Anachronisms abound, you have been warned.
Chapter 3: Please allow me to Introduce Myself
Bermuda Sloop Noah's Arc off the cost of Portugal – Present day
Wisely tilted his head up and watched Road follow Cyril along the rat lines, where he pointed out this knot or that knot. He had never been on a boat before, much less a Bermuda Sloop style weekender yacht with a Genoa jib and gaff rig, whatever the hell that meant. Apparently his adoptive "father" knew quite a bit about ships, which made sense considering he was the owner of the largest maritime shipping company in mainland Europe. Wisely was actually just as interested as Road about how things worked and Cyril for once actually had time to explain to them but he had no desire to clime 20 feet in the air with nothing to hold him up except his own balance and a hand on a rope. He, unlike Cyril, had no powers of levitation. Though according to Tyki, he used to climb around like that on even higher sails before he became a Noah. Apparently Cyril had some nerves of steel. His brother on the other hand, not so much.
Probably the most interesting or probably just amusing part of this whole endeavor was not the fact that the Earl came. It was not the fact that Tricia came, it was the fact that Tyki came. Cyril hadn't even bothered inviting his brother but the Earl had insisted. Tyki had tried everything in his power to get out of it, going so far as to offer to assassinate the pope. The Earl had been unmoved. Wisely had found the reluctance bizarre at first but now he understood. Where Cyril seemed more relaxed than he had ever seen him, dare he say even genuinely happy, Tyki looked like a cat in the middle of an earthquake. He literally had a white knuckle grip on the railing and his legs spread wide apart like he was going to fall. Every time they hit a particularly large wave, he closed his eyes and occasionally whimpered. Twice he had accidently turned incorporeal and either sank knee deep into the ship or floated above it. The entire spectacle was rather unmanly and incredibly comical. Jasdero was going to be so pissed they missed it, since trying to make the "uppity brothers lose their cool" was one of their favorite pastimes.
"Tyki, why don't you come over here and sit down?" Tricia held her hand out to him, from where she lounged beside the Earl. She was dressed more casually than usual, in a rather unflattering high wasted dress that mostly hid the rounding of her belly. He wasn't sure how he felt about the future prospect of living in a house with a mewling kid but they would probably have nannies and wet nurses and shit like that. They were rich people. Tyki looked over his shoulder at her and removed one fist from the railing just as they crested a wave, causing him to slap his hand back even harder. She smiled indulgently at her brother in law and rose to walk over to him. "It' ok, just sit down beside and the Earl and I will distract you." He gave her a look like she asked him to set himself on fire. She pet his hair and touched his cheek.
Tricia had been one of the most anomalous fixtures he had run into in his new life. In theory it didn't surprise him that Cyril had a high born wife. He needed one to portray the perfect, political picture. What had actually surprised him was how people felt about her. She was pretty in a wispy, sickly kind of way. And her Austrian accent was sort of cute to listen to, and he had seen in Cyril's thoughts that even though she was thin, she had a pretty amazing body and was apparently a bit of a tiger in bed. But that didn't explain the fact that as an outsider she knew about the Noah and not only did she know about it, she still stuck around and not for fear of her life. This crazy bitch, actually did love Cyril, Road, and Tyki. It might have been the weirdest thing but even stranger still, was the fact that the three of them all loved her in their own way. Road adored the woman like a mother, even though she was 40 years older. Cyril loved her as much as he was capable of actual emotions other than mania and rage, which wasn't really that much but it meant something. And Tyki was besotted with her, inappropriately so actually. Hell, even the Earl liked her. The shit made no sense but whatever, as long as he got food, a bed, and clean clothes he couldn't care less.
She finally managed to coax his new "uncle" over to sit down with them and Wisely could see that the man was shaking like a leaf. If he didn't have his jaw clenched, his teeth actually chattered. In a way he felt bad deriving so much joy from seeing the normally unflappable Tyki with his feathers so ruffled. Tyki was far and away the nicest and most charming of his new family. When he had first met them and gone "home" to Cyril's country estate, he had been convinced that they were a bunch of snooty fops but then Tyki took him out to a whore house, got him drunk, and explained where he and Cyril had come from and after that he decided Tyki was ok, if lazy as shit. Cyril was passable but seemed busy all the time and he was pretty sure the guy was bi-polar. But then again, what did he expect, the worst thing you can do to Pleasure is force him to do something he doesn't like and the worst thing you can do to Desire he give him nothing to do.
Trisha poured Tyki a glass of very strong smelling liquor. He couldn't tell the difference by smell like Cyril could. And Road taunted him from above, "what's the matter Tyki, don't you want to come up and play with us?"
"No, I'm good right here, thanks," he didn't even look up but downed the shot in his glass, she poured him another sensible amount but he waved his fingers for her to continue. Tyki was easy to read, especially compared to his brother. Cyril's mind wasn't so much like a steel jaw trap like the Earl, but more like a serious of winding, spider web passages ways that doubled back and interconnected in the most illogical fashion, each of them filled with crumbling floors and roots that grabbed at your feet. Both he and Road were in perfect agreement on Cyril's mental instability and that no matter how brilliant and manipulative he was, he was also one step away from ax crazy, even for a Noah. Dezaiasu had never been like that before, the introduction of insanity was from Cyril.
Tyki, Tyki on the other hand was actually the far more stable and predictable one. Whether he intended to or not, he wore his heart on his sleeve or more to the point, those big, brown eyes of his. Half the time Wisely didn't even have to read his mind to know what he was thinking. But sometimes, he did, but not now. Right now it was pretty obvious his uncle was thinking about strangling his niece. He could sense the fear though, even if hadn't have been able to see it. It was deep and dark, and so long held, he didn't know how to get past it. He was terrified.
"So it boats, water, or drowning you are afraid of?" Wisely asked him.
"It's all of the above, isn't it Tyki-pet?" Road asked him as she floated down on Lero.
"Don't you start," he went to swipe at her and the ship pitched and he grabbed onto Tricia's hand.
"But seriously, what exactly are you so afraid of?" Wisely pressed.
