Eyes Half Open
Description: Naoto finds out why Heine visits the Church so much. Heine/Naoto.
She had always gotten eerie chills when she heard the church bells ring. Just entering the empty church was already an awkward feeling, as she was not a believer of any god.
Her eyes widened slowly, suddenly being exposed to something she never saw for all the times she visited. The altar of the Church was occupied by the Bishop, standing in the center of the area, speaking out loud, his hands moving through a book. For the first time ever, the church was having a mass.
"God from God. Light from Light. True God from True God. Begotten not made…" the Bishop went on, his head lowered as he spoke as he continued to recite the words of a creed that Naoto had once heard Mihai recite randomly. She couldn't recall the words, but she knew it was the same as she heard before. Looking around, she had noticed that people were actually attending the rare mass; a very good number of people, actually. Mihai and Kiri were sitting a little close to the altar, their heads bowed as they followed the Bishop.
She felt a bit sick.
She was not used to such things at all. She had no gods to turn to, nor could she ever believe she had faith in such a thing. She just wasn't raised that way.
"Ah, a mass." A voice spoke from behind. Naoto turned around suddenly, meeting Badou's gaze. He looked at her and gave a casual greeting.
"You sound like this has happened before." She replied.
"Every once in a while… It is a church, after all. It's just that the Bishop is aware that not too many really rely on such things around here."
"But there's so many people here."
"Though he's kind of stupid, the Bishop is pretty wise. He knows eventually all the stress and frustration of everyday life gets to anyone, and so, after a little bit of time, he holds a mass so that they can calm down. Many aren't firm believers of God, but they know that the Bishop means well. It's a psychological thing, really. The Bishop is just telling them that this place will take their frustration any time they wish."
Naoto nodded, getting the jist of what the one-eyed man said. "Ah. So did you come here for the mass?"
"Not really." He smiled, leaning on the door. "But like everyone else, it's refreshing that something pure happens every once in a while. It tells ya that not everyone is trapped in the mud. I came to take pictures, too."
"Look over there." Badou pointed, and Naoto's gaze followed to a man surrounded by a big group. "That's one of the crime lords for the Mafia. He came a long way to attend this mass."
"What about it?"
"His attendance is a political move. I'm an informant after all; I sell information to anyone who has the right money, so it's not surprising if my photos are in newspapers, right? This guy is doing this to have a better face in the community. Kind of a petty move, but whatever helps put dinner on the table is fine by me." He took a picture of the man.
Naoto took a deep breath and sighed. She honestly didn't really care at all about what he said. She still felt uneasy about being in such a situation, and so she began to turn her heels and walk away.
"Ah, there he is."
Badou's sudden proclamation caught her attention, and she turned around once again.
She stopped dead on her tracks.
In the front pew of the church sat a man with unmistakable wild, white hair; his albino pale skin peering above the collar of his black leather jacket. Heine stood in silence as the mass continued.
The blade maiden did not move again until mass ended.
She couldn't understand it at all.
"Ah, Naoto-chan!" Kiri spoke, smiling as she and Mihai came to her view. The mass had ended, and people were lining up to leave the church, with some going towards the Bishop for a blessing, which he certainly obliged. Naoto smiled and bowed respectfully towards the beautiful bar hostess.
"I'm guessing this is your first mass, no?" Mihai asked, and Naoto nodded, followed by a reply. "I actually came here by accident. I wanted to talk to the Bishop more."
"Ah, well he's giving out blessings right now. It's always weird to see such an oddball give such things. Did you see Nill by the way?"
She nodded. Nill was wearing white this time around, being the Bishops altar server. "She's quite cute like that."
"I tell you…" Badou stepped in, "I think the Bishop took a lot of willpower not to gawk at Nill today."
He laughed along with Mihai and Kiri, and Naoto soon followed.
"By the way." Naoto spoke, "Why is Heine in the front pew?"
"Huh?" Mihai blinked. "I don't think that's surprising. Badou always says that Heine comes here almost every day. So it's not much of a shock to see him attend mass."
With that, Mihai and Kiri left, leaving Naoto to think alone.
"Each of us carries something we want to rid away."
Naoto's attention was caught again by Badou, who was getting ready to leave.
"That guy would rather talk to a god he doesn't know anything about than ever tell someone else in this plane of reality." Badou gave a small laugh. "In other words, he's a secluded idiot." Badou exited the church.
