Notes: Loveless AU. This part: Mytho/Fakir, Duck, Rue.
Hopelessly I'll love you endlessly
Hopelessly I'll give you everything
But I won't give you up
I won't let you down
And I won't leave you falling
If the moment ever comes.
Once the music started, Duck moved as quietly and carefully as she knew how and slipped inside the room, hoping she'd go unnoticed for at least a while. Luckily enough, the only one inside was Mytho: she wasn't sure why Mytho's Fighter wasn't there, but she wasn't about to complain about that. Fakir was almost as scary as Ritsu-sensei, and extremely possessive of his Sacrifice.
She moved towards the wall, wrapping her arms around her legs, looking as Mytho started dancing, sighing softly. Mytho was the complete opposite from Fakir: where Fakir was dark and menacing, Mytho was light and gentle, always with a soft smile and a kind word for everyone. Even for her, even though everyone in Seven Moons knew she was pretty much nothing but a joke.
In Seven Moons, there were teams of Sacrifices and Fighters that learned how to duel together, developing a bond that would end up in a shared Name. The majority of the students were like that, either a Sacrifice or a Fighter, some still waiting for the other part of the team s to appear, the rest already working together to make sure their bond would strengthen and their shared Name would write itself somewhere upon their body.
She didn't have that, though, and she knew it. She was, basically, a mistake. A Sacrifice with no Name. A blank. Someone who would never share a bond with a Fighter.
There were, after all, blank Fighters. Not many, and most of them remained as she was, unused forever; sometiems a Fighter died, yes, but most Sacrifices would absolutely refuse to get another Fighter, considering it something that would cheapen their former bond. Once their bond was broken, Duck was pretty certain not many people would want to simply throw away what remained and start it again with someone else. It wasn't simply as if you lost your husband or your wife. When your Fighter or your Sacrifice died, you were losing part of your soul.
Still, sometimes it did happen. Sometimes, a Fighter died before the name appeared, before they actually bonded, and thus, a blank Fighter could replace them. The Name would never appear naturally and the Sacrifice would have to write it themselves, but the link could be just as good. The Sacrifice was, after all, the one who carried on the Name, the one who gave the orders during a spell battle, the one who carried on the mutual damage.
She didn't have that. She had no Name. And if it was something strange for a Sacrifice to accept another Fighter, it was completely and absolutely unheard of a Fighter to accept another Sacrifice after losing their original one. Most Fighters, after losing their Sacrifices, ended up dying, losing their will to carry on. Duck had seen a woman like that at the infirmary once. Her name had been fading away from her chest, and her eyes had been so terribly, terribly blank. It had seemed as if she was breathing simply because she didn't know how to stop.
And thus, she was pretty much doomed to being lonely for the rest of her life. Ritsu-sensei and Nagisa-sensei had told her so: she could go to classes and she could stay at Seven Moons, but there was little to no chance she would ever be part of a team.
"Are you alright?"
Duck blinked, for a moment not sure if someone had spoken or not. But then she noticed that the music had stopped, and when she looked up, she found Mytho standing by the recorder, blinking golden eyes at her, his ears twitching curiously.
"I-I'M SORRY!" She cried, standing up so fast that her feet tangled together and she almost fell down.
In fact, she did trip as she stood up, but Mytho was faster and he caught her, more strength to him than his fair appearance betrayed. Duck felt herself blushing, her face and neck burning as she moved to sit down in front of him, speaking without pause, not even to take a breath.
"SORRY SORRY I DIDN'T MEAN TO INTERRUPT I JUST WANTED TO WATCH YOU DANCE I'M NOT A VERY GOOD DANCER SO I WANTED TO SEE BECAUSE YOU'RE VERY GOOD BUT I DIDN'T WANT TO BOTHER YOU AND I OBVIOUSLY DID I'LL GO AWAY NOW AND--"
"You didn't bother me," Mytho said when Duck had to stop for air, his smile gentle. "It's alright if you want to practice with me. There aren't many other students who dance: I thought only Rue-san did so."
