A/N: Written for a LiveJournal 1sentence community.
Warnings: Mild violence, sexual themes, and slightly disturbing imagery. And ridiculously long sentences.
Disclaimer: Don't own the characters, but the words are all mine.
#01 – Air
Muraki placed his palm against the cool glass surface and stared at his brother's remains suspended in the green liquid, wondering if it felt suffocating – being enveloped in something viscose, something other than air – and if his brother was able to feel anything at all, but Saki was in no position to answer him and even though his spirit lingered nearby, it remained silent and unyielding, and Muraki leaned in closer to the strange safe-hold for his most precious person in this world; he pressed his cheek to the glass and whispered silent promises to the damp and empty air around him, hoping that he could be heard, wishing that he could reach beyond death to haunt his brother's spirit much in the way his brother's spirit was haunting him now.
#02 – Apples
When Saki had been in a nice mood, they had shared apples; his older brother would always cut them into eight equal pieces and then they would play a little game for each piece, and they would both win and lose, and fight and steal from one another, laughing happily and carelessly like only children can, until Muraki's mother came and led him away and into her room where she would dress him up and they would have tea and apples, but the ones mother gave him were always bitter and little Muraki would always feel like his mother was jealous because he spent so much time with Saki and because he liked Saki's apples better.
#03 – Beginning
It had started the very first time they met – some kind of a spark had passed between them, igniting the air and making it hard to breathe and even harder to think – and they had never been able to decide what it was; not even the passing years could bring an answer and the more Muraki thought about it, the more the line between love and hate, devotion and obsession blurred and mixed together until he wanted to murder and revive his older brother in one and the same breath – wanted to revive him to murder again because it was hard to deal with his thoughts, emotions and memories, and no one else held the answer but the severed head of his brother that was now floating in a tank full of organic green substance, helpless and vulnerable – something Saki had never been when still being alive.
#04 – Bugs
...and he remembered how his older brother would collect bugs from their garden, put them into jars and close their lids tightly, and then forget about them, leaving the bugs to die under the scorching rays of sun; and Muraki would always sneak around the bushes, waiting for his brother to walk away before he dashed to free the poor creatures from their suffocating imprisonment, yet somehow he had always ended up playing with them, burying them alive, and impaling them on pieces of grass and small twigs until the jars were all empty and the bugs were all dead...
#05 – Coffee
The rich dark liquid burned a path down his throat, but he needed it at the moment because he was half-asleep and he was seeing ghosts that had never haunted him before, and one of those ghosts was someone he wanted alive and dead at the same time; and he knew it was a contradiction, but he could not help himself and the strange mixture of love and hate he felt for his brother, aware that there was only one way to sort out his feelings and that his brother would be waiting for him at the end of the road to answer all of his questions and fulfil all of his wishes, and all Muraki needed to do was wait it out, except... he did not want to wait...
#06 – Dark
In his childhood, he had never been afraid of the darkness, never been upset when he had to spend the nights alone in his room, but it all had changed once Saki entered his house, his life and his world and brought about so many changes that it made little Muraki uncertain, made him doubt his place in his family, made him question the love of his parents, even love as such – not believing its existence – and Saki did everything to reinforce his doubts and his worry, and he worked to ruin the thrill and familiarity of darkness, making him fear it, making him fear being left alone, being pushed aside and getting forgotten... it was then that Muraki learned to hate.
#07 – Despair
Sometimes Muraki felt despair creeping up to him (but he would never admit it), its claws drawn out and ready to strike, and at times like those, he always found himself staring at his half-brother's remains, wondering if he would ever find a body suitable for his needs, someone who would last long enough, but Saki was a very quiet company – one of those worth keeping –, he never said a word, never gave any sign of life; eventually, confidence would return to Muraki again, and he would walk away from his brother and out of the room and into the daylight to resume his desperate hunt for another body, for another hope, for another chance...
#08 – Doors
He had closed all doors to salvation a long time ago and did not regret his choice because now there was no need for it, no need to be saved, no way to turn back and undo the things he had done to other people and mostly to himself, and it was all his half-brother's fault – at least that was Muraki's reasoning – and it was his conviction, his mantra, his religion, his drive to mutilate and mindlessly slaughter more and more people; it was like a cry to Heaven, a cry for redemption, but it was not absolution he sought, no, – it was damnation he craved... craved so much that he was ready to kill for it... and he killed and craved, and killed and craved, and it was a never-ending loop that he could never get out of.
