I'm right, one way or another."

“I know that you have enough experience to know that Miang,” Lacan replied, putting his index finger under her chin and raising her head to look him in the eyes. “Then what do you suggest, if we can not exterminate all life on this planet?”

Her eyes narrowed; her limbs remained frozen, as if he were a wild animal, and she prey. The analogy didn't seem far off.... "Why not seek to end the cycle, rather than force it to return to its beginning stages? Surely it would still hold pleasure for you... it does, after all, require the extermination of mankind, in the end."

“Explain then Miang. Perhaps your plans are similar time mine... and we may be of... ‘help’ to each other.”

"Explain..." She arched an eyebrow, tilting her head back, away from his touch. "Of course... It’s very simple, honestly. Resurrect my 'tin God' as you so aptly put it, and everything will be over.

"The cycle, as you should well know, is connected to Deus as well as Zohar. In order to free Har, you need a Contact, and an Anti-type. In order to resurrect Deus, it is the same. Ideally, by the time the two are ready to merge, both components would come into their power, meet with Har. In this case, for you...

Miang shrugged, after a short pause, eyes never leaving his. "If you wait for the right circumstances, you will not only regain Elly, but also your true form; you should be powerful enough to destroy both Har's cage and Deus. And so the cycle will end."

The chuckle that Lacan uttered was chilling, but not so much as before. It was thoughtful for once, as he ran the possibilities over in his mind. It is possible... he had certain advantages that he did not possess before, that none of the contacts have possessed before. With the help of the Slayer of God, it was possible...

“So I should ‘wait’ for Elly’s next incarnation, is that it Miang? I’m not sure if you’ve noticed this, but in order for Elly to complete the transmigration, I must transmigrate as well. And that requires that I die... somewhat of a problem in your plan,” Lacan said finally, but without the mocking tone Miang expected. Rather, he was patiently waiting to hear what she had to say.

She smoothed her face again, trying to relax, though it would likely be a fatal mistake. Her hands were clasped so tightly she thought her knuckles might pop from the strain. "You're mortal, Lacan. You'll have to die sooner or later... if you haven't, in fact, already lost that part of your soul that is the Contact. Such a loss would not necessarily take your power away.

"And as for your consciousness remaining... well, there are always possibilities, if you're willing to forsake the peace death offers those such as us."

Lacan’s eyes lit up slightly at her words. “So... are you suggesting that I become like you? A demon who flits between bodies, taking what I need before moving on to my next form? What a beautiful idea Miang... and I assume that when the new Contact appears, that I will be able to take back what is mine... the perfect incarnation of my body. And I will be with Elly again.”

And, Lacan thought, the new Contact shall be a warrior. Not a survivor, not a scientist, not a painter... a warrior. And he shall at last be united with the other part of his self, with the Slayer of God. Brought up under my guidance, until I need him...

"I'm... flattered." Miang did her best to keep her tone neutral, and failed miserably. "But yes, if you must put it that way... that is exactly what I am suggesting."

Lacan smiled, leaning down close to her as he did so. “You offer an... interesting bargain, my devil. One that I do believe I will take you up on.” His smile did not do anything to reassure Miang to his sanity. “Of course, it may take years to accomplish all of this.... remember, it has been several millenia since the Contact and Anti-Type were last incarnated. Are you sure you will be able to last that long?”

"I?" Miang raised an eyebrow; only a small note of incredulity managed to taint her voice. "I have no choice in the matter, Lacan. I will continue to live until the end of the cycle or the end of time... which will arrive first is beyond me. You, on the other hand, will have to expend considerable energy to keep up with me. Transmigrating is no easy task even for me; for you, it will be a constant struggle.

"And you will no longer enjoy the priviledge of easing your pain... Unlike your previous deaths, you will, of course, remember everything. Despite your arrogance, it will be... difficult, to bear the burden over time. Even for you."

“I shall endure. I have endured something that no other Contact has endured and survived, the loss of the Anti-Type. I shall last as long as is necessary... and if it proves unfeisable...” Lacan smiled at her, a slight twist in the side of his mouth. “There are others steps I can take.

“And besides, I have a substitute for my Elly, don’t I Miang?” Lacan asked quietly, running the tips of his fingers up the side of her face. “I know that you are attracted to me... its in your nature. I learned that much from Zohar... after all, you were Elly at one point, and she was my perfect ideal...”

Miang shied back, just a bit, blinking at him in shock. /Substitute??/ "Is that so...?" she asked, through lips as stiff as the rest of her expression. She could not, for anything, think of much else to say. "I am... more accustomed to men desiring me on my /own/ merits, I must say..."

“You have no merits of your own Miang... you are but a lost shadow of a greater person,” Lacan replied with a bitter smile. With a slow, deliberate motion, he drifted a kiss across her lips. “You are a /thing/, destined to only be used by those with knowledge and power essentially to your cause.

