Umm, I actually wrote this about a year ago, but I'm only now getting around to posting this. I don't know if it's not wanting to post something solely anime-based when the manga is much better, or just laziness?
DISCLAIMER: These are not my characters, and I make no profit from this work. These words are my own, though.
FANDOM / PAIRING: Claymore, Clare/Raki
RATING / CONTENT: M. Swearing, mentions of sexual abuse, and consensual M/F sex – one partner underage.
SPOILERS: This follows the anime timeline, where Clare and Raki were reunited before the point where the timeskip took place in the manga (mostly because when I wrote this, I hadn't yet found out where to get my hands on the manga). Meant to take place roughly two to three years after they meet.
SUMMARY: (anime-verse) Claymores are supposed to shun emotion and all things primal, as they only encourage the Yoma within. But Raki makes Clare feel so very human.
AUTHOUR'S NOTES: I know that both in this story and in the anime, Raki is below what many countries nowadays consider the age of consent. I do NOT condone underage sex or paedophilia in any way whatsoever. Having said that, Claymore seems to be set in a time where fifteen or sixteen was the common age for marriage – heck, at least four of my aunts married while they were teenagers, and that was only a few decades ago.
At the time I originally wrote this, I just kept thinking of Raki as an archer for some reason. Don't ask me why. Also, I always thought that a long-distance weapon would be a lot more help to a regular person in fighting Yoma, and Raki's such a practical sort (all really good cooks are, I've noticed) I thought he'd eventually realise that, too. Of course, NOW I've read more of the manga, and found out that Raki has instead had the benefit of years worth of daily one-on-one tuition from a swordsman good enough to take on and defeat every single Claymore – maybe even the first ten or fifteen straight after each other, or even at the same time.
I must have also been insane to write this whole thing in exposition. But that's the way it came out, dammit!
SOUNDTRACK: 'Fallen Icons', Delerium
When you become a warrior, of the breed that others call 'Claymore', you are put through vigorous training, both of the body and the mind. One of the lessons is about the Yoma inside you Awakening, and things that can help avoid that.
Yoma's respond to the most primitive urges of humanity – pain, hunger and pleasure. Strong emotion should be avoided, and you should never become too attached to your body – it helps when you have to fight while wounded, and too much connection to the flesh which houses you is exactly the sort of thing that Yoma's exemplify. You eat what is necessary and nothing more. Pleasure in taste is something that Yoma's do. Eating just because you feel like it is something Yoma's do.
Sex is not forbidden. As long as you keep successfully killing Yoma, the organisation does not care if you bed a man or a woman; a human or a fellow warrior. Most don't, though – it's not just that sex is seen as something animal, that Yoma's indulge in. A large number of warriors lost their maidenhead before the organisation ever came their way – the same circumstances that led Yoma to their families, that led their families to sell them to the organisation, or even left them on the streets alone, also tend to breed the sort of person who will see their daughters or any small child as property, to use or barter as they see fit. Teresa was far from the only warrior who was completely bored by the prospect of being raped.
At least that was one thing that Clare has never had to endure. The Yoma that had slaughtered her family and kept her as a smokescreen and plaything had delighted in her pain, and loved to tell her in excruciating detail how it would eat her one day, but the physical abuse had stopped at bruises and cuts. Yoma see humans as food, and they will never fuck a human, no more than a farmer would his sheep or cattle.
Clare had done her best to follow all the rules and traditions, tried her best to be the perfect warrior as Teresa was. But then Raki came along, and made her realise that while Teresa became number one because she followed the rules, Clare is alive and a warrior today because Teresa broke them.
Raki helps her break every rule and custom of the organisation. She lets him follow her when she should walk alone. She fights to protect him, as much as she fights to fulfil her duty.
When Clare battles a Yoma, Raki immediately heads to the best vantage point, and waits with an arrow notched on the bowstring and several more to hand. Sometimes Clare deliberately lets an opportunity open for Raki to use his hard-won skills, because he's not trying to help Clare because he thinks she needs it, he's trying to help Clare because he thinks she deserves it.
Raki only makes meals for one, but at least once a day he puts aside several bite-sized pieces for her, and she eats them slowly, because Raki is a far better cook than just 'good' and the food he prepares delights her tongue.
And almost every day for the past three moons, Raki fumbles with her armour and unfastens her bodysuit to let it puddle around her feet, even as she lifts off his shirt and tunic and unfastens his pants, before she lies back and opens her legs for him in welcome.
Raki is only fifteen, and many people would say he is far too young to be spending his nights between a woman's thighs, much less a monster's. He may yet be a boy in some ways, but Raki is no child. He lost his childhood before he ever met Clare, on a night of blood and death that robbed him of everyone he loved.
