Unbroken

Interlude One: The Poet and the Painter

© 2000 by Sofía 'Toffee' Francisco

This page was last modified: 2000/07/19


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Since I could remember, people's eyes were always easy to read. It was just a matter of looking at them and knowing what they felt. I wasn't sure whether this was good or bad...it just was.

But my teacher...

Ganymede was the one person I could never quite figure out. Whenever I looked at him, it was like looking into a blank space, not hollow, but hidden. There was only one thing I knew for sure: he, too, read eyes.

I often wondered what it was he thought or felt, why he was the way he was. I could count with my fingers the times I had seen him smile, and not one of them had had the slightest echo of joy in his eyes.

Cold.

That was the best way to define him, frozen from within. He was never violent in his teachings, nor passionate. He instructed me with the calm determination of someone who was fulfilling a duty; so I knew I meant nothing to him.

Everything was nothing to him.

I am not sure when it began... or why. I am not even sure if there is, was or will be reason for my existence ever. Life was a fact humans took for granted, yet for me, it was agony. I would spend my nights awake, trembling with fear in my bed, wondering why I had come to exist. The scent of red wine, of dried flowers and cheap perfumes... all those things lingered on at night as my mother's cries echoed in the house. Those nights no one was there for me, whatever pain I felt it was mine alone. In the mornings I could pretend nothing had happened, and I would stay out of the place I called "home" until sundown, when I was forced to return due to hunger and cold. And then the nights were always the same, and my life seemed more meaningless than ever...

So I ran away.

One night I simply didn't come back. I wandered along the streets, lost and bound nowhere in particular. People passed me by as they would pass any stray cat, and I walked on and on, trying to get as far away from what had once been my home as I could. I do not know for how long I went on like this, it must have been for days, but at some point the hunger and exhaustion won over me and I passed away. When I woke up I was sitting on someone's lap, my head on this person's shoulder. I was rather big for a seven year old, but the stranger didn't seem to mind.

Yet I found I didn't really like being held... no one had ever picked me up or coddled me, not ever; getting this unknown affection from a complete stranger pulled the wrong cords in me. It made want to cry.

I leapt off the warm lap and landed on my feet, turning to look at the person that had helped me with a hostile expression. I didn't really want to be helped, death was better than this.

"Is it now?" The stranger's soft voice chilled me oddly, even more so when I realised that he had known what I was thinking. I would have ran away... but something in his eyes forced me to stay.

"There is no reason for me to be here." I told him, hating the childish pitch my age gave me.

"That is not a good enough reason to die. How can you have a reason to die if you don't even have one to live?" He asked me softly, crossing his legs elegantly.

I wanted to answer back, but I could think of nothing. The man stood up and straightened his grey jacket thoughtfully. I gazed at him in wonder... his skin was warm golden tan; his eyes, only slightly slanted, were the colour of dark storm clouds; and his hair, like nothing I had ever seen, seemed to be made of fine tendrils of silky silver, curling around his face and down his back like a weave of magic.

"So you have no reason to die?" I shook my head as answer and cast my eyes to the ground. The tall man took a step towards me and I felt his eyes on me. "Then come with me, child."

I looked up sharply, afraid and confused. He regarded me critically and crossed his arms.

"Come with you? But...where?" I did not know what he meant, or why. He just stood there analysing me as he would do with a colourful butterfly on display.

"Does it matter where? Come with me and find something to do with your life. If it's so worthless even you don't want it... why not put it to a better use than beggary?" He shrugged as if all he said was really unimportant, and stared at me. His eyes, like huge moons, seemed to swallow up the sky whole.

"Are you giving me the chance to find a reason to live?" I asked, and bit my lip as soon as I had said it, taking it for a foolish thing to inquire. The man shrugged again.

"Perhaps a good reason to die... but it will be better than this, no?" I nodded and breathed in deeply. The man huffed, sounding satisfied with my answer and knelt before me, staring deep into my eyes.

"What is your name, child?" He demanded of me in a polite tone of voice, yet he sounded so uninterested he could have been asking about the weather.

"Gabriel." I replied softly.

The tall man got up and bit his lip absently, as if wasn't event there. For a few minutes I wondered if he had even heard me. "That is a good enough name. I am Ganymede, Aquarius Ganymede, child."

"Oh." I could think of nothing else to say. Ganymede shook himself slightly and gave me a long look. Then he began to walk away, a few metres ahead he turned and raised an eyebrow.

"Aren't you coming?" I opened my mouth to answer, then shut it in confusion.

