Hour of Need
A Soul Eater fanfiction
Disclaimer: I don't own Soul Eater or any of the characters in the following fanfiction. However, the story idea itself is copyright 2011 to me.
Wow! So for the first time in as long as I can remember, I don't have to put up a warning that this story will contain adult themes! Been awhile since I've written anything below an 'R' rating. Due to moderately strong language and somewhat adult themes, this fanfiction is deemed PG-13 (or T, for the sake of this website and its rating system) . Any and all critiques and suggestions are welcome; flames will be laughed at and promptly ignored.
This story is dedicated to Sojourney. Thank you for not only understanding my strange fascination with Kid and Shinigami-sama's father/son relationship, but also for putting your ideas in a tangible form for the world to read and understand.
"Obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder characterized by intrusive thoughts that produce uneasiness, apprehension, fear, or worry, by repetitive behaviors aimed at reducing the associated anxiety, or by a combination of such obsessions and compulsions."
"I'm sorry. There was nothing I could do. The damage was too extensive."
Death the Kid heard the words. He heard them clear as the ringing of church bells carried on a soundless wind to a place void of noise. For some reason, however, they would not register. As though a synapse somewhere in his brain had come loose, disconnected or unhinged, knocked out of whack in the battle against the Kichin Asura, point A traveled across the long expansion of line A, only to fall short of point B at that last crucial moment.
What surprised him was that there was no blood. Somewhere beneath that long robe his father had worn for as long as anyone could remember, Kid had always assumed that there was a body that looked strikingly similar to his own. An older body, of course, but one that had provided the molding for his own features. Shinigami-sama was his father. Death the Kid was his son. They had to look similar. And even though they weren't human, Kid knew that he bled. Be it in the heat of battle or over something as simple as tearing the paper his test was written on, Kid KNEW that he bled. So how could something that had to look so similar to himself, so close to human, not bleed when attacked as violently as his father had been?
"You fought a long, hard battle today. The academy is proud of you. Your father is proud of you, even if he can't say it himself. Now you need to take the time to take care of yourself. Report to the infirmary to have yourself looked over. After that, you best get some sleep."
It didn't compute. Nothing computed. The balance was off. The symmetry was off. Kid's hand flexed nervously at his side. His eyes darted only briefly away from the crumpled form of his father on the ground before returning to it instantly.
It was only in this moment that he realized something – though his father had never been a symmetrical being, that was something that had never bothered Kid. In all the years spent rearranging libraries, spice racks, paintings and pictures, literally almost everything that did not fit his notion of perfection, it had never crossed the threshold of Kid's OCD-infected mind to even mention to his father that he was an asymmetrical being. Kid wasn't sure why. Maybe it was because that was just something else that made them so similar. Maybe it was because in the end, symmetry really didn't matter as much as he had always thought it did. Maybe it was because Shinigami-sama was his father and he had always known him the way he was.
Or maybe it was because his father had always loved him for who he was, even with the strange 'quirk' that he knew drove everyone else insane at times, but Shinigami-sama refused to let anyone question, criticize, or attempt to alter. Kid was just as flawed as every single person and thing he ever judged, and he had always known that; it was his father who had refused to let him be crushed by the harsh reality of his own hypocrisy.
"Kid, did you hear me?"
His father's perfect asymmetrical form was destroyed. It lay in pieces in front of Kid, the mask cracked, the cloak torn and drifting directionless in the slight breeze that blew through the Death Room. The asymmetricalism was asymmetrical, and that made the symmetry wrong.
"… I have to fix it…"
He wasn't sure if the words were merely a thought that crossed his mind, or an actual statement that slipped past his lips, but it felt like they were given birth only after he had dropped to his knees in the rubble, reaching out to the still form and starting to smooth out the wrinkles in the tattered, stained cloak. He looked around for the missing pieces of the puzzle that was his father, crawling away from his lifeless form and making one hand into a cup as he started to gather up shards of the broken mask.
"No. I have to fix him. I can't let him look like this. What kind of son would send his father off to rest in peace looking anything less than perfect?"
"You should have trusted your father when you had the chance. There is nothing you can do for him now. You have to let this go."
"No! I can't! Don't you understand that I can't? The world is made up of checks and balances, Professor! Checks and balances and symmetry! There is an order for everything and everything must be in order! I can't leave him looking like this, I just can't!"
There was hysteria in his voice, a hysteria that was different than all the times he had ever experienced an OCD-induced breakdown before. Those had been the self-hating ramblings of an almost-insane child with a mental disorder. Now… this was different. This was personal business. This was some semblance of the reality that had been shattered so suddenly. He hadn't been able to help. He hadn't been able to stop what had happened. Kid had been merely the bargaining tool, the ace in the hole, the pawn in Asura's game. Even the Kishin's defeat would mean nothing if he could not lay the bones of the dead to rest properly. This was a family matter.
There were hands on his arms, on his shoulders, around his torso, and he fought blindly as he felt himself forcefully lifted from his father's corpse, his arms and legs flailing defiantly against the hands that dragged him away. His vision blurred against a riptide of tears and his screams gargled in his own spit in the back of his throat. Beneath his captors the ground shook, a product of his fury and anguish given tangible form.
"I have to make things right!"
"It's too late for that now, Kid."
Stein had never been a man good at comforting others. That was common knowledge. But there seemed to be something even colder and more distant than usual in them man's tone as he pinned Kid to the ground and tore the right sleeves of both his jacket and dress shirt off in one motion. He felt the sting of a needle prick and the burn of liquid entering his bloodstream before his brain could fully comprehend that Stein was sedating him.
"I didn't want to have to do this, Kid. But things need to be put back in some form of order and control, and right now you're doing much more harm than you are good. You need medical attention and some sleep."
His vision narrowed down, obscured and distorted itself into a pinprick of light.
"… please… I'm sorry… please let me stay and help…"
"Later, Kid. You're no good to anyone right now."
Gravity shifted and the world tipped and swayed under him. He shifted his eyes, taking in the sights of rubble and chaos that littered the Death Room. Everything went in and out of focus and Kid groaned, struggling against the sedative to maintain some form of consciousness. As Stein walked past one of the many mirrors that served as a portal to anywhere in Death City, Kid's vision grasped on to a rare moment of clarity and he could see his own reflection with striking perfection. His body, battered and beaten from the fight against Asura, hung like a rag doll over Stein's massive shoulder, and in comparison to his teacher, he looked even smaller than usual.
'… three lines… three perfect, symmetrical lines…'
The lines of Sanzu were three complete halos wrapped around the mess that was his hair. Death the Kid had finally obtained the perfect symmetry he had always wanted.
Yet, for some reason, he felt nothing but completely imbalanced.
The darkness came again, a rolling wave that washed over his reflection. This time he closed his eyes and did not fight it as it pulled him under and his thoughts drown in his grief.
Somewhere in the heart of Gallows Manor, the silence of the night was shattered by the rough, choked gasp of the next Grim Reaper as he sat razor-straight upright in bed, his hands trembling in his lap and tears streaming down his face. His bedside lamp cut through the darkness as he switched it on, and there was the scuffle of his feet against the carpet as he crossed the room to his closet.
Fifteen minutes later his clothes were changed, the bed was stripped, and a load of laundry was washing while the Little Reaper occupied himself with the comforting, rhythmic motions of cleaning that had served to soothe his abnormal psyche for so long.