Disclaimer - I do not own DGM

My Brother's Keeper

A lone figure could be seen walking along a lonely stretch of dirt road toward a temporary circus camp that had been set up on the outskirts of a town of moderate size. The slender young man had dark hair and was dressed casually in black trousers and a white shirt, which was left open at the collar. A brown paper bag was held in his arms and his gaze shifted toward the cluster of tents as he grew closer to the circus grounds, dark eyes searching for any signs of a familiar figure.

"I can't believe that my brother actually decided to become a traveling performer," he muttered to himself as he entered the circus grounds. His trip into town had been prompted by his need to escape his current surroundings, bit of a spur of the moment kind of thing, and he had actually left without informing his brother that he was going anywhere. Which would likely get him scolded but that was something that he would deal with when it came up, no point in worrying about it before hand.

"Brother!" A young man dressed in an oversized clown suit came into view as he stepped around one of the tents. The only thing that was needed to complete the look was the makeup that the man had left off. There was a hint of concern on his face as he stepped toward his younger sibling since the boy hadn't been feeling all that well as of recently. He played off his concern, however, since he knew that his brother wouldn't appreciate it. With this thought in mind he offered his brother a smile.

"Mana…" the younger sibling said, eyeing the getup that his brother was wearing with one eyebrow arched. "You look like an idiot." His tone was joking despite the rather harsh nature of his words.

"I know," Mana said, rocking back and forth on the balls of his feet, his hands held behind his back and a smile plastered on his face. "Isn't it great?"

"You would say something like that," the other commented, shaking his head. And yet there was a small smile on his face despite his best efforts to keep it at bay. "So did you miss me… or did you even notice that I was gone?"

"How could I not notice that my favorite sibling… well my only sibling… was gone?" Mana traced a finger down his face in a fake crying motion, tracing a teardrop that simply wasn't there. "It hurts me deeply when you say such things Neah."

The younger of the two siblings rolled his eyes, shaking his head at the antics of his older brother. "Truly a tragedy," he said in an emotionless monotone, his face completely stoic.

"So," Mana said, leaning forward in an attempt to see into the bag that his brother was carrying. There was a look of interest in his eyes, eyes that were an exact match for those of his brother. "What have we here?"

"I bought food," he replied, moving the bag that he held in his arms so that his brother couldn't see inside of it. The bag was a bit on the heavy side and the dark haired youth almost lost his balance, not having been in the best of health for the past couple of days. He played it off however, hoping that his brother hadn't noticed. "Because I can't tolerate any more of the stuff that we can get around here."

Having said this he placed the bag on the ground before sinking down to sit beside it, absently raising a hand to rub at his forehead. He had been suffering from sporadic headaches and fevers for the past couple of days and it appeared as though this was the beginning of another such episode.

"Neah…" There was concern in Mana's voice, as well as in his eyes, as he gazed down at his younger brother, noting that his skin was slightly paler than usual. "Are you alright? You look a bit pale."

"It's nothing," Neah said, waving off his brother's concern. In truth he was feeling a little off but didn't want to concern his brother over something that he was sure would resolve it's self eventually. There was no point to it and Mana already worried too much as it was. "Anyway, don't you have a performance that you should be getting ready for?" Of course this wasn't a question that needed asking; Neah knew for a fact that this was the case owing to the fact that he always provided the music for his brother's act, having always been something of a musical prodigy.

"You're right, I do," Mana said, offering his brother a hand. He had noticed the slightly dazed look in Neah's eyes and wasn't convinced by his brother's repeated assertions that he was fine. "Let's go back to our tent so I can finish getting ready."

Getting to his feet without the aid of his brother Neah grabbed the bag at the exact instant that Mana leaned forward to pick it up. It seemed as though his older brother thought that he couldn't even manage a simple task like carrying the bag back to their tent and the younger sibling was determined to show him that there wasn't anything wrong.

"Stubborn," Mana muttered as he led the way across the circus grounds to the tent that he and his younger brother shared. Walking at a quicker pace than that of his younger sibling the clown had his makeup in place by the time that Neah stepped through the tent flap. There were two grins on the man's face as he turned to face his brother; one that was painted on and one that actually belonged to the man. "This is going to be so much fun," he chimed as he winked at Neah.

