Eyes Half Open
by Natsuke Takeda
"Open My Eyes"
He hated her guts.
This scowling woman who could do nothing but glare at him merely sat in the booth next to his, sitting silently and burning a hole right through him with a piercing gaze. Such a woman made his blood boil, made his fists clench, and made his teeth grind harshly against each other. The burning anger within him when he noticed her presence was enough for Nill to run and hide under a nearby table, and always seemed to make Badou remember a prior engagement he had to go to as soon as possible.
Indeed, the very notion of her was enough to ruin his day.
It was obvious now that today would be no different.
"What the hell are you staring at…?"
His words were as sharp as his teeth, making sure his question sunk deep into her like a dog's bite.
She took the bait, and her eyes narrowed even more.
However, such a lousy day didn't carry the usual dark cloud. Usually, the staring contest would be broken up eventually by Badou's irritation or Nill's sad attempt to distract them by dancing. Both of them are not here, and none under the skies of the Earth could ever suppress the deep bitterness that filled up the two confessional booths.
They were trapped, with the bulletproof door locked and Naoto Fuyumine's sword held by Nill somewhere outside of the two little rooms. Earnest, known as The Bishop, had pulled a fast one on the two and jolted out of the confessional. And thus, it was only Naoto and Heine stuck in separate booths, side by side, nothing but a thin wall preventing them from tearing at each other's throats. A small, vertical, rectangular hole was the only window towards the other room, and the two made good use of it; by staring holes at each other.
Heine slouched on his chair, gun on hand.
Naoto stood straight on her chair, knife on hand to retaliate.
A stalemate in their little war had suddenly occurred.
The atmosphere was heavy with lots of emotion. Heine clenched his gun tightly, angered by her intrusion and the Bishop's betrayal; opening the only room where he could pour his heart out, to a woman who did nothing but add more dark thoughts to his clouded head. None said a word for a good while after Heine barked at her.
He glared at her.
She glared at him.
He grit his teeth at her.
She grit her teeth at him.
His eyes narrowed.
Her eyes narrowed.
Heine suddenly shot his hand up, prompting Naoto to clench her knife tighter by reflex. But her reaction was wasted at Heine once again piled bullets on his door exit.
Another failed attempt. One of the bullets even ricocheted back and his thigh, but Heine didn't blink at all.
"You're wasting your time, shooting at the door like that."
"Go to hell."
"Che." Heine gave the blade maiden a distasteful look. A devilish smirk suddenly appeared on his face. "You can cut me all you want, I ain't gonna die. All I have to do is shoot one bullet and you'd get one free ticket down to the inferno below."
"You can't die, but I could at least relieve my sanity by cutting your tongue out. That'll shut you up."
"It'll be easier if I shoot your ears out."
"You won't even be able to aim when I pluck your eyes right off."
"Why not try me, then? I'd be glad to send you straight down."
Her eyes twitched a little, gripping her blade again, not looking away for even a moment. Her silence only made Heine gloat more.
"My blade doesn't deserve to be stained with blood as filthy yours."
Heine felt a little distaste from that remark. She probably would never really understand just how stained his blood really was.
"If that's the case, you'll never make it out alive when you go deeper underground."
The sudden reply from Heine caught her off guard, his eyes a little wide, pulling back a bit.
"If you're going to think like that, you'll never be able to even walk down there. Wake up, Princess. Words like that don't cut it."
He aimed his gun at her, causing her to suddenly raise her blade up.
"You think my blood is stained black? Get a grip, woman. You fought those two twins from before. That's only a taste of how filthy it can get."
"I've had enough of your words."
"Well I'll just keep talking until you do both of us a favor… and end your misery."
She grit her teeth, her reaction only making Heine enjoy it more.
"You're having fun, aren't you, Master?"
Heine's eyes suddenly widened, his vision slowly blurring as he shook slightly.
Naoto immediately caught his reaction, watching him as he leaned his shoulders and head forward, looking down.
"What's up with you?"
"I can't overlook such a thing, don't you think, Master?"
Heine's head suddenly shot up, his bulging eyes staring right at Naoto, who reflexively pulled back.
"She's ready to strike when you are, Master. Why not play with her a little?"
"I said… SHUT UP!"
Heine forced his eyes to close, his body shaking, dropping his gun as his hands began to scratch at the bandages on his neck, ripping them apart and scratching against the exposed metal plate behind him.
