Ch. 37: "Tainted Love"

Disclaimer: WK does not belong to me. Neither do the lyrics that proceed each chapter- they're taken from various songs from the "Queen of the Damned" soundtrack. Any songs from different sources will have a disclaimer at the bottom. Don't sue. =pp

Well I don't think you trust in
My self-rightous suicide
Why cry when angels
Deserve to die
In my self-rightous suicide
I cry when angels
Deserve to die

Ken looked around, disoriented and confused.
He stood in a sea of grass, on the top of a gently sloping hill. Grasslands as far as the eye could see-- and such a blue sky. He breathed in deeply to enjoy the fresh air, but an acrid scent hurt his lungs. Smoke.
He turned, looking for the source, and discovered a little girl crouching in the grass nearby, snuffling as she watched a small fire at her feet. The wind caught her thin red braid and played with it, and she reached up with a grubby fist to wipe her eyes. Ken hesitated, then stepped towards her. Her small fire was seeping out of the circle of earth she'd made, and was starting to catch hungrily onto the grass. Ken's heart leapt into his throat. If that fire continued to grow, it would burn the grasslands to the ground, and everything in it. "Oi-!" he reached for her, but another voice overrode his.
"You idiot!!"
A young boy was running towards them, his face twisted with anger. His red hair was the color of sunset, caught back in a short ponytail. He was lugging a bucket. As soon as he reached them, he overturned the bucket, splashing water over the fire and killing it with an angry hiss. The little girl fell backwards, wailing and coughing. Ken tried to steady her, but she seemed to slip right through his fingers. Neither of the two children seemed to notice him.
"Idiot!" the boy shouted hoarsely, hurling the bucket away in a furious temper. He glared at the sobbing girl. "What are you doing??"
Ken realized belatedly that the boy wasn't speaking Japanese, and wondered dazedly how he could understand him.
The girl pointed a finger at the ashes, hiccuping on her sobs. "I w-w-wanted him to go to h-heaven," she sobbed.
The boy drew back his bare foot and looked down at the wet mess. "This?" He kicked the charred body of a bird, then turned a glare on her. "You're such a girl!"
"Why'd you have to kill it?" the girl moaned, scrubbing at her eyes with her small arms. "Why do you have to be so mean?"
"I want to," the boy muttered rebelliously, avoiding the girl's eyes. "I can't help it..."
"Yes you can!" the girl scrambled to her feet, glaring at him through wet eyes.
"I'm not mean to you, am I?" her brother retorted a little sullenly. "It's just a stupid bird."
Ken noticed with a shock that the boy had two different colored eyes.
"I hate you!" the girl shouted.
The boy looked up at her helplessly, pleadingly.
Ken wanted to reach out to him. He was too small, too young, to know the girl spoke out of anger.
Pushing the silent boy aside, the braided girl raced down the hill towards a cottage.
The boy watched her go for a long moment before sitting down heavily by the remains of the fire, reaching out with a stick to poke sullenly at the burnt, twisted bird. Ken crouched slowly across from him, unable to tear his gaze away from the child's sulky face.
"Farfarello..?" he asked almost too quietly to hear himself.
The child didn't seem to hear him. He continued to play with the dead bird before he tossed the stick aside and flopped onto his back with a huff. "Stupid Elizabeth," he muttered. "Stupid.. girl." His voice trailed off, and after a moment he began to make small noises. It took Ken awhile to register that the boy was crying. He crawled over and gazed down at the child in stunned silence.
Farfarello-- no, Jei --was crying.
His young, grubby face was twisted with pain and something suspiciously like self-hatred as he glared up at the sky above, tears leaking from his eyes and sliding down his dirty cheeks. After a moment he seemed to realize what he was doing and reached up hastily to wipe his face off. He sat up abruptly, and Ken gave a little gasp when the boy passed right through him.
He turned his head to stare numbly at the child's back.
Even as a child, Farfarello had enjoyed hurting things. That wasn't normal-- but he'd said he couldn't help it. That could be a lie, but after seeing the frustration on his face as he cried, Ken was willing to bet it wasn't. Even after the effects of Rosenkreuz's drugs had worn off, Farfarello had still been vicious. Had it always been a problem he'd had? Some kind of mental sickness?
He tried to move forward to get a good look at his eyes, but a shadow fell over them, then, and Ken felt an instinctive chill go up his back. He whirled around, and suddenly it wasn't daytime anymore. It was early evening, and the air was cool and crisp. He turned to see Farfarello again-- the boy had curled up and fallen asleep with the broken bird clutched in his hands.
