[fic] Digital Devil Saga, "A Very Embryon Christmas" A Very Embryon Christmas Digital Devil Saga Safe for work :) Consider this an AU, given everything.
A Time for Family
As the snow falls over the new Embryon base, Sera talks a little about her memories. She doesn't remember much and doesn't expect to start remembering more any time soon, but still, that's how it is. She talks about the snow, about ... and she hesitates, can't explain, but she says: I think I celebrated this holiday once, with...friends, perhaps. Serph thinks about a distant mental image, a tree, presents, though he can't remember the details, the setting, any before or any after to it, and he puts a hand on Sera's shoulder and nods.
Work with What you Have
There are no trees in the Junkyard, and while they stand together around the table and debate after sending Sera off on a flimsy excuse -- though really, she does need to go around and sing to the men -- Heat stalks off to a pile of the jagged pieces of fallen concrete in the room, and begins to sort through, muscles straining as he hauls slabs aside.
A moment later, Argilla joins him. "I get it," she says, and helps, strains to give that small advantage more until they can prop a particular large one upright.
It's no tree, but it's vaguely triangular, at least, and the jagged spikes point downwards.
A Natural Advantage
While Sera's still out, they decorate it as best they can. They hang belts of ammo like garlands, and, discontented with that, Heat bites one of his own fingers and paints circles on the rock. Serph understands a moment later, bites his own finger, does likewise. The others join in; there's something of all of them on it.
"There's something missing," Argilla says abruptly, and she's right, though they can't tell what, to look at it. It's a bit dull, just in reds and metallic grays, but it seems complete.
"An angel," Gale says abruptly, his voice still cool and calm. "Shouldn't there be an angel on top?"
"But where would we get something like dat?" Cielo asks.
"I have an idea," Argilla says, and rummages through their spare uniforms. She ties a skirt in a knot, so it looks vaguely -- if one squints -- like a head with a long robe beneath, and the head haloed in orange. The top of the 'tree' is too tall, so she changes, becomes hard-edged and seeing the world through a haze of senses, and stretches one of her arms up to place the makeshift angel at the top. It feels satisfying, like a good use, and her realization of that almost hurts.
The Final Touch
"Presents," Cielo says, firmly. "We gotta get her presents!"
"But what?" Heat asks, and he sounds frustrated. "What the hell can we give her that she'd actually want?"
"I -- I don't know dat! But just give her something nice!"
"Like what, I'm asking!"
Cielo says, "Anyting important to you, bro. She doesn't need to have a use for it, you know."
"But then it's useless," Heat says.
Serph shakes his head, considers the question, and then shrugs helplessly. There are no gifts that can be things she would want or need, but there are gifts that will remind her that she has been given a gift; it would have to be enough. He places a Soma Drop at the base of the stone.
Song for a Winter's Night
When she returns to the room, rosy-cheeked from the unusual cold and brushing snow off her sleeves, it takes her a moment to notice.
And then she goes still, eyes opening wide, hands coming to her mouth and covering it. She doesn't seem to know how to feel, eyes filling with tears.
Serph puts a hand on her shoulder. She throws herself into his arms.
The Real World
"It's not much," Roland says, self-deprecatingly. "And it's a bit cliche, but I thought you might like it."
Fred can't seem to look away from the book in his hands, turning page after page. "It's my dad."
"Yeah," Roland says. "We knew each other all through high school, and college -- well, before we dropped out, but you know... there aren't many photographs any more, but I found them in my old collection. I thought you should have them.
He doesn't say how it had felt to go through page after page of Greg's face -- not smiling, usually; Greg hated to smile just because photos were being taken. He always said it felt unnatural, and he'd rather have a photograph that showed the moment as it really was. That way, if there were smiles in his photos he would always feel they were genuine. Pictures of the two of them together -- outside when it was still possible to go outside, winters and summers, springs and falls. Greg when he'd gone through that stage that he'd had his hair long in college, himself trying to grow a mustache and failing miserably. I killed you, he'd thought, miserably, as he pasted photo after photo into the album.
"Thanks, Roland," Fred says, and it comes out awkwardly -- no wonder; it's not something he's used to saying. "I, uh. I didn't get you anything."
"That's okay," Roland says, and it is. It's a strange feeling, bittersweet, sort of liberating; he wants a drink, but for now it's fine to sit here and watch Fred look at the pictures. They feel cleaner again now, untainted, as if Fred can remake them again just by seeing them, bring back the original moments they represented and wipe away all the rest.