A Trinity Blood Fan Fiction
by Darth Stitch
DISCLAIMER: Trinity Blood was created by Yoshida Sunao (R.I.P.) and is now an anime directed by Tomohiro Hirata and produced by the studio GONZO. And yes, the title of this fic is taken from the Kelly Clarkson song. Although this is not a songfic, I just realized that the song's lyrics fit a certain tall silly platinum-haired bespectacled priest perfectly. Heh.
AUTHOR'S WARNINGS/NOTES: Again, for those new to the anime/manga series, Trinity Blood is set in a post-apocalyptic world where the Roman Catholic Church/the Vatican is portrayed as a military power as well as a spiritual one. The series also strongly implies major and controversial changes in the Church, such as women being bishops and cardinals as well as romantic relationships and quite possibly marriage between members of the clergy. If this disturbs you, do not read any further.
Alas, most of what I know about Trinity Blood is from the anime, rather than the manga or novels which are not available here in my neck of the woods. Other than wikipedia and some fansites, I've precious little sources for TB canon (and I can't read Japanese either, alas), so I'm just working from what I do know and have seen so far, mmmkay?
And yes, somewhere in here is part of the aftermath to "Milk Tea & Thirteen Sugars" – bwahahahahaha!
First Stanza: Drowning In Dreams
He drowns in his dreams,
An exquisite extreme I know.
He's as damned as he seems,
And more heaven than a heart could hold...
- "Beautiful Disaster," Kelly Clarkson
When Caterina Sforza was a little girl, she'd once thought that falling stars were actually angels descending from heaven to help humans on earth.
Her mother had only laughed and held her close when she'd told her the story. Her older brother Francesco had growled darkly about her telling heretical, blasphemous stories about God's most holy messengers. Francesco was studying for the priesthood and it looked like that he would be one of those priests who, like a vampire, sucked out all the joy and hope from their faith.
Caterina had long decided that when she was older and was perhaps even a cardinal of the church, she would most definitely be not like her older brother.
A star fell on the night the vampires came.
Caterina had been watching the sky and as always, wondered about the angel who had come to earth this time. At thirteen, she knew that she was growing too old for fanciful tales and she was already aware of far too many things that the adults around her thought that she was too young to know about. But she was determined to hold on to those childish fancies for as long as she could – they were often far more comforting than the reality she lived in.
And then, her mother screamed and Caterina's childhood ended in that moment when she saw her brutally murdered by the vampires who invaded their home.
In the years after that, Caterina could not remember how long she'd been running or how she'd made her way through the labyrinth of catacombs that lay beneath her ancestral home. She had no time to cry, no time to shed tears for her dead mother, for the rest of her family. The only thing she was sure of was that to stop would mean her death.
And then, she found the angel weeping in that ancient crypt, kneeling beside what seemed like a coffin made of steel and crystal. She'd only had the briefest glimpse of the woman inside – red hair, a pale beautiful face, before the angel looked at her with tear-filled blue eyes.
"Help me," Caterina whispered, her heart thudding painfully in her chest, her shoulders heaving with every breath.
And then, the vampires found them.
The angel moved to stand protectively between her and them. A breeze teased the strands of his long silver hair, lifting them aloft although there was no way any wind could have gotten into that underground lair. Caterina could feel the strange energy gathering around them, an electric current of power that she could feel in her very bones.
She heard the angel speak, his voice low and raspy, as if he hadn't used it in a very long time. He warned the vampires away. Naturally, they didn't listen to him and raised their blades and bared their fangs in challenge.
Then, the angel told her to run.
She lingered long enough only to see him unfurl great black wings, to watch as his eyes began to glow red and to summon a blood-red scythe seemingly out of thin air. An Angel of Death, beautiful and terrible in his wrath.
And then, she did as she was told.
The night air was cool against her skin as she finally stumbled outside. She finally collapsed on the grass, in the shadow of an old, dead tree and it was then, and only then, that she allowed herself to weep.
