Rest Now, Cassandra
Author: Nyx Midnight
Written for Springkink Fall ’07
Futomimi started out of his vision like a child wakes from a nightmare, heart racing, sweat glistening on his brows and, ominously, the taste of blood in his mouth. On further inspection, though, it seemed he had no blood in his mouth at all, just the taste. “Doesn’t bode very well…” he whispered to himself, reluctantly trying to piece together the remnants of his vision, with little success. It had been plunged in darkness, the light of Kagutsuchi obscured by a giant bird, and he hadn’t been able to see much, only breathe in the thick smell of blood around him, taste it in his mouth, feel it pour down on his bare skin and drip from his fingers. He shuddered involuntarily.
The soft sloshing sound of water behind him caught his attention. He turned around, surprised. A new Manikin being born, now? He blinked when he saw the Collector slowly walking hunched over with a jar and lid in hands, knee-deep in water, his robe folded up and tucked into his belt. “Collector?” he called out softly.
“Shhh!” the Collector harshly replied, not even bothering to turn around.
Perplexed, Futomimi closed his mouth with a click, but silently walked toward the Collector.
Suddenly, Collector dunked his hands underwater in a great splash of water and lifted it back up, wet and triumphant. “GOTCHA!!!”
Futomimi got closer, squinting, eyes going wide when he recognized what was in it. “Is that…?”
“Yep!” the Collector proudly replied with a wide grin, watching the magatama squirm and bump its head against the jar’s wall. “I think Shu will like it,” he continued, screwing the lid on securely, then taking Futomimi’s offered hand to step out of the water and onto the platform, dripping water everywhere. “Thanks.”
Futomimi offered him a small smile. “I’m sure he will,” he said as he walked to the side to rinse his mouth, hoping that would help convince his mind that he had no blood on his tongue and to quit it with the taste already. When he stood up again, the Collector hadn’t moved from his spot. He was, however, naked from the waist up and wringing water out of his sleeves, surrounded by beads of lights. The magatama was still swimming furiously in the jar at his feet.
Feeling watched, Collector turned and smiled a bright smile at Futomimi. “Had a vision?”
That was a question Futomimi hadn’t expected, but he nodded. Usually, the Manikins didn’t ask directly if he had had visions: they would either ask him if he thought the future would be good, or, more oftenly, they just waited patiently for him to prophetise something. Everyone knew he had visions, but they avoided talking about the process and results, focusing on the consequences.
“Anything about Shu?” The Collector was disappointed to see Futomimi shake his head. “Too bad. I hope he comes by soon. I found new stuff that I hope he can tell me more about.”
Nodding, Futomimi looked away slowly. The Demi-Fiend… he had seen him in his visions, then in reality, coming into to rescue the Manikins from Kabuchiko Prison, but… the wheels of fate were turning for him, for them, for the Vortex, and each passing moment brought him closer to the point of no return. A few Kagutsuchi cycles ago, at the edge of sleep, he had caught a glimpse of Shu in his mind; he had seen the Reasons, like clouds of vapour, coalesce around him in a sinister aura, and he didn’t know what to think of him anymore. He had thought, he had hoped the Demi-Fiend could choose for him, but since he had seen that, no matter how much good he had thought of him, he feared his choice.
He was startled out of his gloomy thoughts by the feeling of the Collector’s moist lips brushing against the corner of his. “What…” he asked, looking at the Collector.
“Just…” the Collector flushed slightly, “just wanted to make that crease between your brows go away. If you frown like that, we’ll all be worried sick about you…”
Futomimi closed his eyes briefly, the Collector’s smile and touch chasing the last shreds of his nightmarish vision from his mind. “I suppose it’s true.” He let himself be embraced and kissed again, on the mouth this time, gently licking the cool water from his lips as he return the kiss.
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