by green see-through ghosts
Reviews are always appreciated.
"Old man! Hey! Old MAN-"
The look sent in Daisya Barry's direction was not quite a glare, but neither was it General Tiedoll's usual reassuring smile, and the message it sent was as clear as the light shining from what seemed like a thousand chandeliers chained to the ceiling.
Shut. Up. Right. Now.
After four years together, that was all the warning Daisya needed. There were some things that were routine for the pair of them -- the wisecracks, the rebuff, the insults, the comeback. All done in a suitable master/student relationship, of course.
But this -- now, this was not routine. If anything, this was the opposite of routine, and Daisya Barry suspected that his curly-haired and bespectacled master was as uncomfortable as he was. After all, they only ever frequented the Black Order's Chapel upon the misfortune of losing a comrade; to come here now, without reason, felt like stroking the head of a rabid dog. So near the teeth that could bring you down, and yet attempting to act like nothing was wrong.
The young exorcist glanced sideways at Tiedoll, who still knelt, head slightly bowed, lips moving impossibly slow. In prayer? Daisya wondered, then mentally shook his head. If Tiedoll really wanted to pray, he would've gone out into the earth somewhere, out into some boring landscape where he'd sit or kneel, perhaps facing the sun, perhaps the moon. He'd done it often enough when they were on the road to cement the fact: Tiedoll didn't need to come here to pray.
Who would? The place was basically a cemetery, and Daisya had never met anyone whose preferred place of prayer was amongst the dead.
The General ignored him, and with a low sigh, Daisya turned his head to look up into the chapel. It's only big because of all the bodies it has to hold sometimes, he thought to himself in an attempt to remain un-awed by the domed ceiling and glittering glass hanging over their heads. And the rows of pews lined across the brick floor...usually they're in storage, so there was no way he could have admired the fine dark wood before. And the cross hanging in front of them -- well, a cross was a cross, wasn't it? Who cared what it was made of or, like this one, how elaborate it was. It was just another cross...
But, despite his bravado, Daisya couldn't help being awed by the Black Order Chapel. It was the waif's reaction to gape at this sort of finery -- especially now that Kanda wasn't around to make fun of him. Not that he gaped; Daisya had too much dignity for that. But neither did he give a thought to prayer as he twisted a little on his knees to get a better look at the wall-carvings lining the back wall. He wouldn't exactly call this place beautiful -- gushing over appearance was Tiedoll's job anyways -- but it was magnificent in a cold, imperious sort of way.
He didn't like it.
Tiedoll gave up on his prayers with a sigh and turned towards the young boy kneeling beside him, arms crossed inside his Exorcist cloak, eyes narrowed beneath the hood.
"What is it, Daisya?"
"Can I go now?"
Tiedoll sighed and let his head drop again, though it was not out of reverence.
"Daisya, you haven't said a single prayer."
"But you didn't make Kanda or Marie come!" the student complained in a whiny tone, causing Tiedoll to pause for a moment, because it was very true, and he couldn't deny that it was semi-unfair. But of course, neither Kanda nor Marie needed what he wanted to give Daisya in this time, and it wouldn't have been fair to force them to attend.
"I haven't made you take your hood off," Tiedoll reminded him in hopes that the unsubtle threat about this sensitive subject would quiet his student.
"That's...that's not comparable!" Daisya hissed, only keeping his voice low because it would have felt wrong to yell in the Chapel. (Not to mention that the extensive echoes would not have been worth it.) Instead, he shook his head vehemently, and the Charity Bell tinkled through the cold air of the church, leaving a sort of golden resonance in its wake.
"Of course it is," Tiedoll replied casually as the bell's tinkles faded. "Anything is comparable; it's just not always applicable."
"...Whatever, old man. Can I go?"
"Pray, Daisya: if for nothing else than your soul."
"My soul is fine, old man!"
Tiedoll went back to his prayers, and Daisya went back to silently pouting. Not that he'd ever admit that he was sulking. No, Daisya was just...
Sulking. What an interesting word.
