A/N: I'm so sorry for taking so long to update but I had the semester from hell and didn't get a chance to even start on this chapter until right before Christmas. So, again, I'm sorry for taking so long but I didn't have time. And I feel really bad since I was bitchy about reviews to help motivate me. If it's any consolation, every time I got a review it made me want to work on this fic and I would weigh the options between writing and sleeping (sleeping always won). So please forgive me.
But that's enough of me asking for forgiveness. This chapter gave me hell. Not just because I didn't have time until recently to write it, but also because the last line to this prayer is more difficult to write about. But luckily, this is only my third attempt at this chapter but I kinda don't like it. Again, I just rewrote what happened in the series (nothing else fit, believe me I tried) and I hate being unoriginal. This chapter follows what happened in the manga more so than the anime and some of the dialogue is paraphrased from (have not and will not read what Viz released so it will be different from what they have).
Thanks to everyone who reviewed; it made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. And sorry again for taking so long to update (especially since I was bitchy about reviews).
Now, for the warnings. If you have any problems with rape, torture, bad things happening to Hisoka, or the use of a prayer to write about those things, then don't worry cuz there's only a little bad language and not so evil things happening to Hisoka in this chapter. Besides, if you did have a problem with any of those things, then you wouldn't have read the first three chapters.
Don't own, don't sue. I have no money so all you will get is a crappy laptop and my tears.
Chapter 4: I Pray My Lord My Soul To Take
Beneath the pale light of the moon, I have always known nothing but fear. While its silvery rays may have brought peace and comfort to some, for me it has only ever symbolized the pain and suffering that I was sure to face. Only under the pale light of the moon would I scream into the heavens, wishing and dreaming for everything to come to an end. Only when the moon bathed the earth beneath her in a soft glow would I know the true meaning of fear and hope for release from it all. It was during this time that I said my nightly prayers, hoping that some god – any god – would be merciful enough to end my suffering.
It never happened. Or at least my prayers were granted too late after years of suffering and left me to question whether or not I was truly deserving of how I was treated. But no matter how long it took or how it seemed like my prayers fell upon deaf ears like so many of my screams, I'm still praying now. But this time, it's not for my own life and safety but instead for the one that means the most to me.
I silently pray that I can make it in time to save my precious partner from that sadistic, murderous rapist. Dr. Muraki wants nothing more than to break and crush everything that he finds beautiful and that is exactly what he's been doing to Tsuzuki. Muraki pushed him to the brink of insanity and caused him so much pain and suffering all for his own sick, perverted pleasures. He killed innocent people and made Tsuzuki do the same, knowing that the gentle Shinigami wants nothing more than to save and protect everyone around him, even if it means his own pain. But instead, Muraki decided that it was best to break the already unstable man for some sadistic purpose that I will never fully understand. He's pushed my partner to the edge of insanity to be surrounded by his internal demons.
But now I'm here with Tatsumi and Watari in front of the lab that Oriya told us to come to. The two older men slide the cardkeys and we run into the laboratory as quickly as possible, all the time hoping to reach Tsuzuki before Muraki can torment him any further. I curse my weak frame for having not fully healed from the earlier battle and slowing me down. Or maybe it's because I'm stuck forever in the body of a weak sixteen year old that's following behind two fully grown men that I'm acting as nothing more than a burden.
Either way, I can't possibly keep up with them so I'm left to lag behind and shout out directions. For as long as we've been running I have yet to sense the amethyst-eyed Shinigami's presence despite the fact that I've lowered all of my mental shields and stretched my empathy to the point where I feel as if my head is about to explode. Although Oriya gave us this address and the cardkeys to this place, I don't know if the man was telling the truth or if he was only trying to buy his best friend some more time to continue torturing my partner. But luckily (if you want to consider it lucky) the only presence I can sense besides to two other Shinigami running ahead of me is Muraki's. Part of me knows that wherever the madman is, Tsuzuki shouldn't be too far away, but another part of me fears that he has already abused, used and discarded my partner like some old rag doll. Either way, I swear on my life and soul that if Muraki has done anything to Tsuzuki there will be hell to pay.
I focus only on my silent prayers as I run as fast as I can behind Watari and Tatsumi, trying not to get lost in this massive labyrinth called a laboratory. I pray that we aren't too late since we were held up by Oriya when I had to fight him in that stupid match. The preparation, battle and all of his talking cost us valuable time that could have been spent finding and saving Tsuzuki.
