Falling from the Moon

A "Please Save My Earth" fanfic

By Natalie Baan


Chapter 4


It was a hike and a half to get to his house, but when a guy doesn't make your regular meetings and doesn't call, what else do you do? So there she was opening the door to his room, just as Enju made that arcing leap from the bed, head flung back, eyes closed, trailing curly black headphone cord behind him. "Cool! I didn't know you could dance!" Maybe he didn't hear her, but when he touched down and opened his eyes he sure did see her. It was worth the price of a ticket, watching him go airborne again from the shock.

"Sh- Shusulan!" And as he wheeled around, not quite tracking on the here and now, the edge of the carpet and his foot had a violent disagreement and he went down hard, catching one arm in the cord as he fell and yanking the plug out of its socket. Music crashed out of the speakers, and she jumped for the volume control.

"Sorry, Enju-kun!" She was, too. That must have hurt.

"/Keep it down up there!/"

"/Yeah, okay!/" Enju pulled off the headphones and gave her a dubious look as he started to unwind himself. "What're you doing here?"

She grinned. "I was going to let you have it for dropping out on us again, but now I've got a better idea. We're going dancing!"


"It's Friday night, isn't it? And I know a teen club with great music and not too many assholes. You're my date--come on!"


Too late: he was doomed. At last she'd found a guy who'd do more than two-step, and she wasn't about to miss out on this.


* * * * *


He moaned all the way over but was a dream out on the floor, once she convinced him that everybody was dancing and nobody would be looking at him. He knew what he was hearing--not everyone was up on the imports--and damn, he could move; he was good, really good. Maybe better than she was, which she didn't admit to readily. He was quick and light, and unbelievably keyed in to what she was doing: she could just go, and he'd be there at all the right moments and in all the right ways, so that sometimes they matched moves and flowed together almost uncannily and other times they had air in between them and the freedom to be making up their own steps. He wasn't afraid to get his arms up and into it, either, or to throw a bit of hip into the mix. So people were looking at them after all, but by that time he didn't seem to notice or care.

He even put a little flirt in his moves, and that just killed because she knew it wasn't real. Not long ago he'd said he was over Gyokulan, but she wasn't buying. It couldn't be that simple--not the way Enju clung to things that should be long-time dead, and not with Gyokulan too thick to lay it all out in a heart-to-heart talk. Sometimes she just wanted to smack him--and she definitely was going to deck Enju someday, for coming back as a cute, nice, sensitive guy who was totally unavailable.

She had plenty of questions, and when they finally ran themselves down and were walking out of the club pleasantly tired, she started in on them. "Okay, confess. When did you start dancing?" It was something she hadn't expected, and she'd known Enju for years before the moon base thing.

"I always liked to, ever since I was a little kid," he answered. There was a hint of amusement in his eyes, and maybe something else. "You should have seen me. I was discouraged from it, though, and I stopped for a long time." He looked up past the streetlights, to the black haze of the city's night sky. "Enju used to dance sometimes, in secret. She didn't like other people to know. Not this kind of dancing, of course. It was almost a ritual for her, a release, one of the few she allowed herself. So I guess it's no wonder I started to dance again, behind closed doors."

He kept referring to "Enju" as if she were someone else, and maybe it annoyed him to be called by that name, but Shusulan just couldn't help it: he was so patently Enju in tone and manner, and even in the way he carried himself. She wondered how much grief he'd gotten over the years from various muscleheads. It must have been so hard on him when he'd realized who he was.

"So, how come telepaths were never in demand for dance partners?" He pulled up in surprise, and she smirked. "That /is/ how you do it, right? Reading the other person's moves." He nodded. "Well?"

"We were all too repressed." He smiled, but it was a bit forced, and she thought she might have another piece of him figured. They walked a few steps farther on. Then it was time to strike toward the center.

"How's Gyokulan these days?"

"/Fine./" You could ice skate on his voice suddenly, it was that cold and flat. She'd definitely hit on something.

"Oh?" She drew the sound out long and leading, not about to let him off, and he stopped again, turned on her, hands on his hips.


