A Shaman King oneshot specially for Valentine's Day!! Although I don't reccomend you read this if you ever plan on reading the SK manga.... unless you don't care about couple spoilers.....ya......
Also, just to give you a quick breakdown since my plot is non-existant in this oneshot; basically, Jeanne is mentoring Jun in the area of 'ressurection', so she's been staying with the Tao's for sometime as a result. Oh, and Ren isn't living at home any longer.... he's just off doing, um.... shaman stuff. I think the rest is pretty self-explanatory in the story though, despite the random jumps in time...... so......
Enjoy? Maybe? o3o
"If I was falling..........
.............who would catch me?"
The princess scoured the landscape, searching with a reckless naivety for an optical target she had no knowledge of. She knew it was out there. Her reconnaissance may have realistically told her otherwise, but princesses were allowed to adulate that which was erroneously fantastical.... right?
"Lady Jeanne, your dinner is ready."
"I'm not hungry," the princess retorted, eyes immobilized by imagined mirages. "I must wait for my Prince."
"But, Your Highness"
"No, I must...." She leaned further past the window's frame, her silvery hair licking at the outside world like metallic flames. "I must go look myself, Marco. Can I not go look for my Prince?"
Surely her most loyal guard would understand.
"No, Lady Jeanne, you cannot." Glasses winking maliciously, Marco grabbed the Princess's wrist, firmly redirecting her towards her pre-meditated path, the path to where she could exude her holiness and seep wretched lies of idolatry, a puppet of the very faith she indoctrinated. "You know you are forbidden to leave the castle."
"But Marco, please, my..... my..."
Jeanne awoke with a start, the cool night air nipping at her skin like blunt sewing needles attempting to stitch her senses back together. The covers were strewn with a psychotic touch of dignity atop the floor, foolishly lending their heat to the floorboards when, clearly, such an abiotic entity did not need it. She let out a sigh, void of thesis, denouement, and body.
A nosy night-time breeze was flowing through the screen door, similar to how a waterfall gives off a misty vestige of power, offspring of parachuting water droplets inhaling so profoundly from their acquaintance with air, they perish into near-abysmal glitter. Apparently she had left it open. Purposefully, perhaps. She couldn't remember.
Removing herself from the conscience-absorbing confines of the bed, Jeanne found herself padding towards the outside world, a natural, instinctive desire to go converse with the early morning constellations pulsating for attention. The stars in China always had so much to say.
White chiffon slip clingy shyly to her frame, tepid towards the dark chills of night, Jeanne's legs, with habitual ease, slid till she was seated on her knees in a praying position. She looked up at the stars, eyes glimmering like moon-bathed rubies.
People so pitifully underestimated the generosity of the celestials. How could one not be enthralled by such hypnotic shiver, such potent packages of far-off mystery? Such wisdom they held onto, offering it freely every night for anyone enlightened enough, or perhaps naïve enough, to recognize their prophetic glow. The stars said so much. Having been confined for such immoral periods of time, Jeanne felt she of all people had no right to refuse the radiation of knowledge shimmering from the suns of the galaxy. How incredible they were, reaching human sight, a sight crippled with imperfections and too ignorant to sense the spiritual world wreathing their own. Yet they continued glowing, endlessly, eternally, uncritically, providing light to all those willing to accept it. So far away, yet close enough to elicit wishes from people. Only the most trustworthy of entities could prompt out ones deepest wishes with hardly an overture.
Jeanne used to be capable of such small, unnoticed miracles. With a desperate blindness they'd stumble into her yolk of greatness, her aura of profound serenity, relishing her consecrating rays of sanctity, a feeling of immediate expiation bringing tears to their eyes and, inevitably, an eternal deification of the Iron Maiden. It used to be like that, at least. She used to reek of power and holy charisma, an unalterable state of righteousness where she sat upon a self-propped pedestal of untouchable security. Yet it was all an antithetic act of bullshit. The searing reality stung her in the face that one day, that one all too fateful day....
