The Centurion and The Black Angel
A dream. A bad, horrible, dreadful, unthinkable dream, that’s what it was. After all, it was too improbable to be the real deal, wasn’t it? To see that insufferable mouth sealed shut, a deep crimson staining his lips; those blue eyes which always sparkled with energy and life gazing blankly to the sky.
"Pittoo? What’s the situation? Where is Pit?”
I’m wondering that too, he thought, slipping a hand under dampened hair and lifting his head from where it fell into the shallows. Pit’s laurel crown was buried in the pond’s muck; Dark Pit pulled it free with his other hand and replaced it where it belonged.
"I’m coming down there to check on you. Don’t move, especially if you’re badly injured; you can bleed out.”
Blood… That was a funny thing. Humans bled profusely when struck by divine weaponry. That blood was almost scalding until it began to cool against the lukewarm swamp water, and it congealed at Dark Pit’s ankles where they rested at the shoreline. The shadow of his Silver Bow fell over them from where it stood impaled in a soldier’s chest with the setting sun’s rays falling over them in gentle reds and purples. His hands began shaking and his vision blurred with tears.
“Pit…you…damn…idiot," he whispered, bowing his head against the original’s. His whole body was shaking and he couldn’t stop it. Maybe it was compensating for his original, who could no longer tremble in fear. “Fucking…idiot…why did you…why did you even…don’t you know…?”
A soft musical tone began behind him before something fell into the mud. Palutena gave a surprised cry, then she said tentatively, “Dark Pit? Are you alright?”
That was it. Those words severed the last bits of self-control Dark Pit held. The Goddess of Light asked if he was alright, and he was. I’m alright, he thought as tears poured down his cheeks and dripped onto Pit’s face, cutting through the caked-on grime. His shoulders bowed and he gritted his teeth against the wails erupting from his throat.
I’m alright because your stupid angel gave his life for a copy.
There were a lot of tears shed in the heavens for the next week. Palutena did most of the crying, albeit out of sight, but Dark Pit could hear her moans in the middle of the night. Viridi saved hers until the golden tablet was placed over Pit’s mouth, and Dark Pit turned to see her staring with wide and wet eyes. Phosphora retreated once his body was buried among the grass and fields, her cheeks already glistening, and Phos and Lux brayed in mourning.
Dark Pit had no tears left, but he made sure the Palutena Bow was clenched in Pit’s hands before he went under. In case Hades tried to screw with him in the afterlife…or so his justification went. Mostly it made his heart ache to see the blades even after the human blood was meticulously scrubbed away.
"What happened?” Palutena’s voice was soft and motherly as it always was, no trace of accusation there, but Dark Pit felt like sinking into the deepest hole anyway. He averted his eyes and stared at his fingers wrapped around the grip of his Silver Bow.
"It was a human army versus Hades’ army running 10:1. The humans had the advantage, but the dark energy produced by the monsters made them wilder, more unpredictable.” He spoke in a detached voice that kept him grounded; he stated the facts as telling a story, not reliving the worst day of his short life. “Not only did we have to fight back the monsters, we had to save them from themselves. Pit did, and he tried his damn hardest like always. Didn’t let a single human die.”
Not a human died. Not one human died under Pit’s watch.
"And then?” Viridi, standing off to the side, looked on with an unreadable expression as Dark Pit’s fingers tightened. He fought the urge to retreat into himself.
"One of the humans snuck up on me.” Stupid him for not sensing the man’s presence. Stupid him for being so slow to react. Stupid him for— “Pit covered me. A—…And it was the last thing he did.”
She should have shouted at him. He wanted her to rebuke him for the worst mistake of his short life. Instead, she sighed and gave a little chuckle. “Heh. That’s our stupid angel, alright.”
He wasn’t proud of it, but he took the holy weapon forged by the Goddess of Light and speared the human through the heart. He shoved the blades in with so much force that several ribs were also broken on impact, and the momentum carried the grown man deep into the dirt. He wasn’t proud of it because he knew Pit would hate his weapon being sullied like that, even if it was in his name. Especially because it was in the name of revenge.
Pit suffered a painless death; before he hit the ground, he was gone, the sword’s handle still protruding from his back like some sick joke. Dark Pit removed it with the utmost care and set him down in a more comfortable position, as if such a thing mattered in death, before taking up the Silver Bow. He couldn’t recall much of what transpired after—it remained a stubborn blur in his mind to date—but his memories afterwards began with him standing amidst a sea of carnage. The Underworld Army, of course, left no trace, but human corpses decorated the ground around him.
He couldn’t bring himself to care.
Subsequently, he spent a lot of time in Skyworld, ignoring Viridi’s calls to lounge around in Pit’s old hangout spots. He had a private hot spring not far from his quarters, shaded by white marble pillars holding up an arched roof and surrounded by lush green grass and wildflowers. Dark Pit enjoyed sitting at the shore, nude ankles submerged in the warm golden water.
“Viridi was asking about you.” The grass crunched behind him before Palutena sat primly beside him, legs folded and dress fanning out around her. Dark Pit kept his gaze on the small waves.
“Viridi has hordes of acolytes to do her dirty work. I’m allowed to take a break. Let them scare off whatever human stepped on a sapling this time.”
“That’s not what she was asking about.” Palutena’s delicate hand landed atop his on the grass; he quickly pulled it away and she didn’t react. “She and the rest of us are concerned. No one was closer in mind and spirit as you to Pit.”
“Well don’t be concerned. I’m fine.” He spat the word like bitter poison, not at all helping his case, but he hated it. Hated being treated like paper, hated knowing Pit died for a stupid copy, hated knowing the only person who related to him in the world was gone and he was alone, would live alone for an angel’s long long life and die alone…
“I didn’t say you weren’t,” she said smoothly, “but that doesn’t make me any less concerned for you. I care about you, Pittoo. And by the way, you’ve been brooding in this spot for five hours—that’s not what fine people do.”
“So what if I have been brooding? Aren’t I allowed to grieve in my own way? You’ve been moaning up a storm like a ghost.” He could hear her affronted gasp. “You may have been Pit’s goddess, but I am not Pit. You don’t need to give me your concern, nor do I need it. The only thing I need is for you to let me be, Palutena.”
“…As you wish, then. But you know where to find me.” She stood up, dusted herself off, and with a smile in Dark Pit’s direction, she took her leave.
“The same goes for you, Viridi.”
Puh-lease, Viridi said, voice echoing out from his fibula. The tough guy act may work on Palutena, but not on me. You’re hurting.
“Aren’t we all? Leave me alone.”
Fine then. Don’t do anything stupid. And she left with a poignant huff.
“Don’t do anything stupid, huh…” He chuckled mirthlessly. His stupid acts only happened around Pit, though another person would call them selfless. Things like helping him fight the Chaos Kin to revive Palutena, and journeying to Hell to save Pit’s life, destroying the gates to the Underworld and helping to weaken Hades. Yeah, when it came to Pit, he didn’t think too rationally, and only now when it was too late to say so, he realized it was more than just an obligation to the “original.” He cared deeply for Pit…and now he was gone forever.
“Dammit!” he roared, kicking the water at his feet. His reflection distorted before resettling, revealing the tear tracks running from his scarlet eyes. He hissed and threw an arm over his face, falling back onto the grass. “Stupid, stupid, why did he take that hit, why did he have to die…?”
He took longer than he wanted to calm down, and when he finally sat up again he felt drained, physically and emotionally. He knelt and lowered his face to the water, splashing the warmth across his splotchy cheeks to clean them up. He sighed when the soppy feeling left and glared down into his puffy-eyed reflection.