Before she knew it, the church was empty once again. Absorbing what she had seen today, she looked around, noticing that Heine was gone. She began to advance forward down the aisle, trying to recount who sat where until she eventually took a random pew and sat patiently for the Bishop.
"Did you like today's mass?" a voice spoke. The female turned and looked at the Bishop.
"It was fine."
"Ah, but you weren't paying attention, were you?"
She was taken aback by his observation, causing him to chuckle. "Liza told me you came for some information of a mission she requested." He sat down a bit away from her. "But you're here to ask me about him."
Her expression didn't change a bit, her poker face in full effect. "I'd like to know about the locations Grandma Liza has asked me to check out."
"You want to know why he was sitting in the front during this rare mass."
"She said one of the locations had some information about who made my katana."
"You know, he doesn't come here just to visit Nill."
"If at all possible, I'd like to finish this mission quickly, so I came here to ask if you knew which location is the best I can start in."
"Do you want to know why he comes here every day?"
The bishop's head was slightly turned towards Naoto, her face clearly reflecting off of his sunglasses.
With that, he stood up, a grin on his face. "Come with me, then."
She stood and followed him without a word, the grip on her katana tightening. Why am I doing this? She asked herself. But she pretty much knew the answer. Aside from the story about him killing giants as a child with other kids who didn't know any better, she didn't know a thing about him. All she knew was that she naturally spited him, unable to look at him without an angry glare.
But no matter what, she wanted to know why she always looked at him anyways, and why he always looked back.
"Ah, here we are." The Bishop said excitedly, his hands on his hips. They only walked a few feet inside the church, and they ended up in an area that seemed to be a small living quarter with two doors apart from each other. Nill eventually turned up behind them, curious as to why the Bishop lead Naoto here. She had already changed her clothes.
The Bishop took a key and opened one of the doors, and the blade maiden could not help but peer behind him to see what was inside.
It was a small booth with a chair, with only enough room for one person to sit and another to occupy whatever space was left. Nill looked at the two of them, and the man merely gave a mischievous smirk. "She's just going to get to know Heine better."
Naoto did not feel any better when Nill shook her head rapidly in nervousness.
Naoto looked at the small area inside. "Excuse me?"
"The two of us will stay in here."
"I don't understand."
"Ah, as a man of the cloth, I really shouldn't do this." He raised an index finger up in a matter-of-fact pose, "But this is perfect!"
He took her shoulder and tossed her in, following her and closing the door.
Nill blinked for a moment.
The door opened again, and Naoto tried to stretch a hand out, but was pulled back in.
"I'll slice you in half!"
"As if you can even pull that sword in here!"
A thud was heard.
"Ah, this place is too small!"
The bishop's head peered out of the room, looking at Nill. "When he comes, give him the nod."
Nill nervously nodded, and the door was shut again.
Inside the room, Naoto struggled to get out, her anger rising as the bishop did nothing but lean back on a wall and chuckle. "Relax. This isn't some sort of trap. But…" he smiled, "Hopefully you'll find the answer to your questions."
Naoto calmed down for a moment, looking at him.
"Yes?" he asked.
"Why does he choose to go back when he was able to escape?"
A sudden noise from behind the wall the bishop leaned on was heard. The bishop motioned towards the woman to take a seat, putting a finger against his mouth to indicate silence. Her curiosity high, she did exactly as she was told.
What is this place…?
Her body stiffened suddenly, feeling someone's presence on the other side of the wall.
It was him.
The bishop slid a small panel from the wall, revealing a thick screen that exposed this room to the other slightly, and her hands gripped her skirt, noticing the white skin and white hair. Heine was on the other side.
Heine's body moved, indicating that he nodded, and Naoto leaned forward, as if drawn by the heavy atmosphere.
"Bless me father for I have sinned. It was yesterday since my last confession."
An incredible shock went through her body, her eyes wide and her hands immediately shooting up to cover her mouth as she gasped, her body leaned back.
A… This is a confessional booth?!
Her eyes turned to the Bishop, whose head was already turned towards her. Through his sunglasses, Naoto could feel that the bishop was awaiting her signal to continue, asking if she wanted this to happen.
Her mind raced quickly.
But before she could even think, her body reacted. She had already nodded.
"State your sins."
Silence. Naoto's palms were sweaty.
Her eyes narrowed, and as if Heine knew, Naoto peered through the screen to notice Heine's glare staring right back at her.
