Ch. 40: "Hollow"
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
I am falling, I am fading, I am drowning
Help me to breathe
I am hurting, I have lost it all
I am losing
Help me to breathe
Those Vampires closest to the fight froze for several heartbeats, jaws dropping in shock as their Master's dark ashes fell to the ground.
Agammedo was stronger and faster than any of them. He made Schuldich's "inhuman speed" look ridiculous. Those who had actively watched the battle had barely been able to keep up. He was supposedly three hundred years old, for god's sake.
Yet Farfarello had kept up-- and beat him. Impossible.
This, then, was the man Agammedo had feared. And he was only nineteen. What would he be like years from now?
The Irishman pulled back his silver blade, wiping it off absently on his pants as he gazed dispassionately down at the pile of ash that had once been Tokyo's Vampire Lord. Easier than he'd thought. True, he was stronger, now... but it must also have something to do with the Lord's age. He had not been as old as he'd made everyone believe. Probably only a hundred years old or so. Otherwise- even with Ken's blood rushing through him -Farfarello would not have been able to beat him. He was just too young.
He remembered with a jolt, and turned quickly. He could see his teammates struggling through the crowd to get to him, and the other Vampires were finally noticing them. They began to growl warningly and reach for the humans. "BACK!" Farfarello barked, and his voice rebounded off the stone walls like thunder. The Vampires fell instantly silent and moved back, making a path for the assassins, completely cowed. No one wanted to tangle with the Berserker.
Aya was through first, and he ran straight to the two young women cowering just to the side of the dias. "Aya-chan!" he cried. Verrat looked up in trepidition, still supporting Elizabeth. Farfarello watched them with a tight mouth. Forcing himself to look away, he scanned the floor for Ken's body. He spotted a head of gold and lifted his lip in a silent snarl. The Hunter. What was HE doing here?
The American was bent over, struggling with something. When he rose, he was holding Ken in his arms. Farfarello caught his breath and stared. Then he leapt from the dias, pushing impatiently past his teammates, ignoring what they were saying.
Talon watched him come grimly. A short Vampire male stepped up beside him, looking down at the boy in his arms with mild interest. "The boy from the roof," he said, then looked up and saw Farfarello bearing down on them. He gave a hasty but deep bow.
Farfarello ignored him, coming to a halt before Talon and gazing numbly down at the Hunter's burden.
Ken was pale. No- white. Paler than the Irishman who had drained him dry. His head was thrown back, his entire body limp. Blood covered his throat and stained his shirt. Some of it was even on his lips. Farfarello reached out a trembling hand to wipe the blood from those pale lips and took in a slow breath.
Talon was looking at him steadily. "Who did this?" he demanded.
Farfarello didn't look up at him. "I did."
Omi appeared beside him, tears staining his young face. He took a shuddering breath and reached out to take Ken's cold hand, holding it tightly. "Ken-kun," he said in a cracked voice, nearly a wail. "Ken-kun... you can't be dead..."
Yohji came up behind him, and the look he turned on Farfarello was one of pure hatred. "You killed him," he accused harshly.
Farfarello didn't look at him, but he didn't deny it, either. The short Vampire beside Talon cocked a brow. "Mostly dead," he cracked, then shrugged when no one got the joke. (1) "There is one way to save him..."
"NO," Farfarello snarled, even as Omi started to sputter a horrified protest. "Never." Never to Ken. Ken was too full of life to become the monster Farfarello was. "Never."
Yohji glared at him through wet eyes. "What? How can you save him? You'd better do it fast, freak, or so help me god..."
"You want him to be a Vampire?" Talon interrupted quietly. "Because that's all that's left to 'save' him. If you call that being saved."
Yohji stared at him and swallowed hard. Manx walked over slowly, glancing quickly at the Vampire with Talon, then at the restless mass of Vampires around them. "Look, I don't mean to be the bitch of the group, but do you think we can discuss this elsewhere?" she murmured. "I'd like to get everyone else out alive."
The Vampire who had come with Talon tossed his bangs from his face and looked around at his kin. "No telling how long their fear of the Trai-- of Farfarello will keep them back," he agreed. "If you're going to leave, now would be the time."
Manx gestured over her shoulder. "Farfarello," she said quietly, "you're going to have to bring your sister and Aya-chan. Abysinnian's sister seems afraid of him for some reason." She gave him a piercing look that Farfarello ignored. He turned stiffly away and strode over to retrieve his two 'sisters'.
Aya was watching him come, his eyes sparking with anger and pain. "She won't even touch me," he spat as soon as Farfarello got close enough to hear. "She doesn't know me." He looked as if he wanted to hit the Irishman. "Why does she think you're her brother??"
Farfarello brushed past him and extended a hand to the two girls huddled against the dias. "Verrat," he mumbled wearily, "come. Bring Elizabeth."