“Just a stupid reflection, is all I am…why did he have to—”
Dark Pit stopped cold and stared harder, digging his fingers into the soft dirt. “I’m a reflection,” he breathed, eyes wide. An imperfect one, but a reflection nonetheless. If he could look into the Mirror of Truth again, another opposite would be created—a Pit would be created. It would fix everything!
But the Mirror was shattered when he was “born.” He clearly remembered shattering it. But…but…Pandora had been revived in the Rewind Spring as Amazon Pandora. If she was still hanging around, perhaps she created another Mirror. It was a hell of a long shot, but honestly, what else did he have to lose?
The issue was locating her now. He would have to ask around on the surface, preferably not where they were last time. If only he had a contact…suddenly, Dark Pit recalled a story Pit told him of a human associate. Perhaps he did have a contact?
Vigor renewed, Dark Pit yanked on his sandals and raced to the edge of Skyworld, throwing himself into the cold clouds below. “Viridi, grant me the Power of Flight!” he shouted.
Someone’s pushy about it, she grumbled, but her earthen energy filled him all the same. Where’s the fire, angel boy?
He ignored her and folded his wings back in a dive, cutting through the air like a spear and towards the mountainous ground. Here’s hoping he wasn’t getting his spirit worked up for nothing.
In an out of the way town that reeked of danger and blood, Dark Pit walked into a bar. The decidedly unfriendly looking patrons turned to sneer at him, but his responding glare turned them right back around. He had eyes only for the broad leather-clad back sitting at the bar counter.
Said back turned, revealing a scruffy middle-aged human holding a cup of ale. He looked Dark Pit up and down and remarked, “Unless you’ve turned emo since I last saw you, which I somehow doubt, you must not be Pit?”
“Dark Pit,” he said. “Pit has…Pit died in battle.”
Magnus’ previously lax expression turned blank, then he raised his ale. “Here’s to him, then.” He slammed back the alcohol and dropped the cup on the counter. “Terrible thing. That kid had a lot of fire.”
“He did. Which is why I want to bring him back. Have you heard anything about Pandora?” Magnus raised an eyebrow.
“The goddess Pandora, I’m assuming? Yeah, I’ve heard a few things here and there.” Dark Pit took a seat next to Magnus and waved down the bartender, holding up two fingers. The bartender set two glasses of ale down for each of them. Magnus looked on curiously as Dark Pit downed it in one gulp. “You two aren’t the same, that’s for sure,” he remarked.
“Well, spill what you know.”
“Normally I’d charge for my information, but call it a freebie for an old friend.” Magnus took a few swallows before speaking again. “Heard she was seen on the outskirts of that huge forest where the town was, way up north.”
Reset Bomb Forest. Viridi didn’t keep tabs of the area anymore, so it was reasonable to assume Pandora was hiding out there. Dark Pit slapped down a few coins and slid off the stool.
“Thanks. I’ll be heading out.”
“One more thing.” Magnus finished his ale and levelled a sober look at the dark angel. “Whatever you got in mind, don’t let it be the death of ya. I barely knew angel-face and I could tell ya, he wouldn’t like that.”
“Trust me,” Dark Pit muttered, turning away and sidling to the door, “I know.”
Outside he took to the sky in one big leap. He had already used his Power of Flight, but this time the winds were in his favor; he glided across the small dilapidated buildings until they turned to naked rock, then lush pink foliage. He flapped his wings to gain some altitude as purple crystals jutted from the earth like spears, but very soon he was forced to land. The thick forestry cut the wind and he could glide no farther.
The forest was so thick only the barest lines of sun made it through; it was all he could do to see his own two feet as he fought not to trip and fall on a bed of random barbs…again.
“The things I do for this angel,” he grumbled, picking a thorn out of his cheek. He tried not to think too hard about what he was doing, because then doubts would surface. What if the Mirror didn’t work? What if there was no Mirror? What if he looked into it and nothing came, because…what if he didn’t have a soul? He waved the thoughts away and moved a little faster, stumbling over a gnarled branch.
"Hey Pittoo, guess what?”
"Buzz off,” Pittoo grumbled, not opening his eyes. “And don’t call me that.”
"It’s my birthday!” Pit continued undaunted.
"Great. So what?”
Dark Pit was grabbed around the shoulders and pulled up from his lounging position. He growled and opened his eyes, watching Pit prance excitedly around on the green grass, wings stretched high and flapping madly. “Think about it,” he said with a wide grin, coming to a stop a few feet away.
"The only thing I’m thinking about is kicking your ass and continuing my nap.”
"Come on, don’t you get tired of being a grouch all the time? Well anyway, this’ll cheer you up.” Pit suddenly thrust a messily wrapped brown package in Dark Pit’s face. He took it with no small measure of confusion.
"Um. Thanks? What?”
"It’s my birthday,” Pit repeated, “and since you’re me, it’s your birthday to. So…happy birthday!”
Pittoo was absolutely floored and watched Pit gesture excitedly at the present. Haltingly, he pulled apart the thin paper to reveal a small cardboard box. He pulled the lid off and saw a small doll that sort of looked like him if he squinted. “Did you…make this?”
"Yeah. Um, I’m not too good at knitting, but Lady Palutena said it’s the thought that counts.” He laughed awkwardly and rubbed his neck. “And, uh, it’s filled with your and my feathers? I’m thinking about it now and it seems a little creepy…”
"No, it’s…uh…” He ducked his head a little to hide the flush creeping up his neck. “Um. Thanks, Pit.”
Dark Pit gritted his teeth. That doll was still in his little alcove in Viridi’s world. When he revived Pit—because he definitely would—he would come up with something equally as nice to give him.
He heard the faint sound of mumbling and picked up the pace as much as he could, flapping his wings to get the slightest bit above ground. He felt like a damn chicken without the Power of Flight.
He felt a thick branch sloping upwards and scaled up, avoiding the little thorns until it begins to level out. He peered through a break in the violet leaves and saw one of the old human structures, a large two storied building with crumbling walls interwoven by thick branches and curling ivy. Sunlight shone through the canopy above and coalesced on something at the tip of the structure.
“Why is Hades ignoring me now? Stupid bloathead,” Pandora was saying as her back floated into view. Dark Pit leaned forward with a grimace. “I thought we had a nice thing going…and the Hearts he paid me were delightful.” She rose higher to the ceiling of the building and glanced his way; he ducked his head. “Well, at least I managed to create this beautiful Mirror.”
He leapt through the leaves and into the clearing. Pandora spun around and her face twisted in anger. “You stupid angel, you aren’t shattering my Mirror a second time!”
He scanned the area until he spotted the Mirror on top of the building. The frame was made of twisted branches and the glass was reflecting the sunlight from the open canopy. He just needed to look into it and—
He dodged to the side as one of Pandora’s heart missiles struck the ground where he was standing. He whipped out the Silver Bow and fired a volley of arrows; she twirled and vanished, avoiding the attack before reappearing above his head and dropping a large purple bomb. He fired an arrow and the explosion released a cloud of pink smoke, obscuring his vision.
“The last I heard, the cuter angel kicked the bucket. Is that true?”
Dark Pit growled and spun, not before taking a kick to the shoulder and falling in the dirt. He rolled out of the way of another projectile and to his feet, jumping above the smokescreen and onto a beam jutting from the building. Just one look, just one look and everything will be fine—
“No, don’t look in the Mirror!” Pandora launched another heart right at the glass, then her eyes widened in shock. He was still too far, he had to stop it somehow; he couldn’t let her shatter the mirror!