"Deep water that you can't see the bottom of; swimming in it, being on a boat on it, walking near it. I've had a phobia of it, pretty much my entire life," Tyki answered and Tricia patted his hand on her lap. He wondered, as he had wondered multiple times, if she was sleeping with Tyki on the side but decided again that neither of them would do that to Cyril. But past that, as Tyki talked, he could see images in Tyki's mind of falling into cold water and having it cover his head, standing by a dock, holding Cyril's hand as bodies covered in sail cloth were stacked beside them, a rough voyage and a much younger Cyril sitting beside him and letting him cry, and strangely a church and a row of candles.
"That doesn't make any sense," Road interrupted his not quite prying. "You can walk on water, walk on air if you don't feel like getting your feet wet, and most importantly when you are incorporeal, you don't need to breathe. And if all else fails, Cyril can just lift the boat up and carry it back to port. You have no reason to be scared," she finished as she crouched right in front of him on the damn umbrella.
"That's the whole point of a phobia, it's irrational. You can explain to be a hundred times how safe it is but it doesn't change the fact I hate it." He had resorted to drinking out of the bottle.
"That's just stupid," she told him.
"Road, don't pick on your uncle," Tricia scolded her and Tyki smirked slightly. The Earl watched the entire thing with wild grin.
The day progressed much the same way, with Tyki mostly petrified, Road teasing him, Tricia trying to mediate, and Cyril ignoring them and sailing the ship. It was fun but he had to agree with Tyki. Once Cyril finally coaxed him into the riggings and he saw how high he was and felt the sway of the ship from up there, he was more than happy to have his feet on solid ground. The fact that Cyril used to do that in the topsails of tall ships just reminded him that he was either fearless, stupid, or crazy.
By the time they had docked, Road was nearly sleeping, the Earl had consumed his own weight in fish, he had blisters from helping Cyril do something with some really rough ropes, and Tyki was drunk as shit from consuming nearly ¾ of a bottle of scotch. The Earl and the ladies opted to take a carriage home and he chose to walk with Cyril and Tyki, because maybe all that swaying on the ship had made him a little queasy. He used to term walking loosely for Tyki, who was more half swaying and half being carried by his brother. It was actually pretty entertaining watching Cyril try and keep him upright. Sort of like wrangling a 180 pound sleeping cat. He wondered why Cyril just didn't levitate him but then again there were other people around.
They meandered quietly through the streets until Cyril finally broke the silence, "you realize, that was the first time you have been on a boat since you 8 years old?"
"And I will more than happily wait another 18 before getting on one again," he slurred in response and rested his head on his brother's shoulder. "It was kind of nice though, to see you smile for real," he added quietly and Wisely felt a slight stab of jealousy. He had no real family, not like Jasdero and Devitt or Tyki and Cyril. He could see in Tyki's mind that even with how scared he had been he had been glad to see his brother really and truly happy and relaxed for once. Tyki was always very concerned about making Cyril happy.
Wisely had figured out early on that the goofy demeanor and constant flirting by his "father" were just a ruse. Obfuscating stupidity to hide how shrewd and dangerous he really was. He had a plan for everyone and was the unquestioned leader if the Earl wasn't around. Oddly though, he expected the least out of Tyki but Tyki was the most concerned with making him proud. In some respects they acted more like father and son than brothers until they started joking with each other than it was all brothers.
"By the way, why are we walking, instead of riding?" Tyki asked.
"Because if I let you ride in the carriage, you probably would have puked in there," Cyril explained.
"I would not," Tyki pouted, as they walked through the ornate park that lead to the drive of Cyril's house in Lisbon. "I can hold my liquor."
"You would too, I bet I could get you vomit right now," Cyril challenged.
"No way," Tyki pulled himself up to walk on his own, still staggering.
"Oh, can play?" Wisely asked, interested to see what the point of this little game was.
"Of course you can, my little nephew, take your best shot," Tyki drunkenly threw his arm around him and he was pretty sure he got a buzz off the smell of his breath.
"Hmm, how about a dog shit sandwich served on moldy bread?" Both he and Cyril laughed.
"Amateur," Tyki taunted.
"A dead hooker with her guts hanging out," he tried again.
"Please I did worse than that to Allen Walker then went and got dinner."
"My turn," Cyril smiled gleefully. "Speaking of Allen Walker, you put a Teaze into his heart, didn't you," Tyki nodded. "How does it feel to have them under your skin like that, worming and wiggling against your organs, butterfly wings, tickling the eyes and the back of your throat?" Tyki swallowed loudly but kept walking. Cyril caught up to him, nonchalantly pulling up his sleeve and scratching at his forearm, "better butterflies than maggots."
Tyki made it two more steps before groaning, "you are a horrible person," and bending over to puke in a flower bed. Cyril held his hair back for him.
"I know, but at least I didn't bring up the teeth," Tyki groaned again and Cyril added, "and if you hit my shoes you're cleaning them with your tongue."
Maggots and teeth? What an odd thing to make someone that sick. Wisely thought to himself.
10 years ago Catholic Hospital – Oporto, Portugal
Marshal Cross Marian tried not to grump too much at the rain drizzling onto his hat. At least he got the longer end of the stick on this one. Poor Maria was stuck in Greenland in February, while he was in Portugal. He dodged a spray of rainwater kicked up by a passing carriage and felt Timcampy flap to keep his balance. This whole trip seemed odd to him. Normally the Black Order didn't send Exorcists, especially Marshals to simple cases of possible demonic possession. But he had agreed to go, mainly because his friend Father Patrick Murphy had requested it. He walked into the lobby of the Catholic hospital and flagged down a nun to help him. She nodded at his request and bade him to wait in a seat until she returned. He sat beside a heavily pregnant woman, who he was pretty sure was in labor, and waited.
He grew cranky then sleepy at having to wait for so long and allowed the warmth of the room to lull him into a doze. He floated happily in a half awake state until he heard, "so I see you haven't gotten yourself killed yet and got promoted?"
He didn't even open his eyes, "much to the chagrin of those higher up, I dare say." He finally cracked his eyes open and was met by the smiling face of Father Patrick Murphy. "It's good to see you old friend," he held his hand out but was pulled into an embrace. "Come this way, you can dry off and get some coffee," he led them towards the back of the hospital up some winding stairs and to a largish office with paper tacked all over the walls and time outlines drawn on black boards. Lists and lists of things were written everywhere. He snorted, this was just how Pat worked.