"Such fierce eyes. She's practically begging for you to attack her just so she can tear you apart!"
"Isn't she just like her?"
"Heine!" Naoto shouted, leaning forward.
The albino boy suddenly took his gun and aimed it right at her, and she immediately pointed her knife right back at him. Her eyes were fierce for a moment, but her attention turned towards the gun, noticing the barrel shake. Trailing the gun back, she noted Heine's shaking hands, then his shaking shoulders, then locked with his narrowed eyes, staring right at her, as if aiming for her. She merely returned the gaze, her teeth grit.
"Pull the trigger."
Heine's hand shook, his trigger finger slowly pulling back.
His hands only shook more, and Naoto could only look, preparing to react the moment he'd shoot at her. Her eyes narrowed even more fiercely.
"She's bearing her fangs at you, Master!"
"Unbend your bent fangs! Show him what a true dog is like when it cuts through flesh."
"PULL THE TRIGGER, HEINE!"
His trigger finger pulled back.
Heine's eyes opened up suddenly, noticing quickly that Naoto had grabbed his wrist. His body shivered at her touch, the sudden fear creeping inside of him, causing him to pull the trigger even when he didn't want to.
The bullet whizzed past her cheek, cutting her slightly before hitting the wall. And yet as his hand shook, she still gripped his wrist tightly.
"Hah… hah… hah…" Heine's face was in shock, looking at her as she sternly returned the stare.
"PULL IT AGAIN!"
He breathed even more heavily as he began to venture deep into her fierce eyes.
"SNAP OUT OF IT, HEINE!" Naoto shouted.
Gritting his teeth hard, he suddenly pulled his arm back, pulling her along and taking her by surprise. She readied her knife once again.
However, her attention suddenly went back to Heine's expression, her face slowly moving towards his as he pulled her in.
The man pointed the gun at his chest, Naoto still clutching his wrist tightly as his face was mere inches from hers.
"…SHUT THE FUCK UP!"
He pulled the trigger, shooting his chest three times, emptying his gun's clip completely before falling to the narrow floor, his head resting on the confessional's kneeling pad.
Naoto never let go of his wrist, her eyes in total shock at what just occurred in just mere moments. She could only look at his bullet-holed chest, the smoke from the hot rounds swirling up towards the ceiling and into the ventilation shaft.
Naoto looked back down at Heine, whose eyes were half open, glaring at her with the same fierceness, and she sternly looked back.
He pushed the barrel of the gun at her forehead.
Click. Click. Click.
He pulled the trigger over and over, but no bullets came, the clip empty.
Click. Click. Click.
"Get out of my sight…!"
She only stared at him, and could only ask herself why.
Click. Click. Click.
"Why do you hate me so much?"
He opened his mouth, but closed it, his teeth grit as he pushed the barrel of the gun on her head again.
"You're not going to kill me."
Naoto's claim only angered Heine even more. But the voice inside him was gone, leaving him to himself as he looked up. Naoto's body was halfway through the small hole that connected the two rooms, her mid-length hair close enough to touch Heine's face, her eyes locking on to his.
"Why do you hate me so much?!"
Heine chose to turn his head, averting his eyes away from her gaze. He only angered the woman more, her brows furrowing and her teeth grinding slowly.
"You put me through this drama and you're going to just look away, you coward?! After all that happened just before, you think I'm just going to sit back down?! ANSWER ME!"
"You're so FUCKING ANNOYING!" He screamed back, turning back around. His fangs showing, he pushed his head forward, his forehead pushing against hers as he glared at her. "Just sit back down and shut the hell up!"
"Why, so you don't have another panic attack and shoot yourself?!"
"You don't understand a thing about anything! Why the hell should I even speak to you!"
"Then make me understand! That's all I want! I want to understand just what the hell it is about me that PISSES YOU OFF!"
"I SAID SIT DOWN!" He planted his hand onto the floor to get up, but felt a sudden jolt of pain, causing him to flinch. Looking at his hand, he had noticed that Naoto stabbed it, impaling the knife down and forcing his hand to press onto the floor. Looking back up, Naoto's face was full of anger, breathing heavily as he stared daggers at him.
"WHY DO YOU CARE SO DAMN MUCH?!"
"BECAUSE I -…!" Her mouth was open, but nothing could come out. She herself didn't understand the sudden obsession she had, wanting to know why Heine hated her so. All she knew was that it bothered her from the beginning.