I don't want anyone else to suffer a fate similar to mine at the hands of that demon dressed in doctor's clothing. However, not being able to feel my partner is causing me unease. I let the other two men before me know that I'm just following Muraki, hoping that wherever he is, Tsuzuki won't be too far. I can feel their unease at knowing that the only person in this place as far as I can tell is that madman. I direct them towards the central area of the lab, and they run even faster, now having a clear destination. I hold onto the hope that we can make it to my partner in time and that there aren't any traps or obstacles to hinder our progress.
Within a few moments after entering the lab, the ground beneath our feet trembles and shakes violently. I let out a small, surprised yelp as I nearly lose my balance while my empathy becomes assaulted by the sudden presence of another entity. I quickly raise my mental shields so that I don't become consumed by new, sudden presence that has appeared. Tatsumi and Watari comment about what could be the cause of the violent rumbling and the shadow master questions whether or not there is a self-destruct mechanism present. But I know what it is and I assure them that that the lab is not self-destructing.
It's a somewhat familiar presence that I sense; one that is obviously not human or anything else that I would ever encounter on a daily basis – a Shikigami. However, this is the first time that I have ever sensed this particular Shiki but I know for sure that it's one of Tsuzuki's. I can just barely sense Tsuzuki with my shields raised but his mind feels so…lost. It's as if he's not himself and his consciousness is very unstable like he's holding onto reality by a thin thread that's threatening to snap in any second.
There is another rumble and everything around us begins to crumble and fall; debris raining down like a storm of plaster, concrete and paint. We lower our heads and shield our eyes from this downpour and although we slow down some, we never cease our travel. There is an explosion behind us and a section of the wall and ground fall into a pit of black flames that seem to be consuming everything they touch. We can't help but turn to the sight of such hellish destruction and I can tell by the waves of concern and worry coming from Tatsumi that something is seriously wrong; he must know the secret behind these black flames.
But for now, I couldn't care less about those flames and I am more concerned about saving Tsuzuki. The area beneath us seems to be the most likely place for my partner and the doctor to be located so I try to look into the lab for either male but the flames are making that task near impossible. As a result, I have to lower my shields once again and use my empathy to help me gage a possible place that my partner could be located. I direct all of my attention and focus to the enflamed section of the laboratory for the unstable, amethyst-eyed man. It isn't long before I locate my target and I let the two men beside me know that I've found Tsuzuki. I now look down into the blazing pit and I can now see my partner, but it's strange how he's just sitting in the middle of the destruction and fire, making no attempt to move and run for safety.
It's as if Tsuzuki is trying to destroy himself along with the lab and Muraki. I can clearly see my partner and I disregard the flames as I try to head down there to help him out; I'll be damned if I'm going to let him die down there. But as soon as I move to leap into the inferno, I am stopped by Tatsumi as he reaches out his hand to grab my arm. I glare at my superior with hopes that he will release me but his grip remains vice-like.
"Wait Kurosaki-kun, that fire is not made of normal flames," the older man says, concern lacing his voice and emotions. "Touda's fire is of terribly high heat and even your life will be in danger," he exclaims, not wanting to risk my safety. I look once again at the black flames that are burning everything they touch, reducing it to nothing but ash. Seeing this and knowing that I will be injured do nothing to my resolve; I'm going to get Tsuzuki out of there no matter what.
"What are you talking about?" I ask nearly screaming at him, anger and annoyance lacing my voice. I know I should be more respectful to Tatsumi but he's preventing me from rescuing my partner. "Even a burn injury will soon…" I begin saying, knowing that even if I am injured and suffer some pain, I will just heal anyway. It shouldn't even be that big of a problem since I've always had strong healing capabilities, enough to even rival Tsuzuki's and everyone in EnmaCho knows this.
"You," Tatsumi begins, "think that Shinigami have truly immortal bodies, don't you?" With that said, he's questioning my assumptions, not really my desire to help Tsuzuki or actions. I begin to remember being told once that if I ever receive cellular damage greater than what my healing abilities can handle, than it's like I'm nothing more than a normal human. So I guess that means that my life would be endangered if I go down there but that doesn't mean that I'll let Tsuzuki die in this fire.
No matter what anyone may say, nothing will stop me from doing what I feel needs to be done. I wrest my arm from his grasp and jump into the raging inferno to rescue my partner, ignoring the protests of Watari and Tatsumi as I focus all of my attention on Tsuzuki. I land on a half-fallen support beam that collapsed from the ceiling and scan the ground beneath me to find my partner once more. The flames are burning steadily with half the laboratory being covered in an impossibly hot, raging black fire that makes the images of hell seem like a vacation in the Bahamas. The smoke and flames make it difficult to see but I eventually catch sight of the amethyst-eyed Shinigami still sitting amongst all the carnage.