That was how the angel had found her. There was blood on his long white robe, on his face and in his hair and his hand was outstretched, palm up, towards her. Caterina thought that perhaps the Angel of Death had now come to take her away to heaven, to finally be with her mother.
But then, the angel spoke and his eyes were not red this time, but blue and kind and sorrowful.
"I have sworn to protect humans now," he told her then. "I will help you. I will protect you."
Caterina stared up at him and hesitated but only for a moment. Then, she placed her tiny hand in his own.
Although she would learn later on that he in fact was not an angel but only a man, albeit an extraordinary one indeed, she could never forget how it seemed that she was a child again, that she was safe and that everything would be all right once more.
He told her a little of his story, that he'd been actually with the colonists sent to Mars, hundreds of years ago. That he was, in fact, a Crusnik – a vampire who fed on the blood of other vampires. But the very first thing he told her was his name.
Second Stanza: Magical Myth
He's magic and myth
As strong as what I believe
A tragedy with more damage
Than a soul should see...
- "Beautiful Disaster," Kelly Clarkson
It was happening again.
Caterina repressed a groan as the sighs and the whispers began, telling her that Abel had arrived. He moved as quietly as a cat and had startled her more times than she could count – laughing and apologizing when she yelled at him for it. But here on campus, it was damn near impossible for him to do that and it was simply because he attracted a lot of attention.
Female attention, that is. And maybe some of the males who leaned in that direction but at least they didn't give Caterina the evil dagger looks that the other girls directed at her, whenever she was with Abel.
All right, to be fair, it wasn't as if Abel was asking for the attention, no matter how dashing he looked in his black seminarian's uniform. Lord knew it wasn't as if he noticed it either. He was rather engrossed in his studies just as she was, having decided to go for the priesthood – a scant few years after he'd chosen to be baptized into the Roman Catholic faith and taken the Sacraments.
"I find it very comforting," he had once told her. "I'm a very terrible sinner and this gives me great hope."
Even after what she'd seen and even though she knew most of his story by this time, Caterina found it incredibly difficult to believe that the man she'd once thought of as an angel was, in his own words, a "terrible sinner." In all the time she'd known him, she'd never seen him to be anything but kind and gentle, if rather quiet and grave which was why she'd allowed him his rare little jokes on her, yelling at him in mock anger, if only to get him to laugh, which he needed to do more often.
He also seemed to take his promise to protect her very seriously. Caterina was now the Duchess of Milan and ever since the vampires' attack on her family, her father the Pope had ordered that security around her be tightened. Her numerous bodyguards did back off when they saw Abel with her and although they were unaware of what he really was, they did know he was quite capable of protecting her. So Abel normally escorted her around the university grounds and they were both often in the same classes. Half her female classmates were sure that he was her boyfriend (no matter how hard she tried to correct that impression) and the other half just wanted to kill her for snagging the "most beautiful man on campus," as one envious girl had put it.
Today, Abel was frowning as he walked beside her, looking at the other students. "I really can't understand why they're scowling at you like that, Caterina – you're really very nice, actually."
The casual use of her given name made one trailing bodyguard scowl at the impropriety but Caterina actually didn't care. She'd gotten enough of being "milady-ied" and observing court protocols and manners practically every waking hour. Instead, she just decided to finally inform Abel of "certain things" that he was apparently blissfully ignorant about ever since they both became university students.
"They hate me because I'm with you – it's that simple," she groused. "Please tell me you've actually noticed or if you're just playing oblivious, so help me, I'll – "
"Hey! That's mean!" Abel exclaimed. He gave her his best wounded puppy-dog look, which elicited an "OMIGOD, that is sooooooooo cute…." from someone in the background. "I'm not doing anything wrong, am I? Because I really don't want to make your life difficult…"
Oh God, the guilt trip. She had to stop that in its tracks right this instant. "Stop right there before you go all penitential on me. It's not that you're doing anything wrong, it's just that – aaaaargh, Abel, you can't be that dense!"
