Trinity Blood Fan Fiction ❯ Outfitted ❯ One-Shot
SPOILERS: For Abel’s origin.
SUMMARY: Caterina ponders Abel’s layers of identity.
ARCHIVAL/DISTRIBUTION: Anywhere, as long as you ask me first.
FEEDBACK: can be sent to Viridian5@aol.com.
DISCLAIMERS: All things Trinity Blood belong to Sunao Yoshida and Thores Shibamoto. No infringement intended.
NOTES: Pre-reading by Syvia.
“Tres! I need to breathe!” Abel gasped.
“Affirmative,” Tres answered.
“Thanks for agreeing with me on that. Can you loosen the collar?”
“Father Nightroad is invited to finish outfitting himself.”
“It’s not like I need to be dressed like an infant, and you know it. The basic foundation I was fine with and did myself. The uniform is just so ornate.... And is this a rosary or a bludgeon?”
Abel’s own uniform, nearly a millennium out of date, had been far simpler, hadn’t it? As Caterina watched Father Tres help Abel put the finishing touches of his AX uniform in place--“Black, to match my wings!” he’d once said in private with that fake laughing tone she hated--she saw it as the culmination of a few things. Abel now had the credentials and clearance as a priest of the Vatican and AX enforcement agent to protect humanity as he’d wanted to do... and he’d so internalized his public face that he behaved foolishly even in private, even in front of her.
When she’d first seen him, years ago now, her young mind had somewhat calmed itself out of its terror by puzzling out what Abel was. He’d saved her from the vampires and his pale looks suggested a white knight, but no children’s story had ever mentioned that the white knight had come to see the princess he’d rescued covered in the blood of the monsters he’d slain. In some ways, though, that had made her trust him more when he held out his hand and said that he’d protect her, because surely someone working to gain her trust would have made himself look as clean as possible. His eyes, sad and deep, had convinced her as well.
She’d never told Abel that she’d seen him as a white knight. She knew now that he would respond that he was no white knight, just a superior class of monster, then try to break the mood by reminding her that she’d asked him why he’d been wearing nun colors of white bordered with blue.
As they searched for family and authorities to bring her to, he softly told her little stories, probably thinking to keep her calm and brave that way. He told her of space and the old world, wonders and things so foreign you’d think they had to be lies. He realized from her that he’d spent about 900 years mourning in seclusion in that crypt, and the look on his face when he figured it out....
It had reminded her of the stories about people who went Underhill and came out hundreds of years later with no idea of how long they’d been away. If she’d ever dared tell the other girls about the true nature of her savior they probably would have swooned over the thought of a handsome man mourning them for 900 years, but from the moment she’d heard it Caterina could only think of the loneliness and waste of it.
Even after they found Sforza men, Caterina succeeded in holding onto Abel for a while by playing on her youth and their pity and actually clinging to his arm. That didn’t last once they had a better picture of what he was, how he’d saved her, and his desire to protect humans. A daywalking vampire willing to kill other vampires, Abel could be a powerful secret weapon for the Vatican, while Caterina was the young, virgin daughter destined for a high office in the church. He was allowed to save her life but not to jeopardize her purity.
Over the years she saw him rarely and always in secret and worked toward the day when no one would be able to dispute her right to associate with whomever in the Vatican chain she wished to. (How innocent she’d been.) Thus the changes he made to himself as he created a cover identity had shocked her in how sudden and total they’d seemed to her. In time it took her longer and longer to dig through his protective layer of awkward absentmindedness to find the person she wanted to speak to. She would try to observe his battle simulation and training exercises to get more glimpses of that other Abel. She also saw him transform to Crusnik there--with its claws, sharp teeth, red eyes, blood scythe, and occasionally black wings--as further reminders of the darkness in his past.
At least he’d met Father Tres. Abel was a friend to everyone but an intimate friend to no one, yet he loosened up more with Tres, maybe because Tres couldn’t age and die. She’d heard some giggling nuns once say that Abel had turned down one flirt by declaring he was too old for her. In one dark, bitter moment he’d once told Caterina that he and Tres were both working “antiques.” It seemed to touch Abel on some deep level that Tres was the last operational Killing Doll.
In so many ways she hated the persona Abel cultivated--the light fake laughter, the childishness, the game playing, the ribbon he tied his hair back with and glasses he didn’t need--yet she also remembered his self-hatred, grief, and moments of depression and wondered if she had the right to demand he be a serious-eyed knight for her. As his new, lighter self penetrated through his skin, maybe it protected more than just the secret of his origins from the public; maybe it let him forget a little and find some joy in life. She watched him laugh around Tres, his eyes lit up.
“I’m starving,” Abel said. “I’m told that my stipend will be barely enough to survive on, so I should get a good meal before I go.” He really did have an incredible appetite, as well as a craving for sweets that only added to his persona. Caterina sometimes wondered if the nanomachines in his blood had anything to do with it.
“How would paying for it here be any different than paying for it while on assignment?” Caterina asked.
“I thought... perhaps... you might pay, seeing as how this is a big achievement in my life? There are people who would be stunned that I became a priest of the Vatican, even a gunslinging one.” The shadows at the back of his eyes suggested that the broad majority of those people were long dead.
“Thank you, milady. Wait, where are my glasses?”
“Atop your head, as they are 95.6% of the time when you ask that question,” Tres answered.
The playacting had to have limits though. “Abel!” she said, her tone so commanding that she only needed to use his name to get her message across.
“Of course.” He slid them down and on. “As ever, I appreciate your tolerance.” He used his real voice for that.
“Just don’t abuse it.”
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