There's another chapter after this one... and then I'll start putting up the sequel...

It's a strange ending to the story and it comes out of left field, to be honest. But hell, Evangelion did the same thing and it's one of the most revered stories. So be a little open-minded for oddities. Also, it's fast- paced, so make sure you keep up.

It was a dark city, illuminated only by artificial light. Spanning half the planet, it floated on nano-machines, turning ponderously, its bulging towers stabbing into the perpetually night sky, as if longing to be out of the planet's crimson shadow. Small crafts drifted between the towers in swarms, rushing to and fro on important matters. The lights were painfully bright, as if trying to mimic the sun that the people needed so urgently. It was a civilization growing entirely in building complexes spanning miles and skyscrapers touching the atmosphere. Artificialness was their world, their life, as they tried desperately -even unconsciously- to imitate their home planet. Earth was in the very blood of humanity, calling them back home to where they belonged even as they struggled to reach the stars.
There were two sections of the city that was Mars- the Inner Circle, and the Equator. At the Equator, the temperatures varied in degrees of warmth, as it was closer to the daylight. The Inner Circle was the area most opposite the sun, where the greatest concentration of people lived in fear of the sun's deadly touch. At the reaches of the Equator, closest to day, were the Outskirts, the massive slums of Mars where any pleasure and sin ever thought of by man had been committed in the red twilight. People wandered through it as mere shadows and wraiths, ghosts of memories that flickered through the rubber, towers and trash. Spitting lights advertising temptations were the only light besides the constant looming line of light on the far horizon, a dim reminder of what could happen, should the great city's technology lag for just one moment.
She looked out over the dead landscape with lips twisted with distaste. "Home sweet home," she said sarcastically.
"You lived here?" Jery asked, slightly surprised.
Blue grunted. "More or less."
Her boots clicked on the tarmac as she and Leon led the way, keeping to the walls and shadows. "Watch your pockets," Leon murmured to the others.
"Bring back memories?" she asked Leon quietly.
"Yeah. Ones I'd prefer not remembering," he said, kicking aside a corpse with disgust. Flies buzzed around its empty eye socket. "Did they import the flies?"
"Just for you." She walked with her hand right next to her gun, her eyes never stopping in their search for threats. "Now I see why they never let us out much." Turning her head, she glanced over her shoulder. "Kaido, how you doin'?"
Kaido shrugged, lifting her chin a bit. "I'm fine. Why should I not be?"
Blue smiled a bit. "No reason."
They slid through the shadows and underneath a large sign that spat sparks onto them as its lights buzzed and flickered. Strange grunts came from an alley, and Blue could hear the sobs of a female. Troy prudently stepped between Kaido and the alley, blocking the view as they passed.
She stopped them once as two men tumbled out of a doorway, shouting and wrestling, but soon one of them knocked out the other and stumbled back into the doorway, muttering a few oaths before he slammed it shut. They went on.
Blue's heart began to pound as she began to recognize landmarks. Ah, there was the 'fish' store that sold sedatives and imagination enhancers. And there was the broken statue of a faceless woman, her body covered in graffiti. And that was the old man that sold old technology out of his three-meter wide store that overflowed with junk from before WWIII. Yes, everything was familiar now.
She took a deep breath. "Can we do this?" she asked Leon almost excitedly.
Leon glanced at her, but didn't answer. His gold eyes were dark.
They stopped outside of a squat, demolished pile of rubble that only had a few corners left standing. A small group of boys were gathered at the entrance, looking inside with bored curiosity. Blue dug a pulse shot in the rubble next to them and they fled with shouts of surprise.
"This is it?" Roger asked doubtfully. "It doesn't look like a research facility."
"Of course it doesn't. Kaido, come with us. The rest of you, stay here," Blue said.
Jery caught her arm as she went past him. "Come back, all right?" he said quietly.
She smiled and leaned up, kissing his cheek. "Best of luck, Jery." Turning, she left them and ducked under a slab of old concrete. Pressing her hand to a small circle, the computer chuckled her as an affirmative, and a small hole appeared in the ground. Easing herself down, she fell and landed with her gun out and aimed. Leon came next after she had given the okay signal, and then Kaido, nervously holding her gun.
The corridor was lighted by monotonously humming lights on the ceiling, stretching in both directions. "It hasn't changed a bit," Blue mentioned, starting forward.
