Continuation of Crimson Valentine, please read that story first.
Day of Moonlight
One month later
It was just another normal day of school.
Arihiko was terrified of this mysterious girl coming back to demand something from him, so he bought some organic carrots. Very expensive from what I could see from that receipt, though I'm not sure why he would think this was a good gift for her.
I accepted everyone's feelings back then by eating their chocolate, all except Akira, which was melted to mush. I think she's been using her power to escape Akiha by a few minutes each time she gets near to her.
I don't know when Akiha is planning to calm down, but I may have to step in to help.
The others were the same as always, and no one gave any indication that they wanted anything for today, which made me a little glad as having to buy so many gifts would have strained my personal budget. The last thing I wanted to do was to ask for more from the Tohno household.
There was one thing that only I knew about, as I lay on my bed that evening.
I took off my glasses and stared at my chest. Looking down, I could see my body, laced in lines over every space with a dot in the middle of my scar.
I've remembered this since the day with her in the dark field.
Closing my eyes again, I whispered a name.
Something warm materialised next to me, and I saw the diminutive cat sitting there, licking her paw.
"You know what you have to do, please do this for me."
Those feline eyes appeared sad, but she nodded regardless.
I closed my eyes once more and fell into a deep sleep.
Field of Dreams
I saw a tree over my head, and through the branches and leaves, a full moon casting its pale glow over the blue grass of the fields.
I saw a person lying down a few metres away from me, and I had to smile.
"It's dangerous if you lie down in a place like this..."
A chuckle was my response, and I saw she was relaxed, with her arms behind her long red hair.
"Well, well, if it isn't you Shiki, fourth time lucky no? It's rare to even meet me once in a lifetime." She sat up, leaving her suitcase on the ground and gave me a smile, "Good to see you again, Shiki."
"Same here, Sensei."
I sat beside her, feeling the grass sway beneath me.
"I assume it was your dream familiar which called me to this place. Be thankful I took a nap during one of my experiments..."
"Isn't that kind of bad, what if it blows up or something?"
She waved it off, "Nah, it's protected by some shields, I'm okay physically," She looked over my body, "Unlike you it seems."
"So, you can tell, huh?"
Yes, she was as sharp as always.
"Even though I don't have your Mystic Eyes, I have enough experience in life to know of those who are dying."
"Yes, I believe my time has come up." I held my chest, "I've looked at myself now, and I'm covered in lines of death."
"How do you feel about this?"
I had to smile, "To be honest, I was expecting this, just not so soon."
"You didn't answer my question, Shiki."
"I know. I'm just getting to grips with it myself." I had to feel inside myself for this emotion I had.
"Sensei... I'm almost afraid to say this, but I'm scared..."
There I said it, I finally felt a weight off my shoulders, telling someone I trust implicitly how I felt meant a lot to me.
"Shiki, like before, you already told me that you feared death, it's nothing to be ashamed of."
"I just want to live longer, for more fun times with everyone."
"Living forever isn't a guarantee or a good life, take your agent of the Church, Ciel wasn't it? How long has she lived? Arcueid also suffers each moment she is awake. Your own sister too..."
"I don't want to live forever; I simply don't want to die now."
"So, why are you here now Shiki?" She shook her head as if saddened, "You're not asking me to prolong your life, are you?"
I took in a deep breath. I knew that living longer would be better for me, as fragile as I am, I want to protect everyone, but I know now I simply cannot do that in this state. I looked at Sensei with pleading eyes, knowing that there was just no escape from the inevitable.
In the end, I said the words I called her out here for.
"Sensei, I just want to say, for the last time, thank you for everything you've done for me, and goodbye."
I could see those eyes, which were expecting me to ask her to save me, grow larger in surprise, before closing and being joined by a bright smile.
"Shiki, you never fail to amaze me in how much you've grown." She shifted towards me and pulled me into a hug, "Congratulations, Shiki, you've become a true man, accepting everything around you for the way it is. Facing death is never easy, but as long as you have friends and family around you, you will never be forgotten."
I pulled back and looked into her eyes again, "I'm glad I managed to meet you again, Sensei."
"Me too, Shiki." She turned around and walked away, picking up her suitcase filled with mysteries I would never know.