The day she had brought Tao Ren back to life. It was then, for the first time ever, that someone who'd been resurrected by her own hands had been ungrateful to her. More than ungrateful, even. Writhing with disgust? No, not even that was enough. While on the surface incredibly fascinating, beneath it all came this betrayal, this scorching perfidy, one without a perpetrator, and it scoured her organs till they were charred with shock, black criss-crossed markings of shock. It was like scar tissue suddenly regaining feeling again, or becoming aware of a past-life treachery; had she really done the right thing?
After that, everything began to unravel from her tightly knitted cult. Yet it wasn't even her cult. All along, everything had been a lie. She had simply been the idol of that lie, the person who enflamed it and allowed it to live far past its expiration date. Life seemed pretty small, after that. She had been nothing but the mascot of a lie, one she had devoutly swore herself to. And she hadn't even had the decency to recognize that until after she'd first felt the esteem-murdering spears of revulsion. She was about as useless as a white dwarf. At least they had carried out lives of truth before being dubbed useless. Solace had been abducted by a black hole.
If I was falling...... who would catch me?"
The stars winked and flickered omnisciently, glazing the landscape in a pale icing. They were saying the key to Jeanne's heart, the one that had been confined and secured with an authoritarian degree of impenetrability, was about to be snatched. She wasn't exactly sure how to ingest such a divination. She felt her personal bubble explode around her, her security raining across the grass and shrubs in grieving splendour. It felt best to forget about the stars for the time being. Stewing over their masterful foreshadows could easily send one into a realm of psychosis, after all. And so, Jeanne shuffled back to her sleeping quarters, both fervently and reluctantly, hoping it wasn't too selfish of her to hope for the morning to come a little bit quicker.
Princess Jeanne strode at a haughty pace down the hallway, body dressed in various shades of shadow as the barred-off windows attempted to dutifully cast some sort of glow. Dress luxuriously dragging along the floor, she picked up the pace a little, hastily glancing back to make sure no one was following her.
Heartbeat competing with the rhythmic clicks of her heels, the Princess nearly forgot how to make her legs stop as she stood before a gaping steel door. It masterfully destroyed the symmetry of the castle wall décor, protruding from its frame like a foreign door imported from another planet. Breathing hard enough to make her corset bristle in retaliation, she yanked at the door handle, beginning a game of tug-of-war she surely could not win with such an uncooperative opponent. The blood began hollering in her ears, cheering and shouting for her, her heart drumming the base beat and her brain tallying the score between her and the steel door, it was a rough game, one she had to win, one she wasn't supposed to win, one she couldn't bare not winning
"Good morning Jun," Jeanne greeted her disciple with dutiful politeness. Never one to under dress on any occasion, she was decked out in her latest tailor-made money vaporizing purchase: a Chinese style Lolita dress, accompanied by a hairstyle of two buns atop her flowing silver hair. First thing in the morning was no exception to the rules of Lolita homage, after all.
Jun gave a warm smile. "Looking immaculate as ever, Jeanne-sama."
She brushed her hair from her shoulder, pleased that Jun had complimented her newest fashion creation. "Shall we begin today with some soul color analysis?"
Jeanne sensed her disinclination before she'd even opened her mouth. "Actually, I was planning on talking to you about today's schedule..." Jun sipped her tea with an elegantly planned pause. "Ren's coming home today."
Tao Ren. Jeanne had bumped into him..... a few times in years past...... she preferred to think of their confluences as 'sporadic offshoots' of fate, untouched by the artistic hands of destiny or the inexorable wheels of karma that trampled so mercilessly atop ones soul. Yet every fibre of her soul knew bloody well that those 'chance' meetings had flourished into a very prominent thread of destiny. They had blossomed beyond the quick hellos and glances one offers an old acquaintance at unexpected gatherings. Had it been fate? Jeanne thought it to have been more of a punishment then anything....
