Nooj and Baralai AU Darkfic inspired by a song called 'There's a Light'.
Pairing: Nooj/Baralai, implied Baralai/Gippal, Nooj/Leblanc
Rating: PG-13, heavy angst, kissing
Notes: This fic came about when I heard the Neuroticfish cover of the Smiths song There's a light. Originally, I thought of it being a Gippal/Baralai fic, but then I realized that Nooj/Baralai would have been a much better choice because of how Nooj is. This would be sort of an AU fic as I can't begin to imagine the changes in Spira happening THAT quickly, but who knows? But, calling it an AU fic would be a safe bet. Yes, it is a songfic, but only on the sense that I used the lyrics in dialogue.
All Nooj wanted to do was die. Yes, simply die. He had wanted to do that since he was nineteen, but never had the chance. Now that all was said and done in the Luca Arena and all over Spira, Nooj decided that he no longer had a reason to live; that his time on Spira was spent. Sure, he was still young; still in his early twenties, and he had gotten all the fast, sweeping changes he wanted, but he still sought death.
Sitting in his apartment in Zanarkand, he marveled at just how quickly Zanarkand had been rebuilt. It was almost the same as it was one thousand years ago. Almost. It would never be what it once was, but it was close enough for those that desperately wanted the great city to be rebuilt. Sure, it repulsed those in New Yevon, but Nooj just thought, 'meh, fuck them'. So much for working together, but Baralai, the young Praetor of New Yevon and his close friend, was shrewd enough to know that fighting against the swarm of people that wanted Zanarkand restored was not only foolish, but fruitless. So, New Yevon bent, rather than broke, but made certain that the Temple would not be touched and that some traditions would be safe.
Good for everyone as at least they got a piece of what they wanted, except for Nooj, who still desired someone that he would never fully have. He looked out the window, noticing a beautiful white automobile park in front of his apartment. At first, very few of those existed, but with a little more time and work from the Machine Faction, they became more common. So, Nooj wasn't surprised to see one, especially not in Zanarkand. What did cause his eyebrows to shoot up, however, was when Baralai himself stepped out of the driver's side.
/Baralai driving/? Nooj thought, then he sighed. /Figures. Well, at least he can adapt and yet still be himself/. Nooj didn't move from his place at the window when his friend bounded up the stairs with a bounce in his step, his forest green overcoat billowing behind him. When Nooj heard Baralai knocking on the door, he slowly got up and limped over to the door.
"Hello, Nooj," Baralai said, his soft-spoken voice sounding soothing to Nooj's ears. Baralai quickly stepped inside, his golden brown eyes scanning the room. "Nice to see you've been keeping this place up." He looked back at Nooj with a smile on his full, pouty lips.
"Thanks," Nooj replied simply as he shut the door. "So what brings you here?"
Still smiling, Baralai simply walked over to Nooj and gave him a hug, "I just wanted to see how you were doing, that's all." He pressed his brown skinned cheek against Nooj's.
The Meyven closed his eyes, absorbing the warm firmness of Baralai's finely toned body, feeling his heartbeat. He returned the embrace, grasping the black Yevon banners attached to Baralai's overcoat. He wanted very much to tell Baralai about how much he wanted to die, but didn't dare. Not now. "I'm doing fine."
/Leblanc...how odd that you should mention her/. Nooj held Baralai at arms' length. "She's back at Guadosalem with her group. She's fine. How's Gippal?"
Just mentioning that name caused Baralai to beam, "He's doing wonderfully. Paine is doing wonderfully. We are all doing wonderfully." Baralai looked down demurely, his high collar hiding his smile. "It made me think of you, so I came all the way here."
"I see," Nooj whispered, feeling a stabbing pain inside. He closed his eyes and kept them closed until Baralai gently touched his face.
"What's the matter?" Baralai asked gently, concern in his eyes. "Are you okay?"
"Yes, I'm fine," Nooj answered. "I'm just surprised you came here to see me."