"Glad that you're enjoying yourself," Neah said quietly, placing the bag on the ground near the entrance to the tent and walking over to one of the twin cots that were positioned on either side of the tent. There was a medium sized leather case located at the foot of one of them and Neah knelt in front of it, lifting it open and pulling a trumpet from within. Raising himself into a standing position once more, and ignoring the brief wave of dizziness that the motion caused, Neah raised the instrument to his lips and played a couple of experimental notes. Just to make sure that the instrument was in tune.

Which of course it was.

In truth he preferred the piano but the trumpet was more suited to his brother's act, not to mention much more portable. He hadn't been able to play the piano in quite some time but that was just one of the things that he had to deal with. Mana had decided that both of them needed a change of scenery and, although it wasn't what Neah would call an ideal set of circumstances, his brother was the one person who had never let him down so he would go on without complaint.

Or at least without complaining out loud; far from a saint, he couldn't keep himself from thinking complaints every now and again. But he managed to keep these thought to a minimum and to himself, which he considered a great accomplishment.

"Aren't you enjoying yourself Neah?" Mana asked, tilting his head to the side as he gazed at the younger male. The gesture looked rather amusing, given the clown getup that the man wore, and Neah actually twitched a smile.

"Perhaps a little," Neah said, gesturing toward the door of the tent with the trumpet that he still held in his hand. "At any rate, shall we go? It would be a real shame if you were late to your own performance."

"That it would m'boy, that it would," Mana said, striding forward and stepping out of the tent ahead of his brother. He could tell that Neah still wasn't feeling well but chose not to say anything on the subject since his brother seemed so determined to hide the fact. But he couldn't help but glance back at the boy every so often, just to assure himself that he was still following behind and doing okay.

Leading the way across the circus grounds Mana took the long way around to the main tent, where the performances were held. Neah had never been comfortable around other people and large crowds tended to intensify his feelings of discomfort to an extremely high level, as was evident by the fact that Neah always remained in the shadows while playing the music that accompanied his act, so Mana avoided them whenever possible. A few extra steps didn't really make much of a difference in the grand scheme of things and Mana would do anything for his brother.

Arriving at the staging area, where the performers awaited their cues, the clown walked over to a chair, one of the various props that he used for his act, and grabbed it. Gazing around for a moment Neah stepped over to the entrance to the main tent, positioning himself so that he couldn't be seen by the crowd that was assembled in the large tent. According to his brother he often received compliments for his music but this didn't really matter to Neah… he was uncomfortable around people and wanted to remain as far from them as possible. His music was meant solely for his brother; it didn't matter to the youth if other people appreciated it or not. "So are you ready?" he asked quietly, turning to gaze at his brother.

"Always am," Mana said calmly, awaiting the cue that would signal his act.

"Of course, of course," Neah said quietly, one corner of his mouth twitching up into a half smile. His brother had always enjoyed making other people laugh so he really was oddly suited to this lifestyle as a traveling clown. He had no such aptitude himself but didn't begrudge his brother this talent.

At the cue from the ring master Neah raised the trumpet to his lips and played the opening notes as his brother dashed forward, dragging the chair along behind him. He could hear the sounds of the crowd reacting to Mana's antics but was distracted from this fact by a fierce stab of pain in his head. Clenching his eyes closed against the blinding waves of pain Neah continued to play, refusing to be defeated by something as simple as a headache. Eyes closed he played the familiar tunes, adding sound effects every so often. He knew his brother's act so well that it wasn't necessary for him to see what was going on; a good thing since he currently had his eyes clenched tightly closed.

The raucous cheering of the crowd signaled that Mana's act had came to an end and Neah slowly lowered the trumpet that he held, his eyes still closed against the fierce pain in his head.

