Disclaimer - I do not own D Gray Man.
A/N - I have absolutely no basis for this story. I was just thinking about Mana and the 14th and ended up writing this.
Warning - Scenes of child abuse in the first chapter, which I personally do not condone. No one has the right to hurt anyone else and especially not someone completely innocent. This being said, you have been warned.
Chapter One - Hatred
"You little bastard!"
A small boy with mahogany hair that curled slightly at the ends and large, expressive gray eyes stood in a corner as a large man bellowed at him. The smell of liquor hung heavy on the man as he stalked toward the child, a look of utter loathing etched on his face. His very posture was menacing and there could be no doubt about his intentions as far as the boy was concerned. The child's body began to shake as the man strode toward him, knowing what was inevitably going to happen. The small boy had absolutely no idea what he'd done to incur the man's wrath on this particular occassion but then again knew that he didn't really have to do anything.
His very existence infuriated the man.
Reaching out the tall man grasped the little boy by the arm, pulling him from the corner with such force that the child's arm actually popped out of socket with a very audible noise. Fire seemed to spread through his arm and the little boy screamed in pain. For which he was rewarded with a vicious slap to the face.
"Shut up you little wretch!" the man roared as he continued to drag the child along by his left arm. Tears appeared in the boy's gray eyes, a fiery pain seeming to consume his entire arm, but he didn't cry out again. Knowing that he would only be rewarded with more pain if he did so.
Muttering incoherently under his breath the man pulled the child along, stumbling slightly owing to the amount of alcohol that he had consumed. When he reached a closed door the little boy made an attempt to pull himself free, dragging his feet along and making every attempt not to be taken into the room.
"Please… no…" he whimpered, his voice so low that it was barely audible. Fear was clearly evident in his gray eyes as the child fought against the man's hold and begged for mercy. A mercy that he knew was highly unlikely.
The man turned a glare in the direction of the boy and, with a harsh motion, lifted the child by the arm that had been dislocated earlier. This caused the child to scream in pain once again but the man's face held not even the slightest hint of remorse as he carried the screaming child into the room. The door then slammed closed and all that could be heard was the sound of leather striking flesh and the muffled cries of the little boy.
After what seemed like an eternity the door of the room opened once again and the little boy slipped back out. The child closed the door softly behind himself and quickly made his way to the corner that he had previously occupied. Sitting down, the little boy pulled his knees to his chest, wrapping the one arm that he could still use around them. His left arm hung limply at his side and tears flowed down his face, although he made no sound.
The little boy placed his chin on his knees and stared ahead, willing his mind to go somewhere, anywhere but this place where he felt trapped. And hated. By someone who should have cherished him.
"Why?" the little boy mouthed, his lips forming the words even though no sound came out. "What did I do?"
About half an hour passed and then the sound of the front door opening jarred the child from his thoughts. Glancing up, body still trembling, the child waited for someone to enter the room, more than a little afraid of who it might be. A few moments passed and then an older boy with brown hair and matching eyes entered the room.
And immediately froze.
"Neah…" The older boy rushed over to the corner where the younger was sitting and dropped to his knees in front of him.
"Mana…" The little boy's voice was barely above a whisper and the older had to strain to hear him. "Why does he hate me so much?"
Mana didn't even have to ask who 'he' was. He already knew and a sick feeling was spreading through his stomach as he gazed at the trembling child. Reaching out he carefully pulled his little brother into his arms, noticing as he did so that there appeared to be something wrong with the little boy's left arm. "He doesn't hate you Neah," the boy said, even though he knew that his words weren't true. No matter how much he might wish otherwise there could be no denying the fact that the man loathed the very sight of his younger son. "He's just not right when he drinks…"
"He hates me," Neah said in a hollow sounding tone, pulling away and gazing into his brother's kind brown eyes. "He said… said he wished that I'd never been born. Said it's all my fault." A questioning look appeared on the child's face at this point, meshing with the look of pure pain that Neah already wore. "What's all my fault Mana? What did I do?"
