Notes: This chapter has not been beta read, if interested please get in contact. The fic is AU but as IC as possible. It will contain shoujo-ai and probably Yuri. Please let me know what you think.
Facts: Fic will be as cannon as much as possible except for the fact Clare becomes a warrior to Riful, instead of the organization.
Clare sat, for how long she did not know. Time had come to a standstill for her, mind and body unmoving as the world rushed by around her. Night had graced the sky at least twice since she came to rest, but she could not recognize it as the passing of days. To her the world had become grey, barren, and dead. All that remained for her she now clutched in her tiny hands cradled tightly to her breast. It was Teresa, the only part of her that Clare's small body could bring with her, Teresa's severed head. Even now so long after death it had not decayed and remained pristine as if still alive.
Clare had lived her young life in darkness, pain, and terror. Overtime she had come to accept it as what was, no joy, no comfort, no existence. But that had changed. In one stroke Teresa had entered her life as a dazzling beacon of life and hope. Clare had been made victim to her image which at the time had been so radiant that it had been burned permanently into her heart.
With but a slash of her claymore the darkness had vanished as if it had never been and the world had exploded in color once more. She could laugh, cry, and love… But no now, no longer. Her light, her life, it has been extinguished and now Clare sat alone, unwanted by the organization. She had pleaded with the man in black to accept her, to make her as Teresa was, but she had been turned away. They spoke of a taint, a seed of rebellion that had been sown inside her by Teresa's selfish actions. A warrior who would serve though passion and not loyalty was of no use to them.
From that moment on she had gone west, her feet blistering a callusing as she strode along dirt and cobbled roads. It was the direction that Teresa had lead them along, a journey that was now traveled alone as Clare refused to accept the truth. From time to time she would stumble across a stream or bushel of fruits within the forest were she restored her strength, but it was so little and each day she grew weaker both body and mind.
It eventually dawned on her that her journey was in vain. Teresa would never open her eyes again, never smile at her again, never hold her again. When those thoughts finally crashed into her exhausted body her feet stopped in their tracks, not to move again. She had stood for a time till the protest of her exhausted body was too much before taken to the side of the deep forest path to sit against a tree waiting. Waiting for the time she would no longer wake from her sleep.
"Ehhh?" A gruff voice sneered in curiosity and Clare showed no reaction as a towering shadow bathed her in darkness. It was the first time someone had stopped as they passed on the sparsely used path, this person perhaps only the third to have passed in the last several days.
Suddenly Clare found her arm encircled by a gigantic hand and lifted from the ground as her body hung limply suspended by her captures strength. In a moment her head too was captured and she was forced to look up to meet the mans gaze. He was a brutish looking man with hostile eyes. Clare did little more then stare as she held onto Teresa's head, her fingers laced in her hair refusing to let go. The man showed no interest in it and simply spent some time inspecting her. He tilted her head side to side and even lifted her dress to examine her body. After a time it seemed he had become satisfied.
"I guess you will do." The man grunted in a dismissive manner and Clare found herself taken under his arm like some sort of package. She did not struggle or resist as she had no strength and her head, arms, and legs all hung limply while her languid eyes watched the dirt path slowly roll past below her. The journey soon deviated from the path and entered the forest. Time passed and all Clare could do was keep a death grip on Teresa, but her small hands where tiring and she was in real panic of losing her. To her fortune the man's trek seemed to have come to a climax as ancient stone appeared under his feet. He said nothing as he casually discarded her onto a mossy stone allowing her to quickly tug Teresa back to her breast.
"I guess I better get you cleaned up first." The man grunted to himself as he turned away from Clare and lumbered though some stone pillars. The area Clare sat at appeared to be the courtyard or square to some noble estate or manor, but she knew little of such things, and in her current state of mind did not care. The man's absents went on for a time, long enough for her to pass out into an dreamless sleep. It had not lasted long as she was jarred awake by the need for breath, choking a coughing she flailed weakly and managed to sit up in the shallow fountain pool.
"Wash." The gruff man demanded standing beside the age worn moss covered fountain. It had long since crumbled with age and the pool in which she sat had become a natural pond. Clare did not listen to the man she instead franticly searched for Teresa, soon spotting her lying upon a familiar mossy rock just beyond the fountain edge. Crying out she hastily tried to crawl and reach her but the man halted her with a giant hand on her head preventing forward movement. "I said wash." Clare shook her head violently as her arms reached out for Teresa blindly in need. The man growled loudly in irritation before he clued in.
