Once upon a time, they loved you once.]
In a story of long, long, ago-there was a lonely little boy. He had thick hair that looked like fresh coal just set in the fireplace; usually his elder brother would do this chore. His eyes were a heather that made you think of a pearl necklace, like the one his mother used to wear in significant occasions. He was tall for his age (he had probably gotten his looks from his father), although no one would ever think twice to reassure themselves 'He is ten.' It was right before 'nine', a number of completion. A good solid number. A good solid number to die.
Ten is where you should wait for a reckoning.
Hibarin on the weekdays liked to slide down on the handles of the stairs. His cape flowing behind him like fire on a motorcycle. For a self-proclaimed vampire, he felt extremely proud of his 'castle'. His parents were owners of this mansion and he successfully drove off all herbivores that even attempted to set foot in his family's abode. He would suck them to death for even thinking that.
He would do this for many years because he is a ghost child, one angry, sad, little spook . He was never much of a crowd follower, and that was the reason he told himself that he could not get into heaven.
No, it wasn't.
Inside the automobile Tsunayoushi coloured his colouring book, the one that was special to him because it used to belong to his parents, that, and the crayons were a gift from Viper and he knew that particular Auntie did not like wasting money on such things. He looked up and saw the fields of the country side swaying in the breeze and all it made him do was miss the city. Although he knew moving to the countryside was safer, his Aunties and Uncles who took care of him were only doing so for protection. It was war time in the city and at night he would hear bombs dropping, 'Boom! Boom!' like those films that Uncle Reborn used to watch. Reborn did not watch them anymore, he always said "Why watch a movie like that when all I have to do is look outside?"
A child did not understand the purpose of war. But he did know the concept of fear, pain, he understood the wailing of mothers and cries of soldiers. Luce says "That boy was born in the worst of times. He has a soft heart. Like the inside of a peach." She spoke this as Skull came back to the house with blood pouring out of his stomach, but the others just attended his wounds and were just glad he came back. And they joked about that often. That Skull would one day appear with half of his body torn off yelling at the top of his lungs "I'M HOME!" He always came back.
"How are you bǎobèi ?"
Tsunayoushi looks up at Fong, his Uncle with long dark hair in a braid, his features delicate but strong. He looks at the child through the front mirror.
"Are you thirsty? Would you like to use the restroom?"
The child shook his head. The man smiled, his eyes shining in ardor.
"You'll be turning nine soon! Aiya! Such a lucky number, what type of cake do you want for your birthday?"
"An almond cake please...or a vanilla...or..."
"How about we just get both?" The Chinese man steered into their new house. For how long this time, even he did not know. But he did know it would be the longest they would ever stay at a home. "It is not enough for all of us and you know how much our family loves to eat."
They both walked out of the car and stood in front of the mansion, 'It was tall as a hundred Reborns!' the little boy thought. He thought this because out of all his Uncles, Reborn was the tallest. The Italian would sometimes hold him and throw him up in the air and he would sometimes feel like he'd go up to the clouds or maybe heaven, somewhere far away from the bombs and the war and school tests and the blood.
The new place where they would stay at reminded him of an enchanted forest ( their backyard were the woods! ), and this mansion looked like a castle designed as a cottage house (if that made any sense) . Something out of a fairytale picture book, whimsical and with a beautiful garden in front. The windows were clear and the curtains were a rich floral print. Messy but elegant.
Fong clucked his tongue in approval. But right after this, his eyebrows furrowed in confusion, he felt like he had seen this house a long time ago. He shrugged this off, he must be tired of the drive." Wonderful. Luce sure did outdo herself this time." He turns to the car and takes out their luggage from the trunk ( all the heavy things like furniture and stoves were moved ahead of time .) "Xiǎo-Shi." It was a nickname his Uncle Fong gave him, taking his first name and cutting it more than half leaving him with only a 'Shi' sound, nicknaming him 'little Tsunayoushi'. "Let's go inside and unpack. In the meantime I'll make tea and some dumplings."
