A Nervous Gesture



None of this belongs to me. Weiß is property of Koyasu-san and other important people. The poem The Sick Rose belongs to William Blake. Thank you and don't sue me! I have no money anyways. *_*

Filth, cold and dark.
Enveloped in red.
Nothing was shining.
Forever empty.
Bleeding silence.
Air so thick.
Memories stolen.

It wouldn't fit. He tried again, pushing and twisting, harder this time. And again, but it still didn't work. Those limp limbs kept popping out of the metal garbage can like the sudden shattering of a light bulb. Almost as if they had a mind of their own. But how could that be? There wasn't any life left in these bodies. He had made sure of that. So then, why weren't they fitting?

In the black shadows painted with the moon, he could see the slow trail of red drip off one white arm, splashing onto the dirty asphalt. Those drops surrounded a stay cigarette butt and flowed over an empty book of matches. Life was spilling around him. It didn't matter. It was already filthy. Why should he care? But he did. Too much.

Again he tried to force it all together into the can. To make it organized in the midst of all the disorganization. To show that he did care. No one cared that he cared because it didn't work. Nothing helped. Nothing. Always nothing for the one who took life. For the killer.

Finally he was able to create the blaze and watched the flames dance, sucking away the bodies, the empty shells. Slowly, everything began to melt. The laughing fire, the awkward arms and legs, the stained clothing, the murky night. Especially the murky night. It faded into one giant picture of blankness. All he could see was that crimson liquid, softly dripping. Airily swirling into the night, colder than the winds of chance. Nothing was left but this. This moment, frozen forever on strands of red. Strands of the night. Faster and colder it curled, fragments of torn memories and frail realities.

Dripping endlessly, this icy liquid.
A night that never dies.
Nothing other than.
But why?.
This was all.
All and never.
It closed on him, harder.
Like a frosty claustrophobia.
This red.
Not chosen.
But still.

The faint chirping of a sparrow woke Ken. Languidly, he blinked up at the ceiling, listening to the sounds of the bird. It was shrill but not unpleasant. It soothed him for some reason, though he didn't need to be soothed. At least he didn't think he did. Or did he?

He liked this little birdsong. He didn't mind it. He didn't mind birds, either. He didn't mind much of anything, actually. Anything was fine with him. He was able to adjust. That was just the type of person he was.

His bare feet sank onto the cold floor as he rose. The bird stopped its song. That saddened him just a little. He rather liked it. He cast a glance out the window, in the hopes of seeing the little bird as he reached for the towel that was carelessly slung on the back of his chair from its last use. But he saw nothing, only the grey sky that threatened rain. The bird was gone.

Sighing, he headed for his bathroom but stopped when he noticed a burgundy leather bound object lying on the floor near the corner of his desk

It must have fallen off, he thought as he picked up the book and carefully found the page he'd last been reading. As he slid the tattered paper bookmark deep into the page, random phrases from the text jumped out at him.

The kind of night that flowed like a viscous shroud
Before my eyes, her silver life spilled out into the black
Memories ripped away, leaving behind a broken soul.

He hastily shut the book and thrust it onto his desk, his fingers trembling. The cover gleamed in the morning light, screaming at him. What was it? It was only a stupid book of poetry. Nothing more. So why did those stupid sentences shake him so much? Why did they make his breath quicken and his heart race? Why did he feel all that old nervousness return?

"Baka," he muttered as he shakily hurried to the bathroom, his towel clutched tightly in his wobbling hand.

"Of all the goddamn jobs in goddamn Tokyo, we had to pose as goddamn botanists," Yohji muttered darkly as he sucked on his bleeding index finger. "Stupid flowers and stupid jerk who had to order 48 fucking roses. What the hell's wrong with givin' the chick just one?"

Omi looked over at him sympathetically, careful not to bring up the fact that whenever he went on a date he always gave his date at least a dozen roses. "You pricked your finger again, Yohji-kun?" he asked. "Why don't you wear your gloves?"

Yohji frowned as he struggled to wrap the huge bouquet of roses. "I couldn't find them. They weren't around when I got here this morning."

Ken listened idly to them as he watered the ferns. He had been the one who had taken Yohji's gloves. He had used them last night. They weren't good anymore, though. He had tried to clean the blood but it wouldn't come away. Stained forever. Never to be used again. Like burning bodies in a small garbage can. His hands shook. They hadn't stopped shaking since he had picked up Aya's book of poetry off the floor.

"I'm gonna tell ya this, Omi," Yohji began as he stuffed the roses into the wrapping paper and carelessly started to tie the whole thing with yellow and white ribbons. "Never give a chick a whole whack a' roses. She's bound to bloody herself up for sure. Go for the single rose. Works a helluva lot better. And the damn florist doesn't have to worry about bleeding to death." He scowled at the roses and cursed some more under his breath.