"Nooj, I'm your friend," Baralai said with an incredulous look on his dark, fair face. "Of course I'm going to come see you some of the time." He shrugged. "I mean, if you can't be bothered to see me, I will see you."
"I'm more surprised at just how you came," Nooj responded, smirking.
"Oh..." Baralai chuckled. "Gippal taught me. I'm glad he did."
Oh, I'm sure you are/. Nooj nodded, walking over to the center of the room. He looked out the window, the city lights creating a dawning inside of him. /The lights that never go out... Baralai stepped in front of him, reaching out to gently caress his friend's cheek with the back of his slender, yet strong and calloused dark hand.
"Are you sure you're okay, Nooj?"
"Yes." Nooj answered simply, shivering at Baralai's touch. "I just remember how we were lovers once."
This prompted Baralai to embrace him again, "Yes, once..." Baralai moved back, the light from the ceiling accentuating his platinum hair that fell around his blue headband. Nooj noted that the front bangs of Baralai's hair had been spiked, as usual. Baralai kept his hands on Nooj's arms. "It would have never worked, Nooj." He smiled gently, looking up at Nooj's brown eyes. "We're too different. But, even though we've been through a lot, we're still friends and I'm happy about that."
"That's good to know," Nooj said quietly, taking in Baralai's spicy, leathery scent. When he tilted his head forward, Baralai tilted his back and their lips touched. They both gasped, both sets of eyes widening.
"I'm sorry..." Baralai whispered with a horrified look in his eyes, but he didn't move back.
"Don't be," Nooj whispered back. "I have nothing to lose..." Before Baralai could react, Nooj planted his lips firmly against Baralai's. He felt his friend stiffen, tremble, then relax. They snaked their arms around each other as a desire Nooj thought long dead returned. He felt it in Baralai as well because he could feel his younger friend's heart quicken its pace as his soft lips opened up for Nooj's tongue. Baralai grasped Nooj's hair, quietly grunting as Nooj's hand grabbed his neck, his fingers gliding through Baralai's hair. Their tongues danced in each other's mouth as quickly and passionately as if they had been lovers all along and nothing changed. Nooj let his hand drop down to the brown leather "chastity belt" that covered the apex of Baralai's thighs. When he grasped around that area, Baralai immediately broke the kiss, his light brown eyes round with shock.
Baralai moved back, his hands covering his mouth, "I'm sorry..."
Nooj shook his head, "You apologize too much. You don't have a need to now."
"I can't do this," Baralai said quietly. "We can't do this."
"No one has to know," Nooj replied, stunned at himself for saying something like that and noting how Baralai's eyes narrowed.
"I know..." Baralai's tone of voice remained soft, but had a hard edge to it. When Nooj took a step closer, Baralai moved back. "I mean that I would know."
"But, Baralai, I--"
"Nooj, please!" Baralai interrupted. He shook his head, "I'm just sorry. I didn't mean for this to happen. It's my fault."
"I won't do anything you don't want me to."
Baralai nodded, "I know...I know . . . Just be my friend. It's all we can be now."
Nooj inwardly sighed, feeling as thought he wanted to sleep forever, "I understand." He looked over Baralai's head, at the street lights. Baralai noted this and followed his gaze.
"Would you like me to take you somewhere?" The young Praetor asked, his head tilting sideways. "Maybe that would ease the tension between us."
/Perfect/. "Yes. Take me out tonight. I want to see people. I want to see life..."
"Hmph. That's odd coming from you, Nooj," Baralai grinned. He fished out his car keys. "But, I'm happy to oblige. Come on." Spinning on his heel, Baralai walked over the door, waiting for Nooj to catch up.
Once outside, Nooj felt the cool evening air envelop him. He could see the white blue pyreflies surround the streetlamp and was almost hypnotized by their movements. Baralai didn't seem to notice as he looked up.
"It's a beautiful night," Baralai stated, looking back at Nooj expectantly.
Nooj snapped his gaze away from the dancing lights, "Yes, it is."
