Disclaimer: I don't own it and all that jazz.
There's Singing In The Madness
"Tut tut," said Mother, "and now your pretty clothes are all dirty."
Black is always best at hiding the stains. Chrona's fingers are covered in blood.
Chrona wakes to a blank room with shadows in the corner, lost again in its size; far too big for just one person and their madness.
Shibusen, there are whispers and it echoes, the sound deafening against the four empty walls. Chrona mumbles a song - little girl lost, little boy found - and Ragnarok whines in the silence. Time doesn't seem to move, but it does, there's the counting of a heart beat – pulsing all that black blood through black, dark veins.
"We should leave." Raganarok's voice is too scratchy for delicate ears and its fists pound against the side of a skull ready to split.
Chrona doesn't know what to do.
There are two hundred and fifty tiles on the ceiling of this room.
Maka opens doors.
There are twisting corridors and rickety stairs, cold stone walls and marble beneath too many feet. Statues that stare with open, vacant eyes, accusing, Chrona thinks; and so they should be. Voices mush together, all one big noise that coats the walls and smears the ceilings, flying down corridors to press against skin and invade the ears. Ragnarok delights in the madness and repeats every word it can pick apart from the shouting.
Maka thinks maybe this is too much, too soon. She sighs, her lips downturned in sadness.
"Let's go back, just the two of us."
Chrona agrees. There's too much noise and too much freedom. Ragnarok retreats back to the silence of a black body, singing all those new words and their meanings.
Chrona doesn't remember that gasp right at the moment that Ragnarok would slide through bone and tissue and flesh. The soft sigh afterwards as everything would let go and escape, the odd way that sometimes the body would twitch for a while later, as if it took a little time to forget that there was no blood pumping there, no life breathing into lungs.
Chrona doesn't remember the sticky feeling between fingers, the way everything felt damp and smelled slightly metallic and foul and final. The way that the smell clung tight to skin and settled deep into hair, and made everything a dark and dirty wash of red and brown.
Chrona doesn't remember the screaming and the laughing or the difference between the two, they're all just the same high pitched noises rushing out of lips and broken mouths, forgettable.
Chrona doesn't remember the tears that came afterwards, once everything was done.
Chrona does not remember.
Somewhere out there Medusa smiles, her fingers crooked and beckoning.
Black Star has too many teeth and his smile looks like it might split his face if it spreads any wider. And everyone is restless, like the room isn't big enough and Chrona feels smothered. Maka grabs at fingers and squeezes and Chrona feels lips pulling apart and sliding into the shape of a smile; more like a grimace but Maka beams in response.
Marie is warmth and comfort wrapped up in layers.
"I'm lost," she once said, her skin blushed and Chrona had shared in the feeling.
Later on there is tea and Marie grunts as she shifts papers and books and clears up a space for them to sit. "Teaching," she sighs, but there's a blissful current in her voice, fingers that are especially careful with her student's pieces.
Marie listens with a slight tilt of her head and fills in the silences with a hum of murmurs. She sings out of tune when she wanders and her smile is a slip of hope that Chrona can put in a pocket. She ruffles Chrona's hair and says not to worry so much, a light laughter that pops and rings in the air.
Chrona thinks that this is what a Mother should be.
But later there will be this: sorrow and betrayal and the taste of guilt thick on Chrona's tongue.
Kid knocks two solid times on the door and no more.
His hands hold piles of clothing, all sets and all matching colours.
"Simplicity," he says, "is best." And his voice sounds like music.
Chrona likes the comfort that there will be no surprises lurking under false smiles, chooses white because it's clean and crisp and so bright that that you have to blink two times to get rid of the glare.
Kid places his hands on Chrona's shoulders and smoothes out the wrinkles from neckline down to wrists. His hand is hot and Chrona can taste a different kind of darkness in the mouth, a softer one that makes death not so unpleasant.
Kid steps back and leaves the clothing in a pile on the bed, dead centre to a fault. The room is heady when he leaves and Chrona feels a smile fall into place. Fingers trace the curl of lip and Ragnarok laughs until Chrona giggles.
Black Star hangs off of shoulders and Ragnarok snipes it's his position, stuffing his mouth full of food and drink and Chrona's fingers tremble only a little.
Maka is solid; her hands strong against the curve of Chrona's back, and she only laughs when toes are tread upon. The music is loud and thrums through veins with a steady beat; Chrona tries to move along to the rhythm, slow and unsteady and a little out of place. There are eyes watching from the corner and Soul smiles, slow and curious, his fingers tapping to the pulse. Maka sings along, her voice in Chrona's ear, unravelling until Chrona feels dizzy.
There's warmth and laughter and Chrona fumbles but fits in.
Of course it has to end.
Eruka is twitchy and excited and dances with nerves.
"Clever child," she quotes, her face a funny twist of smiles and lies. Chrona pulls hands over ears and shuts out the sounds that scream of betrayal and anger and hurt. No, isn't a word big enough to make it out up a throat and past tightly closed lips.
Ragnarok grins and hits and Chrona feels tears slide all the way down to bitten fingernails. There's a window in the room at Shibusen and it lets a little light in, now Eruka swings her legs down over it and kicks the walls hard, raining dust.
Ragnarok says they should leave.
Maka wonders what's wrong, her fingers soft against a wrist, a palm, Chrona's heart.
Stein descends into madness and Marie frowns, screwing up her pretty face.
People look like suspicion is written hard into the lines of their features.
Chrona smiles in the wrong way, a twist of insanity in the heavy breathing flowing out into the air.
"Well look what you did," Medusa, sly grin slick across her face. "What a good child you are."
Chrona is heavy and falling, fingers covered in blood.
I should point out I'm still on the fence with what gender Chrona is and I didn't want to go with any one in particular. I contemplated using both but decided against it and so, wow, is it hard not to use pronouns that way. I won't be doing that again in a hurry!
Comments and crit are as always appreciated.