As I prepared to turn around to leave the dreamscape, Sensei called out my name, so I looked back.
"Who knows, Fate has a weird way of rewarding those who suffer the most, perhaps you will receive one of some kind in the future." She smiled, "And if that happens, well, I'm sure that another meeting like this is guaranteed."
She always had a way of both cheering me up but reminding me of reality, "Goodbye, Sensei."
"Not goodbye, Shiki. Until we meet again, in this life or the next."
As with last time, the wind carried her away, though it was most likely her will which woke her up from the dream.
Closing my eyes, I did the same.
Opening them again, I found myself back on my bed, it was still dark outside, and a small weight was on my chest.
A curled up Len was snoozing peacefully, though she opened her eyelids at me when I stirred.
"Thanks Len, you can go for now."
She brushed her head against my face, and licked my hand. She obviously knew the contents of the dream, so was afraid for me.
"Don't worry, Len." I stroked her head, feeling behind her ears. "Whatever I do now is my choice, but I care for everyone, and naturally you as well."
She nodded sadly, the bell dinging at the same time, and leapt off the bed and squeezing through the gap in the window.
I looked to the blade by my right hand, sheathed.
If I used it now, I knew that I would die painlessly. In doing so, that part of me would die, but at least Akiha -
I shook my head, no reason to think about unnecessary things now.
What did Sensei mean about Fate? I couldn't decipher it, would I get more life somehow? I couldn't be sure.
I raised the blade above my body, pointed directly at the dot in my chest and plunged it down.
Only to hit something strong.
I looked and saw two fingers holding it back, a centimetre from my own chest. I turned my head to see those two burning red eyes.
"Hey, Arcueid. Lovely evening isn't it?"
It took me a few moments to register the intense whirlwind in the room, caused by her sudden rush of speed. The noise could not go unnoticed by the others in the mansion.
"What the hell are you playing at Shiki?"
She wrested the knife away from me with those two fingers, their strength in this full moon outside easily overpowering my own sleepy body.
"Nothing, just a test."
I smiled at my own foolishness, I never intended to strike the dot at all tonight. I was only wondering if there was some outside force which would stop me.
And there was, in the form of Arcueid.
I picked up my glasses from the side table and put them on.
"Did Len call you?"
She shook her head, that blonde hair bouncing from side-to-side, "I just wanted to see how you were, and here I find you trying to take your own life."
"I wasn't, I was debating something to myself, the meaning of a life of suffering, or a quick and painless death."
"Why?" Her face now bore a frown, "Is something wrong?"
My ears were painfully trying to hear if anyone else was coming.
"Shh… Don't talk so loud…" I sat up and faced the door.
Satisfied after a few minutes of silence, I tapped the spot next to me. Following obediently for once, she sat next to me.
"Arcueid… You're a True Ancestor, right?" She nodded with a frown, "I'm just a human with these broken eyes."
She was having problems understanding this train of thought, I should just explain things normally.
"You said so yourself, using this power of mine can hurt the user." She blinked once, "There's no way of saying this easily, but to put it simply, I'm dying."
There was no reaction from her.
"How near to death are you?" She asked calmly, her voice neutral and eyes closed.
"I have as many lines as the Dead. I feel fine right now though."
She turned to face me.
"So, what is your plan?" Her eyes were on the knife in her hand, "Killing yourself to prevent the agony?"
"Well, to be honest, yes, and no." I took a deep breath, "You may not know this, but long ago when SHIKI killed me, Akiha brought me back from near death using her power. Right now, half of her life is in me now."
Arcueid was nodding, "Removing your life would return that half to her, and she wouldn't Invert so often." Her smile was gentle, "Very noble of you to do that for your sister, Shiki."
Reaching down, her hand touched my own.
"I'm sorry, Arcueid." My right hand gripped the quilt tighter, "I don't know how long I have left. I don't want you to be upset when I'm gone."
"There are always other options, Shiki." Arcueid's irises were now more cat-like, and the feral monster inside of her was threatening me.
Before I realised it, I was perched on the top of the door frame, the knife somehow in my hand again.
"If you can't live as a human, then end that life quickly."
I didn't like the way her skirt was moving despite there being no breeze in here.
"You could live forever, with me..." She stood up and began to cover her face, "Together, I could sustain your life, though there may be some sacrifices on the way."
