My plan for the summer is to update every week, because I want to finish this by the end of the year -_-
Kin watched the droplets of water slide down the glass doors. Drops connecting with drops until they formed a string of water. So mindless. So alluring.
Kin had taken the liberty of joining Elaine at the Nursery, the 'haunted' one that no one dare to intrude. But Kin was never one to believe in superstitious rumors, and a few petty tall tales didn't stop him from coming here, from being a step closer to the rain.
Unfortunately, today, Elaine was on the same page.
She stood next to him, politely keeping their distance. The woman watched the teen carefully from the corner of her eye, catching how his gaze was downcast and dazey. His caramel brown hair was messy and unruly, hanging over a pair of dull ruby eyes. Elaine turned her attention back at the rain, noting how beautiful it was. And certainly, the more beauty the rain radiated, the more pain Kin felt.
"I want to make a deal with you." She carefully watched Kin's expression as she spoke. His face didn't change, still somber and indifferent.
"What kind of deal?"
"One that will bring her back." His red eyes flickered a little, briefly caught off guard. But quickly, Kin regained his composure and tipped his head up, smiling bitterly.
"And why should I believe that bringing her back is within your power?" Elaine smiled slyly, narrowing her eyes.
"I know who her counterpart is." She watched with satisfaction as Kin tensed up, his eyes widening. The smile melted away, and he clenched his jaw, averting his eyes elsewhere. He stared through the glass, as if believing that the intensity of his gaze will allow him to see her.
"And what do you want in exchange?"
"A life for a life." Kin remained silent for a moment as he considered her offer.
"You want that person dead."
"Yes. I do."
"I won't kill anyone."
"You don't have to. At least, not directly. If you agree to our deal, I will tell you what to do." Kin closed his eyes and ran his fingers through his hair, mildly frustrated. He wished that she was here, she'd know the right choice, she'd know how to make him feel better.
"That person will still end up dead anyway," he whispered, eyes still closed. Elaine shrugged and started tapping what resembled a Morse code on the glass.
"A life for a life. That's very fair." She rested her hand on Kin's shoulder momentarily before leaving the room.
"I'll give you some time to consider my deal."
The door closed softly behind Elaine. Kin opened his eyes slowly and rested his forehead against the clear door, watching fog form on the window as he breathed out. This is crazy, he reminded himself. Inhuman. Selfish. Stupid. Unfair. Disgusting. Insane–
But it would bring her back.
How can he do it? Sacrifice someone else's life so selfishly? What would she think? How would she react? A strange noise echoed in his throat as a wave of memory flushed his mind. Her beautiful smile, her deep and loving eyes, her long dark hair flowing in the wind, her unique lavender smell, the way how she can always make this hellhole better, and how much he utterly lov–
In a moment of heartache, Kin raised his fist and smashed the glass, breaking the entire glass door. The glass rained down and splattered against the floor, allowing the freezing rain in. The crystal droplets flickered against the glass shards, creating a subtle illusion. Kin walked over the glass, ignoring his harsh breaths and bloody wound. He stepped into the balcony and tipped his heads skywards, closing his eyes and relishing the feeling of the rain.
The water droplets slid down his face and body, soaking his clothes within seconds. All he can hear was the sound of the rain droplets hitting against each other and the faint thunder in the distance. The water washed away his worries and thoughts for the moment, leaving behind images of her smile, her face, her eyes, her skin, her–
And if he concentrated hard enough, he can almost feel her presence next to him.
Alita stumbled through the halls, cursing herself for not asking Hunter for the directions to the nurse. But she appreciated the time her search gave her to analyze everything.
Something happened back there, something weird. First, a strange sensation, one that's both burning hot and freezing cold, took over her senses. Second, when she threw the sword sheath, it had so much power and force that it pushed Starling all the way back and against the wall, even leaving a few cracks. Alita was sure that she wasn't Superman with inhuman strength. In fact, she's everything but that.
So, where does that lead her to? What's her invitus? Super human strength? The ability to throw things and create damage? Probably, maybe something along those lines.
Now, having activated her invitus, Alita asked herself, what now? So what if she's all strong and powerful now? What is she supposed to do with this? What's her purpose? Her future is still as clouded as ever, but at least she knows that she's going to train and take the exam. Then what? Carve my own future, Alita told herself. And to draw your future, you need to know your past. Because the past shapes the future.
The problem here is that, Alita has no idea whatsoever about her family's past. What exactly happened to her family, to her, before she arrived at the institution, she knew nothing about. Where's her brother? How did her family die? Everything ties to her life, her future. And before she can do anything, she needs to know.