They'd take forever to reach the station at this rate, but that was okay because she didn't really have anywhere to be, and she was going to drag the latest out of him whatever it took. "What? You know I worry about you, Enju-kun: did you think you'd get away without me asking anything? So spill it. Make it easy on yourself." As he glared at her, she added, "Are you just avoiding him? Is that why you stopped coming to the Sunday meetings?"

"It's hard to avoid someone when you're in the same class," he snapped.

"So you're still in love with him after all?" The moment the words were out of her mouth, she realized they were in an awfully public place for this particular conversation, especially with Enju pissed off and not paying attention to his mannerisms. "Uh...."

"What do you honestly think?" And God, every line of him was advertising, from the way he was standing to the hand that was swept out dramatically with way too much grace in the gesture. But maybe no one was paying attention. He lowered his voice as he continued, pulled himself a bit more together; the hand came in and was clasped over his heart. "Shusulan, you know me." That faraway look was on him, and it was enough to give her own heart pause in its nervous fluttering. She stepped closer, wishing she could give him some kind of reassurance.

Then she heard the smacking kiss-noises and thought better of it: they should move on before Enju noticed too. The source was a trio of older high school guys. Ugly guys. She'd seen them mouthing off at the passersby on other occasions. They were leaning up against the outside wall of the club, laughing, and she wasn't sure whether they were harassing Enju, or herself, or perhaps the two of them as a couple. But as she reached for Enju she saw that he'd already heard them, and his expression was on its way from ethereal to bitch. This was certainly trouble.

"Lookit--maybe we'll get to see two girls kissing!"

"Hey, sweet thing! Wanna see what it's like with a real man?"

"Which sweet thing are you talking to?"

Enju's chin was up, and the retort was coming before she had a chance to kick him. "Look, Shusulan--gorillas in their native habitat."

"C'mon, Enju-kun." The guys were still grinning, but the grins were turning nasty and calculating. The leader pushed himself away the wall, advancing in their general direction.

"So are you callin' us gorillas?"

Enju smiled, blue eyes burning with a fire out of character for an certain ex-paleontologist--oh great, /now/ Enju discovered testosterone. "Seems like we've disturbed the research subjects," he said in a loud, clear aside. "I'd heard the great apes have affectionate and loving relationships among themselves, but turn defensive when observed. If we stay quiet, maybe they'll relax and go back to grooming each other."

The gorillas paused a moment to get worked up about those implications, and Enju shifted left, putting enough space between himself and Shusulan that she was out of the line of fire. Ordinarily, chivalry would be a good thing, but at the moment she'd much rather he tried discretion as the better part of valor and backed off instead: there were three of them, and one was only built like the space cruiser Yamato. They started to circle.

"Enju-kun, look out!"

The leader thrust forward and gave Enju a hard shove. He reeled a few steps toward the wall, caught his balance, and then kept backing. There was wariness in his eyes, but still a gleam of amusement as well. The guy stalked after him until Enju was pinned against the bricks.

"This is it! You're toast!" He slammed his fist toward Enju's face. Enju went straight down, super-fast, and the guy's hand met the wall with an unpleasant sound. As he opened his mouth to yell, Enju came up and to the side in a whirl of motion, lashing out with one foot. Gorilla Leader's knee gave way, and he went down in a pile of recycling. Cans and bottles rolled everywhere.

Now the Yamato was moving in. Shusulan started to run forward without even the wildest idea of what she was going to do and the third guy caught her around the waist with a laugh and a leer. Her feet left the ground and her adrenaline shot straight into the stratosphere: /claw! bite! thrash! scream! elbow!--/

That got him; he wouldn't going anywhere for a while. She picked herself up off the ground and tried to reorient herself to the fight. The big guy was striking at Enju, faster than you'd hope, a series of roundhouse blows--and not one was landing. Enju was dancing again, a different kind of dance, the expression on his face somehow both dreamy and fiercely concentrated as he moved, dodged, was never quite where the guy was swinging. Thick fists flashed by him, centimeters away, and he smiled.

