DARK WOODS CIRCUS-PART 1

THIS STORY WAS BASED OFF OF THE VOCALOID SONG 'DARK WOODS CIRCUS', WHICH GAVE ME THE IDEA FOR THIS FANFIC. THE FIRST TIME I HAD EVER TRULY LEARNED ABOUT THE KINDS OF THINGS THAT WENT ON IN FREAK CIRCUSES WAS WHEN I READ THE BOOK 'THE VAMPIRE'S ASSISTENT', WHICH INFLUENCED THIS STORY GREATLY. I HOPE THAT YOU ENJOY IT, FOR IT'S ONE OF MY MORE GRUESOME PIECES.

RATED M FOR VIOLENCE, PROFANITY, LANGUAGE, DARK THEMES, AND SEXUAL THEMES.

-GAARA

PART 1

"Cosa stai facendo?! (What-a are you doing?!)" He hissed in a low pitch, glaring from the shadows at his brother.

"Volevo solo sapere cosa significa essere sotto il sole sembra. E'passato cosi tanto tempo, e il sole e proprio li. Ho dimenticato quello che e stato come trovarsi proprio lungo sotto i sole battente. (I-I just wanted to know what-a being in the sun feels like. It's been such a long time-and the sun is right there. I've forgotten what it was like to just-just lie down under the beating sun.)" His younger brother whispered, his usually sweet voice coming out painfully raspy, for it had been well over two days since the last time they had drank something.

"Che cosa succede se qualcuno ti ha visto?! Abbiamo cose piu importanti di cui preoccuparsi in questo momento! Come dove stiamo andando a vivere! (What if someone saw you?! We have more important things to worry about right-a now! Like where we're going to live!)" He, Lovino Vargas, the oldest of the two, gestured around widely, as if to prove to his brother that not even in the farthest corner of the earth they could live a quiet, happy life.

" E quello che stiamo andando a mangiare! E drink! Come diavolo si fa a pensare che stiamo andando a sopravvivere quando si esegue circa, ottenere quelle stupide idee in testa, e quasi farci trovato! (And what we're going to eat! And drink! How-a the hell do you think we're going to survive when you run about, getting those silly ideas in-a your head, and nearly get us found!)" He raised his voice with every word, yet he tried to keep it at a very dull roar. No doubt they would be attacked again if they were to be noticed.

After looking at his younger brother Feliciano Vargas's reaction, however, he regretted making it sound like Feli was the one who had caused them all of the trouble. He had done more then his own fair share of damage on the situation, due to his very short temper that could disappear like a stick of pocky in a ravenous child's mouth.

Tears pricked in the corners of his soft-hearted brother's eyes, who looked up at the roofs of grey, deteriorating buildings and blinked quickly in a vain attempt to hide his innocent guilt from Lovi. He had always been the worst liar Lovino had ever laid eyes on.

"I'm s-sorry, fratello. I always mess-a everything up for us. I-I'm so sorry about-a everything!" Feli couldn't hold back the tears a moment longer and gave in, letting them spill down he sides of his cheeks. Everything had gone so wrong. Why did this have to happen to them?

"Shut up, fratellino, and stop crying. For God's sake, get a spine. Dio knows you'll need one." Lovino said quietly after a pause. That was about as considerate as he had ever gotten, and that alone was enough to bring back the cheery smile on his little brother's face. Dio, he looked like an idiot, grinning at nothing like that. Lovi never smiled, for there was nothing to smile about.

"Si, mi fratello~! Ehh, what shall we do now? We're a little... stuck." Italy looked around sheepishly. They were pressed up against the side of a building, the grey paint peeling off on the backs of their tattered shirts, and were surrounded by rays of sunlight. It was utterly impossible to move without immersing yourself in the warm light.

"Shit... And I'm starting to get hungry again." Romano muttered. As long as no one SAW them in the sunlight, they'd be fine, right? It'd linger for a couple minutes, but they could take refuge somewhere else that was not visible to they public eye.

"Feli, we'll be okay if we can-a run to the other side of the street over there and-a hide for awhile. We just-a have to run when nobody's around." Lovi pointed, giving his brother the general idea for which area the should sprint to. Feli nodded in agreement and looking at his brother expectantly.

"Tell-a me when."