#09 – Drink
Most of the time Muraki avoided drinking any liquids when he was near Saki's container because it always made him wonder what it could feel like – being submerged into that green liquid; would he feel like drowning, would he panic once he realised that he could no longer breathe, would his mind scream at him to get out, to flee – it was all courtesy of the first time when Muraki had been sitting across the room and staring at his brother's remains, absentmindedly lifting a cup to his lips for a small sip of water, and the lights had blinked out and for a moment the doctor had thought his brother was looking at him, and then there had been this suffocating feeling as if he was being pulled under water, as if he was choking and drowning; the cup had fallen from his shaking hand and he had fled the chamber even before it shattered on the ground.
#10 – Duty
He always returned to him, came back to the one who had him bound in the worst ways possible because he could never leave him for something else, for someone else: Saki had made sure he would never be able to break away from the cage he had created, as unintentionally as it had been, but Muraki still blamed him, yet could never turn around and walk away from his duty, from the obligation to bring his older brother back, to let him believe in another chance at life and then watch the expression in his eyes and on his face change when he realised that the only purpose, the only reason his resurrection had was another delivery of death.
#11 – Earth
Muraki could very well remember what the soil falling through his fingers, crumbling into pieces and leaving stains on his hands had felt like, what it had smelled like – old moisture and death and life all at the same time – and he had cursed everyone living, every last person walking this earth, but most of all himself for being too weak to do anything; on that night he had sworn to become stronger, to not stop until he had gotten strong enough for his revenge, so strong that the power of it would shatter the entire world if he so wished... and somewhere deep down inside he realized that, if he ever got that far, Saki would be the one to thank for and to blame.
#12 – End
He had seen so many lives ending that he had long since lost the count of the times when it had been done by his own hand, yet no matter who died, no matter which one of his little experiments came to a tragic end, there was only one life that he wanted to see ending for a second time and it was his brother's; the first time many years ago meant nothing to him anymore – this time he wanted to be the one who delivered the most fitting ending for the murderer of his parents and childhood, the murdered who had made him, Muraki, into a murdered as well.
#13 – Fall
...and he had fallen on his knees and screamed out his rage and fury right next to their graves, his fingers digging into the fresh damp soil, clenching it in his fists and squeezing it tight, seeking to hurt, to punish, to destroy, to find relief in this act of anger and despair, to find liberation and some kind of hope, but there was nothing and he was all alone and lost, and scared, and he started to hate with a passion that took his breath away, that made him see black spots swimming in front of his vision and his mind cloud over and fill with red haze; it was blood-thirst that sung in his veins when he left the cemetery, traces of dried tears stinging his cheeks.
#14 – Fire
He had burnt so many bridges already that it no longer made a difference how many more he had to burn; but there would always be that last one that he was forced to keep, that bound him to memories far too precious and cherished and at the same time so despised that more often than not he felt torn in two – one part of him wanted to bring back, to restore the distorted sense of harmony he had had in his childhood while the other part wanted nothing but to destroy every last token of his past – and he was always in the middle of it all, hating and loving, and losing himself to something greater than human emotions.
#15 – Flexible
Muraki had early discovered that some rules of logic could be bent and melded to one's will, that some laws of physics could be disrupted and cancelled by utilising higher forces and more advanced magic, and as a child he had wondered if there was a way around death, a possibility to escape it or stop it; he had started treating this last issue seriously only after Saki had been killed by one of the guards and his young soul had first felt the singeing touch of bloodlust and the powerful thirst for revenge that mulled all senses and made him see red before his eyes – then and there beating death had become his one true goal.
#16 – Flying
Every child has entertained thoughts of flying, but as a child, Saki had been afraid of it, afraid of flying with aeroplanes, just as he was afraid of ships and boats, but now, after his death, he found that none of that fear was present – he was flying, floating, hovering and gliding way above earth, only sometimes coming down to take a glance at his younger brother; he was bound by a curse, suspended between worlds and waiting for Muraki to call upon his soul to transplant it into a new body, and Saki dreaded that moment and hated his helpless position, no longer being able to decide what would happen, and even though he should have accepted such a fate since he was no longer alive, no longer human... he could not.