“No—!” Dark Pit launched himself in the air and intercepted the projectile, which slammed him in the gut like one of Pit’s clubs. The air left his lungs in a pained gasp and his wings seized up, leaving only his momentum carrying him backwards into the Mirror of Truth. He felt the coldness of the glass for a mere moment before it shattered against his back, peppering his skin with tiny shards. He fell through the emptied frame and to the hard-packed dirt below.
“No…no!” He shot into a sitting position, eyes wide as he beheld the frame full of broken shards. Tears welled in the corners of his eyes and his fists balled against his aching stomach. “D—Dammit…!”
“What? No!” Pandora’s disbelieving shriek caught his attention. He looked past her floating form to the source of her ire…a small white-clothed form balled on the ground. Could it be…no…no, it had to be.
Pain forgotten, Dark Pit lurched to his feet and leapt forward, past the enraged goddess and to the prone form in the dirt. Pit was exactly as he had been, down to the untamed bedhead, though he was completely unconscious. A relieved, borderline dopey smile crossed Dark Pit’s face, and tears did run down his cheeks, happy ones. He lifted Pit’s face to press their foreheads together.
Pandora’s continued screams reminded Dark Pit there was an urgent matter to attend to. Glancing around, he quickly spotted his Silver Bow poking out from the mud nearby. He threw himself into a roll and snatched it up, notching an arrow and taking aim at Pandora. She looked down at him with an expression of pure fury.
“Do you know how hard I worked to revive that Mirror? You’re dead!” She sent a flurry of purple hearts towards him and he released his arrow into the center of the storm before taking to the air. Pandora disappeared with a twirl and Dark Pit didn’t have time to react before a slim hand latched around his neck. Her momentum carried him backwards into a pile of brambles; the thorns tore into his back and he gritted his teeth against the scream of pain that wanted to rise.
“You’re the one who will die, Pandora.” He broke the bow into swords and cut her hand at the wrist. She pulled away with a scream, her handless wrist streaming golden ichor, her wristless hand dripping onto Dark Pit’s clothes like acid. He tore the hand away and righted himself, landing on his toes on a branch and launching himself up again. Pandora pulled her unharmed arm back for an attack and he tossed the sword like a knife. Another shield appeared, and her expression turned panicked when he broke the shield with his body, jabbing the remaining sword into her gut.
They fell back to earth and her face was frozen in shock even in her death. He leapt backwards before her body melted into ichor, scoffing quietly before turning to Pit. He hadn’t moved and Dark Pit couldn’t hide his concern. Collecting the Silver Bow, he returned to Pit’s body and cradled him to his chest. “Palutena?” he called.
"Dark Pit, what’s going on?”
“Take me to Skyworld, please.”
She hesitated and he heard her swallow. A…Alright. Light surrounded him and lifted his wings; Pit’s fluttered weakly but otherwise he didn’t respond. Dark Pit’s brow furrowed and his anxiety grew.
"What’s wrong with him?”
Palutena and Viridi were waiting for him in the main hall. Palutena’s eyes widened and she dropped her staff; Viridi’s jaw dropped quite unattractively. Dark Pit stumbled his way to Palutena, whose arms raised automatically to catch Pit when he was all but dropped. “Help him,” Dark Pit whispered before he hit the ground.
Dark Pit woke in a room unfamiliar to him. The bed was large and soft, made of down feathers and silk sheets rather than Viridi’s rocks covered in leaves. He blinked groggily and looked around; a window looked out to the cover of clouds and there was a steel basin at the side of the bed. He peered over the lip and realized it was full of hot spring water.
Dragging his legs over the side of the bed, he forced them rigid and stood up, falling over and grabbing the nightstand before he faceplanted on the marble. His boy felt numb and heavy altogether and he kind of just wanted to lie down and die, but he had to make sure Pit was okay. He glanced around and saw his Silver Bow leaning against the wall; he took it and braced his boy against it with two hands, keeping his shaky body upright. His burnt robes were gone, leaving him only in his shorts and rings of slightly spotted bandages around his stomach and back. He gritted his teeth and pulled the door open.
He stumbled around blindly for a bit before catching wisps of Palutena and Viridi’s voices. He followed the sounds down a branching hall and found them arguing softly in front of a door. Viridi was facing him and spotted him first; her hazel eyes narrowed slightly and she smirked.
“Well, let’s let Pittoo clear up the details,” she said. Palutena turned and Dark Pit was alarmed to see her eyes so bloodshot. It was like she was grieving a second time. His heart fell. No, don’t let him have died a second time because of me…no, no way…
“Dark Pit?” she said softly. Dark Pit made his ambling way over until Palutena’s hands laid on his shoulders, keeping him upright. “Please, can you tell us what happened?”
“First, I want to see Pit,” he gasped. The goddesses exchanged a look and Viridi’s smile soured.
“Why not?” she shrugged, passing Palutena to open the door. He caught a glance of Pit among a blue-sheeted bed and piles of stuffed animals—must be the idiot’s bedroom—and he was no more awake than before. The door shut again and Viridi folded her arms across her chest. “Okay, explanation time.”
“The Mirror of Truth,” he said softly. Palutena gasped while Viridi gritted her teeth.
“Dark Pit,” Palutena said urgently, “tell me you didn’t create Pit using a Mirror.” He hesitated before nodding and all the color left her face. “This is…oh, no, this can’t be…”
“Because you’re damaged goods,” Viridi said bluntly. Had he possessed the energy, he would have lashed out, but so far it was taking everything he had to remain upright. “When you were created, it was with Pit, who has a complete soul; the Mirror was shattered halfway through and your soul wasn’t completely formed. It’s incomplete. Now you took that and made another half-copy.”
“Are you saying there’s something wrong with me?” he growled. Palutena huffed and turned his head back to her.
“It’s just unnatural,” she insisted. “In the first place, the Mirror is not meant for beings with souls; that’s why it only worked on the Underworld Army. Pit’s energy allowed you to be created. We just…we don’t know what this can mean, especially since Pit is still unconscious. If he wakes, he could be what you were meant to: completely evil.”
“Of course, if he wakes up,” Viridi added casually. “The vegetable-hater could end up being a vegetable himself.”
“Viridi!” he snapped, then groaned at the ache it left in his stomach. Palutena hushed him, running a hand through his hair. He hated how pleasing the gesture felt.
“Let’s get you back to bed first. You’re still too weak to be up and about.”
He didn’t have the energy to fight as Palutena took one of his arms and led him back to the room he woke up in. She laid him down and took a cloth from the basin, wringing it out before setting it on his forehead.
“You’re a bit feverish,” she said as way of explanation. Viridi sighed and sat in an ornate chair.
“There are many things that can go wrong, Pittoo. Don’t you think we knew that Pandora had the Mirror? Why do you think we didn’t try it ourselves?”
“Who’s to say it will be ‘Pit’ in the end?” Palutena said softly. “Maybe he won’t have any memories, maybe his personality will change… It was all just one big risk. It still is until he wakes and we can know for sure.”
“So what if he doesn’t remember? So what if he’s a little different? He’ll still be Pit,” Dark Pit said. Palutena sighed.
“It’s not only about that… We’ve moved on, we have accepted his death. It was a very terrible thing and we wish it didn’t happen, but it did. He died protecting you, and we know he would be happy with that fact. You’re the only one who isn’t.”