Father Patrick Brian Murphy was in his late 30s, hale and healthy with a thick head of black hair only slightly greying at the temples, green eyes, and biceps that would make a boxer jealous. He was the second son of cloth merchant from Dublin, an oxford educated psychiatrist, and the Vatican's foremost expert on hunting demons. Not Akuma but demons. They tended to cross paths now and again but not too often, his type of demons weren't affected by innocence and akuma couldn't care less about holy water.
"Have a seat," the man waved his hand and lit a cigarette. Cross felt no guilt following suite. Once they were both settled with coffee and smokes, he started, "so what have they told you about this case?"
"Not much, just that the Parish Priest thought it was a possible demonic possession and you requested a member of the Black Order to be here. I saw it was from you and volunteered," he smiled and if pressed would never say it was also to go someplace warmer than England. "What can you tell me?"
"The patient is a 15 year old male," he handed Cross a large folder with quite a few hand written notes in it. "He's an orphan that has been raised by his older brother. Both of them are half Irish and half Portuguese and he at least appears to be a devout Catholic. From what I have been able to get from him, when he's coherent, the symptoms started about 4 months ago with hearing a voice in his head. It progressed to full blown auditory, then visual, olfactory, and gustatory hallucinations and a feeling that he wasn't alone inside his own body." The man continued to rattle off symptoms of general craziness.
"Come on, there has to be a reason why you don't think this guy is a garden variety nut case?" Cross prodded.
"There are signs of physical illness that come go, for example at 6 am he'll have a temperature of 109," that raised Cross's eye brows. "Then by 8 am his temp is in the 70s. Projectile vomiting, even when he hasn't eaten anything for 6 days straight. Severe pain that doesn't respond to opiates," Murphy explained. "We've run every test we can think of on him and everything comes back normal. The only thing we haven't completely ruled out is epilepsy but he has no history of seizures. And of course there is this," he slid a picture across the desk.
Cross picked it up and examined it. It was a picture of someone's hands, resting against their legs and in the center of each palm was a cross shaped cut. There were traces of blood welling from one of them, it looked darker than usual. It must have been a trick of the lighting. "Stigmata?" he asked then continued, "were they self-inflicted?" It wasn't uncommon for religious lunatics to maim themselves in religious ways.
"They happened while he was restrained it bed," he pushed two other pictures over. One was of a throat and another cross shaped cut and the final one was a forehead with a row of weeping stigmata across them. Cross had never seen a Crown of Thorns before. It was the rarest of the rare, when it came to Stigmatics. "Those come and go, causing him a great deal of pain but the ones on his hands seem to stay the longest." This was piquing his interest.
"So why are you so convinced he's possessed rather than an Ecstatic or Mystic? Stigmata are usually associated by those chosen by God for Religious purpose."
"I'm not 100% convinced he is possessed but the nature of his hallucinations point towards it. He doesn't see happy heavenly choirs but death and destruction. The Voice, and there is only one, shows him visions of murder and rape. He mumbles about floods and water and drowning a lot. But mostly because he has a certain obsession with maggot, blood, and destruction of mankind; which leans more towards a demon talking to him than an angel," the man explained.
"The water part sounds vaguely religious. It could be a reference to Baptism or the Great Flood?" Cross countered.
"I thought of that too but according to the brother, he nearly drowned when he was kid and ever since then has been aquaphotic and thalassophbic," Cross gave him a confused look at the medical jargon. "He's afraid of drowning and open water, to the point that he'll walk through dark alleys rather than walk along the docks. So talking about water could just be a manifestation of his own anxiety."
"Can I see him?" Father Murphy rose and waved Cross to follow him.
"I'm not sure if he is coherent or not, usually he is more not but there is a window you can see him through. He became agitated earlier today, when his brother left and we had to give him 2000 mgs of Chlorpromazine."
"And you think he's still alive?" Cross questioned, that was 500 mg past the highest therapeutic dose recommended. The kid was probably in a drug induced coma. Murphy just gave him an odd look.
They turned into a room two down from the office that had a large set of drapes, covering a window. Murphy pulled the drapes aside and revealed a rubber room with only a small window some 10 feet in the air, covered with iron bars. There was no bed or chairs, just a sad looking boy trussed in a straitjacket. Cross studied him for a moment; he had longish wavy hair that fell into his face. Large brown eyes with a mole under his left one, a wide generous mouth and lanky limbs of an adolescent that would probably be quite tall when he was done growing. He would say he was handsome, if he weren't so pitiable looking. He seemed to have not noticed them, and stared dazedly towards the window, every now and again thumping his head against the wall.
"Is he dangerous?" Cross asked, as he watched a drop of blood roll down the boy's face.
"Only to himself. If we don't keep him restrained, he claws at his skin or chews on his fingers. He ended up in here because he used a kitchen knife to slice his arms and legs up, while is brother was at work. He also scratched his left wrist all the way to bone, while here," Cross raised an eyebrow as Timcampy moved to get a closer look at the window. The golem's interest was interesting to him. "He's convinced there are maggots and bugs under his skin. And before you give me that look, opium and or alcohol addiction were the first things we looked for but he's been here for nearly 4 weeks with no drugs except what we give him."
Cross watched the kid curl into himself and rest his forehead on his knees. He was trembling like he was in pain and mumbling. The Marshal scratched his beard and sighed. "A sad case to be sure, I won't deny you that. But either this guy is possessed by your type of demon, in which case I'm useless, or he is severely schizophrenic and I'm again useless."
"A fair assessment, generally except the physical symptoms make pure psychiatric illness unlikely along with the stigmata." Cross had no choice but to agree. "As for demonic possession, he doesn't react to holy water or the name of Christ." That was interesting. The types of demons that Murphy hunted couldn't stand the name of God or holy water being near them, they screeched and yelled and tried to get away.
"So what are you thinking then that he is an akuma?"
The man sighed and ran his scared hand over his short hair. "I don't' know what I'm thinking but there is something going on here, I just can't figure it out," he led them out and across the hall into another observation room. "I stood here and watched the kid sleeping and then he started screaming like he had been lit on fire. Before I could get in there, he somehow lifted the bed." Cross looked through the window and noted this room looked more like an average hospital room rather than a rubber room. It had a chair, a desk, a bed, and a larger window with no bars.
