I really should have been writing an essay for a class that's due tomorrow, but this little story embryo just insisted on delivery right at this moment. Basically, it's bittersweet, angst-ridden, and has character-death. Like, lots of it, with more to come. It's also 18d, which you don't see very often- ah hell, I haven't seen any, for that matter. This is just my attempt at capturing what (seems to me)a relationship that transcends words and every level of responsibility. It isn't even love, it's just a dogged dedication to each other- alright I should shut up (: Enjoy, and please review!
EDIT/ I also went back over all the grammatical errors,since I kinda submitted this at like 2 in the morning,and a person at 2am does not a good beta reader make. So I hope everything's right this time (:
He lies there, glowering at the child balefully from beneath dark bangs. She clutches a replica of Hibird (the real one is lying buried beneath blood and worse, long crushed) fervently in her arms, her sole anchor in this swaying world. Her hair matches the toy, gold as the sun on a bright summer's day, gold as his on any other given day. She is scared, and alone, and she doesn't know who's left.
"Papa," she chirrups, and in his mind he remembers Hibird's chirping mimicry of her words. The golden laugh that would follow if its owner had not been away, called to Japan abruptly by that herbivore and the baby.
"Papa," she chirrups again, coming closer. She doesn't see the red pools she steps in to reach him. A hand is outstretched towards him, and she grasps his shirt in her small hand. His hands, lying beside him on the floor, shattered into so many tiny fragments yet by sheer strength of will alone still grasp his faithful tonfas, twitch. She sits between his sprawled legs, and her starched black shorts absorb the blood immediately. She doesn't squeam away from the uncomfortable feeling; rather she leans against his thin, broken chest. He can't feel her weight, can barely feel her warmth, but he sees the red stain against the white of her sailor-shirt.
"Papa," she whispers softly, tucking herself under his chin, nuzzling lovingly into the alabaster neck, the only part of his body untouched by the carnage surrounding them. He coughs, just once, and it is a brilliant scarlet that bursts forth.
"Papa!" She cries, and it is the only sound in this empty house. It reverberates along the shattered walls and corridors where bodies of friend and foe alike are slumped in eternal sleep. "Papa," and it rings in a house far too large for just two people, and brings back memories of a happier time, bathed in golden light. "Papa," she says, and she's sobbing now. She doesn't fully comprehend, no one her age truly can, but the little that she does is upsetting, to say the least. She clutches at him, unwilling to let him go, and sobs.
"Papa," she calls him, "Dino will be here soon. Papa wait for Dino, right?" She tries to smile up at him, but her face is pinched from the tears. He doesn't understand why she calls him 'Papa' and him 'Dino' when it is his gold hair and his blue eyes and his blindingly bright smile that runs around on her female body. Her nose is pink and running, and, wordlessly, she reaches inside his battered suit to pull out a pressed white handkerchief, pristine and smelling of the mountain fresh softener the dead housekeeper used.
She holds up her Hibird, and in its plastic eyes he sees a live animal, faithful to the very end. There were easily twenty of them, and twoscore more infesting his home like cockroaches, and while a single ball of fluff may not seem particularly significant most of the time, the tiny creature had made the difference of a lifetime: life for him, and death for them. "Papa, do you remember?" She asks softly, petting her Hibird on its head. It does not sing for her, does not speak to her, not like his did to him. "Hibird's little brother, Hi-tori (1)! When Dino first brought him home…"
Just four years of age, and already she speaks better Japanese than him. Her Italian is also sorrowfully better than his; perhaps her mother, whoever she was, possessed the bilingualism neither of them do. And in spite of himself he does remember the day when that idiot brought Hi-tori home, twice the size of his 'big brother' and twice as dead. She was immediately taken by the stuffed toy and held it to her hair, gold upon gold, and the sunlight on both. Hibird had fluttered around the thing, chattering incessantly. Finally, though, it took to its 'little brother' as it had to him and to him and to her. Sometimes, when Hibird went to roost, it would bury itself in the gold synthetic feathers of its inanimate sibling, and he would laugh, take photographs, and stick them in what he called a 'family album.'