"See? You don't even know yourself." Heine growled, but Naoto's face changed for a moment, as if, for the first time, his words hit her, and she immediately pulled back. Heine tried to get up, but the knife in his hand, impaled onto the floor, kept him from doing so. His other arm couldn't do a thing, the awkward fall he took putting him a position where he couldn't move very much. "H-Hey…!" He tried to catch her attention to note the knife, but she had already pulled herself back into her own booth, the sound of wood creaking indicating that she had sat back down.
Heine gave up eventually, relaxing on the floor and using the confessional's kneeling pad as a pillow, staring at the dim light on the ceiling.
Only silence remained after the carnage.
Heine's breathing finally calmed down, the pain of the knife stuck in his hand dulling slowly; probably a result of his body's modifications. He could feel the blood drying on his fingertips, and the bullet wounds slowly closing up, leaving only bullet holes on his shirt. He eventually felt comfort, his body temperature cooling back down as he rested on the floor of this cramped room.
"I don't remember my parents' faces."
The female voice spoke from the other side.
"All I know is that they were killed, and I was spared from the same blade that sliced them to pieces. I couldn't do a thing back then. Nor could I do a think when my teacher, my father, was killed. I could simply walk away, but I couldn't. I had to keep moving forward. I had to find closure, and the only way I could ever close this chapter was to avenge them."
Heine did not say a word but simply stared at the ceiling, finding the irony that now it was her who was confessing inside these two rooms.
"And so, everything up to that point led me to here, and it led me here... to everyone."
He did not respond. Naoto's fingers fidgeted with each other as looked down, sitting on the chair.
"I knew nothing of this kind of world, but in just the blink of an eye, I was sucked into it, away from a world that I could only assume was peaceful, with a loving family. And yet, when I arrived here, I found people who probably have been here since birth. I wondered, does that make me different? Does-"
"What the hell are you talking about?" Heine interrupted; annoyed at the odd solo she was giving. "What the hell does that have to do with me?"
"…I don't understand you."
"I've always looked at the past as some sort of curse in my life. It's because of this past that I came here; that I was sucked into this world. And yet, you continue on, driven by the past. You always seem to dwell in the past whereas I wanted to be rid of mine. I've always wondered how you were able to do that."
Naoto's fingers continued to twiddle around.
"I've always wondered how you're always able to keep moving forward. I became curious, but the more curious I got, the deeper I got, the more I realized something."
"You treat me differently from everyone else."
Away from her view, she did not notice Heine gritting his teeth and giving a simple 'Che.'
"You look at me as if I have nothing to do with you, and you treat me like so. The more I noticed, the less I understood the reason. I didn't mind it all first, considering the type of person you are, after all."
Not a word from the gunman.
"You're inconsiderate, rude, violent, sadistic… So many things about you go against everything I stand for. Yet…" with that, Naoto leaned forward, her head almost touching her knees as if she was praying really hard. "…There are things you do that change my perspective of you. You're paranoid yet overprotective of the things that mean the most to you. You feel the need to always protect Nill when there's danger, you help Bishop Earnest-san with everything he needs even though you get annoyed by it, and the same with Granny Liza. And when it comes to Badou, you look like brothers who argue a lot of but find a lot of things in common. And today, I saw you praying at church in the front seat… and I saw you here even… confessing your sins."
She did not say a word for a moment. Neither did he.
"But when it comes to me, everything I hated about you comes back. You have no qualms glaring at me, cursing at me… Before I knew anything about you, I could care less how it all turned out. But now… Now that I know everyone very well, it's becoming quite a bother."
"…A bother…?" Heine suddenly spoke. His teeth grinded once again, "Is that it? Me, telling you to get the hell off of my face is a fucking BOTHER?!"
"A-ah." Naoto blinked, realizing that she said it wrong. "W-wait…"
"What a load of BULLSHIT. You've got some nerve! You come here to tell me that the reason you even bothered to come here was because I'm a BOTHER to you?!"
She didn't say a word.
"Don't even say a damn thing anymore, woman. Just sit there until Badou or someth-"
"WOULD YOU SHUT UP AND LET ME FINISH!" she screamed. Heine blinked, surprised by the uproar. She barely lost her cool, the only time she ever screamed before today was for no reason, and she fainted before him, where he grabbed her…
It had hit Heine, that memory. He grabbed her wrist and pulled her to him before she fell completely. Of course, he dropped her eventually. He began to wonder if she realized he had stopped her from falling. It was the first time in a long time that he ever grabbed another woman aside from Nill, and the memory, for some reason, was etched in his brain carefully. Could that be the reason she grabbed his wrist today?
