Disclaimer: the world knows 07 isn't mine.

WARNING: This story contains homosexual relationship. If you dislike that, please kindly press back button of your browser.

Many thanks to FranscoiseLaraLapis for helping me fixed my carelessness. You're just too sweet *smooch*

TeitoMcKlein: Thank you so much. I hope you enjoy this chapter as much as any other chapters.

Honie: here you go, an update!

Thank you so very much too all of you who've been such a kind and sweet readers/reviewers! And special thanks to Muzuki-chan for being such a good friend to me!

To all of you, I present you chapter 14~


Teito blinked. Once. Twice. His eyes rolled in their socket, taking everything in. Small puff escaped his lips, rose and disappeared into the air as he exhaled slowly. He was cold; He was alone; just like every other day for a whole year.

He rose to a sit using his hands as support and stayed unmoved for a few moments. The sky was still midnight colored outside. The never-ending snow was raining down the earth. Teito's gaze grew distant as he watched the flakes fell, burying the earth with white.

The clock hanging on the wall of his shack made a constant ticking sound, distracting Teito from his daze. He turned his chin toward the wooden timepiece, absently nodded at the time. He woke up at the exact same time as any other day: 4 o'clock in the morning. He had been doing that for a year and for a reason he never understood. He found peace in silence. He thought well in the dark.

Pushing his thin blanket away, Teito walked toward the clock. He stopped right beside the ticking timepiece, taking a battered jacket from its hanger on the wall under the clock. The cloth was quickly donned and Teito mentally grateful for the instant warmth. Teito's teeth were chattering from the stabbing cold. His feet felt stiff and Teito could feel the soles went numb.

The brunette had lived in this shack in a remote town near the mountain for a year, but his body never got accustomed to the cold. Snow rained down most of the days. Clouds were thick and grey colored, leaving little to no sunlight.

This place is called 'Raggs'; a place in his memory. There were no more Church and its bell. This place had lost its festivity, only gloom was left. But still, it was his home. If there was any time he was happy, that was when he was a child, when everybody he cherished was still alive. That too, was nothing but a distant memory now, together with the glory of this place.

Teito hastily wore his snow boots. It was worn out and a bit too big for his feet. That boots were a gift from the neighboring people. His old shoes were far too broken to be fixed, and they said Teito deserved a new one since he helped them often. It was heartwarming to be able to accept kindness so openly, even more so knowing they adored him just because he used his true name: Tiashe.

Teito didn't tell any of them about his true identity as one from the house of Raggs. They didn't need to know. Raggs was a ghost of past to Teito but not to them. Every year, the people would gather and pray for the fallen lord. Teito joined the ceremony once and couldn't stop flinching whenever his name was said. He thought he had blown his cover that day, but luckily he hadn't. It was truly a miracle because that day, he was sobbing like a child. How could he not when those people said so many encouraging words to him whom they thought dead.

Suppressing another shiver, Teito walked by the table, grabbing a pair of old gloves and rubbed his hands together reflexively. He checked the time one last time before stepping out from his shack. The door closed with a soft click. Outside the poor shack, the weather was even colder than he'd imagined. Sharp wind painfully brushed his skin. His eyes watered. Teito's hand reached back to his jacket, pulling up the hood and covered his head. It didn't do much to protect his face but it was better than nothing.

With much difficulty, the boy walked toward the forest. His boots sunk into the thick snow in silence. It had been his daily life to wake up early, going deep into the forest, and came back cold. At first, going into the forest was a mean to collect firewood and foods for him. Lately, his job expanded to protect the village from wolves.

Pulling his body closer, Teito sighed deeply as cold wrecked his small frame. As he walked deeper into the darkness-blanketed forest, Teito felt chill ran down his spine. Murderous intent hung thick in the air. Nearly automatic, his feet stopped walking. With narrowed eyes, the brunette cautiously looked around. There was no sound whatsoever, not even an owl which was more suspicious.

It was a calm after storm he had often experienced living in this town. Due to the massacre led by Ayanami, there were only women and older people. There was no man power left to protect the town. That was why Teito took the initiative to protect them. It was the least he could do as a survivor.