Murphy led them into the room itself. "And when I say he lifted the bed, I don't mean with his hands, I mean it was levitating off the floor by a good 4 feet, while he was strapped to it with restraints. Then when he dropped it, this happened," he pointed at the ground and Marian could see that the hollow metal legs of the bed had been sunken into the floor boards, but not like they had been driven in, more like they had fused. "In all of these types of cases I have worked, I've never seen anything like that." Cross rose and looked at the desk, there were words carved into it though he didn't know what they were. "He did that with his finger nails before we stopped him." He could see flecks of blood that hadn't been cleaned.
"What does it say?" he asked.
"No idea but every time he can, he writes it or mumbles it, I think." The man excited the room and led them back to his office, sinking down and lighting another cigarette. "I heard him babbling it first and thought it might be Hebrew and called a Rabi to see if he could understand. When that didn't work I went to others and finally found a professor in Madrid that thinks it's Hattic."
"Never heard of it."
"No one has. It's was a dead language by the time Sargon the First showed up."
"Xenoglossia?" Curiouser and curiouser, Cross thought. Even though it was only 2pm, the man pulled out a bottle of whisky.
"I'm wondering if the kid is an Ecstatic, a special kind, an Innocence accommodator," he finally spit out. Both of them knew the importance of Exorcists but they both also knew that damning a kid that young to it would be a cruelty almost worse than death.
"You might be right. What can you tell me about him, his home life, his name?" He leaned back and accepted the drink. Hey, it was 5 o'clock somewhere.
"There isn't much to tell," he took his file back, "His Christian name is Taicligh Michael McMahon and he was born in the city of Cork, Ireland and baptized at St. Anne's church a week after his birth. His father was sailor, named Thomas McMahon and had a mother named Anna McMahon nie Camilote, who was a maid and most likely a prostitute from Portugal. They both drown nearly 9 years ago when the ship they were working on sank. About a year later, the two of them came to mainland Europe, landed in France and made their way to Portugal, where they settled.
"Birth records indicate that she had 7 children, 5 girls and 2 boys and but only Taicligh and the last daughter were after her marriage to McMahon. The two boys are the only ones surviving. All the girls died quite young of illness or accidents. As I mentioned before, he has a brother that he lives with, Cyril Camilote, who is nearly 6 years his elder. He appears to be a Son of Gun who was never baptized and the birth records indicate his father was The Gunner, which in naval parlance is a nice way to say she fucked her way across Spithead and has no idea who the dad is.
"Anyway, Tyki, as he goes by now since no one can seem to pronounce his name right, works as a dishwasher in a Pub his brother waits tables at and part time laborer on the docks. He has about 3 years of formal schooling but seems to be able to read and write in English and Portuguese fluently. I also suspect he speaks some Gaelic but haven't been able to prove it. The older one talked to him in the old tongue but stopped once he realized I understood him. He apparently plays the fiddle and some mandolin and would like to learn the piano. Anyway, he seems bright but spends more time talking about how smart his brother is."
"Is he, the brother I mean, is he that smart?" Cross wondered if the brother was actually the demon and he was feeding off of Tyki.
"It's tough to say. He's a waiter that works on weekends and vacations on short run ships, maybe or most probably some smuggling. He's a rigger from the look of him," he smiled at Cross's confused look. "He's all arms and legs and his hands are rough enough to take paint off a post," he poured them a second drink. "I would say he's a typical Cork Dockyard thug, except that he just graduated from University first in his class with a double major in Political Science and International Finance and sat for entrance to the Law School with an intent to study Maritime law. He's set to finish first, though there is no record of him ever attended a day of school beforehand."
"You've had all these facts checked?"
"What I could. I haven't heard back from inquiries in Cork but I can tell ya' from the accent that they didn't lie about having lived there. I talked to the people that know them here in town and everything they both said checks out. Taicligh is said to be friendly and a happy sort, with the traditional Irish gift of gab and charm, though a little lazy. Cyril is not as well liked but clearly well respected mostly because he keeps to himself so much. He's said to be a bit standoffish and I suspect has a reputation for violence. The majority of men seemed wary to even talk about him and most said something to the effect of, 'don't get on his bad side,' but his two bosses thought he was the nicest most upstanding person they knew. They seem like mostly average people from all accounts."
"Except for the clearly above average intelligence of the elder and the possible demonic possession/accommodator status of the younger?" Cross challenged. Thinking about it, he was impressed. They would have been 12 and 6 when their parents died and they managed to move around Europe unaided. Cyril Camilote must really be a smart cookie or very lucky.
"Except for that," the man smiled slightly.
"I think I would like to talk to him," Cross rose. He was interested to see if any of the Innocence he carried reacted to the kid plus he found it very odd Tim had stayed behind to keep watch.
"We can try but we'll probably do better once the brother's here. He's always calmer and more coherent when Cyril's around." Murphy and Cross waited for the orderly to unlock the padded room. The kid had his back to the door, facing the corner. His forehead was propped up against the wall, leaving a red smear from where blood was oozing out of it. "Good afternoon, Taicligh, how are you doing?" The boy didn't turn around but shrugged to show that he understood. "If you're tired we can come back later," he gave the kid an opening.
"Where's Cyril?" he asked and Cross noticed when he said his brother's name it sounded like Sheril rather than Cyril, with a much more heavily rolled R. It could be an accent difference between Dublin and Cork or it could be that the kid was drugged to gills. Though he vaguely recalled hearing other Irishmen speak with that lisping Sh, when others would have just used an S.
"Your brother's at work, he'll be back later tonight, like he always is," Murphy answered. It was a bit odd for a 15 year old to be that worried about his brother but then again Nea and Mana had been like that too.
"He's on the sea again, it isn't safe out there. He can't walk on water. He'll drown, everyone drowns. Bloated and rotting, they don't float for very long if they leave the ship," the kid slurred, drooping further down the wall.
"You are right, only Jesus Christ could walk on water," Cross noticed the complete lack of reaction to the name of Christ. "I'm sure he's fine. The seas are calm today," Murphy tried to soothe, with a little white lie. Cross had seen the water pitching like mad even at the shore. He didn't even want to think about being on deep water in this.
"It's raining. It's always raining. People die when it rains, stinking and teaming with maggots. Why won't the smell go away?" he smashed his forehead against the padded wall with an impotent thud. Smelling things that weren't there was usually a sign of an imminent seizure or maybe a brain tumor but Father Murphy seemed unconcerned.