"Do you remember where it is?" Kaido asked.
"Yeah, I do. Now shut up." She walked lightly, her boots nearly soundless. Leon followed like a cat and Kaido tried to copy them.
Blue strained her ears for any sound of those she knew were waiting. There was a high-pitched ringing sound in her head that was barely audible, somehow making everything seem like a dream.
Memories drifted into her consciousness. Walking down the same hall laughing, her arm hooked with Leon's as she held a candy bar in the other hand. Greeting doctors and scientists in the hallways with grins and jokes, calling to Third and Fourth, waving frantically. After all, she and Leon were going to go watch a movie, and she wanted the others to come too. Leon had sighed, laughing ruefully at how naive she was, nuzzling her hair with his cheek. She could feel him smile. She loved his smile. When he smiled, she had nothing to be afraid of. All was right in the world when Leon smiled.
Blue glanced at Leon, wondering if he was remembering as well.
He was. His jaw was clenched and his neck muscles were tense.
She looked away.
"It's not the Genoum, you know."
Blue snapped around, her gun coming up. Her eyes widened in surprise as she saw that Kaido was speaking. "Kaido?"
The girl's brown eye had darkened until it was black, her blue eye alight. She stood laxly, her arms hanging down her sides as if she was a doll. Her gaze was familiar.
"Jennings," Leon hissed, his voice roiling with hate.
"Jennings, let the girl go," Blue snapped. "She didn't do anything to you."
Kaido -no, Dar, no, Darshiva Jennings, their creator- grinned. "Let her go? I never held her. This is her speaking to you now." She lifted her arms, her hands hanging like dead flesh. "Go ahead, Second. Shoot her."
Sweat dripped down Blue's temple. "God damn you bitch," she whispered hoarsely. "And what's 'not the Genoum'?"
She laughed a cold, mirthless laugh. "That which plagues you every time you close your eyes! It's not the Genoum doing that to you, it is my final gift to you mere Prototypes!"
Blue's eyes widened with horror as realization struck her. Her hands shook. "YOU!" Anger, grief and turmoil twisted on her features. "You killed them!" she screamed.
"I couldn't let petty sketches and first tries actually achieve Enlightenment, now could I?" Darshiva purred sadistically. "I had to find some way to keep you all from what could only be given to the greatest!"
Her gun shook so hard that she grabbed it with two hands to keep it steady. Her colorless eyes were now bulging with rage. She opened her mouth to speak, but nothing came out. Finally, gritting her teeth with an animal- like snarl, she pulled the trigger.
Kaido's head snapped back as blood flew, bathing the floor in crimson. By the time her body struck the floor, she was lifeless.
"Blue!" Leon said, staring. "How could you kill an innocent?"
"She wasn't an innocent!" Blue snarled, whirling. She began to run. Leon fell in step next to her. "There never was anything to be innocent. Kaido never lived, she only existed as a programmed puppet-spy."
"Then what was that back there? What was she talking about?"
Her steps were angry. How had Darshiva hidden it from them? "She manipulated our DNA so that once the Genoum reached a certain peak, the DNA would do a sort of self-destruct. That's what the real expiration date is," she growled. "God dammit, why didn't I see it before?! Of course the Genoum wouldn't disintegrate on its own. . ."
"Then 'Enlightenment' would be the product?" he said, following her around another corner.
"I have no idea. You can ask her that when we get there." Suddenly, her breath came in sharply. "Get down!"
She dove into a doorway just as the pulse lighted the corridor, turning her head away from the intense light. Swearing, she stood, edging to the door. Sweat ran down her temples as the light subsided.
"So, the last two Prototypes have come to be Enlightened, have they?" drawled an almost familiar voice from down the corridor. "My brother told me to watch out for your quick gun." The comment seemed to be directed at her door.
"Brother?" she said around heavy breaths. "She made two of you? Fantastic. Just what we needed. Where's your brother?"
"He's with Jennings in the room," he said casually. "Now then, come out so I can kill you both quickly. Talk bores me."
Blue glanced across the hall to where Leon had gotten into a room adjacent of hers. He shot her a frustrated look, but she gave a helpless shrug.
The Enlightened sighed heavily. "Oh come now. Be reasonable."