"W-well, Rue-chan is helping me, actually," Duck offered, a bit shyly.
Rue was, much like herself, a blank, but since she was a Fighter, she had better chances than Duck of being needed. Duck would have probably envied that if not for the fact that Rue was her best friend in school and, since neither of them had a Sacrifice or a Fighter, when there were battle practices they were usually paired together. They couldn't bond correctly, not without a Name, but even as useless as a Sacrifice as she was, Duck could see that Rue was an amazing Fighter, never hesitating when she managed to give her orders, her spells beautifully constructed into poetry and music.
She was, also, an amazing ballerina. Duck didn't dare tell Mytho that it was that way she had seen him for the first time. During her first week at Seven Moons, while she was looking for Rue, she stumbled upon Mytho and Rue at the dance studio, both of them doing the most beautiful pas de deux that she had ever seen. Duck had always loved ballet despite her natural clumsiness, had loved how graceful and beautiful it all seemed, but up until that moment, she hadn't known that she wanted to dance that way. Maybe she would never have a Fighter but, Duck thought, if she could dance like that and share a pas de deux with someone else, maybe it would be, a little, like bonding with someone else.
"Really?" Mytho wondered. "I'm sure you'll learn a great deal, then. Rue-san is amazing."
"S-she is!" Duck agreed, feeling a little bit braver. Mytho had helped her once to pick up her things, and he had offered her a chair as well. That wasn't really much, but considering how the rest of the students looked at her... "Um. But... Mytho-senpai, um, that's it... I-I also think that--"
She didn't get a chance to finish her phrase, telling Mytho that she also thought that he was amazing as well. The door opened, and when she turned to look, she found herself staring at Fakir. And she was sitting way too close to Mytho, and by the way Fakir glared at her, he thought so as well. Duck not only stopped blushing, but she felt herself paling and wishing that the wood floor would simply swallow her up.
"Out," Fakir said, still glaring. Duck wouldn't have been able to stand, let alone run away as she wanted to, since her knees had apparently melted away in her fright, but she didn't have to worry.
"Fakir, don't be rude," Mytho chided gently. He put a hand on her shoulder, squeezing gently, and Duck could feel the rest of her body melting away at that soft touch before Mytho stood up, favoring his left leg a little. "She's Rue-san's friend, and she came to practice."
But Fakir wasn't paying anymore attention to her. The Fighter frowned, looking at Mytho. "Your leg."
Duck blinked, turning to look up at Mytho, still standing behind her. "Huh? Mytho-senpai..."
Mytho, however, was also looking at Fakir. He smiled, shaking his head. "It's nothing. I tripped and hurt my ankle."
Tripped and... oh, no!
"Mytho-senpai!" Duck cried, standing up, holding unto his arm. "I'm so sorry, it's my fault! I didn't mean to! If I hadn't been here, then--"
Mytho was smiling at her, but Fakir's hand closed around her wrist, tightly enough that Duck was sure it was going to bruise and he pulled her away, and in one movement Fakir was standing between her and Mytho, his whole stance protective; he was ready to fight.
"Fakir!" Mytho yelled.
But Fakir was ignoring Mytho, glaring again at her. He had, apparently, understood her words perfectly: it had been her who had caused Mytho to hurt his ankle, and Fakir was showing her how much it displeased him. His ears were pressed against his hair and his eyes were so dark that Duck felt her knees threatening to give up again.
"I said, out," Fakir snarled.
And then he gave her his back, obviously knowing that with her being just a Sacrifice she couldn't do a thing.
"Let's go, Mytho, can you walk?"
"Of course I can walk, it's nothing serious!" Mytho sounded upset as well. "You're exaggerating. Again."
"Hn," Fakir moved an arm around Fakir's waist to support him, bending a little so that Mytho could put his arm around his shoulders again. When he did that, Duck could just peek at the beginnings of their Name, Fateless. "Come on, then."
