Wolf's Rain Fan Fiction ❯ Signs Of Paradise ❯ Burial Rights ( Chapter 5 )
Disclaimer: I don't own Wolf's Rain
ch-san: Sorry it took so long, guys! I know this was a crazy long time to wait, and I'm sorry. See, life has been SOOOOOOO crazy. Somethin' happened to a close family member, and all this other junk, so I've been runnin' around like a chicken with my head cut off. But I'm really trying! Honest! Don't hurt me *cringes in fright of flamers*
"Miss Ayume? The body has been examined and is now being shipped to the coroner," the police sergeant informed her. He handed her a slip of paper with the address on it. The tired, battered female looked up at him through her midnight-colored hair. Her eyes were dark with worry.
"Thank you," she murmured. He scratched his head.
"You seem awfully beat, miss. You should go home and rest." Ayume nodded solemnly. She stood and smoothed the wrinkles out of her royal purple coat. The four boys stood with her. The policeman looked at the men, more confused than ever.
"Are these your brothers…?" he asked, bewildered. Kiba, to everyone's surprise, linked arms with Ayume.
"Not quite," he responded, and led her out of the station with the other three pack members. When they were a safe distance away, he slipped his arm out of hers and shoved his hands into his jeans' pockets. Ayume glanced at him curiously, but he was staring resolutely ahead. A noncommittal noise formed in his throat. She looked away.
"So how're we gonna pay for a funeral?" Hige asked, breaking the silence.
"We aren't," Ayume stated.
"Hey, I thought you said we were gonna bury the old man! Why the hell are we going to all of this trouble if we aren't gonna bury him?!" Tsume growled.
"I said we weren't going to pay. I never said we weren't going to bury him!" she snarled. They fell silent again.
When they reached the morgue, the males hesitated. Ayume stopped, turning to them with a curious glimmer in her eyes.
"What is it?" she asked.
"Do you really want us to go in with you?" Hige wondered, quickly catching himself. "What I mean is, wouldn't you rather get the body on your own, since he was your human, after all." Ayume looked at her feet.
"Oh, I see," she mumbled, turning on her heels and slowly entering the dimly lit building. It was a large, one roomed building with many coffins on display in the center of it. No one seemed to be there.
"Hello?" Ayume called. A hand reached out and rested on her shoulder. She shrieked and spun around. It was only Kiba.
"Oh my God, Kiba, you scared me!" she gasped. He gave her a smile, but it was not a happy one.
"Is anyone here?" he called to the silence. A wheezing cough rang out from their left side. Kiba instinctively pushed Ayume back behind him. They stared intently at the shadows and waited for the thing to stop coughing. When it did not, they began to grow impatient.
"Show yourself!" Kiba barked. Out of the darkness, a bent man with numerous wrinkles cascading down his face dragged himself into the dim light of the parlor. He had a twisted smile plastered on his ancient face, revealing many crooked, yellowed teeth. The graying, frayed, moth-eaten suit he wore matched the color of his sparse hair. A mad glint was in his eyes. It was barely detectable, but it was strong enough to put the two on edge.
"Ah, my dear wolves!" he rasped, extending his arms in a frightening welcome. Kiba stepped back a space, forcing Ayume to step too.
"How the hell-?" he wondered.
"Did I know? Ah, you see, I know everything and nothing at all!" the old man cackled.
"Where's the body that the police just shipped here?" Ayume implored. "I really need it, sir!" The man scuttled up to her with astonishing speed. His crooked nose was only inches from her own.
"Ah, a she-wolf! Curious…" he muttered. Kiba shoved the man, knocking him to the ground, as he stepped in front of Ayume.
"Quit playing games, old man," he growled. The ancient figure stared up at him in a combination of shock and mild amusement.
"The body you seek is in back. I shall show it to you, yes?" He pulled himself upright and limped off to a set of doors near the far corner of the room. The two wolves followed. The man pushed the ancient doors open with a loud creak. Dust billowed out at them. They coughed and waved it away from their faces. The old man hardly seemed to notice as he flicked on a light. There, in the center of the room, was a black coffin. Ayume slid past Kiba and trotted over to it. Sure enough, lying on a bed of silk in an unfamiliar suit, was Hideki. She gasped and turned away.
"It is him, then?" the old man grinned. She nodded. "Good! Then it will be five thousand dollars for the coffin and twenty for the suit." Ayume closed her eyes and rested her elbows on the coffin.