"Such a shame that we can't see the stars here," Baralai sighed, shaking his head, slowly going down the stairs, pausing only to allow Nooj to catch up.
"There are still some places where you can see the stars perfectly," Nooj answered.
"Good! I'll take you there, then!" Baralai said, helping Nooj into the passenger's side of the car.
"I told you," Nooj said, keeping the door open with his mechanized left arm, "I--" Baralai frowned and in response Nooj sighed as he slowly eased back into the passenger's seat. Baralai remained at the door, still looking very concerned. "I...just...take me out tonight. Take me anywhere. I don't care." His voice lowered into a whisper. "I don't care...I don't care..."
The Deathseeker smiled, "Don't worry, Baralai. I'll be okay. There'll be plenty of stars to see somewhere else."
Baralai nodded, "Yes, I suppose you're right." Shutting the door, Baralai briskly walked over to the driver's side. Nooj rested his head against the seat, sniffing at the leathery scent in the car. When Baralai eased into the driver's seat, Nooj looked at him, suddenly curious.
"How did you get this car?" Nooj asked, knowing full well that getting to Zanarkand by any ground vehicle was still difficult, if not impossible. Sure, Bevelle wasn't all that far and the Calm Lands were easy for road building, but Gagazet was so harsh that roads needed to be built around it and completion would be quite a way off. That was common knowledge.
Baralai smiled, shifting the car out of neutral and turning the key. His smile widened as the engine purred. "I had to rent it when I arrived outside of Zanakand." As Baralai released the hand break and drove away from the apartment, Nooj felt the power of this car and noticed the ease in which Baralai shifted when necessary. He never thought Baralai would get such a car, but at the same time, he wasn't surprised. He smiled with his friend.
"You chose wisely," Nooj simply stated.
"It's a beautiful car. I hope to get one like it," Baralai simply shrugged. He chuckled, "You wouldn't believe the look on the rental people's faces when I asked for it. I would have loved to have seen their faces when I just sped off without any trouble."
"I certainly would have," Nooj said, wondering just how many Yevonites would have done what Baralai did.
Baralai's eyes darted around the street. "It's been awhile since I've been here. So, if you think I'm going the wrong way, please let me know."
"I doubt you'd need my help, navigator," Nooj replied, smirking.
"Oh, Nooj!" Baralai shook his head. "I'm just being cautious, that's all. Just because I said that I would try my hand at navigation a couple of years ago, doesn't mean I'm omnipotent."
"You'll be okay. I'm sure of it."
"Hmph...well, if you say so. Goodness, there's a ton of light here. I mean, many more than when I was here a couple months ago." Baralai glanced furtively around at the various lights that shined from tall buildings, clubs, other vehicles and pyrefilies.
Nooj nodded, "Yes. Zanarkand is still being re-built and everything is being done quickly."
"I see..." Baralai sighed, shaking his head.
"You don't approve," Nooj stated. He didn't even have to ask as it was obvious that the Praetor of New Yevon certainly didn't.
"No, I can't say I do," Baralai simply said. "I accept change. I can adapt as well as any Youth Leaguer or Machine Faction member, but what's wrong with being slow and steady? I mean, what about those who can't keep up?"
What about them? Nooj really wanted to ask, but he wasn't too eager to discuss this for the nine thousandth time with his friend. He just didn't care. He never blatantly told Baralai that, but right now, he simply assumed that Baralai's question was rhetorical. Nooj looked down at Baralai's slender hand that rested on the gear stick. He noticed the red mandela patch at the end of the sleeve. Nooj knew what it meant. Everything Baralai wore had some sort of significance. But, the concept of the mandela always interested Nooj the most. Mandelas took forever to create, but only a few seconds to destroy. When Nooj saw that Baralai was looking at him, he looked away.
"Nooj, what is it?" Baralai asked gently, stopping at a stop light.
"Oh, it's nothing." Nooj turned to his friend. "I was just thinking that sometimes it's just pointless to argue with you."