A long pause followed, Lovi tried timing it as well as possible. Their were not many inhabitants in this run-down street, but a block away there was a market place that presented both the challenge of avoiding people and the opportunity to steal produce.

After another thirty seconds or so, he hissed a "Andare! " in his brother's ear, who bolted forward swiftly. Lovi was right on his heels.

The transformation that followed is not one that could be easily described, even though many stereotypes of such a thing have been passed down and altered to other's likings. The truth of it was that sweet little Feli's skin seemed to glow a sparkling ivory shade that made him look positively angelic. He had a radiant, cheery atmosphere encasing his body, and his face seemed to shimmer and change form every second that passed by. The only truly fearsome change that occurred in him was in his eyes. They glowed a brilliant red shade and his pupils were slitted, like a snake's.

Lovino's change, on the other hand, did not look even a little angelic. Much like his brother, a peculiar atmosphere engulfed him, but his was entirely different. He felt a dark, pulsing presence around him, pressing down on his body like some cancerous disease. He felt his fingers curl into the shape of claws. His eyes were exactly the same as his brother's, except his were a little sharper, more intense. Deep within him, he harbored an intense hatred for how they had been treated, and this was where it truly came out. He knew that he was a real monster, but did not understand why his brother so different from he.

They were half-breeds, half human, and half something else. They had always lived on the streets since their parents had died when Lovi was six and his brother was four, so they had no way of knowing what that other half was. Whenever others had witnessed their striking auras, they would seem to undergo some kind of weird transformation on their own, their eyes widening and staring at them intently. Feli had a hunch that they appeared different in the eyes of everyone else, and so far Lovi had no reason to think otherwise. Perhaps they looked terrifying;they had no way of knowing. All that really mattered to him was that they were treated differently, and that it was killing them to have to hide all the time. He could tell that it was damaging Feli the most, however. His cheerful, happy brother couldn't look others in the eye or even talk to them without someone trying something on him. He was never able to come out of the shadows. It was destroying him. He pretended like he was fine with it and smiled like one of those little wooden dolls you would occasionally see being sold out on a stand on the side of a street, but like that carved face, his smile was hollow, and it never fooled Lovino each time he saw it.

They were on the run from someone particular, for reasons unknown to them. The man in question had cornered Feli one sunny afternoon before their policy of staying in the shadows and had attempted to rip off his clothing. Feli, confused and frightened, had cried out for his brother, and with his aid, the two of them ran away. That was two years ago, and the man had still refused to stop searching out the cheerful Italian.

They ran for what seemed like hours, even though it was only several seconds. Lovi's heart pounded so loudly, he was terrified that someone had heard it and had enough curiousity to look for the source of it, even though that was entirely impossible. They managed to finally reach the other side and gasped from the stress that had gathered together in a neat little ball inside their stomachs.

They were just turning to walk around the corner of the building as a hand clasped Lovino's shoulder.

He stiffened. They had been found! His mind screamed at him, begged to run, but the firmly clenched hand seemed as if it was sucking his life energy right out of him, as if the bearer of the hand was none other than Satan himself. Lovi raised his eyes to meet his brother's, but his brother was too busy gawking at whomever had grabbed him to notice. Slowly, Lovino Vargas turned and met the eyes of the man who may have been his brother's pursuer.

Deep violet eyes bore down on his still crimson red ones. He lowered his to take in the rest of the man's appearance.

His was wearing an enormous cloak the color of cream. Lovi had no idea why; it was scorching out! He had to be on the verge of passing out from heat exhaustion! To top it off, the man also had a long, white scarf on that had to have been very old, since the ends were very tattered and frayed. He also had on beige colored gloves, which meant that his entire torso and arms were unseen. His lower half was also not visible, since he was wearing long, dark brown pants underneath his coat and even darker brown boots to top it off. So really, the only skin you could actually see on him was that on his face. His hair looked like fallen snow, for not only did it look neat and fell into place, but it was also that shade. Even so, he looked fairly young, perhaps in his late twenties. He was also at least six feet tall, and bore a knobby cane, which to Romano looked as if the wood was molded into the shape of a pipe.

The thing he noticed the most about the man, however, was his enormous grin, which made him appear very unstable.

