Two Minutes (part 2)
Sooo - a recent discussion with @panickypaladin brought a level of this to my attention that I never would have thought of and frankly - it’s terrible. Like, heartbreaking terrible.
So of course I had to swing my story to follow that route. All the thanks to them for this next part. And to @theprojectava for the original picture of Ryou that lit the fire under me to write anything at all about this in the first place.
part 1 if you need it
He wasn’t Takashi.
He would never be Takashi.
But if Takashi could pilot anything - Ryou was the one that could build it.
They walked around the ship once it was done, closer to it than Takashi had been up until this point. Ryou though - Ryou had been living inside its guts for the past year and a half. He’d never been so proud of himself, of something he’d had a hand in creating and Taka was glowing at him, that warm, deep, water-drowning glow that only Taka could glow. Ryou felt like a helium balloon, floating along next to his twin, feet barely touching the ground, exhausted from far too many months without enough sleep and almost giddy at the same time. He watched as Taka lifted his hand, laid just the pads of his fingertips against some of the paneling of the vessel, soft and reverent the way they both touched machines and he watched with satisfaction as his brother then stepped forward, laid his whole hand against that sun warmed ceramic, palm flat, soaking in the heat of the giant structure as if he could soak in its personality and essence, eyes closed, entire body going still. Ryou felt like a proud father or… or a proud older brother as Taka admired the ship without words.
her name?” Taka asked finally, in that voice of his that was half dreaming,
half awake excitement and Ryou grinned. Because of course the ship had
an official name - but - Ryou always named his ships private names he
never shared, a secret promise between just the two of them, an intimacy
that only Taka was allowed into when he piloted one of them.
Taka turned his head with a laugh, edges of his eyes wrinkling, and Ryou grinned back.
“Little Magpie,” his twin repeated softly after a moment, looking back at the ship with love.
The ship that would travel to the edge of the solar system, as far as mankind had ever dared reach and then come safely back home. A bridge across the distance of space. And the Shirogane brothers were going to make it there. Together.
wasn’t the pilot his brother was. No one was. But Ryou had a way with
machines that was as close to love as human hands could carve and when
the twins had joined the Garrison, Taka’s path had gone up and Ryou’s
had gone down. Down into the depths of tangling wires and piping, down
into circuits and motherboards and air tubes and compressors, down into
the dark depths of ships where welding was a melody and the groan of
plastic and ceramic and steel was a deep whale’s song of harmony or
warning. While Taka had been busy knocking every single flight
simulation to ribbons because it couldn’t keep up with him, Ryou had
been twisting and adjusting and simply creating things that the Garrison
had never dreamed for its ships. They’d both graduated with highest
honors. The averted Venus disaster they both wore woven into the ribbons
on their dress uniform’s chest had been Taka’s impossible piloting to get them
in and Ryou’s spit and bubble gum save of the giant gas drilling platform’s
orbital decompressor. And, while Ryou hadn’t been along for the Io
Miracle, he’d been the one that had just recently installed the changes
to the stabilizers in the ship that Taka had piloted in and saved the
plunging research station workers with. The Garrison, the
conglomerates that ran the Garrison, knew when they had not one but two
geniuses inhouse and, young or not, still untried in so many ways or
not, there was no end to the possibilities they provided for the twins.
Takashi Shirogane was a rising star - but he was binary, because Ryou
rose just as fast on the opposite horizon. Ryou even had his own team, the pride of a real, honest to God, own team, that answered to no one but him, that he
was entirely responsible for, and more projects to chose from for the
whole of them than he could ever hope to complete. The private sector
was hungry for him too but -
but Taka was with the Garrison - and Ryou couldn’t imagine leaving his brother behind and going elsewhere.
He couldn’t imagine creating ships his twin wouldn’t make dance like dragonflies on the surface of a stormy pond like love given physical form.
And now they were going to Kerberos. Taka - and the ship Ryou had helped build just for him. Just for this mission. That he’d poured every advance he could think of, every safety feature, every gift of speed and grace and power and strength he could pour into every inch of it, down to the smallest torque of a bolt. His team wasn’t the only team that had worked on the ship - but Ryou had gone over ever inch of it until he was satisfied. The shuttle was his ship and his brother was going to take it into the pages of history. It was the greatest gift he could give his twin. So far. He had more plans - but first, Kerberos. Taka turned eyes that held stars in them already, on him and his smile said it all. They were laughing when they hugged, twins about to punch their way right through the impossible into forever.
months later, Ryou was in the command center when the feed from Little Magpie went dead.
The ship he’d sent his only brother into space
The ship he’d built to keep their dreams alive.
The ship he’d told his brother would never fail him.
The entire mission control crew waited a full forty-eight hours - hoping…
But Little Magpie never spoke again.