Disclaimer: D. Gray Man is not mine (so don't rub it in).
Author's Notes: This one hit me like a hammer and caught me completely unprepared. The idea fascinated me, but the technicalities plagued me. Wah, I'm so twisted. Read and review! And forgive me for any grammar mistakes (I know I must have made some, and run-on sentences seem to love me).
Warnings: Alright, there's a bit of gore, pretty mild (almost nonexistent) in my opinions, but maybe not so.
If Only Through Blood
It is nearly midnight and Komui is slicing apart a Finder in his little cottage by the woods.
"But the Earl." The Finder groans, delirious from the pain and blood loss.
"I'm terribly sorry," Komui informs him solemnly, tapping the sharp jagged edge of the dagger against the other man's left forefinger. "But I do not particularly care."
The soft light cast by the candles lends the room a surreal quality. Blood drips from the Finder's wounds to the chair to the ground. Komui spares a glance at the crimson stains on the floor and is reminded of an afternoon long ago, of the messy splatters of scarlet and gore, of the nauseating, putrid stench of death, of the gray piles of ash on the floor, of Rinali's endless screams, of the warm rays of sunshine that illuminated everything in its horrifying clarity.
He should clean up, Komui thinks to himself, before Rinali comes home.
His little sister still associates blood with their parents.
There is some on him too, miscalculations of impatience. Komui studies the scarlet dye on his clothes with a grimace, the dried layer of blood on his face cracks, hemoglobin. He stands up with a sigh and regards the captured Finder as an afterthought. "Where is she?" He asks that question again, with no real hope that the other will answer, and no real fear that he will not.
The Finder makes no reply. Komui wraps the man's wounds with clean bandages before leaving to clean himself up.
Phantom screams from years ago still resonate in his mind.
Sometimes Rinali thrashes and screams in her sleep, Komui used to be there at her side, murmuring the little fairy tales of fragile happiness captured and contained in glass bubbles, and watching over her until she finally falls asleep, her face serene and peaceful in the soft candlelight. When the white moon illuminates the darkness he whispers a prayer to the deities above for guidance and protection, and for them to be always together. Now he wonders who is comforting her in her nightmares, or if there are any comforts at all.
He blames himself for leaving that day and not taking her with him. He blames himself for trusting the strangers to keep their words and distance. He blames himself for being so naïve.
Things like this only happen, he thinks to himself, because we are only humans. Humans who are desperate tend not to think about others. Humans at war do everything and anything to end the war.
He still cannot forgive the Black Priests, nor can he forgive himself for his mistake.
So months after her disappearance, months of endless searches and despair, when he sees that telltale cross and that familiar face of the stranger amidst the crowd in a neighboring village, one of those men who had stared at Rinali with hope bordering on reverence, Komui does not hesitate in following, with his hand curling around the syringe he keeps wrapped in his pocket.
Komui does not hesitate in dealing out the proper punishments either, though he is nothing but controlled in his rage.
"Who are you?" The man asks and stares hard at Komui through unfocused eyes.
Komui smiles from where he is lounging on the chaise, Rinali's screams ringing in his ear, and his nails dig hard into the soft flesh of his palm. A drop of blood falls on the silk covering, Komui reminds the Finder of exactly who he is.
"So tell me a little about yourself." Komui chirps cheerily to his captive later on, as he slices through sinew, tendon, and bone, staining his hands crimson. He has to wash everything later on, and burn some incense to get rid of the metallic tang of blood in the air.
The man screams, a sound that reminds Komui of Rinali for no particular reason, but does not reply.
Komui sighs, religious zealots are troublesome to deal with, especially when they have a cause to fight for, to believe in. "Tell me about the Earl," he implores, quite earnestly. "Tell me about Akuma. Tell me why Rinali matters."
He digs his fingers into the gaping wounds brutally when the man does not answer him, feeling the wet hot slipperiness of the tissues tear beneath his fingertips and nails.
"You don't understand." The man whispers hoarsely, eyeing Komui with something akin to pity. "She matters, and at the same time she doesn't matter at all."
Komui reaches up with both hands to place around the man's head as he has done countless times with Rinali before, a tender gesture meant to soothe, feeling the silky smoothness of the other's hair. "You are right, I don't understand." He concedes gently, observing the puzzled relief on the man's face.
"But you don't either." The man's hair rips out easily in his hands, big chunks and then he is screaming again. "You should not have taken Rinali from me."
It would take time, Komui decides, people who have ideals and causes are hard to break. He is impatient to see Rinali, but he will never make a mistake again.
As long as she is alive, as long as he is alive, hope for a reunion is still alive.
The Finder tells him everything, it's at that point when the other man starts to tell him things that don't interest him at all that Komui decides it is time to end things.
Crimson floods his vision, the knife glints silver under the moonlight. Komui does his first dissection. If Rinali ever thinks to ask, he cannot tell a lie.
She has been gone for almost half a year now. Komui marks their time apart in blood. Their parents' voices haunt his nights, he dreams of their murders. Paranoia and fear dominate his waking hours, he hears her screams everywhere. He visits the village every week; the people are cheered by his cheerfulness. Komui feeds himself with ideas. The shadowy skeletons of a plan are forming and taking shape in his mind.
It is the most logical course of action to take, but it demands too much. Komui thinks carefully, there is a contingency to every contingency.
Under the cold moonlight he kneels in front of the graves of his parents, silky hair loose, a black halo of his sins, holding his offerings and incense in bloody hands, and whispers under his breath one last prayer and a promise of a lifetime.
The fires blaze behind him.
There is no longer a home to return to.
He fingers the black straps around the scarlet-stained bandages around her wrists, and memorizes the faces of the men around them.
The tear tracks on her face remind him of the crimson streams of the legends, the wrath of the gods (but he was an atheist now). He fingers her matted hair with a slender finger and presses a gentle kiss to her cheek.
The men around them sigh in contentment, a sibling reunion, do their hearts warm at the sight? Do they think they have done something good?
The cheer comes effortlessly, second nature, the corners of his lips lift in a sunshine smile. "Thank you all so much." He says to them all, their faces imprinted in his mind. "I thought I would never see her again."
They respond eagerly, offering congratulations and empathies to the new Supervisor, and such a young, talented man. That's right, Komui hums in cold amusement, I don't see the restraints, I don't see the bandages, I don't see the bruises, I don't see the blood, I help the ones who took my sister away from me fight against the ones who took our parents away from us.
She stirs in her catatonic state, he smoothes a hand over her forehead. She doesn't scream, but he hears the helpless cries anyways. He can disregard captivity, the weary halls with its ghostly echoes, the sorrowful library with its cold dark secrets, the iron gates meant to keep some in and others out. Komui doesn't forgive or forget, but he can look past the crimes done to them if Rinali can.
He doesn't serve any god anymore; there is no deity for him to pray to for deliverance.
There is only Rinali, and himself.
And a promise that will last till the end of eternity.