That will be her goal, Alita decided. To discover the truth. A little voice in the back of her mind suggested that maybe, just maybe, she wasn't even interested in the truth. They always ended up bringing you pain that you didn't even knew existed. But she needed something, anything to be her goal, to have a meaning in her life. Otherwise, she'll just spend all her time swaying around, with nothing to do, nothing to motivate her, nothing to make her believe that this painful life was worth living.
"A-L-I-T-A!" She cringed and slowly looked behind, and saw Jenny run towards her, smiling. Her long pigtails flied behind her, her buttery browns eyes shining with excitement. Alita, at a loss of what to do, waved weakly.
"Hey, Jenny." Jenny stopped when she saw Alita's wounds and scars, and the big cut on her left arm. However, her smile didn't disappear (though it wavered a little) as she raised a questioning eyebrow. Maybe injuries were common around here.
"Got into a fight?"
"Yeah," Alita responded, choosing not to elaborate. She was glad that Jenny didn't push the subject farther.
"Want me to lead you to the nurse?" The blonde nodded gratefully, following the blackhead as she skipped down the halls.
Of course, Alita had questioned herself about the girl before. Her happy-go-lucky attitude was a bit…unnerving. Strange. Weird. She was so carefree and energetic, like she's oblivious of everything bad in this world. Alita silently wondered to herself, how can a person be so innocent in this kind of environment?
If that innocence is even real.
But the Faux girl was inexperienced and didn't know how to analyze her surroundings, so she chose not to question Jenny's attitude. After all, whether or not if Jenny's innocence was real, it didn't concern her. At least, that's what she thought.
"Why are you always so happy?" There's a dense silent before Jenny answered her, as merry as ever.
"Because life is too short to spend all your time moping around, don't you think?" Alita blinked as they came to the edge of a flight of stairs.
"I – I suppose so." Alita's wondering about since when did Jenny became so wise when she bursts into laughter. Alita blinked, not catching on about what's so funny.
"Gee, Leety. You seriously thought that I'm that wise and stuff? Puh-leeze, this girl just do what she wants whenever she feels like it!"
"Oh," Alita mumbles, somewhat disappointed.
Alita frowned as they walked down flight after flight of stairs, but Jenny showed no sign of stopping. SheAlita started to question where Jenny's going.
"Exactly where is the nurse's office?"
"There's basically a mini hospital operating downstairs, and the nurse likes independence and isolation and stuff like that."
"Oh. How many people operate this mini hospital?" The duo stopped as the reached the last flight and Jenny opened a big, rusty door.
"Just the nurse, and occasionally a few volunteers. We call the nurse Ms. Rheene."
"Wait, so she manages the whole hospital on her own?" Jenny shrugged as they turned a few corners, past doors and rooms.
"She's got a powerful invitus."
The conversation died away, and left the two navigating a maze-like system of halls. A bland smell of medicine waved through the air, making Alita's nose hurt. Though unlike hospitals, the walls were painted a dark sea-blue, with a darker shade for the doors. The air felt dense and tight, but Alita thought that it was reasonable, considering that they were underground.
Suddenly, a door opened on their left and a nurse walked out, dressed in a white uniform. She was fat like a plum, with curly blonde hair and thick glasses, like an oversized grandma. Not even sparing the girls a glance, she hurried pass. Alita silently wondered if she was Ms. Rheene. Then another door on the right opened, and the same person walked out, going into the left door.
"Whoa…didn't she walk by us before?" Jenny grinned a little at Alita as another Ms. Rheene rushed past them.
"That's Ms. Rheene's invitus: the ability to make clones of herself." Alita gaped at Jenny, opening and shutting her mouth like a fish.
"She must be really powerful in battle! I mean, she can just make a hundred clones of herself and–" Jenny waved her hand in a dismissive manner.
"Nuh, nuh. Ms. Rheene can't fight. Only heal, only heal." The duo finally stopped in front of a door, and Jenny opened in, revealing a room that resembled a regular school nurse's office.
A big poster decorated a wall, screaming cheesy phrases about brushing your teeth and washing your hair. Bookshelves were placed in the corners, overflowing with children's books. Smiley face stickers and dirty band-aids were stuck on the walls. And everything was covered in a layer of dust. It was depressing to look at, so Alita turned her attention to the person sitting behind the mahogany desk, expecting another Ms. Rheene. Instead, a teen was leafing through a Scholastic magazine, his feet propped up on the desk.
"Nero." He quickly fumbled up, shutting the magazine and straightening his posture when he heard Jenny's voice. Alita's breath hitched in her throat as she focused her gaze on his silver, milky eyes. He looked familiar. Apparently, he recognized her too.
"Oh. You." Alita blinked, trying to dig up a memory of this boy, who had brown hair so dark it almost looked black.
"Um, sorry but…who are you again?" Alita whispered timidly, embarrassed that she can't remember him. He blanched, staring at her in disbelief. He pointed a finger at himself, raising an eyebrow.