Mana hesitated, reaching out and running a hand through his brother's soft mahogany hair. The hair that he had inherited from their mother. It was a question that he was capable of answering. He knew the reason why their father couldn't stand the sight of his youngest child but the simple fact of the matter was that he didn't want to tell Neah the truth.
Because it would only cause the little boy more pain.
"Listen to me Neah." Mana's tone was commanding and he didn't continue until his brother's gray eyes were focused on his face. "You didn't do anything wrong, do you hear me?"
"Then why?" the child questioned, not understanding why he suffered so much and hadn't done anything to deserve it.
"I wish I knew little one," Mana said with a sigh. He knew that what happened wasn't Neah's fault and wished that his father understood that. But the man was still grieving for the wife that he had lost four years ago and still angry at the child whose birth had weakened her. The doctor had said that the childbirth wasn't really the cause of her death but his father had refused to believe that and had shunned Neah since the day that he was born.
And, as time progressed and the child grew to greatly resemble his mother, their father had gone from completely ignoring the boy's existence to being abusive toward him. It was as though the very sight of Neah caused him pain; a horrible pain that he seemed to want to inflict upon the child. Perhaps as a means of retribution for the perceived crime.
Mana once again pulled the child into his embrace but Neah stiffened and whimpered in pain. The child pulled away from his older brother's arms, longing for the comfort but not wanting to endure the pain. Gazing down, Mana tentatively ran his hand along Neah's limp left arm.
"Hurts…" Neah whispered, tears glistening in his gray eyes.
"I'm sorry Neah," Mana said sincerely, his gaze shifting to one of the closed doors. He knew that his brother needed medical attention but was almost scared to seek it. There was a cautious look in his brown eyes; his father had never done anything to him but he didn't want to risk angering him further where Neah was concerned. "Is he asleep?"
Which really translated into 'has he passed out from the alcohol yet'.
Neah nodded, once again shuddering involuntarily. That was the only reason why he had been able to escape the horrible punishment that his father had felt completely justified in administering. The man had been too drunk to continue. Neah averted his gaze from the door that Mana was staring at, pushing horrific memories to the back of his mind. Leaving them there to haunt his dreams later.
"Come on," Mana said in a soothing tone of voice, getting to his feet and taking his brother by his right hand. Neah hesitated briefly before he slowly got to his feet, his small hand gripping his brother's as though it were his life line.
Leaving the house Mana led the way down the street, coming to a halt at a house a couple of doors down from their own.
"No…" Neah pulled to a stop the moment that he realized where it was that they were going. "No, Mana."
"Neah," Mana said, kneeling down so that he could look into his brother's gray eyes. He could see the fear that was displayed in those stormy orbs and wanted desperately to quell that terror. Because his little brother had already suffered more than anyone should ever have to. The simple fact of the matter was that Neah was terrified of adults, since the only one that he had any regular interaction with was an abusive bastard, but Mana knew that something had to be done about the little boy's arm. It couldn't be left in it's current condition and he couldn't fix it. "We have to get someone to take care of your arm… even though I know you don't want to."
Neah really didn't want to, scared that the doctor would only make it worse, but he nodded slowly. He didn't trust anyone else but he trusted his older brother. "O…okay Mana."
"Good boy." Mana tousled the younger boy's hair briefly before getting to his feet and leading him up to the door. Neah was still somewhat reluctant but he followed his older brother none the less. Reaching out, the older of the two boys knocked on the door and then stepped back; hoping that the man was home and would help them.
A few minutes passed before the door slowly opened and a middle aged man wearing a brown suit stepped out. His gaze briefly surveyed the two boys, recognizing them as living a few houses down from his own. "Is there something that I can help you boys with?" he questioned, gazing at the pair with an intent expression on his face.
