Disclaimer: I do not own Kamichama Karin, nor do I make any type of profit from submitting this sory.
Warnings/Notes: I am SO sorry for the belated update guys.
PLEASE NOTE I am making up the religious points as I go and they are not put in to offend anyone. I am not at all versed in the Japanese religion of Buddhism or anything of the sort. I am creating a religious point of view that suits my story and it is not meant to disgrace, shame, or mock any other existing belief.
Sleep overcame the two of them in a powerful wave, and neither woke until nearly noon the next day. Kazune blinked his blue eyes into focus and came to stare into jade ones, watery and glossed over. Before he could get the chance to form rational thoughts Karin ducked her head away under the quilts and swiped angrily away at them with the back of her hand. She hadn't been awake much longer than Kazune, in fact, she'd only roused herself out of her own slumber ten minutes before her self-deemed master, however, she had awakened quickly, a sharp, choked gasp catching in first her chest and then her throat.
She could barely recall the nightmare she'd been having. The memory came to her in a fuzzy mess of mumbled words and darkness, and so when Kazune jerked the blankets off of her, naturally fear did not cause her to react right away. She couldn't bring herself to look up at him, she was still caught up in trying to piece together the lost fragments of her dream, and so she sat, shaking and crying subconsciously as his hands, now cold and angry, wrapped themselves around her arms.
"Stop being so childish!" He snarled harshly down at her, but her tears did not stop at this, and she only dabbed away at them again when they clouded her line of vision. Gazing intently down at the stark white bed sheet she still gripped in her trembling hands she ignored the humming that was her soul mates voice in the back of her mind. Her thoughts raced at such a pace that she could barely be considered coherent.
And then it occurred to her what had unnerved her so, "Kazune-kun." She stated in a mechanical voice that had distracted the man gripping her, ultimately resulting in her getting away with addressing him in such a manor, "You killed them all, didn't you?" She inquired as her eyes filled with fresh tears and she tore herself away from him.
"What?" He spat at her, "What the hell are you going on about?" He demanded to know as she abandoned her hold on the bed sheets to have an easier time of fighting him off.
"All of the people in my village, all of the babies and the mothers and the children…" She whispered, "YOU KILLED THEM FOR NO GOOD REASON! YOU SICK BASTARD!"
"NO!" She roared, "I don't care-"
"I SAID NO! YOU-" But a rough slap cut her short.
"God damn it just shut up and listen to me!" He shouted as her hand rose to the reddened area of her face. She looked up at him with the memories of the night previous now burning through her veins, the comatose in her blood, which slowed her own breathing to an almost frightening leisure when her eyes met his. "Those people had no chance of survival anyway, I saved them from themselves, they'd have started killing each other for food-water-"
"You're wrong!" Karin shouted, vigorously shaking her head, "You're wrong…" She whispered, but a part of her knew that perhaps what he was saying made sense. She'd seen the betrayal in the eyes of many of the old and sick, and some days she remembered how she found herself wondering if she'd ever be free of it. "That gave you no right to kill them!" She exclaimed in protest, "They had enough time to live that maybe things would've turned around, if you'd have just let the gods do their job you'd have seen that!"
"What job!" Kazune roared, "To let them suffer at the hands of their so-called comrades because they're slightly better off than the rest? I showed them mercy Karin, can't you see that!"
"You killed babies and children!" She exclaimed, "What's your excuse for that?"
"They'd have never survived the cold anyway!" He spat.
"They were doing just fine before you came along!" She challenged, "You killed unborn babies too! Don't you realize that, the shop keep's daughter was a good friend of mine, she was due any day and you slaughtered her like she was nothing!" She sobbed as she tried to work up enough feeling in her shaky legs to leap up from the bed and run as fast and far away as possible.
"Don't try to make me out to be a murderer you stupid woman!" Another slap resounded about the room as his hand connected with her face in a harsh reminder of her place. "I did those people a favor and whether you're just too young or stupid to realize that now doesn't concern me. I won't here anymore about it! Got that!"
She should've known the man last night was a dream, a figment of her imagination that was too good to be true. Tears welled up in her eyes as she realized that this was the man she'd be spending the rest of her life with, whether she liked it or not. A man who killed children and worked adults to the bone for his own sick pleasure and gain. She fought back the urge to vomit as she sat on the bed paling considerably.
"You don't understand." Came his voice to her again, she was only half-listening, his words interested her but not enough for her to give him her full attention. Not after all he'd said and done to her. No, she still had her dignity and she planned to keep it. "You'll never understand." He added, "No chosen one ever wants to kill, no one ever asks to take on any of this!" He exclaimed shaking his head as he grasped under her chin and forced her to look at him.