"Calm down, now, nothing in here smells bad and there are no maggots. We've talked about this, it's all in your head, remember?" The boy whimpered and shook his head yes. "That's good, Taicligh, it's good that you remember," the man's voice went from comforting to happy. "Would you turn around, I have someone I would like you to meet," the kid turned slowly, his movements clumsy from too many sedatives. The whole thing reminded him of a father trying to coax a shy child out from behind his mother's skirts. "This is Cross, he's an old friend of mine."
Cross tried to look as non-threatening as he could, while fully dressed, carrying a gun, and standing over a 15 year old kid in a straitjacket. "Hi," he waved, and Timcampy fluttered over to nuzzle at the boy's hair. He watched the kid squint at him for a heartbeat, maybe two, before he felt all the Innocence he had start to vibrate and Tim shot back to hide behind him. On instinct he pulled back his coat and freed his weapon as he watched Tyki go ridged with pain then start shrieking like a cat caught in a meat grinder. Blood started to drip wildly from his forehead and his eyes turned a glowing, gold.
"You, I hate you! Never forgive. I'll kill you and break it, destroy it! Never forgive! I'll turn your heart to fucking dust!" he shouted as purple energy seemed to crackle off of him and he rose into the air. Murphy looked as stunned as the orderly behind him, as they both went to tackle the now floating kid. Neither of them could though, when they went to touch him, they passed right through him like he was a ghost. Cross played a hunch and drew Judgment, taking a bullet from the chamber and pressing it against the kid's forehead. While the other's couldn't touch him, the bullet wouldn't pass through him, however it started to crack and crumble, making Tyki howl even louder. However the closer the Innocence got to him, the more it vibrated and the more Tyki thrashed and fought to get to him.
He backed out of the room as more orderlies piled in. And he saw they eventually managed to touch him and inject him with more Chlorpromazine, which seemed to marginally calm him down. That in and of itself was odd because after the dose they gave him earlier and this one, by all rights he should be dead or at least comatose but he seemed awake but groggy. He waited in the hall for Murphy as the man emerged and saw the door locked. He suspected that the door wouldn't stop the kid if he really wanted out.
"That was interesting?" Cross started.
"I've never seen him act like that. He's never been threatening or violent towards anyone. We keep him sedated mostly so he doesn't hurt himself or spend all day pacing," the man explained as he fixed his collar, which had come eschew in the struggle.
"I think it's safe to say he isn't an accommodator, not the way he reacted to being around Innocence." Tim swooped over and settled onto his head, no longer wanting to keep watch apparently. "But what I find more interesting, is the way the Innocence reacted to him," he mused as they returned to Murphy's office.
"What do you mean?"
"Normally Innocence is neutral to people except its accommodator or an akuma. That guy is clearly not an akuma, if he were, Judgment would have destroyed him, but the unforged Innocence I'm carrying seemed afraid of him. I've also never seen something that can make Innocence crack like that," he ran his hand through his hair. "I think it's safe to say that there is something with or inside of that kid we need to deal with but I'm not sure what. I'm going to send a message to HQ and get that Komui twerp to research this. Then I think we need to talk to the brother." He would also contact Maria too. There was a thought, right on the tip of his mental tongue that told him he could probably use some back up.
Cyril trudged through the wet streets after a wet day at sea and hoped he wouldn't find his brother any worse than he had when he had left. It seemed every time he saw his brother he was slipping deeper and deeper into insanity and he was sick with worry. Tyki was all he had left, everyone else had died from disease or accidents. He and Tyki were the only ones that had made it and now they had a chance. He had worked so hard to get through school, so they could live somewhere safe where they didn't' have to worry about being robbed or killed and they could have good food to eat rather than cheap soda bread and moldy cheese. Where they would have clean sheets and feather beds, all the things they had never had. But it didn't matter now, not with Tyki this sick.
He suppressed a sigh and nodded at the nun minding the front desk, she nodded back, not even questioning him. After nearly 4 weeks, they were used to seeing him. He turned left to the kitchen to inquire if Tyki had had his supper yet and when the answer was no, he offered to take the tray himself. His long legs ate the stairs two at a time. He was sore, exhausted, and his head was killing him. The sea had been a right cruel bitch today and had thrown them all to and fro until he wondered if they would get home.
He smiled at the orderly sitting at the end of the hall by Tyki's new room. He was glad that they had moved him to one that faced away from the bay. His brother always had hard time sleeping if he could see or hear the ocean. Just as the orderly was about to open the door, Father Murphy came out and called him into his office. He grumbled to himself but turned around. He hadn't had his supper yet either.
"Cyril, I have someone here that would like to talk to you for a moment, if he may?" The priest smiled at him, looking down at the tray. "I see you brought your brother his meal. I'll take it to him and you can talk to my colleague," he took the food from his hands and ushered him into the office. "Cyril, this is Cross Marian, he's a member of the Catholic clergy as well."
Great more fucking priests, he thought but held out his hand, "It's nice to meet you Father Marian." Before the man reached for him, a yellow ball that looked like the bastard child of a canary and a dandelion buzzed around him, even going so far as to burrow into his hair. "What the hell is that thing?"
"Timcampy, and call me Cross, I'm not a priest," the other man stood to greet him and was tall, taller even than himself, which was saying something because he was 6'3". He had thick red hair, he wore long, strange black coat, and smelled like a brothel. He couldn't put his finger on it, but something about this guy set his teeth on edge. It made him want to grab Tyki and run but also punch his fist straight through the guy's throat and tear his spine out.
"I'll let you two talk, while I take this to Taicligh," Father Murphy stepped out, closing the door behind him. Cyril said nothing but couldn't help rubbing his hand across his forehead. It seemed like he had had a headache for the last 4 weeks or maybe it was months or years. He wasn't sure.
"Have a seat," Cross motioned to him and he shook his head, knowing he wouldn't want to get back up once he sat down, plus this man made him nervous. He wanted his feet under him; instead he drifted to the window to look out. He couldn't see much through the rain but he knew the ocean was out there, not far away. "Would you like one," he glanced over and the red head was offering him a cigarette.
"Not thank you, I don't smoke," he declined and turned back to the window. While it looked like he was watching the water, he could actually watch the clergyman behind him's reflection.
"Tell me about your brother?" he asked.