"You want this?" The man said suddenly stepping back causing Clare to splash face first into the pond, no longer supported. The man picked up Teresa holding her before Clare and she nodded franticly, arms out starched. The man made a scowl and set the head on the side of the fountain, but did not let it from his grip. "If you want it back you will do as you're told. Otherwise I will throw it away."
Clare's eyes widened and she cried out no at the threat, her voice was weak from lack of strength. To show her willingness she quickly pulled off her soaked slip on dress and threw it aside, followed by her soiled panties. She began to scrub and rinse her dirt caked skin doing as she was told in a panicked hurried manner. The man observed passively waiting for the task to finish, and when it was Clare stood up in the fountain pond reaching desperately for her Teresa.
"Not yet, you have to be good and listen." The man spoke once more and moved the head away, Clare could hardly believe it and began to cry and scramble for it. Once more the man effortlessly kept her separated from Teresa and used the opportunity to remove her form the pool. He carried her under one arm as he held the Teresa in the other marching into the dim entryway of the stone structure. Inside a grand room spread open with mammoth pillars that held up a crumbling ceiling. In the center of the room an elegant yet aged wooden bench stood, bathed in a spotlight of warmth that filtered though the cracked ceiling. Upon it laid several worn yet still attractive pillows as well as a plain but very well kept slip on dress not much unlike the one she had removed in the fountain.
Clare was quickly deposited on the bench as the man turned and moved to one of the nearby pillars. Midway up a violent crack ran through it where a large chunk of stone had shipped away. There he set Teresa's head cradled in the natural shelf before he turned back to Clare. "You will wait here. If you behave you will have this back." The man spoke and Clare looked as if she would cry again, but nodded her head franticly knowing she had no chance to reach Teresa. The man lumbered forth and collected the dress and with surprising care he slipped it over Clare. He then turned disappearing into the darkness.
"Oh Duph, you're back so soon." Riful smiled up from her simple wooden throne. She sat in one of the deepest darkest chambers of the ruined castle and had been awaiting Duph's return. It had been some time since her last meal and she had been eagerly looking forward to it.
"Yes." Duph grunted. "I found one you will like, but she's kind of strange."
"Strange?" Riful frowned slightly. "What do you mean?"
"She is carrying around a claymore's head. She refuses to part with it." Duph explained as she moved to Riful's side.
"That is strange…" Riful mused and kicked her legs lightly back and forth. She however didn't give it a lot of thought and slipped from her throne. Without a word to her partner she left the chamber with a happy smile on her face and soon found herself at the entrance hall. Just as always her meal was there to greet her, however instead of sitting upon the bench as she had expected; Riful was amused to see the young girl hoping and jumping, straining to reach the head Duph and placed on the pillar. She could not help but admire the sight quietly for a short time before entering the room.
"What are you doing?" She asked sweetly startling Clare. Clare glanced over her shoulder to see Riful who wore a matching slip on. In response to the question Clare only looked back up at her goal… biting her lip as tears graced the corners of her eyes. Riful did not linger in the center of the room long, and quickly moved to Clare's side. The entire event was adorable and she sought to help Clare. "Here let me try." Riful offered and attempted to reach the head but had the exact same results as Clare.
"I don't think we can do this alone…" Riful mused softly smiling warmly as a plan formed. Perhaps threw this minor trial Clare would begin to trust her. "Here… how about I hold you up so you can reach?" Clare as first was torn but as Riful move behind her and griped her hips helping her to climb a little, she gave in.
Riful supported Clare weakly not wanting her to know the strength she truly hid. She used just enough to allow Clare to scramble up the side and just reach the dangling hair. She pretended to strain a little, but finally aided Clare in reaching high enough to grab the strands before she pretended to fall. Clare gave a soft cry as she tumbled down landing right beside Riful and she quickly cradled Teresa's head which had been pulled free.
"I'm Riful. What's your name?" Riful chimed in after some quit moments for them both to rest. Clare hesitated and clearly did not want to trust her but she glanced back at Riful replying in a small whisper.
"That's a beautiful name." Riful spoke and scooted so she could kneel properly beside Clare. "Is she your friend?" Riful pointed towards Teresa and Clare's eyes widened instantly became defensive trying to turn away and hide Teresa. Riful however stopped her with a gentle hand on her shoulder. "I'm sorry I didn't mean to upset you. I just want to be your friend too." Her words had lingered for a moment before Clare's lips moved.