Because, beneath their striking polarity, nestled snug between the cracks of the yin and yang, lay some phenomenon that no biological exegesis could possibly enunciate; this strange, mysterious magnetism, one nurtured by every additional moment of contact, enflamed by close proximity and oppressed when kept far apart.... it was proof, sardonic, fortuitous proof.... that Jeanne and Ren had been crafted to be more than just acquaintances. And so, as destiny usually likes to do, it manipulated them into a sort of contorted, on-and-off series of relationships, ones where speech and emotions often had major issues synchronizing.
"I have what you need, you have what I need." That had been the last sentence Jeanne had found herself uttering to Ren, before he had left her to rot in the world of suffering and karmic abuse yet again. And somehow, every time he did that to her, she ended up loving him even more, wallowing in the pain he had thrown upon her and making it exponentially worse, just because it felt so bitterly nice. Neither of them could deny, any longer, the destiny that had unexpectedly splattered across their life canvases, the colors of their souls slowly melding into a distinct shade of affection.
Put bluntly, earthly reality told Jeanne that she was, technically, supposed to be exceptionally pissed off at Ren. Conscious reality, however, continually nagged at her physical perception of reality....
Without entirely knowing why, Jeanne turned her back on the Tao before her. "So that means your resurrection training will be on hold for a while?" she tried her best to add that hint of underlying disdain. "I thought you were more dedicated then that, Jun."
"It's not that, Jeanne-sama," Jun interjected swiftly, "It's just
. it's been many years since I've last seen my brother. I'd like to at least spend a little bit of time with him when he first arrives."
An aura that could unnerve even the most solid of consciences spanned through the silence, like a rainbow without all seven colors. "So be it." Her voice was far too peaceful for the mood; but it wasn't like Jeanne to showcase her feelings for the world to gawk over.
Dark. Darker than even the darkest caverns of the shadow. Darker than the chasms holding the ribbons of a rainbow together. Darker than Dark itself could comprehend. Princess Jeanne lay limply atop the warmth-robbing stone floor, in a position similar to a doll dismantled with great obsession yet upholding herself in strangely appropriate obeisance. She was harmoniously at odds with the dark drapery impregnating her.
Confined within the bloodless chambers of her heart. That's where she was. The space where secrets, both trivial and hefty, could propagate and feed off each other, where they could go off on ecstatic tangents, where they could cannibalistically lacerate the vulnerable caverns of coronary flesh till they fell prey to the psalm of the heart's thumping lullaby. A psychotic retreat for the somatic. That's where she was. That's where she needed to be, deserved to be.... the only place celibacy could be defied.....
Peering past the frame of her screen door, Jeanne felt her pulse thump with a rancorous equanimity. She'd thought her heart had had more manners then what it was showcasing at the moment. She'd have to scold it later.
The target of her spying, the spying she wouldn't intrinsically admit in partaking but which she undoubtedly and ineluctably was (and probably why her heart was being such a damn tattletale) was sitting no, perhaps meditating atop the star-washed grass, almost too a point of such supreme tranquility Jeanne began to wonder if she was hallucinating beneath the stars' snickering gaze. Was it possible for this man to show such austere tranquility?
Perhaps in a subconscious attempt to form an answer, Jeanne began to pad her way across the lush outdoor carpet, of which an almost iridescent emerald hue, both sickly and serene, was choking the strains of well-kempt graminoids. It had been long, long overdue.
In a period of time far too short she found herself standing behind him, gaping at his silhouette, macerating his midnight purple hair with a look of florid penetration. Of course, he must've known she was there, she'd been there for five minutes now, maybe ten, maybe one, maybe not even one, Jeanne didn't know, it didn't even really matter all that much, yet at the same time it probably did, it probably pissed him off ever so grandly, obliterating her apparent purpose before it had even been beget by her larynx
"What do you want?" Tao Ren's voice dissected the air around him into piercingly neat waves. That jolting, wrenching feeling in her chest was being way too loud, disruptively loud, straining her away from focus.
"I just wanted to say..... that I'm sorry."
Without turning to face her, but rather, looking up into the birthless, endless expanse of suns, Ren responded bluntly, "For what?"