"Tsuzuki!" I yell out at him to try to get his attention. "What are you doing, you idiot? Hurry up and come here!" My partner looks up at me with a somewhat dazed expression on his face as if he has no idea what is going on. Touda's flames are consuming everything in its path, but luckily the Shikigami seems to be purposely avoiding his master, burning the rest of the building around him just in case the man decides to replenish his will to live.
Tsuzuki looks at me completely confused as if he never expected to see me. Soon, that confusion turns to fear as he notices that I'm in the lab with him and he yells at me to get out of here or else I may die. I don't heed his warnings but instead I tell him that I'll be right there before jumping down into the flames.
The lab is unbearably hot but that doesn't deter me as I make my way over to Tsuzuki. He's just sitting there as if nothing is happening around him and that none of this matters. His emotions are a jumbled mess that threatens to consume me faster than these black flames would. All the pain, fear, guilt, sorrow, worry, pity, and many more emotions are like a sea of angst and self-pity that he's swimming in, preventing him from thinking clearly about his safety. Even my mental shields cannot fully protect me from the onslaught of emotions that are flowing from him but this does nothing but make me want to rescue my partner even more.
"Baka. Do you think I came all this way to watch you die!" I'm screaming my fear and panic at him, not wanting the only person in my life who has ever meant anything to me to just leave me here, all alone once again. I move closer to him and reach down to pull him up so that we can leave but he makes no effort to move; he's resisting me like a stubborn mule refusing to do any work. It's as if he's glued to the ground and no amount of force or pressure that I exert will move him. He shakes his head and stays where he is, mentally berating himself for having gotten me involved in all of this.
"I…just want to die now," he says, voice low and solemn while his regrets eat away at his soul and heart. "It's enough, Hisoka… I've lived for far too long…" Tears begin to stream down his face and his voice becomes choked as he continues, "I'm tired." He sounds so broken and defeated leaving me to wonder if it truly is painful and torturous for him to continue existing. Does his blame and guilt run so deeply that he cannot see the people who truly care about him and love him? Will he not allow himself to be forgiven for the sins that he never committed but thinks he's guilty of? Is his life really so tortuous that he no longer has any will to live?
I can't stand the thought of him leaving me forever so I throw myself into my partner's lap and wrap my arms around his neck, cling onto him for dear life. I don't ever want to lose him and I will be damned if I'll just let him stay here to die. I've lived for far too long suffering at the hands of my family, Muraki, my own powers and fate. Too many nights have I cried myself to sleep, too many mornings have I waken up screaming and too many days have I been beaten, raped and treated like a monster. All too well do I know the feelings of worthlessness and shame and all too often have I blamed myself for my suffering and the suffering of others. I have known the pain associated with existing in such a harsh, cruel world but now I've finally found a reason to live. Why can't Tsuzuki see that his life does have meaning and that no one would be happy if he were gone? Why can't he see that I want him here with me?
"I'm not going back!" I scream at the top of my lungs as I cling onto Tsuzuki tighter. " I…don't want to be…alone," I say in a low whisper, tears slowly making their way down my face as I remember the pain, fear and loneliness that I had to endure throughout my life. "I decided a long time ago," I begin as I move to whisper in his ear, "that my place to return to is here, by your side only." So if he thinks that this is the only way to atone for the sins he never commit, then I want to join him. I don't want to ever be alone again and I have lived too long to continue eking out an existence by myself.
Tsuzuki doesn't know what to think or feel now that I declared my feelings to him. It feels as if a million things are going through his head and he seems so shocked that I actually feel this way about him. Have I really kept all of my emotions that hidden from him that he couldn't tell that I think of him differently than I do all the others? Have I really been that shut off and quiet that even he didn't know the truth?
He may not know what to do but I just continue to cling onto him like the scared child that I am as I burying my head against his shoulder in a pathetic attempt to hide my tears. Even though I know it won't be long before we both die, I'm still as prideful as ever and I refuse to let him see my weaknesses. All the while he just sits there with his back against some wall, arms down at his side while fighting an internal battle. He doesn't know whether or not we should die here like two lovers from a cheesy romance novel, if he should save me before ending his life, or if we should both survive and try to live happily ever after. Tsuzuki wants nothing more than to die, but he doesn't want me to be sacrificed alongside him. Even in the end my partner is truly selfless.
"It's okay," I say barely above a whisper as I lift my head some, but I know the other man can hear me. I let my chin rest on his shoulder as I look forward at nothing; the left side of my face resting next to his as my right hand begins to gently stroke his hair. "Neither of us really wanted a life like this, so it's okay if we end it all."
