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fic - kd - beginnings - answers - the turnip patch
version 2.0
turnippatch
turnippatch
fic - kd - beginnings - answers
Series:  Kyuuketsuki Duo
Title:  Beginnings - Answers



Kyuuketsuki Duo - Beginnings
Part IV - Answers


The Shinma newcomers surrounded them as they finished destroying the remnants of the presumptuous foreigners.  Malevolence did not radiate from this host, as it had from the last, but that was about the only thing giving Duo any clue that they were not of the same type of nightmare as the previous.  This mass of presences also spoke directly into his head, and each cold word left a chill in his soul.

::You are the guardian.::  A surge of recognition from the Shinma accompanied their focus on him, and his vision clouded for a few brief moments, obscured by the waves of darkness.

He had been named the guardian for the second time that night, and had additionally picked up the word from the thoughts and feelings of the cloaked warrior guarding his back, during their exchange of blood and power, yet he had still not received an explanation, and the experiences of the night had not left him in a pleasant, nor patient, mood.

There had been few times in his young life when he had become impatient or irritable, but it seemed that tonight was a night for new emotions and new experiences, and he embraced these foreign, petty, human emotions as confirmation to himself that he was in no dream or nightmare.  It felt as if he had been sleepwalking through his life, merely passing through as an observer from the outside, rather than actively participating, and now these new sensations assured him that he was no longer.  His mind and body ached, his own power still reacting to the presence of the darkness.  It surged and flared as the Shinma host did, pulling him in different directions, disorienting him, and making it difficult to concentrate.

"What is the guardian?" he demanded, knowing full well that he was perhaps recklessly treading the line of impudence towards the powerful gathering, but his reason had long since been swept away, and he would have his answers tonight.  He felt that these Shinma held the answers to all of the questions that he had asked himself his entire life, and for that he had best stay on their better side.  But the passivity was at an end.

The Shinma lay silent but restless.  To Duo, it seemed as if they were communicating with each other.  After several moments, they appeared to reach consensus, and spoke.

::You are the guardian.  Of the boundary.::

Duo's eyes narrowed in annoyance as he carefully reminded himself to be patient with the powerful entities before him.

::We are Shinma.  Both gods and demons.  Our place is in the Dark.::

Another silence.  Heero shifted by his side, tacitly issuing another reminder to be patient with a slight touch, even while preparing himself should the situation get out of hand.

::This is the human realm.  Between our two worlds lies the boundary.  It is the appointed task of your bloodline to watch over the boundary, to make sure the humans stay in their world and we stay in ours.::

Duo relaxed just a little as he made some small progress with the intractable, inscrutable, incomprehensible beings.  The situation was as yet filled with tension, but the powers had proven themselves to be somewhat cooperative and non-hostile, although it was reasonable to assume that they had some ulterior motive.  There was no other reason they would be willing to suffer the queries of an inquisitive, impudent mortal.

He waited patiently for a wave of nausea to pass before continuing.  His senses had gone haywire for a moment there, briefly tuning him in to the dizzying flood of dark powers.  "My bloodline.  What of it?"

The powers rotated once more, reminding Duo of the ocean's wavelets, ever in constant motion, an image further enhanced by the flickering of the slowly dying fires around them, evidence of the night's violence.  The knowledge that all of the people he had known were now gone had not quite sunk in yet.  He would have plenty of time later to deal with what response he might have to that situation.  For now, all his attention was consumed by the otherwordly beings before him.

::You are of the guardian's bloodline.  You are of both human and Shinma.::  Duo couldn't find it in himself to be wholly surprised.  Fully human people didn't sprout fangs and drink another's blood.  ::Mortality is the price paid by the guardians, for they must live in the human world to carry out their task.  They breed with humanity, or Shinma, but the blood is never thinned.::

"What of my parents?"  That was the ten thousand dollar question.

::The ones who birthed you have died.  They failed in their task.::

Duo closed his eyes briefly, but otherwise accepted the news calmly.  After so many years of wondering, it perhaps should have meant a little more to him, but now that the moment of revelation had arrived, he found that it changed nothing.  He knew they had been alive fourteen years ago when they had left him at the orphanage, but to him, they had been dead, and the fact of it now left little impression.  He had spent a mere two years with them, not enough to have formed a very lasting bond.  But there was still a vital piece of information that he had not yet received.  He leaned forward in anticipation of the response, but prepared for the worst.

"Why did they leave me here, at this orphanage?"

::They fell prey to human sentimentality.  They thought that they could hide you from your fate.  They were mistaken.::

He blinked with wide violet eyes.  There was a brief moment when he denied what they were telling him, but it vanished quickly.  The idea that these creatures might feed him such a wonderful lie was ridiculous.  The possibility that he might have been forsaken because of love had never crossed the orphan's mind, and suddenly he was grieving the parents that he had not had the opportunity to know well.  A lifetime had been lived believing that he had been abandoned because he was not loved, because he was different and unwanted, perhaps because of something he had done wrong, and now he knew that he had been entirely incorrect.  The complete reversal had not yet been processed thoroughly by his reeling mind when the Shinma continued with a distinct edge to their collective voice, their willingness to oblige and indulge at an end.

::It took us long to find you.  They bound your power well.  In the interim, many Shinma took advantage of the lapse to escape the Dark and pass through the boundary because of this human sentimentality.  You must correct their mistake.::

An epiphany shot through Duo when he finally registered what it was they were demanding, and he shook himself out of his startled reverie and into a new state of surprise as if shocked by an electric spark.