"I'm sorry I couldn't hear." Riful leaned forward closer to Clare unable to hear the whisper.
"Her name is Teresa." Clare spoke a little louder.
"Teresa…" Riful spoke soft and slow savoring the name. "It's a very lovely name as well. Hey… come with me!" Riful stood and took Clare by the upper arm with both her hands, tugging her to follow but not forcing her to do so. Clare didn't respond at first but soon complied and let herself be lead back to the bench where she was sat down by Riful.
Because of the small bond she had formed with helping rescue Teresa the rest of the day progressed as she had hoped. In following hours Riful had managed to bring Clare out of her shell enough to play simple games and even enjoy some fruits and water that she had Duph deliver. She had a lot of fun and really enjoyed Clare's company, but now as dusk was beginning to set it was becoming time to eat.
"I really had a lot of fun playing today." Riful spoke honestly with warmth warmly sitting on the bench with her legs under her. Clare who sat beside her looked up lightly startled then appeared downcast. She looked down at Teresa combing her hair with her fingers for a short time before she spoke.
"Are you going to eat me now" Clare questioned softly. Riful was momentarily surprised at the question. Had she heard her correctly? Of course she had, so Clare knew she was a monster.
"How did you know?" Riful smiled and began to beam quite happy at the pleasant surprise. Clare did not reply to the question as she sagged with resignation. With little hesitation she pulled her slip on over her head removing it and stared at Riful with dead eyes.
"Please, take my guts. I don't care, I don't need them anymore. If you want them, then take them." Clare spoke calmly but began to grow desperate towards the end. "Take them, take them I don't want them." Clare began to tremble before starting to tear up and finally cry. "Take them…" Her voice broke weakly as she covered her eyes with her fists sobbing.
Riful was taken aback by the display and words. Though she was a monster she still held human feelings and one of the deepest rooted was her inner child. She always made friends with her food, always preferred the young and innocent. The ones who would trust blindly so just for a moment she could sweep away some of the loneliness she often felt and have a true friend.
It always began like this; she would send Duph out searching for a playmate. When they where kidnapped they where often terrified and scared but somehow throughout the day Riful managed to earn their trust and friendship. It was in the final rays of light when her playmate fell asleep that she would end their life painlessly, then feast on their corpse.
This display however was new and it disrupted her cycle. Never before had any of her victims known her true nature, not any in all the countless years she existed. The trust and friendship she formed with Clare she truly valued just as she had valued it of all her other playmates. So as Clare cried offering herself, Riful could only feel pain and hurt.
"Why, why do you want to be eaten?" Was all Riful could ask, her concern was clear in her voice.
"She's dead…" Clare choked. "Teresa is dead… i.. she…" Clare's words were broken and almost unintelligible. Riful could not help but lean forward placing her hands on Clare's shoulders in an attempt to comfort her.
"Teresa. She was important to you?"
"T..they.. why? Why?" Clare continued to make little sense. Riful was beginning to grow distressed as well until somewhere in Clare's random phrases something stood out, "They wouldn't put her inside me…"
"..put her inside me…" Riful pondered and no mater how she looked at it there was only one explanation. The girl had wished for the organization to make her a claymore but they refused her. That in itself might be enough to make the assumption illogical as the organization was always short on warriors and orphaned girls where only so common. She wanted to become a monster… willingly...
That thought resounded like an iron gong inside Riful, she felt shaken as it hit a nerve long buried and long forgotten. As Clare cried openly Riful frowned and was lost in a maelstrom of thoughts. They rested upon the fate of Clare as well as the agenda of the organization. But in the end it was the quietist whispered thought that silenced all the others. If the organization can make monsters… why cant I…
"Do you want Teresa inside you?" Riful questioned seriously and her words cut though Clare's anguish like a sharpened blade. Clare looked on with a disbelieving tear stricken face unsure she had heard correctly. "Do you want to become like Teresa?" Clare looked overwhelmed and on the verge of another break down but a stiff shake from Riful pulled her back. Her jaw opening and closing wordlessly Clare's eyes filled with hope and she finally give a nod as well as a hoarse pleading yes. Riful's serious expression soon melted into a smile of excitement and wonder. She truly looked forward to what was to come…
End Chapter 1