Berserk Fan Fiction ❯ Dark Side of the Moon ❯ Dark Side of the Moon ( Chapter 1 )
[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]
Author's Note: My longer fic idea fell threw but this is turning out to be a semi-mini-series of fics. This one connects “Short Hair” and “To Sleep, Perchance to Dream”. Those two can be read in any order, but this one should be read after them, otherwise you'll be confused. This fic takes place some time after “Short Hair” just to give Casca a chance to get used to everything. Also, I'm working with the assumption that neither Guts nor Casca know that Griffith used their son's body to reincarnate himself into the human world because I haven't seen any evidence that they do know that.
Dark Side of the Moon
By Silver Spider
“So,” Isidro fell into step beside Casca, “can I ask you something?”
“Sure,” she glanced down at the spiky haired boy.
Casca had noticed with a measure of relief that the other members of the party who she had not known well - or more precisely, had not remembered - had begun to act more comfortably around her ever since she and Guts returned to some semblance or normalcy in their relationship as well. She supposed they must have figured that if Guts was no longer walking on egg shells around her, they could do the same.
“You were a mercenary once, right?” the boy asked. From the corner of her eye, Casca saw Guts cast him a disapproving look, but either he hadn't noticed or had decided to ignore the man. She turned her head to him and mouthed 'it's okay' before responding to Isidro's inquiry.
“Yes,” she said, “that's where Guts and I meat.”
“Ugh, spare me the mush,” the boy made a face as if he'd found out his parents still made out. “I just wanna know if you've ever heard about the Hawk's raiding commander? I don't remember his name, but supposedly he killed a hundred men by himself! Or was it a thousand...”
“Ahh...” Casca wasn't sure weather to laugh or ask him if he was serious. She glanced over at Guts and saw him shake his head 'no'. “I... heard the story, but never met the man,” she lied easily
“Oh well,” Isidro shrugged, clasping his hands behind his head casually. “I was just wondering. Hey, Schierke, wait up!”
He took off after the young witch who was walking about ten paces in front of them, leaving Casca alone with Guts. When the boy was far enough away, she finally let out the bubble of laughter.
“Why don't you want him to know?” she smiled up at the grim faced swordsman. “He looks up to you. Couldn't hurt to satisfy his curiosity.”
“It could,” Guts replied. “He'll never leave me alone, if he knew.”
Casca only laughed at this, but then she was very quiet. Her face grew somber, and for a single second, her palm brushed the fabric of her tunic over her flat stomach.
“He's a good boy,” she half-whispered, and Guts wasn't sure if she was talking about Isidro or their lost child. He thought it best not to ask.
* * * * * * * * * *
They stopped to rest late in the evening, making camp at the base of a large old tree whose roots sprouted out of the ground at odd angles and convoluted shapes. After a quick supper, everyone settled into their respective bedrolls for the night. Even the ever-paranoid Guts had deemed it safe enough for everyone to sleep without setting a guard. Flora's emulates as well as the elven magic that still lingered with them since their departure from Elfhelm had dome a reasonable descent job of keeping away all manner of spirits, and he was a light enough sleeper should anything arise.
It was several hours into the night, and everyone around her was already fast asleep, but Casca couldn't seem to find sleep herself. She changed position several times before finally deciding it wasn't her bedroll that was the problem. It was the light. A fat full moon was high in the sky with not a single cloud in sight to shield the earth bellow from its light. Even as she rose, Casca knew it was probably a bad idea to wander away in the middle of the night, but she promised herself she would not go far.
There was a place, she noticed a few minutes into her walk, where the rays of light from the moon were bright and clear. At first it appeared to her as if they were pulsating, but she soon saw that they were actually circling around a common source. A boy stood in the middle of the swirls of light, clad only in a long flowing garb that seemed almost translucent. He looked straight ahead at her as Casca approached.
“Hi,” she smiled at the child, kneeling down in front of him.
“Hello,” he said, looking back at her with wonder in his wide black eyes.
“Are you lost?” Casca asked sympathetically.
The child just continued to stare at her. “You're all better,” he finally said in awe, his small fingers touching her cheek, but Casca thought she detected something akin to pride as well.