Ken watched him for a long while, wondering helplessly what he was supposed to do. This was obviously one of Farfarello's old memories. He wasn't sure how he was experiencing it, but he suspected it had something to do with the telepathic link between Feeder and Vampire that Farfarello had mentioned. Maybe the Irishman's sudden anguish at seeing his sister at Agammedo's feet had dragged Ken into his memories when he'd passed out.
He heard the slightest rustle of a foot on grass and glanced up, half expecting to see a concerned mother or father, or maybe even Elizabeth herself.
A figure cloaked in black stood sillouetted eerily in the moonlight, gazing down at the sleeping child. Ken stiffened, watching the person warily. Was this a friend or foe?
Then the person knelt down with a whisper of cloth and reached out a slender hand to shake Farfarello awake. Beads clunked on her wrist, and Ken caught sight of a rosary.
A nun?
"Jei," she murmured. "Jei, wake up. It's getting late."
Farfarello mumbled something, trying to roll away, but she shook his shoulder insistantly. "Jei, come on, honey. You know it's not safe out here at night."
Not safe? Ken glanced downhill quickly towards the cottage and thought he saw a face in the window. Were Farfarello's parents afraid to come out into the night to get him? Why?
Farfarello finally sat up, grumbling and wiping his eyes tiredly. The nun reached up and pulled her hood back from her face. She was surprisingly young for a woman of the church, and very pretty. She smiled serenely when Farfarello looked up at her, her sea-green eyes full of gentle love. "What are you doing out here, Jei?" she murmured. "You know how dangerous it is at night."
Farfarello grinned cheekily up at her. "Aren't you what makes it dangerous, Sister Ruth?"
The nun's smile looked sad. "Perhaps," she whispered, touching a finger to his lips. "But that's our little secret, remember?"
He nodded complacently, and allowed the young woman to help him to his feet. Ken watched this all with a sudden sick suspicion in his gut.
Farfarello took the nun's hand and followed along obediently as she led him slowly down the hill. Ken followed warily.
At a point halfway down the hill, Sister Ruth stopped and turned to look down at him solemnly. "Jei."
Farfarello looked up at her curiously, and she fell to her knees before him, clutching him by the shoulders. Her eyes were wet and full of longing as she gazed at him. "Oh, my son," she murmured.
Farfarello grinned. "You sound like the priest," he pointed out, amused. "I'm not really your son."
Sister Ruth closed her eyes and swallowed hard before giving a forced smile. "Of course not," she said, too lightly. "I just... wish you were. I do love you, Jei."
"I love you, too," the boy answered promptly. He tilted his head, frowning a little. "I don't think Ma likes you much, though. Why?"
"That doesn't matter," Sister Ruth said firmly, seeming to get ahold of herself. "That's something from the past. It can't be helped." She paused, almost hesitating, before touching Farfarello's arm. "May I?"
"Are you hungry?" Farfarello held out his arm a little reluctantly. "You sure drank a lot last time. I got real dizzy..."
"I'm sorry," the nun murmured, touching his cheek tenderly. "I just don't drink as much as I used to. I get... so hungry..." She reached out and rolled the child's sleeve up, revealing dark scars that Ken recognized all too well. A set of bite marks, right on the tender inside of his elbow. They were big enough to suggest he had been bitten in that same spot several times.
"No!" Ken reached out to pull the nun back, but his hands passed right through her. "Stop it!" Deaf to his shouts, she lowered her mouth to Farfarello's small arm and sank her fangs into his creamy flesh. The child winced and gave a little whimper, then seemed to relax as the pain ebbed.
Ken's heart was going like a triphammer, pounding in his ears as he tried to be heard in this memory that was more like a nightmare. "Get off of him!! Farfarello! Jei! Don't let her do this! You can't trust her!"
Farfarello's eyelids drooped, and he sagged against the woman's body. She reached up and wrapped her free arm around him for support, and continued to drink. She drank and drank, until Ken was sure she was taking much more than was healthy for a small boy.
Farfarello's face suddenly twisted in pain, and he began to struggle weakly. "Stop," he whimpered. "That hurts... you're doing it too much. Stop. It hurts!"
But she didn't stop. Her arm was locked around Farfarello's small body, holding him still, and her teeth were latched on his arm. She drank and drank until Farfarello's sobs and shouts died out and he collapsed against her.
"FARFARELLO!" Ken tried to wrench the limp child from the nun's grasp, but it was like trying to snatch air. "LET HIM GO!"
