[fic] Digital Devil Saga, "This Sort of Risk" Title: This Sort of Risk Shin Megami Tensei: Digital Devil Saga - Lupa/Gale Author:Genuine Replicaharukami Recipient:Pretzel Thief emerald_embers Rating: PG Warnings: None Summary: Lupa raises the issue of trust. Prompt: [leftover] Scenario: I'd adore something a little strange making mention of the knife Gale wears at his foot, especially either using it to avoid attack or deliberately trying not to trigger it.
There is something beating inside Gale's chest with wings like a -- bird, perhaps, something light and fast, something he has never seen. He attempts to ignore it, attempts to breathe calm air into his lungs, exhale slowly and evenly. The world should be as it has always been, colourless and calm.
"Yes? What is it?" Lupa's voice is low and thick with something Gale can't quite put a name to. Some emotion. His eyes blaze and they are focused.
Gale says, "Come here." He gestures.
Once they go down that ladder, things will change irrevocably. He feels that, feels it with an understanding that he cannot comprehend. Lupa has already shaken him to the core. He will talk more as they go. Things will change. The bird uncaged, perhaps; Gale doesn't want to change, but his resistance is failing him, it seems, in the face of this 'honour'. The word has settled into him, too far into him; he wants to see it, understand it, claim it for his own.
Perhaps there is something strange in this: the leader of the Wolves following the strategist of the Embryon through the base that had once belonged to the Vanguards. It is a mark, Gale thinks, of this changing world -- the rules are breaking down, the boundaries are blurring. They are all becoming one, perhaps, one people under one rule. It should be impossible for a leader to choose to die; there is too much in them that is all designed to make the leader live.
"You are," Gale says, as he opens the door to a small side room, "a living impossibility."
"That's possible," Lupa allows. He follows Gale inside. Gale shuts the door. "We may not have long," Lupa cautions him, and Gale turns and kicks.
Previously, Lupa had moved into the blade. Gale had watched him move and had needed to pull his kick short. He'd felt the pressure against his toes of the blade's pressure against Lupa's neck.
This time, Lupa stands still and waits.
Gale says, "This is not the action of an honourable man. Is it?"
"You are an honourable man," Lupa says. "You have a reason."
"I want to know why," Gale says. "I do not comprehend what this is about. Explain."
How to explain? How to say: This feeling as though I am coming to life. This feeling as though the world is an illusion and I am too many steps away to see through it. This feeling as though I want to live up to someone's standards rather than the law. This pride. He says, "I am not entirely sure," because it is the only honest option.
Lupa looks at him evenly. "Are you afraid to trust?"
"What is trust?"
Lupa lifts a hand to the blade pressing against his throat. He runs a finger along it, until he touches where the point is denting his skin. His fingertip splits and runs red with blood, dripping. Gale watches the arc the first drop makes to the floor. Lupa says, "This is trust."
Frustration; that is the name for Gale's response. His eyebrow twitches. He feels like he's close, but cannot quite get there. He says, "I do not comprehend."
Lupa moves his hand. He closes it around Gale's heel, slides his hand up the back of Gale's leg until he reaches the end of his arm's length on the underside of Gale's thigh. His finger has left a faint line of blood. He says, "What would you let me do to you, to show you it?"
The bottom of his world is dropping out from the calm determination in Lupa's eyes, the way his throat has not moved from the tip of Gale's blade, from the firm grip on his thigh, holding his leg, as though he too were in control of the knife. Gale draws a slow careful breath to try to lower his heart rate. Everything is in too-sharp focus. The scent of blood is in the air. He clenches his fists and feels like it's all right. There is only so far Lupa will go with him. He says, "Anything."
"That," Lupa says, "is trust."
"Ah," Gale says. He lowers his foot.
Lupa's hand falls away. "We should return," he says. "We do not have long."
"I know," Gale says. He wants to say, Wait, stay with me. He reaches out and brushes his fingertips over Lupa's bare arm. The feeling of it is strange, almost electric, and he is the one, not Lupa, to feel his skin tighten and rise in goosebumps. It will not be easy like this. He wants too much, all of a sudden, wants to touch again, more, wants to see how far this trust between them extends, wants to see how far Lupa would go. He tries to force the world to go gray again. This is too dangerous. It's too dangerous. They don't have time for this sort of risk.
"Let us go, then," Gale says.
The look Lupa gives him is resigned, calm, perhaps a little pained. Gale does not understand it. As Lupa passes, he tells Gale,
"Thank you. I will remember this, and it will become my strength."
"I do not comprehend," Gale tells him. He is following Lupa this time, back to the others.