Title: let this fire sweep through
Author: Vesper (Regina)
Warnings: Choose not to warn.
Category: crossover, drama
Characters: Utsumi Kaoru/Yukawa Manabu
Summary: History will never remember people like you. She tells him this, her voice bitter, but he only nods, because it is true. He is only one of many working together, to create a unified solution.
Archival: If you wish to archive, please link to my website. Please keep all my headers intact.
Notes: This story is set within the universe of Pacific Rim, and covers, in reverse chronology, the years 2013 - 2015, using characters from a Japanese drama, Galileo. I've said elsewhere, that to me, the concepts of Pacific Rim were more interesting in how they would impact the people who had to deal with the disasters of Kaiju attacks, and in how people who had other skills than those demonstrated by the pilots of Jaegers would assist in the war.

The Jaegers walk.

Utsumi Kaoru doesn't look long at the giant pilot-driven exoskeletons; the view on the television pays no justice to the scale of them. She turns her attention to the man beside her, and her breath catches. It is unusual to see the fire that burns inside Yukawa Manabu be so visible. It feels voyeuristic for a brief moment, but she doesn't look away.

The Jaegers walk. It is with fervid pride that those that built them look on their work; it is an ardor that has sustained them through many setbacks, through the grief of loss. It is not bright incendiary joy; that will come later.

The Jaegers are the work of many hands, physicists among them.

History will never remember people like you. She tells him this, her voice bitter, but he only nods, because it is true. He is only one of many working together, to create a unified solution.

We're a footnote in history.

And you're fine with that? She crosses her arms, leans against the wall.

You're not, aren't you? His answer pierces through to her fear. Her nostrils flare, her face stills; anger is quick to flare when the truth feels like an attack.

Everyone is forgotten, given enough time. He points it out like the foregone conclusion it is and turns back to his work.

She tells him to come to bed. Her voice is strained. His hands -- he stops, but turning to her takes time.

The shadows under his eyes look like hers, a mirrored image she sees in her memory. Her gaze slides away; she can't even look at it in a true mirror.

I will.

She has to take it as a promise.

The bed dips under her hours later, and she blinks scratchy eyelids down across her dry hot eyes, and swallows hard when he whispers into her hair. The words are not comfort, only more truth, kindling for a pyre. She turns into him, and the weight and breadth of his hand on her head does not soothe in the blaze of the accuracy of his statement.

Mortality is closer for us now. I'm doing this because it matters. Because you matter. I won't forget that. What you do is no less worthy.

Unspoken words are ghosts around them. Her -- their -- inadequacies in this war against an impossible foe.

We do what we can.

She closes her eyes against the pain in his words. She wraps herself tighter around him, twining her legs through his, breathing deep. There are no more tears, only a dull peace.

Yukawa pulls strings Utsumi never suspected he had. He calls in every favor she was convinced he never had the good graces to even bestow, all so he can do something -- putting the genius most people think is wasted in lecturing to use.

He becomes obsessed, in the way they all do. The world is no longer the same. A person can no longer ask what they would do when faced with the apocalypse, because it is real. It is real in the poisoning of the ground with the blue blood of the monsters that rise from the ocean. It is real in every shell-shocked newscaster's expression, when the attacks don't stop.

It is proof of the unnatural. Proof, and it scorches like Kaiju blood.

Will it work? The Jaeger Program? Do you think it will help, at all?

Not idle questions, for her. It's hard not to scoff at the idea, but she keeps those thoughts to herself. Brain-to-machine interfaces? She's heard him speculate about it before. This is what they are pinning their hopes on.

There are no assurances in this. It may only serve as as a form of back burning.

That's something she's heard of before. Back burning -- starting fires to sear a landscape -- is sometimes the only method of fighting back against an uncontrolled fire. Burn the land so there is nothing to be burned.

An unreasonable solution that works. The land recovers, but it just takes time.

It becomes known as K-DAY, but only months afterward. Every minute of it is recorded, documented by cell-phones and HD-capable handheld personal cameras, by professionals in helicopters and housewives in their backyards, screams of children realizing that monsters really do exist in the background of the audio tracks. The incident is pieced together from beginning to end, by mass media and by amateurs uploading to streaming video accounts by the dozens, overloading servers.

On that day, when San Francisco is attacked, reports travel across the globe with the speed of the digital age, technology spanning across time and space like the hand of some unknown and unknowable Power, holding Terra between hir thumb and forefinger. Universities hold rooms full of students, hands to their mouths as conceptions of safety, of belief in an ordered system, shatter into silence and grief.

Nothing gets done in Yukawa's lab that day, except for one call, heedless of time differences. There is nothing said after the first few greetings and the admonition to turn on the television.

They forget to end the call -- don't want to -- lapsing into silence, until Utsumi starts to cry. The reason is obvious. The way to react to it is unavailable to him -- he can't give her a handkerchief when she's in the heart of the United States -- and, because there is nothing Yukawa can say, Kaoru chokes out an apology and the assurance that she will call later, before he can formulate a reaction.

He should have put words to the desire for him to be there with her. He would have said it, and it would not have been for just her sake.

They smolder inside his mind for three days of interminable waiting, and in the end he doesn't have the chance to say them, because his phone buzzes under his palm and he wakes with a jerk, fuzzy-minded until he sees Utsumi's name, glowing pixels a relief like hot stones on aching muscles.

He calls her Kaoru when she answers; it slips out, but she doesn't even remark on it, only tells him that everyone in the training program is being sent home. Her voice is steady and calm, measured control.

Three more days of carnage and telecast after telecast of speculating editorialists and vehement religious leaders spewing poisonous blame, then and only then, after the last resort usage of three nuclear missiles, the Kaiju is brought down. The coverage doesn't stop.

A demon has been proven to exist, bringing hell and its fire with it.

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