"I saw you a few hours ago? You, me, Jenny? I'm Nero Suden, Jenny introduced me." Alita stared at his face, and then everything clicked. She snapped her fingers, a smile beaming across her face.
"You!" Nero relaxed, though Alita wasn't sure why he would be tense in the first place.
"You were the one that acted like a jerk to Jenny! I remember you!" Her glee tuned down into annoyance. Sure, she might not like Jenny that much, but this Nero dude was just plain nasty. His expression fell as he scratched his head.
"Wow. That's not what people usually remember me by, but…oh well. I guess I'll just have to make a good second impression, right?" They stared at each other for a second before Jenny cleared her throat.
"So, anyway, what are you doing here, Nero? Where's Ms. Rheene?" He turned towards Jenny, face hardening instantly. The transition between his expressions happened so fast and smoothly that it surprised Alita quite a bit.
"Not here, obviously," Nero answered sharply, but quickly softened his sneer when he saw Alita frowning.
"I, I mean–"
"Whatever. I'm presuming that you're a volunteer or something?" Nero nodded stiffly at Jenny's question.
"Alrighty, so why don't we have our dear Nero patch up Leety a little, huh?" He blinked, not catching on. "Who?" Jenny waved a hand in Nero's face, to which he leaned back in disgust.
"Hello? Leety? Alita? This girl who's all injured here, a few feet away? Gee, I didn't know you needed glasses. But whatever, you're still cu–" Nero batted her hand away, finally focusing his attention on Alita's scratches and blood. His gaze turned alarming as he noticed the deep cut on her left arm. He grabbed it gently, brushing away the ragged sleeve.
"How in the world did this happen?" Alita squirmed under his touch, not liking the feeling of it.
"I needed to figure out my invitus, so I was fighting Starling–"
"Starling? !" Nero exploded, glaring at the wound. "How can you fight against her of all people?" Apparently, Starling was pretty strong, so strong that Nero didn't even consider Alita as a worthy opponent. He quickly saw her expression and loosened his grip.
"I didn't mean it that way, it's just that for bringing out invituses from new recruits, we usually hit them against someone near their own level, someone weaker–" Alita ripped her arm away from his hand, taking a step back and glaring at him.
"Well, excuse me for being weak. For your information, I defeated Starling!" The room was clouded in silence, broken by Jenny's weak clapping. Nero signed and rubbed his eyes, suddenly exhausted.
"Right. So, shall we look at your arm now?' Alita hesitated before letting him inspect the wound and clean it. Nero brushed away medicine wrappers on a counter and Alita plopped down on it, right next to the sink. He grabbed a stool and sat down, focusing on wiping away the blood. His eyebrows frowned in concern.
"This a pretty deep cut. I'm surprised you're not buckling under the pain." His silver eyes rose to meet hers, admiration shining. "You're strong." Alita frowned, turning her head in an attempt to look at her wound.
"It is? I didn't even feel anything." Jenny and Nero stared, surprise written over their face. Jenny rushed over, looking at her arm, then at Alita, then back at her arm.
"But how? How can you not feel anything?"
"She's right," Nero murmured, "You lost a lot of blood. I would expect you to have a headache of sorts."
"A headache?" As soon as she registered that word, a low buzzing appeared in her head. It started pounding, and she can almost feel the blood rushing in her veins. She lifted her right hand up to her temples, massaging her head. It only served to worsen it, and she winced, lifting her hand away.
"Ow," Alita mumbled weakly, her vision blurring.
"I thought so," Nero finished wrapping the bandage and gave her a glass of water. He whipped out a clip board and scribbled down some notes.
"You didn't lose that much blood, not enough to put yourself at risk, so we don't need to give you blood. But for future references…what's you're blood type?" My blood type? Alita struggled to think straight, forcing down an unappealing gulp of water.
"Uhh…O negative." Nero wrote it down and tucked it under his arms. He offered her a weak smile, and suddenly, Alita appreciated his effort to please her. That despite how rude she was, he was dealing with her, pushing back his own despise. Alita felt bad about her attitude, and silently promised herself that, should they cross paths in the future, she'll be nicer.
Nero whipped out a box of band-aids, medical creams and liquids, and bandages. He set out to handle her weaker, less threatening wounds.
"Hmmm?" He answered nonchalantly, focused on cleaning out a cut.
"What's your invitus?" Nero paused, then continued with his work.
"Insight." Alita's eyebrows shot up, surprised and impressed.
"So, you can see the future?"
