When You've Been Hurt, Too

Chapter 29 – Intuition

By Threshie

AN: Wowee, almost 30 chapters now! 3 I don't own Escaflowne. (How'd I forget to mention that last chapter? (Sweatdrop) ) Ironically, though he's moved the plot and is felt strongly about by most of the characters, Allen's first actual, non-flashback scene is here in chapter 29. LOL. Onward!

How long has Gatti been gone? Guimel wondered anxiously, watching Viole wince and fret in his sleep. The eldest child had fought to stay conscious for around an hour before finally slipping fully into his pained slumber, and now he turned his head from side to side, gritting his fangs and scattering a mess of purple curls across the pillow. Guimel was worried about him more than ever now; Gatti had been gone for far too long. What if's drifted through the fluffy-haired boy's mind, and none of them good.

What if the blonde had been unable to find any donors? What if he had fallen down a flight of stairs and was unconscious somewhere...? What if he'd been caught in the sunlight and burned to death in an instant? This last was the most horrible thought, and made its thinker shiver. Even if you don't find a donor...please just come back alive, Gatti, and soon!

He sighed, hugging his knees; he'd been perched on the chair by Viole's bed for so long that at the moment he felt like a small, rather fluffy-headed gargoyle. Not that that was the biggest of his concerns...he'd only realized after Gatti was already gone and Viole was fighting to stay conscious, that to be the only able one left at home made him the one presently in charge of the keep. Him, the newest childe besides Dallet—the childe who couldn't even drink blood without feeling physically ill!

He had absolutely no idea what he would do if Dilandau came back now and wanted to know how he'd been tending the place. The thought should have been a good one—after all, if Dilandau suddenly and inexplicably reappeared out of thin air in the keep, he could be in charge again—but to Guimel it was a worst-case scenario. He hadn't even been a childe for half a year, and in those short months most of Dilandau's actions that he'd seen were negative ones. The albino vampire was always angry, or frustrated, or disappointed—it was hard to imagine what could actually make him happy.

I don't think me being in charge would make him happy, the fluffy one thought glumly, glancing around the candle lit room. Viole's room always looked the same...but that didn't mean that the rest of the keep wouldn't fall into disarray. Not that it actually was in disarray, although he'd noticed a bunch of books scattered across the library's tables earlier...maybe even that would suffice to anger his Sire, though, whose temper was so great and terrifying...

He gratefully abandoned his jumbled worries and thoughts as the sound of a door slamming echoed down the hall. Gatti...! He leapt off of the chair and hurried to the door, feeling an embarrassingly large wave of relief wash over him—Gatti was back in charge, he didn't have to be responsible anymore...

"What took you so long!" He practically wailed even as the door was in the process of opening.

"I apologize, Guimel-sama!" The newcomer said hurriedly, bowing and very nearly bumping heads with him, "I-I meant to put them all away, except that with Dilandau-sama in such a f-foul mood that I thought it safer to come back later...er, Guimel-sama?"

Guimel stared at the brunette youth who had opened the door like he'd seen a ghost. He's...not Gatti...where is GATTI?

"Amano," he said faintly, grabbing the door edge and leaning to look outside, glance either way down the hall. "G...Gatti didn't bring you, did he?" He knew that that didn't make sense, as Amano wouldn't have stayed within Kagero's estate when not serving the vampires, but he had to hope...

"No, I came by myself," Amano crushed that tiny hope unknowingly, blinking. "Why, is he looking for me...?" He paused, having caught sight of Viole, and lowered his voice. "...I take it that Viole-sama's condition's gotten worse instead of better! Where's Dilandau-sama?"

"Huh? H-he left, went to visit some guy named 'Lord Falcon' or something," Guimel sighed, coming back inside. "Th-this's terrible...Gatti's been gone so long, and Viole needs a d..." He paused, turning slowly to look at Amano...human, vampire loyalist, within-arms'-reach Amano. "Donor."

"D...donor?" The brunette shrank under his gaze, glancing nervously at Viole again. "A-a-and, Gatti-sama is bringing one right away...right? That's why he's away, right?"