“Don’t make me out to be in the wrong here,” he muttered. “If you had a chance to bring Pit back, you would have too.”
“Did you hear what she just said?” Viridi said derisively, then groaned. “It doesn’t matter. It’s already been ten days; Pit has no injuries but he won’t wake. It’s not looking good for him.”
Dark Pit fought down his rising despair and scowled. “Just wait.”
“And for how long exactly? We’re immortal, but things can still be pointless.”
“What Viridi is trying to say in her own tactless way,” Palutena said, “Dark Pit…”
“I know what she’s trying to say,” he interjected. “I don’t care. Let me be responsible for him then, however…he may come out of this.” If at all. “I’m the one who made this decision, I will be accountable.”
Palutena chewed her lower lip, then set her hands between her legs. The fabric couldn’t quite hide their trembles. “Let’s see how things look in another fortnight, then. It will take about that long for your injuries to fully heal.”
“I can take care of myself,” he said. Viridi rolled her eyes.
“And then he goes and throws himself through another magic mirror…”
“Viridi!” Palutena chided. Viridi threw her hands up placatingly with a shrug.
Palutena appeared at least once a day to look over him and make sure he was healing properly. Once he was well enough to get around, he spent his evenings in Pit’s hot spring, relishing the soothing heat against his torn back. The delicate bones of his wings had thankfully survived the fall, but some of his primary feathers were ripped out. They were already partly grown back.
When he returned to his unofficial room on the fourteenth day, he found new black robes neatly folded on the sheets that smelled like cow manure. He was already tired of Pit’s white clothes, but he couldn’t say the fertilizer smell was better. He slipped on the familiar colors and sighed, turning to his Silver Bow.
“Now or never…”
He slung the weapon across his back and relished the security it brought. He would need all his nerve for this.
Dark Pit had memorized the short journey to Pit’s room in his convalescent time and made not one errant step on the way. He pushed the door open a crack and peered at the bed; he hadn’t moved an inch same as before. He stepped inside and shut the door behind him.
“It’s now or never, idiot,” he said, walking up to the bed. Floor to ceiling windows lined the adjacent wall, facing the gardens where centurions practiced their moves. The courtyard was empty now, leaving only the sense of what was once there.
Dark Pit sat in the chair at Pit’s bedside; still, the angel did not stir. “I knew what I was risking when I went for the Mirror, but I did it anyway. So you can’t just not wake up—you can’t just not be Pit. I…I haven’t moved on and I know it. I feel empty without you around, and it’s ridiculous; since when have I needed your inane jokes to fill some void? But the fact is, Pit, I just…I j-ju…please, wake up already.”
No movement on the bed. Dark Pit lowered his face to his hands, gripping it so tightly he felt sure his fingers would leave bruises. Good; he wanted his face to be different, wanted to look and see something other than the useless copy that not only killed Pit once, but twice…! Gods would he hate himself for this; he would curse his own name until the day the breath left his body.
“I’m sorry,” he whispered. “So sorry, so so sorry…”
When he raised his head, Pit was sitting up in bed. Dark Pit nearly fell from the chair in shock.
Pit’s eyes were fuzzy with sleep as they roamed the room. Dark Pit held his breath, waiting for something, anything. They finally landed on the black angel and no kind of recognition showed. He wondered if Pit really had lost his memories, or worse, as Viridi predicted.
“Pit?” Dark Pit hedged, leaning forward slightly. Pit blinked slowly, scanning his face for what felt like an hour. His white wings flapped with unease before curling around his skinny torso. “Do you…understand what I’m saying? Not that you really did before, moron,” he muttered under his breath, more to soothe himself with some familiarity than actually throwing a jab out there. Then, to his utter shock:
“Not a moron!”
His head snapped back to Pit so quickly he nearly got whiplash. Pit’s brows were drawn into a frown and his eyes were alight, polished by indignant anger. Dark Pit lunged onto the bed with one knee, grabbing Pit’s cheeks and staring him down.
“Pit, is that you? For real?”
Pit fell silent again, eyes scanning Dark Pit once more, and he wondered if he imagined things. He didn’t respond as the seconds ticked on and Dark Pit made to move away, but Pit’s hands snapped up and gripped his wrists tightly. A tiny smile crossed his face.
“Hey, Pittoo, are you crying?”
His excitement overweighed his resentment at being caught teary-eyed—which he absolutely wasn’t, by the way. His arms went around Pit and Palutena’s angel let out a little surprised squeak. “You’re okay,” Pittoo said into his wing. Pit gasped, then relaxed into the hold.
“I’m okay,” he repeated.
Palutena cried a lot. So much that Dark Pit felt awkward being there, but Pit didn’t want him to leave. She held him close and sobbed and he nuzzled into the side of her neck without a word.
Viridi wasn’t nearly so emotional. She looked Pit up and down with a derisive snort, nodded, and left. Dark Pit did catch an unnatural glisten to her eyes though.
Pit spent a lot of time asleep, but when he was awake he was very cognizant, albeit sluggish when it came to expressing his thoughts. Palutena wanted Dark Pit to monitor him since he hung around so often, but so far Dark Pit thought things worked out. There were no apparent drastic consequences apart from the lethargy—which he assumed to be temporary—and Pit was becoming more expressive by the day.
“Pittoo,” he said, drawing him from his thoughts. He was hugging a star-shaped pillow to his chest and staring through the window at the clouds beyond. “D’ya think Lady Palutena would be okay with letting me fly?”
“Dunno, it’s only been a few weeks—she’s just barely managed to stop bawling her eyes out when you took a dump on your own.”
“Yeah, but…I miss the air.” Pit opened his mouth as if he had more to say, then shut it again. He didn’t need to explain, Dark Pit understood. And, well, who was he to deny the one who rose from the grave anyway?
“Alright then. Let’s go.” Pit’s head snapped back to his double, eyes comically wide and feathers askew.
“I thought you meant right now. Cold feet?” Dark Pit smirked as he slid an arm around Pit’s bony back, gripping him firmly on his ribcage. With his help, Pit slid to his feet and remained standing, although his wings fluttered reflexively to maintain his balance. Together, they ambled their slow way over to the gates of Skyworld, which parted in their presence and left them to face the great beyond.
“Palutena?” Pit said softly.
I don’t think this is a good idea, Pit, Palutena responded, her voice ringing through Dark Pit’s head as well as Pit’s. You’re still recovering, and I don’t want anything to happen to you.
“Palutena, please. For a week all I’ve done is lie around and have people worry over me. At first, I was happy to have Pittoo at my beck and call,” he sent a small smile in Pittoo’s direction despite his scowl, “but I…I want to fly. I can’t explain it.”
“Remember it’s my job to keep an eye on him,” Dark Pit said. She was silent and he moved Pit forward. “You ready?”
“As I’ll ever be,” he said. Dark Pit wrapped an arm around Pit’s waist and they fell forward into the endless sky.
“Viridi, grant me the Power of Flight!”
Ya know, it’d be nice if you did me some favors once in a while, she said mockingly, but gave him the power all the same. His wings spread overhead, bathing Pit’s face in the greens and golds as he looked at the clouds below in wonder.
“It’ll get cold,” Pittoo warned before they dove into the cloud cover. Pit’s hair was plastered to his forehead from the damp and he shivered a bit but the grin never left his face.
“I missed this.” The clouds passed and they were soaring over a human town. Pit frowned at the sight as a dark cloud passed over his face. “Dark Pit…you never told me how I came back.”