Sister Ruth pulled her mouth away suddenly, and there were tears streaking her cheeks. She cradled Farfarello's boneless body against her and cried softly. "My son, my son... I want you to be with me." She lifted an arm and bit herself savagely on the wrist. Ken watched in numb horror as she lowered her trembling hand to the child's mouth. "Drink, Jei. Drink, my son. Drink and be with me forever."
Ken whirled around and stumbled up the hill as fast as he could. "Stop it! I don't want to see any more! Farfarello!! Farfarello, can you hear me?" He stumbled and fell heavily, sobbing for breath. "Oh god.. oh god.." He didn't want to see any more. He already knew what was coming. "Farfarello!"
This was why he took the drugs. This was why he hated memories. Who would want these nightmares in their head?
A scream shattered the still air, and he turned sharply.
It was no longer evening, but night. He had never been surrounded by such pitch darkness before. The only light came from the stars above and the cottage below. Another piercing scream split the air, and he stumbled to his feet with the taste of bile in his throat. Catching his balance, he dashed down the hill.
He didn't want to see this.. He didn't. But it was the only way to fully understand Farfarello.
It was the only way to help him.
Sister Ruth was standing a few yards from the cottage, staring at it blankly, hands folded in her robe. Ken barely gave her a glance before he ran to the open doorway and burst inside.
That was the first word his numb mind provided.
Blood everywhere. On everything.
The walls, the floor, the furniture-- everything was spattered with blood.
A child who holds a sick fascination for causing pain is disturbing. A child with the same fascination coupled with a raging thirst for blood is deadly.
The mother and father were sprawled on the floor, eyes open with shock, already dead. He had torn their throats out in his tortured thirst, and then ripped at other parts of their bodies. He couldn't have handled them, though. They were adults, he was just a boy... Tearing out their throats must have killed them. But weren't Vampires supposed to avoid dead blood..?
Ken looked away quickly, feeling sick, and finally spotted Farfarello.
He was kneeling on the floor, holding his sister to his chest and drinking deeply from her. She had already gone limp in his grasp.
"Farfarello," Ken moaned, staggering forward. "Stop it..."
"Have you had enough, yet?" a calm voice inquired. Sister Ruth stepped into the cottage, glancing towards the mother's ruined body with the smallest flash of triumph in her normally serene eyes. "You've had more than enough, Jei."
Farfarello pulled away from his sister abruptly and stared dumbly down at her limp body before dropping her and scrabbling away from her frantically. A low moan started in his chest and erupted in a howl of pure horror.
"Jei-" Sister Ruth moved forward to embrace him, but he struck at her violently, screaming at her incoherantly. She snatched his arm, and he bit her hand savagely. She winced slightly, but refused to let him go. "Jei," she said more firmly, "come away now. They're gone. You are not to blame. We can tell the neighbors it was a robber. You had to eat, there's nothing wrong with that..."
Farfarello was struggling violently, his screeching overriding her soothing voice. "ELIZABETH! I KILLED HER! YOU MADE ME KILL HER!"
"I didn't make you do anything, Jei," Sister Ruth said matter-of-factly. "You were hungry. I led you here, and you ate. You're not hungry anymore, right? That's all that matters. That's all that ever matters."
"NO!" Farfarello screamed. "I HATE YOU!!"
Sister Ruth took in a sharp breath, as if she'd been slapped. "You don't mean that, Jei," she murmured.
"You did it, Jei," Ruth reminded him a little sharply. "Not me. You're the one who killed them. Why should you hate me? If you're going to hate someone, hate them for being so easy to kill.."
"Then I hate MYSELF!" Farfarello finally succeeded in wrenching free. He ran over to his sister's body and dragged her into his lap. "You made me into a monster!" He turned to look up at her suddenly, his face wet with tears and blood. "She's not dead! She can be with us, right? One of us," he babbled, a sudden wild hope lighting up his eyes.
"No." Ruth straightened, her voice firm. "We don't need her, Jei. She's dead."
"She's not--"
"She's dead, Jei," Ruth snapped. She held out an arm. "Come. My friends will be here soon. I want you to meet them." Her face softened a little, and there was pride in her tone. "You're going to become a great man, my son. A Lord of our people. Come with me."
"Jei.." Ruth's mouth tightened. "Don't be a bad boy. Come here this instant." She stepped towards him.
Farfarello dropped his sister and shot to his feet, running in the other direction.
He stood on tiptoe and snatched an already bloody butcher knife from the kitchen counter. Whirling, he brandished it with a shaking hand. "Get away from me!"
"Jei, put that down," Ruth said calmly, walking towards him slowly. "You know you can't really hurt me with that."
"Stay away!" he screamed defiantly, backing away.