#17 – Food
There was no need for food anymore, no need for drink or sleep, or even rest because Saki was nothing but a spirit hanging on to past memories and his own remains, floating somewhere between two worlds and waiting for one of them to call out to him, to finally accept him and let him move on, but it did not happen; a few times he was brought close to the world he had abandoned by force – a price for the act of insanity he had done –, but what he saw there did not ease his soul – he saw his younger brother, read his intentions, and did not know whether he was afraid of being dragged back into a corporeal form only to die moments later, or was he actually looking forwards to it, knowing that it was his last debt to pay, the one thing that kept him semi-bound to Earth, the last tie that had to be severed for him to be able to move on...
#18 – Foot
Muraki was always walking paths no one else before him had dared to step foot on, treading in absolute darkness and far beyond places others could even begin to imagine, seeking for knowledge unheard of even by the oldest and wisest men of the planet, tampering with the kinds of magic that were not supposed to be in existence, thirsting for revenge on his half-brother, striving for a second chance unlike anyone else had ever wished for... and succeeded; he had gone farther than anyone else before, learned more than anyone else before, seen power unrivalled by anything else, and once he would find the perfect sacrifice, the moment of revenge would be within a reach.
#19 – Grave
Muraki had literally ripped his older brother from his grave, not willing to let go of him, to let Death claim him, no, – he wanted Saki for himself, wanted and craved enough to engage in a battle against the Death itself intending to win, and had been doing quite well all this time; but there were moments when inexplicable fear gripped at his heart, forcing him to all but run to the container in which his brother was suspended and press his hands to the cold glass and whisper, whisper... words of love, words of hate, desperate pleas, heated threats, until he calmed and quieted down, eyes slipping shut and head coming to rest against the container, his skin feeling cold and clammy, and his body wrecked with small shivers.
#20 – Green
The pale green liquid seemed to glow from within, illuminating Muraki's face as he stood in front of the large glass container, watching, studying the remains of his older brother, and Saki's spirit – still somewhat bound to the pathetic remains of his once very capable body – drew closer upon seeing that angelic face with such unholy fire burning in those eyes and reached out, willing to touch, but his ghostly appendage of a hand slid past the pearly white cheek, nothing but draught in this world; Muraki shivered and stepped away from the container.
#21 – Head
Because it was all that was left of him – a head immersed in transparent light-green liquid and held in place by long thin steel needles, waiting for Muraki to do his bidding; and some part of him knew it, was aware of it – somewhere, from the other side where he was at the moment, the place that was not quite hell, and not really purgatory either –, he knew what was happening, what would happen eventually, knew what his brother wished for, and he did not know whether he was welcoming it or loathing the moment of his second return.
#22 – Hollow
There was emptiness inside him that only Saki could fill up and, as the time went by, the void only seemed to stretch and grow until – as it seemed to Muraki – there was nothing left of him but a shell that encased perpetual darkness, an unfathomable abyss that could never be filled again, not even if Saki was brought back to life; the doctor gazed at that handsome face, studying familiar features that he had grown to both love and hate over time, and it seemed to him that his older brother was smiling deviously, as if about to say, "Now, can you see what I can do to you? Even if I'm dead and you're alive, see what I can do to you? What I am doing to you?", but the words never came and silence was the only thing that reigned between the two brothers.
#23 – Honor
He should have been honoured, he really should have, because what his younger brother was doing for him was more than love and devotion, more than faithfulness and adoration, – it was a sick obsession, an undying kind of thing, something beyond love and hate, beyond revenge and absolution, and it was all for him and him alone; Muraki stood in front of the transparent cylinder, glaring at his brother's remains heatedly because he dared to look so peaceful in his eternal sleep, and the doctor did not think it to be fair when he was here alone, a tempest of thoughts raging in his mind.
#24 – Hope
Oh, how he hoped to touch his brother again, to have his hands on his body, his brother's mouth against his own, their breaths becoming one, their souls melding and fusing until they were one being; Saki reached out to his younger sibling, wanting to touch that stiff back, to tousle that silvery hair, to trace invisible patterns along his skin, but he was out of reach, always out of reach and so far gone that sometimes it seemed as though Muraki was the one who had died, leaving him alone in this cold and cruel world.
#25 – Light
The underground laboratory was filled with shadows, the only light sources positioned around the hard glass case, softly illuminating it at all times, and Muraki stopped in front of the container to watch honey-brown strands slowly float about in the sea-green liquid; he had almost forgotten how his brother looked with his face bathed in sunlight, a happy smile on his lips and his gaze wandering across the sky, eyes closing, mute laughter making his delicately curved eyelashes tremble, but, even if it was a rare and very treasured memory, Muraki had come to realize that he enjoyed seeing his brother in the current position a lot more.