"You're a doctor right sir?" Mana asked, noting that his brother had hidden behind him the moment that the door opened. He had noticed the sign that hung above the door, which declared this a doctor's office, and was hoping that he was speaking to the right person.
"That is correct," the man said, one eyebrow arched. "My name's Dr. Thomas Baker. Is there something that I can help you with son?"
Tugging gently on the small hand that he still held clasped in his own Mana moved Neah so that the little boy was standing in front of him. "My little brother Neah hurt his arm and… and I was hoping that you could help sir."
Dr. Baker stared at the obviously terrified little boy for a moment before turning his attention back to the older of the two brothers. He knew the family, having attended to the mother before her death, and there was one question that he felt the need to ask. Because it seemed important. "Where is your father?"
A small gasp issued from the younger boy, who pressed against his brother and began to mutter, "Can't tell him, can't tell him, can't tell him…"
"Neah," Mana called out to his brother, noticing that the child had began to rock back and forth ever so slightly. He turned pleading eyes to the doctor, willing the man to understand without forcing him to explain the situation. "If it's about money, I can pay you." The brown haired youth stuck his hand into his pocket and pulled out a couple of wadded up bills. He hadn't even thought about the possibility that the doctor would want to speak to his father and was now terrified... both for himself and mainly for his little brother. "Please…"
Dr. Baker's gaze shifted from the pleading eyes of the older one to the frightened eyes of the younger and it was in this moment that he noticed something. Marring the otherwise unblemished skin of the little boy's face was an angry red mark. In the very distinctive shape of a rather large hand print. The situation began to make more sense and the doctor gestured for the two boys to step inside. "Come inside."
"Thank you sir." Still clutching the tiny hand of his trembling little brother Mana stepped inside the man's house. Neah had no choice but to follow but the child did not look happy about the arrangement.
Dr. Baker followed along behind the two children, closing the front door before leading them down a short hallway. The corridor led into a sitting room that served as the waiting room for the small clinic. "Have a seat," he directed the boys.
Mana obediently lifted his little brother into one of the chairs before sitting down beside him.
The doctor stared at the two boys who were sitting before him, one eyebrow arched. "What happened?"
"I fell," Neah whispered, his gaze downcast. The boy kept his eyes focused squarely on the floor, since Mana always told him that he couldn't lie because of his eyes. His brother said they gave him away. And he needed for the man to believe that what he was saying was the truth of the matter. It was a familiar lie that he had been taught to explain away his various injuries.
Dr. Baker didn't look even remotely convinced by the boy's obvious lie. He gazed at the child for a moment, running his hand through his hair. Then he made his decision. He shifted his gaze to Mana. "Bring him and come with me."
Mana nodded, hopping to his feet. "Come on Neah," he said to his little brother as he lifted the child from the chair. Grasping the little hand Mana followed the doctor through a door and into a sort of exam room.
Once the two boys were inside Dr. Baker lifted Neah and placed him on a cot that was pushed up against the far wall. The child tensed as the stranger picked him up but Mana offered him an encouraging smile, which he attempted to return.
Walking across the room Mana came to stand beside the cot where his brother was sitting. Reaching out he once again took Neah' tiny hand in his own, giving it a comforting squeeze. "It's gonna be okay Neah," Mana said, his voice soothing. He could tell that Neah was still terrified and he wanted to do what he could to ease those fears.
Even though he was fairly convinced that, in order to fix the child's arm, the doctor was going to have to cause him more pain.
This assumption was verified as Dr. Baker walked over to a small cabinet that was located in one corner of the room. The man stood with his back to the two boys for a few moments and, when he turned around, he held a syringe in one hand. Mana winced, pretty sure that this wasn't going to end well. Luckily enough Neah was avoiding eye contact with the stranger, his gaze focused squarely on the floor, so he hadn't noticed just what was going on.
Which was a small blessing as far as the older boy was concerned.
