Brushing the Sky

Lt. Commander Richie

Disclaimer: I technically don't even own Tina Spark. Just the character design, not the character herself. So keep in mind, this isn't actually how Tina Spark became an Exorcist. Hell, she could be a parasite-type that breathes fire or spits acid for all we know, she's never actually SEEN in the series. But whatever. My story, my rules, my writing. Just not my characters.

EDIT ON 9/7/2009: H-holy shit, guys. This won me Best Author at Kumoricon 2009's fanfiction contest. I feel more proud of it than I did before.

Chapter 1

The room was terribly sterile. Bright lights shone above, and the floor was a faux veined marble made of plastic that was shined to the point of being able to nearly see yourself in it. The only spot of color was a little dot of blackness, wasting away in her bed. Next to her bed was a chair, empty and cold in all its stainless steel pieces.

A door opened. The little girl did nothing. Even if she wanted to, even if she had the willpower to do so, she couldn't have for the shackles on her arms. A girl in her late teens made her way into the room, the door creaking shut behind her. Her beige coat flapped around her in a level of noise that was nearly unbearable in the silence of the room as she jumped on one foot and then the other from linoleum tile to linoleum tile. A canvas bag was dropped on the floor by the girl and left, a book and pen spilling out onto the floor unchecked.

The Finder's name was Tina Spark, a girl just a hair shy of nineteen and a half with wide brown eyes and matching chin-length brown hair that flipped out at the ends. As she jumped from square to square with her arms held out to her sides, her wing-shaped metal earrings jingled softly. Carefully, quietly, the teen watched the little girl while she jumped and twirled around the room. It was hard to believe that a girl so small, so frail, was on suicide watch. Tina was the one that got to watch her for the rest of the day.

For the next hour and a half, Tina spun herself dizzy, told bad jokes and made terrible puns. She took her socks off and made them talk to each other, she used one of her boots as a hat and then tried to balance it on her head as she walked around the room. But that little girl just stared, her eyes blank and lifeless. It was like trying to make a coma patient smile. It wasn't right to see a little girl that couldn't smile. Tina stilled, her metal earrings jingling softly. She took the shoe from her head and put it back on her foot, then went and retrieved her bag from the floor.

The contents were simple, a couple snacks Jeryy had made her and a few books and other doodads to keep her occupied. After all, there wasn't much a girl could do when watching a little girl and making sure she didn't try to kill herself. The brunette sat down in the chair next to the little girl's bed and pulled out a violently orange skein of yarn and two knitting needles. She drew her knees to her chest and hunched her back, resting her chin on her knees and holding the needles and yarn in front of her.

"Hey, Lenalee." The little girl's eyes just barely moved, hardly focused but still looking. "You wanna learn how to knit?" Her dark hair flopping slightly into her face, the girl in the black dress turned her head just ever so slightly so as to watch. With deft fingers, Tina began her work slowly but surely. She did a step, then undid it and did it again several more times for the benefit of the girl in the bed. This repeated for a while, the violent orange skein of yarn shrinking slightly as the beginnings of a scarf formed between the needles. But the only thing that moved in the room were the needles and Tina's hands, neither girl even so much as shuffling. An hour went by, then two, and the scarf got longer. The skein of yarn that sat on the floor, unraveling every now and then, got smaller. It continued until the scarf was three and a half feet long and the skein was all gone. Tina tied a knot in the yarn with aching fingers and then dropped the scarf, putting the knitting needles in her mouth and flexing her stiff hands. Lenalee went back to staring at the ceiling.

The scarf was put away and the brunette pulled out the book she had brought with her. It was a small thick volume with a makeshift cover made from a few sheets of paper that covered a somewhat-racy illustration on the front. The little girl in the bed may have been nearly comatose, but nobody would forgive the Finder for exposing a tiny little girl to the horrors of her chosen reading material. Tina didn't move from her position of her knees brought to her chest and her chin on her knees as she read silently, flipping pages every now and then. She checked her watch after three chapters, then read for a good forty more minutes until Enrique began whispering sweet nothings into Cassandra's ear as he relieved her of her dress and the teen couldn't read any farther without blushing. She closed the book and dropped it back in her bag, then looked back at her watch. It was almost time for dinner. Just another hour and the brunette's shift of three in the afternoon until half-past eight would be over.