Baralai laughed, "Such a shame it's not so pointless with issues like the all too fast changes in Spira." He leaned back against the seat, speeding ahead of the cars behind him once the light changed. "Well, at least New Yevon saved the temple and made certain that the changes you wanted weren't lightning."
Yea, whatever, nice to know/. Again, Nooj didn't see the point in saying anything. He noted some buses passing from the opposite lane and suddenly thought that if one of them crashed into the car, it would be both a pleasure and a privilege to die beside the gentle young Praetor. /Perfect... But, again, Baralai interrupted his thoughts.
"Nooj, what is it? Do you want to turn back? We can go back to your home--"
"No!" Nooj answered so abruptly that it startled Baralai. He lowered his voice, "No. I never want to go home because I don't have one anymore . . . "
"What? Nooj! Stop talking nonsense!" Baralai snapped. He sighed loudly, "Fine, whatever you want, Nooj."
Nooj grinned, "I wish you said that when I tried to get the Shopuffs away from the Moonflow for more bridges."
"Ugh...Nooj!" Baralai rolled his gold brown eyes. Then, he helplessly laughed. "If you don't want to go back home, then fine. Just..." Baralai looked around, then he threw up his hands before quickly putting them back on the steering wheel, "tell me which way to go!"
"Whichever way you want, " Nooj said with a resigned tone.
Baralai shook his head, "Okay." He turned to the right, toward the freeway. "It looks like this would be the way to where I'd like to go."
"See? I told you that you wouldn't need any help."
"Heh, well, I won't be afraid to ask for any." Baralai replied, suddenly downshifting as a car in front of him was going far slower than he was.
Ugh Nooj thought, knowing that if he'd been driving, he'd have moved to the next lane, shifted to sixth and floored it almost immediately. He knew damned well that Gippal would have. Did Baralai do that? Hell no. At least not now. Not to Nooj's satisfaction. But, Nooj didn't have to wait for very long as Baralai sighed in exasperation, his darkly tanned hand grabbing the gear stick. He moved on over to the next lane, up shifted and easily passed the snail moving car while quickly moving back into his lane to avoid any oncoming vehicles. Looking into the review mirror, Baralai rolled his eyes.
"Goodness, not even I'm that patient!" Baralai noted, shaking his head.
Nooj looked over at his friend, "Baralai, what would you have done if a big truck were on the passing lane?"
Baralai raised his eyebrows, "Well, if it were far enough away, I might have attempted to pass the car anyway. Otherwise," he shrugged, "I just would have been more patient." At this point, they were at a darkened underpass and a truck passed them from the opposite side. This prompted Nooj to ask.
"What if you crashed head on into such a vehicle?"
"Oh my!" Baralai looked incredulous. "We would have been killed..."
"Side by side, we would be," Nooj quietly said. He fell silent, seeing another truck approaching. This was his chance, his chance to ask Baralai to get right in front of it, just step on it and never move an inch. Die together, side by side with nothing to impede them. Not Leblanc, not Gippal, not anyone. But, a strange fear gripped him and he couldn't ask. Nooj closed his eyes, grinding his teeth as the second truck passed them. With the underpass behind them, Baralai spoke.
"Oh my...so beautiful..." he said quietly.
/Yes, it would be beautiful for the both of us to die together/. But, Nooj understood that Baralai wasn't talking about dying. He opened his eyes and saw that they were now on the freeway. There were few lights here, so the bright stars and the pyreflies were very much visible. "Yes,
"But, Nooj, you're not getting off that easily," Baralai sternly answered. "Why did you ask me that question? Why were you wondering what would happen if we collided with a truck?"
Nooj tilted his head, "Just morbid curiosity."
"Oh..." Baralai pressed his lips together. "I should have expected that from you. So, how far?" He looked ahead and Nooj followed Baralai's gaze. "I think it should be quite a few miles before we're somewhere away from any electric lights. But, I think you would know better than I would."
"Don't worry, you're right."
"I usually am," Baralai said, smiling. He gave Nooj a pat on the shoulder. "Cheer up, please. I'd rather not have your mood affect mine."
