Characters: Clare, Raki, Teresa

Summary: It's almost painful. How much he reminds her of herself.

Notes: Anime-centric, with probably a small plot inconsistency or two. It's really been a while since I watched Claymore and started on this fic. Sadly enough, taking half a year for a short fic isn't anywhere close to my record of lazy writing.


The more she thinks about it, the more Raki reminds her of herself. When all the villagers locked themselves up to keep her away, he ran up to her. She almost killed him too. She didn't anything of it at that time, but she remembers now. That was how she met Teresa too. Everyone stood in a circle around Teresa, trying to stay as far away as possible. Just like how the villagers always stayed away from her. Clare walked up to the woman, and because they were the same and Clare thought that she would like it too if someone, anyone, could stand by her side. And then he followed her and annoyed her too. When she staked her sword into the ground for a nap, he followed that too. When Teresa had jumped off that cliff, she followed.

And the more she thinks about it, the more Raki seems to have spoken the words she never did.

"I was right there, yet I couldn't do anything." She saw her fight, four against the one of her. She saw the cut on her forehead, the blood running down across her eye. She saw her hands coming off. Clare saw Teresa die. And she couldn't do a damn thing about it. She stood there, motionless, useless. She couldn't even try to save the person most important to her. She just stood there, rooted to the spot. And when she took Teresa's head into her lap, she cried, not only because the only person who ever cared about, who ever loved her was dead, but because it was all her fault. She could've shielded Teresa with her body, she could've at least cried out a warning. But she didn't. Because she was weak and useless and cowardly. She hated herself for that.

"It may not look good but it's delicious." Clare would never say that she was hungry, because she was always afraid Teresa would find her a nuisance and suddenly decide to leave her, but Teresa could tell anyways. The first time, Teresa gave her a large fruit. Ugly and with an unripe green. She wasn't even sure if it was an edible fruit. But it was delicious anyways because it had been graced by Teresa's fingers.

"I'll grow stronger so that I can protect you someday!" She remembers the feeling herself. Standing there, helpless, watching Teresa die. Holding the head in her arms, the blood soaking into her pants. Crying and wishing and begging because she was so powerless, so useless. She hated herself. For the woman who did so much for her, all she could do was stand there because she was too afraid. For the woman who gave her everything, all she could give were tears and embraces. She knows she could have done nothing, not against Priscilla. But even so...even so…

"No matter what, I won't leave your side!" Not in life, not in death. Words she could never speak to Teresa. If it passed her lips, it would jinx it, it would tarnish the very magnitude of its meaning. But then what was she doing here? Living, when the only proof of Teresa's existence was in her veins? She doesn't remember the paralyzing fear anymore. Only the agony, the terrible regret she felt, holding that kind face in her hands, a face that once belonged to a woman she broke a grave, unspoken promise to. But even if she didn't have the courage to return her life to the woman who gave it to her, at least...

"Thank you." "I'll never forget you." It's what she thinks when she's dying. When she's tired and sleepy, and doesn't care about Priscilla anymore. When her body is in so much pain that it's numbing. She thinks only of the times she had with Teresa, that happiness that she has never felt for years upon years now. But she remembers, she always remembers. Watching Teresa die, and hating herself for it. To make things right, she can't die. For her savior, she must do something in return. It is long past the times that she can save Teresa in return, but revenge at the very least... If she avenged her, killed her usurper, Teresa could live on for all of eternity in legend. And that is close enough to a gift of immortality.

It's almost painful. How much he reminds her of herself.

But there are still differences. She didn't give up as much for Teresa as Raki had given up for her. And she could not care about Raki as much as Teresa had cared for her. Because Raki is not her, and she is not Teresa. And they never will be.