"If you didn't agree to it they wouldn't have burdened you with it!" Karin snapped as she averted her eyes.
Kazune gave a short and bitter laugh, "Not true." His tones were cold but not harsh; "If you are the only one that they think can survive the trials with your sanity they will burden you with anything. That's just your life as a chosen one." He explained.
Karin fought away her tears as the pounding in her head that had accumulated from all her crying intensified, "The gods are merciful…"
"They cannot be merciful to everyone at once." He replied, "While some must suffer for others sins half of the world is relieved and half descends into darkness until the time comes that the weaker half has enough faith, enough strength, to stand on their own. If they do not, they are sent up to be judged."
"Judged?" Karin asked, and at this Kazune's hold on her loosened and he dropped his hand to his side.
"Ones who are righteous and who have lived the way the gods have asked will be reborn and brought back down to earth to have another chance at living and supporting the others around them. Ones who have failed to live out life to the will of the gods who granted it to them in the first place will be punished." He explained, Karin was still waiting for him to turn back to the cold-hearted, monstrous man he normally did when she tried to have a normal conversation with him, but such did not happen.
"Punished?" She once again questioned, hesitantly this time because she knew when she spoke Kazune would be annoyed at her stupidity, "They're dead, how can they feel anything…?" She asked, and to her surprise he was willing to explain this to her as well.
"Has no one ever explained this to you before?" He asked, and Karin shook her head no.
"I didn't grow up in a place where they believed in more than one god." She replied, "In fact, in the orphanage, they didn't teach us to believe in much of anything, I just always had a feeling that there was something out there greater than any of us down here." She informed him as she fell back down on the bed, feeling weak and sick to her stomach, her head still pounding in an unmatched fury.
Kazune snorted in disgust, "Because you're a chosen one it doesn't surprise me that you had such an intuition but the people with no belief are scum and deserved to die, Apollo having sent me and my men there now makes sense."
"No one des-"
"If the gods have willed it then they do…Karin." He snapped without meaning to. "Just let me finish and you'll understand."
Karin swallowed the lump in her throat and clutched at her head with fingers that begged for the pain to stop. "Talking about punishment, you mean?" She then inquired in a weak and shaky voice.
Kazune ignored her change in tone, thinking that she was just tired, "About everything." He provided before picking up where he left off, "The gods will punish you based on the weight of your sins and which sins you're guilty of." He began, "For example, if you are greedy, and do not give in return as much as you have been given you will be stripped of all your clothes and made to bear the lash as many times as they see fit to make up for your selfishness." Karin grimaced at the irony of a chosen one fitting that description.
"What if a chosen one is guilty of a sin?" She asked as she took deep and muffled breaths to try and calm her stomach pains.
"As a chosen one you do the work of the god who has granted you some of his or her power." He explained, "However, you still have the faults and free-will of man-kind and cannot be free of all sin, only if you, or any one who is not chosen for that matter, prove guilty of having committed a deadly sin, are you punished. Because you are chosen you are punished just the same as anyone else, you are not given special treatment, nor are you thought lesser of because of your mistakes."
"I see." Karin mumbled as her body began to shake and then convulse at the violent pains taking over her in waves of agony.
"Other sins you will be pu-Karin what the hell are you doing?" He stopped mid-sentence to ask; his tones riddled with anger and annoyance at her inability to sit still during what could possibly be the most important and beneficial conversation of her life.
Karin meanwhile, though her mind was clouded from the pain she was currently enduring, thought back to everything Kazune had just said. Her people would've killed themselves over food and water, which Kazune had plenty of, and yet, instead of giving it to them, he killed them to supposedly be 'merciful.' She laughed at the irony of it all, and reminded herself to bring that up…now…before she forgot.
"Kazune-kun…" She whispered, "Why didn't you just give them your food and water…they'd have repaid you…" She fought back a coughing fit and cleared her throat to fight away the itching sensation that'd risen in it, "They're good people…."
Kazune's eyes widened, "They were sick Karin." He told her, and both of them came to the shocking realization, they were sick like was right now…this very second. "Karin can you breathe alright?" He asked.
She began to cough as the sensation in her throat heightened into something she couldn't ignore. She felt her chest pull tight as coughs ripped through her and blood rose in her raw throat. The taste of bile infusing with the metallic, iron like substance made her want to vomit, and her inability to get her breath was already causing her to gag.
Sighing whilst swearing under his breath Kazune grabbed and wrapped his arm around her to sit her up, patting and rubbing her back roughly to tame her coughing fit, "Karin…" He whispered in determination as the spell died down and she was left to wheeze weakly at his side. "When was the last time you ate something?" He asked her in tones that revealed the tension he was feeling.