Somehow, along the way, the villagers began to notice his effort. Slowly but surely, they warmed up to him. The women neighbor would visit him in the morning, delivering foods. Often, they would ask for his help. At times, it might be helping in the green house, and the other time, he would help them with chopping the wood. Teito practically did most of the physical works. Strangely, he didn't grow muscular like a certain gold haired man.

As he thought about him, Teito felt a stabbing pain in his chest. He wanted to meet Frau. Teito longed very much to see his Cheshire grin. Teito could – in fact – go back to the church but he decided not to. Not because he hated the place. On the contrary, he wished to go back more than ever. That place was the closet he could call a 'home'. But he couldn't go. His heart wouldn't allow him to abandon his people.

Besides, he had betrayed them all. Even if what Teito did was not regarded as betrayal, he had lied to them. On his own accord, Teito sought Ayanami. Not because he wanted to go back but to finish what he had to do in order to release himself from the curse. Teito had considered the probability of him dying. That was the reason why he lied, anyway. And as predicted, he fell down from heights but before his and Ayanami's body hit the ground, Hyuuga had come with a hawkzile.

At that time, both Teito and Ayanami was bleeding profusely. Though it could hardly be seen due to Ayanami's trademark soldier uniform, but the man was certainly dying. Teito had shot him in the chest while the brunette himself had a hole in his abdomen. The look of anger and hatred Hyuuga gave him conveyed so much more than he could have possibly imagined. Although the bespectacled man was badly injured, it was as if the pain was so far away from his mind.

Teito gazed down to his crumpled clothes. He wore the same color cloth as Ayanami: black, the color of death. But thanks to that dark clothing, his bleeding was not visible. Though, the throbbing pain was reminder enough of it.

"You're a traitor through and through. Know that one day you'll end up betraying anyone, Teito Klein," the raven gasped in pain. His lips were trembling and pale. From way he clutched his stomach, Hyuuga was probably hurting in the same side as Teito. Guessed the other hunters gave him quite a beating.

The brunette let the conversation died at that and chose to closed his eyes. His mind was hazy from the pain but even at time like this, he couldn't help but think about Frau. Hyuuga would probably fly them far away, to somewhere Frau wouldn't find him. As that thought crossed his mind, tears escaped his closed eyelids and finally the whirring sound of hawkzile lulled him to sleep.

When he woke up later on, Teito was alone, half buried by snow. Hyuuga abandoned him in the middle of nowhere. As far as the scenery stretched, there were only snow-blanketed trees.

Cold and lonely as he was, Teito's head was filled with nothing but Hyuuga's words. He betrayed Ayanami. He would betray someone else someday, said the raven. But he didn't have to wait for that someday, because Teito already did.

He had betrayed Frau and Kreuz. Teito had lied to Frau and Hakuren and now after being separated, he couldn't find the will to go back. It would be a big lie if he said he didn't want to be with his precious people. But someday, as long as he stayed with them, something like this would happen again. Just like Ayanami's final words: Teito was his and he would forever be a traitor.

Rubbing his half-frozen arms, Teito stood up with much difficulty. He had lost so much blood from his own shot and his mind was still in the mist. The cold didn't do him much except to make half of his body numb. It was like ice had penetrated his thin layer of clothing and skin which was probably true.

Eventually looking down at his own hand, Teito finally realized how cold he was from the violent trembling. So he began walking as his instinct told.

From where he started until now he stopped, Teito was still confused. Distance was lost to him as did his bleeding feet. Dozens of frozen flower's thorns made a lot of cut to his feet but Teito was too numb to feel it. He knew only when his eyes fell on the trail of red long behind him.

At that moment, Teito realized he had lost too much blood. If he lost anymore, he would certainly die. So he stopped. Either he dies from blood lost or frozen in this God forsaken place, anyway, he would die.

Teito finally gave up. He dropped his body to the snow covered ground and rested his back on one tree trunk. Silence filled him with anguish as thoughts began to fill his head.

Is this how it will end?

He wanted to cry; to scream until his voice was hoarse and out of breath, but what good would that do? He would still die anyway.

His body screamed to resign but Teito refused to. Several faces appeared in his mind as he closed his eyes, whispering encouragement. Just like a hero in a book he once read as a child, Teito miraculously found strength to go up and keep moving.