Jeanne bit down on her lip, wishing to elicit the taste of blood, a miniscule, pathetic oblation to muffle her wretched state of numbness, but it never came. "For..... resurrecting you."
Silence slithered across the landscape, slimy and gruelling.
"I know you've probably hated me all this time"
"Why would you say this now?" Ren's cold, unforgiving tone felt good slapping her across the face. She wished so bad to hear his words infinitely, shedding judgement on her for her empty sins. It pleased her in a ridiculously shallow way. "It's been years since then."
Evidently. Like she didn't know that. "Apologies are immune to the wrath of age."
He gave a tepid 'hmph' before finally turning around to face her, his overpowering presence looming over her like a flesh-eating, heart-melting shadow. "But forgiveness isn't."
"So you say," Jeanne retorted back smoothly. She took a daring step closer to him, leering up into his luminous, steely eyes. "Yet somehow I have trouble believing you to be an agent of atonement demolition."
Ren smirked, throwing her immensely off guard. She could not fathom for the life of her why it was gunning her down ever so effectively. "Did I say something funny?" She made no attempt to conceal the frothing haughtiness to her voice.
"The stars seem to think so," he fired back adroitly, though with a sarcasm laced in ice. He was a laudable opponent.
But, despite the emancipating urge to continue with this battle of figurative bush-beating, Jeanne found herself stomping back to her bedroom, an aura of highly superficial arrogance moseying in her wake.
"Hey!" Ren's voice stalked her departing frame, apparently desperate in its attempt to further compress her egoism. She nearly divorced herself from her soul when she felt his hands blanket her eyes in darkness.
"Only personal darkness illuminates that which you seek."
She just stood there, immobilized, autonomously in remission. "I...." she gently, timidly, rested her hands atop his, forgetting to peel her fingers off once they connected with the subtle warmth of his body heat. His pulse reverberated through her humors, shaking her soul into a giggling fit of narcosis. ".... I've never needed light to chaperone my endeavours."
"Then what's holding you back?"
His wits were apparently much duller than his hair. "What exactly are you getting at?"
Slowly, with lethargic commencement, Ren's hands slid down from her face. "You've been around long enough for me to realize you're a liar."
"I am not a liar!" Jeanne whipped around with wicked speed, though her boiling eyes cooled with a near instantaneous gauging of how close she was to her target.
"Then why do you keep lying to yourself?"
She didn't know what to say. For once in her life, the Iron Maiden Jeanne was rendered speechless. "I'm not hiding anything from myself thank you very much!"
Fingers gravitating towards his, clenching at the imaginary essence of his hand but not quite making it to the real thing, Jeanne flung herself back on to her original departure route, heart paralyzed in a deep state of comatose at his words.
Why? Why hadn't she remained in the cells of her heart, remained surrounded by the felicitous parables, ubiquitous in this state of inner nirvana but fictional when it came to reality's critical lens, coined by her heart and hers alone, lassoed and tased like the mendicant of love she was? She should've remained a beggar.... a beggar for that which she should never have begged for.
Yet here she was, staring through a film of crackly, melty ice, ice that slithered and stabbed with its poisonous chill, though appearing nothing more than translucent, crystal mazes of veins to the naked, callous eye. He was leaving. He was leaving and never coming back. She would be all alone. All alone. And this time, the isolation wouldn't be of her own accord.
The magnet to her soul, the epinephrine for her heart, it was leaving her, it was leaving her and all she was doing was standing there, frozen, paralyzed, chilled to the extremities by those stupid invasive rivulets of liquid ice that couldn't understand the damn notion of privacy. She felt her lips moving, but couldn't find the inspiration necessary to resuscitate her voice. Her world was falling apart..... falling........ apart......
Placing her weight atop the window's lip, Princess Jeanne felt the fragrant, zealous breeze of freedom, of the outside world, a breeze contaminated by pollutants of human love and sadness and anger and bliss..... it winnowed through her hair with intrepid vigour, kidnapping her senses and manipulatively influencing her to stalk the very breeze that was cradling her, cushioning her from the depth of reality far far below...