"What would you like to know?" he shot back and spent the next 20 minutes retelling and or answering questions he had answered a million times already. No his brother was not a drunk or a drug addict. No, he had never had a seizure. No he didn't know if there was a history of insanity in their family. No, he had not found any sulfur or seen black smoke in their house. No he hadn't hit his head. No, no, no, no, no!
He was getting tired of this, no one seemed to know what was wrong with Tyki and it was making him cranky plus his fucking head was throbbing so much it was making him nauseous. His thoughts were interrupted, "what do you think is wrong with your brother?" the man asked.
"I don't know, I'm not a doctor," he answer and gave into resting his head against the cool window pane. He felt confined and trapped in this room, like he couldn't breathe and his head hurt so much. He probably just needed a good night's sleep.
"So you think it's a medical condition?" Cross's voice was low, almost soothing except for the feeling of utter disquiet around him.
"What else could it be?" he countered.
"You don't think it could be spiritual in nature?" he blew a stream of foul smelling smoke at him and Cyril closed his eyes, seriously considered bending over and puking, if he had anything in his stomach. His soul desire at that moment was that the wretched smoke would go somewhere else. After a moment it seemed not to bother him as much. When he opened his eyes again, Cross was sitting forward, watching him. He guessed he should answer.
"I believe that physical problems usually have a physical reason rather than spiritual. People used to thing that thunder was caused by Thor fighting frost giants but now we know it's caused by the expansion of the air following a lightning strike. Maybe science just hasn't figured out what is wrong with my brother yet," he answered.
"There's a difference between the foolish thinking of a primitive, pagan people and what is going on with Tyki," the man tried, and Cyril saw the weird yellow ball thing, come flying at him but stop short of touching him this time.
"And who's to say in a 1000 years people won't look back and say that Catholicism wasn't the silly rationalization of an unenlightened people?" he questioned, feeling contrary.
"I take it you aren't a practicing member of the church then?" the man chuckled.
"I don't believe in saints, angel, God, or demonic possession," he stated.
"What if demons believe in you?"
"Then they should come get me and leave my kid brother alone!" he tired of this and walked into the hallway, feeling less anxious the further away he got from Cross. He stopped at Tyki's door, where Father Murphy sat, giving the orderly a break. He wouldn't have agreed to let this man treat his brother if he hadn't also been a doctor. Tyki was the religious one, not him. He never saw much use for asking others for help, be they human, saints, or God. A man needed to control his own future, not leave it up something that may or may not come through.
"How is he doing, Dr. Murphy?" he asked the other Irishman.
"He won't eat, but that's not surprising. We had to give him a sedative earlier. He had a bit of an episode when Cross went in to talk to him but he seems to have calmed down now. He been asking for you every 15 minutes since the sun went down," the man smiled at him and patted his shoulder before turning to open the door. Cyril realized he hadn't even taken off his coat yet.
He entered Tyki's room and removed his coat. His brother was in the corner, with his knees pulled up to his chest and his forehead resting on them. He still had his straitjacket on and Cyril wondered how the hell they expected him to eat with his arms pinned. Did they expect him to lap at his food like a fucking dog? He looked up, his forehead was bleeding again and he wondered how he had managed to hurt it in a padded room. The smile was genuine though and Cyril smiled in return. "Hi Laddy boy," he greeted and Tyki clumsily tried to get up to meet him. He fell though, curling in on himself and groaning. "Stay where you are, if it hurts to move, you pretty fool," he teased and knelt down to stroke his brother's hair.
Tyki leaned into the touch, "I missed you Cyril. Father Murphy brought someone in here with him. I didn't like him. He wouldn't come close enough for me turn his heart to dust." He leaned his forehead against Cyril's leg.
"Well they're gone now, so don't worry," he continued to stroke Tyki's hair until he relaxed a bit. "I brought you supper, you should eat," he tried, waiting for the protest. Tyki hadn't eaten willingly in weeks, not that Cyril could blame him. He vomited back up almost everything he swallowed. Frankly he didn't know how his brother was still alive much less no thinner than when he had come into the hospital.
Tyki shook his head 'no' against his leg mumbled, "it tastes like blood. It all tastes like blood and they bake teeth into it and they hurt when you swallow them. Pretty white teeth, plucked out one by one and if I eat them they'll chew their way out."
Cyril bowed his head and had to seriously fight not to cry. "No teeth, Laddy boy, I promise. It's just beef broth. I would never feed you something that would hurt you," he tried again but Tyki just inched closer, almost climbing in his lap. "Please, for me, will you try it?" he begged.
"It'll taste like blood and ash. And if you bleed too much they'll throw you off the boat and you die if you aren't on the boat," he mumbled then looked up at his brother and sighed. "Ok, Cyril, I'll try," and he finally sounded mostly like himself. He smiled and added, "but you have to hold my hair back, if I puke."
"Deal," Cyril winked at him and tried to shake the feeling of being watched. He suspected the Father and Cross where on the other side of the window. They could watch all he wanted, as long as Tyki ate. H crawled over and hooked the tray with his finger, uncovering the crock of broth. Tyki looked at it, turning pale and closing his eyes. "It's ok, Laddy boy, it's just soup," he soothed.
He contemplated whether he should ask to have the jacket taken off of his brother, so he could feed himself but decided against it. They might say no and he might blow a gasket. He spooned a bit of the delicious smelling broth up and Tyki looked at it, biting his lip. "Are you sure, it's just soup?" he asked.
"I promise, just soup," he ate some to prove his point. "No teeth, no maggots, no beetles, not even a bone to be had," he sing-songed at his brother, who still looked at the bowl like it was poison. "If it bothers you, don't look at it," he tried and held the spoon closer to Tyki, who finally opened his mouth, then immediately spit the food back out in his face.
"Sorry," Tyki apologized, sounding contrite. "It tastes like blood." Cyril gave him a stiff smile and wiped beef broth and spittle off his face with the inside of his elbow. "You aren't going to punch me, are you?" Tyki asked.
"No, I'm 'na gonna punch ya," he answered, letting his brogue roll more than usual, "I might sit on you and hold your nose until you open your mouth though."
"Wouldn't using the spoon to pretend it's a boat and my mouth is the dock work better?" Tyki questioned, a mischievous glint in his eye. Cyril was too happy to see it to even be mad that he got spit on.