Where did this man want to take me? Out of here? Faraway? And what did he want of me... why was he telling me all this, and doing all this for me... yet... something told me he wasn't really doing it for me. It was almost like a duty... but where would he take me, I had never been out of France before... and I knew no other language than French. Ganymede sighed and put his hands on his sides, glaring at me.

"Does it matter where I take you? From the moment you said yes, your life was no longer your own." Somehow, that statement should have bothered me more than it did.

That was how I met my teacher, and how I came to be enrolled in the lines of the saints of Athena. From that day on my life became an endless cycle of fighting and learning. I did not really care. Since I had been born I had been ignored and cast away, and now there was something for me to do, however strange. It was a way of living, and it gave me a purpose... not something to live for... but something to be. In the first weeks I was forced to learn at least five languages and an incredible amount of mythologies and religions. I came to enjoy such teachings; I realised I yearned to learn more and more each day, having been taught practically nothing up to then.

And when Ganymede thought I was ready he simply picked me up one day and, in a flash of light, took us both to the place he called "Sanctuary". That was where my training began in earnest.

And that was where things began to complicate themselves.

Despite my teacher's cold attitude, from the moment we arrived he spent all his time with another man, Scorpio Blood.

Blood was a tall man, with hair coloured like his namesake, and eyes like pale blue hurricanes of secret emotions. He was like nothing I had ever seen, aloof, charming, violent, passionate, cheerful, powerful... he was a mystery from head to toes. And so utterly different from Ganymede I could not understand why they were so close. But it wasn't Blood that really upset me, it was his pupil.

It was not that I disliked Milo... I liked him too much. I had never had any friends, and Milo's open and friendly way towards me won me over from the first day. He was everything I would never be, and so alive that being with him warmed me like nothing ever could before. Yet I saw him only when we visited Sanctuary, the rest of my training took place in the cold plains of Siberia, where for miles and miles all I could see were the endless plains of snow.

During those times Ganymede was always calmly cold and detached. He took me out every morning and told me what to do, and then he would sit on a small mound and take out some pencils and a sketchbook. I would break my fists against mountainous formations of ice while he drew the landscape around us.

I had never seen any of his drawings, but it didn't take a genius to know how they would be: cold, lonely and sad. That was the very essence of my teacher, and it was all he would ever be.

But the question was... why?

There were things he knew I longed to understand, things that I feared would make me like him. Dead from within.

Yet, every three months or so he would get up one morning and tell me to get ready, we were going to Greece. After a few visits it became clear to me we went there because Ganymede had to see Blood, though I could not figure out why.

And then one day Milo came to me, on one of our many visits, and told me that he loved me. We had known each other for five years, during which time - I had to admit - we had grown very close. We trained together, talked, played and shared what little we had to give.

I just stared at him, unsure of what he wanted.

"Love?" I said, feeling unnerved by the intensity in my best friend's eyes, and he had nodded, and hugged me.

"I love you." He said again, his voice muffled by my hair. I shook my head and pulled away. He let me go, blue eyes burning, fearful, hopeful, determined.

"I... need to think." I saw pain in is eyes when he registered the cold tone of my voice, but there was nothing else for me to say.

Love?

That was something I had never considered, not even in my wildest dreams... for in my dreams it was where love appeared as my nightmare. Yet it was here now, and I felt nothing.

Looking back... I realised it had began when I was two years old. My mother walked along a narrow street, pulling my arm hard, wanting to make it back home before dark. I had always been big for my age, and smarter. My mother had never smiled at me, or kissed me. She was just there, pulling me about and out of the way as she saw fit. I had never even imagined that mothers should love you until that day, when we passed a small park... and I saw a woman cuddling her child.

It was so alien, and painful, I felt my eyes burn.

It was the first time I realised that my mother didn't love me.

But then... how could she?

By the time I was five I knew all there was to know. My childhood was spent on the streets by day, and in a whorehouse by night. I was well aware that I was not wanted, but my mother had a strange sense of duty. She had once, long ago, been a Catholic, so she could not bring herself to throw me away, but that did not stop her from making my life hell.

I remember the first and only time I felt inclined to help her, when I was three. Every night strange men came to our house, and then my mother would send me to my room. And after a while laughter would fade to those awful cries and gasps... and I was sure that these men hurt her... and I did not know why she allowed it. So one day I just got up and ran upstairs to where she was and went in.