The curious stranger peered down on the two of them, that eerie smile twisting and contorting until it spread all the way across his face. After another several tense moments went by like this, he finally spoke to the two.

"Hmm... You two are rather interesting, I don't even know how to describe it. At first, I would say angels, but judging from your eyes... Demons, da?" He spoke smoothly in a very thick Russian accent.

Feli was still too flabberghasted to say a word, so Lovino spoke up. "I don't-a treat people who tell my brother and-a I that we are demons before even introducing themselves very kindly, bastard."

The Russian man was a little taken aback by his rudeness but hid his anger, for his fuse was also quite short. "Italians all the way out here, da? Well, I suppose it's all the same. Beggers are beggers... Come with me. I have something to offer you and your brother."

Romano grit his teeth in defiance. "Why should-a we go anywhere with-a YOU? You're obviously going to do something to us!"

The man simply gritted his teeth and stretched his lips into that Cheshire smile of his. "I am Ivan Braginsky, and I have a job for you and you brother that requires your peculiar... appearance, you see. I'll set it up as an offer you couldn't possiby refuse." Noting the looks of wavering hesitation in the somewhat naive Italian's eyes, he continued on smoothly. "Walk with me, I would like to show you what this job requires. You may run off whenever you wish; I won't try to stop you. It would be perferable if you'd see what my bargain was, however."

The man had obviously accquired some skills in manipulation, for after a little more goading, he was able to convince the two Italians to walk beside him in the shadows to whatever place he wanted to show them. They walked for about ten minutes, each passing moment making Lovino feel tenser and tenser, for not only were they walking with a complete stranger, their transformation still hadn't worn off.

Finally, they arrived infront of a red and white striped tent which they identified to be a circus tent. The disturbing part was not the tent itself, but the things around it. This carnival was just outside of the little urban town, in a dark part of the woods. There were sad little stands surrounding the tent on all sides, looking so beaten and worn to the point where they made Lovino think of a marionette he had as a child. One day, he had taken it outside against his mother's orders and had gotten grass and mud stains on it. What was worse, he also managed to drop it on it's forehead against the pavement, so it had a gruesome crack along the side of it's face.

On a nearby tree, Lovi's eyes were drawn to a strange poster:

THE DARK WOODS CIRCUS

Venez voir l'exposition de monstres séduisant, tenue à La tente principale!(Come and watch the amazing freak show, held in the main tent!)

Certaines des attractions:(Some of the main attractions:)

La Femme à barbe

(THE BEARDED LADY)

Le loup-garou au cœur froid

(THE COLD-HEARTED WEREWOLF)

Le célèbre magicien: ARTHUR KIRKLAND

(THE FAMOUS MAGICIAN: ARTHUR KIRKLAND)

LE VAMPIRE DE TRANSYLVANIE

(THE TRANSYLVANIAN VAMPIRE)

Le dompteur

(THE LION TAMER)

L'homme à l'estomac indestructible

(THE MAN WITH THE INDESTRUCTABLE STOMACH)

Le gitan

(THE GYPSY)

They were going in the back enterance instead of the front, even though the circus had not yet opened. Lovi and Feli watched as Mr. Braginsky opened the tent flap and walked in, not even glancing back to see if they were following. They waited another minute or so until their appearence returned to normal before entering. Thank Dio for granting them some shade at that given moment (Lovino now had a reason to really love clouds).

It really wasn't his fault for how things turned out. He had never heard of the things the go on in a circus when the crowd was not there. Hell, he didn't even know what happened in a circus when people WERE there. He and his brother had never been to one before, so he had absolutely no way of knowing what to find when he opened that flap.

He was face to face, eye to eye with perhaps the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. She was gorgeous, with long brown hair flowing down her back in a loosely made ponytail and eyes the color of caramel chocolate. Her skin was a color that looked like a cup of coffee with far too much cream in it. She was also wearing an Asian-styled outfit that Lovino assumed was a kimono. It was emerald green and had a silver dragon stiched into it near the bottom. The green shade lightened until it was almost yellow at her shoulders, making it a lovely work of art.

Behind her stood a man in a magnificently embroidered cape and a top hat. He had startling green eyes and messy blonde hair poking out from under the top hat he was wearing. The sight of him made Lovi want to burst out laughing, and not because of that odd outfit of his. Two large eyebrows were visible just under his hat, making him look even stranger. Despite the fact that he had two caterpillars on his face, however, he was still quite attractive. Before they had walked in, the pair of them had been arguing over something.