It was full of herbivores like him; the mangled lot of Famiglia back in Japan; Romario and the rest of his men; even Kusakabe; and others with the gold in their hair and their smiles. But there were no photos of the dark-haired man who still struck fear into the very heart of Naminori, he had made sure of that. Still though, that reputation had expanded far beyond the sands of Japan and had insinuated itself across underground Europe. Beware him, the whispers meant, for one look at the beautiful face may be the last look your eyes will ever see.
Was that dawn he was seeing? Orange fingers creeping across the formless grey of night and golden rays eliminating all shadow. Perhaps it was so. Even as dawn breaks, his eyesight dims and falters. The only thing in the world he can think of now is how it feels to stand victorious atop Namimori, the wind in his hair and the sky his realm, and his tonfa his sceptre. He remembers the heavy wood, the smell of his sweat-stained leather grip, the feel of his weapon connected with bone and through bone, the smell and sight of blood, the taste of victory on his lips, those familiar words on his tongue…
"I love Papa the most in the world! I love Dino too, but I love Papa the most! Don't tell Dino!"
"I love you."
"Hahahaha, Kyoya! You're the same as always!"
"I love Papa!"
"…she's my daughter, Kyoya."
"Kyoya, I love you so much."
"Do…do you think she could be our daughter too?"
"I love you, Kyoya."
"Kyoya, don't you think she's so beautiful? Elettra, our Elettra…"
He didn't mean…
A quiet scene overlooking the sakura of Ueno. They stand together on the balcony, an insurmountable pair.
"You shouldn't be away from home so much. She misses you, you know."
"You're her father," he says pointedly, intending to hurt, and doing so.
"Kyoya-" He starts, exasperated, and throws his hands in the air. "Kyoya," he pleads. "Kyoya."
"I will bite you to death," He hisses through broken lips, and she starts at the first audible words she's heard from him all this time.
"Papa!" She cries, and even though he cannot quite see, he can just make out the look of horror on her face as the sun reveals the night's secrets. The blades crusted with blood, the tonfa stained with brain matter; the empty clips and discarded guns around them are but a piece of last night's memories. As she looks around with wide, wide eyes, she sees familiar faces, strange faces, all covered in blood, all in shreds.
"Papa," she asks, shaking with fright, "What happened?"
It is somehow fitting that this is the last thing he can think of. Would he find it funny? With a blood-stained smirk, he tells her those two words, and slips away, silently, peacefully, forever victorious.
He can't believe it. He can't believe it. The alarm was sent the moment the attack had fallen, but it had been a nerve-racking seven hour flight (Mafiaso had Concordes, too) home. It was too short a time to rest, and too long a time to be waiting. There has been no word from the Cavallone estate since then.
Elettra, his beautiful Elettra. He would tear the whole world apart with his bare hands if anything happened to her. His loyal, loyal men. And Elettra, over and over again. He saw the world in her gold hair, the sun in her dancing blue eyes. She was everything he had wished for, and more. It was impossible that anything should happen to her. It was imperative that nothing should happen to her.
Before they'd even properly landed he'd kicked the emergency exit door open and jumped out of the plane. He'd been running before he even actually hit the ground. Fear constricts his lungs, steals his breath, and still he runs. The moment he hits the outskirts of the compound, he sees the dead bodies. They are literally strewn everywhere, in pieces and in wholes. The fountain runs with water stained pink, and the sound of the bamboo striking rock is hollow and pain-filled (2).
There is death everywhere he looks. The kitchen, the dining room, the laundry room, the living room, the patio, the side hall- no room is left untouched.