“You want to change that, don’t you Miang? You want to go back to being a complete person again... you want to go back to the point where you were Elly,” he said in a low voice, his face inches from hers. “You can not fight it, anymore than I can fight my destiny to free Zohar, or to love Elly.”

She stared, teeth clenched tightly, lips still tingling from the kiss. And then, before she could stop herself, she threw all of her weight into a full-armed slap.

With a laugh, he contemptuously caught her wrist before she could strike him. “My dear, your rage is nothing compared to mine. You have been worn away by the grind stone of time, while I retain the one thing that you do not have... a fresh perspective, and a will to destroy. All of the little things that you have sacrificed over time to maintain your sanity.”

"Which will serve us better in the end has yet to be seen, wouldn't you say?" Miang slowly, carefully unclenched her fist, making no effort to pull free.

“Yes, perhaps,” Lacan replied, letting go of her face. “But in the end, success is all that will matter. We are looking for ‘results’, as Krelian put it.” Lacan’s face changed slightly as he mentioned his former friend, a dark shadow flowing across his eyes.

“So, do we have a ‘understanding’ Miang?” Lacan asked quietly, turning away from her to look at the field behind him.

/Stupid, stupid, stupid.../ She swallowed her sigh, although she was sure her resignation was as crystal clear as Nisan's lake. After all, what could one expect... with the Contact? "Yes, we have an agreement."

“A deal with the Devil,” Lacan replied, the tone in his voice not quite making it clear with of them had indeed signed that deal. He turned back to Miang, glancing down at her with a rather contemptuous expression on his white face.

“You foolish woman... do you really think that being able to rejoin with your other half is going to solve all of your problems? Do you think that you will find any sympathy in those God-blessed azure blue eyes for what you have done over the years, the number of times that you have torn us both apart?” He didn’t, quite, laugh in her face. Instead he placed his hand on the side of her face, a gesture that was at once tender and mocking. “I am the only one who will ever appreciate you Miang, and not for the reasons you may wish. Krelian will mourn after Sophia, and you can only truly respect someone who is your equal, can you? And your only equal until the Contact and Anti-type are reincarnated... is me.”

"You're such a damned bastard, Lacan." Her words were belied by the tone of her resignation, the volume of her voice. Only God knew what Elly had ever seen in him.

“No more than you, Miang. At least I have known my parents, unlike you who were spawned from the bowels of some machine,” Lacan replied blandly as he looked at her. In a tone that was slightly more thoughtful, he continued. “My condition for our... relationship is that we will always address each other with ‘respect’. If the admiration is not mutual, how can we expect such an unusual partnership to continue?”

"Respect." The word tasted bitter. Surely he was joking. "You're more of a hypocrite than I thought..." Make a deal with the devil and you deserve what you get - or so the common saying went. "Very well - I have no objections... but if your current manners are anything to go by, you're going to need some work."

The point was moot, really; it wasn't as if she had a choice, now. He fairly had his hands about her throat... if he wanted this, he would get it. Such was the risk she had taken in approaching him.

Pity she had no one else to blame it on.

Lacan clapped his hands and gave an insane giggle. “Perfect, just... perfect. Now, we have work to do Miang. So much work, so many lovely plans. So many places to see, things to do, people to kill to make way for our new world. A world that the Contact and Anti-type will be born to, in order to test them, to bring their potential to its maximum for the final battle. But first, we must see to my other half.”

Miang simply rose to her feet, and waited, perfect posture, perfectly clear expression. She almost wished to be rid of the body, and its obscure habits, but if it made her appear less threatening, so much the better. Life lived in such a submissive style was better than any death he had to offer her. Far... far better.

Because it was better to let the devil change you, than to lose everything trying to change the devil.

Rune’s note: My Lacan, seems somewhat out of character during this, doesn’t he? Well, there is a reason for him acting ‘non-Grahfish’ manner. The few references to Lacan’s face and hair are similar to Id instead of Fei, namely because Id is in a state of mind closer to Lacan’s at this point than Fei ever was. Thus, the power of Zohar alters his appearance to Id mode, as is shown in a brief scene in the flashback to Nisan.

All in all this was a fun piece to write, with Amber writing most of Miang’s lines and I writing most of psychoboy’s. Any comments are welcomed, e-mailed to either (Rune Grey) or (Amber Michelle).

Shinigami (the nickname taken by Duo Maxwell of Gundam Wing) has three possible translations... the first is the God of Death, similar to Anubus, who rules over the world of the dead and has the task of directing souls to their final resting place. The second is Death himself, the taker of lives. The final translation is ‘The Devil’. Any of these can be applied to both Grahf and Miang, and remain accurate to their characters....