We're both surprisingly calm as hellish flames surround us. My partner's emotions begin to die down some now that he knows that I don't fear death as much as he thinks. Slowly, almost timidly, he raises his arms and gently embraces me, his left hand gently drawing circles on my lower back. Tsuzuki's grip is loose as if he's expecting me to break free in order to run away but instead I just make myself more comfortable. I loosen my grip on him and lay my head against his shoulder again while straddling his lap. He breathes a deep sigh of relief and tightens his hold on me; for the first time since I met the amethyst-eyed man, he's completely at peace. And so am I. Who would have ever guessed that the prospect of being burnt alive would have such an effect on us?
But now it's beginning to get unbearably hot as the flames inch closer and closer to where we sit. I cough a little as some of the smoke enters my lungs but that's not what I should be worried about; it's the flames that will be source of our demise. Fear and worry begin to rear their ugly heads as black fire begins to graze my skin, burning my ivory skin. I pull away from the inferno and curl further into Tsuzuki, futilely trying to escape the flames. In response, he wraps himself tighter around me, bringing his knees up to nearly rest against my back and he uses his arms to cover my own; he's like my own personal human shield. I don't know why my partner is trying to protect me from these flames, allowing his own body to be burnt first. He should know that it'll just be a matter of time before we are both completely engulfed by this hellish fire and sent to our eternal deaths. But it seems that even as our end draws nearer, he doesn't want to see me hurt and will protect me, even though my fate will be the same.
It almost doesn't seem real to me that I'll finally be able to rest in peace, but will I really find what I'm searching for? Has my life been so virtuous and devoid of sin that I will make it to heaven with Tsuzuki? It seems as if my life has been proof of how I've been abandoned and forsaken by god for the sin of being born. I lived without love, only knowing pain and suffering; even in death I was not free from it. And when I was finally granted some semblance of peace, love and happiness, I encountered this scenario and the possibility of losing it all. Maybe dying in this inferno will be a glimpse of what I must face for all eternity.
But Tsuzuki doesn't have to worry about such a fate. Although he may feel as though he has committed several unforgivable sins and thinks that he is deserving of some sort of divine punishment, he is more angel than man. Muraki was right when he said that my partner wasn't fully human, but that doesn't mean he's a demon. Demons aren't as caring, selfless, generous, and kind as Tsuzuki, so how can he think that he should be degraded to such a level? How can such a gentle person allow himself to be defined by a demon that's guilty of far worse than either of us can ever imagine?
I want nothing more than to spend all of eternity by Tsuzuki's side but I fear that that may not be the case; I don't want to drag him down to the hell that I'm am sure I'll face, and there's not much of a chance that I'll spend any time in the presence of angels, lest they are hell's angels. Because of that, I wish time will stop forever so we can remain together here for all eternity, but I know that's impossible. I hold on to the hope that we will somehow go to the same place so I won't have to be alone ever again; I don't want to be without my precious partner. We were finally able to find each other after so much time, heartache, and pain, so I want our destinies, fates and souls to continue their union.
So for now, it seems like my only option is to continue to pray. Even as these black flames of hell that were created by Touda attack our flesh and consume everything in their wake, I pray. Maybe now some god in heaven will be merciful enough to hear and grant this final wish of mine. The pain of my life, my death and my existence as a Shinigami will be nothing compared to spending all of eternity separated from Tsuzuki. They say that you have to make it to heaven for going through hell, so maybe it is possible for me to avoid damnation and ascend into heaven with my angelic partner. So as the world turns black and becomes devoid of sound, feeling, and pain, all I can do is cling onto Tsuzuki and hope that we will meet again in the afterlife. With that desire crying out from every fiber of my being, I pray my Lord my soul to take.
Yay, I'm finally done. I guess that all the continuous editing, revisions and failed attempts made me think that this fic would take up all my time. But now it's finished and as long as everyone doesn't hate it, I'm happy.
And this is the part of my end notes where I beg for reviews. I really want to know if I should rewrite this chapter or leave it as it is. Like I said at the beginning, I hate being unoriginal so if you think I should try again, let me know. Even though I write fanfics because I enjoy it, there's no point in me posting them if no one else likes it so let me know what you think. Also, I'm thinking about writing a sequel to this fic, but I have so many different ideas floating around in my head that it makes me want to scream. So, suggestions are welcomed (you can either email me or make suggestions in a review).
Thanks for reading this fic and putting up with my procrastination/semester from hell. I don't know when I'll post my next fic (I'm dealing with another semester from hell) and I don't know if it'll be a Gravitation fic or YnM (I have one partially written but I don't feel like rewriting 25 pages so I'll be procrastinating on that for a while). Either way, I'll try to do a better job of updating more frequently after it's posted.
Don't forget to review; I don't even mind flames cuz I know that I'm not perfect, and neither is this fic. I hope you enjoyed this fic and thanks again for reading.