"You want me to become the guardian?"

::Yes.::

"No.  No, I want no part of this."  The shock began to fade away as he shook his head slowly in unbelieving denial.  In its place began to rise once more the icy fury he had felt when he had returned to his home to find hostile invaders, smoldering embers, and bloodied corpses.

::You will become the guardian.::  The voices remained implacable and unperturbed by his intractability, but the oppressive weight of them grew and threatened to crush him.  Nearly struggling to take each breath, Duo stubbornly refused to give in so easily.

"Why?"  He balled his hands into fists in anger, concentrating on the pain of his fingernails biting into his palms as a point of focus in a world gone wildly insane.  "Why would you save me from those others?  How are you any different?"  He didn't have a clear idea of what the others had wanted from him, but whatever it had been, it hadn't seemed pleasant.

::It shall be as it was meant to be.  You shall take up the responsibilities of your bloodline and assume the role of guardian.::

The anger overcame his reason and Duo's voice rose in frustration and rebuttal.  "No!"  He shook his head vehemently.  The fires around them flared up and danced in sympathy for his plight, but the flickering light seemed to mock him as it flashed in counterpoint to the pounding of the blood in his veins, and the increased light only served to make the shadows seem blacker.  "No, because of this whole guardian thing, my parents have died, I've been attacked by strange demon gods, and these same crazy things destroyed the only place I could call home.  They killed--"  His voice caught in his throat, and he had to stop to gasp for breath before he could continue.  "They killed all of these people that had absolutely nothing to do with this!  Because of me and my damned bloodline!  I don't want to have anything to do with it, if death and destruction are all it brings!"

::You shall take up your task as the guardian or we shall keep the souls of the humans that died here tonight.::

Still lightheaded from the entire ordeal, Duo had been attempting to stand, hoping to shove his way past those encircling him and leave it all behind, but he immediately froze and fell back to the earth when he heard those words.  "...You'll what?" he whispered weakly.

::We hold the souls of those who were lost here tonight.  You shall take up your task as guardian.  When all the stray Shinma have been returned to the Dark, we shall release them to their eternal rest.  In order to facilitate your task, we shall remove the curse of mortality from you.::

Duo blinked, mentally and physically exhausted from dealing with these fickle demon-gods.  He had never imagined that he might be blackmailed by otherworldly creatures.  As if for added incentive, his senses chose that moment to flare once more, making him extraordinarily privy to the pain and suffering that had occurred here tonight.  As tremors wracked his delicate frame, and he felt the echoes of death in his body a hundred times over, he knew that it had been his fault, and his fault alone, that all the innocents here had been caught up in this mess.  The answer was obvious.  There was no decision to be made.

"Well.  I guess I don't have much choice in the matter, do I?"  He glared angrily into the darkness as he gave them a disgusted, bitter sneer through gritted teeth.  "So, what happens now?"

He suddenly clutched his head in pain as the Shinma ruthlessly tore through his mind and released the rest of his power, held in check until now by the wards his parents had placed upon his young mind when they had first left him behind.  Their dark, icy power left a trail of glacial fire as it blazed new trails and opened old paths through his mind, whereby his power could flow into and through him.

He felt his senses expand yet again, and a whole new world opened up to him.  He saw the energy flows twisting through the earth beneath him as flowing streams of power, meeting and joining into great, shimmering rivers and floods, collecting in some areas as lakes and reservoirs as bright as the stars.  The Shinma before him were no longer of a single, uniform darkness.  He could see each separate shadow, every variance in the darkness, all shades of power.

It wasn't long before his awareness crashed back into himself, and he felt mental barriers collapse in his mind, walls and shields he had not even known were there.  The Shinma weren't gifting or cursing Duo with anything he had not had at his birth, only now, they were freeing all of the potential that his parents had sealed away before they left him in the capable and secure hands of a priest.  Suddenly, he felt the chilly distance that had blanketed most of his life thaw beneath the emergence of his truer self.  So much of his inherent self, his personality and passion, his strength and caring, had been bound up inextricably with his power, and so had been unavoidably sealed away deeply with the rest of his power, down where no one would be able to detect it.  It had left him eternally disconnected with reality, a generalized apathy and lassitude that now quickly fled in the face of his more naturally extroverted characteristics.

The baptism in pain and power continued as the Shinma, having rearranged his mind, proceeded to rearrange his body, changing as necessary to accommodate his new power and immortal life.  He had not even enough power over his own muscles to produce a scream as his cell structure was altered on the most basic levels.  All that came out was a pitiful whimper as the sensory overload caused him to release his tenuous hold on consciousness, and he surrendered gratefully to the soothing oblivion.

The Shinma turned their collective attention to the Shinma warrior kneeling unobtrusively by the boy's side, holding the newly made guardian protectively and doing his best to calm the weakly thrashing limbs as the overtaxed neurons continued to fire off in confusion.

::You are already bound to the guardian.  Serve as his guide and his guardian.  See to it that he does his task well, and perhaps you shall regain a place among us.::

With no more parting words, the Shinma of the West faded from the human realm and returned to the Dark, leaving nothing behind but the fallen warrior, the unwilling guardian, and the ruins of an orphanage, bathed crimson with blood and fire.




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