Falling from the Moon

A "Please Save My Earth" fanfic

By Natalie Baan


Chapter 3


Leaning his forehead against his arm, Issei stared at the notebook he'd been filling up with scribble. The teacher was droning on at the front of the room, but it didn't matter. None of this mattered. He wished he didn't have to be in school, but he was just about out of grace with the administration and with his parents. He sighed bitterly.

<I hate my father.>

<No. That's not right. He doesn't mean to...he really wants the best for us, I know, and he works so hard and long for it. I must disappoint him. I wish I could be the person he wants me to be, but I can't. I can't forget who I am, even when I try. >

<I'm the reincarnation of Enju, and I'm in love, still, with Gyokulan.>

<Who is Jinpachi now....>

<I remember. The rain, the flowers, and the moon--I was thinking of him that night, looking out of my window after Shusulan left. Thinking of him like that...I'd meant it to be the last time. I thought I'd found a way to forget, but I was wrong. Nothing stays buried forever. Lakes shift, mountains move, but nothing is really lost. I'm back to where I started.>

<And now....>

He would have to talk to Jinpachi, be with him in class almost every day--he had to find some way to deal with it, other than blocking his thoughts and feelings. So far he'd been lucky. By some merciful intervention--<thank you, Sahjareem>--Jinpachi had been late to school, just ducking into the room under the bell. Issei hadn't had to speak with him yet.

<And thank you, teacher, for switching our seats away from each other last week. If I don't talk to him or look at him until break, maybe I'll have a chance to sort everything out in my own mind, before I make a bigger mess of things than I already have.> Despite his best intentions, though, Issei couldn't help flicking a quick, sidelong glance at his friend--a glance that some how seemed to catch on him, slow to come away, lingering over the familiar strong lines of Jinpachi's face and the subtle details, like that bit of chestnut hair that just wouldn't stay tucked behind his ear, and the shadowy fringe of sandy eyelashes....

<Oh! He's looking at me!> Issei snapped his eyes back to his own desk, a sudden confused heat rushing up in him.

<Well. That was clever. Now you're blushing, and you know it shows up on you like...ohh.... > He put his head down on the desk.

<I'm not going to have hysterics in class. I will /not./>

<Sort everything out? How, damn it, when you've been through sixteen years of time and a switch of gender, and none of that makes any difference to the way you feel.>

<Look at you. You're obsessing on his eyelashes. No wonder he thinks you're crazy.>

<And you were stupid enough to try to set up a mental block on yourself. Wasn't that one of the first things they taught in your conditioning? Don't try to put a block on your problems, because blocks never hold. They degrade over time, they can be broken by a strong enough will, and they solve nothing, ever. I remember all of it now, everything they said, everything they did to us.>


<What happened to that? I've done things recently I shouldn't have been able to, like setting the block in the first place, and leaning on Tamura-san, influencing him to do what I wanted.>

<Have I slipped my conditioning? I still remember it, but it isn't the same, it's not so much a part of me.>

<Did growing up a second time undo it?>

<I'm stronger than I was. Not a lot, but definitely stronger. And without the force of conditioning, I could-->

<I could make him-->

<Love me.>

<Oh, God.>

<I'm worse than Shion. Even for thinking it.>

<I won't do it, I won't.>

<I won't.>


<But I still want you, so much-->

"And what's this, hmm?" The teacher's hand slapped down on Issei's notebook and jerked it away; Issei recoiled violently in his seat. A few chuckles broke out around him. "Oh, I'm sorry. Have I interrupted you? But perhaps you'd care to share your work with the rest of us, since it's obviously so much more interesting than what we're doing." The man put his head on one side, the overhead lights reflecting in his glasses as he looked down at the open page. "Gyo--"

"/That's mine!/" On his feet in a rush, Issei snatched the book back, clasping it against his chest to hold in the fury and shame. For a handful of seconds, while the surprise of his shout was still trembling in the air between them, he glared the teacher into stunned immobility.

<What am I /doing?/>

With that doubt, he faltered, and the moment went. The teacher straightened, pushed his glasses up the bridge of his nose, and Issei's determination suddenly fled.

"Go to the board. Problem one."

<Oh, no.>

Issei fumbled the notebook into the safety of his bag, and reluctantly picked up the text. He walked as slowly as he could to the blackboard, head down, wishing that the teacher would hurry and call others to join him. He reached the board, though, in near-perfect silence. It seemed the teacher was going to make them go one by one.

<Everybody's staring. I hate that. I feel like such a fool--and in front of Jinpachi, too. Is he watching me? No, don't look!>

<Maybe the teacher's just waiting for me to start. Maybe then he'll call someone else.>

<Idiot. Don't you dare cry.>

Swallowing hard around the tightness in his throat, Issei opened to the problem set at the chapter's end.

He knew this.

He stared down at the page, and the dawning realization didn't go away. It grew stronger.

<I know this. I've done this before.>

It was easy, so easy that he didn't even need to write out the calculation. Just the one numeral answer.

"Done," he said quietly.

"Done?" the teacher grunted. "Then do the next two as well. And Hashimoto-kun, if you think that's so funny, why don't you go up and do problem four."

<Bastard.> In anger and elation, Issei threw the next two answers up on the board. "Done."

"Problem twenty-five!"

A tentative voice spoke up: "But Sensei, you didn't assign that--"


Issei glanced back at the teacher, whose face was showing an attack of doubt. <I used to do my calc by hand when the computers were being ghosty. I was good--good enough to calculate astrogation vectors in real-time. And you want to break me down with something as basic as this?>

There was no fear left in him at all. It was wonderful.

The teacher grabbed a book from a nearby student and spun pages, not quite ready to give up. "Page 214," he said, and rode on over several exclamations, including Jinpachi's outraged "Hey!": "Problem three."

Issei turned toward the back of the book. Hmm, this one did need a little figuring. Behind him he could hear Jinpachi still protesting, and it made his heart sing with delight and a crazy longing. Almost as if it were someone else's, he watched his hand sweep chalk across the board, laying out the formula in lovely, flowing alien script.

He realized, as he came to the end of the problem, that the classroom had returned to silence. The answer went down, and almost as an afterthought he translated it back into Earth numbers. He closed the book. "Done."

The quiet was tremendous. The teacher had gotten back to his own desk and was flipping through the guide, searching for the chapter's solutions. Issei looked up at the delicate interlaced symbols he'd written all across the board; what he had done began slowly to register.

"Ah--yes. Correct. Very good." The teacher sounded decidedly uncomfortable. "You can go back to your seat."

Issei picked up the eraser and swept it quickly across his calculations, obliterating them. Chalk dust scattered in the air. Better not to leave any evidence of the morning's strangeness: let them all forget, if they could. He wasn't going to be able to. All those memories of an earlier life were part of him, part of his soul, a knowledge and understanding that he needed if he were ever to be complete.

<I tried to pretend that Enju was just a ghost in my head, somebody else, not me at all, but that's not so. I am Enju.>

<But--some things about me have changed.>

<I would never--there were things I would never have done before now.>

<What kind of person am I becoming?>


Previous Chapter   |   Next Chapter

Return to Main Falling from the Moon Page   |   Return to Main Fanfics Page