Dark Pit sighed. Pit eventually recalled his death, though he never described it—not that the dark angel wanted to hear it—but no one really told him how he’d revived. Palutena mentioned Dark Pit was the cause but that was about it. “Well, before I begin, remember that you’ve done far stupider things.”
“That’s a good sign,” he said with a little smile.
“It… I used—”
An arrow suddenly flew inches past Dark Pit’s nose. They looked down to see a small portion of the Underworld Army at the outskirts of the town; the humans were fighting valiantly, but Twinbellows was heading the attack and they were losing ground.
“Let’s get down there,” Pit said immediately. Pittoo’s face went cold.
“We…can’t. As your goddess said, you’re still healing.” Pit was already shaking his head before Dark Pit finished speaking.
"Pit,” Palutena interjected, anxiety clear in her tone.
“Lady Palutena, please,” Pit said when Pittoo made no moves to lower them, “the Power of Flight.”
"We can’t lose you again. It’s far too risky. You shouldn’t have come out at all—”
“Palutena!” he shouted, startling even Dark Pit. “The Underworld Army is there!”
“I won’t…” Pit gave him a scathing look and Pittoo matched it. “I won’t allow it.”
“Fine then!” In an alarming show of strength, Pit ripped Dark Pit’s hand from his side and began to plummet. Dark Pit folded his wings back and dove after, but Pit had already begun to glide. Dark Pit was shocked to see Pit had grabbed the Silver Bow from his back.
"Dark Pit!” Palutena cried.
Their midair chase continued until they were low enough that Dark Pit could see the humans’ bloody and bruised faces. Truth be told, after what had happened, he cared much less for what became of them; something Viridi appreciated as her ecological escapades could be callous at best towards them. But if anything was an indication of Pit still being Pit, this was it: throwing himself headlong into the fray with a half-functioning body and non-functioning brain. Gods, he hated that kid sometimes.
Pit’s first three shots were wobbly and terribly off-mark; he missed the Monoeye by a longshot, and that thing was the definition of a target. He didn’t react initially and alighted directly behind them, stumbling a bit on weak legs. Dark Pit followed right after and seized him by the forearm, causing Pit to cry out in pain.
“I’m going to kill you,” he ground out between his teeth, “if these damn demons don’t do it first.”
Pit yanked his arm free and scowled, hiding the fact he was struggling to get another arrow ready. “I appreciate your concern, Dark Pit, but—”
“—but you’re going back to Skyworld yesterday.” Pit narrowed his eyes; Pittoo narrowed his eyes as well.
“Is that a challenge?”
Pit’s scowl deepened, then a wicked smile crossed his face, something that sent a chill down Pittoo’s spine. “No,” he said, and leveled an arrow at Dark Pit’s heart. “It’s a threat.”
Is this guy serious?
Robotically, Dark Pit raised his open palms and took a step back. “Pit. Pit, you’re not serious.”
“No, I’m not.” His face dropped into a grin and he leapt into the air, gliding above the fight with arrows flying like clockwork. He was still off mark but visibly improving by the moment. Dark Pit was rooted to his spot, eyes on the white angel.
He didn’t respond, the words stuck in his throat as enemy after enemy dropped steadily. Pit had taken up a rhythm: glide, shoot, land, and over and over again. His face was focused, a look he wore many times before, but Dark Pit couldn’t help remembering the expression when he threatened to shoot.
Pit’s efforts were small in the grand scheme of things, but the little aid he provided allowed the humans to gain a fighting advantage. Soon enough, it was down to them and Twinbellows. It growled, huge ropes of acidic drool falling to the earth and sizzling on contact. Pit’s back was straight as he faced the flaming mutt, but Dark Pit could see the tired slump to his shoulders. Pit looked up to the sky for a moment, then the familiar light of extraction surrounded him. Without missing a beat, he ripped the fibula from his shoulder and tossed it into the dirt, cutting all contact with Skyworld. Dark Pit felt like ripping his hair out.
"Pittoo, please, at least give him this.” The blue light shone down on him, bearing with it the Palutena Bow. “And watch his back.”
“Tch. I already know.” He took the bow and whistled sharply; a flaming head turned in his direction. “Hey, you overgrown mutt, how about you chew on one of these?” Twinbellows opened its mouth for a roar and Dark Pit fired an arrow right inside. Its jaws clamped shut and it stumbled backwards with a loud whine. The humans scattered to avoid being trampled but Pit was much slower; Pittoo lurched forward and grabbed his arm, pulling him out of the way before he was squashed.
“Thanks,” Pit said, holding out the Silver Bow. Dark Pit snatched it with a glare.
“We,” he said lowly, tossing the Palutena Bow over, “are going to have a talk later. But for now—”
“Duck!” he cried and pushed the dark angel’s head down, narrowly avoiding a flaming claw swipe. Dark Pit grabbed Pit’s hand from his head and made sure he was making eye contact.
“For now, don’t die. Again.”
“Will do.” Pit gestured to the human warriors backing away from Twinbellows’ advances. The dog was leaving flaming trails wherever its paws landed; soon the blaze would reach their city. “We have to get them to safety first. Back to their city.”
“Okay, but—” Dark Pit paused and his eyes narrowed at the entry gates. The wall was made of thick stone slabs, but the top seemed hollow… “That’s an aqueduct.” Pit followed his gaze and grinned.
“Wash out Twinbellows?”
“Get them in the town first.”
“I’ll distract Twinbellows,” Pit said, and before Pittoo could protest he was running back into the fray, firing at its massive paws. This time, Dark Pit did yank a chunk of hair out. He tried to calm down as he faced the townspeople.
“Retreat! Retreat!” he called, then felt a blaze of heat prickling at his feathers. He turned and began spinning his bow at top speed, dissipating the massive fireball that had been sent their way. The townspeople needn’t be told twice; they turned tail and ran back to their gates. Pittoo brought up the rear, redirecting any stray bolts of fire.
Pit was holding his own as well as he could. He alighted on rock outcroppings to give himself a bit of a height edge as he fired volleys of arrows, but they didn’t shine as brightly as they ought to. Pit’s next landed resulted in botched footing, and his wings flapped uselessly as he tumbled onto his stomach. Twinbellows roared and his rightmost head snapped out and gobbled him in one bite.
“Pit!” Dark Pit shouted. Twinbellows whinnied in pain and shook its heads; he realized Pit was using his bow to keep its jaws propped open. Pit was clinging for his life but he was slipping towards its throat. Dark Pit glanced over his shoulder; the last man was just making his way through the gates. He notched another arrow and let it fly. The arrow sliced a massive chunk through the gate, letting the heavy flow of water gush across the dirt. He raced ahead and soared into the air, landing on Twinbellows’ nose. In the seconds before it was swept away, he grabbed the Palutena Bow and yanked it—along with the idiot clinging—and flew forward. Twinbellows was knocked off its feet and into the flow, its fire dousing in a massive puff of steam. Dark Pit landed several feet on a low cliff.
“Are you okay?” he asked Pit, who was kneeling on the ground. He dragged himself up with a weak chuckle.
“My clothes aren’t,” he said, indicating his heavily charred robes. They looked out when Twinbellows moaned and found it trying and failing to rise to its paws. Pit suddenly let out a little noise. “This. This is.” Pit’s eyes roamed the battlefield constantly like he was caught in some sort of dream. “I’m unsatisfied.”
“You’re what?” Dark Pit wanted to give Pit a break, he really did, but the kid was grinding his nerves and he was two seconds away from plucking him. “I’ve already put my feathers on the line taking you out here against your goddess’ wishes, and you have the nerve to be unsatisfied? Sorry, did you want me to throw you into Twinbellows’ maw instead?”