Her she was, bearing her soul.
He gave her the silence she wanted for now.
"Doesn't it bother you, too?" she said.
"Doesn't it bother you that I don't talk to you, that I glare at you, too?"
"It doesn't, right? And that's what I notice the most. Of all the people you know, you single me out without a single reason to do so. I just want to know… why?"
"…Why's it so important to you? Why is my opinion needed so damn much?"
"…I can't help it."
The blade maiden leaned back on her chair slowly, her hair falling back. "The biggest thing I've noticed since I've come here is that…"
She looked up at the ceiling; her body almost limp as she spoke softly.
"You're the one I notice the most."
Heine could only stare at the ceiling on his end in silence. Relaxing his head on the confessional's kneeling area, he couldn't help but be effected by what she said. He cursed her under his breath, berating her for talking so damn much, when it was the shortest sentence she made that had the full punch to it.
"You remind me of her."
Naoto didn't move at all, her body lazily leaning on the chair as she continued to look up. "…Lily?"
"You two aren't similar at all. She was smiling all the time, affectionate to everyone, yet full of fear. You, on the other hand, don't smile at all when I'm with you, and you prefer to fight alone. She didn't want to fight anything. You two couldn't be any more opposite."
"Then how do I remind you of her?"
"I see you as the person she was meant to become. A killing machine who instinctively releases her fangs when another bears theirs. You're everything she feared for herself; she never wanted be like this."
"Every time I see you, I see her; the 'her' that she never wanted to be. So I released her from her chains, and I set her free."
"You're the person that represents the Lily who would be here if she remained chained to the hell that was underground."
"…When I see you, my blood boils, and the thing inside me... the demon inside wakes up at your presence. It wants me to rip you to shreds… " Heine closed his eyes, his body relaxing fully. "I don't want to see Lily's face anymore."
"…But I'm not her."
Heine looked up at the hole.
"I'm me." From the other side, Naoto head leaned forward again, her hands moving along her lower leg as she looked at the floor. "Why should I be hated because I represent someone else? You can't even hate me for being myself."
"I'm not even myself to you, am I?"
Heine looked up at the ceiling again, sighing.
"You're too calm, your words are too sharp, and you follow a virtue that would never work in the underground; a virtue you so stubbornly abide by. You refuse to kill anything, putting your compassion ahead of your logic when push comes to shove. You constantly try to push your own objectives and beliefs onto others. Level-headed, yet rash, not realizing the full extent of what's going on."
Naoto didn't move an inch.
"I would have never said you were the complete opposite of Lily if I didn't know anything about you."
Naoto's eyes widened a bit, peering her face up to look at the hole.
"You're a complete idiot… Naoto."
Naoto's head shot up, shocked.
"Y-you said my name."
"…I can't help it."
Heine closed his eyes.
"You're the one I look at the most."
He was an idiot, too.
The two remained in silence once again. The air was still heavy, and Heine tried to relax himself, his heart beating a bit fast, annoyed that he had to say such things. He still couldn't move, the blade well impaled through his hand, sighing as he kept his eyes closed.
"Forgive me father, for I have sinned."
His eyes shot wide open.
"…I have never had Confession."
Heine couldn't help but smile a bit as he closed his eyes again. "Go on."
"…I always argue with this annoying guy with white hair and pale skin. He gets on my nerves easily, and there were times where I wanted him to disappear."
"I figured that if he didn't exist… I wouldn't notice how much he looked at me, and I wouldn't worry so much what he thought of me. I was scared of what he thought of me the more I got to know him. But maybe… he's not as bad as I thought he was."
Naoto's face turned to that of irritation, "…That's not something a priest should say."
"I'm not a priest."
"I'm me." He reflected the words she spoke earlier. The woman began to fidget with her fingers again, her hair covering her face slightly as she pushed herself through the confessional booth's opening, entering to Heine's booth. She froze for a moment, realizing that Heine was staring right at her, his red eyes open. He wasn't glaring at her, his face not implying any hatred. For the first time, she could feel as if Heine was just looking at her for no reason, other than the fact that she was there. A sudden tingle went through her spine as she pushed further towards him.