Ken was standing frozen by the doorway, watching the whole scene with stinging eyes and his heart thundering in his ears. He opened his mouth, but no words came out.
"Jei..." Ruth reached out her hand, her voice crooning. "Give me the knife, honey."
"Stay AWAY from me!" Jei leapt forward desperately, slashing with the knife. He cut a horrible wound down the nun's arm before darting past her and racing outside.
"Jei!" Ruth clapped a hand over the wound, wincing, and whirled around, her face torn. "Jei, come back!"
Ken glanced once towards the carnage Farfarello had wrecked, then turned and ran out after him.

Pain flared in his side, and he fell over with a grunt, falling into blackness once more.
"Wake up, you little worm," a voice above him growled. "Wake up!"
Slowly his senses began to work, and he registered the roar of the Vampire crowd. The hard ground was cold, and there was a rock digging into his cheek. He tried to sit up, but his arms were still bound behind his back, making it difficult.
He was back in Agammedo's throne room.
He forced his eyes open and looked up at the Vampire kicking him. "Come on, get up," it snarled. "Get your worthless ass up!"
Ken shifted his gaze, searching for Farfarello. At some point Rosenkreuz had moved to the front of the crowd, and his friends were there, watching with sick horror. Schuldich stood off to the side, scowling slightly at the Vampires.
"Ken-kun!" Omi called desperately. "Daijabou??"
What a silly question. Ken tried to force a smile, but it felt more like a grimace.
Thomas looked over at Omi's cry. "He's awake," he called to Agammedo. "Finish this foolishness already."
The Vampire Lord rose from his throne slowly, sneering at the tall man. "Keep your pants on, human." He beckoned to some Vampires. "Bring the Traitor forward."
Willing hands seized Ken by the hair and shirt and hauled him bodily to his knees. Someone cut the ropes on his wrists. Half a dozen Vampires dragged Farfarello out into the middle of the open area before the throne, and the cheering and jeering intensified.
Ken flicked a quick glance towards the throne. Aya-chan was still there, but the other one-- Elizabeth --had been unchained and had stepped into the shadows where Farfarello wouldn't see her. She was watching everything with an emotionless face.
Farfarello's single golden eye darted towards Ken as he was dragged forward, and he lifted his lips in a snarl that showed his lengthened canines. Ken gazed back at him numbly, his heart thudding loudly. Farfarello was hungry. It had been too long since he'd drank, after all. And he hadn't had very much.
Ken's eyes moved towards his teammates. Omi looked close to crying, and Nagi was trying to support him with his shoulder as he watched Farfarello and bit his lip. Yohji was glaring at Schuldich, who was ignoring him. The playboy seemed to feel Ken watching him and turned his eyes on him, shaking his head once. He'd given up. Manx and Birman were caught up in a silent glaring showdown. Crawford was seated on the ground, sweaty and shaking from the pain in his knee. Aya stood beside him, stiff and pale, his eyes sparking as he looked over at Ken. He lowered his hands slowly by his sides-- he must have burned the ropes away. Was he planning to lash out with his Gift at the first opportunity? After all, why should he care if any of Schwarz were killed?
For some reason Ken's mind flickered back to the scene in the kitchen just hours earlier. Crawford cornering Aya, speaking too softly to be heard, and Aya's strained retort. "Urusai. I don't care." "Don't you?"
Aya shifted closer to Crawford, as if the movement was instinctive. Ken watched with detatched amusement. Maybe he would care.
Ken looked at them all- his teammates, his family -and felt a stinging in his eyes. They had come this far. Were they really helpless to do anything? He glanced towards Thomas, then Aya, and quickly began to throw together a few sketchy ideas. No... Maybe.. there was a way out after all.
What do you think you're scheming, angel?
Ken looked towards Farfarello. The Irishman looked wild and dangerous, and almost ethereal. Ken's heart did a strange little trip, and he realized suddenly, wretchedly, that he had allowed himself to fall for this Berserker who had so frightened him before.
Just how far had he fallen?
He took a deep shuddering breath and carefully avoided looking at any of his teammates, gazing straight into Farfarello's single eye.
Far enough to do this.
"So that's what happened, huh, Jei?" He made his voice as cold, as disgusted as he could make it, and inside he felt something die. "You killed your own fucking family. You really are a monster."
Farfarello actually reeled back, his eye widening slightly.
"You're a sick fuck," Ken spat. "You're just like all the others."
He heard someone shift- probably one of Rosenkreuz moving to stop him. Agammedo laughed, however, and waved them back. "No, no, this is perfect. He's doing all the work himself. I told you this boy would be the one to break him with."