My blood froze.
My headache grew.
My eyes were stinging.
Arcueid lowered her hand by an inch, and that hideous golden eye glowered back.
I leapt, bouncing off each surface with the dexterity I knew deep down was a part of me genetically.
I had to keep away from her, lest he reappeared again.
I smirked, before biting my lower lip hard.
I dashed there and squeezed through the gap by flattening my body as much as possible.
Like a bullet fired from a gun, I had made it out now!
My legs propelled me to the tree and rebounded off it to the ground.
I was running for my life.
Arcueid was still in my room when I left the mansion grounds, but instantly she was on the outer walls, staring me down.
Those eyes of hers tracking me, the wolf hunting the hare.
My neck was tingling, the phantom sensations of fangs biting into my jugular, or was it simply the strength of her own Mystic Eyes burning their way into my mind?
If I had to fight Arcueid, on a full moon no less, then I couldn't let anyone else get in the way.
If I had to die by her hand, I couldn't let anyone I know see me die so gruesomely.
Which is why, within minutes, I had arrived in the centre of the park.
The scent of blood and death by now permeated this cursed land, and no one ever dared to step into it once the sun went down. Vampires, Dead, innocent civilians, animals, all were killed in some form here by something other than human.
Even the trees and flowers seemed lifeless, never truly growing to their full potential in the sun, a reminder that everyone is struck down once day, regardless of what their goal in life was to become.
So, if I am to die, it must be glorious. I would even resist the future pain of my chopped off limbs and rip her to shreds with my bare teeth.
I stared down Arcueid, her approach only making me tremble with excitement, the knife drawn and my arms in an offensive stance.
"There's no hope for you, Shiki."
She raised a hand to and pointed her palm at me.
Those eyes, pulling me in to her...
That hair curling around itself like a twisted version of Medusa...
That pale but perfectly shaped fingers, shimmering in the moonlight...
I laughed, at a time like this?
"Death won't come so easily for me, Arcueid. Even if it is you."
Wait, why am I preparing to fight her again? I took a step forward, only to receive an attack so unexpected I forgot my reasoning.
"I love you, Shiki..."
The words that shook me to the core. I was back in control of my body. I was too stunned to even answer her proclamation.
My mouth opened to respond, but before my vocal chords created the sounds needed to speak, her voice echoed all around me.
"... That's why I'll rip your head off in one clean blow."
I fell to my knees, my heart crushed by her warped definition of love.
I just watched as my body used that very momentum to lunge forwards, throwing the glasses to the ground, charging straight for Arcueid.
Her fangs glistened as I approached her, the sense of total death nearing me.
Ah well... I wish I could have said goodbye to Akiha at least...
Arcueid was angry.
Wait, no, she's upset. Upset like when I don't cook for her.
I was stuck, my limbs and torso couldn't move, but I could still feel them. At least they were connected to my body.
Twirling a long blade between her finger, Arcueid crushed it, and then put her hands on her hips.
"Well, at least you chose to show up, Executor."
A flurry of pages and heavy boots landing on the ground. Marching from the shadows was the tattooed figure of Senpai.
"Step away from Tohno-kun, True Ancestor." Her eyes mimicked that of Arcueid, "Satisfy your bloodlust in another realm if you wish." She pumped the long cannon she was carrying. "I'll be happy to send you there."
"Why do you always ruin my fun?"
Arcueid pouted, all the malevolence I felt from her was gone now.
Did I imagine it? No...
She was serious at first, but was it real?
I felt the Black Key eject from my shadow. My movement was restored, though I wasn't ready and fell flat onto my face.
The chill around me vanished, and it felt like the grass, tarmac and even the air was ablaze.
Uh oh, this wasn't good.
Arcueid and Senpai leapt back as a red strands tried to wrap around them. My glasses were dropped in front of me and I put them back on.
"Leave Nii-san alone!"
Of all people I didn't want to see me this way, she was the biggest priority.
Akiha had fully Inverted now, that red hair covering the area around me, a shield of heat absorbing material that could easily freeze anything the neared her.
"Akiha, it's okay..." I slowly stood up, patting myself down, "There's no need to be worried. Arcueid wasn't really trying to kill me." I looked up at the blonde vampire, "Were you?"