“No, that’s not…it…” Pit trailed off and didn’t continue. Dark Pit stepped closer, frustration melting into concern, and Pit suddenly pitched forward; Dark Pit glided the remaining distance to prevent him from face planting on the ground.
“Pit? Pit!” Pit remained unresponsive for several seconds, and just when Dark Pit was really beginning to freak out, Pit’s eyes fluttered open.
“…Why are you holding me?”
Dark Pit dropped Pit, who hit the ground with a little oof. “She was right, you aren’t well enough to be doing this,” he said flatly, touching his fibula. “Palutena, take us back.”
The extraction light surrounded them and lifted their wings to the heavens. Pit rolled over in midair and Dark Pit stared at his skinny back, the wings struggling to keep him aloft. “You really think this was a bad idea?” Pit said without looking at him. Dark Pit sighed.
“Yes, I do.”
“I saw the fight, I had to come help.”
“Pit—” He paused and looked harder at Pit’s wings. A few of his underfeathers were black. Before, he would’ve thought it an insignificant side effect, but after the way Pit had acted… He hated it, but he had to speak with Palutena and Viridi. “Yeah, I understand, birdbrain.”
Pit gave Pittoo a cross look and folded his arms. Then he smiled. “I forgot to say it earlier, but thanks for bringing me back.”
Yeah, just hope it’s not gonna bite me in the ass.
Palutena and Viridi were both waiting for their return. Palutena looked Pit over worriedly before sending him off to the hot springs. Dark Pit waited until he left hearing distance before facing the two goddesses.
“I’m guessing from your face that things didn’t go all peachy,” Viridi said. “Palutena doesn’t want me to say I told you so…but I don’t care. So. I told you so.”
“Next time you want a bomb dropped on some playground, you do it yourself,” Dark Pit said. Viridi huffed and turned her head.
“Dark Pit, please, what happened out there?” Palutena asked. He shook his head.
“I don’t know… He was just, just weird most of it. If I had to describe it…I’d say he was more like me than anything.” A little more caustic, certainly more forceful, and…Pit would never threaten another person’s life. No way. But neither would Dark Pit—at least, he wouldn’t do it unprovoked. He certainly wouldn’t have threatened Pit in such a way. But if he had to say that Pit was even worse than him…no, he couldn’t. He shook it off and pulled his wings tight against his shoulder blades. “He’s more blockheaded than before, but he still went and stuck his neck out to fight the Underworld Army. He’s fine, just a little different than expected.”
I’m damaged goods, they said. What happens when half a soul is split in two?
“I’m going to go find him, make sure he’s alright.” Dark Pit dismissed himself and turned away, ignoring their whispered conversation behind his back. Things would be okay…they had to be.
Pit was at his hot spring stripped down to his short, drifting lazily on his back in the golden water. His eyes were lidded as they focused on Dark Pit. “Whatcha got there?” he asked, looking at the bundle in his hands.
“I couldn’t find any of your robes, so here’s one of mine.” He set it on the grass and sat down. Pit hummed appreciatively.
“Don’t you wanna soak?”
“Well suit yourself.” Pit rolled over and ducked his head beneath the surface. Dark Pit stared at his wet wings and the stark black feathers stared back. Maybe it was the lack of adrenaline in his veins, but he could count more now than there were before. His mouth skewed and he looked at his feet. He had spent far too many hours sitting in this same spot mourning Pit; it was foolish to do the same when Pit was there in front of him, alive and whole.
“Actually…count me in.” He shrugged off his robes and arm bracers. He kicked off his sandals and stepped into the water, pumping his wings to propel himself closer to Pit. “I didn’t tell you how you came back, did I?”
Pit raised an eyebrow. “No, you didn’t get to.” Dark Pit told him about Pandora and the Mirror of Truth. At the end of it Pit let out a long breath and shrugged. “You’re right, that was pretty dumb. But it worked out didn’t it? I’m here, Lady Palutena’s happy, Viridi is as happy as she’ll get…I think it worked out.”
“Yeah.” They floated in silence for a few minutes, just feeling the healing water, until Dark Pit moved to the shore. “I’m feeling like a game of Smash.”
“Sure.” Pit stepped onto the grass and went to one of the supporting columns where a store of towels was sheltered inside. He dried his hair and flapped his wings a bit to get them fluffed up; several feathers came free and the black ones were more obvious than ever.
“Pit, did you notice you have some black feathers?” Dark Pit decided to address the elephant in Skyworld. Pit blinked and pulled the tip of his wing around with his fingers, examining the underside.
“…Yeah, I guess you’re right.” And that was that. He picked up the robes Dark Pit brought and slipped them over his head. “Hey, how do I look?”
Dark Pit frowned and grabbed a towel of his own. “Don’t know, don’t care.”
“Hey, don’t be like that.” He looked up to see Pit had already moved ahead of him. “Come on, last one gets the beat-up Joy-Con.” He turned and raced forward, flapping his wings for a little speed, and Dark Pit’s frown deepened. There definitely were more black feathers than before. But what did it mean?
“That Palutena’s Guidance stuff was really on the nose,” Pit remarked as the GAME screen appeared. “Whoever wrote the script really knows his stuff.”
“Says you. I only had three lines.” Pit laughed while Pittoo kept his eyes on the results. His Bowser lost to Pit’s Little Mac. The odd thing was Pit never played Little Mac before. Now, he’d never played Pit in Smash beforehand, but for all the challenges Pit gave him, he only ever swore by Yoshi and Olimar—Palutena, too, said Pit was atrocious with those two yet he never tried another character. So how was he suddenly an expert in an entirely different class of a character? And it wasn’t a fluke either; he’d been losing for the last four hours. The sky had long since turned dark from when they began.
“Also, definitely my best voice acting,” he continued. “You sounded a little gruff.”
“Shove it.” Part of his surliness arose from the fact that in giving Pit his last clean robes, he had nothing to wear but the centurion tunic. He retaliated by plucking one of Pit’s black feathers. Pit yelped in surprise.
“Hey, you shove it!” He shoved Pittoo off his bed and he hit the ground in a heap. He grabbed one of Pit’s pillows and threw it at his face. He stood up and went to the television.
“Anyway, I’m going to—”
He froze, and the Palutena Bow embedded itself into the screen blade first, shattering it into hundreds of tiny glass bits. A little piece cut his cheek and he touched the wound in surprise, turning to Pit. The angel in question was frozen as well, eyes wide and wings on end, then he sat back and curled them in tight.
“I just,” he paused, “Don’t do that again.”
The pillow or the feather? he thought, but just as with Palutena, he couldn’t vocalize. He nodded and left without another word, and as he trekked back to his unofficial room, he was forced to face facts: something was wrong with Pit. Now, how was he going to explain it to the goddesses?
He was lying in bed mulling it over when Palutena’s frantic voice suddenly filled his head: ”Pittoo, Pit just ran off!”
“He what?” he said, flummoxed at first.
"He took his bow and just left through his window. I didn’t give him the Power of Flight and neither did Viridi. He also took off his fibula.” He ground his teeth—was Pit trying to run away? “I’m begging you, please go after him.”
“On it.” Dark Pit got up, laced his sandals, strapped on his bow and was already heading to the exit doors. He could hear Palutena’s faint cries in the back of his mind and grimaced. This whole thing was turning into one massive shitshow. He should have thought it through better. For now, he had to rectify the problem he created.
