"Awkward Silences" by Hakkyou Kaosu

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Me: I have to write. Even though school will make it almost impossible…
Zen: such is life, Ha-kun.
Mouretsu: eh.
Me: jeez, so sympathetic.
Zen: ^-^ yep!
Mouretsu: (smirk)
Me: …you’re doing this on purpose.
Zen: (evil grin) heheh…
Mouretsu: (smirk widens) eh.
Me: …okay. This is a Saiyuki fic!!! I uber like Saiyuki! ^-^

SUMMARY: Cursed and exiled by the gods, you have been reincarnated. But the gods do not know all. They did not foresee this. You remember. Hiding your mark of exile and the curse you bear, you wander in a human body, searching for that which you do not know. All you know is that you must find it. Your destiny, incomplete. It is time to finish. Reader -X- Unknown

DISCLAIMER: I do not own Saiyuki or its characters or you.

(Y/n) — Your name

Awkward Silences
Chapter 1: Of Curses and Coincidence…

You absently fingered the metal collar. A gift from an old friend to help you. It was thick and slightly uncomfortable, but you had grown used to it. Most thought it nothing but an odd fashionable effect. Most were wrong. It was meant to hold in whatever remained of your celestial powers. And it did its job to perfection. It also covered the symbol that marred your throat. The mark of your exile, the mark of your curse…

There was a knock on the door, soft but clear. You did not respond. Instead, you stood and opened the door. The cook–the young daughter of the innkeeper–was startled. You softened your gaze, but only minutely. You had no reason to be nice; there was no use in trying to act civil. You would be gone with the dawn.

“Um…would you…” the girl stuttered.

You cocked an eyebrow, but said nothing. It was a good thing you had kept your cloak on. Your room had been a bit chilly, but the thick covering also served to hide the fact that you were female. Such an attribute was not particularly favorable for a wanderer. And you had no desire to receive the handicap that demons would give you during battles. They always went easy on the ‘frail’ women. The thought almost made you snort. You were anything but ‘frail.’ You needed no handouts.

The girl cleared her throat and looked up at the tall ‘man.’ the cloak did not cover your head, but the ninja mask did. It covered your face from the nose down. You favored discretion. Especially with your rising track record.

“Th-there are demons approaching…” the girl murmured fearfully. “A whole swarm, we are told. The men of the village spotted them a few minutes ago. They ask that all able-bodied males report.”

A militia. Great. You were being drafted to help in a rag-tag army that probably wouldn’t be able to take down one scrawny demon, much less a pack. But then, if the town was destroyed, you would have no where to sleep. Besides, the girl looked frightened. She was an innocent, so were the villagers. Damn your bleeding heart. Why couldn’t you just shut off the emotions? Just flip a switch, just like–

No. You had sworn not to think of him. You always kept your word. No reason to stop now.

The girl’s eyes were filled with tears. You sighed but nodded your head. Heading back into your room, the girl waiting in the doorway, you gathered your weapons from you single pack. Daggers. And if they failed, you were well versed in hand to hand. Not to mention your pistol. A last resort. You did not like violence, and guns tended to make the most brutal kills. Knives cut clean, bullets shatter flesh and bone.

You were ready. Following the girl, you walked briskly and swiftly to the town square. You were greeted by many of the villagers, armed with only a few rudimentary items. They had hastily pulled together weapons from whatever they could find–mostly gardening tools. Only a select few held firearms. The bartender held a sawed-off shotgun, loaded and ready. The stronger and better sighted youths all held guns as well, varying from handguns to hunting rifles. It wasn’t much, but it was better than a pitchfork…

You would be the most vital fighter. It was up to you, you knew that. Guns did little to demons. They were too strong. Perhaps the rifles and shotgun could do some damage–especially at close range–but it was doubtful they would be able to bring one down. Oh well. You needed a quick ‘spar’ to keep from getting rusty.

But you didn’t like fighting. Never did. Probably never will. It was necessary, however distasteful. Like taking out a nasty bag of garbage. If you didn’t do it when needed, it would stink up the whole house. It was disgusting and gross, but well worth it. Who wants a reeking home anyway?

You could sense the demons. They were getting fairly close. A raid, no doubt. Coming for the women and whatever food they could get. Human flesh had recently been added to the ‘yum-yum’ list of demon appetizers. It was a pity really…

“Alright! Is that everyone?” yelled the mayor, who, you noted, did not seem to be joining this little escapade. He had no weapons, and had not readied himself in any way. Well, at least not for battle. You were certain, however, that he was quite ready to flee.

After a round of deafening cheers–of which you took no part–the mayor sent the ‘army’ on its way. No general. No commander. No leader of any kind. The group was pathetically unorganized. They wouldn’t last five minutes. A raging mob can hardly be considered an army.