"No…well, yes…kinda. I see stupid stuff, like how my hair is going to be when I wake up the next morning, if it's gonna rain this week, and such. Never anything important. Besides," he paused, training his gaze on Jenny, who got bored and went exploring the medical equipment. "Seeing into the future isn't useful, because it always changes based on the present. When I get visions, it always tells me what's going to happen if life moves on at the same way from this second. Like, it might be raining now and I'll get a vision telling me that tomorrow there'll be a flood, but then the rain will stop and it won't be true. My precognition only tells me what's going to happen if life's going the same way. Do you get it?" Alita's head was spinning, tired already from her blood lost. She didn't ask for such an elaborate explanation, but…whatever.
"Erm, not really."
"S'okay, no one barely does." His tone is lonely, but Alita didn't feel sorry about unable to understand him, because her own life was pretty messed up. Then, she feels sorry that she isn't feeling sorry for Nero…if that makes any sense.
"Alright, you're done." He stands up and pats her left arm gently, obviously tired. Alita removes herself from the counter carefully, testing her headache as she's in motion. It had reduced down to a low pounding in the past few minutes, not really painful but still annoying.
As she's leaving the room with Jenny, Nero asks her a question.
"So…did I make a nice second impression?" Alita looks back and thinks for a moment. He's a good person, just a bit awkward.
"Yeah," She gives him a faint smile that's half forced on. "Of course."
"Good to know."
On their way back, Alita tells herself that people here aren't as bad as Hunter hinted them to be. What did he say again? Oh, right. We keep things you have every right to know away from you. We use this knowledge and secrets to to manipulate you to our best advantage. Maybe he was just trying to scare her, to toughen her up. But then Alita realizes that, she had already chose to believe Hunter's version of the truth. Then perhaps, all along she was just being naive.
Maybe Jenny is faking. Maybe Starling's actually a big jerk. Maybe Nero is– Alita cuts her own thought, musing that she'll turn paranoid someday, always worrying about whom to trust and whom not to. But so far, none of these people mentioned had given her a reason to be suspicious, and so she shouldn't be.
When Jenny started leading Alita up the stairs, a drenched-wet boy stumbles past them, with a bloodied fist. There were glass chips pressed into the flesh, with blistering wounds and a lot of blood. She stares at it, eyes wide. How in the world– Then her eyes flies up to his dull ruby orbs, and their gazes meet for a moment. Then he's looking away, shoving past them. Jenny frowns, watching him leave through the door.
"Was that Kin?" The blackhead murmured to herself. Alita whirled around with a questioning gaze. "Who?" Jenny jumps, as if she's surprised that she said that out loud.
"No one," she mumbles, turning back around and continuing up the staires. "Just someone I kind of know."
"Oh. OK." There's no conversation between the two before they leave the stairs, when Jenny started blabbering again.
"- I never knew that Nero had that kind of healing skills! He would be a great healer, don't you think? I've always wanted to be a healer, and maybe I'll be one someday! That would be awesome! Healers these days are rare, you know? I so wanna–" Jenny drones on, leading Alita to Training Room X. But her mind was elsewhere, not even thinking about her invitus.
She was thinking about the look on the boy's face, depressing and filled with guilt.
"Gee, you sure went crazy, didn't you?' Nero signs as he bandages up Kin's fist. "I wouldn't exert any heavy energy for a week or two. Lucky you didn't hit a nerve." He fixes his milky eyes on Kin, concerned. "Why would you punch a glass door anyway?"
"I had to feel the rain," Kin, whispers with a broken voice, eyes down casted. Nero signs again and runs his fingers through his dark hair.
"I kinda know how you feel but…you could've just opened the door. Saved a lot of glass, and me a lot of energy."
They sit in silence for a while, both waiting for the other to say something. Kin lifts up his bandaged hand a little, turning it over and inspecting the white cloth.
"Nero, if someone offered to bring her back, but at the price of another person's life…would you do it?" Nero's surprised that he asked this question, but it's not like he hadn't thought about it before. There were nights that he stayed up late, tossing and turning in his bed, imagining different scenarios where he can bring her back. Imagining some holy being giving him the chance to revive her, at a price, and what he would do. Imagining all the worst possible deals. But in the morning, he would realize that all was impossible.
"That depends on the person I'm killing. Like, is he or she a better person than her? Does he or she deserve to live more than her?" Kin shrugged, setting his hand back down on his lap gently.
"What if you don't know?"
"Well," Nero exhaled and laid back into his chair, tapping a random rhythm on his knee. "Not many people are better than her, right?"
"So you're saying that you would do it." There's a silent pause before Nero answers.
"I'm not saying that it's an easy choice – I don't enjoy killing, no matter who is it – but I would do it. Because she deserves to live more than anyone."
And when Kin's walking away, he silently, hesitantly agrees with Nero. No one deserves to live more than her.
No one deserves to live more than Rain.
So…a lot's going on right now. Is there too much stuff happening?
And if you're confused about stuff, they're gonna connect themselves as the story goes on ^.^
Questions/Comments/Concerns? Review :3