He leapt through the doors and with the Power of Flight he was cutting through the starry night sky. He had always had a faint sense of Pit’s location, and though Pit never said as much he assumed it was mutual—this time, he sensed Pit farther to the east than he had ever been. He followed his instincts and shot across the sky.
"Soo,” Viridi said, ”what’s the plan, Inkling?”
“The plan is to get Pit back.”
"And theennn?” She sounded far too amused for the situation and he snapped at her. ”Well, bringing him back is short-term, isn’t it? Whatever’s going on with him will still be there when you get back.”
“I don’t know. Shut up. I’ll figure it out.”
"I hope you do.” And she left with that.
The pull between the angels grew stronger and Dark Pit’s Power of Flight was down to less than a minute. Luckily it didn’t seem to matter much, for the land ahead was wrought with massive brambles shining a sickly greenish grey in the moonlight. Another Reset Bomb Forest, it seemed, but even older than the last one; there wasn’t even the tiniest hint of human interaction.
As he lowered himself to the earth he spotted strange shadows scattered across the dirt. The moon brightened and he realized they were the fresh bodies of Underworld enemies peppered with arrows; they had already begun to dissolve into Hearts, but it meant Pit hadn’t gotten there too long ago. He hit the ground as his wings returned to normal size and tripped over something surprisingly corporeal. He rose to his rear with a groan and looked over what he fell—and his heart stopped cold.
T…That’s a human.
Granted, a human speared through with a Monoeye like a kabob, but a human nonetheless. He slowly rose to his feet and looked around the battlefield more closely. There were some more humans, less than a dozen who appeared to have been caught in the crossfire. He swallowed and stepped carefully around their bodies to the cluster of forestry. There was a small entry point close to the ground; he lowered himself to his belly and crawled through.
The same as before, barely any light could shine through, just enough for him to see his fingers right in front of his face. His bow caught on a low hanging branch and he suddenly wondered why he brought it. He didn’t expect to fight Pit…did he? Sure, if it came down to it, he would bonk some sense into that empty head, but a real fight—no, he couldn’t. He couldn’t. Everything had just become so terrible so quickly and he couldn’t handle it.
He continued crawling until more light was shining through the small tunnel. He could make out a clearing at the end and picked up the pace until he could see into the forest. There was a large mossy rock at the center where Pit was perched, his wings folded in tightly and his head down. The bow was dangling loosely from his fingers as Dark Pit came into view.
“Pit, what happened?” He jumped a little in surprise, eyes wide in the moonlight. Suddenly Dark Pit realized they weren’t quite blue; there were some flecks of red in there that made them more lapis colored. “What are you doing? What happened out there?”
“What, the Underworld Army? I destroyed them. That’s what I do.”
“But there were humans too.”
“They were in the way,” he shrugged. “I didn’t want to, but they were.” Pittoo’s eyes narrowed.
"Pit wouldn’t do that.”
“So what, you’re saying I’m not me?” He laughed aloud until he realized Pittoo wasn’t following along. Pit stood up with the bow clenched tightly in both hands. “I am Pit,” he said, glaring down at the other. “Servant to the Goddess of Light.”
“Then why did you run away from her?” he challenged. Pit started to avert his eyes, then he raised his chin.
“I had to fight. It was…I just had to.”
“Like you had to throw that blade at my hand, or had to threaten my life if I dragged you back to Skyworld. Do you see yourself, what you’re doing? It’s pretty messed up from my point of view.”
“Who are you to tell me wrong from right?” he continued.
“Don’t know, really. All I can say for sure is things aren’t the way they’re supposed to be. Here I am, dressed like a centurion, and there you are…the black angel.”
A shadow passed over Pit’s face as his wings stretched overhead. They were thickly mottled with black, so much that the white feathers were more like accents. “Leave,” he said, raising the Palutena Bow, “or else.”
“And there you go again with the threats. Don’t worry, I’m not here to threaten you.” Dark Pit split his bow into blades. “I’m bringing you back one way or another, and that’s a promise.”
Pit unleashed a volley of highspeed arrows that would’ve sent any human soldiers running for their lives. Pittoo deflected them smoothly with his two blades before lunging forward, tackling Pit from his rock and to the grass below. Pit gained the upper hand and Dark Pit struggled with his blades to keep the Palutena Bow from plunging into his ribcage; he brought up a foot and dug it into Pit’s gut, sending him flying backwards with a heavy whump. Pit rolled to his feet instantly and launched an arrow with a massive energy trail. Dark Pit launched an arrow of his own and their collision led to a huge burst of wind which flattened all the surrounding trees. Leaves filled the air and rained down on them.
“What’s the point of this?” Dark Pit said. “We are copies, even matches to one another.”
Pit didn’t respond, instead launching a blade of the Palutena Bow like a javelin once again. Dark Pit’s left wing was pinned to the rock and he bit down a cry of pain. He yanked the sword free when Pit rushed him and slammed it against his intended swipe, cracking both blades. He twirled the Silver Bow in his free hand and cut a clean line of Pit’s fringe before he managed to leap backwards. The lack of hair bared his raging expression to the moonlight.
Dark Pit loosed several tracking arrows that Pit easily avoided, circling the clearing before scaling the rock behind him. Dark Pit stumbled backwards when Pit pounced on him, his blades cutting into the dirt, then he threw himself up and forward in a wild flurry of disorganized slashes. Dark Pit struggled to parry with his own swords; this sloppy style was nothing he was used to, and he was being forced backwards. His heel caught on a rock and he tripped backwards, narrowly avoiding a slice that would’ve taken his head. Then, as his back hit the grass, he watched Pit’s swords coming for his heart. He didn’t think, didn’t look who he was facing; he turned his blade out and struck.
Pit’s blade slid heavy into the space between two ribs, just barely missing his lung but causing a few fractures. He missed Dark Pit’s heart from the impact of the Silver Bow plunging into his gut. His eyes bugged.
“Pit—” Blood gushed from the point of impact, staining his hand and face before Pit fell forward onto the grass adjacent. Dark Pit struggled to sit up past the burning agony in his chest and rolled Pit onto his back. His face was screwed in pain and he was pressing both hands into the wound. When his eyes focused on Dark Pit he exploded into a wild series of expletives that would’ve made Viridi blush. It lasted for all of fifteen seconds before he ran out of breath and passed out cold.
"Pittoo? What’s the situation? Where is Pit?”
Déjà vu, Dark Pit thought with a sick laugh. “Palutena, take us back.”
"Us?” she repeated, then fell silent as they were extracted.
They landed on the floor of Palutena’s Temple with a whump. Centurions immediately rushed in, picking up Pit’s still speared body and rushing him outside, presumably to the hot spring. Palutena knelt at Pittoo’s side and helped him sit up. Her face was ashen and he gave her a small smile. “He’s back. E-Excuse me if he isn’t wh-whole.” She helped him up and he pushed her away, pressing a hand to his damaged ribs. “I-I’m sorry. Th-This is all my f-fault.”
“Pittoo—” She exhaled hard and wrapped her arms around herself. “I have to check on Pit. I just…we’ll talk about this more when he’s stable.”
She turned away and hurried in the directions of the centurions. Dark Pit brought his knees up to his chest and bowed his face into them. His wings shielded him from the world when hot tears poured down his cheeks. “D-Dammit…dammit…”
Palutena was…occupied, so it was up to Viridi to get Dark Pit’s side of the story, so she said. Dark Pit was content to just stay under the sheets and avoid the world.
