Hello everyone. This is my first attempt at a Claymore story. I'm always a bit nervous when entering a new fandom and I just hope I did some measure of justice to the characters. This is basically a oneshot what-if story of what might have happened if the battle in episode 12 (manga volume 7, I believe) had gone a little differently and didn't end with Ophelia attacking Clare and eventually awakening. I hope you'll enjoy.

Disclaimer : I don't own Claymore. That honor belongs to Norihiro Yagi. Also, this story contains shoujo'ai and considering the nature of one of the characters involved, there might be some scenes that some might find disturbing.

Twisted Love

I've seen this happen so many times before. Raki stands there, on the other side of the campfire, full of anger and defiance. She knows just how to push his buttons to set him off. Anger is apparent on his face as he demands that she treats both me and herself with respect.

All it had taken to set Raki off was for her to claim that my parentage had been a pairing of barnyard proportions. I've heard it all before, and it doesn't hurt me anymore. Of course, Raki hates her so much all she needs to do is look at him to set him off.

She just stands there, smirking. As expected, she draws her blade and lets out a mocking laugh. The blade begins to ripple in her hand, and her bemused smile is replaced by a threatening glare. "See boy run," she mocks. "Run, boy! RUN!"

She resembles a savage wolverine looking ready to pounce. Though his resolve weakens somewhat, Raki foolishly continues to challenge her by trying to stare her down. Brave but, like I said, foolish.

I slowly shake my head in an attempt to dissuade him. He understands, fortunately, and backs down. He throws down the sword he had taken up in anger and bolts into the forest. Knowing Raki, he won't be far away and will probably be spying us from afar for a while.

The blade in her hand stops rippling and she sheaths it. She lets out a mocking laugh and sits down at the campfire again, resuming her quiet contemplation by staring into the fire.

"Must you do that?" I ask, barely being able to contain the disdain for her action in my voice.

"I wasn't going to hurt him... much," she replies with a chuckle. "Just maim him. He's still young. Young enough to learn how to live with three limbs left after I'd be done with him."

I narrow my eyes.

She scoffs. "Honestly, you invest far too much time and energy by keeping that boy around."

She's bluffing. I know she won't harm him. She won't harm him, because I asked her not to. That's one compromise she has made with me. Oh, she won't harm him physically... but mentally, that's a whole different story.

"Leave him alone," I say. But I know she won't listen.

"Hah!" she flashes me one of those fake charming smiles she does so well. "You are far too soft. One day, that'll cost you your head." She shakes her head and turns her attention elsewhere. Namely, one of the apples from our bag of travel rations. She takes a bite and her eyes never meet mine again.

I sigh and sit back against the nearest tree and watch her for a moment. She's been travelling with us for several weeks now, ever since that fateful fight with a powerful awakened being. I don't know why she wanted to tag along, other than a shared goal of wanting revenge on Priscilla... with the added perk of continuing to torture both me and Raki with her presence. I don't know why I've allowed her to tag along at the time, though it's not as if I could have stopped her from doing so.

At the time, she proclaimed rather arrogantly that I would never survive without her 'help'. Now, I have to admit that might quite possibly be true.

And as it stands now, I really wouldn't want her to go. I keep telling myself how much of an asset she will be in the coming battles. She is a single digit for a reason, after all. But that's not the real reason I don't want her to go...

I don't know why it happened. I know I never wanted it to happen, but in the weeks we travelled together, I found myself drawn to her as a moth to a flame. Among our kind, such unions are far from rare, but... I never expected it to be with the likes of her.

She is beautiful and terrible alike. I watch her as she loosens her braid, and gently starts brushing her long silver hair. This usually means she intends to retire to the bedroll soon... if we had a bedroll, that is. And I don't doubt she expects me to join her. What starts out with a tender touch usually ends in blood, bruises and the occasional broken bone.

Never her blood. Always mine.

Never her bruises. Always mine.

Never her occasional broken bone. Always mine.

And yet the soft kisses before all of that, are worth enduring all of it.

She is cruel by default, and she treats me and especially Raki as if we were something she's just scraped from underneath her boot. She fights to maim first and kill second. A day for her isn't complete unless she's threatened to viciously murder Raki at least five times. She lives for murder and if even half of the rumors about her are true, she is a monster worse than many of the youma we are sent out to destroy.

And yet...

One day, I found her resting. While she was leaning on her sword, she dreamt of things past. The occasional tear rolled over her cheek while she lamented the loss of a beloved brother in her sleep with whispered words. When I carefully asked her about it later, she nearly beheaded me on the spot and told me in no uncertain terms that I should mind my own business. But I know what I heard...

She remained unusually quiet for a day, and some days after the incident, I found a flower in my pack. It was a blood-red wild rose, full bloom and thick with thorns. The symbolism had been easy to recognize. Of course, she accused Raki of putting it in there and had spent the rest of the day indulging in psychological torture with the underlying threat of extreme violence. But I know Raki, and his expression was one of genuine surprise when she had accused him. Why did she put that rose there? Maybe she just needed an excuse to torture Raki. Maybe she was just playing mindgames with me. Maybe it was a genuine sign of affection, or maybe it was a sign of gratitude for caring enough to ask about her brother.

Truth is, she will never tell, so I will never know for certain.

I look to my side and see that she is ready brushing her hair. She is not just a cruel, but also a vain creature. She reties her braid and makes sure not a hair is out of place. 'There's nothing more annoying than having to clean caked youma-blood from your hair', she had once said.

I get up and walk towards her, sitting down next to her. She sneers at me for having invaded her personal space, but it passes. In an effort to create some tenderness between us, I shift towards her, close enough for her to touch me. She understands my silent invitation and seizes it. I close my eyes as she touches my cheek with the tips of her fingers.

I long for her touch. I long for her love. I long to feel her soft skin on mine. I can't help myself. I know she will hurt me, but I don't care. I can't deny the feelings inside me.

The flat of her palm lies on my cheek. My breath quickens as she gently caresses me.

I open my eyes to see the hilt of her sword just mere milliseconds before it hits me square in the face. Once again, my efforts are rewarded with pain.

I taste blood in my mouth as I land on my back. I find her straddling me, pinning me down. She bends forward over me to look me in the eye. Her face mere inches away, I can feel her warm breath on my skin.

"My, my," she grins. "Stop being so boring, Clare."

There's a sparkle in her beautiful eyes, hidden beneath a cruel edge which had been honed for years. I see in it a sparkle of hope, trapped underneath the years and years of pain, anger and loneliness she must have felt. But maybe I'm just seeing what I want to see and am deceiving myself.

She bends down and presses her lips on mine. This is the moment I've been waiting for all day. The gentle touch. The soft exploration. The moment of tranquil bliss. Her kiss is a trap I willfully allow myself to fall into. She presses her body against me and allows our kiss to deepen.

Silence before the storm. Bliss which will turn into pain before the night is done, both given to me by her in equal measure.

And so the game begins again. She is an addiction, giving me just enough to keep me wanting for more, then taking everything from me when I'm most vulnerable. She will drag me down to Hell with her and I will gladly let it happen.

I'm setting myself up for a bad fall, this much I know. What I've gotten myself into can't last. But as it stands, I ache for her to be with me, as cruel and dangerous she may be and as badly as she may treat me. I make no illusions that I could in any way 'save' her. But I can't let go of the ridiculous hope that, perhaps, she could one day love me as I love her.

Through her, I learned what a cruel and twisted thing love can be.

So endlessly more cruel and twisted than Ophelia could ever be.

Thanks for reading!