Walking back toward the spot where his brother was waiting, dragging the chair along behind him, there was a broad smile on Mana's face. However it faltered somewhat as his gaze fell upon his brother. It was obvious that Neah was in pain and… Mana did a double take as he noticed the drops of blood that were just barely visible through his brother's dark hair. "Neah!" he exclaimed, releasing his grip on the chair as he rushed toward his brother, concern etched on his features and evident even through the distortion caused by the clown makeup. "You're head is bleeding…"

Turning toward the sound of his brother's voice Neah slowly opened his eyes, which had a glazed over look about them. He stared for a brief moment, as though gazing straight through Mana's body, before abruptly collapsing.

"Neah!" Mana exclaimed, catching his brother before the younger male hit the ground. Now beyond concerned about his brother Mana picked him up, being stronger than he looked, and quickly made his way back to the tent that they shared. Once inside the clown placed his brother on the cot that belonged to him, pulling a brightly colored handkerchief from his pocket and using it to dab at the blood that was dripping down Neah's face. It seemed to be coming from some oddly shaped wounds on Neah's forehead and Mana found himself wondering how he had acquired them.

"They weren't there before… were they?" Surely he would have seen something like that but Mana couldn't help but wonder if perhaps he had actually missed the fact that his younger brother was injured. Not that he really had time to dwell on such thoughts what with the condition that Neah was currently in. His dark hair was damp with sweat and plastered to his head, the younger male's breathing obviously labored as he thrashed about on the cot. Sitting on the edge Mana reached out, smoothing the boy's sweat dampened hair away from the strange little wounds, so that he would be able to bandage them. Using the handkerchief he cleaned off the blood as best he could before wrapping clean white bandages around Neah's forehead. Little spots of blood immediately appeared on the otherwise pristine white fabric but the bandage job would do for the time being.

While Mana was wrapping the bandages around his head Neah opened his eyes, gazing up at his older brother with a pained expression. "Ma…na…" the normally stoic youth actually whimpered, his voice weak and containing a somewhat raspy quality.

This instantly raised his concern level and a frown appeared on the man's face, a rare occurrence for him, lending credence to exactly how worried he was. "Shh," he soothed, once again reaching out and brushing back his brother's hair. "You're going to be just fine Neah."

Neah opened his mouth to say something but his words were cut short as he was hit by yet another blinding flash of pain. Screaming out he leaned forward, seizing Mana by the shirt and gripping the fabric as though it were his lifeline. "Mana… make it stop… please."

"I don't know how," Mana said quietly, the only thing that he was really able to do for his sibling being to offer the boy what little comfort he was able to provide. He once again ran his hand through Neah's hair, wishing desperately that there was something else that he could do for his brother, hating the sight of his little brother in so much pain. He thought about getting a doctor but wasn't sure if the nearby town even had one… and not wanting to leave Neah alone to go and find out.

Afraid of what he might find upon his return…

Recovering slightly from the intense pain Neah released his grip on his brother's shirt, raising his hand to probe at the bandages that had been wrapped around his forehead. The instant that he touched them the bloodstains grew slightly larger, signaling the fact that the strange wounds that were concealed beneath the white cloth were still bleeding.

Not a good sign.

"You shouldn't bother those," Mana said, his voice gentle as he reached out and pulled his brother's hand away from his head. His kind eyes held a look of concern as he took in the increased size of the bloodstains before watching as Neah's hand dropped back to the cot beside him. The younger Walker sibling tossed about restlessly for a moment, still seemingly struggling to draw a deep breath.

Neah felt as though he were being enveloped in darkness and, as he fought to keep himself from completely succumbing, he could swear that he heard the faintest trace of a voice calling out to him… as well as music playing in the background. It was a slightly disconcerting feeling and the young man shook his head in an attempt to fight off the ever growing darkness.

In a split second he realized that this was a bad idea.

Wincing as yet another wave of pain hit Neah reached out, his hand desperately grasping for something as his breaths came in labored gasps. Taking his brother's hand into his own Mana gave it a comforting squeeze, wishing that he knew how to help Neah… but he couldn't even fathom what was happening to the little brother that he cherished and thus had absolutely no way of offering any kind of relief from it.

Neah turned tortured eyes to his brother a second before he gave a slight shudder, his body going completely limp as he lost the battle against the darkness.