#26 – Lost
...and he was lost again, struggling to keep his inner demons under control, trying to sate his urge to kill while fighting the other urges with desperation because he couldn't, he just couldn't run to his older brother for saviour the way he had done as a child; he had clung to him tightly, hate or no hate, and wanted to be held, to be embraced tightly and kept safe until everything passed, and he would gladly feel those hands never loosening their grip.
#27 – Metal
Glass, plastic and metal were the things that housed his remains, that kept him safe, held him captive; sometimes, if he concentrated hard enough, he could feel those sharp needles sticking in him, a ghost of pain lingering somewhere far, far away, at the very back of his mind, because he had forgotten what was pain, forgotten what was feeling altogether, yet the presence of his younger brother always brought about that strange ache in the area where his heart had once resided.
#28 – New
It was not exactly new, this feeling, it just was... different, and that was what confused him; Muraki frowned and concentrated on the files he was browsing through, but something pulled at his mind and drew his gaze in the direction of the glass cylinder and the shadow looming inside it, and the doctor fought it, this strange urge to get up and approach his brother's place of resting, only to find it growing in strength, trying to consume him until he gave in and became enslaved (but he was already long gone and did not belong to himself anymore).
#29 – Old
This dance must have been as ancient as time itself, the way their lips met, fingers entwined, and eyes closed, hot and at the same time cold shivers making their nerves tingle as their bodies moved in a perfect rhythm against one another, skin slick and sensitive to the touch, short needy breaths escaping their mouths while the world spun and blurred, leaving them teetering on the edge, and they were moaning one another's name, desperately craving the sinful touch and shamelessly begging for more; Muraki awoke with a start and a vile curse passed his lips, – Saki haunted not just his waking hours...
#30 – Peace
There had never been any real peace between the two of them even if it had seemed that way; their whole relationship was built on constant warlike incidents that spawned outbursts of rage and insatiable thirst for revenge, but, as Muraki stood in the dim underground laboratory and looked at the glass coffin he had constructed for his brother, there finally was peace and quiet, Saki subdued and trapped, and rendered helpless, and it brought a devious smile on the younger brother's lips because now he was in complete control.
#31 – Poison
It was hard to say which one of them was more dangerous to the other, but Saki in his current position was no opponent for Muraki who had gone and gotten himself rotten to the core, lusting for bloodshed and thirsting to feel death passing through his hands, and every night he would come to his side and tell a fairytale about another life getting blown out like a candle, claiming that it was all because of his older brother, for his older brother whom he loved so; Saki's soul, too, could tell stories of its own, feeling his half-brother's venom seeping into him more and more as the days fled and the nights crept upon him, longer and darker, and lonelier that the previous ones...
#32 – Pretty
His brother was pretty, Muraki admitted, his good eye narrowing in slight displeasure, even now, when the only things remaining in this world were his head and spinal cord (or maybe that was exactly the reason why); Muraki remembered having asked his older brother once if he thought he was pretty and Saki had looked at him, one long and hard look, and said no, but later in the night when thunder was rolling deafeningly loud, and wind was howling against his window, and lighting was tearing the dark sky apart, little Muraki had ran to his older brother, looking for shelter, for someone who would hold him through the night, and Saki had wrapped his arms around him, held him close, and whispered, "You are so beautiful."
#33 – Rain
Whenever it rained, Muraki found himself aimlessly wandering in the cemetery until his feet carried him over to his brother's grave, and then he stood there, staring at the headstone and thinking of what was underneath it – the coffin with his brother's remains, the body that had both made his world crumble and lifted him to new heights of which he would have never even dared to dream of before; torrents of water beat down on the twisted doctor and he considered going home, thinking (but not without a good deal of sarcasm) that he was such a lucky person – whether at home or in the cemetery, his beloved brother was always within a reach, confined and bound, so that he could not escape even in death.
#34 – Regret
He knew not the meaning of this word despite having heard it used left and right, despite having pretended that he was feeling the emotion they called 'regret', because he regretted nothing, did not consider having done anything that warranted this feeling, until... until he stopped in front of the container in which his brother's head was suspended – only then did that feeling, that twisted voice of conscience slam into his chest, stealing his breath for a moment and making his mind reel – and finally he regretted... regretted not having killed his older brother with his own hands...