My mother let out a cry of anger and tossed a bottle of perfume at me, but the man groaned and got off her... I still hope that someday I may be able to forget that scene. Of my mother, naked and furious as she clutched at the man's arm begging him not to go. He just pushed her off.

"It's enough with my own kids to have to bear a whore's." He told her harshly, and left.

I stood there at the doorway, and finally understood. But I had not time to apologise, my mother gained on me like a crazy animal and hit me until I lost consciousness. I woke up in my room, with another of my mom's friends by my side.

I think her name was Francesca, and she was a loud pretty Italian girl. She pressed a cold cloth to my forehead and sighed.

"He's awake Chantal." Ah... my mother's name. She came in through the door and pushed Francesca out without so much as a thank you. Then she turned to me and I saw the look of hatred in her eyes.

"Do you know how much you have cost me? It's not easy to get any clients with a brat running around the house! I thought I had told you to stay in your room!" She had never talked to me like a child... she knew I understood her perfectly. I thought of telling her how I had thought the man was hurting her... but I knew it would be of no use. She hated me.

So I just stared at her in sullen silence, like she was a screaming baby. Just like she had always treated me. Her eyes flared and she slapped me.

"Stop looking at me like he did! It's all your fault!" She cried, slapping me again. And when I kept on watching her in uncaring detachment she dropped to her knees like a wounded animal and sobbed. "If only you had never been born... he would still be here..."

I looked at her in silence.

"If only you didn't look so much like him..." Anger clouded her voice again... but she didn't hit me. She just got up and left.

We never talked to each other again.

After that night I began to spend my days out, and came back only to eat and sleep. Francesca always kept a warm plate of food for me, but never said anything. I think she was afraid of my mother. And from then on I would spend my nights under my sheets, trying to sleep while my mother made love to three or four men a night. Long ago she had loved someone, but my conception marked his departure. She loved that man, and he left her when he realised she was pregnant. Judging by my mother's youth I deduced she had eloped with him and when he left her all she could do was work as a prostitute.

Love had lead her to this... love had brought me to this world with the sole cause of making her life an agony, and mine a lie.

When I turned nine and no one remembered it was my birthday, I just got up from bed and got dressed, ready to walk out the door as always. Francesca was in the garden drying her clothes, my mother was nowhere to be seen.

I waved goodbye at her and did as I always did. Only, this time I never came back. I walked on and on for days until I knew no more.

And that was it.

Yet I could never run truly away, I soon found out. It was like living it over and over again. I would live my life by day... but at night... at night it was always my mother again. In an endless dream that took me back to where I had run away from... always.

That dream.

And now Milo said he loved me. Did he know what that meant? Did he know how useless love really was?

Yet, he was important to me, I didn't want to hurt him...

"Do you desire him?" Ganymede's unaffected voice shook me, confused as I was, after telling him the whole episode.

Did I desire him?

Milo was handsome, that much I knew, but...

"No." I replied, and Ganymede smiled sadly.

"Do you love him?" And this time 'something' flickered in the pale grey orbs of his eyes. I thought it over, calling up whatever emotion Milo evoked in me. Friendship, loyalty, sometimes anger, deep concern and care. I cared for him... but love?

"No." Whatever it was that had been there, in his eyes, was gone. I bowed my head.

"That is good." I looked up abruptly. Ganymede leaned forward and took my face in his hands, his eyes boring into mine. "You would have been only a passing fancy."

It angered me suddenly that he thought so little of my friend's feelings... so little of me.

"I could learn to love him." His fingers went cold, and their grip became hard and painful.

"You are a fool if you do, you will never be more than a toy to him." I wanted to scream at him, to demand he take that back, but the coldness in his eyes had vanished and he was looking at me with pain.

Pain...

That was when I realised that he knew something I did not, or more accurately, there was more to my teacher than he let it be known... and that even though I could not see into him; he read me through.

Deep within me I still held some hope in the future of the human race, so I still believed that love would not always end in pain. Yet, I could not take Milo. The dream haunted my nights, making the idea of love impossible to me... at least for now. And Milo was so alive and passionate, he needed someone who could correspond to this. Also, our friendship meant too much to me, for it to be crushed by a broken relationship, no... I would only hurt him.

Only hurt him.

"I'm sorry... I don't love you." His eyes widened and then glazed over, anger and pain taking over.

"How can you say that!? After all we have done together! I thought... I thought I was important to you!" He was furious, and deeply hurt. I breathed in deeply, and spoke to him gently.

"You are... You are the most important person in my life. But I don't love you." He looked at me a bit more calmly then. "I can't love you."