The woman smiled at the two of the before Feli spoke up. "C-Ciao, Miss. I'm Feliciano and-a this is my brother, Lovino. Who are-a you?"

If her smile had resembled a beautifully decorated plate, then Fei had just snatched up that plate unknowingly and had dropped it on the floor in shards. "What did you say, aru?"

Feli blinked in confusion. "Ve? I said that I'm Feliciano and-a this is my brother, Lovino."

"Before that, aru!"

"U-Um, ciao?" Feli stuttered out, surprised by the forcefulness the woman put behind her words.

"YOU CALLED ME A 'MISS'! I AM NOT A FEMALE, ARU YO!" She screeched, clearly upset with Feli, who was astounded.

"Y-You're not?!" Feli asked, noticing that her (?) chest had a buldge nonetheless.

"No! Why does everyone assume-" She/he looked down at herself/himself. "Oh... I, um, apologize for that, aru. I didn't realize that I hadn't changed outfits yet, aru." She/he looked quite embarressed and excused her/himself.

"What-a just happened?! Chigi, that man-bitch was an asshole!" Romano spat out suddenly, jarring Feli and the Eyebrow Man out of their stupor.

"Erm, well, you see... Yao's a little sensitive about his job here. The Ringmaster gave him one of the most bloody dreadful jobs here since Yao was exceedingly rude to him when they met awhile back. I've even heard rumors that the Ringmaster forces Yao to be his shag-slave from time to time. If you value your future, I suggest staying far away from both of those blokes." Eyebrow Man spoke up, looking at the two of them a little wearily. He knew that most circus folk ended up here for a reason; the two of them could be known murderers from, say, Afghanistan for example. Even so, they looked almost...

As an afterthought, Arthur added, "I suppose I should tell you my name. I'm Arthur Kirkland, now don't make me repeat that, alright? You two kind of look lost. Did the Ringmaster recruite you two and leave you here?"

It became clear that Lovi wasn't planning on answering, so Feli spoke up. "Do you mean Mr. Braginsky?"

"Mr. Braginsky?" Arthur repeated, his British accent sounding a little weird when saying the Russian name. "Yeah, that would be him. His office is actually on the other side of this tent. I suppose he dragged you in here hoping that Ludwig would goad you into helping set everything up, since none of us want to do it in the first place. I'd take you to the Ringmaster's tent, but... Well, he and I have had our differences. Let me get someone else to show you where it is..." Arthur left with a nod, ducking behind the curtain to where the stage would presumeably be once set up. Lovino felt his brother grab on to the hem of his shirt reassuringly while they stood waiting in silence.

Another geisha came out from behind the curtain walking side by side with Arthur, who looked passively at the Italian brothers.

This time, Lovino and Feliciano were better prepared for this geisha's gender. She/he had short jet-black hair and solumn looking eyes the color of black tea. She/he was also very short and petite with lighter skin then the first geisha, Yao. She/he was wearing a beautiful sky blue kimono that had clouds and cranes woven into it. The richness of the fabric could not be ignored, and it was perhaps the most wonderous thing the two Italians had ever seen in their lives.

As she/he approached them with Arthur in tow (who might've been staring at his/her ass) she bowed to both Feli and Lovi in turn politely. Suddenly, Lovino exploded.

"What-a is with all of these cross-dressers, hn?! Che palle, it really screws with-a your head!"

Instead of feeling insulted, the geisha merely looked up at Lovi with a stange twinkle in his/her eyes. "Konnichiwa. You have met Onii-chan, hai? I'm sure he was quite happy to tark to you, seeing as he roves his job so very much. He's even more upset since he's forced to wear a kimono, which is some kind of insurt to his Chinese ansestors, apparentry. I myserf have gotten used to it all, and am Japanese, so I don't really mind as much. My name is Honda Kiku."

After hearing Kiku speak, Lovi decided that he was a male as well. He was about to insult him for saying that he actually DIDN'T mind cross-dressing, when his brother spoke up.