Mana could tell that his brother was still breathing, although his breaths were shallower than they had been previously, but the fact that Neah had collapsed only added to the concern that he was feeling. Gently placing the younger male's hand on the cot beside him Mana got up and began to pace the room, running a hand down his face and smearing the makeup that he wore. Shaking his head at the fact that he had actually forgotten about it the man wiped his face clean on a towel before quickly changing from his clown garb into a pair of trousers and a thin cotton shirt. This done he returned to Neah's side, taking a clean handkerchief and dabbing at the sweat that was beaded on the boy's face.

"Hang in there little brother," he said quietly, gazing down at his younger sibling who was still tossing about listlessly on the cot. "You're going to be okay." And yet, even as he spoke these words of comfort Mana couldn't keep himself from silently wondering if they were indeed the truth or not. He had absolutely no idea what was wrong with his brother but it seemed serious.

Getting to his feet the clown resumed pacing the small space of the tent that he and his brother shared, wringing his hands and gazing over at his brother as he passed. Every so often Neah would moan or mutter something incoherent and every time that he did so Mana would cease his pacing and return to his brother's side. At the very least he wanted to make absolutely certain that Neah knew that he was there for him.

In his mind Mana knew that it wasn't enough but it was the best that he had to offer.

"No… please don't…"

Mana whirled around as he heard these barely audible words, spoken in a whimper, his kind eyes immediately shifting back to his brother. The expression on Neah's face was hard to read, something of a mix between pain and fear, but the shocking part were the tears that were sliding down the boy's face.

Walking over to the bed Mana sat down beside his brother, his concern growing even more, though he wouldn't have thought that possible at this point. Reaching out he ran a hand through the younger male's hair, whispering, "Shh Neah, you're safe little brother."

The younger male continued to toss about restlessly and, as he did so, his skin seemed to darken. It took on a strange ashen tone, causing Mana to stare at him. This was something that he had never seen before and he reached out a hand, gripping Neah's hand in his own and giving it a comforting squeeze. "Come on Neah… wake up little brother."

At the sound of his older brother's voice Neah slowly opened his eyes, which had inexplicably turned a tawny gold, turning a somewhat tortured expression toward Mana. "You know," he murmured, his voice weak. "Dying is one thing but no one should have to suffer this level of flesh searing pain before they die… it's just cruel."

Mana winced at Neah's words; despite the fact that he was sure his brother had been at least partially joking he didn't like to hear Neah say such things. "You shouldn't say things like that Neah…" he chastised mildly as he got a glass of water and offered it to his brother. "Here," he said, helping Neah sit up enough so that he could drink.

Neah took a couple of sips, just enough to wet his dry throat, before pulling away. "Thank you Mana," he said, his voice reaffirming how weak he was.

Mana helped him back into a prone position, after placing the glass back on the table where he had gotten it. "No problem. You should rest… you're still weak."

"He'll be just fine~" a girlish voice called out from the entrance of the tent, her voice containing a strange sing song quality.

Neah turned his gaze toward the sound of the unfamiliar voice, his eyes landing on two figures in silhouette in the doorway. He couldn't really make out any of their features and made a move to sit up, not really thinking about the fact that he was unable to do so at the moment.

Mana once again prevented his brother from rising, placing a gentle hand across his chest in order to restrain him. In his weakened condition it didn't take very much effort. Even as he did this Mana also gazed over at the two new arrivals.

"He isn't alone Lord Millennium..." the girl said, waltzing over to the bed where Neah was lying. She seemed completely unconcerned by Mana as she focused her attention solely on Neah.

"So he isn't Rodo~" the Earl purred, gazing at the sub human who was sitting at the bedside of the awakening Noah boy. This was decidedly strange, since most people would have run screaming by this point. The sub humans tended to jump to the conclusion that this was some kind of disease and abandon their loved ones, seeking to save themselves from whatever the affliction was. But, for whatever reason, this particular sub human hadn't done so. He was a unique case and actually held the Earl's fascination for the moment.

"Who... are you people?" Neah questioned, his gaze shifting between the three people who were standing over him. He was beginning to grow decidedly uncomfortable with this situation and it showed because he didn't have the energy to hide it.