#35 – Roses
The reason why Muraki was so very fond of roses (especially the red ones) was as simple as it was complicated – Saki had once thrown a rose at him, a mocking smirk on his face as he called his younger brother a pretty doll, and even if it was meant to insult the boy, for some strange reason, it did not; Muraki looked down at the rose he was twirling in his fingers now, blood red petals smirking back at him just like his brother once had, and tossed it to the violet-eyed shinigami who was scowling in his general direction.
#36 – Secret
It was his little secret (as much as a mere spirit could have secrets) – watching Muraki sleep; even being as dead as he was and his soul only barely holding on to the remains of his body, Saki could spend infinite time by his younger brother's side, studying the calm and relaxed features, sometimes tracing them with a ghostly hand (which was built of nothing more than pure condensed energy) and watching how unsettled his brother became then, how his delicate brow furrowed and his breathing hitched, and he would always smile and know that, right at that moment, his darling younger brother was dreaming about him.
#37 – Snakes
His voice was that of a snake (if snakes could speak), so smooth and underlined with thousand different tints of venom, and when he spoke to him, it seemed as thought the time froze and the eternity stopped, and his heart (which he no longer had) skipped a beat or two from the tones in that sound, soft like velvet yet so ice-ridden and deathly that you became a slave to it before you realized what was happening, and then you wanted nothing more than to offer everything you had, give away every last of your possessions, even your life, only to see those lips curl up in a smile.
#38 – Snow
Saki always knew when it was snowing outside because Muraki would be gone for hours and hours again, and when he returned, snowflakes would be glistening in his hair and slowly melting away into droplets of water, and from his container, the older of the two would watch the scene with some sort of remorse, unable to touch that angelic beauty, unable to even comprehend what it was that his reeling mind wanted; Muraki would always glance at his remains, a hint of disgust on his face before he turned away and shook the snow off of his white coat, leaving tiny puddles of water on the tiled floor.
#39 – Solid
The large container was his afterlife now, and even though he was not alive anymore, he was not dead either; Saki could not explain the state he was in, nor could he fully comprehend why sometimes he could see Muraki standing on the other side of the glass that held him trapped and restricted his movement in the space between here and there, and, to some extent, the only thing he was capable of was moving in time – going back to the places his memory housed, back to when life had been different, before he was roughly pulled back into the present to look into his younger brother's silver-coloured eyes.
#40 – Spring
It was hard to tell which one of the two half-brothers had been more insane back in the day, but it was easy to tell which one would take the title now since only Muraki was truly alive; he had torn his brother from his grave and he was going to take him away from the Death as well, and for that he kept Saki in a glass prison, waiting for the spring of rebirth, for a second chance at killing – that had to be insanity at its finest, unlike anything else this world had seen up until that point.
#41 – Stable
There was an odd sense of stability when one was submerged in viscose liquid and kept fixated in a certain position by wires, tubes and needles, there was something static and definite about the state he was in, a constant and never-changing episode of his life like a moment of time trapped in a photograph, but he was still real, still in this world, except he was not alive in the common terms of the word; he still existed and held on by a thread of a memory that his younger brother worked so hard to severe once and for all, attempting to break free from him once and for all, and Saki held on tighter as if to spite him, and deep down in the core of his spirit he felt a morbid satisfaction watching his brother struggling along and sinking deeper in a kind of a personal hell.
#42 – Strange
He found it odd, the way he could always tell when Muraki was near, when he was watching him from the other side of the glass, and if he had been in a position to open his eyes, Saki would have done so just to see his half-brother's reaction; Muraki thought it was strange, the way he felt as if Saki was near whenever he was standing in front of the large container, as if his soul was still clinging to his pathetic remains, and sometimes (he truly had no explanation for this other than his overly desperate wish to see him alive again) he thought his older brother's eyelids would open any other moment and he would regard him with mockery shimmering in his grey eyes.
#43 – Summer
It was summer again and roses were in full bloom, and every evening Muraki purposefully made his way home through the local park that was filled with rose bushes just so that he could walk slowly (even stop and sit down on a bench if he suddenly had the wish), close his eyes, breathe in the sweet scent and think back to his childhood and the rose garden in which he had played hide and seek with his older brother during the hours of dusk; to him, that was the time when roses had the sweetest aroma and when their thorns were sharper and petals – softer, but the memories faded, leaving only a bittersweet taste behind – much like the roses he was so very fond of...
