Warnings: Slight angst and slight spoilers with a heaping spoonful of fluff.
Disclaimer: Standard disclaimer applies.
Summary: Their name is a lie.
Comments: I got out of bed in the middle of the night to write half of this thing. XD So… yes. Can be considered a companion fic to To Know Pain. Hope you all like it~! Slight spoilers for volume 4 of the manga and episode 10 of the anime.
Zero. Zephirum. ṣifr. Nothing.
It is Youji’s name. He’d looked it up once – just once – to see what it really meant. He’d learned that his name quite literally means nothing. He hadn’t been concerned once he’d learned the meaning of his name, but these days, things are different. He’s not unconcerned anymore—not like he used to be. He’s not as carefree as he once was; things have changed in such a short amount of time, and there have been nights in which he’s done nothing more than lie in bed awake, thinking and staring at the ceiling, or at Natsuo.
Tonight is one of those nights. He is wide awake in the darkness, losing himself in his thoughts as he listens to the sound of Natsuo’s breathing. It is soft and even, indicating sleep. At least one of them is sleeping soundly.
Zero. Nothing. Professer Nagisa had named him after nothing. Was it possible that she’d done so simply because of his supposed inability to feel pain? Perhaps. However, Youji isn’t certain—has never been certain about the origins of his name. He hasn’t questioned it either, until recently. He hasn’t had a reason to.
Recently, everything he knows – or thought he knew – has been turned upside-down. He believes that he has good reason now to question everything.
Beside him, Natsuo stirs. “Youji, what are you thinking about?” His voice is rough with sleep, but his remaining emerald eye is open and watchful, belying the drowsy quality of his voice.
Natsuo is also Zero. Natsuo is Youji’s Fighter. Until recently, Youji had believed that they were the only two Zero. That’s how it’s supposed to be, after all. Two who share one name, not four.
Youji also wonders if there are others—if there are even more Zeroes that Professor Nagisa hasn’t informed them about.
Does it really matter, though, if there are indeed others? He and Natsuo are outcasts now; they can’t go back. They are no longer part of the safe haven that they’ve always known, and yet, they still bear the same name that Professor Nagisa had given them.
Youji is beginning to dislike their name—he believes that it is a lie in and of itself.
Finally, after several seconds of silence, Youji answers Natsuo’s question: “Nothing,” he replies, and he twists that one word so that it is simultaneously an honest truth and also an utter fallacy. He knows that Natsuo will not believe that he is not thinking about anything – will not believe that his mind is clear – because Natsuo knows him far better than that.
So, Youji elaborates, burying his face in his Fighter’s auburn curls before fiercely whispering, “You aren’t nothing, Natsuo.”
He is being serious (which, he has to admit, isn’t very characteristic of him), but this is important to him and so seriousness is necessary. He needs to put this tangle of emotions into words. He needs Natsuo to understand how he feels. He needs Natsuo to know that he has never been – and never will be – nothing. Not to Youji.
Of course, Natsuo understands. Even when there are no words between them, or when the words don’t make much (if any) sense, Natsuo always understands. “Neither are you, Youji,” he answers as he slides his arms around Youji and pulls him closer. His voice, like Youji’s, is thick with equal parts emotion and conviction.
Youji unhesitatingly relaxes in Natsuo’s arms, nearly sighing in relief. He feels more at ease now; he feels better now that he’s put his thoughts into words and has spoken them aloud to Natsuo. He is glad that Natsuo understands—that his Fighter knows.
He closes his eyes and smiles, pressing a soft kiss to the top of Natsuo’s head. Now, he is certain that both of them can get some sleep.
Sometimes, nothing is something.
And sometimes, nothing is everything.
So, I had this idea floating around in my head for a little while, but I didn’t have time to write it due to studying for my NCLEX (the nursing exam that I had to pass in order to become a nurse), and I passed. ^_^ I started writing this the other day… I believe the day after I found out I passed. Or maybe it was the day after that. I can’t remember. XD Anyway, I wrote about half of this in one sitting, and then I had to go and I couldn’t get back to the computer for the rest of the day. That night, the idea for the rest of this ficlet hit me, and WOULD NOT LEAVE ME ALONE so I got out of bed and scribbled down the rest. This is the final product, after a bit of editing. I hope you all enjoyed! ^_^
Also! In case you guys were wondering, zephirum is Medieval Latin and ṣifr is Arabic. Both words mean the same as zero—nothing.