This took him off guard. He shook his head in bewilderment. "I don't understand... Gabriel, why not?"

"I just can't." He sighed and bit his lip, I saw tears glimmering in his eyes.

"But I am important." He murmured.

"Yes." He looked up then, and searched my face, almost desperately.

"Will we still be friends?" He sounded so afraid... I could only smile.

"Always." I told him, and on some strange compelling feeling, I hugged him. "Always, I promise."

He did try once more time, a few weeks later, but I told him the same things once again. The next day Ganymede decided it was time to go back to Siberia.

It was there that things began to fall into place. Ganymede seemed somewhat bothered when we left, and he did not propose to go back to Greece for the next five months. And then, one day, Blood showed up at our doorstep. My teacher gave him a cold unfeeling look and ordered me to go outside, and start today's training. He gripped his sketchbook a bit tighter and tried to walk past Blood, but he stood in Ganymede's way.

"Can I see your drawings?" Blood gave him a strangely sad look

"Why did you come here?" A soft wind danced around, lifting a few stray snowflakes.

"I brought you a present. It's your birthday today, am I wrong?" My teacher's face darkened, his eyes flashing between anger and indifference.

"Why?" He asked again, his knuckles turning white on the sketchbook.

Blood's smile faded, and his eyes acquired a trembling glow. "Because I need you."

Ganymede stared at him for a few minutes, and finally turned back and opened the door for him to come in, Blood shivered and stepped in with a smile. Then my teacher turned to me and gave me one of his unreadable looks.

"Go and train. Come back at night." And he closed the door.

I spent all day working out under the rolling clouds, practising some fighting techniques and trying to control my growing cosmo. When sundown came I stopped and jogged back to the house.

I opened the door silently, and I would have announced my arrival, had not I heard something completely unexpected then.

"Answer me!" Ganymede's voice... screaming.

"What do you want me to answer!? It's just a present!" Blood sounded almost despaired. I licked my lips, unsure of what to do.

"A present! Fine! Then tell me... what was the colour of her eyes!" My teacher had never sounded so furious... so caught up in any emotion.

"Why do you ask me that! It's just a haiku, Ganymede, please!" I could hear them pacing in the upper floor, and recognised the sound of my teacher's soft leather boots stomping in anger.

"Then answer me! Or did you write it for her originally?" I heard the hurt tone in Ganymede's voice, and it amazed me. What could force my tranquil and heartless teacher into this?

"Do you really believe I would do that?" Blood's voice dropped to a whisper, with a cutting edge that made my heart skip a beat in fear. I had no idea the Scorpio saint could sound so dangerously angered.

"What is the colour of her eyes, Blood?" Again Ganymede's voice, only this time, there was such pain dancing upon each word I gasped. What on earth was going on?

And then footsteps sounded, angrily going down the stairs. Blood appeared at the foot of the stairs, his eyes burning with rage. He gave me a violent look; warning me not to say anything, and pranced out of the house, slamming the door behind him. I stood there for a while, and when I turned back to the stairs, Ganymede was there. I was afraid he would lash out on me for having heard their conversation, but he only gave me a dark look.

"Teacher?" He sighed and gestured for me to come with him. He led me into the kitchen and sat down beside the stove.

"This is one of the many reasons why you should never have anything to do with Milo. He is Scorpio, just like Blood, and we will never be anything more than an interesting way to spend time for them." He sighed and shrugged, once again becoming his frozen, more collected self. I hadn't known he could be otherwise.

"Why are you even with him if..." He gave me such a hostile look I could not finish the sentence.

"That is of no importance." He answered. I realised he was holding a piece of paper, he had been holding it all along. When he saw I was looking at it he handed it to me.

I took at and read it. "What is it?"

"A haiku. A Japanese style of poetry." Now that I thought it over, I realised that more than once I had heard other saints refer to Blood as 'the Poet', yet I had never made the connection.

"It's... very beautiful." What could I say?

"I would have thought so too, if he had told me the colour of Morgana's eyes." I looked up, startled by this seeming non sequitur. "Blood's lover. She was a runway trainee. Physically we were very alike... and as his lover he should have seen her face."

"You are angry because you think he gave you a poem written for her?" Ganymede gave me a wan smile and sighed.

"What kind of a present would it be if that were true?" Once again, I had no answer. I simply handed the page back to him.

"But Milo... would not be like that." I felt I had to stand up for my friend, somehow.

"No? How long has it been? About six months... well, did you know that your friend is Gemini Saga's lover right now?" I felt a stab of pain. Already someone else?