"He's supposed to be bringing one," the fluffy-haired boy nodded, snagging the human boy's arm and leading him into the room, "But, you can see that Viole's in too bad of shape to wait—we need a donor right here, right now. Amano, you're his only hope—won't you let him bite you?" He released the arm he'd been gripping, hugging himself instead. "W-we've been waiting for Gatti for over an hour now...please, Amano!" Some leader of the keep you make, Guimel—having to beg the help to help you, he thought with a sigh.

"B-but..." Amano shook his head even as he said the words, "I'm no donor! I'm just a glorified librarian—i-in fact, that's all I came back to do, re-arrange the library books that I'd taken down for cleaning. I-I-I'd better get to that now, so g-good luck on finding a donor, and I'll s-see you la..." He turned to rush out the door, but Guimel caught his arm again. Slowly, defeatedly, he turned back toward the bed. "I can't, Guimel-sama—I-I don't know how, I mean, there must be something that makes a donor a donor, right...? R-right?"

Guimel was about to answer, but Viole awoke just then with a short, sharp cry—both boys standing near the door jumped at the sound. Wide-eyed, the beauty dragged himself into a sitting position, gasping at the pain the motion inspired from his burns.

"G...Guimel...!" He choked, reaching a shaking hand in the other childe's direction; he couldn't muster up the strength to look that way, to even stop from hanging his head or clutching his other hand to his throat, "Wh-where...are you? L-leave—w-we must...leave...now!"

Guimel rushed to his side, hands hovering nearby but motionless; he was unsure what he could do to help Viole, if anything.

"I-I'm right here, but we can't leave—Allen would find us if we left the keep! Please lie down again...h-here, let me help you--" He reached for the beauty's shoulders, but Viole weakly shoved his hands aside.

"No—we must...leave...! P-please," he winced, curling forward almost into a ball, "Immed...iately..."

"Why?" Guimel was startled; he'd forgotten momentarily that Amano was in the room. The brunette was right beside him, leaning close to Viole and looking paler than he had been moments before. "Why do you have to leave, Viole-sama? You're in no condition to even stand!"

"..." Viole calmed himself a little, grasping the nearest arm—Amano's left—to keep from swaying where he sat. "I-if we stay...s-surely I'll be w...worse than this," he panted, not looking up when he spoke. "Allen...is c-coming...here..."

"WHAT?" Guimel cried, grabbing his arm; when the beautiful childe dissolved into gasps of pain again, he hurriedly let go. "I-I'm sorry!" Amano...who am I to force him to be a donor, when I can't even force myself to bite someone? But, Viole's suffered so much already...he deserves to have someone help him for once! "Amano, y-you've got to help us," he said softly, looking up into the other's brown eyes, "Please, you're the only one who can."

Seeing Viole trembling so badly, whimpering at the pain that it cost to breathe, the brunette frowned and nodded at last.

"Okay. Okay, I-I'll do it. Only..." He fidgeted a little, glancing down at Guimel worriedly. "H-he won't be, er...really rough since he needs to drink so badly, will he? ...Guimel-sama?"

Guimel was already speaking to Viole again, and didn't want to take the time to reply.

"Viole, Amano's gonna be your donor, s-so you've got to sit up and drink, okay? Blood will help...y-you'll be okay..." You didn't have a dream about dying, did you? You said Allen's coming, but did you dream him meeting us He wrapped an arm around Viole's waist, helping him struggle into a better sitting position, and ushered Amano over hurriedly. "C'mon, if we have to get out of here h-he's really got to drink right now..."

Nodding, the brunette came over to stand beside the bed; he fidgeted, "Um, wh-what do I need to do?"

Seeing that his red polo shirt had lapels that would be in the way, the fluffy-haired boy answered immediately, "Take your shirt off." Oh, god, am I really the one saying this...? I don't know what I'm talking about, so why do I sound like I do?

"What? O-okay..." Looking like he already regretted his decision to go along with this, Amano reluctantly unbuttoned his collar and slipped the garment off over his head. Abandoning the shirt on the floor, he uncomfortably seated himself on the edge of the bed near Guimel's chair. "I-I guess I'm ready," he gulped, "V-Viole-sama, er, d-don't bite too hard, please."

Viole scarcely seemed to hear him; Guimel transferred the beauty's weight as carefully as he could from leaning against him to leaning against Amano instead, and almost as soon as he touched the donor, the purple-haired childe wrapped his arms around him. Amano must have been expecting this to hurt, because he flinched before he was even bitten.