With a long, loud, over-exaggerated sigh, Daisya bowed his head a quarter of an inch; the Charity Bell rang in the movement. He didn't know what he was doing, but it sure as hell wasn't praying. How did one pray, even? His family had never been particularly religious, and especially not this kind of religious. His mother had been "revived" a few times, and gone into spazations of hymns before dinner and verses painted on door-mantles, but those had never lasted. And it wasn't like this, anyways. Those were passion-full moments, whenever she was so excited about Salvation that she couldn't keep it to herself, and the overflow just sort of swamped the rest of them.
But, like he said, they never lasted.
This was different. This was cold, formal, big, and Daisya got the feeling that this room had been there for a while, and always would, thank you very much. Was it supposed to make you feel important -- praying in this room, that is? Was it supposed to make you feel like you were actually somebody, since you had this whole big chapel just to pray in?
Were you supposed to feel peace in the grandeur?
Well, it didn't make Daisya feel important -- far from it, in fact. It made him feel exceptionally small and…worthless. If he was going to pour his heart out to someone -- God or no -- this wasn't the place he wanted to do it in. He couldn't imagine coming across anything loving in this kind of place, and he swore that his mother used to say that God was nothing if not loving.
"Hush, Daisya. You'll stay till I leave."
He debated cursing, but then decided against it. He didn't really want to end up like some others who cursed God in his house...not that he could remember what had happened to them; he was just sure it was something bad.
But honestly. He was old enough now that if he just got up and walked out, Tiedoll couldn't have done much without resorting to violence. And what General would drop so low…?
...all of them.
Daisya sighed, again, and lifted his head to stare up at the cross ingrained in the wall before them. Of all the bits of this room, every fine thing and imperious decoration, this was the topper. Why the hell would they stick that morbid bit of history up there in front of everyone? It seemed like a joke, especially when there was one so spiked, curved and decorated as this one. It was an instrument of death, after all. Why attempt to brighten the appearance?
There was a word for it, he knew, but it took him a moment to fish it out of the back of his mind.
Idolization. How Marie idolized Kanda when they'd been little. How they all idolized Tiedoll. How small children idolized them.
Except, it was different, because as far as Daisya knew, there was a whole lot of him that could be used for more than killing.
He sighed, again, and dropped his eyes. Not in a head-bow, of course, because that would signify respect -- reverence, even, and Daisya has neither of these. Not even in this place, this chapel, because after all, it was just a room, and the only thing that made it any different from the dining hall was the decor and that damn cross.
Anyways, most of these guys in the dining hall probably idolized Jerry more than Jesus.
Daisya stifled a laugh at the thought of the cook up there on the cross, ladle in hand, hat on head, last words to everyone to eat well and never, ever, settle for poorly-cooked food!
Still, he thought, growing solemn up as he took another glance at the cross. Was someone actually listening? Even if it was only a lower-level angel...did anyone actually hear the words they said in this place? Was it something about the ceiling that let the words get through; did they have more of a chance of reaching God from here?
Anyways, what did he have to pray about in here? He felt like bringing up anything selfish would have turned the stairs to hell into a slick ramp; but what else was there to pray about? Prayer was a selfish thing anyways, Daisya thought, eyes narrowing slightly. And yet...
...Tiedoll prayed. And he wasn't exactly selfish. A bit of a jerk sometimes, and such a prick, but not really selfish. In fact, he was so irritatingly unselfish sometimes, like now, when he insisted on keeping Daisya around for what he thought was his own good...
...and Tiedoll didn't like the chapel either. It didn't take much to figure it out; you just needed to look at how stiff he was, how unenthusiastic he'd been, how firm that Kanda and Marie didn't need to come. It was as if he wouldn't even think of resigning anyone who didn't need it to this room.
But he thought Daisya needed it? Needed what?
Maybe...he could pray for his team, right? That wouldn't be entirely selfish. Daisya stifled another laugh as he thought of what their reaction would be; Tiedoll might let loose a few tears, Marie would stare, his eyes going wide, and Kanda would 'che' and wisecrack something about him praying for their early demise. Even in this room...no one would take him seriously. He didn't want them to. So that was that. He'd say a little prayer -- God bless Kanda, the bastard, Marie, the weirdo, and Tiedoll, the jerk -- and then his goodbyes.