Omi nodded as he pruned a bougainvillea, silent for a couple of minutes. He was unable to resist. "Then why did you give that blond girl a whole bunch of roses last week?" he blurted out.

"It's so obvious," Yohji drawled out, looking down at Omi through his blue tinted shades with a pitying expression on his face. "Those were carnations."

"No they weren't."

"Yes they were."

"They most certainly were not Yohji-kun."

He frowned. "Learn to listen to your elders Omi."

"But they were roses," he insisted. "'Cause right after you left, Ken-kun recited a rose poem. The one by Blake." He looked over at him with big eyes. "Right Ken-kun?"

"Right," he replied, as he watched the water steep into the brown soil. The fern was taking the water deep inside, into itself. So quick. All for the sake of life. Life. Too precious.

"Oh rose, thou art sick!" he recited quietly, watching the fern drink the water.

"The invisible worm
That flies in the night,
In the howling storm..." he trailed off, unable to remember the rest.

"Wasn't there another verse?" Omi asked as he tossed a pile of brown leaves into the garbage can. The garbage can. His eyes were fixed on it. It looked like the one from last night. A funny thing, these cans were. Used to store waste. To keep what was not of value. To discard. There were dead leaves in this one. There had been dead people in the other one. They weren't of use anymore. That's how simple it was. Or how simple it should be. But it wasn't...

His head pounded sharply. One trembling hand pressed against his temple. Keep from dissolving into nervousness. Keep from falling apart. Keep from splitting open.

"What about you Aya-kun?" Omi asked. "Do you remember the other verse?" He smiled happily, his eyes bright and full of optimism. "This poem is one of my favorites. It's so cool!"

Aya peeked out from behind a row of African violets that he'd been attending to. His eyes seemed like violets themselves. The same shade of deep purple, with matching intensity.

"Oh rose, thou art sick!" he started quietly and somewhat sadly.

"The invisible worm
That flies in the night,
In the howling storm,

Has found out thy bed
Of crimson joy,
And his dark secret love
Does thy life destroy."

"Sugoi Aya-kun!!!" Omi cried, clapping joyously, dead leaves raining from his hands. "That was awesome!!!"

Even Yohji was impressed. "Hey, this stuff is rich!" he exclaimed, pushing up his shades. "I've gotta remember this stuff for my next date. What was that bit about the rose again?"

Ken moved away from the swallowing ferns and their happy chatter, to the peonies in the corner. His mouth tasted stale. Minty stale. It was the result of having brushed his teeth eight times. It was a silly habit of his, brushing his teeth whenever he was nervous or stressed. Brushing them a lot. And now his mouth tingled, almost ached with that musty freshness.

He swallowed convulsively, trying desperately to get rid of that sour aftertaste. He could see the foamy green paste clot in the sink, feel it drown in his mouth, cutting off his air. Again and again as he sought to relieve his anxiety. So silly. Like arms and legs that just won't say put. Like blood that weeps incessantly. Like a life that always dies. Suffocating toothpaste.

Quickly his hands set down the water jug. They were shaking. Violently. They wouldn't stop. Frantically, he began to pull the sleeves of his dark blue top over his hands. Something to stop the shaking. Anything to anchor down all these fleeting emotions. His nervousness was returning.

His body began to shiver as he pulled harder at his sleeves, stretching at the material. His hands automatically twisted the sleeves, violently as his breathing grew harsh. His hands still shook horribly as he gasped for air. His head pounded. He needed to focus. Forget all the nonsense and pull at his sleeves. Something was happening to him. He had to stop...breath.

Those dark green eyes agitatedly sought for something to keep his gaze on, for something to calm him. His gaze was snatched by a blood-red dahlia. That red color. He knew it, remembered it. And he loathed it. Loathed himself. All those people. Laid waste, among that red. What did they deserve? Why should he dispel it? He was nothing. A nobody. Just a killer.

The red flowers seemed to accuse him, knowing what he had done. They knew what he had taken. Everything was oppressive. The wall were closing around him. They wanted to crush him, he knew that. His claustrophobia was returning. He had mastered his fear so long ago but now... it was like an elevator. So small, so cramped. Everything was staring at him. He couldn't bear it. His sleeves would rip.

He whirled around and promptly smashed into Aya. He wanted to apologize, his mouth even opening. But that stale mint in his mouth...it hurt. His hands were still as they pulled at his sleeves. Air was leaving him. The door. Only over there. The walls chased him. He fled.