#44 – Taboo
Sometimes Muraki wondered whether those nights with his older brother were all a fruit of his imagination, the result of the multi-voiced inner demons that tore at his mind whether he was asleep or awake until he no longer wanted to sleep or awaken again because Saki's hands on his skin, his brother's mouth next to his – if it was all nothing but a dream, then he would much rather stay in that nightmare-like world than be a part of the reality in which his brother was a murderer who made him follow the same path; but it was all before he discovered that Death could be cheated, that there was a way to steal the dead away from it, and since that moment it was the only thought on his mind whether he be asleep or awake – he was going to break the most sacred of rules, to do the unthinkable and seemingly impossible – and he would get one final chance to be with his brother, no matter what it cost him.
#45 – Ugly
The wires and needles and other contraptions holding Saki's head in place were all ugly, the container and greenish liquid in it were ugly too, Muraki thought; the only thing truly beautiful was his brother's severed head, his blonde hair floating about in the liquid, the calm expression on his face and the slightly opened eyes (he had wanted to see Saki's eyes again and had pushed his eyelids open, and sometimes, when the light fell just right, it seemed as though Saki was really looking at him, as though there was still life in those eyes), the spinal cord dangling from his neck, and the severed tissue – that was the true beauty, and the thought of bringing it all back to life made Muraki's heart race.
#46 – War
It was a war, though not the kind that was fought out in the open, but rather one fought inside one's mind away from everyone's eyes, away from intrusive questions – only two spirits competing to see which one would emerge victorious – and sometimes Muraki could swear that Saki's voice was haunting him in his dreams, whispering at him from dark and seemingly empty corners of rooms and narrow streets at night, and he had seen shadows wisp around in the darkness and then run and hide when he approached, and sometimes he was fairly certain that it had been Saki's ghost, that it was always his ghost following him around, battling with him for his sanity, threatening to drive him completely insane (even farther than he had already gone), and every once in a while there were nights when Muraki was quite certain that his brother's spirit would finally take him over entirely.
#47 – Water
It flowed through his fingers, tiny droplets splattering against the sides of the sink, the soft sounds drowned out in the rush of water and Muraki placed his hands under the stream again, filled his cupped palms with the ice-cold liquid and splashed his face with it, dragging his hands over his face in a try to ward off the horrors of the nightmare he had just been awakened from; he had dreamt of Saki and their childhood, how they played in the rose garden, how he had killed his parents and how Muraki had wanted to kill him, but someone else had been quicker... and the scenes had changed and he had been digging up Saki's grave only to find it empty, and then he had chased, chased... and at the end of the road he had been there – Saki, alive and well, and mocking him and coming closer with all the intention to kill, and Muraki had been glued to the spot, unable to move, unable to breathe, unable to defend himself... and he had awakened with a start, drenched in cold sweat, and his heart beating fast, too fast...
#48 – Welcome
There was no place on this earth where Muraki – a wanderer at heart, bound down by nothing – felt more welcome and more at home than the basement of the laboratory where his brother's remains were floating in a light green liquid in a glass container; a figurative crystal coffin for the prince who would one day be awakened by a gentle kiss of his one true love and his one true enemy – his own revenge-seeking brother – and then both their worlds would finally come to a grandiose end in fire and death.
#49 – Winter
And he both liked and hated the snow because it always reminded him of his childhood and how he and his older brother would try to catch snowflakes as they swirled through the air slowly, and how they used to play in the snowy garden between the barely recognisable rose bushes; and now that he was grown up, the snow still seemed so magical and alluring that sometimes he thought that his brother's breath was caught somewhere among the soft white flakes and he just needed to try a little harder to hear it and feel its touch upon his cheek.
#50 – Wood
Sometimes Muraki thought back to the seldom days when Saki had secretly left the house to wander in the woods in solitude, unaware (or maybe aware, but pretending to not be) that he had a little shadow following him around, as Muraki took every smallest chance he got to get out of the house and away from his mother who, although dearly loved, was a little bit too overwhelming sometimes; those were his stolen moments of freedom, something that bound the unwilling brothers together whether they knew it or not, and he could feel this strange connection even after all these years, even now when the only thing on his mind was revenge...