But was that how it went? How long did your average prayer have to be? And how...positive...did he need to pretend to be?
Even the word made him shudder. Daisya and optimism, while not worst enemies, didn't exactly get alone. He and Kanda left the optimism to Maria and Tiedoll, which, in their minds, was exactly where it should be.
So, a prayer. If he was out in a forest somewhere, by himself, maybe he'd pray out loud. Maybe he'd talk to the trees. Maybe, if he felt like it was listening, he'd turn his face towards the sky and chat with the clouds.
Maybe he'd forget about praying with the first leaf that brushed over his hood.
Okay. So he didn't have the greatest attention span. Was that any reason to ban a man from the House of God?
...not that he thought this was the house of god. Actually, if he thought about it, he figured God would want more than a single room for a house, and anyways, he'd probably prefer somewhere safer than the Black Order. Or just more peaceful, since Komui couldn't seem to get it through his head that robots did not equal ease and flow in the work force. This place, all shadows mixed with bright light and shining ornaments, probably wasn't what any god wanted.
Not that Daisya would know.
He was still for a long while, both inside and out, as Tiedoll continued to pray and the Charity Bell continued to chime at every slight movement. Usually, it was a cheerful sound, but here, in this room, it was simply insignificant.
Here, in this room, he was simple insignificant.
He didn't move his lips. He didn't bow his head. He did not close his eyes, fold his hands, or focus on the crucifix.
But he did pray, in that chapel, in the shadow of the towering cross, in that room decorated for a God who he figured would prefer the forest.
Dear? As if you have any attachment to him. You're just intimidated by the atmosphere.
Haven't talked to you much lately...
Of course not! Why would you? A human being has better things to do, especially an Exorcist!
...Ever, really. But, you know, if this shit- I mean, stuff, means anything to you...
You're making a fool of yourself, Daisya.
I dunno, if you give a shit- ...or whatever...I dunno, it'd be really cool if you could, you know, keep us all safe.
You know...like, Marie, and the General...and Kanda, I guess, even though he's a bastard...
Daisya could feel his cheeks reddening, but he plowed on, in his usual, mess-up-and-make-it-look-like-a-purposeful-trick way.
Cause we're out there all the time, really...fighting for you, I guess. And, well, the people, but mostly you.
So, I dunno, if you could just...keep an eye on those three...I mean, I don't really need the help, but...well, you know.
Of course he knows, idiot. Omnipotent, remember?
...and I guess, while we're on the subject, there's my family too...I mean, I haven't seen them in ages, but I think they're still around...and it would be cool, I guess, if you could...I dunno, make life a little easier for them? And, just, you know, watch out for them. I know they're not serving you, or anything...well, not like we are, but still...
…Get to the point, Daisya.
...I mean, I sort of work without real pay...by the way, the pay here sucks…so if you want to, you know, work out a deal or something...I'll keep destroying Akuma, and you watch out for my family...and Marie and Kanda, and…the General. And I'll...I'll keep fighting. For you...I guess.
...as if God wants to make a deal with you.
Does that work?
Daisya lifted his head to look up at the ornate cross, and the Charity Bell broke a stillness that had gone uninterrupted for a long time. Tiedoll glanced over, and the small smile that had been culminating for the past five minutes finally emerged.
"Ready to go?"
"...huh?" Daisya glanced over just as his General stood and, silhouetted against the cross, lowered an offering hand. How he'd been able to tell when Daisya prayed, or when he'd finished, or even that there'd been a change of attitude is something that we'll have to attribute to the serious composition of the chapel, or perhaps to the fact that Tiedoll was a General. But Daisya accepted the offer of a hand, and Tiedoll pulled him roughly to his feet, gave him a pat on the back, and released him.
"Go find Kanda. I think he was looking for someone to train with."
"...whatever, old man."
The young man turned away and, with a running start, cart-wheeled down the main aisle, leaving Tiedoll to follow at a more decent pace, shaking his head with an amused sigh.