So Tina Spark sat, her knees drawn to her chest and her hands clasped together in front of them in a thoroughly bored fashion. She sat in silence, watching the wall and keeping a firm awareness of the little girl in the bed. She began to fidget after fifteen minutes, and drew a snack from her bag and chomped on it while pulling out a nearly-finished stuffed bear with a needle and thread hanging from the wide-open seam of his neck and back. Fluffy batting piled out of the bear like a Haggis after being cooked, cut and squeezed, and the Finder dutifully began to stitch it closed.

"So I heard that you can fly." The brunette finally spoke after a while, the stuffed animal's head slowly but surely becoming one with its torso. Lenalee said nothing, only blinked in a slow and agonizing fashion. Stitch, stitch, stitch. "I've always wanted to fly. I want to jump up and touch the stars. I want to go up and never come back down." Stitch, stitch, stitch, stab. Tina muffled a curse as she sucked on her finger, a tiny prick of blood staining the tip of her sewing needle. The stuffed bear's head was completely sewn on, each stitch careful and tight. The Finder started stitching the back seam closed, poking the fluffy white batting inside the form of the animal as she went. "It figures that someone who hates it would get the power to fly."

The minutes until her shift finished were winding down as Tina sat in silence, carefully sewing the back of the light brown bear shut. She tied a knot in the thread and gave it a couple yanks before biting it with her teeth and severing it, then fluffed the fur of the bear to hide the stitches. The needle was dropped into the canvas bag next to the chair, and the brunette pulled a carrot from the bag and munched quietly on it. She watched the hands of her watch as she munched slowly, counting down the minute and a half until she could leave. After all, there was only so much you could try to do to pique the interest of a girl that seemed beyond help.

The clock hit eight thirty, and Tina Spark stood with a crunch as her back snapped back into place. She groaned as she continued to elicit snaps and crunches from her bent spine, then her neck as she twisted her head, then her jaw as she opened and shut her mouth as far as it would go. She picked up her bag, the bear still in her hand, and headed for the door. She didn't skip across the linoleum as she walked, she didn't jump from square to square. There was no point, she had learned, to trying to get a girl that was dead inside to laugh. The Finder opened the door and walked out, only to smack into someone. He wore a white coat and a blue turtleneck, and his long dark hair was pulled back into a ponytail. It was the new Supervisor, Komui Lee.

"I'm sorry Mr. Supervisor, didn't watch where I was going." The man offered her a kind smile, eyes just as kind behind his glasses.

"That's alright. This is where they're keeping-" he began, trailing off as he looked at the big wooden doors with iron bands around them. Solid wooden doors that didn't look like they would move if they weren't hinged. Doors designed to keep someone in.

"Lenalee? Yeah. I just got done with my suicide watch shift." The new Supervisor looked startled, as though nobody had bothered to tell him that the little girl tied to the bed in so many different ways was tied like that to prevent her from harming herself. "She can fly. I wish I could." The Finder looked down at the bear in her hand, as though just realizing that she was still holding it. She held it out to the dark-haired man with a smile and a tilt of her head that made her wing-shaped earrings jingle. "Would you give this to her?"

"I will." Komui nodded, and accepted the bear. Tina turned down the hall and ran. If anyone asked, it was because she was hungry and hankering for pot roast and mashed potatoes with lots of gravy and chocolate milk.

But if Tina Spark asked herself, it was because she couldn't stand that room, or that little wasting black spot of a girl that didn't want the power she would give anything for.

When I first started this, it was going to be a story just about a Finder that wanted to fly. That Finder would be me. But then I decided that nobody ever pays attention to the dead people mentioned in passing, and I made her Tina Spark.

All-in-all, this was a series that I spent quite an amount of brainpower on. Each chapter, with only one exception, is a large amount of time apart from the next. The story will include Tina Spark, SOl Galen and Gwen Frere.

Please, sit back and enjoy. This has been rotting on my hard drive since I began it back in January. Four months in the making.