"Ve, what-a do you geisha actually DO here? I-I mean..." Feli trailed off, a little flustered. "I-In Japan, weren't geisha u-used for... umm..."

Kiku looked rather embarressed too. "T-That is just the Western interpretation of geisha! Honestry, we don't go around having intercourse with our guests, if that is what you mean. We are actually the greeters and entertain the crowd untir the performers are ready. Sometimes we'll even run nearby stands if we are short on herpers. Every once in awhire, we get some temporary peopre."

"Temporary?" Feliciano asked curiously.

"The peopre who are kicked out or-" Kiku recieved a strange look from Arthur. "-have things happen to them."

The two Italian's eyes grew round. "What-a kinds of things?"

"Nothing." Arthur broke in curtly. "They merely live in the streets for the rest of their lives. Now if you'll excuse me, I am supposed to be helping Al get a nail out of his stomach." He turned and abruptly left, leaving the two brothers with the Japanese 'geisha'.

"What the hell was that all about?" Lovino asked, rather irritated with the Brit. He didn't really like the man very much, despite how helpful he had been.

"Ah, Igirisu has arways had a probrem with newcomers. Don't worry, he'll warm up to you in time." Kiku responded carefully, remembering that Arthur had been that way towards him when he had been a newcomer, and now Kiku was one of his closest friends. Or accuantices, at least.

"On another subject, how did you two end up here?" Kiku asked. "Usually, the Ringmaster only brings in peopre he has a particurar interest in."

"O-Oh, well, w-we don't-a really know..." Feli stammered, looking away in shame.

Unfortunately for the two Italian brothers, they realized as they looked out the tent flap that their was no way they could possibly reach the Ringmaster's tent without walking in the sunlight.

"Uhh, Kiku, right? Umm, well, I'm sure that we can find the tent from here... I mean, it's not too far away, ve?" Feliciano tentaively asked.

"No, it is not very far away. But I am a, er, man of my word, so I will see you there untir the end. No matter how much hatred I bare for the Ringmaster." Kiku replied gravely.

"No, really! You don't need to!" Feliciano cried.

"I berieve I do. All newcomers get rost the first week or so." Kiku insisted, involuntarily bobbing his head slightly.

Feliciano was so into the conversation, he didn't even notice at first when he accidentally stepped into the sunlight. The tansformation began swiftly, and right before the Asian man's eyes, nonetheless. Kiku's eyes grew to the size of dango before he blinked in shock. And then he blinked again. And again. Then finally...

"W-What exactry ARE you, newcomer?!" Kiku asked in awe.

"Umm, we... don't really know. The two of us were born this way, vee. Wait! Did I forget to mention my name? Oh, oops! I'm Feliciano Vargas, and this is my older brother, Lovino Vargas! S-Sorry..." Feli said a little too quickly (as well as shakily).

"Hold on, Felicino-kun. So the two of you don't know what your race is?" Kiku asked as they continued to walk. Lovino paused a moment at the end of the shadow before thinking 'To hell with it!' and jumping into the sunlight.

"Si, that's-a correct."

"I see... I honestry have no idea what you two have gone through because of that. And I have no idea of what might be in store for your future. Perhaps you should talk to Lukas. He is our fortune-teller, though you must go along with his femare disguise when in the presence of customers. He is VERY sensitive about his job, actually... Anyway, here we are." Kiku paused, grabbing the red tent's flap before changing his mind and realeasing it, recoiling a little.

"The Ringmaster is in there. Prease, don't say anything that you don't need to. Keep your conversation short and to-the-point. He doesn't rike to entertain others very much. And arso," Kiku's souless eyes gazed directly into Lovino's soft golden brown ones. "Try not to say anything... Irrationar. You two seem genuinely nice compared to some of the other peopre who have worked here in the past. If you upset The Ringmaster... That's it. You NEVER get second chances, it's the raw. Prease be carefur."

The man shuffled away, turning his head slightly to give the pair a parting glance. As his beautiful kimono was loosened slightly, Lovino had noticed something he hadn't before; on the nape of the Assian's neck, their were long scars and several nearly hidden burns, as if someone had slashed him repeatedly with a hot poker. Lovi suddered a little as he turned to face the tent's enterance, trying to peer through a small opening. He gave his younger brother a long look before gulping slightly and reaching out to open the flap further.