Time began to sift by, casually at first, but hastily quickening its pace to create swirls and puffs of cloudy streaks that scraped absent-mindedly across the Princess's skin; yet her gaze remained devoted on her prince, unwavering and idolatry. Nothing could misguide her gaze away from him, her eyes had been born to consecrate him as the holy object of her love, her untapped affection. He was her microcosm the senses could never lie, they were too clueless of their own faults, thinking themselves to be wondrously infallible, to ever lie to her. No, they would never, ever do that..... they were so patient..... waiting for her intelligence to catch up with her intuitive bedrock of destiny.... so patient.....
Breaking free of gravity's fetters, air unable to bolster her in any feasible way, Princess Jeanne felt her body attain a sense of freedom she had never experienced before. She let her eyelids press shut, shards of the ice atop her skin chaffing off her cheeks and piercing the buoyancy of the air catapulting past her. Hair wildly flailing behind her, like a creature drowning in a torrent of water, the Princess gave a small smile to the fast approaching ground, a sense of pure enlightenment pulverizing her body as she finally felt her heart embrace the gnosis it had been avoiding for so many years, a gnosis that, amidst its amnesia, had forgotten was its very own creation, an offshoot of itself identical in ways and wishes.
If I was falling..........
Who would........ catch me?
The answer had been obvious all along. She truly was a fool. She hardly deserved truth.
The stars were ridiculously noisy that night. Enough so to awaken Jeanne from her false state of spastic eye drama. There was no need for them to be so immature; she could hear them loud and clear.
But she wasn't about to fall victim to their celestial pressuring. Jeanne knew what was best for her. If it was that important, she'd be up doing it right now, unconcerned about her much needed rest and time for beautification
No, she wasn't lying to herself. She swore she wasn't. She had legitimately been about to embark on a quest through the euphoric land of dreams and she had legitimately felt pissed off at the bloody stars for not shutting the hell up about an occurrence that didn't even concern her. She tossed the covers off with pompous unrest, her feet making contact with the night-chilled floor for reasons half-asleep minds couldn't possibly fathom. Toes striking the floor as if it were some piano-like instrument, Jeanne took a moment to wonder what the hell she was doing.
Nothing. Nothing came to mind that even slightly resembled an acceptable answer. The stars seemed to boil up at her incongruous stance of inertia. Whatever. She rather enjoyed hearing their fizzled blurbs of discontent. She'd just go back to sleep, falling into a deep, relaxing
That's when it hit her. What the hell was she doing?
Before the neurons in her brain could even notify the synaptic clefts of her discovery Jeanne was running through the hallways like a prisoner on the loose, pushing her half-asleep legs to move at a pace they had never before moved so early into the Moon's cycle of reign. Even a complete and utter moron would've realized it for fuck sake; what the hell had she been doing....
With every step she took she could feel herself plunging further and further into the miserable depths of the black hole behind her, the one she'd been falling numbly, obliviously into as she'd so stupidly retreated to an artificial state of abysmal peace, one that had attempted to defy that which was aphoristic but had only pushed her further into the violent descent of eternal regret. What the hell had she been doing....
Careening past the foyer of the Tao mansion, forcing the sliding front doors into a near-permanent state of openness, bound by their own anatomy, Jeanne sprinted across the stone path, breaths shooting from her mouth like regurgitated fireworks of air unable to fulfill their duty of life-sustaining exchange, but shit like that wasn't important at the moment, whether she had oxygen in her body or not was so ridiculously trivial, it could wait, everything could wait, time, the sun, the moon, everything, everything could be put on hold as Jeanne raced the growing intransience of her mistake, it was a race she couldn't lose, that looked hopelessly unwinnable but that she still couldn't lose, no matter what.......
The finish line, the living, breathing, beautiful finish line, one that seemed to have his own solar system orbiting around him, a pantheon of loyal celestial citizens engraving his path in stardustit was right in front of her now, she was almost there
The finish line came to a halt, slowly turning to face her with that look of ominous disgust, as if not at all wanting her to approach it. She'd made it.
