Disclaimer: You know I don't own these characters. Don't sue me! Notes & Warning: AU. Its also very, very dark, and involves themes of suicide, murder, martyrdom and rape. Don't read if this either a) offends you or b) makes you want to beat me with a baseball bat. Shounen-ai (its Gravi, c'mon) and any other stuff I've probably forgotten. Summary: AU. Shuichi is dead, not that he cares. He is sent to the second level of hell, to be redeemed, meeting lost souls like himself and Angels. At first he is happy; content with death. But then…he falls in love. YukixShuichi, TohmaxYuki, Hiro+Shuichi.
Let the Blood Flow
I can always remember thinking; 'What did I do to deserve this?'
Why was it always me who was the target of their taunts? Their jabs? Their punches? Their kicks?
Was I so different from them?
I can remember kaa-san cradling my head as I sat in a hospital bed, just another visit after just another attack.
She compared me to that of an Angel. I'm not sure kaa-san really knew what an Angel was.
The victimising continued.
I wonder now…I do.
Can someone take the fact that they drove someone to take their life?
I am sixteen years old. Was sixteen. We don't judge age where I am, there is no need. We don't change.
I slit my wrists. I died, if you'd like me to put it bluntly.
The image imprinted on my dying eyes is that of my sister. She discovered me. I wonder what happened after?
I wonder who cried.
But I don't know. My world went white.
'Next!' a man screeches.
He is dressed in black, a black suit. The plaque on his desk simply reads 'Sakano - Administrator'.
The boy moves puzzledly to the seat before the desk, and stands, looking at the Administrator.
'Next! Oh- well. What are you waiting for?' comes more panicked babble, 'sit down.'
The boy sits, as is ordered of him. As he does so, a monitor appears on the desk, it is white and the light it emits prevents him from seeing the screen.
'Right. Yes. Name?' Sakano asks.
'Shi-Shindou Shuichi.' The boy stutters his reply.
Shuichi notices the man has wings. He blinks. Is this a dream?
'Earth age?' The man repeats.
'Sixteen.' He is bewildered. He scratches his head.
'Cause of death?'
'I'm dead?' He asks.
Shuichi is overcome with a weird sense of happiness. 'Oh. That's good.'
Sakano looks on the verge of a breakdown. His eyes aren't focused on Shuichi, but rather the queue behind the boy.
Shuichi attempts to turn, but can't look back. He can only look forward.
'You…do know your cause of death, don't you?'
Shuichi smiles sheepishly, and shakes his head: no.
Sakano now looks as though he is about to die of despair, which, Shuichi muses, is pretty drastic as the man must already be dead.
There is a furious typing, but Shuichi cannot see a keyboard.
'Ah, I see why.'
The Administrator hands Shuichi a ticket. The young pink-haired boy examines it, but the only words he can make out are his name, his age and gender, along with some family information. A big box of writing is blotted out from his view.
'That's for the Angels eyes only,' Sakano states. He consults the screen. 'There is no bargaining for you. You are dead, but thankfully you seem to have accepted that.
'Find door number two. Drop your ticket in the box by that door, and that door only. You will then be processed and given a key to your home until you are redeemed.'
This all sounds very confusing, and Shuichi wants to ask more questions.
He doesn't get the chance, the next person is at the desk and the boy is shunted away.
I'm so happy to be dead.
Shuichi is hunting for door two, but it seems that it is hiding from him.
So far, he has only come across gates, which he is currently standing in front of. They are gold, and emit a light Shuichi swears it blinding, although it is not. He puts this down to him being dead.
Upon closer inspection, he realises these are the gates to Heaven. He wonders vaguely what door two leads too, if it's not to Heaven, then where does it lead?
Probably hell, he concludes.
This thought doesn't scare him, but he feels disappointed somehow.
He looks around. There are no people queuing for the gates of Heaven, and he is the only one in the vicinity.
He finds this weird.
Surely there is someone who deserves to pass through the wrought gold gates.
'What are you doing here?' comes a voice.
It comes from behind him, and so Shuichi turns. He sees a man. No, an angel, standing before him. The Angel has cream robes and huge feathered wings. He has platinum blonde hair, soft green blue eyes and an innocent smile.
Shuichi stares, he could swear this being is sparkling.