"Alright," Dr. Baker said as he made his way back over to his patient. He directed his words at the older boy, grateful that the younger was resolutely ignoring him. He didn't want Neah to know what was going on until it was already too late for him to put up much of a fight. "I'm fairly certain that his shoulder is dislocated but I need to examine it to make sure. And it's going to be painful so I'm going to go ahead and give him something before I begin."
"What I need for you to do is hold his right arm still," Dr. Baker said, stepping toward the young child. "And make sure that he doesn't pull away."
"Yes sir." Hopping up onto the cot beside his brother Mana pulled Neah into his arms before the child had the chance to register what was going on. Being careful not to hurt the boy's left arm, Mana placed one restraining arm across his brother's chest. Using his free hand he got a firm hold on Neah's right arm.
"Mana…" Glancing back at his brother Neah looked somewhat betrayed. Then a panicked expression appeared in his gray orbs the moment he caught sight of the syringe that Dr. Baker held in his hand.
Mana immediately felt guilty but didn't loosen his hold on his brother. "Shh, it's okay Neah. The doctor's just going to give you something to make your arm hurt less."
The child still looked terrified but he didn't fight the hold that his brother had on his arm.
"Alright Neah," Dr. Baker said, his voice kind as he stepped over to the boys. Reaching out he carefully rolled up Neah' right sleeve and then held up the syringe. "This should help with the pain… just a little pinch and then it'll all be over."
Neah whimpered, his gaze shifting between the doctor and the syringe that he was holding.
"Shh," Mana soothed, making sure to keep his grip on his brother's arm tight enough so that Neah couldn't pull away. He didn't want to risk the child pulling his arm away when Dr. Baker went to give him the injection and causing himself further injury. "Just a little poke Neah… it won't be so bad."
Mana couldn't help but think the brief sting of the injection paled in comparison to the horrors that Neah had already endured. But of course he didn't say anything about it, not wanting to remind his brother of the day's earlier incident. As well as not wanting the doctor to find out the horrible fact that the child's own father was the cause of his injuries.
Confident that Mana had everything under control Dr. Baker gave the child the injection. Then he rubbed the spot, working the drug into the muscle so that it would absorb quicker. "Good boy," the doctor said, offering Neah a smile as he placed the syringe on a small table that was positioned next to the cot.
"See Neah?" Mana said, relaxing his hold on his brother's arm and running a hand through his mahogany hair. "That wasn't so bad was it?"
Neah shook his head, allowing his big brother to continue to hold him. The comfort was more important now than avoiding the pain that the contact caused.
Glad that Neah seemed to trust his big brother without question Dr. Baker watched the child, practically counting down the time that it would take the drug to take affect. Mana cuddled the smaller boy, continuing to hold Neah in his lap, and before long the effects of the drug began to show. The little boy's body went limp as his muscles relaxed and Mana actually had to prevent the child from tumbling to the floor.
"Whoa there Neah," Mana said, glad that he'd kept his arm looped around his brother's small waist. Otherwise that could have been bad. Turning slightly to the side Mana smiled as he saw that Neah's eyes were half closed and he looked as though he were on the verge of sleep. "Guess the drugs kicked in huh kiddo?"
There was no reply from the child; not that one was really necessary.
"Alright," Dr. Baker said, removing his jacket and rolling up the sleeves of his white shirt. Stepping over to the cot where the two boys were sitting he briefly examined Neah's left arm, confirming what he had already suspected.
It was definitely dislocated.
The doctor turned his attention to Mana, a grim expression on his face. "I'm going to need your help for this but you aren't going to like it."
Mana's arms tightened around his brother in a protective gesture. He didn't like how this conversation was starting out. "What are you going to do to him?"
"The only way to fix his arm is to pop it back into socket," Dr. Baker said in a solemn voice, having known that the older brother would question him. "And it will cause him some pain, even though his senses are dulled due to the morphine."
