Disclaimer: I do not own Claymore characters/storyline/any of that jazz. All credit and kudos go to Norihiro Yagi. (:
"How did you come to be here?"
"I…don't know. I can't…" Flora's brow creased in concentration as her eyes shut tightly. "I remember snow, being in the North…we were sent to Pieta. We were outnumbered, and our comrades…" Flora winced. Her free hand flew to the center of her forehead, attempting to sooth a relentless throbbing emitting from an unknown source.
"Keep going, please." Miria said sympathetically from her seated position across the room. The silent ghosts standing idly within the room waited intently for their lost looking comrade to continue.
It had only been hours before that the former number eight had stumbled into the city of Rabona, immediately recognized as a Claymore by the city guard, and swept into the possession of Galatea and the seven ghosts before passing out from exhaustion.
The unconscious warrior had been placed on a bed within a vacant room inside the citadel's cathedral to recover herself. Uma and Tabitha were stationed outside the occupied chamber while the rest of the ghosts collected on the rooftop to discuss the seemingly impossible reemergence of their ally. Galatea had opted to stay at the sleeping warrior's side, to be there to alert the others when she finally opened her eyes.
Galatea blinked away the recollection, and intently regarded the shivering blonde at her side. She had almost forgotten the other six warriors were in the room, until Helen casually cleared her throat.
Galatea's eyes met Miria's for a moment, and an unexpected urge to tell them all, including Miria, to literally get lost flitted through her mind. The intensity of it shook her a bit, though her features never betrayed this to any of the nearby warriors.
Galatea shifted on the bedside beside Flora, gently rubbing her chilled hands. Miria's eyes narrowed faintly. The tall blonde gave the smaller warrior a reassuring squeeze, which earned her a small, despondent smile.
"A new enemy appeared, it came at us…Veronica's body, and something about Clare…shouting, and then a black shadow? Pain—the most intense pain I've ever experienced…" Flora's breathing quickened, and her pale face contorted as if she was expecting a fatal blow to follow at any moment.
The wavy blonde shuddered and nodded, swallowing down the rising anxiety bubbling up from her hollow stomach. Her forehead screamed in intangible agony to the point that tears began to form at the corners of her eyelids.
"After…I must've been wounded, badly…I remember snow, and the sky. And the stars—at least, I think they were stars." Flora's words faltered somewhat, her body on the verge of hyperventilation. Still she persisted. "There were faces, the taste of blood…I apologize captain, my head is pounding."
Her voice was so quiet…as they all could recall it to be, but it carried an eerie edge alien to the normally soft-spoken warrior.
Clare shifted against the stone wall, as Deneve and Helen exchanged glances.
"That's enough." Galatea's sharp command cut through the stillness and addressed the entire room, though her gaze settled pointedly on Miria, who returned the steely glare with equal strength.
"We should continue this now while the memory is still fresh. I know this must be painful, but it is necessary."
"No." Galatea immediately retorted. Though the spiky haired captain seemed unfazed, Galatea's antagonism truly surprised her, but was distinctly unfounded in this matter.
Miria carefully moved to rest her palm on Galatea's shoulder. "Galate—"
"Enough, Miria." The tall blonde snapped.
Galatea's curt voice was almost a shout, causing everyone to stiffen slightly. Uma shifted uneasily at the doorway, her eyes carefully taking in the other warriors around her; Clare and Deneve were wearing stoical masks as usual, Helen was attempting her own form of indifference, and Tabitha, well, she was pissed. Even their captain seemed taken back a bit at this outburst.
Helen nearly gulped. For that second Galatea was once again the number three warrior dispatched from the organization to seize Clare and Jean. She wondered briefly if any of the others had felt a surreal pang from the past.
It still amazed the edgy blonde that although all the warriors here had loosened up to a certain degree around each other, the drilled in subservient nature to follow one of higher rank was still a force to be reckoned with.
She bit the inside of her mouth as her eyes nervously darted between her former captain and the former God-eye who were basically stabbing daggers into each other with their eyes. Yikes…
Flora's delicate voice broke the charged atmosphere.
"It's alright, Galatea…I am fine, really…I am." The weariness she carried was openly evident, despite the gentle smile that accompanied her words.
"Yes, you are so convincing." Deneve stated, the bit of sarcasm earning a chuckle from Helen and a glare from everyone else in the room. "What?" the shorthaired warrior quipped.
Miria sighed, accepting the situation as it was. Galatea was obviously not going to give any more latitude to her or anyone else in the line of questioning their newly revived comrade…if she could still be considered as such. Miria pushed that stray thought aside.
It was a loaded debate bound to explode sooner or later; hopefully after they all had some rest, a bath and a hot meal to level out everyone's head. If her head was spinning with this news, she could only imagine the storms whirring around in her fellow comrades'.
Her critical eyes rested on Galatea's face, noticing the intense focus the tall blonde was directing to the smaller woman beside her. Miria's hands balled into fists before crossing over her chest.
"We are all tired; it has been a rather long and startling night. We can continue this in the morning, Flora." The former captain straightened her posture, settling back into her role as leader.
"Get some rest—that goes for everyone."
And with that, the room emptied of its occupants, save the two warriors on the low, wooden bed.
Flora's form immediately sagged, her head falling into her open hands as she sucked in deep gulps of air. She felt like screaming, and letting all the confusion and the fragmented memories steadily leech out from her eyes. Not being able to answer her captain properly due to an emotional barrage was one thing, but it was another to not even have the ability to answer due to simply that fact—she couldn't answer. She sincerely could not because she did not remember the events after Pieta. And the truth of that scared the life out of her.
"I should be dead." She choked into her palms. "I should be dead…why am I not dead?"
Firm arms wrapped around her, and she was pulled into a warm body, freezing a little before relaxing into the embrace.
"It doesn't matter." A soothing voice drifted into Flora's mind, the depth of it humming in the chest she was possessively held to. "You are alive, Flora. You're alive…I don't care how, or why, but you're here, and I am neverletting you go again."
Galatea buried her face against the soft waves of Flora's hair, feeling the smaller blonde tentatively wrap her arms around her waist loosely at first, and then a bit more assertively as the veracity of those words sunk in. They were here together, and as far as Galatea was concerned, the rest could be figured out later. Flora's hands finally clenched desperately at the fabric of Galatea's shirt as she began to cry softly into the taller woman's collarbone.
"I am alive."
End Chapter One.
Thoughts? Reviews always appreciated! (Even if all you wish to say is what you liked or disliked.)
Explanations and plot will unfold in time... If you feel lost being dropped into this intro chapter, good, that's the way it is supposed to be so do not panic just yet! I won't let you flail around wondering where the heck this crazy amateur author is going with this story for long.
Expect another update within the week. Well wishes till then!