She facepalmed, hiding her face behind her hand because her cheeks were getting pink. It wasn't as if she was pining away for love of him, because she had practically grown up with him and he'd been more of a big brother to her than her flesh-and-blood one actually was but still, she did have a good working set of eyes…
She took a deep breath and poked him in the chest, "Let me put this in short, simple words so you'll understand. Girls. Adore. Gorgeous. Men. You. Are. Gorgeous. Therefore, they hate me because they think you're my boyfriend and I've dashed all their hopes for you even as they probably get down on their knees every night and thank God the Church has made the celibacy vows optional. Now do you understand?"
Abel flushed. "Now that's ridiculous."
Caterina raised a brow. "Is it?" She batted her lashes and mock-simpered, "You know, whoever actually does get to snag you for a boyfriend would be a very lucky girl…"
"No," The harsh, cold tone was one Caterina had never heard Abel use before and she stopped and stared at him in surprise. Hesitantly, she touched his sleeve.
He turned his head away from her and spoke softly, "I would not inflict myself on any woman, not in that way. I'm too damaged, too broken – I'm a monstrous creature – "
"Stop this," she interrupted him, grabbing his arm, pulling him towards her. "Look at me, Abel."
The wintry blue eyes that gazed back at her held just the faintest tinge of red.
Caterina held her ground. "You are not monstrous, do you hear me? You're Abel Nightroad. You are my friend. And just because you've done things you regret, it doesn't mean that you need to spend the rest of your life doing penance on your knees!"
"Even then it's not going to be enough," he murmured.
She wanted to shake him and no, her eyes were not stinging with tears. "You idiot. Despair is one of the worst sins we can commit, remember? Abel, you are allowed to hope – you're allowed to be happy and I hope you will be, one day."
He gently brushed away the moisture (which were not tears) on her cheeks. "I'm sorry."
"She would want you to be happy," Caterina said softly, not conscious of the other eyes on them, not at this moment.
"Perhaps," he answered.
And then, from the peanut gallery: "Does that mean they're not breaking up?"
"Lady Caterina's a smart girl – would she want to let a gorgeous hunk like that go?"
Abel went beet-red and looked guiltily at Caterina, who was trying to restrain herself from saying, "I told you so" but her expression spoke volumes anyway.
It was from that point on that Abel began to act more… well, goofy was the only word Caterina could think of that fit. He'd taken to tying back his silver hair in a ponytail with a big black bow, which gave him a foppish air and hiding those blue eyes behind ridiculous, round-rimmed spectacles, claiming that all that studying had began to affect his eyesight. He slouched so that most people wouldn't notice how very tall he actually was. He became absent-minded, mind-bogglingly scatterbrained at times and often tripped on his own feet. Although he still sometimes forgot to play "clumsy" and moved with his usual faultless grace.
Caterina just didn't have the heart to tell him that all of that just added to his…er, "appeal." With Abel, sometimes, it was just best to sit back and enjoy the show.
Third Stanza: Happy Hysterical
I'm longing for love and the logical
But he's only happy hysterical
I'm waiting for some kind of miracle
Waited so long….so long
- "Beautiful Disaster," Kelly Clarkson
Cardinal Caterina Sforza thought that she knew her enigmatic old friend quite well and although being a silly, sugar-addicted, absent-minded featherbrain was mostly an act on Abel's part, he still could be charmingly naïve about some things. Especially when it came to women.
For example, practically everyone had known about the late Sister Noelle Bor's hopeless crush on the man. In fact, the only one who had been completely unaware of what was going on was Abel himself. And that wasn't much of surprise, considering that Abel had perfected obliviousness and cluelessness into what was practically an art form. It had become something of a running joke among the members of AX that their very own Father Abel Nightroad was something of a heartbreaker, just as he was when he was a young seminarian, studying at the University of Rome with Caterina. Father Leon Garcia de Asturias was often the one who complained the loudest about that.