"Really, Fakir..." Mytho sighed, but he allowed Fakir to walk him towards the door, turning to look at her over his shoulder, offering her a smile. "I'm sorry. Maybe we'll be able to talk later?"
And then they were gone.
Duck felt her eyes burning with unshed tears, her throat closed in both anger and fear. Fakir didn't deserve such a kind Sacrifice. It wasn't as if she could have Mytho for herself -- she was nothing but an useless Sacrifice after all -- but why did someone as awful as Fakir had to share a bond with someone, when she was all alone?
"He should feel how I feel," Duck muttered, angrily rubbing her forearm against her eyes to try and wipe her tears away. "See how he likes it."
When the alarm woke her up, it was past midnight. Duck yawned, rubbing her eyes, wondering what was happening. There wasn't any night practice, as far as she knew (and she paid a lot of attention to those sessions: Rue-chan and her were in a natural disadvantage, not being able to Call each other, so they had to search for each other before they happened to be challenged or worse) and there seemed to be a lot of commotion going outside.
"Rue-chan? What do you think is happening?"
"How should I know?" Her roommate said, sitting up on her bed as well.
Rue was beautiful the way princesses were supposed to be, or at least Duck had always thought so. Her hair was dark and wavy, her eyes a dark wine color and her pale skin was white and flawless, her tail long and as silky looking as her hair. Duck had always felt plain and, well, ugly besides her, nothing but an ugly duckling (pun not intended) against the natural grace that Rue had. Her hair was too thin, her ears and tail colored in white and pink, and her skin was freckled. And Rue was, also, incredibly strong and sweet. There were no words to express just how much Duck admired her friend.
"It's a lot of noise, right? And the teachers are screaming a lot," Duck mused. "Do you think somone got in? Oh, what if it's a thief?! Rue-chan, Rue-chan, it's scary!"
Before her friend could either try to calm her down or tell her that, again, she didn't know anything more than she did and that she should stop scaring herself to death, the door opened up, one of the teacher's peeking inside, using a flashlight to look at them.
"Two inside," he said, nodding. "It's complete lock-down for tonight, girls: the doors will open at six am."
"What? Why! What's going on?" Duck asked, now actually knowing there was a reason to feel scared.
The teacher looked grim and serious as he looked at her. "Just stay inside."
Then he closed the door, and Duck heard him lock it from outside. Duck turned to look at Rue, who was looking at the door. Duck opened her mouth to say something, ask Rue what she thought was going on, but when she paid more attention, she realized that Rue's hand was tightly closed around her blankets, and her jaw was trembling.
Rue was scared as well.
Duck swallowed around her own fear and she stood up, crossing the brief space from her bed to Rue's so that she could wrap her arms tightly around her friend.
"It's okay, Rue-chan," she said gently. "I'm sure everything's okay."
Rue didn't say anything at all, but she did hug her back. It took a long time before she stopped trembling.
The doors did open at six am, but they were offered no explanations at first. They had to wait until breakfast for Ritsu-sensei to simply say that they had reasons to believe that an intruder had gotten into the school grounds, but that they were looking into it. He ordered the teams to remain together for the day, but he also said that classes were to carry on as if nothing had happened.
The uneasiness was palpable through the rest of the students. Rue and Duck hadn't slept much, and it was obvious that the same was true for most of the students. The diner room was weirdly subdued, mutterings and hushed whispers breaking free.
"I heard someone was attacked," Lillie said, a blonde Fighter who loved gossip. "That's why the teachers are nervous. Oooh, I wonder if they died...!"
It wasn't uncommon for Duck to believe Lillie's lies: it was one of Lillie's favorite hobbies, and Duck had sort of gotten used to Lillie's weird form of showing sympathy or friendship. But for some reason, Duck thought about Lillie's words and she looked around the tables, because obviously if someone had been attacked, it'd be noticeable enough, a gap or--
"Duck?" Rue said. "What's the matter?"