Sensing his unease Mana gave the hand that he still held a comforting squeeze. He frowned as he turned his gaze toward the girl and the large man, something that didn't happen very often with him. "Yes, that is a good question."

"Interesting," the Earl said, watching the interaction between the two of them.

Neah frowned as well, not liking the fact that the man seemed to have avoided the question. "It's impolite to barge in uninvited and not even introduce yourself," he said, his voice cold. He was far less cheerful than his older brother and wasn't really in the mood to deal with this at the moment.

"My name's Road," the girl chimed, beaming at Neah and completely ignoring his brother.

"My apologies," the large man said, offering the boy a slight bow. "I am the Millennium Earl."

Neah scowled. "And that tells us... absolutely nothing." The black haired youth turned to his brother at this point, rolling his golden eyes toward the ceiling. "I think these people must have escaped from the asylum or something..."

"That's not very nice Neah," Mana chastised mildly before turning his attention back toward the people who had introduced themselves as Road and the Millennium Earl. "Is there something that you need?"

"We came for him~" Road sang out, pointing toward Neah. There was an excited expression on her face and she seemed completely indifferent to the obvious pain that the boy was currently enduring. In fact, if one looked close enough, they would have been able to see a sadistic gleam in her eyes.

At this point the black haired youth let out a piercing scream as he felt yet another fierce stab of pain in his head. Reaching up he grabbed at the bandages that his brother had wrapped around his forehead, ripping them off forcefully.

Mana stepped in between them instantly with a frown but turned to his brother as he scream out in pain. "Neah!" he said with a worried look, gazing down at his younger brother through concerned eyes.

Still gripping the bloody bandages in his right hand Neah fell back against the pillow, breathing as though he had just ran for several miles. Now that his head was no longer bound he could feel the warm blood trickling down his face but made no move to wipe it away. His now golden eyes held a slight gleam to them as he stared ahead blankly. "I told you he'll be fine," the girl named Road said, staring intently at the boy. His awakening was nearly complete and then she would have a new brother, a fact that she was greatly excited about. She was hoping that this one would be more fun that her other siblings. There was a gleam in her eyes as she watched him. "He's going to be so much fun!"

Mana grabbed a rag, dabbing at the blood with a worried look in his eyes. Even if these strangers said he was going to be fine, he didn't trust them, nor could he shake the feeling that he was about to lose his dear little brother. Calmly he took Neah's hand, holding it gently and occasionally dabbing at the blood to keep it out of his hair and eyes. He would have made another attempt at bandaging the wounds but had the feeling that the result would be much the same as the last time so he contented himself with keeping the blood wiped away. The Earl watched with fascination; most humans ran by now, scared this was something contagious and didn't want to die themselves. They would think it was some kind of flesh eating illness and flee to save themselves and yet this man didn't even bother keeping the blood from his hands as he cleaned it off the slowly forming Noah's head so that he would be as comfortable as he could be. He tilted his head to the side slightly, a curious look to him as he watched. "Rodo~ Come here." he called, wishing now only to observe until the process was done and he didn't want Road pushing the human away from his brother.

"Mana..." Neah said in a hoarse whisper, at this point pretty much all he could manage. His head was throbbing and he could hear a strange voice in the back of his mind, telling him horrible things. He gazed at his brother almost imploringly. "You need to get away from me..." he practically begged, trying to pull his hand free from that of his brother. Unwilling to leave his brother's side for any reason Mana shook his head, trying to calm Neah with a gentle smile. "I'll be fine," he assured his brother.

Road obeyed the summons from the Earl but didn't look happy about it. "What is it Lord Millennium?" she questioned.

"Most sub humans leave by now," the Earl mused as he gazed at the brothers. "This one is interesting."

Neither Mana's expression nor his tone served to calm the boy, Neah visibly still agitated. Pulling his hand free from his brother's grasp Neah struggled to get up, by now desperate for escape. If his brother wouldn't get away from him then he would have to leave Mana... before something bad happened.

"Wait Neah," Mana called out as his brother pulled his hand free and struggled to rise. "You're only going to hurt yourself if you keep this up."