"Why are you here?" The Russian man asked as if the mere thought of him graceing them with his presence for a single moment more was absurd.

"W-We wanted to know the details of this job first." Lovino spoke up boldly, glaring at the taller man resting on a lounge chair straight in the eye.

"Hm? You wake up every day at six, you do odd jobs for the circus, you get paid based on your labor and such. You'll sleep in one of the spare tents we have, or anything else that's available. Talk to Gil about that at some point, da? Anything else?" TheRingmaster asked smoothly, taking swigs from a flask uncannily often. The scent seeping out of it indicated that it contained some heavy alchohol; possibly vodka.

"Y-Yeah. Who the hell is Gil?"" Lovino asked in irritation. He didn't like how the man just assumed they knew who Gil was without any sort of inclination to his identity.

The Russian let out a small 'kol' before responding. "Gilbert is one of the Ringleaders here, meaning that he only does what I ask of him (theoretically) and does not participate in any shows. He's Ludwig's older brother, though blood is the only similarity they share. He has spiky white hair, red eyes, and has a painfully loud voice. You'll find him in the middle of setting up tents somewhere (hopefully). If you find him, let him know that Ludwig needed him for something, da?"

Lovi nodded absentmindedly, wondering about what kind of doorstep fate had left them at. He sure as hell hoped that the man before them wasn't as aweful as everyone made him out as.

"Um... sir? What-a is under that?" Feliciano spoke softly, barely breathing the sentence. His frail index finger pointed at a long, gorgeous silk hankercheif the color of ash. It bore golden embroidery along the sides and a very peculiar shape in the middle, possibly an eye of some sort. It was precariously placed on top of a hidden container of some sort; a jar, judging by it's shape. The hankercheif added an intense air of mystique that made Lovi feel quite surreal, like he had been drugged with something.

The jar underneath seemed to beckon to him, crying out with the desire to be seen. It suffocated Lovi to the point where he was certain that he would collapse if he did not see what was underneath the beautiful cloth.

"That," Ivan began, cutting into Lovino's thoughts mercilessly. "Is the prop. Most people in town don't come here for a performance; they come to see that. The actors are there as an appetizer and dessert. The main course is under that hankercheif there. If you are interested in this object, I suggest that you observe our next show. Consider it an initiation ceremony, if you will."

"Hn, consider it done." Lovino retorted, casting a look towards his younger brother, who was peerin at the covered jar eagerly. "C'mon Feli. Let's go find this Gil-freak. Later, Communist!" Lovi waved over his shoulder as he grasped his brother's wrist and exited the stuffy tent.

"Fratello? What do you think of this place, vee?" The Italian boy asked, looking directly into Lovino's eyes.

"I think we need to be careful. This place seems way too off. And what's with all the crossdressing? If they try to make ME wear women's clothes, I'll shove that kimono right up their ass." Lovino stated grimly. It would be really nice if he and his brother could settle down in a place like this; at least for a little while. But despite his vulgar language and general wussy-ness, Lovi was no fool. This place may end up making their lives worse. After all, Lovino had overheard the stories of freak circuses told by the children in his old neighborhood. He knew that when someone was trying to lay low or was being chased by the law, the easiest place for them to go was at the moving freak show. Knowing that he and his brother fit into that category as well did not end up improving his mood.

"Feli... Let's give this place a good shot. It's not like we get these kinds of-a opportunities often, right? If it ends up being dangerous, then we'll just-a leave. Okay?"

"O-Okay. But, Lovi... That man, the Ringmaster... He seemed a little... I dunno." Feliciano started hesitantly, trying to grasp the right words.

"... Il suo sorriso mi ha fatto desiderare di avvolto nella paura." (...His smile made me want to cower in fear.)

Fin~

So, yeah. That was the first chapter of Dark Woods Circus. Review if you want. I love reading reviews but hey, I'm not gonna cram it down your throat (it's kinda annoying when authors do that :/ ). Next chapter will focus more on the Italy brothers varied impressions on Gil and Ludwig~ Ciao~ (Was the random Italian annoying? I couldn't help thinking that it might be a bit, but I wanted to give the fanfic a more rich feel. Hopefully it's okay, cause it's kinda fun adding foreign speech~)

-gaaraisthebest170