Red creeps along the ice, tracing every flaw and splinter, forming into a snowflake pool of blood. The body has become little more than a dark stain on a pristine backdrop- a gelid archetype of the corruption of this (perceived) innocent land. It doesn't belong; it's a manifestation of everything the village has decided to ignore.

But he longs to explore.

Fingers twitch, flexing as if on instinct. Small, cold hands yearn to touch, to feel, to examine- to turn the whole thing inside out until the blood just stops. But he won't be able to stop the blood, not until he learns how; it doesn't matter how desperately he wants it to stop, it doesn't give a damn. But it's not like it matters anymore.

He isn't an idiot. He recognizes death; he knows just how quickly it turns the air bitter, and he has seen it testify firsthand to the futility of hope. He has learned that good intentions are worthless if you don't know how to execute them.

Someday, he will have that reminder burned into him, carved into his hand; a reminder that it is up to him, his skill and knowledge, and nothing else. Not luck. Not hope. Not fate. It's a reminder that won't fade until long after he does, when his flesh parts to leave nothing but innocent bones.

The crunch of frozen snow tells him that he's moving closer. He moves from white to red.

Still, even if there's nothing alive, he has his curiosity. And little is learned by those who hold back. He lowers into a crouch, excitement and wonder etched across his face. His hands reach forward, but a soft whine stills them before they can touch anything.

Looking up at him, curled up in the shadow of the corpse is a small bundle of white with pitch black eyes. But then, he sees that it's more crimson than white.

They've done a poor job. In their bit of fun they've left behind more than just a body; they've left a victim. And no matter how many years pass, as long as it lives and as long as it remembers, it'll stay a victim.

It must die.

He tries the lie on his tongue, but finds it too bitter even for his tastes. It's a poor excuse, the boy knows, and it makes him a hypocrite. It must nothing, not with him there. There is no fate, remember?

As if sensing that its life's worth was being decided, the bundle slips away from the shadow of death. Without hesitating it presses against him, offering a faint whimper.

His hands, which had been seeking death, settle for stroking the cub's fur; soft fur, stained hard and brittle with a mother's blood. Its eyes are like coal, but even then the description is lacking. They're too bright to be coal, but still black as pitch. Whatever object could be used to describe those eyes- he has yet to see it.

Another soft cry, this one almost like a sigh, escapes the beast as it pushes against his arm. Struggling upright, a sturdy paw reaches up, resting on his face, blunt claws harmless even to his exposed skin. The paw retreats, leaving a streak of red across his skin he won't soon forget.

Disgust, churning through him like a surge of bile. The itch to explore has left him; this is one lesson he'll leave untouched. The eyes of the cub don't leave him; their gaze is steady.

Still hands tremble for the first and last time.

The sun sinks beyond sight, turning the horizon red. The body sticks out, the blood is not the right shade; a flaw on the perfect landscape. It is beautiful and sick, demented and sweet. He's never been more enraptured; he's never been more nauseated.

The chill of dusk sinks into his bones, and in that brief moment desperation takes hold. His hands seek the bloodied cub, and selfishly he pulls it into him, ignoring it's startled cry. His fingers dig beneath the fur to feel the pulse beneath the skin. It's there. Life is there, squirming in his hands.

Life is in his hands.

The shadows are growing long, diluting whatever isn't red to blue. Their shadowy forms blend in with the accompanying death.

But he could separate them from all that.

He could take them far away; make all these places and memories too distant to cast their shadows, too far gone to even be recognizable. He could save this creature, and deny it the bleak future it probably deserves. Escape the bleak future they both probably deserve.

The crunch of frozen snow sounds again, this time with steps impeded by an additional weight. There is no fate; they deserve nothing.

Red still stains the horizon, but he doesn't look back.

AN: I was sketching a picture of a boy last night, and somehow it turned into what became the inspiration for this. I haven't noticed too many Bepo and Law friendship fics, so I thought I'd give one a go.

This is my interpretation of how Law and Bepo met...and I tried a new tense- mostly to increase the sense of unease I guess.

As always, I look for reviews to help improve my writing, so let me know what you all thought. Please spare a moment to comment!