Getting up to his feet was an effort far greater than he thought. His knees wobbled and he knew his steps swayed. Still, he tried again and again. After several failures, he finally stood firm. And so, he walked again, leaving the white covered dark forest and into an open space.

The sky was open and stretched far. Wind blew stronger and hurt his eyes. But what he saw lit a tiny hope in his chest which spread so fast like wildfire.

There was a town; a ruin of what used to be a town. Piles of broken pillars and roofs showed him the glorious history of the place. Beautiful carvings were left in ruin, eaten by time, covered by moss and vines.

But there were people. There were lights shining out from humble houses.

Automatically, he ran despite his feet's protest. Maybe he could get some help and somehow find out about the church. That was his drive to push his body to the limit. But, he was no hero in that book. His body was that of a weak human. As he reached the gate, he could hardly breathe. Every breath was so much effort and caused flaring pain in his chest.

The boy took a small step toward the town. Just a step away and he would pass the gate and entered the town. But before that could happen, his vision darkened and once again, he was plunged into darkness.

The next time he woke up, Teito was tucked in a warm bed. He could now feel his fingers and flaring pain on his stomach.

With a groan, he forced his body to move and sat. It caused the healing tissue in his body to stretch painfully, but the brunette ignored it. Instead he averted his attention to the small but warm room.

A small light bulb hung on the wall beside the door, warping the room in warm golden light. On the center, there was a small table and two chairs. Covering the table was a beautifully embroidered silk cloth and a decorated vase with snow-white flowers.

Teito took his time drowning himself in the beauty of the small display of beauty before shifting his gaze to the next thing. The rest of the items were the normal kind of furniture but he could see great effort to create them. Sophisticated engraving adorned each and every wood and stone frame.

Lastly, his eyes fell on the bed he was using. It was a single-size bed. The head had the same type of engraving as the wardrobe. It looked like flower vine intertwined with eye-shaped drawing and it went all the way down until the feet.

Contrasting the decoration, the sheet and blanket was nowhere sophisticated. In fact it was only plain white, but having a feel of the fabric against his skin; Teito could tell these were high-quality silks.

From afar, this town looked like a ruined town; a poor town without anything. But having woken up and actually be inside of it tell how rich this town probably is.

Why am I here?

That question appeared as soon as his attention for the familiar beauty was diverted. Looking around the room once again, he found no one but himself. However, as he strained his ears, Teito could hear murmurs and laughers somewhere beyond the door.

Once again pushing his limbs, Teito climbed down from the bed and staggeringly walked toward the door. It was also engraved with similar lines and drawings which was probably the town's culture. With a soft turn on the knob, Teito opened the door and cautiously walked out. With the brown-painted wall as his support, Teito traced the corridor which eventually leaded to a rather spacious living room.

The scene that greeted him this time was a larger room with similar furniture albeit so much more in number and variety. The same as his room, there was a table in the center. The only difference was that the table was longer and bigger. There were many chairs surrounded it with several women sat on some of them, chatting. There were five of them, three of them had black hair, one brown hair and the last one had grey. The lady with grey hair was obviously the oldest and was knitting.

The women seemed not to notice him standing. After short inner debate, Teito decided to make his presence known. "Excuse me," the boy started weakly but it was enough to get the women's attention.

The nearest woman, the one with black-ponytail turned around in surprise. Her large onyx eyes widen considerably but immediately narrowed. Her beautifully arched dark-brown eyebrows frowned when she saw Teito. Hastily, she stood up and approached the wounded boy. With both hands posed on her hips, the beautiful woman scowled angrily, "what are you doing here?! You're not supposed to walk in that condition!"

Taken aback, Teito unconsciously took a step back. "Eh, I…I'm sorry…I…"

"Now, now, Elaine, you scare the poor boy. Come and sit beside me, would you?"

Hesitantly, Teito nodded gratefully at the old lady and approached her. Teito almost fell when the wall as his support gone, but it was immediately replaced by the angry woman's warm arm. Despite her still-scowling face, Teito felt heart-warming kindness radiated from her every being. Not even her long dark purple sleeves could hide the warmth. Unfortunately for the boy, the heat was gone as fast as it came. Another woman – this time the one with black bob-haired – stood up and dragged an empty chair. Teito's emerald-colored eyes met her dark brown and they stared at each other for a few seconds. She had friendly gaze which could melt Teito's inner wall.

