2.5 pages in Word
AN: This was written before Platinum came out (October 08), so Pluto's personality may not be entirely consistent with the canon, although I feel it's more or less on the ball. Hikari is Dawn AKA female main character, Pluto is Charon, Akagi is Cyrus.
Pluto didn’t look up when he heard the door open at the end of the hallway, and he didn’t look up when he heard two pairs of footsteps coming down the hall. He only lifted his head when the footsteps stopped in front of his cell. Through the dully metallic bars, he saw the face of the girl—almost a woman now—who was responsible for his entrapment in this hell-hole.
Hikari followed the prison guard down the hallway. It was eerily quiet, with no sound except their footfalls and the faint sound of conversation further down the hall. She wouldn’t normally been disturbed by the quiet—in fact, she usually would have appreciated it—but perhaps her nerves were on edge. She was in a prison, after all. (Still, she had been in more frightening situations before.) When she stopped in front of the cell, the scientist and ex-commander looked up at her, eyes devoid of the strange brightness they once held.
The guard walked forward, undoing the lock and opening the barred door. “Fifteen minutes,” he said, closing the door behind the raven-haired girl after she entered.
For some time the two only stared at each other, Pluto glaring dubiously up at her, and Hikari staring with an unreadable expression back at him. Finally Pluto leaned back, sighing heavily. He asked, “Why have you come here? Haven’t you tortured me enough, destroying my Team and sticking me here with these…these common criminals?” He spat the last two words contemptuously, as if his crimes were not the product of malice or bad judgment, but entirely justified. It seemed to Hikari as if the whole of Team Galactic was convinced that they had fought for good.
Had they? She didn’t know anymore. She almost realized that this was a good part of her reason for being here. However, the thought managed to escape her.
“I came because I wanted to apologize,” she answered. Her voice sounded somehow weaker than she had intended.
Pluto only stared up at her. For a moment his face seemed to register surprise, but then the folds of his skin settled back into suspicion. Hikari tried once more.
“I wanted to apologize about how you got arrested,” she explained. “I know that it probably felt really unfair to you; I mean, you were just doing what you were charged to do, right?”
“It wasn’t just my charge, girl,” Pluto grumbled back, refusing to address her by name, just as he had before. “It was my duty as the commander assigned to take over in the Leader’s absence. And ‘unfair’ isn’t the right word at all. Don’t even begin to assume that you could understand—”
“I know, I don’t understand!” Hikari exclaimed. “I mean, that’s kind of why I apologized, too. For getting so wrapped up in something I didn’t get at all.”
“Oh, so all the times Jupiter and the others told you that, it just went in one ear and out the other?” the prisoner demanded.
Hikari found herself at a loss all over again, churning and sinking feelings combining in her stomach to form something like regret. Everything had come out wrong. She had rehearsed her lines in her mind over and over again, like an amateur actress preparing for her debut. But somehow, Pluto had taken everything she had wanted to say and turned it upside down, throwing it back at her again. And clearly, he wasn’t even trying to make her feel this uncomfortable. He was just mad.
With good reason.
“What I didn’t come here to do,” she managed at length, “was to say that I was in the wrong. I still think that what Team Galactic was doing was terrible, and even now I wouldn’t stand for it. But I got involved without thinking about it. What I regret is jumping in without thinking about how I could have stopped you guys without…you know, utterly destroying everything you had.”
This seemed to work. All Pluto said was, “If I’d known you were this soft, I would have destroyed you when I had the chance.”
Nervous, Hikari glanced over her shoulder at the prison guard. He was leaning against the wall, watching them, but he didn’t seem worried at all. She assumed that he hadn’t heard Pluto’s words just then. That was for the better—she didn’t want her visit to end prematurely, regardless of potential risk.
She turned back to the grayish blue-haired researcher. “Anyway, I brought some news that you might be interested in.” When Pluto looked up, but said nothing, she continued: “I went over to your guys’ HQ last week.”
“Was anyone there?” he inquired.
“Saturn was in the lobby, along with a few grunts and the receptionist. They haven’t actually closed yet. But he looks pretty aimless, like he’s…” she trailed off.
“Like he’s lost?”
“Yeah…and I think he is, really.”
“Are they planning to do anything?”
“I asked the receptionist, and she said they weren’t planning any public events, so I guess that means no.”
Pluto chuckled, a low, gravelly laugh. “The girl hasn’t changed a bit.”
Hikari wondered if Pluto meant her or the receptionist. She was considering what to say next, when the voice of the prison guard called from behind her, “Time’s up.”
“Oh, OK,” she said, more disappointed than she had expected to be. As the guard opened the door, Hikari said to Pluto, “It was nice seeing you, I guess.” The words sounded bizarre under the circumstances, almost as if she was treating him as an old friend. Then again, she didn’t know what else to say.
Pluto only raised an eyebrow at her as she left. As he watched her go, listening to the sound of the footsteps down the hall, he wondered if Akagi really had been onto something when he said that the girl was special.
It was too late now, though. When the girl and the guard were out of his range of hearing, it was almost as if she had never been there.
Only twenty-eight more years, and he would be free…