I was not angry at him for falling in love again... but it was rather offending to find out that his feelings for me had been so easily removed.

"It is... indeed." I winced, having forgotten how good at reading minds my teacher was.

"Why didn't you read his mind to find out if it was for her?" I gave him a long look, trying to understand what went on behind his eyes. Ganymede laughed.

"He is a Gold Saint. I am not good enough to see through him." He shrugged then, and got up from the chair he sat on. "Anyway... I'll announce we are going to visit him next week. There's no use in mulling over what I already know."

I wanted to ask him... why?

Only now had I realised that my teacher and Milo's were lovers. But why? How could Ganymede had given in to such a thing, when he was so cold inside? All the things he spoke of, about the nature of Aquarius and our detachment... why would he accept to sleep with Blood then?

Even when he was only the replacement of Blood's lost lover?

Why?

But we left for Sanctuary nonetheless. And, just as he had said, Milo was with Saga. He spent most of his free time with the older Saint, so I got to see very little of him. Yet that gave me time to catch many rumours I would have preferred not to know.

"He is double crossing you." I told Milo firmly, when at last he agreed to meet me. I could see the resentment in his eyes. Towards my words and me.

"You are just angry that I got over you so fast." Offence was and would always be Milo's best defence; and I was thankfully used to it.

"Either you think very highly of yourself, or very little of me. I am telling you this as a friend." I informed him, allowing only the slightest worry to filter into my voice.

Milo's eyes narrowed and he crossed his arms. "Saga loves me, and I don't care what you think."

So.

There was no point on arguing with him, he was too enamoured with this man to believe any word I said. I just let it pass and let him be. Once I began behaving like I found it passable, he conceded to be my friend again. I could not say how much this angered me, but I let it pass, too.

Ganymede's words were too true; I had been warned.

That night, when I arrived back at the hut, Blood was nowhere to be seen. But Ganymede... he sat on a chair, looking out the window, tracing a few odd lines into his sketchbook, almost absently.

He had been crying.

"We are going back tomorrow, say your goodbyes." His voice sounded hollow.

"Teacher?" I took a step towards him.

"Don't ask."

I did not know it, but that was the last time I would ever meet Milo as Gabriel. The boy I had been up to then died soon after we returned to Siberia. He died when I became a saint. The day began as all others, but there was something different. The sketchbook. Ganymede didn't bring it along.

When I asked him about it he shrugged and led me further away from the house. We walked for quite a while in silence, and then he asked me to start repeating to him, verbally, all I had been taught up to now. When I was done he nodded absently and stopped walking, turning to face me.

"I have taught you all I know." It was so sudden, so out of the blue, I could only stare at him.

"Teacher?" He lifted his hand to hush me.

"I am no longer your teacher, Gabriel. From this point on you teach yourself." And then he gathered himself up and leapt over me, landing a good ten metres away. "And now, you will fight me."

"WHAT!?" I exclaimed, completely taken aback. But he gave me no answer, he just flared his cosmo and attacked.

That as good an answer as any.

I dodged the blow, and used the Diamond Dust attack. It was a basic technique and he stopped it with his open palms.

"You will have to do better than this!" He warned me, and fell upon me, this time really using all his powers as a Gold Saint. What surprised me was that I found I could very well keep up with him.

I dodged some blows and stopped the others, pushing in my own offensive between his attacks. Ganymede smiled, a cruel violent smile.

"Very good." He murmured and attacked again, more viciously. Suddenly, it was like he was taking it all out on me, all his hatred, all his desperation, all the emotions he had kept in check up to now.

He was giving up... all his...

Love?

I clasped my hands above my head, ready to use the final attack he had taught me, to prove to him I was ready. I was strong enough now... I could survive on my own.

On my own.

Alone?

I concentrated my cosmo, and saw him smile again and mimic my posture, ready to put his Aurora Execution to test with mine. Who was the strongest now? The teacher or the student?

I felt the power coursing through me... and something else... faraway. I did not have time to pay attention to it... my life was on the line here. I had to live... to live.

I didn't have a reason to die... and I would find one good enough to live.

I would.

"Aurora Execution!" I let all the power flow, becoming a ray of such cold energy it froze the air around us, and headed straight towards Ganymede.

In my mind I had imagined him to have let his attack go, too... but he hadn't. In the fraction of the second I saw this... and saw him as my blow came onto him... I saw his eyes widen, tremble as if seized by some terrible pain... then he dropped his arms and let it come.