"Xiǎo-Shi, you're room is on the second floor, the room nearest the restroom."
Tsunayoushi dawdled to his new room, pulling up his overalls as he began to walk up the stairs. But he stopped. And stared. He rubbed his eyes again and thought, he thought, he thought, he thought, that he saw someone walking up the stairs. He gulped, and wanted to go back to Fong, Fong and his warmness, his protection.
But he gulped down his fear, and thought of his Uncle Reborn and Uncle Colonnello's teachings. Uncle Colonnello was an American, loud and big, but not as tall as Uncle Reborn who was an Italian. He had yellow hair, the thought of yellow hair was preposterous, the color of food! Bananas, yellow curry and eggs! But the most favorite part of his Uncle were his blue eyes, little Tsunayoushi wished he had eyes like that, they looked like the ocean Aunt Luce took him to once. Uncle Colonnello always gave him a bear hug and little toys and trinkets after he arrived from the battlefield.
"Lil-Tuna, " He said in his joking and charming manner all the while ruffling Tsunayoushi's hair. " When the day something crazy happens, and shit, you'll know when it happens, promise me these few things." His Uncle used lots of swear words that his Aunt Lal scolded him for. "That you'll be brave for everyone ." He pointed to a box inside a vase. It was right near the staircase of their old house. "That you'll run to this place and get the gun and shoot. And don't stop until everyone drops."
"Won't they get hurt?" Tsunayoushi had always seen guns, they were a big part of his life and never remembers not seeing them. The only person who did not use a gun was Uncle Fong, but that was because his bare hands were enough to kill a man. He had seen it happen, Fong did it with the same eyes he used to kill a chicken for their supper.
He thought this was a bit strange and asked him why didn't he have a gun, but Uncle Fong would always tell him " Guns are bad because they kill." Does that mean his Uncles and Aunts were bad then? They told him they worked for the government and that was their job. It was all confusing so he hardly asked questions.
Colonnello did not want to tell the child 'That's the point.' so he said something of a white lie, but it's funny, all lies are black. "Naw, nothing of that sort. They fall asleep. They'll come back up. You're just punishing them because they're naughty."
Reborn smacked Colonnello on the side of the head, with guess what? A gun. "Are you a moron? Look No-good Tsuna, guns kill. When someone tries to hurt you, you have to kill them." His Uncle's eyes turned into someone's he did not know. "Kill them before they kill you." He whispered. "Kill them and make them beg for mercy."
Colonnello looked at the Italian man sadly, but then nonchalantly began to cough. As to snap him out of it, calling him back. Reborn's eyes came back. Those eyes that were like cats came back.
But it will hurt them." Tsunayoushi continued . "I don't want to hurt others."
Collonello shook his head. "That boy ain't right." But what he really wanted to say was ' That boy is absolutely right. Killing is wrong but the only reason we do so is because of necessity.' All the men in his life tried to keep up a facade of steel, but the truth was that they were struggling between the line of animal and human. His five Uncles did horrible things (his three Aunts were more balanced) , to themselves, to others, but when they came back to the innocent child at home they could pretend for a while, not a long while, but a little while, that things were different.
They ignored what the child said and taught him how to shoot at six years old. Surprisingly, had good aim.
His thoughts came back to present day. And he was at the top of the stairs shivering. He had to be strong , brave, like Yamamoto from his old school who was the tallest kid in his class, and Gokudera the class bully . But that just made him feel more lonely. But, how could he be lonely? He thought. Fong is with me. Fong tells me he loves me enough for two people.
And maybe that was the problem.
Fong laid out tea and dumplings in his newly decorated kitchen, he was sure that Luce would be pleased at his choice of decorations. She, of course would add something to mix her personality. Probably something blue, he thought. He took out his small pocket book and checked a few things off his list. He laid the book down on the white table and pulled out a small communication device made by Verde.