'Do you have a ticket?' The Angel asks, politeness layering his voice.
'I-er-ha-hai.' Shuichi straightens his arm, proffering the ticket towards the Angel. He bows his head, shy suddenly.
'Ah. Door two. I was just on my way there. I'll show you how to get there.'
Shuichi doesn't like the look in the Angel's eyes; it is something that you wouldn't associate with an Angel. Shuichi reasons with himself, and shrugs the uneasiness off.
'My name is Tohma,' the Angel states, and upon seeing Shuichi's questioning look, he finishes; 'yes, Angel's do have names.'
Shuichi follows Tohma without question.
'Door two is just over there,' Tohma points out, after a few minutes of walking.
Shuichi smiles; 'Thank you.'
He bows to show his gratitude, but Tohma has already vanished.
The pink-haired boy now desperately attempts to remember what Sakano had instructed him to do once he arrived at door two.
After minutes stuck in deep thought, he spots the box. Shuichi remembers his instructions, and proceeds to drop the ticket into the box.
A plain wooden door swings open, banging loudly as it hits the doorframe.
Shuichi hesitates before entering, all he can see beyond the door is a plain grey room, the door he's standing at is the only way in and the only exit. He steps inwards slowly. Nothing happens, and there is no one there.
His face scrunches in confusion, but he steps further into the room. About five paces in, the door creaks and slams shut.
Shuichi jumps and throws himself at the door, but there is no handle to grasp and the wooden frame won't budge. He won't be able to get out, that much is obvious to him.
With a heavy sigh, he turns back to the room. Only it is not longer there.
He now finds himself in a reception, facing a small pixie-like woman. She looks at him, her face in a frown.
'Welcome to the second level of Hell. My name is Mika. You are here to be redeemed so your soul may pass on into heaven.
'Please give me your name so you can be processed and given your living space.' She looks up from the small piece of paper she had been reading her speech off of, and finishes her little speech with a false smile.
Shuichi stares at her. For being so small, she is scary, almost, and menacing. Her attitude makes Shuichi want to cower away.
Mika rolls her eyes, 'Don't worry, I'm not the full time receptionist,' she hisses, 'just give me your name so you can be processed!'
Shuichi obliges. 'Shindou Shuichi.'
Mika scans her list of names; it takes her a few minutes to find what she is looking for.
Once she comes across it, she hovers off her seat on the desktop and flits over to a rack of keys. Each key is numbered, the number in white on a blood red tag.
The whole atmosphere of "the second level of Hell" reminds Shuichi of a hotel.
He watches Mika, and figures she is roughly the same height as the length of his arm.
She turns back to him, a key in clutched in hand.
'Anou…' He begins. 'Are you an Angel?'
Mika looks at him sharply; 'I'm a messenger. My job is to flit between Heaven and the Hell's with messages from God to his Angels and vice versa. Not to act as receptionist. But we're short. Here.' She hands him his key and a small pack. 'Your information pack, including map, and key.'
Shuichi accepts the items and stands there.
'Shoo,' Mika waves a tiny hand in the direction of the corridor to the left, which Shuichi had not noticed before.
Shuichi opens his mouth to say thank you, but Mika is now dealing with someone else. Its odd, but Shuichi had not seen anyone come through into the reception. He turns to look, but there appears to be no way out. He shrugs; deep down he knows he can't leave anyway.
He consults his key, and discovers his room number is two-triple-zero-five-three. His mind boggles, it sounds like a long walk.
He sets off down the corridor.
Death is different from what I thought it would be.
Shuichi comes across an elevator. Beside it is listed the floors with the rooms on them. He notices that there are minus numbers as well as plus numbers, and is overtaken with amazement of how big second hell is. Clutching his information pack under one arm, he presses the call button for the elevator, and quickly scans the list while he waits for it to arrive at the floor. His room should be located on level ten.
There is shrill ping sound to notify of the elevators arrival. The doors glide open and Shuichi is greeted by his own reflection, there is no one else in the compartment. The elevator has mirrors opposite the door and wooden panelling on the other two sides. The floor is a deep burgundy colour.
He steps inside hesitantly and turns to face the doors, pressing the button for level ten.
There is nothing unusual about the elevator and Shuichi is beginning to feel as though he never died.