"I only came for the body, sir. We don't want the coffin, and you can return his old clothes." The old man almost had a heart attack. He was coughing and wheezing in anger.
"What? You insolent little pup! You cannot bury him as if he was a fallen wolf! He is human! He needs a coffin and all the rest!"
"I only …want the body, sir."
"Well, you can't have it!" he rasped. She took a long, deep breath. When she was ready to respond, she felt someone next to her. Kiba leaned over the side of the coffin, his side gently brushing her arm. In an almost liquid manner, he slid Hideki's body out of the black mouth and flung it over his shoulder.
"We're taking the body," he snapped, "and there's nothing you can do about it. So I suggest you move, old man." The stooped elder twitched with rage, but let them pass. They left the morgue in a tense silence. When they were outside, they relaxed just a little bit. Toboe, Hige, and Tsume were sitting next to the blackened door. They stood when the others came out.
"So you got the body," Hige stated.
"Yeah," Kiba muttered, passing it to Tsume, who reluctantly placed it over his own shoulder.
"Who'd you have to kill to get it?" he asked, shifting the body around until he found the best place to hold on to it.
"No one, surprisingly," Kiba almost chuckled. Ayume directed her attention to the leather-clad male.
"Tsume, I want to carry him to the graveyard." Her matter-of-factness threw him off.
"You're not strong enough," he concluded after an abrupt silence.
"That doesn't matter. I want to carry him. He was my master. I have that one right at least, don't I?" They stared at each other, and with more reluctance than he had accepted the body with, Tsume placed it on her lithe shoulders. She grunted under the weight, but glared at any of them when they tried to take the body away from her. Resignedly, they set off.
The graveyard was a quarter of a mile away, sitting neatly behind a white washed church. Hillock after hillock of gravestones rolled on and on behind the little chapel, giving the illusion that it was a sea of the dead. They walked in without any hesitation, but made sure they didn't step on anyone. After walking for another quarter of a mile, the illusion that it went on forever started to become a reality.
"How much farther?" Toboe asked. He was not at all tired, but he was worried about Ayume. She had shifted Hideki's body, which was much more massive than her own, onto her back so she could carry it better. Beads of sweat dripped off of her forehead, trickling down her face and neck to reside in the collar of her coat. She gritted her teeth.
"Oh, for the love of food, Ayume, let someone else carry him!" Hige grumbled. Tsume stepped behind her and attempted to lift the body up off her stooped back. She wheeled around, growling.
"No! He is mine to carry!" she panted. A quick tremor of worry went down the young male's spine. She was dripping with sweat, knees knocking with weakness, and eyes lined with fatigue. If she continued, she'd surely hurt herself.
"Ayume, this is crazy. Just let me take him. You're too weak. You haven't slept or eaten anything in a day."
"I'm fine!" she snapped. "Let's just keep going." They did, but walked a little slower than they had been. Just when Ayume was sure her legs were going to give out, they stopped.
"The graves stop here," Kiba said. "We can bury him now. Ayume, I want you to rest. Go over there and sit; We'll dig the grave." She nodded once and plodded over to a little patch of grass where she instantly fell to her knees. `I did it, Hideki,' she thought as she slid his body off onto the green next to her. `I carried you here… all on my own…' She smiled, her fingers straying over his cold forehead, pushing back strands of hair that had fallen into his face. The corpse did not make a motion, but had she expected it to? `Almost,' she dreamed bitterly. The feeling of eyes watching her bored into her skull. She glanced up. Kiba had halted his digging and was staring at her intently. Quickly he directed his gaze back to his job.
The four male wolves dug until dusk. The sky was a merciless blood red; a light drizzle of rain fell from the city's own personal rain cloud. It was nature's eulogy. Ayume lifted the damp corpse and laid it down in the deep, fresh hole that the men had dug. Only rain trickled down her face, for she was all parched of tears. She was bent over the body; plaits of her dark, damp hair swayed around her face.
"Hideki," she gasped over the distant roll of thunder, "If you only knew how much you meant to me. You saved me from a fate worse than death. You nursed me back to health. You loved me when no one else did. And I never told you what I felt. I never got the chance to tell you that you were the father I never had. My savior. Oh Hideki… what I wouldn't give for you to hear my words…If only you knew…" Her voice was strained and wavering. Toboe crouched down next to her.
"He knows. I'm sure he knows," he consoled, placing a hand on her back. She sniffed and nodded.
"Thank you, Toboe." He shrugged and half-smiled. They stood and, with the help of the other three, pushed the loose earth on top of the corpse.