For so long, Clare wanted him to have the life she lost – a human, living among humans, as Teresa once wished for her. So she ignored the way they breathed in unison as they walked through desert, forest, and hardened dirt streets. She pretended that it meant nothing that whenever Raki entered a room, his eyes always searched for her, before any danger. She tried not to notice the exasperated and hurt look on his face, whenever they found a place that could provide him with a good life and she asked if he wanted to stay.
Then they came to a town which seemed to have everything Raki could want – a job doing work that he enjoyed and excelled at, full of buildings that were both lovely and functional, an entire family that was already halfway to loving him. Even a pretty girl his own age, who understood what it meant to lose those you love, and the odd paths healing could take. But when she asked her question, Raki went white and shook his head, before striding away so swiftly that for once she had to hurry to keep up with him. As soon as they were far enough up the mountain to look down on the village, her cheerful, gentle Raki exploded with fury, yelling words and phrases so choked with frustration and desperation that she never quite understood them. Only once he had calmed, could he make himself clear.
He didn't WANT to be a human, living a human life. He was unhappy and bored when he had it before, and it seemed petty and meaningless to him now. He only wanted to be Raki, living with Clare.
The silence fell around them, thick and cool and somehow sweet, and Raki spoke again. He didn't want a fumbling courtship in a village square, with a plump and rosy-cheeked girl, leading to a life that plays out a hundred times in a hundred towns. He only wanted her, his slender and celestial and deadly Clare, in a life where they are always needed wherever they go, where blood gives way to victory, and full of long days and nights where no one needs to speak, because they already know everything the other wants to say.
When he gently cupped her face in his hands, Clare was too astounded to move – when did he grow to match her height? – and when his lips met hers, she realised that he was trembling not from fear, but need.
That was the first time, with both of them so very unsure of what it was they were doing, just that they needed it. When Clare was naked in the sunlight, Raki lying in the cradle of her hips and braced on his elbows so as not to crush her – even now, trying to protect her - for the first time in so very long, she let her instincts take over. Wrapping her legs around his hips as he hilted himself inside her, Clare felt what an ordinary girl might call pain. But for a warrior, it just helps her remember who she is, and who she is now is Raki's, for as long as he will stay with her.
Clare does not see their life together as lovers or sweethearts. She will never blush beneath his gaze, and he will never give her flowers with nervous hands. They do not have a 'relationship'. Those things belong to the seething throng of humanity that she left behind long ago, and Raki gave up without a twinge of regret to follow two steps behind her, in a life he says holds more meaning for him than any other he has ever been or ever could be offered. They are companions, nothing more and never anything less. The only connection between them is the one that has always been there, now woven with new colours that gleam like sunlight striking her sword.
They do not share a bedroll while travelling, or a make a rusty bed in a roadside inn squeal in protest. No one in the towns they walk and fight through make any comment about them; some see them as siblings, some as master and servant, or even teacher and apprentice, and Raki and Clare never do anything to disabuse them. It is only when they are well away from ignorant, prying eyes that Raki reaches out and ghosts a touch along her body, or Clare turns towards him with the particular faint smile she learned from Teresa and only smiles for him, and they begin the deliberate, elated dance that always ends with the two of them skin to skin, their bodies moving together in perfect accord.
Sometimes night has deepened around them, and they have put off sleep because they need this more. Sometimes Raki has made something for dinner that takes a long time to cook, and Clare feels the heat of the fire along parts of her skin that Raki isn't touching, knowing that once they are finished Raki will be so hungry that he won't even bother to fully dress, and she will eat tiny bites from his hand in between watching the still-developing muscles move under his skin. Sometimes a fight has gone hard, and Raki sits behind her in a lake or river, helping her scrub off the purple blood before he drinks the clean water from her skin. And in the rare times they are not headed for an assignment but simply travelling from one place to another, Clare will watch the light of dawn move over Raki's face, before she gently wakens him by pressing her lips against sleep-pliant flesh, until he reaches out to her with a sleepy smile.
Their joining is never hard or fast – that is always saved for battle. Their coupling is always unhurried and achingly gentle. She is a warrior, tough and hardened, but Raki holds her as if she is made of glass, valuable and fragile. He touches her as if she is the most precious thing in the world to him, and every single time they join, he always kisses or caresses the hideous scar between her breasts, as if it is as beautiful to him as her face.
There is nothing animalistic in the sighs and ethereal joy that Raki coaxes from her body. There is nothing beastly in the groans that spill from Raki's lips, or the sweat that forms on his body as he strives to pleasure them both.
Claymores are supposed to shun emotion and all things primal, but Clare has found that Raki makes her feel so very, very, human.