Standing far enough away from Akiha and Senpai, she wasn't saying anything, her arms folded tight against her body.
"Is that true, Tohno-kun?" The Holy weapon was lowered slightly, "Speak, True Ancestor. I will not tolerate untruths."
"Shiki…" Arcueid shook her head, "Why must you be so difficult?"
"Huh?" I moved in front of Akiha, by placing a hand on her shoulder, "What are you talking about?"
Her smile was back, without the fangs.
"Even when faced with total death, you still chose to fight your way out rather than let yourself be killed." She was walking about, pacing a little, but edging ever closer.
Senpai flinched at the movement, tensing up her muscles and raising the tip of the barrel a few centimetres.
"Isn't that what life is about?" She continued, walking on and sitting on a bench at the edge of the clearing, "To struggle through your daily obstacles, clear them and inch ever closer to happiness? You taught me what happiness meant, what life was about."
She leaned forwards and looked directly at me.
"Don't give up so easily." Her eyes shifted to something beyond my left ear, "Wouldn't you agree, the four, no, three of you hiding there?"
I turned and saw the bushes rustle loudly, silence some hushed voices, then three sheepish people coming out.
"K-Kohaku? What are you doing here?" Akiha's hair returned to its brown shade as she calmed down, "And Hisui, you should know better than to leave the mansion at night."
"Sorry Akiha-sama, I had to pick up our guest. I had a feeling something odd would be happening today." Kohaku winked at us.
Hisui bowed once, "I am terribly sorry, Akiha-sama. I could not prevent my sister from leaving the safety of the mansion. I thought it would be better for us to be together."
The third person was the one who caught my attention most of all.
"S-Sion?" I almost stumbled as I took a few steps to her, "Why are you here?"
"A fool's errand it seems. The Professor here made a small lie about what exactly White Day was about." Her red eyes were glaring at Kohaku, who only laughed back.
"Huhuhu…" I could hear the jangling sounds of plastic needles and other horrific implements inside her sleeves, so I edged away from the kimono-clad maid.
"What could be so special about White Day for you to come all the way here?" Arcueid pondered out loud.
"Well..." Sion started to speak, but her face exploded into bright crimson.
As Arcueid continued to question and then tease Sion, Akiha grabbed my sleeve, "Nii-san. What was that woman talking about?"
By 'that woman', she meant the grinning blonde vampire.
"I... It doesn't matter for now." I turned away from her face, lying when I'm facing her is always difficult.
I thought I saw some movement in the trees ahead, and a brown pigtail? I walked towards it, only for Senpai to walk in front of me, now clothed in her holy garments.
"Tohno-kun, are you feeling okay?" Her eyes were scanning my body.
"I'm fine, Senpai, what makes you say that?" I tried to shrug her off.
"Something the True Ancestor said..." Her eyes narrowed, not in anger, but in sympathy.
Sion had pried herself away from Arcueid now and was standing beside Senpai.
"You are ill, Shiki?" Her red eyes flashed to her wrist, where her Ethelite bracelet glinted in the moonlight, "Let me diagnose you."
The microscopic wire inserted itself into my head, before I could even dodge out of the way.
Her brow was furrowed, but after a few seconds her eyes snapped open.
"No..." A few more seconds went by until she withdrew the filament, "How... why?"
"Sion, what's wrong?" Akiha moved closer to her, with her hand outstretched.
"Ugh..." Sion pulsed once, and her eyes reddened further, "Guh...!"
A large shockwave hit us as Sion launched into the air, leaping away from us. Her yells were agonised.
Arcueid sighed, "Children these days... They can't adjust well to massive changes in their lives." Standing a little taller, and seeing her strength grow from the moonlight on her body, she spoke again, "I'll calm her down."
Another thunder crack and Arcueid was after Sion, who was now fighting her own vampiric impulse.
At least she wouldn't hurt anyone this time.
"Nii-san, what was that about?"
"Tohno-kun, I was right. What did the alchemist see?"
"Shiki-san, do you require medical assistance?"
"Shiki-sama... What's wrong?"
I sighed and went to the same bench Arcueid was on and sat down.
Having four girls stare at me with looks of frustration, confusion and sadness can wear me down.