/Soon...you won't have a choice, my love.../. "Don't worry about it."
"I can't help it, Nooj. Surely, you must have learned from the past." Baralai's hand moved to Nooj's mechanical thigh.
"Of course I have," Nooj replied. I don't care, I don't care, I don't care...Driving in your car...I never want to go home...
"That's a good thing, believe me," Baralai sighed, patting Nooj's knee before shifting to sixth and staying there. He laughed while gently, but firmly gripping the steering wheel. "I just have a feeling that you're not quite as okay as you claim."
"Oh, Baralai, you know how I get," Nooj said, looking ahead at the freeway in front of him. There were hardly any cars on the road, much less busses or trucks. He inwardly sighed. "Some things just don't change."
"You have no idea how happy I am that you said that!" Baralai answered cheerfully. "Now, if I can just reign you in during our meetings, change can slow down for once."
/Oh, it'll slow down...but not for the reasons you think/. "I hope you don't." Nooj grinned, noticing a pair of headlights from a distance. They were high up, which meant a third truck was finally approaching. It was a bit far right now, but close enough to be noticeable.
"You hope..." Baralai nodded, looking ahead, beaming. "Well, I hope I do."
If only that had meant what Nooj had wanted it to mean, but it didn't. Nooj felt his chest ache. Hope? Meh. Nooj didn't feel that at all, until he saw that truck come even closer and with Baralai's speed, it was only a matter of minutes before the last opportunity arose. He looked over at the speedometer and noticed that his friend was going at a pretty good speed. Why not? There was no speed limit here. Nooj was thankful for that as Baralai would have no doubt obeyed any speed limit. But, even though Baralai was driving fast, it wasn't enough for Nooj.
"Baralai, could you go faster?" He asked, feeling each second ticking away. /Just a little closer.../.
"Oh, no, Nooj," Baralai shook his head. "I'm going fast enough as it is. I'm not Gippal, you know."
"I see..." Nooj only had a couple minutes left, he sensed it. It was now or ever. "Baralai?"
"To die by your side is such a heavenly way to die..." Nooj whispered, looking over at his younger friend.
Baralai frowned, quickly looking back at Nooj, "Excuse me?"
Nooj looked ahead, at the large 18 wheeler fast approaching from the other lane, "And if a ten-ton truck kills the both of us, to die by your side-"
"Nooj? Why are you saying this? "
Nooj smiled, feeling very much at peace with himself. /It's time I threw my life away. It's time you came with me, dear sweet Baralai/. "Well, the pleasure - the privilege is mine."
Nooj could hear the anxious alarm in Baralai's voice, but he did not relent. "You heard me." He firmly planted his mechanical hand on Baralai's knee, forcing him to quickly accelerate.
"Nooj! What are you doing?" Baralai shrieked, as he struggled to remove Nooj's hand, but to no avail as it only made it easier for Nooj to jerk the wheel toward the truck. Baralai elbowed Nooj in the face, but that too failed and at that point, it was too late to even think of swerving.
"NOOOOOOOOO! Nooj!" Was the last thing the Deathseeker heard before the sounds of the car crumpling like paper dominated all hearing and white light dominated all sight.
Nooj struggled against the pain he felt to check on his dear friend. Baralai was already dead, his golden brown eyes shut, his full lips parted as blood trickled out of his mouth, his face, and his body. The lights of the wrecked vehicles showed a stark contrast between the red, the dark skin, the white hair and the clothing. Baralai looked beautiful to Nooj's eyes, like a broken angel needing to be held together. Groaning, the Deathseeker moved closer to Baralai, wrapping his arms around the still warm body as the life force in his own body was quickly fading.
"Oh, there is a light and it never goes out," Nooj whispered in his friend's unhearing ear, "It will never go out...ever..."
Holding him against his chest, Nooj kissed the top of Baralai's platinum head and closed his eyes. He didn't see anything more. He didn't hear anything more. He didn't need to.