[fic] Minutes to Midnight

Whoo-hoo! x2009 finally had the big reveal, so I can officially post my fic under my own name. :D

Title: Minutes to Midnight
Fandom: X/1999 [10 years in the future AU]
Rating: T
Warnings: none
Word count: 597
Summary: It's ten years after the end of the world, and Tokyo feels fine.
A/N: 'Hatsumode' is the first shrine visit of the New Year. There are a lot of 'hatsu-' (first) things, such as 'hatsuhinode' (the first sunrise of the new year) and 'hatsuyume' (the first dream of the new year). Meiji Jingu is a large shrine in Harajuku near Omotesando. Also, 'wards' are what the districts in Tokyo are called. They can also be the shields put up to protect the areas where the Dragons of Earth and Dragons of Heaven were fighting over the seals. Yay, double meanings!

--

Tokyo. December 31, 2008.

It's not yet 2009. But it will be, in just a few minutes.

New Year's Eve in Tokyo is not like cities in the West. New Year's Eve, Misoka, is quiet. The streets are empty, or close enough to make of the city a ghost of itself. There are fewer people than there were ten years ago, and there are fewer now on this night. Many are in their hometowns, far from this city that has always walked the road to its own ruin. While many live in Tokyo, few ever say she is their hometown. Tokyo is a dream, a place where the best and brightest of the country go to escape the backwaters and stifling expectations; to make a name for themselves and to find anonymity. Tokyo is a city of contradiction and she thrives upon it.

It is of no surprise that the seals to the destruction of the world were all in this city--not to any who had ever lived within her, not to any who had ever loved her, not to any who had ever hated her. Ten years ago she was a microcosm for all of humanity and what it had accomplished and could do; a city risen from the ashes to become one of the most powerful places on earth...but that power built upon a frailty and core emptiness that echoed the hearts of all within her. Tokyo longed for something as much as her people did, and she covered it by making herself a place that would fill the dreams of all whose hearts yearned for something more.

And she destroyed those whose hearts were too empty; who longed for too much. She was Eros and Thanatos; love and death and the urge for destruction lodged deeply within the human psyche that was so easy to ignore with the thin veneer of civilization and modernity. Tokyo would destroy you, or worm her way inside you so you could never leave.

And so it was not a surprise that she'd held the fate of the world within her. Nor is it a surprise that she, in her fashion, has survived the battles for the world that took place here, unseen by her inhabitants but felt when they were over and the wards fell. Through it all, Tokyo has survived. Even if she was made into naught but ruins, she survives.

It is one minute to the new year. And perhaps Tokyo will resurrect herself; in the blink of an eye people will begin to appear on these preternaturally empty streets. Perhaps when the New Year comes she will be as crowded as she would have been on any bustling day just a few short years ago, people rushing towards Meiji Jingu for the hatsumode. Perhaps people will soon fill the city streets again, to go to the shrine to pray and then to find places to watch the first dawn.

Or perhaps nothing at all will happen; perhaps these ghostly streets will remain silent and still, with only the hangers-on to her past glory still here. There was much death and destruction here, only ten short years ago, and cities have been abandoned before.

But the human spirit is indomitable, and no matter what has happened or what will happen when the clock strikes midnight, Tokyo will be remembered forever. Carthage, Nineveh, Babylon; Athens, Jerusalem, Rome.

Tokyo.

Because she is as she always was. She is Tokyo, the mirror of and to humanity; the city forever on the edge of the end of the world.

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