Disclaimer: I don't own Black Lagoon; Rei Hiroe does.
Author's Notes: This short story is based off the Tragedy and Spiritual series in Emiko87's Black Lagoon Drabbles. Many thanks to her for permission to post this.
If There Be Redemption
Eda used to be Catholic. Nowadays, she plays at being a nun because she loves the irony that comes with the black veil and heavy drinking, the gold cross and polished Glock.
Now she looks down and decides that she's tired of this costume.
Dutch wasn't a stupid man. When he purchased the area – four plots big enough for cremation boxes, justifying that it was better than dumping their carcasses in a random shithole – Yolanda had smiled and taken delicate care of the situation.
No one expected them to fill up so quickly.
Eda bore the loss of Dutch and Benny with quiet composure, but Rock's death sent a small shockwave through her – and Roanapur. The easygoing Japanese man had been so well known that when Rico performed funeral rites for him, most of the town had aimlessly drifted in and out of the church to simply say goodbye.
And through it all, Revy was nowhere to be found. Two days later, when she didn't turn up at the Yellow Flag or any of her old stomping grounds, Eda went hunting. The Black Lagoon was sitting in its usual port, patiently waiting for her crew to come home, and on the farthest end of the dock lay Revy Two-Hands, peacefully dead in the moonlight.
Eda wasn't surprised. In the end, rather than waste money, she had the gravediggers drop Revy and Rock's urns in the same plot. She figured Rock wouldn't mind sharing, and though Revy would have pitched a bitch-fit, Eda knew her friend was most content when at his side.
And here they are, all together again, and Eda wonders what she's doing. Her intention was to visit them, sling back a shot to honor the dead, and walk away without looking back, but a light breeze brings the scent of earth and sunlight, and she decides that another minute isn't going to hurt.
"One last drink for the road," she says softly, bending down and pouring Bacardi on the double-grave.
Her other hand touches the stone, and when her fingers trace the cross carved into the left-hand side, it's like an electric shock. Every stone in the graveyard has one, Eda remembers, but what shakes her is the thought that, under the tenets of the cross, Revy – hell, all four of them – wouldn't be anywhere but Down. For all the shit that they lived through, none would be given the chance to find happiness beyond here.
It's so far past irony that it's injustice, and Eda can't stop the righteous anger from stirring her into action. In one perfect move she stands, spins on her heel, and throws the bottle against the nearest tree. It rains rum and glass, and she lets out a string of profanities that would awe the Sodomites.
When she's through, her legs give out and her ass hits the newly-tilled ground. "Fucking messed up," she whispers to Revy. "No wonder you pissed religion away."
But it's as if God Himself summoned her to speak, and Eda feels an old familiar passage come to life, falling from her lips with lyrical softness.
" 'For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins,' " she says, letting the last five words slowly slide from her tongue to echo in the air like restless ghosts.
She hasn't thought of that passage since her father died, since she stopped going to church like she meant it and made a gruesome mockery of her faith.
"Ephesians 1: 14-15," says a familiar voice. It surprises her, but she doesn't get up or turn around. Yolanda moves like a goddamn shadow. If Eda jumped every time the old woman snuck up on her, she'd have gone neurotic years ago. "A lovely phrase for the newly departed."
Yolanda doesn't add anything. Eda has a habit of letting her mouth rule her brain, and today's no different.
"Don't know why I'm so pissed off. Not like I've never had friends or family die. It's just that this doesn't seem right. Not that it ever is, I guess…," and she rubs the heel of her palm to her forehead because words are harder to deal with than bullets.
"Tell me what's on your mind," Yolanda says, her voice serene while demanding truth. Though she's no more a nun than Eda is, there is the sense that Yolanda isn't acting as much as she'd like others to think.
And Eda's willing to play along because – and she'll never admit it – she trusts the older woman. With a sigh, deflating her anger away, she asks, "Do you believe in salvation? That even though you're fucked up and did fucked up things to other people, that maybe there are second chances? That maybe… you know-"
"That there is, perhaps, the chance to find joy and happiness in a world that is not this one?" Yolanda finishes.
Eda waits for elucidation; it doesn't come. Not-quite-silence hangs in the air, with the distant sounds of Roanapur riding the wind, but the graveyard is a tranquil place once again.
So rather than break the calm, Yolanda touches Eda's shoulder before handing off a small bouquet of flowers. They're an eclectic mix of colors; electric chamomile, temper-red poppies, thoughtful blue irises. Jungle ivy tightly binds the stems together. Eda studies it and decides that, for all the mismatched scents and sights, it's still beautiful. She lays the bouquet down with a gentleness that only the dead witness.
"Revy would laugh her ass off if she knew someone was putting flowers on her grave. Dutch and Benny too, though Rock would blush himself sick," Eda muses aloud. "God, I'm gonna miss 'em. I just hope they're happier now."
Yolanda's voice is full of satisfaction as she says, "And that is your answer," then walks away as quickly and quietly as she arrived.
It takes Eda a while to understand, but when she does the awareness makes her feel a little light-headed. There's no choir of angels to echo her revelation; no holy light to bear witness.
Still, she thinks she might try believing again.
The bells are sounding behind her and Eda checks her watch; church starts in ten minutes. With a groan she stands up, brushing dirt from her habit's skirt and flicking the veil off her shoulders.
Then she laughs – fiercely, joyfully, defiantly – just as she does when issuing a challenge that she knows Revy won't back down from. Ripping off her sunglasses, Eda screams like a madwoman to the sky.
"You better be banging Rock like a horny teenager, you butch bitch, or the next time I see you, I'll kick your sorry ass to Hell and rape him like a Japanese schoolgirl!"
Still grinning, she slides her glasses back on and strides towards the church, the scent of poppies following her like an old friend's violent cursing and carefree laughter rolled into one.
Author's Notes: Part of the reason why I was hesitant to post this online is that it's a rather gentle treatment of Eda's character. Though she's tough as hell, I play with the idea that she's still holding to her humanity through religion (despite what she might say or do), and that she's a little closer to twilight than the pure darkness that most of Roanapur lives in.
Still, I wanted to write this because I wanted answers. I remembered that, at the end of the Vampire Twins arc, they were shown walking into the sunrise, so I wondered, 'did Revy ever see Rock again'? And, due to lives and deaths they led, the answer would be a dark, unhappy 'no'. Both me and Eda thought that to be wrong, so… this whole story came to life. I leave it a little open-ended about the exact nature of Eda's revelation, but in the end we both decided in favor of joy rather than sorrow.