"The morning before…before you came for me…" Her eyes felt heavy and her bones tired. Every muscle in her body ached and screamed out in pain from working so hard without being in top condition. The wounds from the whip and cane pulled tight against the flesh that was trying to heal over and she winced as she lay flat, trying to keep her muscles from contracting and bringing on stronger, more painful spasms.
He growled as he got dressed and snatched up his whip, "That'll never do…" He muttered as he threw open the door, allowing the lights from the hall to bleed through the doorway. Without knowing why Karin shut her eyes, though the light wasn't all that bright, it was foreign, and killing her head. "Don't move." He instructed, had she the strength she'd have rolled her eyes, yes, she was really gonna catch the next train to America the second he left.
Soon he disappeared from view leaving her in the darkened room alone to wonder how her friends were holding up and what Mai and Akina were doing this very minute. Maybe, she thought to herself, they were sick too, and wouldn't let on for her sake. Maybe they were suffering like this, maybe they had been every night in the few hours they were allowed sleep.
Her eyes closed as she bowed her head and allowed tears for them to come for a final time while conscious. She could hear Himeka's voice from a far away place, calling to her, screaming and begging for her to listen, to move, she tried but could not. She could feel her breath becoming harder to catch, the ability to breathe leaving her completely and her weak body succumbing to the struggle. The world slipped into blackness as she felt a strange, new pair of hands grasp one of her own. She decided then as darkness took her, that she liked the feel of it.
"Kazune-kun." Himeka whispered as tears stung behind her eyes, threatening to force their way down her face. "Will she be alright?"
He gave a curt nod and pulled out a glass syringe. The cruel vessel of an unhealing medication, "She'll be alright soon." Each day he said it, and each day there was no improvement, her fever burned and spiked relentlessly. Doctors said they feared it was the fever and told them to stay away, but the two of them knew better. Apollo had warned Kazune of such a tragedy.
He was informed the first night that Karin had taken ill of a time when a man had done cruel things to her, her illness came from him, and Kazune could heal her only if he held enough faith and love in his heart to truly want it.
She'll be fine, he told himself.
But it has been three days, she has had no way of getting food, and he can feel even Himeka beginning to lose faith.
When he removed the syringe and replaced the bloody patch that covered the wound with a clean one he rose from the bed, "Kazune-kun, where are you going?" Himeka asked in a panic.
"Not far." He replied. She didn't question him further and he turned to exit the room, upon catching sight of him all of the servants straightened, most with tears of worry in their eyes. It was rare to catch a glimpse of their troubled and sleep-deprived master now, and they all understood why. Many times they thought of asking how their friend was, praying for her at night to give her back the hope she'd restored within them when she first came, but they couldn't find their voices.
He walked passed them with unforgiving eyes; "You're lucky this house has been kept so well without me having to order you around." He growled to them as he took a lantern and made his way down the stairs into the basement library, he'd reward them for their hard work, even if they were beneath him, they deserved it.
Upon coming to the library he found what he was searching for, he pulled the book of scriptures from the shelf and a blinding blue-white light engulfed him. Before him now sat a pillow on a table, in which were two rings, one he knew as his own, and one which he assumed-hoped-prayed belonged to Karin. Uncertain hands grasped his own and slipped it on, abandoning the book for a moment, then grasping it again he ran upstairs and back where he belonged at the infernal girl's side.
"Himeka stay up here and wait for us." He said as he gathered her into his arms, laying the scripture book on her chest and maneuvering her bridal style in his arms to carry her down to the basement. If the ring was hers it would find a way to return to her hand where it rightfully belonged, but if it was not, he would have to search for it, and by the time he found it, he was almost certain it would be too late.
Kneeling on the ground with her still in hand he prayed to Apollo for strength and guidance. Now, having come this far with her, he figured he wanted her to be better enough for it to come to pass. Then, laying her gently on the ground and grasping the ring, which gravitated instantly onto Karin's finger, he smirked in triumph.
The book of scriptures in his hands flew out of them and onto the ground beside the brunette before wildly throwing itself open to a pre-selected page. On it was a riddle.
Foolish mortal with wrath in your heart,
You cannot escape death's angry art.
You do not love her and prove this I will,
Though I pose a proposition for my kill.
If you pass my test alone,
I'll restore her, skin, heart, and bone.
But should you fail you're soul will be mine,
And I shall tread the earth divine.
If my challenge has interested you,
Come exploring; trade your sense for the view.
But hurry dear boy; don't let the sun rise,
Or your so-called love will forever close her eyes.
The book in his hand closed swiftly and the writing on the page disappeared. Staring straight ahead into the portal of light that awaited him he cursed the only option he had left with anger that could match that of the gods of death.
"Wait for me Karin." He whispered at her, "I'll be back soon…"