Ken tried to ignore them, still glaring at Farfarello, trying to put all his past loathing into his eyes, his voice like a whip. "You should have killed yourself and saved everyone a lot of pain. You think I would have let you touch me if I'd known?"
"Urusai.." Farfarello's voice came out a hoarse whisper. There was pain in his eye, but more than that there was a great rage beginning to build. Rage at the world, hate for himself.
"Leave him alone!" Aya-chan shrieked.
"He's not your brother," Ken shouted without looking at her. "This isn't even a human. It's a Vampire. Aya- Ran -is your brother! This guy is just a twisted fuck who probably just wanted to drain you dry like his REAL sister--"
"URUSAI!!" Farfarello tore himself free of the straightjacket, knocked aside the Vampires who had been holding him back, and sprang for Ken.
Ken gasped as fingers wrapped around his throat, strong as steel, and he was lifted effortlessly to his feet. He stared into Farfarello's burning amber eye and took in a shuddering breath.
Then fangs were sinking into his throat, deeper and more violently than they had before, and Ken couldn't stop himself from crying out at the pain. Dimmly he heard his friends shout, and he saw Agammedo straighten in sudden alarm out of the corner of his eye. Farfarello was gulping the blood from him, tearing at his throat with his fangs, but already things were getting hazy, and the same lethargy that had comforted him before was now carrying Ken deeper into dull blackness.
Now you can kill him.
Farfarello froze.
Ken reached up with a hand that felt too heavy and buried his fingers in the man's short spikey hair. Don't stop-
But Farfarello was already ripping into his mind with the bond between them, and Ken was too weak, too gone, to stop him.
And he saw it.
He saw the plan, the ruse, the pain it had caused him just to say those ugly words. He saw where it was going to lead.
"IYA!" Farfarello threw Ken off of him almost as if frantic to get him away from him, to stop himself.
Ken fell heavily, and gasped for breath. Then Farfarello was crouching beside him, grabbing his wrist and trying to force his palm to the tear in his throat that was leaking blood like water.
"No.." Ken clenched his hand into a fist and turned his head aside. "He's afraid of you-- you have to fight him."
"Heal it," Farfarello hissed in his ear, and Ken could hear the Irishman's heart thudding by his ear. Farfarello was frightened. Why? Because of what he'd done?
"Doesn't matter," Ken muttered, blinking heavily and avoiding the man's gaze. "Can't cure... blood loss.."
"BAKA!" Farfarello was crushing his wrist, almost breaking it, and now he was shaking.
Ken's eyes slanted up unwillingly to meet Farfarello's burning gaze. He offered a watery grin. "Can't believe.. you fell for it, though. You thought I hated you.." he took a deep breath and began to cough violently as blood clogged his air passage. I don't hate you.
"Why did you do that?" Farfarello demanded fiercely, his voice sounding strained.
So you can take him out. He's afraid of you; of what you'll become if you drink your fill. He thought for a moment. He knew you'd be strong; so did the nun. She said... you'd be a Lord. The Vampire Lord of Ireland, right?
"Shut up. Stop talking." He was clapping a calloused hand clumsily over the horrible wound in a vain attempt to staunch the bleeding.
Go kick his ass and leave me alone. Ken blinked slowly and turned his eyes towards Aya. He's got to kill Thomas. Then... you can beat Agammedo. Shit, it was getting hard to see..
Farfarello shifted, glancing back over his shoulder-- Agammedo must have called for some of his followers to grab Farfarello. He turned back to Ken, holding him by the shoulders. Ken's head lolled against the strong man's chest, and he could hear his heartbeat pounding like a drum. I'm sorry-
You're an idiot! Farfarello's mental voice was fierce, but as usual, more honest than his physical voice. Ken could hear the strain and the- panic? -behind it.
Ken raised his eyes to Farfarello's face and cracked a small smile. I've heard that one before. Now shut up and go save our friends.
I don't have any friends, Farfarello snarled.
Ken sighed, closing his eyes. He was so tired... He just wanted to sleep. He wanted the pain to go away. Then go save.. your sister.
Then the Vampires were there, seizing Farfarello and hauling him off of Ken. Ken's head hit the floor, and finally the darkness leapt up and covered him. There was no more pain, no more fear.
There was nothing anymore.

Author's note: O_O *ducks rocks and rotten veggies* Ack! Don't kill the evil authoress! *runs for cover*
Evanescense is good for the writing soul.. *_* It helped me get through this chapter. XD
Disclaimer: Lyrics are from System of a Down's "Chop Suey", which is the song for which this fic is named.

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