"What the hell was that all about?" Yohji wondered, lighting a cigarette. "I know this job's shit and all and the good Lord knows how much I wanna bust outta here but - "

"Ken-kun did seem a little off today," Omi remarked thoughtfully, looking at Aya. "Last night did he...?"

Aya nodded. "I'll make sure that he's alright."

Aya left and Omi got back to work... until he noticed Yohji. "Um, Yohji-kun? I don't think that spider plant is going to fit in that pot. It's too small and the roots need..."

"Don't be stupid," Yohji scoffed, showering dirt everywhere as he tried to squeeze the plant into the little pot. "With a little bit of deft maneuvering and some expert botanist Kudo Yohji creativity, this plant will be potted in no time. Potted like a potted fern, I'd say. It's like a woman, Omi. Bit of careful cunning followed by my obvious charms and witty, urbane manner and the chicks are hooked. Hook, line and sinker!!!"

Omi watched him, silently scoffing. Hook, line, and sinker indeed. The plant wasn't gonna fit no matter how much "expert botanist Kudo Yohji deft maneuvering" he employed. Women were one thing, but plants? Forget it. He just didn't have the knack.

Ten minutes later.

"Oh bugger..."

Omi tried not to laugh.

Like a passing dream, the wind shrieked. There was ice in it and he didn't have a jacket. It was cold but that didn't matter. He was free. Free from the confined space and mocking plants. If only he could be free from the memories. Of all he had lost. Of all he had taken.

He yanked his sleeves over his frozen hands and rubbed at his face. Small snowflakes were glimmering in the air, signaling the approach of winter. He felt numb.

His thoughts took him back to that bird who had so sweetly woken him up this morning. He wondered if it was safe. Would it survive the freezing, cold winter? Would he survive?

"She used to tell me whenever it snowed that no two snowflakes were alike," Aya said quietly, walking beside him.

He was surprised to see Aya next to him, talking. Aya rarely ever talked of his beloved sister. Hell, he rarely ever talked even.

Ken did nod though, watching the tiny snowflakes fall onto his sleeves and then melt. "They die when they touch me, Aya. A thousand deaths in one second." He laughed, a hollow sound that concealed nothing. He couldn't hide behind humor and cheer. Not this time. "A thousand deaths from one person. Just one." He voice cracked and he could still taste Crest in his mouth.

Aya looked over at him, his eyes hooded and his expression guarded. "This is what we do. Our fate. It's not our choice to accept it, to like it. We simply must."

His eyes widened in disbelief as they stared at Aya. "How can you be so fucking cold?" he asked slowly, his rage rising. "You know those people last night? They had a daughter. She saw me, you know. Saw me and asked me to play with her." He laughed brokenly, dementedly. "She asked me to fucking play with her!!! And you're here talking about fate and all this bullshit. What about that girl? Do you think she's gonna understand that it's our fate and we had to kill her parents? How the fuck do we explain it to her?!"

Aya looked away. "Don't you think I know what it's like to lose family?" he whispered in a voice that seemed to hang on a spider's web. Frail and suspended.

Ken stopped, realizing what he had done. He hadn't thought about what he was saying and who he was saying it to. "Aya..."

"We all do what we must. This is why we've been put here. To do this job. But..." he trailed off, looking up at the sky, up at the raining snow. "Doing one's duty still doesn't make the pain lessen. It's always there, threatening to spill. I know it. And I know how much it hurts."

He shivered, snow falling onto his face. "So much. I tried to forget but..."

Aya watched him twist his sleeves. "I never knew you were a nervous person."

Those blue sleeves betrayed him. They were longer now. He'd stretched them too much. "I got over it. I wanted to be strong. I thought it was gone. It's not though. It always comes back Aya. Always." A shudder wracked his body as he yanked at his sleeves with a mad frenzy. Anything to keep from being broken.

Slowly, with movements like spun glass, he reached out and placed his hand over Ken's, stilling the jerky movements. Aya's hands gripped at the bunched material, clutching at his trembling hands. Those icy, violet eyes stared down at him, freezing time. The world stopped.

Then with his other hand, Aya gently brushed away his bangs from his eyes, his fingers lingering down his cheek. His hands were surprisingly warm against his chilled face. Everything vanished as his gaze was caught up by those violet eyes. Eyes that seemed to peer into his soul.

"I need to be alone," he whispered hoarsely, pulling away from Aya's gentle touch. "I need to..." he gripped his hands together brutally, his nails digging into his fingers.

Aya nodded, his face expressionless and his voice nearly inaudible. "I just wanted you to know that I understand." And with that he turned and walked away, disappearing into the whirls of snow.

Ken reached up and touched the spot that he'd just touched. It was still warm from his fingers. Funny how someone as cold as he was could have such warm hands. But that small touch..it kept him warm in the snow.