"I-I don't...ever bite much," Viole sighed, before hiding his face in the brunette's upper shoulder. Guimel watched uncomfortably as the makeshift donor's eyes became hazy; he relaxed abruptly, eyes drifting closed, and suddenly the realization that Viole was actually biting him—drinking his blood, puncturing his skin with fangs—hit the fluffy-haired boy. Immediately, he was reminded of Dallet biting Migel in the back of Ryuon's truck—just biting, over and over and over, and the blood was everywhere, and it looked like hell for Migel's shoulder...

I...I-I don't think I want to see this... He got up nervously, noting that neither drinking vampire nor donor seemed to notice, and hurried out the door, closing it behind him.

The hall was eerily large and empty and dark, but at least it didn't remind him of the sickening coppery taste that made him go crazy when he had avoided drinking for too long. Sinking to the floor beside the door, the second-youngest child hugged his knees and wished fervently that Dilandau had never left the keep without them. What did Viole dream that Allen would do once he got here...? Whatever it was, he hoped that it would wait until Viole felt up to an escape.

Every muscle in Gatti's body was screaming its alarm at being in this situation—Allen Schezar, he had just strolled into a room with Allen Schezar in it! He did his very best to keep any look of shock from showing on his face, though, instead nodding once at the blonde man who sat at the table.

"Allen." Not a question, not an accusation—for once, he just said the man's name civilly, even going so far as to omit the 'Schezar' this time. How did you know that I would be here? The blonde childe turned, feigning calm as he brushed his fingertips across the table's smooth, wooden surface. "I'm surprised to see you, of all people, coming to visit Mr. Awai."

Allen smiled grimly, "We both know that I'm here to see you." Gatti looked up, blinking; he really had expected the man to be here to see Dilandau, not him.

"Why?" What am I going to do? Viole and Guimel are the only ones left in the keep, and they're practically defenseless right now...! If he makes me tell him how to get down to there... He felt a little knot forming in his stomach; how could things tumble so hopelessly out of control in such a short amount of time? Dilandau-sama should have just taken us all with him! No...that's foolish to think of. There shouldn't have been any way that Allen could possibly locate the keep—this has been our haven for years, how--

"I was hoping that you could tell me where I can find Dilandau," Allen replied as demurely as he could manage; his voice still hardened when he said the albino vampire's name, and it was obvious. Despite the phrasing, Gatti knew that it was no request. He crossed his arms, looking over at the other blonde and meeting his cold eyes straight-on.

"I really don't know where he is at the moment..." He lowered his gaze to the floor, voice softening a little as he added, "And don't delude yourself that doing to me what you've done to Viole will make me suddenly know what you want to hear, either." Even if I did know, I'd never tell you, Allen Schezar, just like you'll never hear how to get down to the keep. I've experienced firsthand what you do to vampires in your captivity... He frowned, I'd rather it happen to me again than to give Viole back to you or risk Guimel even meeting you. Above all, you will not find Dilandau-sama—I'll die before I lead you to him!

Allen was now positive that Hitomi was genuine. He'd been doubtful at first when the girl had told him that she was psychic—that she had 'visions', as she called them, about things that were going to happen—but it was hard to deny when the proof was standing right in front of him. "You'll be at a mansion this Wednesday...an odd one. A man named Kagero owns it. He wears glasses... One of Dilandau's childeren will meet you there—a blonde one with blue eyes." The words could only have described Gatti.

Allen remembered the young vampire—young-looking, he reminded himself, they were hundreds of years old each—from the last time his luck had been looking up. That cursed Dilandau had been foolish enough to bring several childeren along when he went out of his keep. The blonde man still wasn't sure why Dilandau had been traveling, but it had been a perfect opportunity—he and the other vampires had split up, searching for something. It had been easy to capture Gatti; unfortunately, he was extremely close-lipped about Celena's whereabouts, pretending not to know anything even though his damned Sire was the reason for her disappearance. He had to know something about it...

That was, of course, all that Allen wanted—the location of Celena. He would have loved to wipe the vampires off the face of the planet purely for the sake of doing so, but before that he had to extract the whereabouts of his sister from them. Celena disappeared right after that bastard embraced her—he must be hiding her from me! He has to know where she is—who else would want to steal her away but him?

