Puppets in a Tragedy Part 1

Summary: It's ironic that the future Bookman of all people should possess the heart of innocence, but as it turns out, the burden is not something one with a heart could bear. Too bad Lavi has not completely cast his aside yet.

A/N: ...This is strange and potentially very confusing. Feel free to ask any questions if you have them.


1.1

The feeling was subtle at first. A slight unease that made the hairs on the back of his neck stand on end. Within the space of an hour that unease had grown enough to end a chill right down to his bones, making goosebumps stand up on his pale skin. A quick ok in the mirror revealed his pallid, clammy complexion and the fear-dilated pupil in his visible eye.

He pulled his exorcists coat and scarf tighter around his body in an attempt to relieve the icy terror that gripped him, and tried to focus on the small print on the book in front of him. His efforts where futile, the writing was obscured with phantom images of blood and the agonised screams resonating in an endless loop in his ears made it impossible to concentrate. Eventually these images evolved to show him dark, defiant eyes and a rebellious grin that refused to be broken even long after the light of awareness had faded from those eyes.

Two hours later, when Lenalee's tear streaked face appeared around the door, the news of those who returned from Sicily she brought was no longer a surprise to him.

1.2

Autopsy Report of Yuu Kanda

Occupation: Exorcist of the Black Order

Sex: Male

Date of Birth: 6th June 18XX

Date of Death: 18th November 18XX (aged 19 at time of death)

Many superficial wounds sustained on the face, arms and torso. The cuts are short (between 2 and 5.5 inches long) and thin, never going more than an inch deep, and most likely inflicted by a blade. In addition to these, severe burns are on the hands, primarily across the palms of the hands, which extend approximately half way up the forearms. Significant bruising is sustained on the chest, face and head. The right shoulder is dislocated. Besides a fractured left ankle, no major wounds have been inflicted below waist height.

Only five penetrative wounds have been identified. One to the chest, which went three inches deep though missed any internal organs. Three to the abdomen of which one missed the vital organs and two pierced the large and small intestines. These would have resulted in severe internal bleeding, though the fifth wound to the throat, which extends far enough to pierce both the trachea and the oesophagus in addition to the major artery, was most likely the fatal wound.

In addition to the internal damage described above, parts of the liver and pancreas are missing and a puncture in the left lung has been discovered, though no external wounds can be found to explain how these where inflicted.

1.3

When Lavi was a child of a different name, he had met an old woman at an inn in Greece.

"Well, aren't you the sweet looking one. You don't see colouring like yours around here often, if you stick around in a few years all the girls will be falling over themselves for you. Oho, don't look at me like I'm crazy, boy. Here, come sit down and I'll tell you a story. I know a good one about a prophetess of ancient times. Don't pretend you're not interested now, it's written plain as day all over your face. Now, there's a good boy, come it next to me and I'll begin.

Long ago, there lived a princess of Troy named Cassandra. She was so beautiful that when the Sun God Apollo saw her, he fell in love. He came to her and offered her the gift of foresight, the ability to see the future, in return for her affections. She accepted, and the gift was given, but when it was time for her to hold up her end of the bargain, he refused him. Of course, Apollo was infuriated. But even the gods cannot be so dishonourable as to take away a gift already given. So instead he cursed her, while her predictions may always be true, no one would ever believe what she said.

Cassandra scoffed at the idea. What would it matter to her who believed her and who didn't? Until the day came that her brother Paris was to go to the city of Sparta. She foresaw that he would bring back with him the source of much future suffering for the people Troy. When she tried to warn him of this, he waved her away, laughing that such a thing wasn't possible. And so he left, but of course, when he returned, he brought with him Cassandra's prophesised downfall of Troy.

His lover. The most beautiful woman on Earth, and the wife of King Menelaus of Sparta, Queen Helen of Sparta.

Naturally, King of Menelaus was furious, and so he brought his army to the gates of Troy. Bitterly they fought, and many great soldiers fell on both sides. Until years later, when Cassandra had another vision, this time of a great horse within the city, and Troy burning all around. But once again, when she tried to warn the people of Troy, she was immediately dismissed, and when the Greeks supposedly surrendered and left a giant wooden horse, the symbol of Troy, outside the city gates, she realised with dread that her prediction once again was becoming truth.

