Please PLEASE forgive me for this. I’m still on a Pacific Rim kick, and I really couldn’t help myself. I do not own these characters; some other brilliant mind (or a collective of brilliant minds) are the ones who made them come alive. I am not writing this for profit; I only write this through sheer love. I know I’m not doing them justice, but I’m trying my best to respect the source material.
I hope anyone who stumbles upon this ficlet won’t judge me for it.
He felt the scream long before he heard it. With a swift grace cultivated by years of combat, Stacker Pentecost maneuvered himself off the cot on which he had been “sleeping” for the last two weeks. It only took a few steps–steps through which he felt the unforgiving cold of Alaska–for him to reach her room.
“Mako,” he murmured at the weeping girl. “Mako, daijoubu.” Awkwardly, he put his large palm on her small head.
She peered up at him through her jet-black hair, cheeks tear-streaked and eyes angry. “The Onibaba,” she stuttered in unsteady English, pulling the blankets closer to her body – which was already covered by three thick wool sweaters. “It does not STOP.” He watched as she started to slip her hand under her pillow unconsciously, watched her pause and clench her fingers over the sheets instead. She tilted her head back, the curtain of her hair revealing more of her pale face. He knew what she was about to ask.
“Not yet,” he said firmly, before she could even make a sound.
He saw the corners of her lips fold inwards and down, marking her displeasure across the rest of her features. He thought, not without a significant measure of amusement, that this is the closest Mako has gotten to acting like a petulant teenager. Seeing her shake, he handed her another blanket. She took it, but did not unfold it. Instead, she put it beside her and steadied her hands.
She will never cease to amaze him, it seemed.
She inhaled and exhaled audibly, lowering her head. When she lifted it, she looked straight up at him. “I will conquer my mind,” she says firmly. ‘And my hands. And the kaijuu,’ her the rest of her seemed to say. She took the blanket wrapped around her, and folded it, placing it on top of the one she set aside.
He straightened his back in acknowledgement. “I know,” he replied. What else can he say?
He stood as she lay back down on her own cot he watched her, like a guardian angel, until she successfully snuck back into slumber. Only then did he go back to his room to lie in the dark, composing letters to Tamsin. He still didn’t know what he can say, but he was determined to keep in touch. He reached under the cot, slid his hand into a small box, and let his fingers glide over the smooth but broken surface.
In his mind’s eye, he can see the color red – bright, vivid, alive.
The next morning, he walked past the open door of Mako’s room. She was sitting at her desk, back straight, engrossed in writing something. On the cot were the blankets, untouched since they were left there.
“Mako,” he called out. She swung around to look at him.
He leaves a wooden staff at the doorjamb, eyes never leaving hers.
“If you want to fight kaijuu someday, then you better know how to do it properly. The clearing, 10 hundred hours.”
He turned away, not needing to see the look on her face. He knew that one corner of her mouth would lift before the other, cracking open into a look of hope.
Hope as warm as blankets.