A/N: Ah, last chapter! (probably). So sad!

But keep this story on your alert list. I may continue it after I do the next two Fusion stories to have a stronger focus on Patty. Or, if I choose to do separate story/stories for her and Kid's relationship, I'll make an announcement on this story to alert y'all.

So what are you waiting for? You know the rest of the A/N is at the end of the chapter; go read and then I'll finish my spiel!

Death The Kid #5: Thank You

If walls break down, I will comfort you
If angels cry, oh I'll be there for you
You've saved my

~Rule the World; Take That

They hadn't been able to save him from being sucked into that horrible book. That terrible, disgusting repugnant thing that Noah had "collected" their meister in. He had thrown them away to save them, just like he had taken them in off the streets to save them, and how had they repaid him?

It had taken far too long to save Death the Kid from the evil Book of Eibon. How much torture had he suffered? He hadn't really told anyone; not yet. They could see the bruises, the cuts and scrapes, but his eyes said far more.

They said: "You have no idea, do you?" and they were right.

No one knew what Kid had been through.

It was time for him to return home now. Liz supported him on one side, Patty on the other. It was the first time they'd been able to do this without him complaining about the asymmetry of it. Patty might not have noticed this—or maybe she did, the girl was more observant than anyone gave her credit for—but Liz definitely did. She noticed his ripped-off sleeves and the ringed scars that encircled his wrists and the smudges on his face that looked like pen or marker.

And always, that haunted, haunted look in his once-vibrant eyes.

The sisters carried him inside and took him to his room. They had made absolutely certain that that room of the house remained undisturbed so that there would be at least one room in this house that was symmetrical, so that they would have somewhere to put Kid no matter his condition.

They never imagined it would be this bad.

"Thank you, girls."

He sat on his bed somewhat gracelessly. Liz looked at Patty, waiting to take her cue from her little sibling. She couldn't imagine what would have happened if she had been placed in Kid's position. Would she have been able to throw Patty away, leaving herself utterly defenseless? She liked to think she'd be able to, but doubt gnawed away at her. Patty reached out to take Kid's hand.

"It's okay now, Kid."

She smiled reassuringly at him. Kid attempted a smile back, achieving only a grimace.

"I know, Patty. I'm sure I'll be back to myself by the time you see me tomorrow morning." Liz hoped so, but she had the sinking suspicion that it would be a pseudo-Kid; some mask of normalcy that Kid would wear to make it seem like no matter what he had gone through, it hadn't affected him in the slightest. Liz knew better.

She couldn't imagine how badly he was hurting, but she knew it tortured him; that it followed him.

"If you need anything, let us know." Liz left, taking Patty with her. They washed up and went to sleep; they had been on a difficult mission as well. But as she slept; Kid's condition continued to plague Liz. The reoccurring nightmare she'd been suffering from since the Kid-napping tweaked itself to fit the circumstances.

Noah took Kid! Nononnono Kid! KidKidKidKidKid…

She transformed. No one takes her best friend, her meister, away without her consent. And she would never give that consent. This was the first time that she was terrified as she held her sister, a power warehouse, in her hands. Because Kid was gone, ripped away from them.

If Noah could take Kid, how easy would it be to take her? More importantly, how easy would it be to take Patty?

The thought froze Liz's finger on the trigger.

"COWARD!" Patty screams, again and again and again…. "COWARD!" Then, it changes. She can see Kid's face and his haunted eyes in the cover of the book.

"Kid!" she calls, but he can't hear her: it's only a reflection. And then he opens his mouth… and screams.

And screams and screams….

And she screams with him, horrified, because she realizes she's watching Kid's face as he's tortured. And, as Patty yells at her:

"It's all your fault! If you'd been faster, we could have shot Noah before he expected it. If you'd shot him, maybe Kid would've been out of that book three minutes after he went in!" I know, Patty, I know!

"Your fault, your fault, your fault…"

And Kid keeps screaming in agony.

Liz woke up in a cold sweat, panting, Patty's accusations and Kid's scream still trailing after her. She knows it's ridiculous, but…

She has to see Kid before she can sleep again; she has to make sure he's okay.

She slips silently out of her room, in only the way a Brooklyn Devil, one of the infamous Thompson Sisters, could. She ghosts into her meister's bedroom the same way, and sits beside to his bed. Before she knows it, she's drifting and floating in the moonlight.

Sometime later, she hears his shaky voice.

"You know, you really startled me, Liz." She jolts at the soft reprimand and spins her head to face him, startled herself. His face seems gentler in this light, less severe.

"Sorry, did I wake you up?" She gets up to leave, but he shakes his head.

