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.

ăItâs been ten years love, and Iâve survived. But Iâm 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 Iâve discovered the truth now. I know who we are, for all the good that it does us,ä Lacan said quietly, not really knowing why he bothered to speak aloud.

ăI never knew... weâd 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.

ăSophia, I will live as long as I can... but I donât know what to do now. I had them in my hands, I had the power to destroy all of them, and I couldnât 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,ä Lacan sighed, letting more of the dirt fall through his fingers as he contemplated the field before him. ăBut its not enough. Not yet.ä

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 didnât 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...

ăMiang... it is you, isnât it?ä 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.

ăI thought so,ä Lacan chuckled in response. ăIts been a while Miang... I honestly wasnât certain if Iâd see you again or not. Iâd hoped that if you were killed by the Contact, it might put you out of my misery... I guess I wasnât that lucky.ä

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 Sophiaâs 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.

ăSo why are you here woman? Decided that you havenât 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.

ăThat was a beautiful scream Miang... I havenât heard anything like it that didnât come from my own lips. It was enthralling... it sent shivers up my spine,ä Lacan added in a quiet voice, a hint of his madness flashing across his eyes as he looked down at her. ăBeautiful... like you.ä

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."

ăYou havenât? A pity... I was hoping for a bit of diversion later today,ä Lacan replied in a similar deadpan voice that again gave Miang a chill. Whatever Lacan had become, it wasnât quite human. The madness was always there behind his eyes now, with only Lacanâs limited control holding it back. And he had control only when he bothered to exercise it.

ăSo 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...ä

"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."

ăMy Îplanâ? 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 m