"I don't know, depends if you plan to continue acting like a toddler that doesn't want to eat his meal?" he teased. Tyki pouted and Cyril rolled his eyes, but took the spoon and made whooshing noises to mimic a ship as he moved the spoon closer to his brother's mouth. Tyki finally swallowed it and he counted it as a small victory. "Just so you know, I'm not changing you after this," he threw out, making Tyki snort but his eyes showed mirth and it was good enough for now.
Afterwards, they both settled down and Cyril filled his brother in on the gossip from the docks and deflected questions about Law School. He was spending the money he had saved up for school to pay for Tyki to be here but he didn't need to know that. He needed to concentrate on getting better. After about three quarters of an hour, Tyki yawned hugely from where he was leaning against Cyril's side. He loved his brother, he truly did but his touch feely streak tended to get on his nerves sometimes. He supposed he would put up with it for now, Tyki had been locked up in this room or another for weeks with no real companionship unless Cyril was there.
"Get some sleep, Laddy," he forced Tyki to lie down on the padded floor. He had to admit it was comfortable and convenient.
"Will you stay?" he looked up, for all the world seeming a 4 year old that wanted to follow his big brother everywhere again.
"Aye, I'll stay as long as they let me, but you need to sleep." Tyki agreed but scooted over so his head was resting in Cyril's lap and he sighed. "You sure are a clingy kid, aren't you?" he joked.
"I'm lonely, I don't have a pillow, and I've missed you. The Voice in my head isn't very good company," he explained but closed his eyes and relaxed as Cyril stroked his hair like a cat.
"Go to sleep, Tyki-pet, and tell the Voice to be more interesting or leave." He watched his brother relax into sleep and leaned his head back, hoping to catch a few minutes of rest himself.
Tyki watched the rain fall from under the doorway he was huddled in. His complain pulled his hood tighter around this face. The place and the man were familiar, safe, though Tyki had never seen them before. It was an opulent cathedral that overlooked a river. He watched a barge filled to brim with corpses float down it. The smell reached them even where they stood, making him want to gag.
"Do you think this is a punishment from god?" he asked. "Like the flood from so long ago?"
"Those are awfully weighty thoughts for you, Joida," his companion answered. He had never heard that name before but knew it was his or maybe hers. For some reason he thought he was a woman. He felt something move inside of him and rested his hand on the side of his stomach. Dezaiasu, his child's name would be Dezaiasu, though it would have some Christian name. Stranger still was he could tell the man was speaking French to him, yet he could understand it. He had never learned how to speak it, trusting Cyril to guide them.
"I just wonder if it means something or if it is just nature playing games with us? Even I have a hard time finding pleasure when surrounded by rotting corpses covered in pus filled blisters," he answered, as a man walked by, staggering and coughing.
"I suppose it shows that there is a part of us that is still human, even after all this time."
"I suppose," he answered back.
"We should get going, the Earl will expect us," they took off through the streets, each one was filled with more and more rotting bodies and rats. He lifted his sleeve to cover his nose. The smell was making him want to wretch. They turned the corner and were met with a vicious battle between the Earl and 5 men clad in black. Priests of the black order, filthy Innocence carrying vermin! They would destroy them, maim them, crush their weapons and their skulls. He charged.
He managed to sever the head of one of the priests but another snatched it back, yanking out the dead man's front tooth, then cast an Innocence net over him. He was trapped, unable to phase through the net. The priest stomped on his throat, forcing his mouth open and shoving the silver tooth down his throat. It burned, it burned like fire and death. He screeched and clawed at his neck, trying to bring the vile thing back up, but it seemed to chew through his insides, eating him from the inside out. He flailed and staggered, toppling into an open grave filled with bloated bodies. Blisters popped and covered him with black pus, and softened skin slid from bone, all the while he burned.
He heard his companion call his name but couldn't answer, he didn't have a throat left to speak through. He wanted to tell Dezaiasu he was sorry, he hadn't meant to leave him but he didn't have a choice. All he could do was burn.
Tyki shot into the air, feeling his insides boil with remembered pain. He groaned as he swore he could feel the tooth inside of him, trying to eat its way out.
"Laddy boy, are you ok?" Cyril asked him. He sounded like Tyki had woken him up.
"Argh," he groaned, sitting up on his knees as his stomach clenched and convulsed. Cyril watched him for a moment then shot into the bathroom and grabbed a basin, getting it in front of him but not before he had vomited all over himself. He did keep good on his promise to hold his hair back. He retched, wanting to bring up that horrible tooth he had swallowed in his dream but it wasn't there, just blood, lots of warm, vile smelling blood but then he coughed and tooth came up. It didn't stop with one. Each time his stomach pitched, he choked up teeth, hundreds of them, all coated in blood and saliva. He heard Cyril swear and vaguely heard the Father come in. The teeth tore at his throat and burned, like they were trying to chew their way out of him.
It took a long time, or at least it seemed that way to him, for it to stop. He hurt and the Voice said, "that's what happens when you don't finish them all off and crush that hateful Innocence. They burn you and kill your family. You must never forgive them. There is one here. The only way to protect yourself and Cyril is to let me wake up." He whimpered and curled around his stomach.
He felt Cyril stroking his hair and trying to coax him to sit up. He noticed for the first time he had bloody vomit all over his jacket and chin. It tasted awful in his mouth and almost made him gag again. He closed his eyes and let Cyril wipe the blood from his chin with a cloth and warm water, then offer him a cup to rinse his mouth out. He also felt the Father removing the soiled straitjacket. He felt limp and shaky as he tried to catch his breath. He leaned forward, bowing his head and could feel Cyril's hand in his hair.
"Cyril, I'm scared," he whispered to his brother, feeling tears start to drip from his eyes. He had tried to be strong this whole time. He tried not to complain at being locked in a room and tied to beds. He knew it was for his own good but he didn't feel so brave right now, not after vomiting up teeth and blood that he was pretty sure he never swallowed. Not when he remembered dreams of being himself but also another person, not when he remembered dying.
"I know, Laddy, I know," Cyril whispered back to him from where he knelt in front of him. His brother kissed the crown of his head and Tyki couldn't help the sob that came out. He finally opened his eyes, hoping that bloody vomit covered straitjacket and the basin of teeth were gone. He didn't want to look at them, he might start retching again.