Verrat glanced warily from Aya to Farfarello, then came forward slowly, practically carrying Elizabeth's limp form. Farfarello took his sister from her gently and cradled her to his chest in the most human gesture Aya had ever seen the man make. Elizabeth shifted slightly, reaching up one bony hand to grip his shirt in a weak grip. Something flickered in Farfarello's eye, but otherwise made no response. He strode silently back towards the group, with Verrat dogging his heels. Aya followed slowly.
Nagi had brought Schuldich and Crawford over. He was supporting the injured American with his Gift, but Schuldich was conscious again, and rubbing his head with a sour look on his face. If he knew his team had been witness to his memories, he was doing a damn fine job of ignoring the fact. "Keee-rist," he groaned with a wince. "Anybody got any aspirin?" Yohji managed a slight smile for him, born more out of relief than anything else.
Schuldich looked down at himself in disgust. "Ch'.. Thought I'd never have to wear this stupid thing again," he snorted, plucking at the front of his white suit disdainfully. He reached up and yanked his ponytail holder out, letting his hair fall wild and loose once more. He glanced around at the crowd of Vampires and made a face. "So did we plan on staying for fucking tea and crumpets, or were we maybe considering getting out of this shithole?" he demanded primly.
Farfarello almost smiled at the German's familiar bitching. Almost. He felt too hollow inside to show any emotion just now. "We're leaving," he growled, and led the way towards the exit. The others followed hastily.
As they passed Urumi's twisted, broken body and the two burned shells that had once been Ryo and Thomas, Schuldich made a face. "You know what? You can just leave a few details out when you tell me what the fuck happened later."
Crawford blew a quiet sigh as he allowed Aya and Nagi to help him along. "Schuldich, don't make me hurt you," he warned tiredly.
Schuldich grinned cheekily at him, flicking his long hair from his face. "Missed ya too, old buddy old pal," he said sarcastically.
Manx gave a half disgusted, half amused snort. "Why me?" she asked of no one in particular. "I knew I should have been a lawyer."
"Niisan," Verrat murmured, looking back at them all nervously as they ducked through the exit tunnel, "who ARE these people?"
"Idiots," Farfarello responded tonelessly.
Schuldich's indignant voice could be heard from the back. "I heard that, you punk!"
Manx pulled some strings and got them into one of the best hotels in Tokyo, where they could all fit into the suites on the top floor. There they laid Ken and Elizabeth out on the enormous quilted beds and collapsed into couches and chairs in the living room to try and catch up on some much-needed sleep. Farfarello remained in the bedroom, a silent but vigilant witness to his two angels' last breaths.
Yohji was glaring up at the ceiling from where he was sprawled on the couch. He was smoking, but for once no one protested. Schuldich had fallen asleep instantly, and was leaning heavily against the other assassin's shoulder as he dozed. Yohji played almost absently with a lock of the German's firey hair as he voiced his thoughts. "This is bullshit. Isn't there anything we can do about this shit?"
Crawford shook his head slightly, the movement marred by a wince as Aya deftly cleaned and bandaged his shattered knee. "Talon's right. As far gone as Hidaka and Elizabeth are, Changing them would be the only way to save them. The hospitals can do nothing for them but make them comfortable."
Aya scowled up at him from where he was kneeling by the American's knee. "YOU'RE not dying," he pointed out. "Quit being a stubborn ass and go to the fucking hospital."
Crawford managed a small smirk. "Worried, Abysinnian?"
Aya tightened the bandages just slightly, arching a brow when his patient flinched violently. "Shut up," he suggested.
Omi gave a weary smile from where he was curled up with Nagi on a large armchair. "Aya-kun's right," he pointed out. "You should get that looked at as soon as possible. You're probably going to end up in a wheelchair for awhile as it is."
Crawford opened his mouth to retort, caught Aya's Look, and decided to ignore Omi instead.
Talon was sitting on one side of the other couch, and Aya-chan was scrunched up on the other side, fighting sleep as she watched them all warily. Every now and then she would shoot a look towards her brother, eyes full of suspicion and confusion.
Talon tilted his head towards her. "This is the chick, right?" he demanded. "Why don't you bring her memory back like you did with the German?"
Omi frowned slightly, fingers intertwined with Nagi's. "I could," he admitted, "but I really don't want to force all that on her at once." His eyes flickered towards Schuldich. "You saw what it did to Schuldich."
"Verrat," Manx spoke up from where she was leaning against the wall. "Is that what Farfarello calls you?"
Aya-chan shot her a wary look and nodded once. "That's my name," she said defiantly.
"Did Farfarello tell you that?"
She nodded again, stubbornly.
"And he told you he's your brother." It was more of a statement than a question.