"Alright." Mana wasn't happy about the fact that Neah was going to have to endure yet more pain but at the same time he had already known that would be the case. And if it was the only way to repair the damage that their father had caused then it was inevitable. With a sigh he asked, "What do you need for me to do?"
"I need for you to hold onto your brother tightly," Dr. Baker said, reaching out and grasping the child's left arm. "It takes a fair amount of force to do this."
Mana nodded his head, to show that he understood, and tightened his grasp around Neah's waist. He pulled the smaller boy securely against his body and braced himself for what was about to happen.
Taking a deep breath and willing this procedure to work on the first try, Dr. Baker began manipulating the boy's arm in an attempt to pop it back into place. The child whimpered in pain, although he didn't really put up any kind of fight. The drugs that he had been given were doing their part to keep him relaxed and calm.
Despite the pain.
"I'm sorry Neah," Mana whispered in his brother's ear, maintaining his hold on the child. "But you're doing really good and it's almost over." At this point, he turned pleading brown eyes to the doctor, hoping that he hadn't just lied to his little brother.
At that moment the doctor felt the bone pop back into it's socket. Neah gasped in pain but was unable to move due to his brother's hold on him. "That's it," Dr. Baker announced. "It's all over."
"Thank goodness," Mana said, loosening the hold on the child and once again running a hand through his mahogany hair. "You did such a good job Neah; I'm proud of you."
Walking over to the small cabinet the doctor once again rummaged around inside of it. After a few moments he returned to the spot where the siblings were sitting, a piece of folded white cloth held in his hand. He quickly fashioned a sling for Neah's left arm, tying the fabric and positioning the child's arm so that the pain would be diminished. "It'll more than likely be sore for at least a few days," the doctor lectured, directing his words at Mana. "And he shouldn't move it around too much for the next couple of weeks. It's more likely to pop out of socket now that it's done so once which means that you need to keep an eye out for that as well."
Mana nodded his head in understand. "Right." Reaching back into his pocket Mana offered the crumpled bills to the doctor. "If this isn't enough then I'll work and earn more sir, I promise."
The doctor took the money from the boy and nodded his head. "This should cover it," he said, his voice kind as he walked back over to the cabinet. He returned to Mana's side a few minutes later and offered the boy a couple of paper packets. "Take these and mix one in a glass of water if he complains of pain okay?"
"Thank you sir," Mana said, taking the packets and placing them in his pocket. Shifting Neah so that the boy was lying on the cot and not in his lap, Mana got to his feet. He offered the doctor his hand. "Thank you so much for helping him."
Dr. Baker accepted the hand that Mana was holding out to him, shaking the boy's hand. "Is there anything that you'd like to tell me about how exactly he was injured?"
Mana could tell that the doctor was suspicious but he was afraid to say anything. "I wasn't home when it happened sir… I was at school. So all I know is what Neah told me."
"I see," the man said, still looking unconvinced.
"Is it alright if I take him home now?" Mana asked, gesturing toward his sleeping little brother.
The doctor nodded. "Just make sure that you check on him periodically until the drugs wear off."
'Yes sir." Mana carefully picked up his undersized little brother and left the doctor's office. "I really hope that Father's still asleep," he muttered to himself as he made his way home. The trip didn't take nearly long enough, as far as the brown haired youth was concerned, and in no time he arrived at the house that he shared with his alcoholic father and abused little brother. The boy could remember a time when it had been a home but now it was merely a roof over their heads.
Reaching out Mana carefully opened the door, making every effort to be quiet. It was all for nothing however for as soon as entered the house he heard, "MANA!"
A/N - 'feels absolutely horrible for writing this story' Here's the first chapter of an origin fic for the 14th. Needless to say it has to be AU and wild speculations abound. Credit for helping to inspire this story goes to Swift-Star9 and her wonderful story 'Whom Gods Destroy'. You should definitely check that one out. Special thanks to my beta-reader BlackCross1808 for all the help that she gave me with this first chapter as well as story planning. You're awesome! Just want you to know that.