He looked down at his forearms, where they rested on his thighs. The bandages had slipped and he could see blood weeping from his palms. He scratched a little at the edge of one of the bandages and saw a maggot poking out. He scrapped at it, trying to get rid of it but the more of his skin he uncovered, the more the saw the little blighters teaming under his flesh, rippling and wiggling inside his body. He started to claw at partially healed scabs and stitches along his arms, trying to scratch the maggots out. Even as he scraped them onto the floor, they twisted and inched back towards him, trying to climb inside of him again, each one gnashing their silver teeth at him.
He started to pant and whimper as they crawled all over him, coating the floor and multiplying till the fell from the walls and the ceiling. They crawled into his hair and tried to burrow into his face. He started to claw at his cheeks, not wanting to let them get in his eyes but they fell from his forehead, where it throbbed and ached. But the worst were his hands and forearms, every time he opened his skin, maggots would explode out of them, like the black pus from his dream. He wanted it to stop, why wouldn't it stop. God, help him and make it stop!
"Tyki, stop," he heard his brother and saw him wrap his hands around his forearms, trapping them to his thighs, his long fingers like spider legs coming to rest on him. Didn't spiders kill bugs? He tried to calm down but the maggots were mixing with the blood from his arms and walking onto to Cyril's hands, trying to burrow into him.
"But there are maggots," he whimpered, "squirming and chewing and I must be dead and not know it or they wouldn't be eating me."
"No there aren't," he brother said to him and he always trusted that voice but he was so scared. "Look at me," he looked up then back down at his arms, shaking with the effort not to pull away. "Keep looking at me, Tyki," Cyril's voice was soft but commanding. He looked up again and saw tears in his brother's eyes. Tyki had made him cry. He didn't want to make his brother cry. "There are no bugs," he stared straight into Tyki's eyes.
"But, I feel them. I see them, they are all over, you have to believe me," he couldn't take it anymore and started crying in earnest. "Why won't anyone believe me? Please believe me," he sobbed and fell against Cyril, fisting his hands into his shirt. His brother wrapped his arms around him and let him cry. He hadn't cried like this since they had left Ireland and taken the ship to France and he had been so scared he couldn't see straight.
"If you just relax and let me out, they will go away," the Voice in his head told him, sounding almost sad at the state he was in. "You made your brother cry, do you enjoy hurting him like that? Do you like the fact that he is having to give up his dream of school to take care of you? Do you want him to hate you?"
Tyki cried even harder, shaking his head and sobbing, "I'm sorry."
"Then stop fighting me. I'll make it so nothing can touch you, not ever again. Just let me wake up," the Voice was soothing, almost loving as it spoke to him.
"Shh, it's alright, Laddy boy," Cyril held him as he cried and God forgive him, it felt good. It felt so much better to finally admit how scared he was and to stop fighting his tears, even just for a moment, even though he was 15 and shouldn't be crying anymore. He finally got control of himself and moved his face off of his brother's shoulder. Cyril pulled him over so their foreheads were touching and used his sandpaper thumbs to wipe his tears away. Tyki sniffled and could feel his eyelashes touching his brother's. "You feel better?" the exaggerated roll on the R told Tyki just how tired Cyril was.
He shook his head yes and pulled away. He looked up at his brother and noticed there was blood dripping from his forehead, he raised his hand to clean it off, finally noticing the maggots were gone. "I got blood on you," he apologized. He swiped at it but noticed that Cyril was bleeding. For a split second, he saw his brother with skin as dark as his reflected self and the same band of crosses on his forehead. It should have made him scream but deep down it make him feel not so lonely. Dezaiasu, he wanted to call and nearly smiled.
Cyril used his sleeve to rub at his head. "I must have been hit by a tooth," he explained and Tyki suddenly felt very tired.
"That might have been the grossest thing I've ever seen in my life, by the way," Cyril teased, as he rose and draped his coat over Tyki. The salt water, linseed, and tar smell reminding him of home.
"It wasn't much better for me, if it give you any comfort," he mumbled as his brother sat down beside him and he immediately put his head in his lap. Cyril stroked his hair.
"Not really. Try and get some more rest, Laddy," was the last think Tyki heard before he fell asleep and blissfully didn't dream.
Cross sat smoking and pondering the metal bowl full of teeth. In his long and illustrious career as a researcher and eventual Exorcist, he had seen many and varied forms of evil and depravity. Hell, he had taken part in more than a few of them. He had also seen supernatural occurrences that would make most people piss themselves but seeing a 15 year old kid eat nothing but half a bowl of soup then puke up 629 teeth and four quarts of human blood might be the most fucked up thing he had ever seen.
Murphy sat across from him, smoking and sipping his whiskey much the same way. "So that was," he started.
"Unexpected," Cross finished.
"To say the least," Murphy poured them both more liquor. "Do you have any ideas?"
"Not really but we need to keep an eye on the brother too," he said. Cyril Camilote had been a bit of a suprise, though he wasn't really sure what he had been expecting. The man was tall, almost as tall as him, and thin, with long legs like a spider. Father Murphy had been right, his hands were rough as steel wool and he had the telltale wind burn on his nose and cheeks of a sailor, plus the weird rolling gate he associated with them, like they always thought the floor was going to move. His voice had been gravelly, but he hadn't missed the rather ugly scar across the front of his neck. Someone had tried to slit his throat and he had survived. That plus the flat and scared knuckles told him he didn't want to meet the guy in a dark alley or any alley to be honest. Cyril had the dead eyes of a killer.
But then there had been the conversation. He was articulate, calm, and clearly well read, more so than most Exorcists. There was also a coldness about him, a ruthlessness that oozed out of him. The guy's words would probably end up being more dangerous than his fists. And then there was the smoke. He had been smoking when they were talking and he could clearly tell Cyril didn't like it and suddenly it appeared as if there as a wall between Cyril and the smoke. An invisible shield that protected him from the white mist getting close to him. It had been disturbing to say the least.
"Why do you think we need to watch Cyril? I don't think he would hurt his brother."
"I don't think he would hurt Tyki but I suspect that same thing that is wrong with the younger is also affecting the elder, he just isn't showing as many signs or is better at hiding them."
"You saw the blood on his forehead?" Murphy asked.
"Among other things but I think we need to find a way to keep him close by for a while. At least till we figure out what we are dealing with." He hoped Komui got back to him soon.