The younger of the two brothers only increased his struggles, finally succeeding in breaking free from Mana. Shaking slightly he tried to make a run for it, wanting to get away from the strangers and needing to get away from his brother.

Before it was too late.

Mana winced as he lost his balance, stumbling slightly before falling back. "Neah!" he called out as his brother made a hasty retreat.

Having been standing calmly to the side the Millennium Earl watched all of this unfold before turning and going after the boy, followed closely behind by Road. Now that the newly awakening Noah had left his interest in the sub human was forgotten.

The dim light from the moon overhead illuminated the slight figure as Neah tried desperately to put as much distance between himself and his brother as he could. Knowing that Mana wouldn't likely just stand idly by and allow him to leave, his brother was too caring for such an action. Despite the fact that his entire body was trembling at this point Neah managed to make it to the hill that overlooked the circus grounds before collapsing to the ground, unable to continue on further.

"Why is this happening?" he growled, slamming his fist into the dirt.

"You're awakening," a voice purred from behind him, the Earl having easily followed along behind the boy.

"Get away from me," Neah growled, his golden eyes flashing as he gazed up at the man. His voice had been pleading when he'd said these words to his brother but now they held a note of warning, a promise of pain should the order not be heeded.

Pausing a few feet away the Earl regarded the boy calmly.

"What part of 'get away' do you not comprehend?" Neah said coldly, struggling to his feet once more. He seemed to be regaining more of his balance as he was able to remain in a standing position this time around, despite the fact that he was still a little shaky. The slight wind that was blowing had partially dried his sweat soaked hair, his bangs having fallen to all but obscure the marks on his forehead.

"Neah," the Earl said, using the boy's name for the first time. He seemed to know that the newly awakened Noah wouldn't leave with them without the use of threats and had decided on an indirect method. "Do you really want to put your brother in danger? If you stay here you may end up hurting him or worse… killing him." This said the man turned to the girl who had been trailing along behind him. "Rodo~ why don't you show Neah here your true form?"

"Of course Lord Millennium!" the girl sang out, seemingly more than happy to oblige. She smiled at her new brother as her skin turned ashen gray, her eyes shifting to golden as seven cross shaped marks seemed to etch themselves across her forehead.

Neah stared at the girl for a moment before his hard gaze shifted to the Earl. "What's going on?" he demanded, his own golden eyes narrowing slightly.

The large man's customary grin grew even wider as he replied, "You have awakened as a Noah… one of our family."

Neah scowled as he heard these words. "The only family I have is my brother Mana… who I should go apologize to."

"You may hurt him if you see him," the Earl said suddenly, grin not fading as he regarded this rather rebellious youth. He had to be the most stubborn one that the Earl had encountered, which was making things decidedly difficult. "The Noah blood in you, it hates humans. All humans."

"So what are you suggesting that I do?" Neah questioned. He didn't trust either of these two people but none the less had felt the darkness pulling at him ever since these strange marks had began carving themselves into his flesh. Which was why he had distanced himself from his brother in the first place.

"For your brother's safety, come home with us," the Earl suggested.

Neah briefly debated the words of the man before shaking his head. "I won't just leave without a word of explanation to him," Neah snarled, his eyes flashing once again. "He's the only person who's ever been there for me and he deserves better than that."

The Earl tilted his head to the side… both siblings seemed to confuse him to a degree. "Alright," he finally said, nodding his head ever so slightly.

"I wasn't asking your permission," Neah threw over his shoulder as he turned to walk back to the circus grounds, not really seeming to realize exactly who and what he was dealing with. Making his way there slowly the black haired youth came to a stop at the entrance to the tent that he shared with his brother. Pulling back the tent flap he called out, almost tentatively, "Mana..."

As expected Mana had left the tent to search for his brother and, as the Earl stepped up behind Neah, he gazed around. "Not here~?" he purred, his sing song voice still managing to contain a questioning tone.

"Obviously not," Neah said, his tone slightly harsh. Releasing the tent flap the boy whirled around, striding forward and gazing around the circus grounds. "Mana!" he called out, hoping that his brother would hear him... because he absolutely refused to go anywhere before speaking to his brother.