Her fingertips slowly glided along the knife, gripping it and beginning to pull. Her teeth grit, not realizing how far she pushed it down until she really tried to take it off. Her eyes accidentally turned towards his, noticing his red orbs still looking at her, not a word coming from him as he didn't take his eyes off of her. Her body shivered again, quickly turning away and focusing on the knife.
"Why are you looking at me like that?"
"You got a problem?"
She glared at him, and he merely continued to stare at her.
The air she felt was completely different as she tried to pull the knife out. She spent most of her time beforehand thinking she didn't know Heine at all, when in reality, she seemed to know him the most. She finally pulled the knife out, a few beads of sweat on her face as she began to pull herself back to her side of the booth.
He grabbed her wrist with the wounded hand.
"Do you still have a problem with me?"
"Then open your eyes and look at me."
She didn't realize her eyes were completely shut, opening them to look at his face again. It was as if he wasn't blinking, the gunman looking at her. For a little while, they would remain, their faces mere inches from each other, looking at each other.
"….I kinda hurts bending down like this."
Heine looked to the side, realizing that her lower half was still on the other side of the booth.
"Che. Do as you please then."
Releasing her from his grasp, he leaned his head back down, closing his eyes as he waited for her to go back to her booth. After a few sounds here and there, he realized he felt more weight on top of him. He opened his eyes again, realizing that she had pushed her entire body through the confessional, her whole being on top of him.
Not a single word was said as she leaned her head softly on his chest, him looking down, not being able to see her face, but noting the strands of her soft black hair. The room was cramped, barely big enough as his legs were bent, unable to stretch. Not a word was spoken, as it was already known to both of them why she always noticed him. Not a voice was heard, as it was already known to both of them why he always looked at her.
She who wished to erase a past that had her left for dead.
He who wanted to rewrite a future that had him fighting forever.
She, who decided to bear her fangs, and he who decided to bend them. They were complete opposites in terms of beliefs and needs. Like the confessional they were in, they as people were in two completely different realms for everything.
But all they needed was an opening, a small hole that connected the two rooms, and they would turn towards it, watching ever closely through the opening, the person who sat in his or her own world, completely alone.
And they would move ever so closer, wanting to know, to feel what it was like on the other side.
The truest form of attraction.
Naoto Fuyumine's head turned up, her head still laying on Heine Rammsteiner's bullet-holed chest as she looked up to him, her eyes locking with his again. It was as close as they have gotten. The electricity she felt through her body as her fingers lay upon him made her tingle and shiver more than she thought she would.
She quickly realized that was because he shivered too.
She pushed herself up, moving her face closer to his as he watched with silence. Her short hair was close enough to touch his face, his eyes closing as he felt her hair glide along his cheeks and even a little along his lips.
"Ne. I thought you were scared of women."
His eyes opened, and he found her face much closer, as he was able to feel her breathe. The voice inside him didn't speak at all.
"I was never afraid of you to begin with."
It would eventually happen.
Two lonely souls in two different worlds, who had caught a glimpse of the other's, would gravitate towards the small opening given to them, and suddenly, in the blink of an eye.
Their little rooms would be much smaller, but not so lonely.
They, who found nothing in common, would quickly find…
Common things didn't mean a thing if the attraction was unique enough.
Naoto Fuyumine leaned her head down, and the two…
The Bishop opened the door of his confessional booth.
"Sorry Naoto-chan, but I had to-"
Nill peeked her head to look beside the Bishop, and the two quickly noticed no one was inside, the Bishop realizing the air was empty in the room. He however, felt a draft, indicating that the confessional's screen was open.
He turned and opened the other door slowly.
Nill blushed, covering her eyes with her hands, but peeking between her fingers.
The Bishop Earnest smiled. Unable to see, he could feel the atmosphere like electricity.
"Forgive me father…"
Heine laid on the floor, his eyes closed as Naoto, her back on top of him, laid slightly on him, leaning the back of her head just above his chest and below his neck, with Heine leaning his head towards hers, both asleep by the aroma of the other, with Heine's hand around her waist and her hand on top of his, and his bloody hand entangled with her other.
"Two devils found their way to Heaven."
I was originally going to post this earlier had it not been for my surgery, which thankfully was successful.
And it turned out a little differently than I thought. But the effect remained the same.
I'd like to thank the great amount of reviews asking to finish, and hopefully my writing lived up to what you all wanted to see. From the bottom of my heart, thank you very much. I hope to hear what you guys think.
This won't be the only DOGs fanfic I ever do. I am a big fan of Heine and Naoto, so next time, it won't be so… cheesy.