Confusion flooded her mind for a second, but she decided it was best to take things in stride. Whoever the boy was, he did not appear dangerous. The entire situation lacked the typical ominous feeling that foretold the arrival of something evil, and the brand on her breast was not bleeding. But as new as she was to all this, even Casca could tell that there was something... otherworldly about the boy.
“I am better,” she agreed carefully. “How did you know I was sick?”
The child shrugged. “I know things.”
“How?” she insisted. “Did someone tell you?”
“No,” the boy shook his wild black locks. “He doesn't tell me anything. He thinks I don't know, but I do. Sometimes, when he's not looking, I sneak peaks.”
“Who?” Casca was suddenly very afraid of the answer.
“I don't want to say,” the boy pouted. “I don't want to talk about him now. I don't think I have much time. Will you stay with me for a little while?”
Beyond the immediate questions of who the child meant or why he didn't have time, in the back of her mind, Casca again noticed just how odd the boy was. He couldn't have been more than four or so, but despite the simplicity of the sentences, the his linguistic skills were clearly very advanced, words clear and enunciated. For a moment, Casca wondered if perhaps what the child was, rather than who, was the better question.
Nonetheless she sat down cross-legged on the sand and, for some reason, was not surprised when the boy crawled into her lap as if it was the most natural thing in the world. She did not object. Holding the child did feel perfectly natural to her for reasons she could not quite understand. He sat quietly for a while then reached up and touched her short hair.
“Why'd you cut it?” he asked.
“It got in the way,” Casca picked the simplest explanation she had at hand. “I'm trying to get back to normal, remember everything I knew, learn how to fight again. Long hair gets in the way.”
“Oh,” the boy frowned as if the statement made no sense at all. He looked almost as if he wanted to argue the fact but decided against it and grew quiet again. This time it was Casca who spoke up, unable to stand the silence.
“Baby,” she shifted him in her lap slightly so that she could look him directly in the eyes. “How did you know I used to have long hair or that I was sick before?”
The boy scrunched his face in a mixture of a grimace and annoyance. “I told you, I don't want to say.”
Casca was unsure how to deal with the situation. Whatever the boy was not saying, she had a feeling it was terribly important. She was about to try again when she saw the child freeze. He wiggled out of her grasp and stood still, his big eyes few even wider and his hands balled into firsts at his sides and began to shake.
“What is it?” she took his hands, rising back on her knees. “What's wrong?”
“He's here,” the boy's voice was barely a whisper.
Casca looked up, part the child, and her heart slammed against her chest. Suddenly she couldn't breath, like long freezing invisible fingers were poised to close around her throat. The sharp pain in her left breast told her of what she already knew; the brand was bleeding.
Griffith spared her a single disinterested glance before turning his cool eyes on the boy.
“You disobeyed me,” the god said in an unreadable tone “Let's go.”
With those words, and to her own surprise, Casca found her strength. She gripped the child's hands with both of her own, pulling him closer.
“You don't have to do this,” she said firmly, trying her best to ignore the impatient look Griffith was casting in their direction. “You don't have to go anywhere with him.”
The boy smiled wistfully and threw his arms around her for a fierce hug, his face buried in the crook of her neck.
“Don't worry about me,” he whispered in her ear. “I'll be alright.”
Casca was still dazed when the boy pulled back and stepped backwards away from her. Griffith waited as the child reluctantly made his way to him. Before the god's silvery cloke hid him from her sight, she could have sworn she heard the boy's voice whisper into the air.
“I love you, Mommy.”
* * * * * * * * * *
Casca roused abruptly, as if physically pushed back into the waking world. Once the initial shock wore off, she sagged back against the tree and took stalk of where she was. It was still night, but she could tell some hours had passed since her attempts to get to sleep. But something was not right. Casca had spent enough time walking on the edge of dreams and reality to know, even without the still wet blood stain on the left breast of her tunic. Her libs felt like they were weighed down by slabs of lead. If the entire episode was a dream, it had given her no rest.
Without consciously thinking about her actions, she found herself standing over the still sleeping Guts. He was wrapped in his tattered black cloke, the the enormous sword DragonSlayer resting within immediate reach. She crouched down and tapped him on the shoulder. His nostrils flared immediately, and he groaned as he awoke. It took him a moment to focus on her face above him.
“Casca? What's wrong?”
“I'm sleeping with you,” she stated firmly.
“Pardon?” Guts' eyes flashed wide open.