"Reborn , Reborn are you there?" He trusted Verde's devices as much as he trusted his hands. He knew no one would track these signals down, no one would find their location. He expected nothing else from a Government scientist.
"I'm here , Fong." He heard screams, gunshots. All of them were already desensitized to these sorts of things. It was a job to them, no different than a street vendor or a baker.
"Reborn you're still there at the job?" He heard a gunshot, and silence.
"I just finished."
The refrigerator noise was the only thing heard, neither of them spoke.
"When will you be here with the others?"
"As soon as they finish with their current missions." That was it, Reborn always so straight to the point. You could call him many things but a liar wasn't one of them. "The whole city where we used to live was cleared off the map. The enemy went on a mass killing spree, the death toll was the greatest so far in war casualties." He said this as if he were cleaning his nails, giving himself a pedicure. "And, how's Tsunayoushi?" He changed the subject coarsely, no sneaking around.
"He seems a little tired. Also a bit sad about leaving. It's to be expected, after all the move happened so abruptly. It saddens me, I knew he was finally making some playmates." The Chinese man paused and did not add 'that were probably dead now'. "But it would be no good to tell him what really happened, we had to leave because we knew that place was to be exterminated."
The communication device was filled with white noise until the Italian spoke.
"No use telling him what we're really in the country side to do."
Fong smiled a sad smile.
"When do you think this war will be over?"
"As soon as one of them runs out of money. "
As soon as Reborn said this, Tsunayoushi pierced the air with a chilling scream.
Fong called out the child's name in urgency, his calm nature seemed like it did not belong to him." Tsunayoushi!" Fong quickly stood up on his feet, his chair falling down in the process. The receiver fell on the floor with a loud 'smack'. Fong wasn't even walking, he was gliding up the stairs in quick, fast steps and he kicked down the door of the child's room, the hinges of the door now broken and useless.
"Uncle Fong!" The child was on the bed curled up in a small ball. "There's something hiding under my bed!"
The Chinese man fell to the floor in relief; he released a sigh, a happy one. It was only a childish terror, just an imagination gone wild. " Oh." Is all the man said, as not to lose face. He picked up the door that he broke down and laid it to his side in a calm and elegant manner, as if he did not kick it down.
"I saw a boy! He told me he was going to suck me to death!" Tsunayoushi was trembling. His skin was pale. "It's all because I touched a toy I found in the dresser. It's a ghost! A ghost is mad because I took his toy away!"
Near the dresser was a small Nutcracker, it's face was shaped like a boy with dark hair. It resembled something of a vampire with its black cape and clothing. Fong picked it up.
" My, isn't this cute. Don't you think so?" It was as if his Uncle Fong had turned deaf! Did he not hear? " Tsunayoushi," he only used his first name when he was going to talk to him seriously. Man talk, he would say. "Don't ever scream like that again, I know it is hard to control yourself because you are still a child, but please try for our sake." By 'our' he meant his Uncles and Aunts. "Only use that scream when you are in trouble." They never told him what the 'trouble' would be, but he did not ask, he knew not to ask. It was a taboo subject among them.
Tsunayoushi nodded obediently. Ashamed he was such a bad child, causing his Uncle to worry, made him break down the door. It was his fault.
His Aunties and Uncles did not spoil him, not in the least. They punished him, a bit more sternly than others but it was war-time. They did so because they didn't wish for him to get hurt. And usually the ones that came out hurting more was not Tsunayoushi but his family. They knew they were too hard on him.
Tsunayoushi remembers a time he was forced to kneel on the floor for an hour with buckets on his head for breaking an important package. All the time Fong stared with tears on his eyes.
"Sorry, Uncle Fong."
But when he reached out to hug his Uncle he saw the little ghost stare at him at the top of the stares.
Tsunayoushi does not scream.