The Earl let him, watching calmly as he stood next to Road. This newest member of their family seemed to be more than a little headstrong, something that he would have to get over when he joined their ranks.

Mana, who had been searching the tents near by, perked up when he heard his brother's call and came running around a corner, pulling the younger into his arms. "Don't ever run off like that again!" he choked slightly in worry.

"I'm sorry Mana," Neah said, allowing his brother to embrace him briefly before pulling away. There was a strange look in his odd golden eyes and they flashed as the voice that seemed to echo in his mind cried out for him to destroy the lesser sub-human. Alarmed by this sudden feeling of animosity toward the one person that he had always cherished, Neah took a couple of steps away from his brother. "Brother... we need to talk."

Mana seemed confused both by his brother's words and by the strange tone of his voice and he briefly glanced at the strangers before his gaze shifted back to Neah. "What is it?" he asked, seeming almost afraid of the answer that he was going to receive.

"I can't stay here," Neah said, hating himself for the words that he instinctively knew that he had to say. The younger male knew that these words would hurt his brother but better that than he give in to the darkness and do something that he would never be able to forgive himself for.

As expected Mana's smile faded once more, he looked hurt. "Don't leave."

"It's not like I want this Mana," the younger said, his voice filled with pain. He had to pause at this point, shaking his head in an effort to rid himself of the voice that was threatening to push him over the brink of insanity. "But I'm not... not normal... and I wouldn't be able to live with myself if I hurt you."

This didn't serve to alleviate any of Mana's confusion. "But why would you hurt me Neah?"

"Because of what I've become," Neah said, an edge to his voice as the echo in his mind grew louder and more intense. The youth clenched and unclenched his hands, fighting against these impulses.

Mana went quite before offering him a smile. "Do what you have to Neah... I still love you." he said in a calm tone. He could see his brother's pain and struggle and didn't want him to hurt. And if that meant he had to leave, then so be it. Mana would deal with his own pain in order to save his brother from any further anguish.

Turning away from his brother Neah gazed up at the sky and screamed, "I didn't want this!"

The Earl watched in fascination, he hadn't expected the older brother to let go so easily; so full of surprises. Stepping forwards he motioned for Neah to come along, Road's door opening behind him as the young girl seemed to anticipate the request before it was even made. "Come on," he called calmly.

As though blaming him for this forced separation from his older brother Neah glared at the Earl, refusing to obey the motion to come along. "Just because I can't stay here doesn't mean that I have to go with you," he stated coldly, his voice filled with defiance.

"This is true enough," the Earl countered calmly, his voice a dark purr. "But we could always kill your brother." The man didn't even attempt to keep the sub human from hearing his words, preferring an open threat.

And that was all it took.

Gazing at the man Neah instinctively knew that he would carry out that threat, a thought that he couldn't handle. No matter what happened to him, Neah was determined to make sure that absolutely NOTHING happened to his brother. Stepping back over to the spot where Mana stood Neah gave his brother a fierce embrace, strange since he almost never initiated physical contact even with his older brother. "I'm sorry Mana..." he whispered.

"I'll be fine," Mana said, hugging him back before offering him what was meant to be a reassuring smile. "Just go."

"Alright~" Road sang out, skipping through the door. "You heard what he said Neah~ C'mon, let's just go."

Turning away from his brother Neah walked over to the Earl, making sure to keep himself out of the round man's reach. He was far from a trusting soul, having never been given reason to be, and his actions made this fact blatantly obvious. His eyes still held a slightly defiant spark but he gave no further protests. He wouldn't risk the safety of his brother and yet, at the same time, he vowed that this wasn't the end of it.

Mana watched as his brother departed with the strangers, wondering as he did so whether or not he would ever see Neah again. He had been his brother's keeper for so long that, now that the younger male was gone, he felt decidedly lost. "I WILL see you again Neah," the man vowed, a determined look appearing in his eyes.

A/N - Another fic involving the 14th. Special thanks to Junpaku, who helped me with this one. Thanks Jun! Hope that you enjoyed, please leave a review and tell me what you thought.