Pictures of You by Ennien
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Pictures of You

a Gatchaman story by Ennien Ashbrook

"Kagaku Ninja Tai Gatchaman" and characters copyright Tatsunoko Productions
"Pictures of You" copyright The Cure, from the 1989 album "Disintegration"

How long ago had it been? Nearly two years, Ken realized, and took another sip. He'd been drinking a lot of sake lately and Nambu had begun to worry that he had developed a drinking problem. Who wouldn't? he laughed ruefully to himself. He'd trained his entire life for a job that had ended nearly two years ago, and what had he accomplished? His best friend was dead, the villain flew the coop and the world had been saved by accident. What had he, Owashi no Ken, the Gatchaman, actually done?

I've been looking so long at these pictures of you
That I almost believe that they're real
I've been living so long with my pictures of you
That I almost believe that the pictures are all I can feel

He realized he was staring at them again. Of all the deaths he'd witnessed, of all the deaths he couldn't prevent, after his father and friend and Joe, why was it that the one that bothered him the most was the death of Berg Katze? Katze, the maniac. Katze, the terrorist. Katze, the freak. Katze, the victim.

Remembering you, standing quiet in the rain
As I ran to your heart to be near
And we kissed as the sky fell in, holding you close
How I always held close in your fear

How long had it been staring him in the face? No, that wasn't it. It wasn't obvious at all. Or was it? Katze's increasing instability, growing more and more unbalanced as time ground on... Was it the mask that hid the stress in his face so effectively? Or had Ken simply chosen not to notice?

Remembering you, running soft through the night
You were bigger and brighter and whiter than snow
And you screamed at the make-believe, screamed at the sky
And you finally found all your courage to let it all go

Oh Katze, Ken thought to the fading photograph on the table, You tried so hard for all the wrong reasons, for all the wrong purposes. What was it that kept you going? What kept you fighting a war you knew you couldn't win?

Remembering you falling into my arms
Crying for the death of your heart
You were stone-white, so delicate, lost in the cold
You were always so lost in the dark
Remembering you, how you used to be
Slow drowned, you were angels, so much more than everything
Oh hold for the last time, then slip away quietly
Open my eyes but I never see anything

That was it, wasn't it? He hadn't seen what had been before him. The mask drew attention from what should have been obvious. Even when he'd seen her face, he hadn't noticed how tired she was, how the stress made lines around her mouth and circles under her eyes. How old she looked, she who had been beautiful the first time he had seen her. He hadn't noticed the symptoms of drug abuse and amphetamines. He hadn't known that Katze was shattering herself for her mysterious, brutal Overloard.

If only I'd thought of the right words
I could have held onto your heart
If only I'd thought of the right words
I wouldn't be breaking apart
All my pictures of you

If he'd seen it early, could he have saved her? Given her another reason to live? Nambu would have found a place for her, Ken thought. He was sure of that. A mind like hers wouldn't have gone wasted. He stared at the masked face smirking from the cheap plastic frame. Him, her.. They'd have found a way for her to live. It wasn't her fault she'd been made a mutant. Katze....

Looking so long at these pictures of you
But I never hold onto your heart
Looking so long for the words to be true
But always just breaking apart
All my pictures of you

Katze, I'm sorry. I didn't realize. I didn't see how you were hurting. I didn't see the victim; I only saw the terrorist I wanted to see.

There was nothing in the world that I ever wanted more
Than to feel you deep in my heart
There was nothing in the world that I ever wanted more
Than to never feel the breaking apart
All my pictures of you

I didn't even stop you from dying.
Some hero.

~ Table of Contents ~
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