"I can't find Mytho-senpai," Duck whispered. The hushed conversations that had been carrying out around her fell silent, and soon everyone was looking around, taking notice that nor Fakir nor Mytho were to be found among the students at all.
By the end of the day, the rumors had Fakir and Mytho murdered and buried below Nana-sensei's rose garden. It grew up enough that Ritsu-sensei had to make another announce to assure everyone that they were okay and that they had, simply, been sent away in a short mission. That put some people at ease: Mytho and Fakir were in the top ten best teams the school had at the moment, and although they were still underage, they had passed many tests many older teams had been unable to pass.
But Duck couldn't stop thinking that there was something simply, absolutely wrong about everything. It was the weirdest, most strange feeling.
"You're imagining things," Rue had told her, but Duck knew her friend: Rue also seemed nervous, and Duck knew that Rue cared a lot about Mytho. She was probably worried about him, too.
It took her almost three days to find a gap in her schedule so that she could actually try for the infirmary, since the teachers had been watching the halls and the students to make sure they were not harmed. Duck hadn't, sadly enough, thought about how she was going to actually go inside the infirmary and not raise suspicions. Just as she was seriously considering hitting her head against the wall and say she had tripped (because, after all, she was known for her clumsiness) the nurse walked outside and the door didn't actually close.
Duck ran, looking around once before she went in, closing the door behind her, finally being able to breath normally again.
The infirmary was empty except for a corner of the room were they had put a screen, as if to give privacy to however it was there. Duck swallowed, stepping closer, feeling her heart beating wildly inside her chest.
Please don't let it be Mytho, she thought, her palms sweating, her nails digging painfully into the soft flesh of her palms. Please, please, don't let it be Mytho. Don't let Mytho be injured or hurt.
Duck gasped, covering her mouth with her hands.
He didn't seem injured, at least, but it was a small comfort. He seemed normal enough, no bruise and no injury to his body that she could see. But Mytho's eyes were open and sightless, the golden pupils looking dull. He looked ashen, the shadows his eyelashes casted upon his cheekbones almost like bruises.
And he wasn't alone. Fakir was sitting on a chair, having fallen asleep holding Mytho's hand. He was bleeding, though, on his shoulder, on the place where Duck had seen that his and Mytho's name was.
"Mytho-senpai..." she muttered, feeling tears in her eyes again.
Fakir startled away, opening his eyes and standing up so fast that he sent the chair clattering to the floor. Duck screamed in fright, but even that wasn't enough for Mytho to blink or do something, not even when Fakir's hands closed tightly around her arms, shaking her.
"Was it you?!" he yelled, shaking her. He seemed terribly sick as well, as ashen-looking as Mytho, and perhaps worse. The bruises under his eyes spoke of endless nights awake, probably having not moved exactly from where he was by his Sacrifice's side, his hair looking greasy and unkempt, his eyes sunken and angry. "Was it you who attacked Mytho?! Did you come to finish it?! Tell me! I'll kill you before I let you harm him!"
"Y-You're hurting me!" Duck screamed, sobbing. But she could hear how scared Fakir was, how desperate for answers, and she tried to wonder how it would feel. A Fighter's life was to protect his Sacrifice, and Mytho... "I just wanted to know if Mytho-senpai was okay!"
Fakir stopped screaming, and he looked at her. Duck was still crying, but she saw how Fakir swallowed before he let her go, shaking his head.
"Get out," he said. He ignored the fallen chair, sinking gracelessly to his knees by the bed, leaning close again to hold Mytho's hand. "Get out! GET OUT!"
Duck ran, and she didn't stop until she got to her room.
"There you are," Rue chided her, closing the book she had been reading. "Honestly, Duck, I'm tired of us always being the last ones to-- Duck? Are you alright? What's wrong?"
"R-Rue-chan..." Duck started, but then she simply ran towards her friend, throwing her arms around her waist and breaking into huge, desperate sobs against her legs.