A/N: Written for emelyfiction for the November round of D.Gray-man flashfic on Livejournal. I hope you enjoy it!
Pairings and Characters: Rhode/Rinali, Rabi + Rinali, Rhode, Rinali, Rabi
Squicks/Spoilers: Post-manga, so not canon. Girl!sex. And rather a lot of character death, but it's nice character death. Bondage.
A cold moon, a high tower.
They never heard the whispers in the corners; never saw the smiling shadows climbing coyly up the walls. Only she did, and she never told anyone. She was wise enough to recognize their faces.
Rinali was a haunted woman.
Her ghosts followed her through the halls, smiling and laughing amongst themselves but never paying any attention to her. Most living people could not see the dead-- it only made sense that most dead people should not be able to see the living.
She wished she was one of the blind majority every single day.
The abandoned halls of Headquarters echoed with voices that weren't there. The halls were filled with the shadows of people who were not there to cast them. Still, she could not bring herself to leave.
Who would remember them, these silly unseeing ghosts, if she left? The only other one left alive had chosen a different place to remember, the silent streets of jagged Tokyo. He had different names to care for.
Rinali sat in the ruins of Headquarters, one of two living exorcists, and sang songs to her beloved ghosts.
Allen walked by with her brother. Allen was smiling, his eyes crinkled in that gentle, kind way that had made her love him right from the start. Her brother was smiling too. His floppy hat was crooked and as she had every single time she'd seen him in the past forever, she fought the urge to try and right it. Her hands always passed right through him. She had loved them both so terribly. That was why she could not leave.
Her heart turned in its familiar agonized twistings, but she hadn't the energy to cry again. Instead, she forced herself to stare vacantly through them and wished it was over. She missed warmth, missed touch, missed everything that meant one was alive. Headquarters was cold and dead, and though they laughed, the ghosts within it were dead too.
Rinali was waiting for something.
The ghosts of Tokyo knew his name.
That surprised him. He had expected them to pass him by, ignore his silent witness; but they did not. They sat beside him and drove him slowly, sweetly mad with their smiles and memories.
Marian Cross sat on his left, and Kanda on his right.
Kanda was silent, as usual.
General Cross was not, which was also usual.
"It was Anita's hair that made me turn and look the first time. Then it was... something else, but you're too young to hear about that. Anyway, she invited me back to her house for tea, and when I got there..."
It had been such a long time that Rabi no longer thought anything of sitting on park bench in a ruined metropolis listening to ghosts tell him the stories of their lives. It had been such a long time, he hardly even remembered what time was.
The thought amused him and he gave up a rare smile. He'd used to smile all the time, but in these days smiles were rare commodities, to be hoarded and surrendered only under duress.
He wondered, then, if she was still alive in her tower by the sea, and if the ghosts spoke to her like they did to him.
Rabi rather thought not.
Rhode Camelot was bored.
Being a ghost was not nearly as much fun as she'd been led to believe, and she aimed to have revenge on someone for that. Any someone, really, as long as they bled red blood. For a ghost, her fingernails were still unfairly sharp.
The problem was, there weren't too many of those sort --the bleeding kind-- left around. The part about that being partially her fault was something she'd cheerfully chosen to forget a long time ago, so she contented herself with dreams of retribution as she wandered the desolate, grey-crooked landscape.
The living had won their war, but at what cost?
A world in ashes. A people reduced to pale, forlorn shadows hiding between safe walls and secret places. A sun turned bloody by the dust of conflict.
Rhode had been quite pleased with the outcome. There had been much blood at the end.
Ah, blood. It made such a wonderful contrast when spilled on chalky grey earth with its living, pulsating redness. Rhode loved blood.
It was then that she remembered the dark-haired girl in the tower by the sea. She wondered if the girl would remember her, then decided she didn't care.
Rhode picked herself up and flew off to visit the girl once named Rinali Li.
She knew the moment the new ghost entered Headquarters.
Mostly because she knew the ghost-- Rhode Camelot was difficult to overlook even incorporeally.
Rinali instantly felt several emotions all at once, but couldn't remember what their names were. One of them made her feel better, and she thought that one might have something to do with the end of loneliness.
One sent her heart racing and widened her eyes... she seemed to think that this one was called 'fear.'
There was one other, but she was very certain she didn't want to acknowledge its existence.
"Hello, Rinali-chan," Rhode said silkily. She curled herself around the silent girl like choking black soot and smiled with harsh white teeth and red, red lips. "Did you miss me?"
Rinali knew this emotion. Its name was relief, and she liked it.
Someone saw her. Someone knew she still sat here, waiting for the end of the end of the world. Her face was not invisible. She existed. That relieved her.
"Yes," Rinali said truthfully, reaching up thin pale hands to run through the darkness that was Rhode Camelot's soiled soul. "Where have you been? I've been waiting forever."
"I was learning how to touch," Rhode told her. Then she pulled herself out of the air and into the world, and came to rest as a light, girlish body on Rinali's lap. "See?"
Rinali's tears were bright as the forgotten starlight as she reached out with both hands and brushed her fingers over Rhode's face. They spilled over and wound their way down her white skin, then fell off the edges of her and were swallowed by the thirsty stones. Rhode's skin was warm beneath her fingertips.
She'd missed warmth, missed touch.
Carefully, as though afraid that the tainted girl on her lap would vanish if she dared to do so, she wove her arms around Rhode and pulled her tightly into her chest, swallowing the memories that came with the smell of Rhode's hair.
Say you love me and I'll stop.
It had been him to hold her after every one of the nightmares Rhode had given her, but he was in Tokyo and Rhode was here. Rinali would take what she could get.
"Hold me," she whispered.
"I'll do a sight more than that. I've been lonely, too, you know."