"Thank you…" murmured the boy. He sat on the chair which was placed right beside the old lady. When he finally settled down, Teito finally realized how all their eyes were fixed into him to the point of uncomfortable. "Um…thank you for saving me."

It started with words of grateful and the rest followed. As the women opened up and shared what they knew, Teito learned so many things. Like how Hyuuga ironically sent him to the end of earth, a place long forgotten: The ruined kingdom of Raggs. No wondered he was filled with nostalgia when he saw all those cravings. In the end, Teito decided to stay despite his heart calling.

Ending the flashback, Teito shrugged away piling snow from his head and shoulder. One silver blade with Raggs' carving was tied firmly on his thigh. When he heard footsteps and hungry growls of the wolf, Teito immediately reached for the hilt and pulled it out. It glinted in the thick darkness of this forest. Teito defensively put his blade in front of his chest and looked around the snow-covered bushes.

True to his instinct, in mere seconds, he saw a shadow jump out from the right side. It was a good thing he always wore not too heavy clothing. It proved to be a nuisance more than help. Teito agilely jumped and placed his back behind one of the big trees. He now stood face to face with a big midnight-furred wolf. It was three or four times bigger than Teito but it was nothing the ex-assassin couldn't handle.

Before the wolf made the first move, Teito had lunged forward using the tree trunk to speed up. To the unprepared wolf, the boy twirled the blade expertly until the sharp point downward. Without even a twitch or remorse, he had plunged the metal into the wolf's right eye. Blood spurted and stained his glove when Teito pulled out the blade.

Long and pained howl filled the soundless morning. It echoed far into the deep forest, making the trees vibrated. The wounded wolf immediately retreated back, helped by the thick cover of dark mist. Teito watched the beast go with slight hope. He didn't want to kill anything unnecessarily but hopefully this would make the beast stop eating the town's animals.

A long sighed finally released. Teito had held his breath too long during the battle. Air immediately filled his lung and made him almost coughed it out again. Morning air was so cold; it nearly made his lung froze.

After sensing no more threat, Teito began his morning routine: collecting twigs and any fruits, nuts or mushrooms he could collect. This was the moment he liked the most. The once dead forest slowly livened up with birds' chirping voice as the sun showered the earth with its warm glow. And finally, when it has rose up high, voices from a far would notify him that activity had once again began. It was time he head down to the street and helped the people. Collecting his gathered twigs and nuts, Teito slid down the slope and returned to the shack.

The boy thought, it was another morning, just like any other day over the year. One thing he didn't expect was the arrival of two strangers. As unsuspected as he was, the boy head down to the town where the town folks had gathered around. It was normal for the town to be chirping with chatter and laughter, but it was different today. There were murmurs of excitement mixed with happy laughs.

Teito followed a running man down the stone-paved road between rows of houses and found himself stopped at the herd of people before the gate. He froze. Stalls were ignored, people excitedly circling two men who were obviously outsiders. One had ashen pale hair with equally pale eye color. The other had the most brilliant green eyes and sun-kissed hair that defy any law of gravity.

The boy was flabbergasted as he watched the people talked to the pale-man with great respect. He wasn't surprised because of the people's behavior. Teito was dumbfounded because he didn't expect to see the two visitors here. It was a given the towns people talk with respect, because the pale-haired man was the previous King's younger brother. And the scowling blonde, he would know that man anywhere. Of course he would.

Frau.

Before he realized what he was doing, Teito had turned around and run as fast as his feet could.

I can't be seen here!

It was so strange. He was filled with desire to meet them one moment ago. But when they were actually here, the boy ran away. Maybe it was guilt eating him or the surprise was too good, either way, before they were pulled into his mess, he had to go…far…far away…at least he would hide until they were gone.

Before I hurt them again…


Before anyone protests, I apologize. I must confess, I TOTALLY hate writing action. So please forgive me for the lack of one. I make it up by writing sweet romance, m'kay~

Do R&R to keep me well motivated :p