“No one’s blaming you for anything, ya know,” she said with a sigh. “We just want the full story.”
“Yeah, well, I don’t want to talk. So beat it.”
Viridi gave a much more dramatic sigh and Dark Pit’s ankle was suddenly trapped in some thorny vise grip. He was yanked upside-down via a thick piece of ivy that had grown through the window and onto the ceiling. Viridi tapped his nose with her staff, eyes narrowed. “We dropped it before when you claimed Pit was fine. Now your sword’s getting deeply acquainted with his insides. Something’s missing here and you’re the one that needs to clear it up.”
His ribs felt like rolling hot coals in his chest and he was having some difficulty catching his breath. He might have cried if he felt like he had any tears left. “He tried to kill me.”
“What? I couldn’t hear you.”
“He tried to kill me!” he shouted, looking Viridi right in the eyes. “He tried to kill me three times—this time, if I hadn’t stabbed him, he would’ve done it. I saw in his eyes, he would’ve done it.”
Viridi’s eyes widened and for once the goddess was completely speechless. The vine unraveled and Dark Pit hit the bed in a heap; he groaned at the spike of pain from the impact. She sat heavily in a nice chair and brushed her hair from her eyes. “So,” she said at length, “what shall we do?”
“Actually, I was giving the illusion of choice. I know what I’m doing.” She mimed slicing her throat and Pittoo growled.
“No, you’re not.”
“And if I don’t then what, he’ll come in for lucky try number four? Well, whatever; I know Palutena will want him to talk when he’s well enough, and I’m sure as hell gonna be there to see it. Have fun writing your will.” She stood and twirled her staff before disappearing in a flurry of leaves and a gust of wind.
Silence. A world of silence.
Days, weeks, perhaps even months later, Dark Pit woke in the dead of the night to see a winged figure crouched on the windowsill. Luminescent violet eyes turned to meet his.
“Hey,” Pit said softly. Dark Pit nodded but couldn’t find his words. Those black and white wings fluttered uneasily before wrapping around his bandaged torso. “I’m…sorry for trying to stab you.”
“Are you really?” he snapped without thinking and hated himself for doing so. Pit frowned in the moonlight, eyes lowered.
“I don’t know, but it seems the right thing to do. Apologizing.”
Dark Pit sat up from the tangle of sheets. “Apologies mean nothing unless you understand what you did wrong.”
“I do. At least, Lady Palutena told me. Something’s…I’m not right, am I? I’m not the Pit you guys knew. I can see it in your eyes…you’re disappointed.” Dark Pit shrugged a shoulder, fighting to keep his face blank. Pit sighed. “I want to ask something.” His eyes returned to Pittoo’s, searching, wanting something. “What’s wrong with me?”
“Who knows?” It was painful to admit, but there it was. Pit’s wings tightened around himself. “But, Pit, running off isn’t an answer.”
“’Else what? I stay and endure this…these looks you guys give me?” he spat. “I’m not who you want me to be. No one ever went around forcing you to be Pit, right?”
“Well no one went around trying to impale me.” His fists, previously knotted in the sheets, balled against his sides, and he threw the blanket aside to stand on his feet, wings taut against his back. “Pit—and that’s who you are, you are still Pit—I don’t care if you’re a walking talking eggplant. What those goddesses were saying before…they said you might not have a soul at all. But they said the same thing about me, and look! I would risk my own life to save yours, because you went and did so for me. Your light is what sustains my shadow.”
“So what do you expect me to do? Change to fit your mold?”
“Pit, I want to ask you something. Why did you try to kill me?” He struggled to maintain eye contact and so did Pit, but Pit was the first to look away, turning until he could sit with his back to the window. With his face in the shadows Dark Pit couldn’t be sure, but it seemed his eyes were glistening.
“I ju—I don’t know! I was upset…every time, you’d upset me, and I j—I just wanted to cause some damage. Burn off steam.”
“Even if the thing you’re damaging is me?”
He turned his head away. “Made no difference to me. I guess that makes me depraved.”
“It wasn’t right,” Pittoo agreed.
“Therein lies the problem. I don’t know right from wrong, not anymore. Is this what it’s like, lacking a soul? Feeling empty and lost all the time? Is this what you felt like, Dark Pit?” He looked at Pittoo again and this time he was certainly crying. Dark Pit smiled bitterly; at least he had some emotional capacity.
“More or less.”
“…Can it really be fixed?” His voice was as soft as a breeze. Pittoo sighed and moved to sit next to Pit.
“You won’t be the same. None of us will be, I guess. But it can be fixed, and you will be fine. And if not…well, I’ll always be here. You’ll have to try a lot harder to kill me, birdbrain.”
“Promise?” He didn’t know if Pit meant promising to fix him or promising not to die; either way, he had no plans on reneging on either. He set a hand on Pit’s forearm, squeezing hard.
Pit stared at Dark Pit’s hand for a long moment, lost in his thoughts. Then the corner of his lip twitched. “Should we hug now?”
“I’d rather not.”
“But,” he said sagely, eyes shining, “it would be the Pit thing to do.”
He rolled his eyes so hard he thought they would pop out. “If it makes you feel better—”
He couldn’t speak when Pit trapped him in a tight bear hug, his multicolored wings wrapped around Pittoo’s head. He wanted to complain, but…his scent. Pit always sort of smelled like freedom, if he had to put it into words; a combination of sweet wild grass, tangy hot spring water, lemony laundry soap, and the clearness of the open sky. Though they said this Pit didn’t have a soul, the smell was still there, and it was so poignant it made Pittoo’s eyes cloud with tears. He sniffed as subtly as he could, but being next to Pit’s ear, the boy noticed.
“Hey, Pittoo, are you crying?” he asked.
“I’m—shut up. Hug me.”
“I am already,” he said smartly, but complied anyway.
Pit was training on the grass, effortlessly sliding through various combat maneuvers with the Palutena Bow. It would have been nothing out of the ordinary if his wings weren’t mottled black and his eyes shone violet in the sunlight. Palutena gripped her elbows and hummed with disconcert.
“Are you sure about this, Dark Pit?” she said softly, though he wouldn’t be able to hear them from the gates of the palace.
“Not particularly,” he said, seated on the windowsill and polishing the Silver Bow. “But I don’t plan on offing another Pit.”
“That may be so, but…”
“I believe things’ll work out. I may not be an all-seeing goddess or whatever, but I’m walking proof.” He slid to the tiled floor and strapped the bow across his back, joining Palutena in the doorway. Their shadows fell across the grass, not equal in size nor status. “Pit’s the one who made me more human. The least I can do is return the favor.”
She still seemed doubtful but held her grievances and tongue. Viridi, however, had so such qualms. Should he become a threat, he’ll know the power of nature, she said with no traces of her usual dispassion or sarcasm—it was nothing short of a promise. So make sure I don’t have to, Dark Pit.
“Put a seed in it,” he replied, stepping onto the grass. “Gods and goddesses, you get hung up on the wrong things. That kid is no less an annoying pest than he was before, ’cept he’s almost good enough to beat me in a swordfight. But he’ll come to find,” he grinned darkly, drawing the bow and holding the blade out, “a centurion is no match for a real black angel.”
He ran out onto the green calling, “Yo, Pit, right here and now!” Pit, a bit out of breath from his training, nodded, and with a mutual grin, the two angels descended into a match of blows. Evenly matched, a show with no end in sight, a dance of two halves struggling to reform. But they would reform, that, Pittoo was confident in, for there was no shadow that could be without a source of light.
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