To be fair, Caterina knew quite well why Abel, in all the time she'd known him, had never entertained any one of those advances thrown in his direction. He simply wasn't the sort to indulge in a casual fling (notwithstanding the rules of conduct for Roman Catholic priests) and he was far too gentle-hearted to play with anyone's feelings in that way. He could hug and play and laugh and joke and even cry with all of them but he always kept a certain distance that set him apart.
However, when Sister Esther Blanchett had joined their little group, things had started to change. And as always, everyone noticed how she affected a certain silver-haired bespectacled priest…
"So you and Little Sister Red spent that night alone together, huddled up in that shack in the middle of God-knows-where, looking all cozy like that and you're telling us nothing happened?" Father Leon growled.
Abel waved his hands around frantically, his cheeks already stained pink. "Eh?! Of course nothing happened! It was just cold! I'm not a pervert!"
"Not like Dandelion here anyway," Sister Kate muttered.
"Oi!" Father Leon protested. He then rounded on Father William. "Professor, you're this nitwit's confessor. We've seen them dancing around each other for ages! Can you believe this shit?"
"Language," Caterina murmured, hiding her smile behind her teacup.
"Ah… you do remember that I am bound by the seal of the confessional," said the Professor primly but with devilment twinkling in those green eyes.
"You're not helping here!" Abel groaned.
Perhaps, Caterina thought, it was rather a good thing that Sister Esther was the only one who wasn't around to witness this.
Father Leon snorted. "I still think it's not fair that Father Nitwit over here keeps getting all the women. What on earth do you females see in him?"
"It has been my observation that Father Nightroad's specs are both appealing and compatible with many females," said Father Tres in his usual robotic monotone that still somehow sounded as if there were the barest hints of dry deadpan humor.
Everyone stared at the android in open astonishment while Abel sweatdropped.
"Well, I personally think they looked very sweet together and I have the pictures to prove it," declared Sister Kate. The captain of the Iron Maiden took that opportunity to float right up and get into Abel's face, shaking a warning finger, "You take care of Sister Esther or so help me I will personally make sure that you'll be doing penance for your sins until Judgment Day! Understand?"
Abel squeaked. "It's NOT like that!"
While it was interesting to watch Abel turn into a color that rivaled her cardinal's red robes, Caterina decided it was time to put a stop to this. "I think that will be all for now. All of you may leave…"
And at that, Abel brightened visibly.
"…except for Father Abel here. I think he would appreciate finishing his debriefing without an audience," Caterina continued mildly.
Abel deflated and sighed.
As always, Abel's report was brief, concise and to the point. Caterina had propped up her chin on one hand and observed the skillful verbal acrobatics Abel had just performed in order to explain how he and Sister Esther had ended up in that shack in the middle of nowhere, in that raging snowstorm and how they'd been found in that rather interesting position – Esther held tightly in Abel's arms, the latter having transformed partially into his Crusnik form, a dark angel with his wings folded protectively over her.
It made for a rather unforgettable and downright romantic mental image. Good thing Sister Kate had the sense to take pictures so that they would be preserved for all posterity.
Abel glared at her over the rims of his glasses. "Please stop giving me that look."
She gave him her best innocent look – which she in fact had copied from Abel in the first place. "What look?"
"You look exactly like the cat who'd gotten a whole flock of canaries, plus a bowl of cream. It really isn't what you think."
"It isn't?" Oh, Caterina was enjoying this. She'd never seen him so flustered.
"All the proprieties were observed," Abel said primly, even if there was a rather becoming blush once again flooding his normally pale cheeks.
"And if you didn't take the opportunity to at least kiss her, I'd be highly disappointed in you, Father Nightroad," Caterina said wryly. "I would be prepared to overlook that but anything more would…"
"Have me on my knees praying ten thousand Our Fathers and Hail Marys until the Day of Judgement, I know," Abel finished with the same wry tone.
"Oh no, my dear, bumbling featherbrain – I'd say it was about bloody damn time," Caterina purred.
"Caterina!" Abel was scandalized.
"Didn't I tell you once," Caterina said carefully, "that you are allowed to be happy?"