"I already told Arcueid. Sion just saw it now..." I closed my eyes, I didn't want to see their reactions, "I'm dying."
I let a few seconds pass before letting out my breath and opening my eyelids once more.
Their looks were all different.
Senpai was murderous. Those eyes could probably project Black Keys into my body if she had that power. Akiha was shocked, her eyes widened and her body trembling ever so slightly. Kohaku was puzzled, looking up at the sky, thinking if it was one of her weird experiments again. Hisui was sad and worried, as if she understood the gravity of what I said.
"How are you dying?" Senpai asked first, intent on killing whoever was the perpetrator.
"I don't know. All I can think of is these." I pointed at my eyes, "That, and my body has always been close to death anyway."
"Do you need medicine? I'm sure with the Tohno finances, I can make up a special blend just for you Shiki-san." Kohaku was smiling still, but somehow it had lost some of that spark at the edges.
"No thanks. Something tells me this is more than what conventional medicine can fix." I did appreciate her gesture though.
"N-Nii-san..." Akiha was shaking visibly now as she sat next to me, "How... You were always there for me, and I even helped you..." Her hair was slowly changing again. She had more red highlights in her brown hair now.
I pulled her into a hug, I didn't need to say any words to her now.
"Shiki-sama, how long have you know about this?" Hisui kept her hand near her heart.
"A few months..." I smiled, at least it was out in the open now. "There are many lines on me."
"As much as the Dead." Arcueid landed lightly behind the others, carrying a struggling Sion over her shoulder before dumping her on the ground, "You should know what that means, Executor."
Senpai frowned and folded her arms, "But, you don't seem any different. Physically you were able to escape from the True Ancestor, no mean feat."
"That's not true..." Akiha shook her head vehemently, "Nii-san is strong, his body at least. But he is very weak when it comes to illnesses."
"True, I was ill a lot. Anaemia meant I had to visit the school nurse often." I nodded.
Hisui and Kohaku looked at each other, the former spoke, "So, this means that Shiki-sama -"
"- Will die if he catches even a cold."
Sion interrupted them as she stood up from where Arcueid dropped her, clutching her chest tightly. Gasping for air, she staggered nearer to me.
"When I inserted the Ethelite, it detected a vast meltdown in all of the body's internal defences. Platelets, white blood cells, nerve clusters, cell regeneration, all of these and more are simply failing to work."
I could see her nails turn into claws, and her teeth into fangs, "Even if he miraculously avoids catches any disease in the world, his body will crumble apart because his own body isn't maintaining itself." I could see the thread of Ethelite being extended again, "I need to get in there and revert it somehow... To cut the dead cells away, cut the nerve clusters, cut the blood vessels, cut the skin, cut it, cut -"
"That's enough." Arcueid placed a firm hand on Sion's head, and again the horror I felt in my room earlier came back as the park air stilled and the sky reddened, "Touch Shiki like you are now, and I will erase you."
Senpai had three Black Keys aimed at Sion as she spoke to me, "Tohno-kun, are you ill at the moment?"
I did a quick check of how I felt as I stood up, "Not right now."
"Good." Pulling out a scroll from within her robes, it slowly began to glow.
Muttering to a few words to herself, the light intensified as it began to shrink to a small point.
"Here…" Senpai held a small cross on a chain, "This talisman will seal all outside diseases and illnesses from attacking you. It's used by Church operatives when entering plague infested areas. It only works for one day however."
I took it from her and placed it around my neck, "Good, then I have enough time to return what I took from Akiha." I looked at her, the highlights growing in number, "She doesn't need to suffer any more."
"Wh-What?" He hair reverted to brown fully, "What are you talking about, Nii-san?"
I nodded at her, "I know how hard it must be for you. If I stop the drain on your power, you should live happily from now on."
"B-But… I want to live with you…"
Oh, her eyes are getting a bit wetter now. I feel like an idiot for making her cry.
"W-Wait…" Sion stood taller, "I… I should be able to administer instructions to his cells to restore their normal functions." She looked at us, "I can do it by tomorrow."
Arcueid nodded, "I'll keep a watch on her too, and give moral support. My Mystic Eyes wouldn't be useful here…" She thumbed in the direction of Senpai, "The Executor is better at healing."