"No I…suppose I woke myself up." It's only when she's standing that she can see the way his hand grips the quilt for dear life, the way his chest rises and falls faster than usual. She sits down again, this time on the bed itself. He sits all the way up as well.

"Nightmare?" she questions, whispering. He looks away, ashamed. So, to reassure him, she admits to the reason she's lurking in his room uninvited. "Me too."

His silence stretches on.

"You can talk to me, you know," she barely gets the words out, he's already speaking.

"I didn't really think I see you girls again. I thought…I wasn't going to make it out." He shuddered, and Liz could see the unbidden memories rising in his mind.

"I can't stand it, Liz. Everything you and father have been trying to tell me about my love of symmetry, how I need to 'tone it down' or 'be careful' all right there. He used that, Liz, and God, I thought I'd die." He was shivering now, but Liz didn't dare to suggest another blanket. She didn't want to make him clam up again.

"He drew on my face, only half, and made me look in the mirror. The beatings in the beginning, before he found out, were nothing compared to that: nothing." He gestured to his arms for emphasis "He tore off one shirt sleeve and left the other on. So many things, over and over…" his voice drifted off. Liz waited a few heartbeats, she could hear hers—it was very loud—before continuing.

"It's over now, Kid, I promise...I swear it. You cleaned your face and we'll get you a new shirt and we'll never let them touch you again. Never." She was vehement.

"But you know what, Liz? It isn't over, and I don't know when it will be! Do you know what I hear in silence? I hear his voice telling me all the horrible things he'll do if he catches any of my friends. There is no darkness anymore, not for me: anytime there's nothing else to see, I see his face. Leering and showing me everything I don't want to see. I feel that damned pen marking only half of me, and I know…

"I know the torture continues…"

Liz is crying, huge silent drops rolling down her face. Kid wipes them away, awkwardly, with a trembling hand.

"Now don't you go crying. It's not like I'd let anything like that happen to you." His face darkened. "That's why I haven't said anything about it to you and Patty. I figured…it wasn't something you two needed to hear."

"I'm sorry!" Liz could hold it inside herself no longer. She started sobbing.

"What?" Kid was utterly confused now. Why was she apologizing; he didn't understand. All he could do was put his arm around her shaking shoulders.

"It's all my fault! If I'd transformed faster…if I'd shot him when I had the chance…" she couldn't speak anymore, she was crying too hard.

"No! Liz, look at me." She kept her head in her hands. "Look at me, Liz; or are you too repulsed by my asymmetrical face?" She looked up: she didn't need her meister to feel like garbage his first night back.

"Liz, I threw you and Patty out of the way because I knew something like this would happen. Noah wouldn't have been killed, or even knocked backwards a foot, by a whole barrage of shots from you and Patty together, much less a single gun. You would have gotten you and your sister sucked in after me. And then what? It was all for nothing? No one knows where we are, so we're there until they kill us? They use you girls against me?"

"We would never turn against you, Kid! You have to know that!" Liz choked out, horrified.

"I know that. I meant…they could have hurt you girls too. I think—no, I know—that would have been my breaking point. That would have either killed me or turned me mad." Liz looked at her tortured meister's intense face.

"Kid…" she didn't know what to say. Then, she remembered what she had told Tsubaki she still needed to tell him.

"Thank you, Kid." She wasn't sure he'd understand at first; understand that she meant "for everything." But then he smiled and squeezed the arm he still had around her shoulders.

"I know, Liz. And you're very welcome."

A/N So there you have it! The (supposedly) last chapter of Admiration! I hope you liked it, and I truly appriciate all my reviewers!

Strangely enough, I have nothing to add that is specifically related to this chapter. Weird, I know.

(Maybe I'm just depressed. Our homecomming game was postponned yesterday because of the rain, and not enough band members could come to the game today for us to come and play. So I didn't get to pound on my newly-won-through-audition snare today. *Cries on the inside*)


(I'm just a little bit of an emotional roller-coaster today. Can you tell?

But back to business:...

So you should all keep an eye out for Complexity, the Black*Star and Tsubaki installment in this compilation. Yay!

If you haven't already, you should check my profile for updates. There's a terrible oneshot posted that I wrote really late at night to get rid of some inner confusion called As Honest As She Knows How. I don't know, it just kind of happened...

But if you check my profile you'll get to see the plan for the next oneshot I'll be uploading; and I think it's 5,000-6,000 words long, if not a little over 6,000. I've still got to finish editing, though. But I've started! And it should be up soon enough!

Wishing all y'all Peace, Love, Joy, and Cookies,

~Rhythm Weaver~