'Death should be less like life' he decides as the lift stops and the doors open.
It doesn't take him long to find his room, much to his surprise.
He enters, and discovers that his new home is not only a room but is an apartment. It has a small kitchen, already stocked with food, a lounge, a bathroom and a bedroom.
Shuichi is overwhelmed by his space. Everything he'll ever need is right with him. He yawns, feeling very tired all of a sudden.
Without a thought, he drops onto his new double bed, curls up and sleeps.
Have I even died? I feel like kaa-san will wake me up any minute for school.
Should I regret my choice?
Elsewhere in second Hell, work is taking place.
A blonde Angel sits at a desk, glasses perched on his face as he reads the files.
Because he works in one of the levels of Hell, he has no wings for practicality (as it had been known for feathers to be pulled from them or even for the wings to be set on fire).
But he is no mere "counselling" Angel. He runs second Hell.
There is a knock on the office's door, and the Angel that showed Shuichi to door two enters.
'Hello Eiri-san,' he says pleasantly, walking further into the room without permission. He receives no greeting in return.
'Its Yuki,' the other Angel states coldly, not looking up from his paperwork.
'I have no idea why you change your name, so I will continue to call you Eiri, Eiri-san,' Tohma sits himself on the edge of the desk, much to Yuki's annoyance.
Yuki's eye twitches when Tohma places a hand over his own, but he chooses to ignore it. Instead, he sets down his files and stares coldly at Tohma.
'What are you doing here?' he asks, moving his hand so it is no longer in the other Angel's grasp.
Tohma looks upset about this, his eyes dim as does his smile.
Yuki knows full well that an Angel of Tohma's class does not need to do "rounds".
Tohma is an ArchAngel, and is supposed to work with God, but, Yuki finds that the older Angel tends to spend more time in second Hell, bothering him, that doing his duties.
'Everything's fine,' Yuki monotones, 'you can leave now.'
'--why don't you take a break? Come and walk with me in one of the stone gardens.'
Tohma slips off his perch on the desk and places his hands lightly on Yuki's shoulders.
Tohma continues; 'It would do you so much good to relax-'
The ArchAngel is whispering in Yuki's ear.
Yuki rolls his eyes; fed up of Tohma's act.
'I have work,' he waves his hand towards his dwindling pile of paperwork.
Tohma looks dubious, raising a thin eyebrow and practically pouting. 'Why won't you spend time with me Eiri-san?'
Yuki would like to reply; "Because I think you're some perverted guy who is currently rubbing my shoulders in a very UN-relaxing way and all you really want to do is get into my pants."
Instead, he simply shrugs off Tohma's hands and says 'I'm busy.'
Tohma does pout this time.
'When will you no longer be busy?' the ArchAngel asks, hopefully.
"When fourth Hell freezes over," Yuki thinks.
He smiles falsely at Tohma; 'How about you leave me to finish up and I'll send Mika with a message for you?'
Tohma looks sceptical, Yuki prays his peer will agree.
'Mmm, okay Eiri-san,' Tohma moves to the door, 'I'll be waiting,' he promises. Tohma leaves without further question and a wave goodbye.
Yuki breathes a sigh of relief, removes his glasses and rubs his temples.
He will hold off sending a message to Tohma for as long as he can, although the ArchAngel will return if no note is ever received, and Yuki won't be able to rid himself of him next time.
There is something about Tohma's attitude that makes Yuki uneasy.
He had long suspected that Tohma loves him (not that Yuki is bigheaded or anything), but not "love" in the candy and flowers way, but rather in the obsessive and scary stalker way.
Yuki leans back in his hard chair and sighs, wondering if he should regret his decision to become an Angel.
He could be living on Earth right now, probably on his fifth life after his first death, reincarnated. But, no, he decided to become an Angel, and to no surprise, under Tohma's guidance.
Annoyed with himself now, he decides that maybe he will visit the rock gardens, only by himself, with no pesky ArchAngels as annoyances.
It is now early dawn when Shuichi awakens. He supposes that he should really read his information pack.
He discovers that he has been assigned a counselling Angel by the name of Ayaka and that he is to meet her at noon the same day.
He wonders is a counselling Angels are any different from the Angel, Tohma, who he met the day before.