Leon snorted. "Reasonable? Is that what you call it? Why don't you go fuck yourself with that pulse cannon of yours?"
He laughed. "Ah, what a human thing to do! Insults and hollow retorts! You five were never anything better than that scum, you know. We are the only truly superior beings."
"Superior even to Jennings?" Blue asked coolly.
He didn't speak for a moment, apparently caught off guard. "Perhaps," he said vaguely. "Perhaps not. Now are you going to come out or not?"
"I don't think so," Blue replied. She pulled out her bullet-loaded gun, rolling her shoulders absently as she settled into the heightened, distant awareness of battle. "Tell me before I shoot your jaw out the back of your head- did she at least give you a name?"
He snorted. "Names are for humans to hide behind. My true self is revealed without a name."
She smiled. "I thought the same thing once. I never really had a name. 'Blue-6' was just what people called me. And yet... eventually, the name becomes more than a word, if it's a real name. It becomes you. You can never escape your name. So even though the Federation and Brokshir -the two things I hate most in the world besides Jennings- gave it to me, it's still my name. I wonder what yours will be."
"Oh, don't patronize me, Second. You're nothing more than an insect contemplating the greatness of a star. You are nothing compared to us!"
"An attitude like that could get you killed." Abruptly, she dove out of the doorway, her two guns snapping up. The pulse auto snapped back with recoil, burying into the cannon even as her finger flickered again and again on the trigger of the other. Five bullets stuck into his head, making him fall back. "Leon!" she snarled over her shoulder, running for the Enlightened. Leon followed, and they ran past him as he lay writhing on the floor.
"He'll be back up in a few minutes," Leon growled.
She smirked. "Oh no he won't. I used bullets. When his brain regenerates, it'll regenerate around the bullets. The pain alone of the Genoum forcing the bullets out should keep him occupied for a while."
He smiled in approval. "I hate the Feds, but they sure taught you well."
Blue turned a corner, pointing down the empty corridor to the door at the other end. "It's that one!"
Her feet pattered on the alloy floor, bringing her closer to the door. Her breath seemed loud in her throat, wracking in her lungs. With every step towards it, she felt stronger. Its presence became a second heart nestled next to hers, pulsing just slightly off the same beat. Her chest felt warm, and she had a strange peace fall over her heart as if she was being held. As she moved forward, the synchronization of the beats drew together.
She palmed open the door, Leon right next to her as she stumbled inside, eyes searching-
It was over before it had begun, the thunderclap echoing through the alloy corridors and her mind, leaving her awestruck at the immensity of such a sound. Before her eyes, history became the future, and she watched it unravel at her fingertips. WWIII. The Federation being formed from the ashes of the European nobility. The struggle to survive in the ashes that hell had left behind. Armageddon.
She saw the end of the world in its birth, and it was a wondrous death. A beautiful death.
The world had wings. She had wings. She could fly.
No. . . she couldn't. The second heart still beat within her, though it was now alone.
Time had stopped for her. The Earth quietly mourned for her even as it rejoiced in her birth. Now, she could join the stars in their silent love! She need not wait for petty mortal freedoms, for now she held the ultimate prize in her grasp!
But... no. She didn't. The blue heart beat on in her chest.
Time began again. History took its proper place in the past. The Earth's moment of grief and joy passed. The stars reached for her, touching her, but did not take her.
She was falling forward, and it was the sudden sound of her body striking the floor that awoke her. Her body settled, the muscles going lax as she felt the warmth of her blood spreading over her back from the exit wound. Her mouth was still open in surprise, her eyes wide. Strands of white-blonde hair fell over her numb cheek.
"Blue!" Leon shouted, his voice filled with grief. His gun snapped up to Jennings. "You. . . you. . ." He seemed unable to express anything in words.
"Her time had come. She left, just like all the others," Darshiva said calmly, her perfectly beautiful, alien, hideous features distant. The room around her was empty, bare of furnishings and dirt. It was a room of gray stone, illuminated only by the light of the doorway. "She was nothing more than a sketch."
"And you're nothing more than a raving lunatic!" Leon retorted.
Blue tried to speak, tried to tell Leon that she would be all right, it was only a small wound but her throat didn't seem to work. In fact, her lungs didn't either. The other heart began to beat faster. The warmth on her back became soft.
