Tears to Shed

Author: Green Phantom Queen

Rated; T

Summary: Gentaro was revived by Ophiuchus and renamed the Serpent-bearer. However, there is emotional baggage that needs to be opened and released before Gentaro can truly fulfill his master's wishes. The wounds are still fresh, but with time, the Serpent-bearer shall shed his skin and become anew.

Note: Takes place inbetween VIII Maiden Name and IX Name Tag of "Horseshoes and Hand-grenades"

I: 6-18-9-5-14-4-19-8-9-16

"I know that I am dead...yet it seems as if I have some tears to shed."

-Emily, Corpse Bride

There were only two times that a man should cry: when he lost his wallet, or when he was dumped.

Gentaro Kisaragi brushed that thought away with a snarl. What a ridiculous and pathetic notion for men to only cry over such trivial things. Men should be able to cry when they needed to cry, and no one should say that they couldn't. He cried over many things in his life. He cried as he saw his parents die at an early age, howled when he heard the stories of how a friend of his was going through tough times, and shed one single tear over the beauty of space.

Nowadays, emotional things like that were nothing more than nuisances. Being revived into a state called Life-after-Death by an ancient serpent named Ophiuchus could do that to you. The words that Ophiuchus whispered into his ear were better than any food, drink or drug that could pass his lips.

In the cemetery where his parents were buried, Gentaro looked at the faces of his mother and father smiling back at him. It had been so long since he came and visited them, evident by the bouquet of wilted flowers drooping inside of a ceramic vase he painted back in the fifth grade. A look of guilt and sorrow appeared on his face before it was replaced with one filled with peace and contentment. He was not going to disappoint his parents; he was going to make them proud of his work. It was what they would want, after all.

"The darkness has healed your body and soul, my Serpent-bearer," Ophiuchus murmured in Gentaro's mind. "You are now a stronger, wiser, and better being than who you were in the past. Your past is nothing to you now. You have a present and future as my willing Serpent-bearer."

"Yes, master," said Gentaro, sitting down and closing his eyes. With him dead, there was no need to take deep breaths of evening air. Instead, he meditated, his hands resting over his feet. "Thank you for bringing me back into existence. Thank you for taking my heart and its disgusting human emotions away. It was only distracting me from my true destiny."

"Your heart is so pure, Serpent-bearer, but your emotions are still there. They're bottled up inside your mind, tethering you to your humanity, anchoring you to your mortal possessions. They must be destroyed so that you can truly become one with me and fulfill your calling. The sooner we begin this, the sooner the pain shall cease to be a burden on us both."

"Then let us begin the severing of these ties, Master." Gentaro opened his eyes, revealing pools of darkness that showed no signs of light. He raised a hand into the air, letting Ophiuchus nuzzle against it before speaking. "Where shall we begin?"

"Let us start with your precious little Club; the one that had your so-called 'friends' and the memories of your most recent friendship..."

"Friends..." Gentaro whispered, rolling the word off of his tongue. There was something both familiar and foreign to that word. "Friends..."

"Yes, Serpent-bearer. The 'friends' who betrayed you and left you to die. Are all friends like that? Do they deliberately let other friends die at the hands of their so-called enemies? It seems that it's the trend with all human-kind, doesn't it?

Gentaro winced, feeling something pounding against his skull. He saw smiling faces and people shaking hands with him. He saw the hands form signals and signs, a handshake of some sorts. He saw himself on the moon's surface, jumping up and down for joy. Something fell down his eye...it was a single tear. He placed a hand where the tear fell and looked at it in shock and confusion.

"Humanity cannot keep these bonds on them forever. Friendships grow, friendships die. Friendships can change when one person decides to think for themselves. That is what happened to you: one person decided to think for himself, and everyone else followed. You were all alone in the end."

"I was..." Gentaro nodded his head, curling his hand into a fist. "No one came to my side. No one came to comfort me. No one rescued me. I was all alone in the darkness until you came. Master, you saved me from my loneliness. I am indebted to you forever more."

"Would that be considered friendship, Serpent-bearer? The bonds we share are so deep. We cannot co-exist without one another: I give you the power to walk amongst the humans, and you give me the means to enact my will against the world."

"No, that is not friendship. That is the bond we share between Master and Serpent-bearer and nothing more." Gentaro felt more tears fall down his cheeks. "It is nothing more than a Master and servant living together peacefully. We are not friends...we're...just us."

"You are crying, Serpent-bearer," said Ophiuchus, collecting the tears with his forked tongue. "Why is that? Do you still harbor feelings of companionship? Do you want to return to the 'friends' you once knew? The 'friends' that kept you company while you mourned your parents' death?"

The scenery faded into darkness deep within the recesses of his mind. Gentaro stood up and looked around, recalling the empty space. This was the same darkness where he first met Ophiuchus, where he discarded his old self for the new him that was known as the Serpent-bearer. He felt his master slither around him, telling the words that soothed his soul.

"Your memories are full of lies. These friends never liked you in the first place. They only pitied you and your stupid speeches of sincerity and serenity. You never gained those one thousand friends in-between your parents' death and your entrance into Amanogawa High. No, those people felt sorry for you and your naivety and innocence and didn't want to make you suffer anymore than you needed to. Pity isn't friendship and vice versa. You never had any friends to begin with. You were always alone."

"Was I? I..." Gentaro shook his head and placed a hand on his head. It was like he was suffering from brain freeze-there was this numbing pain that was growing inside him, ready to let loose. "I had friends...didn't I? I couldn't have been all alone for the past ten years..."

Ophiuchus blinked. His control on his Serpent-bearer was starting to falter. He let out a low hiss as he began to speak once more.

"No. After your parents died, you lost everything. You have your grandfather to keep an eye on you, but how much longer? How long will he be able to tend to your needs of companionship? How long until...you're all alone again?"

More tears fell down Gentaro's cheeks as he clutched his chest. Even though he no longer had a heart, he still felt pain there...he still felt like crying his heart out.

"I don't want to be alone! I don't want to be ALONE!" Gentaro sobbed, his face twisted in agony. "Please Master...I hate being alone! I want to be with people! Why does it have to be like this?!"

"I understand that you are confused as to what is going on, Serpent-bearer. However, you are not alone. You have me to keep you company. As long as I'm around, your heart will always have someone that will keep you company. Your heart resonates within my body; we are one forever and ever."

Gentaro continued to cry his tears as a smile graced his lips. He felt his master's body and mind in his own, comforting his shivering and trembling form. He ran his hands all over Ophiuchus's scaly head and stared into the sinister serpent's large eyes. Those red pools of light began to calm and soothe his mind, telling him that there was no need to feel lonely. All he ever needed was right there...

"But..." Ophiuchus continued, gathering the tears with his forked tongue. "If you want other people to keep you company...I shall be happy to oblige. Come, my little Serpent-bearer. Let us go and prepare for Kyoto. Apep and the Serpent of Obsidian Knives should be done with our little Mockingbird at this time. They'll be preparing her for her curtain call, and it shall be a splendid one for all to see."

"Yes Master," Gentaro wiped the tears off of his face and stood up. "There will be more time to let go of my emotions later. I -no, we- have a job to do."

The darkness disappeared as he found himself in front of his parents' graves once more. He took the photographs of his mother and father and placed a kiss on their foreheads. Then, he set them back down and walked away, preparing for the day ahead of him.