He turns a few pages in his information booklet.
"You will not age during your stay in any level of Hell. Time is recorded for purpose of appointments, not age.
Day and night are simulations to encourage a 'normal' routine.
Despite death, you must continue to function as though you are alive.
We encourage you to socialise as it is an important part of-"
There is more, but Shuichi is too stunned to continue. Instead, he picks up the map that Mika provided and scans over it.
Second Hell is HUGE!
Shuichi wonders, once again, if this is all really a dream.
On the map he spots a place labelled "Garden" and decides to explore.
Map in arm, he leaves his apartment.
Despite his best efforts, it takes Shuichi more than an hour, by his rough estimation, to find the garden.
It's amazing how a right can morph into a left when you're studying a map as intently as Shuichi had done.
He enters the garden, only to find that everything is made of stone. Stone benches, stone archways and stone flower beds.
Shuichi notes with disappointment that there are no flowers or trees.
He walks further into the garden and sighs. 'No flowers…' he murmurs.
'Its because there's no sun.'
Shuichi almost falls over in his shock; he had thought he was alone. He spins round and sees a cold pair of golden eyes staring back at him.
'You can't have flowers without sun…' the man continues. 'Plus, this is a level of Hell, so living things wouldn't bode well.'
Shuichi looks dumbly at the person sitting before him.
He is stunned; "He's beautiful…"
The other man's eyes narrow to a glare as he watches Shuichi. The boy shifts uncomfortably on his feet, and wraps one hand round the other arms elbow in a nervous gesture.
'You're new here, aren't you?'
Shuichi nods rapidly.
'You seem it.'
'Have you lost all ability to talk?'
Shuichi can do nothing or say nothing to this, so just stands, trying to be small and disappear. This man has an odd affect on him, something he cannot quite explain.
The blonde haired man's face contorts with impatience, and, as if he had lost all interest in furthering any sort of conversation with Shuichi, he returns to reading his book.
Shuichi's brain once again seems to engage and his lips move into an awkward 'Hi,nicetomeetyou,I'msorryifIseemedrude.'
The other man looks up in surprise, taken off guard by the sudden waterfall of words that tumble out of Shuichi's mouth.
The young boy shakes himself. 'Whats your name?'
The look of surprise grows deeper, and Shuichi is given the impression that the man rarely talks to anyone.
The answer comes after moments of uneasy waiting. Shuichi takes the response as a good thing, and gives his name in return. The sincere lack of interest still lies in the man's face, but his posture and attitude have changed slightly.Shuichi warms to this change and attempts to make conversation.
'So…urm…its nice here. Different from what I thought hell would be like.'
Yuki looks up to Shuichi coldly, and Shuichi shies away, scared the man will yell at him for breaking some sort of rule.
'Its somewhere to repair your soul. Were you expecting pitchforks? Guys in red suits?'
Shuichi shakes his head quickly. 'I was expecting the peace of nothing-ness.' He hangs his head shyly.
There is a heavy silence. Shuichi shifts on his feet, staring at the man who has returned to his book.
'Would you like me to leave?' he asks.
Yuki looks up sharply, 'It doesn't bother me.'
'Weren't you lonely, sitting here by yourself?'
Yuki absently turns a page; not paying attention to the book, but completely focused on Shuichi. 'I like to be alone.'
'Don't you ever want to be with people?'
'No, they all annoy me.'
'Oh.' Shuichi looks around. 'I suppose I should go and meet my counselling Angel then, ne? Hopefully I'll see you around.'
Shuichi starts to wander off, before stopping. He turns and looks back at Yuki, staring at how the man's hair falls in his eyes and the long elegant fingers wrapped around the book. 'Anou, Yuki…' he steps back towards the blonde and leans over so they are both face level. He smiles and babbles; 'If you ever want to be alone, you can come be alone with me. Then you won't be so lonely.'
Before Yuki gets a chance to reply, Shuichi dashes off, leaving the Angel stunned.
'Odd kid,' Yuki murmurs to himself. For some reason, all he now sees is Shuichi's bright smile, with the wide violet eyes and scrunched up nose. He can longer concentrate on his book. With a sigh, he gets up from his seat and goes to walk around the garden.
To Be Continued…