Dodged again--

Enju's foot hit one of the loose bottles, and he was flat on the sidewalk, staring up chagrined as the hood loomed over him. Well, there were plenty of bottles. Shusulan grabbed the nearest large one, ran up, and smashed it against the Yamato from behind. He staggered, clutched his head, and started to turn toward her with a snarl. "Aah!" she screamed, and Enju came up under the guy's chin with another bottle, a two-handed swing that laid the former space cruiser out on his back. The fight had taken maybe thirty seconds; people around them were just starting to shout. From somewhere among the recycling, Gorilla Leader was trying to thrash his way to his feet.

Enju caught her hand, and they ran for it.


* * * * *


"And what the hell was that all about? Enju-kun! Have you gone totally insane?" They were on a side street that led roundabout to the train stop, and now that they'd quit running she had time and breath to be mad. For his part, he was staring into space as though she was the one who'd gone crazy and it might be catching. When he spoke, his voice was remote.

"What? D'you think I haven't been in a scuffle before?" He shrugged. "Sure, I don't like it, but I can fight if I have to."

"You didn't have to!"

He hesitated on his comeback. They were passing a run of cheap jewelry stores and fashion closeouts, and when he bowed his head the white and gold lamps from the window displays blazed highlights on his black hair. "You're right."

She'd been braced for an argument and had to stop to collect herself. He stopped too, turning toward her. "I could have ignored them, or laughed it off, I guess. I just--" Something in him seemed to catch. "Shusulan, do you struggle with who you are? At all?"


"No, you're so much the same. It must be easy for you, you must hardly notice where your two lives meet. I envy you for that. So much has changed in me that whichever side I look from, I see a stranger. I'm not the Enju you used to know. And I'm not the Issei that Jinpachi knew, either."

"So who are you?"

The lift of his shoulders was eloquent enough, but he went on to add, "I'm still figuring that out."

"Fine, as long as you don't figure you're someone who goes looking for fights. Because if you are, I'm not taking you dancing again!" She hoped that was a threat he'd care about.

"No. Tonight was just frustration, I guess." He turned his face up to the sky once more. "I wanted to see if I could be bold in something. Stupid, isn't it? But I'm so tired of turning away, hiding, being only part of who I am, and I just can't do it anymore. Even if what I am turns out to be--different. Somewhere between Issei and Enju."

He left the door open, and so she went there.

"Enju-kun. Would you sleep with Gyokulan in this life?"

He was silent for a long time.

"Yeah. If he wanted me."

There was nothing she could say to the grief in his expression.

Then he faced her again, his head cocked to one side in that way he had, and the sadness was still there but the beginning of a smile lightened it. "Thank you," he said.


"For the date." He gave her a very slight bow, and the most intelligent thing she could think to do was study the pavement between her shoes.

"Uh, you're welcome!" She laughed awkwardly, and then went on, as they started walking again, "Thanks for coming with me. I had a really good time. We've gotta do this again! I can't tell you how cool it is to actually have a partner, and not just be dancing with a bunch of girl friends. Oh, and I wouldn't worry about those guys--they're not always there, and if they are next time we can duck out and go someplace else--" Looking around, she realized she'd been talking to empty air because Enju hadn't moved from where they'd been standing. He was staring into the window of one of the shops with the look of a lost soul on his face. All of a sudden she felt very tired.

She caught up with him just as he started to drift in through the door. It was a mixed bag kind of jewelry store: bins of findings and beads, inexpensive chains, rings, and earrings, some original pieces on consignment. He was scrutinizing the racks, and just as she was about to ask what the hell he thought he was looking for, he reached out hesitantly and slipped an earring out of its place, a silvery four-pointed star suspended from a short length of chain. His fingers toyed with it for a moment; then he raised it and held it against his ear. "What do you think?"

"I think you have now definitely lost your mind. Can we go home, Enju-kun?"

He lingered, though, looking at his reflection in the small mirror hidden among the jewelry. "Shusulan?" he said, very softly.



He was far away again, and she took the chance to look at him, long and seriously and hopelessly. The silver earring dangled from his fingers, glittering against the contrast of fair skin and dark hair. Something in his voice, in his demeanor, tugged at a memory--





It had been a very long time ago.


--"What is it, Enju?"

"...do you think I'm pretty?"--


"Oh, Enju-kun." She could do nothing but go on looking at him.


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