"R-Ren...." Jeanne's voice was nothing more than a wheezy exhale of relief. She had come to a rest only a few steps away from Ren, hair sighing gracefully atop her back, acting as a mirror for the moon. "I"
"I told you not to come."
Jeanne's breaths slowly dissipated into the realms of starry abyss. "But I did."
She bit her lip, looking down at the grass as it wavered beneath his musky shadow, tips still glowing as if dipped in fresh moonlight. There was just too much to say..... yet not enough.
The ground seemed to lurch as Ren began walking away again. "Ren don't go!" This time Jeanne impulsively grabbed his hand, the sensation of his aura choking her into senseless paralysis, filling her lungs up till they expanded woozily, as if filled with a gaseous yet oh so addicting poison.
If I was falling......
....... who would catch me?
"..... I just....."
All within the boundaries of a second, perhaps a segment of time even less than that, Ren had whipped himself around, pulled Jeanne tight against his chest and kissed her with an emotion that couldn't possibly be defined by the human language, not even the language of a God for that matter. One hand around her waist, the other clenching hers above their heads, pulling her towards him with the slightest of pulls, Jeanne felt her bones liquefy and pool at the depths of her feet, dribbling into the world of the grass, flooding their domicile till it was forced to slurp it up in enslaved osmosis. She felt herself falling again, falling deeper and deeper into the arms of her eternal protector, if this was what falling was.... what it really was.... then she was willing to fall for the rest of her life.
Lips parting softly, hardly wanting to break the magic spell holding their ever so exulting embrace, Jeanne found herself looking deep into the depths of Ren's eyes, a depth she had never seen opened to outsiders before this moment, a moment both deemed a miracle for ensuing yet also a malediction for ceasing. Ren was also gazing unblinkingly into her own sunset red eyes, with a look that seemed capable of extracting every secret out of her tightly concealed body. He was the key to her lock, no doubt.
"That's why I didn't want you to come idiot." Ren's voice was rich as a deep caramel strung to a wondrous length; he embraced Jeanne, the strength of his arms, arms that had been through so much hardship and experience, pulling her snug into the warmth of his chest, his smell steeping her till she could soak no more. Still, she inhaled greedily, not wanting any of him to escape to the undeserving world around them, the world that had stopped for them, watching destiny pan out like the perfect recipe.
"But I came." Jeanne nuzzled deeper into his chest, both in an effort to intoxicate herself with his presence and in a vain attempt to eradicate the tears spontaneously generating at the crooks of her eyes. "I came because I loved you."
"And you made it way harder than it ever had to be," his voice was so soothing, despite the shy string of words. "Now how am I supposed to leave?"
"I'll come with you!" the words flew from Jeanne's mouth before she could even phonemically interpret them. "I want to be with you Ren! Please, don't keep us separated like this...."
The world could've gone through extinctions, ice ages, mass events of volcanic destruction, and neither of them would've noticed. For all Jeanne knew they had been transported to another world, a world with hundreds of moons and a playful circulation of suns that brought about sporadic days absent of hours or constraint. She wanted to continue living like this forever, just falling deeper and deeper into the phantasmal saturation of love.
"Well," Ren began, his embrace loosening as he stood up to his full height. "I'm not one to usually forgive people who defy me....."
If I was falling......
"..... but I suppose I could overlook this one time."
Jeanne smiled, though her smile could hardly even conceive let alone express the sheer happiness igniting her veins into fiery livewires of bliss. "Good! Cause I would've performed Divine Punishment on you if you hadn't!" She gave a giggle capable of annihilating a whole fleet of X-Laws, leaving behind only Marco to officially declare it as 'consecrated' X-Law property.
"Well I'll just have to kill you if you ever tell anyone about this."
Hand adoringly clasped within his, the two shamans began to walk, side by side, under the watchful gaze of the moon and the knowing winks of the stars. It really did feel like the beginning of a whole new world, walking beside him like this, falling into the niches of a new life.
If I was falling......
...... He'd catch me.