That night, the people of Troy drank themselves to their beds in celebration of their 'victory', and as they slept, an army slipped out of the treasured 'gift' they had brought into the city.

That night, the city burned, and most of the Royal Family was slaughtered.

Cassandra, though, she was lucky. She survived, and was brought as a prize to King Agamemnon of Mycenae. But seeing the agony she was suffering, he chose to release her. To let her live her life as she pleased, and to move past her sorrow. Cassandra fell in love with him right then and there.

So she returned with him to Greece, not as a slave but as a lover. On the Journey there, he bore him two children, and she was happy. Until one day, not long before they reached their destination, she foresaw her own death, and that of her lover and children, waiting for them in Mycenae.

Upon telling her vision to Agamemnon, he of course ignored her warnings as all those she had told had done before. She cursed her fate, and Apollo, for giving her both her blessing and her curse, but she knew, deep down, that she and no one else had brought both upon her. And so she was left with the burden of knowing her future and yet being utterly powerless against it.

And, just as she predicted, barely a day after their arrival, the four of them were slaughtered in the bath by the King's treacherous wife and her lover. Her story ends, just like that.

It's an interesting story, isn't it boy? That Cassandra truly was as blessed as she was cursed. But let me tell you, boy, there's no story on Earth worth telling that doesn't involve death, or love, or both. They're the true blessings and curses of humanity. Oho, you're giving me that look again. You do think I'm crazy, don't you? Well, that doesn't matter. Just remember what I said to you, and one day you'll understand. When you're older. You'll understand the curse and blessing that lie within both death and love."

1.4

With all the active exorcists packed into it in addition to the books and paperwork strewn around the room, Komui's typically claustrophobic office felt even more so than usual.

To one side stood the generals, all leaning casually against the wall except for Tiedoll, still crying over the death of his student, as his last elder disciple Mari tried to console him despite the fact that he looked every bit as grief stricken as his master. The younger, Chaoji, stood awkwardly to one side, still too new to the group to understand his role in their dynamics in such a foreign situation.

On the couch in the centre of the room sat Miranda and Lenalee, the latter curled in the foetal position with her head in the former's lap as she stroked a comforting hand through her hair. Krory stood behind them, his expression unusually blank as though he were not quite sure of which feelings would be appropriate. His eyes were fixed on Komui, about to address them all, but whose gaze kept flickering between the back wall (to avoid eye contact with anyone) and the middle of them room (where his distraught sister, even hours later, was still grieving). His face spoke more than words ever could of how torn he was between his duty as their Supervisor and his preferred role as an older brother.

But the star of the show; the one Lavi had expected would be telling them what he'd seen, what they'd lost, and how it happened; remained curled up on the chair that was usually found behind Komui's desk, but had been pulled out and set in front so as to make it visible to the rest of the rooms occupants. His face was hidden by his knees, though he was still identifiable by his trademark white hair and innocence. His face didn't need to be visible for the rest of the people in the room to know the weight of guilt and responsibility he must have felt over the whole thing, one simply had to know him.

And of course, ever the observers, Lavi and Bookman stood in the corner that allowed them the most uninhibited view of the room whilst making them the least noticeable.

Eventually, Komui spoke. Not the expected speech honouring a fallen comrade, but something that invoked something like the feeling of an icy, clawed hand gripping Lavi's internal organs, forcing his vision to swim and the breath to catch in his throat.

"We believe that the one compatible with the Heart is already a user, and that this user at the very least suspects that they may possess the Heart after this latest incident."

Stunned looks were exchanged by all but four of the room's occupants. Komui, who had delivered the shocking news. Allen, perhaps too absorbed in his grief to have heard a word that was said, but most likely knew anyway. Lavi, who was too preoccupied trying to appear outwardly calm. And finally Bookman, who saw through his pupil's facade immediately and simply fixed him with a gaze tat pierced him with its knowledge.

1.5

Bookman's expression held all the words he'd been unable to say at that point in time:

"I cannot believe you've slipped this far."

"Do not stray from your path as an observer."

"People are merely subjects to be written about. He is no different."

"Do not allow your innocence to get too close to you."

"I know what you suspect."

"You should have told me there was something wrong."

And deep beneath them all:

"Don't worry, boy, I'll help you."

tbc