Give me the reason why we're like this.
The bishop raised his hand towards her, signaling that he indeed cannot see her. But Naoto knew that Heine felt her presence somewhat.
"….I killed Lilly in my dreams again."
Her body stopped shaking, and a different wave of emotions filled her. The sudden aura that she felt from the man on the other side was totally difference. This man's voice was vulnerable, full of pain and sorrow that she had never seen or felt from him before. The man opposite of the bishop was completely different from the one who portrayed himself outside towards her and anyone else.
"I see." The bishop replied.
"She laid on the floor, her body broken and torn apart. And instead of hugging her and… crushing her head like before, I took a gun and shot her head repeatedly… until all I saw was that neck brace exposed and unattached to anything."
"Mhm." The bishop nodded.
I don't understand.
It was a dream, right?
"He's still pulling me."
"No matter what I do, he screams at me, telling me to let go, to lose control. He pulls at me harder, and I sometimes find myself holding my gun, about to take it out and shoot at whoever just to satisfy him."
"It doesn't help when she glares at me like that."
Naoto suddenly stiffened.
"The one with the blade."
She leaned forward more, his lips quivering as he mentioned her.
"The way she looks at me makes my blood boil. My body shakes in anger just by looking at her. It's when she stares at me that he begs me to take my gun out and shoot her."
"I despise her."
Naoto has a sudden sinking feeling in her chest, leaning back on the chair slowly.
"That's my sin for today."
"I wanted to erase that woman from my life."
Naoto suddenly stood up, pushing the chair hard against the booth. The bishop suddenly turned around. "H-hey."
She opened the screen.
And was met with the barrel of a gun staring at her face.
He, however, was met with the tip of a knife staring right back.
Naoto's face was full of rage, his teeth grinding.
"Then KILL ME!"
She wanted nothing more than to crave his face out, but the look of pure anger in his face brought a different feeling onto her.
"You… goddamn BISHOP!"
His eyes turned towards the blind man.
"I'll kill you… I'LL KILL YOU, YOU FUCKING PIECE OF SHIT!"
Badou's words suddenly resounded in her head.
"That guy would rather talk to a god he doesn't know anything about than ever tell someone else in this plane of reality."
The anger in his face was that of absolute betrayal.
She had quickly realized that she had taken away his best means of venting out his frustration. He probably didn't want to burden Nill with his demons. The reason he came here every day was to confess his anger and sins not to the Bishop, but to a man he knew would never talk back and never see. In an instance of rage, she had singlehandedly taken that away, and her body shook in sorrow as he looked at his pained face.
After all, she raised her blade when he was most vulnerable.
She suddenly snapped out of her thought process, remembering that his gun was aimed right at her, his vengeful gaze locked to hers.
"I'll kill you!"
"That's what you wanted, right?!" she screamed. "You want to erase me, here's your best shot! You… You…!"
She pushed forward, her forehead hitting against the barrel of the gun as she screamed.
"I WANT TO RID YOU FROM MY LIFE, TOO!"
The sound of a door closing was heard, and the two looked around. The bishop was gone.
Naoto quickly rushed towards the door and tried to twist the knob, only to find that the door was locked. "Let me out!" She screamed, twisting it over and over.
The extreme loud noise of gunshots were heard beside her, and her body jumped, her eyes looking through the small opening at Heine, who grasped his gun tightly, shooting at the door.
"LET ME OUT!"
He shot at the door again, screaming. Naoto could only look and watch him, his body giving off a sense of desperation, wanting to get out as quickly as possible.
The shooting stopped, and Heine breathed heavily, sitting back on his chair, looking at the door.
His eyes turned towards the woman, and once again, silence filled the air as they glared at each other from different rooms, only a thin wall separating them.
To be continued.
This was originally meant to be a one-shot.
But as I wrote the story, I realized that I couldn't write the story in one sitting. Well, I could, but I just started to slowly lose my focus. I was a little scared at how it turned out so far, because I feel that the confession scene could have been a little lighter, and also since I portrayed Heine in a much more vulnerable light.
So here I am, debating whether or not to continue this story, since I now know this is going to be longer than originally planned, and I honestly don't know right now what to do now that they're stuck in the confessional booth. I'm at least happy I got the setting right.
If I get some good feedback, then I'll muster up some more creative juices as best as I can. Hopefully this story is looking good so far.
Thanks for reading, make sure to review, okay?