With another sigh, you followed. With quiet stealth, you broke off from the group halfway there. Leaving the road slipping instead through the woods, you leaped into a tree. From branch to branch, your agile form made inhuman time, quickly passing the mob and breaking through the foliage far ahead. You would just have to handle this yourself…

Running almost too fast for human eyes, you sensed the demons incredibly nearby. At the last moment, you leapt into the surrounding trees once again. There, you watched. There, you waited.

Daggers at the ready, you crouched on the tree branch. They had no idea. With silence of a shadow, you crept further along the branch, stalking your prey as any predator would. Five. Five total. Hardly a swarm. One looked up, his senses kicking in slightly. Him. Now.

Graceful as a cat, deadly as the Grim Reaper himself, you attacked. There was not sound. You cut his throat open before he could cry out, before he could even realize his instincts had been correct. Blood spattered everywhere. The demon was on the ground, drowning in his blood, and the others were still oblivious.

You did not like killing them–did not like killing at all. But this was unfair. It was not their fault. It was that odd aura, the one from the east. It made them this way. Crazed. Demented. Filled with insatiable bloodlust. They were sick. It was a horrible disease, a malicious virus eating away at their very souls. But there was no vaccine. No miracle medicine. No cure.

Perhaps one day, when the aura was finally lifted, the surviving demons could be saved. But with how things were going, you doubted they would have such a profound population–if they did not become completely extinct.

You remained crouched where you had landed, not two feet from the now-dead demon. His eyes were blank, staring. Watching. But he was unable to warn his comrades. The dead cannot speak.

Stealth was almost second nature to you now. You could not be discovered. If you were, all of Mercy’s efforts would have been in vain. And you had no wish for the attention that being an ex-goddess would give you.

Your second kill was also taken unawares. It scored your pride, clawed at your honor, murdering from behind. For it could only be that, murder. To attack one’s back was shameful, the ultimate disgrace. But then, why did you have to worry about that now? You were cast out. And so, the rules no longer applied in the same way.

Changing tactics, you stood and fell in step behind the third demon. You tapped one on the shoulder. He turned, thinking it to be one of his companions. He had never been so wrong. Your dagger swiftly found his neck. On the rare occasions you killed, you preferred silence and speed. Slow deaths disturbed you. And loud ones only made it worse.

The demon fell, but you caught him before his body could impact the earth with the telling ‘thud.’ He bled freely, even in his recent death. The remaining two remained unaware. ‘Good.’ you thought. ‘Let’s keep it that way, shall we?’

Setting the body down with complete quiet, you commenced with the stalking of your final targets. The fourth was walking directly beside the fifth, so taking one down would invariably alert the other. Now what?

The answer was given, barely before you’d finished the question. A shotgun blast told you the villagers had arrived. The fifth demon staggered back, the shrapnel hitting him square in the chest. But he did not fall. You’d just have to fix that…

Your large knife found his heart from behind, and he collapsed heavily to the ground. The fourth demon whirled, but you had already jumped away, out of sight in the trees. His eyes widened at the sight of his fallen friends. With a roar he turned around and around, trying to find their killer.

The collar did not only repress your now minor celestial abilities, it acted like a power-limiter. No aura. You were as good–or bad, depending on one’s view–as a mere human. But you had no desire to take it off. To do so would be to expose yourself to the gods. They would find you. And they would hunt you. Mercilessly.

The final demon was hit from behind with a barrage of bullets, the villagers in possession of firearms discharging them in the style of old war. A firing line. But with only one target, it became a much more devastating assault.

Despite this, the stubborn creature barely faltered. He wanted you. The blood of his friends stained your hands. It was a concept you understood all too well. You get used to it. The blood, the killing. You become numb to it. At least, that was what he had told you. What he had promised you. But then, when had he ever kept his word?

You had always been a healer, not a fighter. Until your exile, of course. No, even before then, you had been sold into the life of a heretic. But you had disobeyed. And the punishment for that was quite severe. Death. But Mercy…She had always had a soft spot for you…

Drawn out of your thoughts by the victory cry of the demon, you realized a fatal error. You had let the past creep up on you, and the demon had found you. Quickly dodging his outstretched claws, you threw a dagger. It hit him, diving into his shoulder–mere inches from his heart.

His claws hit the tree where you had been poised only seconds before. Embedded deeply in the trunk, the demon pulled and yanked desperately at his claws. But they would not budge. He was caught.