Rinali felt invisible cords wind around her wrists a moment before she rose into the air. The wall hit her back roughly, but not as roughly as it could have. Rhode was in a tender mood, it seemed. The gentle bindings that tightened around her ankles were further evidence of that fact.
She might have been afraid once, back when she was a younger girl, blazing with the power of Innocence and conviction, back before Rhode and the last battle that had taken almost everything that had made her bright.
Except for Rabi, but he wasn't here.
"Hold me," she said again, more plea than order, and was overjoyed when Rhode grinned and wrapped her thin arms around Rinali's shoulders while she floated in midair.
And in the aftermath of joy came desire.
She turned her head to press her mouth against Rhode's ear and wished she were unbound so she could hold the smaller girl and run her fingers over the sharp, peaky plains of her body.
Rhode had taught desire to her, once upon a time in a town that rewound itself over and over and terribly over again... and despite the world forgetting its own name, Rinali had not forgotten that.
More invisible coils wound around her delicately, quiet serpents hissing through her ragged clothing and tearing it until it fell away into the wind that blew through the hallway. She shivered, but was not cold.
The coils pressed her flesh into strange and lovely patterns. Rhode pulled back to observe her artwork with a pleased smile.
Rinali made a sound that was want and frustration and the simple need for contact all at once.
Her hair was long again, and the draft swept it across her breasts in a wispy dark tide. The wind loved her hair, and Rhode seemed to love the way her nipples played catch-as-catch-can behind the swaying curtain of shadows.
Rhode moved forward and slipped her hands past Rinali's hair to catch the coyly hiding peaks between her thin, nimble fingers. Rinali gasped and arched against the invisible cords that held her still.
"Don't make a sound," Rhode whispered into her ear, flicking the shell of it with her tongue in passing, "or I'll make it hurt, like last time."
Rinali closed her throat and wept silently, undone by sensation and the sheer welcomeness of warm skin against hers.
Then, at last, there were clever fingers between her legs. The bindings around her thighs tightened until she could nearly feel Rhode's heartbeat through the skin of her wrist. Then, oh blessings of angels, those clever fingers began to move.
For a few endless minutes, pinned to a wall in a cold, drafty grey-stone hallway, Rinali remembered what it was like to be alive. There was light in the world that wasn't from the sad sun or the shattered moon or the distant, apathetic stars, and it was sweeter than spring water or early-morning dewdrops.
Rinali closed her eyes and let herself forget that the world was broken, and also that she herself was less than whole.
When Rhode was done with joy-giving, she let the restraints go all at once. Rinali fell to the floor on her hands and knees, the sharp flagstones bruising her knees. Before the sting had even faded, she crawled over to where Rhode sat and pressed her lips against her smirking mouth.
Rinali's hands had been still for very long, and they shook when she tried to undo the fastenings of Rhode's clothing.
Rhode laughed at her-- "Ghost, remember?" -- and the clothes were all of a sudden gone. She possessed a strange body, all bent angles and sharp lines, but the skin between those harsh edges was soft.
Rinali touched her, savouring every moment of contact as long as she could, until Rhode made an impatient noise and pressed her head further down. The Noah's fingers tangled in her long, dark hair.
For a ghost, she tasted real enough. Rinali took her time about that too, until both of Rhodes' hands dug into her scalp and her thighs closed tightly around Rinali's head, and her breath was ragged and gasping and stripped of arrogance.
Rinali couldn't give life to Rhode after the world had torn her asunder, but she really tried. She pretended to press her own life through Rhode's pores with her fingers and her tongue. When she failed, she let it spill out of her as it would. She had little use left for life anyways.
Rhode helped, with her sharp fingernails, slicing her open little by little until there was no blood left to drain away into the cracks between the stones.
Then they stood up and went to Tokyo, leaving Rinali's body on the cold, cold stones in the tower by the sea.
Rabi was waiting for them when they came.
Marian Cross-- why was it that none of them could think of him without his last name, like it was a badge of honour?-- tried to stop them. Kanda did not, but not out of apathy... he was tired of watching over Rabi, tired of forever being the guardian forbidden a heart and a smile.
Rinali caught Rabi by the hands and lifted him right out of his body, no mess. He'd been starving anyway, bereft of the will to live. The body was a frail, transparent shell of what it had been. His spirit, however, was the same bright boy she remembered... the boy who'd loved her so very much from behind his accursed fate as a recorder, not a participator.
He stepped out of his skin, took her in his arms, and kissed away the taste of Rhode in her mouth.
"Who will remember them now?" she asked him plaintively when at last they fell apart.
Rabi shrugged and held her against him, unwilling ever to let her go again. "They'll just have to remember themselves, Rina. Don't worry about them."
Something about his voice made it forgivable for her to believe him, and so she did. Then she kissed him again, just because she could. He'd always been so bright for her. She wanted to give a little of that back, if she could. His lips were warm and hers were warmer.
It was an eternity of warmth, after an eternity of longing for it.
Rhode cleared her throat and glared at them all as though they were recalcitrant children. "Are you going to stand there mushing all day? This way, already. Haven't you waited long enough?"
Rinali turned to meet her eyes, but found that she could not. There was a very bright light shining behind Rhode. She was merely a two-dimensional silhouette in black against it. As they looked on, she turned and walked impatiently into the light, and vanished.
Rabi began to follow her, until Rinali caught his hand and pulled him back.
"Who will lead them?" Rinali asked anxiously, though she could already feel the gentle pull of the soul-warm light. "They're still there, in the tower by the sea. Who will bring them?"
"I will," Kanda said, flat and unimpressed as always but deeper now, truer in some way she could not put her finger on. "Wait for me."
Rinali nodded and turned around to find that the light had already swallowed her.
The ash-grey world fell away into silence.