He is trembling as he walks up the stairs. The first room on the left is blessedly empty, but the blood on the bamboo wallpaper and golden yellow bedspread could mean anything. As he nears the second-level landing, the number of dead bodies grows. They are stacked up in heaps, one dying atop another, and their blood is gummy black crust on the white marble. The end of the corridor is literally blocked by a wall of dead bodies. He kicks it down without remorse, and turns his eyes to the sun-filled landing.
There she is, enthroned in blood and crowned with golden sunlight. She is beautiful, and she is the only thing that matters. She is safe, and that is the only thing that matters. He wants to sigh in relief, wants to laugh, wants to slump to the ground as all the tension drains out of his body, wants to-
He spies a little bloodied ball on the ground, and picks it up, sorrow lancing through his chest as he sees the broken wings and blank eyes. "You were a good and loyal friend," he whispers, brushing lips against its crushed head. "Your master would be proud."
He wonders idly where Kyoya is, and reminds himself to reprimand him for leaving Elettra alone like that. He was here, that much Dino is certain of; those bodies are all dismembered in a manner that the ex-prefect is renowned for. Tucking Hibird's body into his jacket pocket for an honourable burial at a later date, he approaches his sleeping princess, tucked against a body sprawled ungainly across the ground.
"Elettra," he whispers softly, a gentle smile on his face, "Elettra."
Her huge cornflower blue eyes flutter their golden eyelashes open, and she sees him. A cry tears itself from her lips before it is muffled against his chest as she flings herself into his waiting arms. She cries a long storm, and when it finally subsides, he smiles in her golden hair, because the sun has finally come out from behind the clouds.
She pulls back, and looks up at him, and her eyes are haunted. He doesn't know why, cannot comprehend why that alien emotion is in her eyes.
"Dino, Papa said…Papa said…" She is trembling in his arms, and he holds her tighter, cooing in her hair to calm her down.
"What did Kyoya say, Elettra?" He asks, wondering where the black-haired man is, really, since he should be here with him and his daughter. He made his mind up to scold the younger man for telling their daughter something obviously so distressing to her.
"Papa…Papa…" She is so upset that it hurts to look at her. He doesn't understand her sorrow. "I asked Papa, 'What happened?' And…And he said- 'Ask Dino.'"
He raises his eyes as she finishes her words, and he finally sees what has been in front of him all along. His mind had completely rejected it because it was plainly impossible.
"What happened, Dino?" She asks, plucking at his jacket. "What happened to Papa?"
He cannot answer, because he has no words left. He crawls forward because his legs are trembling too much to support him.
"Shut up, Cavallone."
"Leave me the fuck alone!"
"Stop spacing out, you stupid Italian."
"You look healthier with blood pouring out of you."
"Defile the discipline of Naminori…"
"Come here, Hibird."
"I'll bite you to death."
"Kyoya, please." There are lips on his neck, then teeth sinking in, fast and furious, and a tongue swiping at the blood to take some of the sting away. He clutches at arms so white they seem to be made of marble, moans wantonly as Kyoya hits that spot inside him that makes him spread his legs wider. He is panting, head thrashing in the throes of ecstasy, as Kyoya drums into him relentlessly. There is no passion in the younger man's face, only a dark pleasure in dominating another human being. The only sign of his exertion is the thin sheen of sweat covering his slim body, and the pale pink flush across his cheeks. Dino, on the other hand, is about to start sobbing. Sex with Kyoya is always a painfully miraculous experience, and this time is no different from the rest. No, rather, these times are different from the rest; times with Kyoya, be they spent on sex or sparring or just simply in each other's presence (because yes, contrary to popular belief, Kyoya has learnt some moderation of the years). Kyoya, Kyoya, with Dino, it's always Kyoya, because nothing could ever compare to Kyoya.
He is the cloud that hides the harsh sun, the cloud that brings the rain for rebirth, the ever elusive, unattainable skylark. When he appears on Cavallone land, it is always of his own choosing and never Dino's. And yet Dino cannot begrudge him that freedom, because a Kyoya with chains is a Kyoya bereft of the beauty Mother Nature has bestowed upon him. Dino cannot begrudge Kyoya that freedom, because it is always to Dino that he returns.