"No, I am the creator of two Gods," she said, her lips breaking into a teeth-bearing grin. Her eyelids peeled back until her eyes bulged outwards, the pupils alone in the emptiness of her irises. "I am the embodiment of the mother universe, and my Gods will expand their rule from these petty planets and outwards into space! They are unstoppable!"
The softness began to grow, spreading out across the crimson spray that pooled on the alloy. The heart now thrummed with a single, continuous pulse.
"They're nothing more than the products of a force not born in this reality," he snarled.
Again, she tried to speak. No words. There were no words for death.
She laughed. "Oh ho! So you can feel the Genoum and its foreignness! Yes, my boy. I dragged it into this reality at the expense of my soul, but it was worth it! The soul of an insignificant, sniveling human was worth two Gods!" She gave him a penetrating look, still grinning. "So what will you do, Leon? Shoot me? If you shoot me, the Genoum dies with me!" Far off down the hall there was the sound of running feet. Her eyes were bright. "Will you choose?"
Blue shuddered as the softness gathered, drawing in a deep, shattering breath. Questions badgered at her from the edges of her consciousness.
Why was she alive?
What was this feeling?
She was calm. . .
Another breath.
Why, if she was superior, did her blood bleed the same color as humans?
Why was she alive?
Another breath.
The blood thrust her upwards, pulling her to her feet with a jolt. She lifted her head, her colorless eyes fixing on Jenning's face. The blue heart hummed in her chest, joining into a great crescendo of song that shook her body.
Breathe. Slowly. There was a weight on her back.
Such a heavy weight. . . she had never felt something so heavy before. . .
She was calm. Another breath.
Darshiva's face drained of color as she stared, a ghost of sanity drifting through her perfect eyes. "Enlightenment," she whispered.
Blue stepped forward, her hand reaching out. Give it to me, Jennings, she murmured. Give it to me and repent in the name of the soul you sold away for the power of God.
"No," she said, gathering her composure. "Not to the likes of you, I won't!" she spat.
Blue didn't reply, but touched the woman's hideous face. In it, Jennings had a shooting glance of her own self, lost and wandering through the realities, torn from its shell by an inhuman greed. The woman screamed, stumbling back as she was overcome by unbearable grief and loss.
Go to it, the being in Blue said softly.
"B-Blue?" Leon said, his voice shaking. She looked over her shoulder and saw her kindred staring at her with wide, almost frightened eyes. "Is that you?"
She smiled, taking his hand. No, she said simply. But I will be soon.
Jenning's hand went to her chest where the Genoum pulsed within her. "You can't have it, demon!" she snarled. "I won't let you have it!"
The footsteps behind them were suddenly close, and the two beings stopped just inside the door. One of them held five bullets in a clenched fist. "I'll kill you!" he screamed, leveling his gun at her.
His brother grabbed the gun, shoving it downwards. "No," he said firmly.
The first man's eyes widened. "What did you say?" he said, shocked at the betrayal.
Already your work deteriorates, Blue cooed to Jennings. She reached forward with the hand that was joined with Leon's. And since you won't give it to me, I will take it from you, just as you were warned of when you first began.
"'And such will you leave to join yourself at the hands of a wolf and an angel'," the woman whispered, repeating words that had been imprinted onto her mind. Her eyes were distant, a filmy blankness already covering them.
The first brother's eyes widened as he looked at Blue, suddenly filled with awe. "I see them. I see the red wings." His voice was breathless.
The second didn't spare him a glance as he watched the woman. "You just noticed?"
The hands of Blue and Leon stretched through Jenning's chest, reaching into the vacancy that had been filled by the Genoum. Brightness blinded Blue's eyes as her fingertips wove into strands of light. The screams of Darshiva melded into the song of her heart and Leon's, filling the room with a great sound.
Slowly, painfully, her first heart smoothed back together. The gaping hole in her chest closed, and her lungs filled with air. Blood sluggishly began flowing again through her veins, quickening into an urgent rush. She was alive.
She took another breath.
Blood splattered loudly onto the floor around her as the softness disappeared, and she opened her eyes to see she cradled Darshiva's head. The woman's eyes were vacant, her body nothing more than a husk, hanging lax from the neck down.
"Goodbye, Jennings," she murmured, and jerked the woman's head to the side. With a loud crack, the body gave a sigh of relief and collapsed into death, letting her soul be free to finally join the stars.