Er, yeah. I tried posting this earlier, but this lovely website was being bipolar and it wound up deleted. So here we go again. 8D I wrote this because I love Juugo. Period. I know, I know, he only just appeared in the manga, but I think he's wonderful (and so, so tragic, poor thing). This story is set during some point in the past. Hope everyone enjoys!


Echidna
They meet, by fate or by chance, at a crossroads.

He's gnawing on the joint of his thumb. Arguing with himself in his head. But his back is turned to her so she doesn't see that. He hasn't killed anybody today.

Her cheeks are pink, like she's been drinking, and she's wearing a white halter top and a tight black skirt.

She approaches him.

"Hey."

He lowers his thumb. It's red and raw and a little bloody, but she still doesn't see because it's dark.

"Hey." He hasn't killed anybody. "Wanna take a walk with me?"

"Sure," she says, without hesitation. "You're the friendliest person I've met all night."

She's a fool to trust him.

"Sorry to hear that."

He leads her down a weather-beaten path he's helped beat himself, toward the park at the end of it with the stone fountain in the middle. The fountain stopped working years ago; it's aged and crumbling, a relic of an era gone by.

She chatters, about the bartender that hit on her and leering patrons and the drunk kid, barely old enough to drink, who spilled beer on her shirt. She tells him about the job she despises and the dog she loves and her failed relationships. There are plenty of those.

He listens, as well as he is able.

Rather kill a guy…but a girl's fine, I guess. Yeah. A girl's fine. But I'd rather kill a guy. Girls are okay.

"What kind of girls do you like, anyhow?"

She crosses one leg over the other, and her short skirt rides a bit further up her thighs. They had reached the fountain, and she took advantage of it, sitting on its edge.

He smiles.

"Oh, I'm not picky."

The arms first.

She tucks a strand of hair behind her ear. It's a rich chestnut color, and he can tell she's proud of it, just like those legs of hers.

No, no, the legs. Yes, the legs first.

"What's that supposed to mean?" She twirls a different strand of hair around her finger. Her smile is completely opposite from his because she thinks she's going to walk away from here later. She thinks this is just some random meeting with some random guy that she might be interested in sleeping with, since she's had many encounters like this before. She's a silly, ignorant girl, and she's a fool to trust him.

Tear them off. Like drumsticks. The legs and then the arms. Yes. She'll scream and she'll scream and she'll bleed oh yes she'll bleed…

"It means I'm open to anything."

No. No tearing. No bleeding. No killing. Stop.

She raises her eyebrows.

"Must've had a rough life, huh?"

Another question. She asks plenty of questions. He hates questions.

Arms, legs…legs, arms…or maybe the head first? Then she won't ask questions.

He responds with a question.

"How do you figure that?"

She uncrosses her leg, brings it and the other leg up and to the side, supporting her weight on her arm. Her free hand rests on her ankle.

"Everyone has some sort of preference. If you're open to anything, you have to need something, but you don't care what it is as long as you get it. Which makes me think maybe you haven't gotten it at all."

His hands clench, release, clench again.

The answer is worse than the question itself.

Head, legs, arms. Pluck them like flies' wings.

His breathing starts to deepen, his chest rising and falling.

Clench, release, clench again.

He's close, close to the edge. This is the longest he's gone without giving in to it. And it waits. It watches. As soon as he takes a step, crosses the barrier, it will open its arms and let him in.

"And here you are, alone, with a stranger you just met."

She shrugs.

"I haven't gotten it, either."

But it always shoves him away too quickly. He has time to touch it, to taste it, to breathe it, and then it's gone. Then he remembers what he's done.

It waits. It watches.

Crack her ribs, grab her heart. Feel it beat. Squeeze. Pop it. Like a balloon. A red balloon. Bleed yes she'll bleed. A bloody red balloon.

He asks another question.

"You think I can give it to you?"

If she answers it correctly, she lives.

The silly, ignorant, foolish girl looks at him with her round hazel eyes and says, "I don't know yet."

Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong!

He throws his head back and he laughs. His hands clench, and release. They do not clench again.

It waits.

"Wrong."

It watches.

"YOU DIE!"

He crosses the barrier, and it opens its arms. It whispers soothing words in his ear, it runs its fingers through his hair. It fills him up.

It casts him aside.

"No. Don't leave. Don't leave me!"

He holds her head between his hands.

The round hazel eyes are glassy, like marbles. The jaw is slack. Strips of flesh hang from the neck in tatters. Blood drips on his wrists.

"No."

He drops the head.

"No."

It lands near an arm.

"NO!"

He remembers what he's done.

Pressing his palms over his eyes, Juugo screams.

It watches. It waits.