Poor Celena...his little sister, so innocent to the kind of evil that vampires were made of. Dilandau had used her as a play toy, and when Allen tried to save her, that monster had embraced his wife as well! He could still see the crimson glint in Marene's eyes...the fangs bared in agony, and the tears shed in false imitation of the woman she used to be were burnt into his mind forever.

He tried to tell himself that his wife was dead before he'd driven the silver blade through her chest—that Marene, the woman he loved, was dead the moment that Dilandau's fangs sank into her neck—but sometimes he would hear her in his dreams, and she would cry how wrong he was...

No! He thought fiercely, forbidding any more thoughts of Marene from coming. It's Dilandau's fault—he killed her, not me! She was dead as soon as she wasn't human anymore. I loved her—I still love her... As always, thinking of Marene made his heart ache--if only there were no vampires in the world, she would be by his side even now.

"He's lying." The words startled Gatti; he hadn't even noticed the petite brunette who sat in the chair past Allen's until she spoke. She looked maybe fifteen, with a pixie-style haircut and big, sad green eyes; she seemed almost regretful for saying what she'd just said, but didn't take it back, either. "He knows more than he's said," she clarified, watching him as if it was written in his eyes. 'Hitomi', he said before...that must be her?

Allen's cold gaze was on him again. All pretense of politeness was lost, and there was the familiar anger in the man's eyes—the same anger that had been there when he had pressed a silver cross over the childe's heart during their first meeting. He's going to kill me, the blonde realized abruptly. It wasn't accompanied by any feeling of surprise or sorrow; just the simple truth. He was going to die. Allen had crossed him before after he'd refused to tell him anything about Dilandau or Celena, so there was no reason to assume anything different was going to happen this time around. No one's even supposed to survive being crossed once...twice is utterly impossible. No, I'm dead this time for sure.

Well, if that had to be, then so be it. Death would be nothing compared to the pain of betraying Dilandau and the others, and so he would gladly choose it instead. However, he didn't plan to die without at least putting up a good fight...

Viole was a slow drinker; the blood was such a relief to his injuries' pain that he wished he could drink for an hour straight, but there were things to be done that couldn't wait (and besides, doing that just might be detrimental to Amano's health...) He reluctantly released the brunette after only minutes, swiping at what little crimson that had gotten onto his face before pressing shakily on the side of the human boy's neck, where the bite was. A single bite—the beauty never sank his fangs in more than once, preferring to let the donor bleed at their own pace after that. I hope that I didn't hurt him too much...

Amano's hand came up to press on the same spot and ended up covering his. Slipping his fingers out from under the brunette's palm, Viole shakily started to climb out of bed. We must leave, he reminded himself, remembering the flashes of the future that had popped into his mind most recently. Allen Schezar was there—he had been walking down a hallway, one that was very familiar. One with red velvet curtains around the doors...

Gatti had been with him. There had only been the barest glimpse of his pale blonde hair, but Viole knew that that was who it had been. Allen already has him—I-I couldn't see and stop it from happening. He stuffed his shoes on carelessly, trying not to notice the pang of pain in his chest that was no fault of any injury. Staying here will not save him, no matter how much I wish to try instead of just running away...Gatti, I am sorry...

"V-Viole-sama," Amano said softly, alerting him back to the present and away from the desolate future. The human boy looked paler than he should again, and his tone was a very awkward one. He almost sounded embarrassed...but mostly concerned.

"I'm a-all right now," the beauty assured him, grateful to be standing without needing to cling to the bed or someone else to stay upright. "Thank you for your...help." He smiled a bloody but gentle smile, trying not to look as unhappy as he felt, and made an unsteady beeline for the cabinet near the bed, taking out the bag of first aid bandages and a knife that each room was equipped with for donors' use. "W-we have to...we must leave, but first, your bleeding has to be stopped."

Nodding, the brunette let go of the bite and reached for the bandages. Viole shook his head, pulling the roll of gauze out himself, "Y-you cannot see well enough to...I'll do it. I-it is the least that I can do, right?" He smiled faintly again, trying to lessen the concern at his seemingly-fragile condition—Amano acted like he was helpless!--and proceeded to bandage the small wound carefully. We really must hurry...he could be coming at any moment! Reminded of the urgency of the situation, he abandoned the bag and bandages on the bed instead of taking the time to put them away and headed for the door. "Now please follow me—quickly!"