At lunch time Tsunayoushi takes his snacks into his room and makes a small little picnic spread. He places a plate for himself and adds napkins and small little toy animals for company. He contemplates for some time within him and finally takes out a second plate adding two dumplings on it. ( As not to seem greedy.)
"This is for you," He says to no one in particular. "Can we play?" Tsunayoushi asks in a quiet yet hopeful voice.
The room gets cold, like a sudden chill escaped from a window, as if it were winter. The little Nutcracker doll that Fong had placed once again on the dresser began to quiver and smoke came out of it's mouth. As the smoke dilapidated into the air it left behind a boy around his age, older, that was for certain. He looked liked the Nutcracker doll, down to it's clothes and all the way down to his shoes.
"I want you out of my house," The ghost child spoke. "But I will play with you for a little bit . You offered me food, it would be herbivorous of me not to repay the favor." He said this as he sat down, grabbing a dumpling, biting it with his teeth. They were not sharp. Why Tsunayoushi thought a ghost had sharp teeth was beyond him.
"Are you a ghost?" The brown haired boy asks. His eyes looking at the tea in front of him.
"How can you be a ghost," Tsunayoushi began, his mouth small and quivering. "If when you eat it doesn't go through you? How can you be a ghost if you can touch, see, feel and smell?"
Hibarin's eyes skimmed across from the toy he had begun to play with ( which belonged to Tsunayoushi) and said -
"I am not a proper ghost."
After several hours of playing the two children came to an agreement. Hibarin would not force the others to move as long as 'rent' was paid. By this he meant more 'food' more 'offerings.
"Give me ghost money." Hibarin demands.
Uncle Fong said that once you died they would have to bury you with paper money, so you could go and buy your way into heaven. But he said that it only worked on people that 'believed' in that sort of thinking. Tsunayoushi thought, but didn't say, that if people bribed their way into heaven then they didn't really deserve to go.
"If that was the case, " Reborn said, laughing through his noise. " I'll need enough money to fill three caskets."
Viper added, "I'd rather not get into heaven if I had to pay."
"Heaven is unscientific." Uncle Verde, his smartest Uncle added his two cents.
So yes, he thought he could get Hibarin these things. How hard could it be? And by keeping the 'house ghost' content he was doing something wonderful. He was protecting his family, no gun included.
"But why," Tsunayoushi asked "Why can't you go into heaven?"
Hibarin stood silent and paused playing with the toy car in his hands.
"My parents used up all the money to go to Heaven. They were selfish herbivores."
Tsunayoushi put his car down as well.
"My parents are in Heaven too." Hibarin looked at the child in front of him. They both sat on the floor, the toys in-between. "But they left me with my Uncles and Aunties. That's what the grown ups told me. You know, Uncle Fong is really my father? He explained that he adopted me with papers. That the government said I am his son."
Hibarin's eyes were looking at the herbivore with interest now. But he did not know why he even began a conversation with the herbivore. Perhaps because he has been lonely for so long, but he puts this thought in the back of his mind. He was Hibarin, he was a self proclaimed Vampire. When he was alive he researched on them thoroughly and watched Dracula eighty six times. Vampires were not lonely and ghosts shouldn't either. They were dead, they shouldn't feel.
"Then why do you call him 'Uncle'?"
The boy with the brown hair replies with a small whisper. "Because he isn't my father."
Here I am with a new story. Since my DRRR! fic is almost at it's end I want to be busy with two fics so I won't be lonely. I had this in my head for quite some time. It's going to start off a bit slow? But it will catch up sooner. This is set in an alternative universe in an alternative world and reality. As you can see their era and world is very chaotic. This story is about magic, fairy tales, paranormal things but it is mixed in with real things and problems, like family problems and psychological issues , war issues.
I also have a tumblr if you wish to follow! Ask me anything you want too!
Revised May 23, 2012
mozartsrequiem (dot) tumblr ( dot) com
I hope my readers like this. Thank you!