And he was down.

"Ganymede!" I cried, not understanding what had happened. Why hadn't he attacked, too? Why had he opened himself to death like that...?

I reached him, and knelt on the snow beside him. The blow had been so violent there was blood on his chest and on his mouth. His lips moved numbly as he struggled to say something. I put a hand under his neck and gathered him up, leaning his frozen body on my chest.

"Ganymede?" I whispered, feeling tears sting my eyes, I did not know why. I had never imagined myself crying over him. Ganymede touched his chest, and lifted his hand, staring at the bright crimson stains.

"Blood..." He whispered, and then tears fell down his cheeks. "Blood..." He let out a small sob and hid his face in my chest, his hand falling to the ground. I simply stayed like that...

And understood.

All this time... all these years... Ganymede...

It was for love.

And then I realised something else... that strange faraway power I had felt, had been Milo's. I extended my awareness, and found him, alive and powerful. Yet Blood, was dead.

I could not hold my tears back as I understood why my teacher had given up. He had always loved Blood, and he had always known that Blood did not love him back. And still he stayed, and still he loved.

And now, upon feeling Blood's death, he had given up.

"Ganymede..." I looked at him, at his tearstained cheeks and his trembling eyes, seeing right through them at last.

And then he died.

I stood there for a long time... watching his white hair, and white clothes grow red as his blood flowed out and onto the snow. All that love... for what?

Oh... I could see it now. Maybe others could love... but never us.

This had been his final weakness. Such passion had been his death; Aquarius could not love.

We could not.

And then, as I accepted my destiny, it was sealed and delivered. My teacher's cloth appeared in front of me and in a flash of blinding golden light it covered me. The cold power flowed through my soul like a river of ice, and I was a Saint.

A Gold Saint.

I gave Ganymede's body one last look and picked it up. I found a spot secluded enough where no one would bother his sleep, and buried him there. After some thought I went back to the house and walked up the stairs.

The sketchbook was on his bedside table. I picked it up, and a piece of paper fell.

I didn't have to pick it up to know what it was.

I bent down, retrieved the haiku, and read it once again...

Who had this been written for? Ganymede would never know now... and it didn't really matter did it? He would have kept on loving him no matter what. He was a fool.

I walked back to where I had buried him, and stopped abruptly when I saw a figure standing there in front of Ganymede's grave.

I clutched the sketchbook and walked cautiously towards the stranger. It was a woman. I could tell by the way she stood. But she was covered completely under a long white cape that billowed in the wind, holding a basket in her hands.

I stopped a few steps away and she shifted, and faced me. The hood of her cape fell away to reveal long waves of hair like moonlight, that flared around her face as the wind tossed the silver strands around.

I took a step back, a creeping feeling sneaking up my spine. And then she moved the hair away from her face in an almost casual gesture, and looked at me.

Her eyes... were purple.

"Morgana." It was her, no doubt. But why hadn't I felt her?

The woman looked at me, her eyes glimmering with unshed tears.

"He never saw my face... no one did..." She spoke softly, so sadly it made me shudder. "Blood wrote it for him."

And then she was gone...

As I headed back towards the house I realised that something had changed... I no longer held any hopes in love... or our future. But that was the way I should be, right? I would keep on seeing the dream forever, and things would always be like this. That was when I realised that my self, as Gabriel, was dead.

I don't really know why I chose the name Camus... it was the only one I could think of right then, and it sounded all right. The name didn't really matter, I would be who I was regardless of what they called me. Milo knew something was different, but he let it be, not wanting to ask more.

Or not knowing how.

When the Kyoko inquired about my teacher I told him, very simply, that he had died.

One thing I knew though... I could not tell Milo the truth... he knew nothing of it... and it was better that way. I prayed that at least he could understand the truth about himself on his own. Our natures were different, and he lived of that that I had to deny. But my friendship survived Gabriel's death, so I renewed my promise to be there for him, always.

A few months later he showed up at my house in Siberia, and asked me if he could stay for a while.

He stayed a long time.

"Sky tear touches leaf,
green it shines now, soon to fade;
like all things...someday."
-Scorpio Blood-

The End of Interlude 1: The Poet and the Painter -- Continued in Part Four: Camus


Author's Endnote:

Toffee speaks: Hey! I'm certainly making the best of my winter holidays! I wrote this whole thing on the first day! *pants* But I need a rest now! ^_^; I hope all you people out there liked it, and that I finally cleared most of the questions that were still dancing around my story! See ya!


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