"Kyoya…" he moans, hips arching upwards and swallowing Kyoya even deeper within himself, and that additional penetration is all it takes to push him over the edge. Kyoya stiffens as the tight heat that engulfs him now tightens around him further, and he, too, succumbs to orgasm. They rest against each other, their heavy breaths mirroring each other, as a sort of sated satisfaction creeps over them. It is at times like these when the skylark is strangely catlike, and curls up against the blond man with hardly any hesitation.
It is at times like these for which Dino lives for, when the man he loves with his heart and soul is fully relaxed in the presence of someone he can trust- no! Hardly complacent, no. He is restful, he is peaceful, and he is content to remain in the embrace of a man nearly eight years his senior. Dino knows, Dino understands, for a man who has never experienced love himself, this is the only way he can show it. And Dino is content.
"Kyoya, I love you."
He wanted to hear him say the words. Wanted those three words to fall just once from his mouth. But the skylark has escaped him once again. Escaped him, to the realms of death, and this time, he will not return. Dino raises a trembling hand to touch the porcelain face, to trace the delicate, almost feminine features, beautiful despite their deathly pallor and the blood painting the side of his face like war paint.
Behind him, he can vaguely hear Elettra crying, and Romario tending to her. The poor child, for her to have seen something like this, and at her age…he never wanted to teach her cruelty of life. He had only ever wanted to show her the beautiful things, the happy things. Ironically, while Kyoya was one, he was hardly the other.
His broken hands, set in rigor mortis, would forever hold his two tonfa. One had the blades snapped off; he remembers seeing their silver remains buried in a body nearby. Somehow, he could only think of Kyoya as pristine, even as he lay there steeped in his own blood and the blood of others.
Thinking of Kyoya's last words to Elettra, he stifles a wet chuckle. It is so like him to say something like that to Elettra, as a message to him, to spite him, to hurt him. It made him want to die.
He presses a kiss against the cold, blood-stained lips. Kyoya doesn't respond. Dino has to admit, that, deep in his heart, he was hoping he would. Dino is crying, but he doesn't make a sound. Kyoya looks oddly peaceful, and what must have been a smirk has relaxed in death to appear almost…happy.
When Dino stands, his legs are firm and his stance purposeful. He turns to face Romario, and his expression is strangely composed. He straightens his suit and tie, even as the scarlet that stains his shirt cuffs and his hands are sordid reminders. He will send Elettra to Tsuna in Japan. She will be safe there, at least, safer than with him. He is of half-a-mind to send his men along with her, and he knows he will, the younger ones, the innocent ones, the bloodless ones. The rest of the men he knows he cannot budge. They are the men who have shed blood in his name, and his blood has been spilt for them as many times as theirs has for him. They will see this through with him to the very end, although in all likelihood it will be a very short end. It is Millefiore they are going against, and against a group that large victory is almost certainly impossible. He does not expect to last even six months. There is some remorse and pity in his heart, for Elettra, who will lose her Papa and her Dino in one swift culling; for Romario and his men, to be caught up in a vengeance not their own; for Tsuna and the children in Japan, who will lose a turret of support, leaving their ragtag kingdom even more defenceless. But that isn't what he's thinking. He walks ahead, eyes deaf, ears blind, and thinks, Kyoya, Kyoya, I love you. I'm coming.
(1) - Hi-tori actually just means Hibird. Tori means 'bird' in Japanese, and I was looking for a way to differentiate between the real Hibird and the stuffed toy. And, well, stuff me for saying so, but Hi-tori rolls off the tongue better than Hibird (;
(2) - I remembered reading somewhere that Dino liked those Japanese bamboo fountain things...I don't know if that's right, but does anyone know what they're called?
Anyways, thank you for reading! (: If you have any comments, helpful or otherwise, although preferably not the latter, please feel free to review.