"That's true…" She nodded, "I'll see what I can do. Perhaps there's some scroll to restore vitality…"
Kohaku was smiling and brandishing her needles like Black Keys.
I imagined a torture sequence of acupuncture experiments from the look in her eyes.
"I'll create some super-medicine too! Makikyu-X may not be suitable, but I'm sure I can concoct something to be of use."
Hisui only bowed, "I shall prepare the mansion for guests in this case."
I couldn't believe what I was hearing.
Is this what Sensei was talking about?
"You don't have to go through that much trouble for me; really, I've accepted what will happen to me. Why can't you?"
Arcueid unfolded her arms and walked up to me.
"All we can do is try. If you die anyway, you die. But if you don't…" She smiled and placed her arms around her shoulders, "Then we can live our lives out together."
"Wait, Nii-san isn't going with you!" Akiha jumped up from the bench, dragging her arms away from me.
Senpai pulled out that huge weapon of hers, "Tohno-kun needs sanctity with the Church. It is only wise for him to be protected by me."
Sion extracted her Ethelite, "I made a promise with Shiki, I'm not going to let him down!"
I sighed as everyone started fighting again, taking a few steps from the group and sitting back down on the bench.
A presence came next to me, and the small cat nuzzled into my lap. Hisui was watching me from the crowd and came to me.
"Are you tired, Shiki-sama?"
"Yes, I am actually…" I felt my eyes grow sleepy, "Could you tell the others I need to rest for tonight? Thanks for everything, Hisui."
I saw her redden before bowing in assent.
I closed my eyes, happy, as the vibrations from the purring Len soothed me to sleep.
A lot of discussion must have occurred while I slept.
The stage for the evening mission was the Tohno grounds, namely that very same clearing where I was killed all those years ago.
Senpai was adamant that for Akiha's life force to be returned to her, it would be best for it to be released in the same area where it was taken from her.
The breaking of that covenant would then be the perfect time to fix my body, by returning it to its former state. Once the borrowed life from Akiha was gone, the real healing can begin.
Arcueid agreed with her for once, stating that ancient rules would dictate this. Sion also said it was logical for that to happen. She and Kohaku somehow came up with a unique drug which would stimulate my body into accepting the program Sion was going to upload into my nerve centres with her Ethelite.
This is why I am lying face up on the dirt, an intricate magical seal carved into the ground beneath me using alchemical formulae and even blood.
I felt the small weight of the cross on my chest, rubbing against the scar.
Hisui had padded the pillow beneath my head so I was more comfortable, she then sat away out of the circle. I could only smile at her.
Akiha was holding my left hand with both of hers, but she was still shaking, not allowing those tears to fall from her face. I tightened my grip with hers; I was still here for her.
Senpai stood facing me from my feet and was whispering beneath her breath, reading from a long scroll. She pulled out her long weapon, and I watched as it turned into a strange petite girl. Kneeling opposite me in a spot made for her; it appeared that she was generating something to power the incantation.
Sion inserted the filaments into me as Kohaku gently administered the drugs to me. The pain was numbed by now, so I didn't jolt away.
Len was kneeling near my head when Hisui vacated that position, staring into my eyes. If anything was to happen, she could communicate with my thoughts, since Sion would only be inserting the programs into me, she could not read my mind.
Last was Arcueid, sitting to my right, her expression neutral. I caught her eye and she grinned widely, before nodding sagely.
Holding my right hand lightly, I felt her warmth as our fingers intertwined with each other.
Glancing at Akiha, she bit her lip and nodded, wiping her face with her sleeve.
My left hand now free, I grabbed the Nanaya blade and held it above me.
Helping me one last time, Arcueid gently lifted the glasses from my head and folded them up neatly next to me.
I stared at everybody one last time. Their faces intermingled with the lines, smiles, tears, fear, worry, and love were the last things I saw.
Lowering my eyes to my chest, I stared hard at the crackling red dot in the centre of my scar.
I gripped Arcueid's hand one last time, and she returned it twofold.
I thrust the knife directly into the dot.
And then, I, Shiki Tohno, died.
Nothing much to say here, other than there is no continuation.
Read into the ending how you wish.
If you enjoyed it, please review and let me know what you thought.