Abel looked down at his hands, allowing the light to glint off the lenses of his spectacles and hiding his eyes. "You did. But you are aware that there are still…complications."
"Those 'complications,' as you put it, will never really go away," Caterina pointed out. "And I doubt Esther will wait until you've sorted out those so-called 'complications.'"
There was a short bark of what could have been laughter from Abel, except that it was devoid of any humor. "She deserves much better. She's young, she's infatuated… it's only natural…"
"She's in love with you," Caterina pointed out bluntly. "And I think you should stop wallowing in denial because you know quite well that Esther's quite capable of knowing her own mind."
"Oh Lord, she does at that," Abel murmured, looking quite bemused. Caterina thought it must be some memory because it was making him smile in a way she'd never seen him do before.
She stood up from her desk and walked over to her old friend, giving him a comforting pat on the shoulder. "Don't keep her waiting for you too long, Abel. I highly doubt she'd let you get away with that."
"If she's sensible, she'd drag you back into that shack by the hair and not let you out until she's wrung a confession out of you, my dear featherbrain. Perhaps I might suggest it to her…"
Abel sputtered. "You wouldn't dare!"
Caterina smiled at him fondly, ignoring the mistiness in her eyes. Abel Nightroad had saved her life, in more ways than she could count, in all the years she'd known him. Perhaps he wasn't truly an angel from heaven but he'd been one for her all the same and now it was her turn to return the favor. So she kept smiling at him and gave him the only answer she could give:
Abel stood up, towering over her as usual and walked to the door. His hand was already on the knob but he turned back to look at her and there was a wicked glint in those normally guileless blue eyes. "I did kiss her, you know."
It was Caterina's turn to blush. But as always, she stood her ground and waited for him to continue.
"It was a very nice kiss. I find that I don't regret it, not at all."
And Abel opened the door.
It might have been the perfect exit except that Sister Esther was standing outside that door.
"There you are!" the little redheaded nun exclaimed. "Father Tres said that you'd be in here, Father Nightroad. Hello, Lady Caterina." That last was said with a dimpled smile.
And that was when Caterina finally noticed two things which hadn't really registered on her before. One, Abel's long silver hair, which he normally put up in a ponytail, had actually been left to lie loosely on his shoulders and down his back. Two, the black ribbon which he used to tie his hair back was now wrapped around Sister Esther's wrist.
Caterina stifled a grin. "I'm done with Father Featherbrain here so you can have him back now, Sister Esther. I do believe he's in dire need of some milk tea."
"With thirteen sugars," Esther said sweetly.
Abel could only look in bemusement from one woman to the other. "Eh?"
The poor man was doomed. He didn't stand a chance.
"Come on – I'd better feed you before you go rummaging around in trash cans and getting food poisoning again," Esther said lightly, pulling at his arm and not quite dragging him out the door.
"And what weren't you regretting…?"
"Don't you know it's rude to eavesdrop, Sister Esther?" Abel finally managed to rediscover his powers of speech.
Caterina didn't wait to hear the other woman answer. She closed the door on them and finally, allowed herself to laugh.
- end -
Author's End Notes: We don't know much about the details of Abel's backstory, other than the fact that he was a test tube baby, along with his "siblings" and was created to be tougher and hardier than the average human being – an experimental subject as it were. Now, if you were a Catholic, things like baptism and other Catholic sacraments such as the first confession, confirmation and communion were things normally done by Catholic children as they grew older. Since I highly doubt that whoever it was who created Abel and the other Crusniks had time to bother with religious niceties, it's kind of safe to assume that Abel got to do all these when he was an adult, as he wouldn't be a priest otherwise.
And yes, I HAD to write a Caterina & Abel friendship story – the way they snark at each other in one of the filler episodes was just priceless. He defers to her because he respects her authority and doesn't want to undermine her in front of the others but you just know that they continue the snarking in private, just like real siblings would. Adorable. Hee!
Yes, I've edited things a bit around here and corrected the wrong song lyrics. I think I'm going to start cleaning up the other stories in the series, if necessary. :)