"He is," Aya-chan shot back, but she didn't look as sure of herself as she sounded. At Manx's upraised eyebrow, she said hotly, "He's my brother and I love him! He protects me and shows me how to take care of myself and he even eats what I make even when I know he doesn't like it.." She shut her mouth when she realized she was babbling. She caught Aya looking at her with such grief in his eyes that she almost burst into tears. "I don't know anymore," she almost wailed, burying her face in her hands helplessly. "I don't know what's going on! Why do you all hate him so much? He's so kind to me..."
Aya rose slowly and walked over cautiously. He knelt before her, careful not to touch her. "And what about me?" he asked quietly. "You don't even remember my face?"
She peeked at him nervously from between her fingers. "A little," she admitted after a moment, her voice small and scared. "I see you sometimes... in my head. There's one where you're wearing an apron and.. and calling me 'Baka Aya-chan'.." She swallowed. "But Farfarello said you're the one who destroyed us. And that has to be true, because I see one where you're yelling and reaching for me."
Aya was breathing harshly, and his voice was rough. "He's a liar," he said fiercely. "A liar and a murderer. You can't believe him."
"And you're not?" Crawford interrupted. "A murderer, I mean."
"I don't kill innocents," Aya snarled. "I don't kill those who... like me."
"Sie ist sein ein und alles."
Aya half-turned on his heel at the quiet tone. Schuldich had awoken and was looking at him calmly. "Are you talking about soccer punk?" he demanded. He'd already pushed himself away from Yohji, evidently embarrassed that he'd been leaning against the other man in his sleep. "I heard what Ken was thinking when he taunted Farf like that," he said, and everyone was listening now. "He was trying to get Farf to suck him dry so he'd be strong enough to fight Agawhatsit.." he shrugged. "Or some weird shit like that. And Farfie knows it. And he feels like the lowest piece of shit there is, so lay off, eh?" That last was said with quiet heat.
"What does that mean?" Omi asked hastily, to stop the argument. "What you said."
Schuldich snorted, leaning his head back against the couch and closing his eyes. "Sie ist sein ein und alles. She is all the world to him," he mumbled.
Aya stared at him and said nothing.
His sister blinked at the German's translation, then took a deep shuddery breath as if finally reaching a decision. "Okay," she said firmly.
Manx looked at her quickly, plucking the thought from the young girl's mind. "You want Omi to free your memories?"
Aya looked up hopefully. His sister nodded slowly, looking nervous. "Hai."
Farfarello sat on a hard chair between the two beds that held the two people he cared for most, watching helplessly as they labored for shallow breaths. They were dying and he could do nothing about it. And the worst thing was..
It was his fault.
He had drank Elizabeth dry all those years ago in a raging thirst, then abandoned her and left her for Agammedo to pick up like a broken possession. He had drained Ken in his fury and his hurt more than out of hunger. And now they were going to die.
He lowered his head into his hands and dug his fingers into his flaming hair. Gods, his chest hurt. This was why he had taken the drugs. This was why he had been Rosenkreuz's 'pet' and killed anyone who got in his way. It was the reason he refused to acknowledge emotions.
Because in the end, emotions only hurt him. They were churning inside of him-- guilt, rage, fear, regret, anguish... He was frightened of them, and he couldn't make them go away. He needed his medicine. Badly. He wanted these feelings to go away, and he wanted to forget. He wanted to forget the past, he wanted to forget the dead look in his sister's eyes, and just as much, he wanted to forget Ken.
How could he have let this insignificant human turn him so inside out? He had been merely vaguely intrigued at first. Soon he had come to see the boy as some kind of 'pet'.
Until the day Ken crouched before him in the bathroom, afraid but stubborn. Until the day Ken offered himself instead of the needle. He still remembered the jolt of surprise and renewed hunger he'd felt when he'd leaned over the boy on the bed and sank his teeth into that warm, throbbing throat... only to feel a weakened arm reach up and twine about his neck, holding him there. He doubted Ken even remembered it.
But why would this boy who had hated him with such passion before give his life now so that Farfarello could survive? It didn't make sense to him. Farfarello was not familiar with the idea of self-sacrifice. Nor was he familiar with the feeling of loss.
And so when his sister gave her last rattling breath and faded out of life, Farfarello did the only thing his trembling, raging body could do. He pressed his palms against his eyes and cried.
With a ragged gasp, Hidaka Ken's eyes shot open.
Author's Notes: Short chapter, but there's a reason. Next one is the last one! ^.^ la~ finally!
(1) Princess Bride.. ^.^; yihihi
Translations:: "Sie ist sein ein und alles."= "She is all the world to him". The German in this chapter is probably the most correct out of most of the German I used because I found it in a German phrase book. lol
Disclaimer: lyrics are from "Duvet", opening song for Serial Experiment Lain
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