You landed a single branch away, crouched not a foot from his face. You pulled out your dagger, making the demon cry out. You cringed. You were tired of hearing pain. Those memories were buried deep. You did not like reliving them…

You looked deep into the demon’s eyes, hoping for some sense of rationality. Nothing. Crazed bloodlust. That was all that existed. The aura had a powerful grip on the demon, and it was no where near close to letting go. You found another sigh leaving your lips. You wanted to apologize. Wanted desperately to whisper a simple ‘I’m sorry.’ But you didn’t.

Taking the dagger, stained with his blood, you thrust it quickly into his heart. His suffering had ceased. You didn’t know if they were conscious of their actions while in this state. Didn’t know if they were pounding frantically on invisible walls, trying with all they had to get out. Wanting with their whole beings to be back in control of their bodies. You just didn’t know. And you weren’t sure you wanted to…

You wiped the blood off your blade, sheathing it in your belt. You gave a quick prayer, and then made your way back to the inn. The threat was over. You were not needed here anymore. You would go back to your room, turn on the shower, strip down and meditate. It wasn’t a waterfall, but it would do. You needed cleansing. It was the only thing that came close to making you feel…clean. Untainted. Unstained with blood…

The eyes returned, rising from the depths of your mind. The sightless eyes of the dead. But no just any dead. HIM. Dante…

You shoved him back, forcing yourself to focus with more concentration than was warranted as you landed on the roof of the inn. Leaping down, you alighted silently on your feet before the door. Walking inside, you discovered the inn to be busy. Guests had arrived. More travelers.

They were at the registry, talking to the young girl who had called you to fight. You did not look at them. Did not give them any thought. Your mind was too lost right now. You were too busy concentrating on each step you took, each breath taken in, each action made. Anything to keep the memories of your dearest friend at bay.

They didn’t seem to notice you anyway. Until the girl caught sight of you. Her eyes widened. You briefly wondered why, and then realized. You were covered in demon blood.

“H-hey!” she called. “What happened? Are the others okay?”

You did not answer. You did not look up. You carefully measured each stride, each step, with delicate calculation. She would see soon enough that they were fine. There was no need to reassure her.

Four. Four travelers. Eight eyes. All burning into you, all taking in the bloodied cloak and twice as bloody hands. You did not look at them. In the dim recesses of your mind, you registered the tiniest demonic aura. And another essence, a protective one. Power-limiters. Meaning they were probably still sane. Nothing to worry about right now.

The girl ran from behind the desk, but you had already reached the stairs. Her small footfalls were drowned in the loud ‘clunk’ of your boots. She called. You didn’t stop.

“Please!” you heard the tears, the waver in her voice. You didn’t need to turn; your mind’s eye had conjured the weeping visage of the innocent young girl. You paused.

“Are they…?” she was desperate to know. You could tell. But you didn’t answer.

“Answer me! Please!” she cried, the sobs fully entering her voice. “Are they okay?!”

A brief nod. That was your only response. No words. No other movement. No sounds. Her relieved sobs were the only noises to break the deafening silence. You could still feel them, the eyes. Curious and probing. Familiar? No. Impossible. You knew no one in this world. Only brief acquaintances during your travels. Your search.

The sound of weeping was not diminishing. You couldn’t stop yourself. You turned and stepped down the few stairs to the young girl. You raised a hand, but seeing is bloodied nature, hesitated.

Instead of patting her head, your hand fell to your side again. What were you doing? Hadn’t you learned anything? Don’t. Get. Attached. Not to anything. It was hard, you heart aching at the action, but you turned a deaf ear to the young girl’s sobs. You turned away from her and walked up the stairs. The hauntingly familiar eyes never left you.

You wanted nothing more than to cleanse yourself and then sleep. Even if fraught with nightmares, in sleep, you weren’t so lonely. Sad and heartbroken, desperate and grieved, but not lonely.

Your search. You had to find what you needed. You felt it, something was gone; missing. Even as a celestial being, you had felt vaguely hollow inside. But you had had your friends. They smothered the sensation. Now, you had no one. No one alive. No one who could alleviate the unbroken loneliness.

You could hear him, that dearest friend, in the deepest and darkest nightmares. You knew. You knew it could not be him.

The dead cannot speak. And neither can you.

=====End Chapter 1=====
Me: this is gonna be angst-y, but I’ll try and put on the happy ending.
Zen: the pairing is with ‘Unknown’?
Me: yeah, I never decided. I was leaning towards Gojyo. There’s not many with him around.
Zen: …okay.
Mouretsu: (sigh) just let her do it. It’s her fiction.
Me: (not paying attention) ^-^ Please review! (Waving happily)
Zen: (shrug) if you’re sure…
Mouretsu: just go with it.
Zen: Alright…
Me: Hope you liked it! Bye!

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