He pulled the door open, hearing the brunette picking up his shirt and following behind him. "Guimel?" The blonde looked up, large eyes glimmering red in the darkness of the hall.

"Viole!" He leapt to his feet, hugging the beauty, "Y-you're fine now—that's amazing! I'm so glad you're okay! Y-you have no idea how glad I am...!"

Wincing a bit—Amano's blood had helped, but of course silver burns didn't disappear so easily—the purple-haired childe smiled shakily, "Y-yes, I am glad, too. Please release me—w-we must leave the keep now."

"Allen Schezar!" Guimel recalled, releasing him abruptly and glancing up and down the hall. "R-right, let's get out of here! Which way was the entrance...? Viole, which way is it?" He panicked a little, unable to remember.

"It's that way..." Amano, having slung his shirt back on hurriedly, looked disheveled and bloody and a bit pale, but was following them closely; he was pointing to the right. Viole led them to the left at a very brisk pace, though—they couldn't afford to leave Dilandau's pendant lying around, or Allen might use it to find them. "Viole-sama," Amano frowned, but didn't question their direction. "How could Allen Schezar find the keep? We loyalists don't even know—only vampires are allowed to know, and to guide loyalists here, and he kills both without question!"

"I...I don't know how," Viole replied, wincing softly as his burns protested his hurried movement; despite this, he didn't slow. "He d-does know, though—and he'll be here, t-today, extremely soon." Gatti...no, he would never tell Allen how to find us and the keep. I know that he wouldn't...

"But where will we go?" Guimel asked plaintively, jogging to keep up with the rushing vampire and Amano, who was taller than either of them. "It's could still be light out—we could burn to death in the sun! Wh-what about waiting for Gatti to get back?"

"Death in the sun...would be quicker than anything Allen would do to us, and with the same result," Viole answered tightly, stopping to open a door and step through, "A-and Gatti..." He looked down at the floor, wishing that he was lying, but finished anyway: "Gatti won't be coming back."

--End Chapter 29

Hurt Akugi! Volume 29

----Akugi #91

Narrator: What if's drifted through the fluffy-haired boy's mind, and none of them good. What if the blonde had been unable to find any donors? What if he had fallen down a flight of stairs and was unconscious somewhere...?

Gatti: (Steps on a loose floorboard; it flips up behind him and bats him down the stairs, where he lands on his head) "Ouch... Thanks a lot for jinxing me, Guimel!"

Guimel: (Sneezes)

----Akugi #92

Guimel: "Huh? H-he left, went to visit some guy named 'Lord Falcon' or something."

Amano: (Raises an eyebrow) "You mean Lord Folken?"

Guimel: "Oh, you know him?"

Amano: (Sweatdrop) "No, but Dilandau-sama was kind of screaming his name and cursing loud enough for the whole keep to hear the day that messenger arrived, so most everybody knows his name...except for you, I guess."

Guimel: (Sweatdrop) "Oh."

----Akugi #93

Narrator: Amano must have been expecting this to hurt, because he flinched before he was even bitten

Amano: "Ouch! Stop, stop!"

Viole: (Sweatdrop) "I haven't started yet..."

----Akugi #94

Gatti: "I'm surprised to see you, of all people, coming to visit Mr. Awai."

Allen: (Smiles grimly) "We swap hair care tips."

AN: Another chapter done...and I'm starting to write on chapter 30 immediately, since I know exactly what's going to be happening! (Very pleased to be inspired again) Of course, the characters likely aren't so pleased with me, since inspiration for me usually means angst for them... Sorry that the Akugi weren't really very funny this time around—it was hard to find anything that would make a really funny parody in this chapter. (Sweatdrop) It's always so when the chapters get very serious...which means that the next few are gonna be tough to write Akugi for. Oya oya—I'll still try my best!

A note on my portrayal of Allen Schezar: Please bear in mind that, as with Dilandau being a bit more mature because he's had centuries to learn things, Allen in this AU world has had different things happen to him that have led the same original personality down a darker path. (In other words, Allen fans, please don't flame me for this chapter, LOL. Or the next one, for that matter...ehehehe.)

Thanks for reading—on to the big 3-0 chapter! )