“I'm sleeping with you,” she repeated, then faltered. “By you... you know what I mean. I need to get some sleep, and... well, right now I just feel safer this way.”
Guts pushed himself to a half-sitting positions and eyed her carefully. When he was absolutely sure there was no fear or hesitation in her, he opened a corner of his bedspread. Casca slipped inside, lying as close as possible without actually touching him. Guts frowned, but covered them both with the rest of the spread and settled back inside.
“Did you have a nightmare?” he asked after a few moments of silence. He felt as if he was trying to comfort a small child.
“Yes... no... not exactly,” she bit the short hard nail of her thumb in that manner that he knew she was trying to piece her thoughts together. “It was very... vivid. I was afraid I'd fallen into the dream world again.”
Guts wanted to reach out to her, to touch her in some way that would bring her comfort, but he knew from personal experience how much of an impact a simple touch could have. His one good eye searched her face for some answer before finally drifting to her tunic. It was dark, and in a half-awake state, he had not noticed it, but the large crimson stain on the tunic over her left breast was unmistakable.
“What happened?” Guts was fully awake now, sitting up. On impulse, his hand reached for the DragonSlayer at his right, but Casca stopped him.
“They're gone,” she told him calmly.
“Who was it?” the swordsman questioned. “An apostle?”
“No,” she was thoughtful. “I thought I was awake. I was lying over there,” she pointed to her own abandoned spot, “and then I saw this strange light. Like the moon was pulsating or something. I got up and walked just a few yards away from the camp and saw this little boy. I don't know he was... maybe, three of four...”
She began to recount the rest of the story to him, pausing when she got to Griffith's appearance. Casca momentarily thought of withholding the information but realized she had no other explanation for the bleeding brand. Slowly and in a low tone, she told him.
There was a short shallow intake of breath, and she could almost hear Guts gritted his teeth, trying almost hopelessly not to let his fury overtake him. But a moment later his clenched fist relaxed. He closed his good eye and silently counted backwards from ten. When he opened it again, Guts no longer saw a wall of crimson, just Casca.
“Tell me he didn't hurt you,” his voice was somewhere between a plea and a demand.
She shook her head. “Actually, he kind of... ignored me. I think he was there just for the boy.”
“This kid,” Guts double checked. “The brand didn't bleed when it was just him there?”
“No,” she confirmed, “but the child certainly seemed to know Griffith.”
“And he - the kid - wasn't a sacrifice himself?”
Casca gave him an incredulous look. “Forget the fact that I didn't see a brand, when was the last time you knew one of them to care about the people being sacrificed?”
Guts shrugged in that way she knew he knew she had a point but didn't want to admit it. The seriousness of the conversation was suddenly replaced a flood of old annoyance. She was back in the courtyard of Windham castle yelling at him because he wasn't following the battle plan. Casca smiled in spite of herself. Some things just never changed.
Guts, on the other hand, wasn't smiling. If anything his face was even more somber than usual which made her frown. “You have that look,” she accused.
“The look that you get when you want to tell me something I missed but don't know if you should. What'd you do this time?”
It was meant as a joke, but Guts didn't appreciate it in the least. Casca had adopted a certain measure of sarcasm that he didn't remember her ever having before the Eclipse. But, he supposed, it was as good of a way of dealing as any, even if he did find himself on the end of that sarcasm from time to time. It was probably healthier than his own obsession with revenge, anyway.
“I'm note sure how important this is,” he replied, “but a few months ago, we ran into a kid who looked a hell of a lot like the one you just described. Took quite a liking to you, too.”
“What happened to him?”
“I don't know,” he admitted. “We lost track of him during the battle and couldn't find him afterwards. But while I was fighting within the armor, I saw something. Something pulled me out of the rage and it wasn't Schierke. Not at that moment anyway.”
Casca only sighed and rested back onto the bedroll. Guts was still sitting up in thought, but she tugged on his cloke insistently.
“In the morning,” she said as he lay back down next to her and, to his surprise, threw her arm around his broad chest. “We'll sort it out in the morning.”
“But for the record,” she said with a yawn, “one of these days, I would really like to get straight forward answers to all this.”
Guts couldn't help but laugh.
“Remind me never to introduce you to the Skull Knight.”
Author's End Note: Comments? Questions? I'm not sure what else I want to do with this but I know I want to do something. Please review!