His body hurt. He ached, and his body seemed to spasm periodically, seizing and sending tremors of pain through him. But it wasn't unexpected, no matter how painful it was.

He was a being infused with two completely opposing energies. Yin and Yang. Good and Evil.

They warred in him, snapping at each other like wolves, or slamming into each other like the inexorable tides of the world. They warred, with no concern for their host, both trying to claim him. And yet, in attempting to claim him, they were killing him. The torrents of energy that swelled and pulsed inside of him, clashing and raging, were ripping him apart.

It was ironic, he thought, that the very same energies that wanted to keep him alive to possess, to consume, him, were the very same energies that were killing him in their horrible, terrible, agonizing battle for dominance.

The pain wasn't a problem—he had known pain all of his life. Neither was the thought of dying—he had always known, ever since he had found out about the mechanics of Parasitic Innocence, and perhaps even before, that he would die young. After all, his Innocence, the one being that had been with him from the start, took energy from him—it took and took and took, and he could only barely keep up, eating so much that it was disgusting, and turned his stomach to do so.

No, none of that bothered him. It was the implications of the outcome of their war that bothered him. No matter what, the one who won would become the one who would tug his strings, manipulating him to do the bidding of one side or the other.

Innocence or Dark Matter. Exorcist or Noah.

Did it really matter?

He would still be a puppet, following the orders of the puppeteer, either way.

But, he thought dryly, would it really be any different than his life so far? His entire life had been a play, with him at the center, the puppet—the clown.

Even his dear adopted father had used him, had clung to him because of the memory of his brother embedded within him. So did it really make any difference who was tugging the strings, leading him along?

He wasn't sure. Before, he might have said yes, that it did matter. But now? Now, when every person that he had cared for had forsaken him, had betrayed him because they thought he had betrayed them?

It set everything in a different light.

But did he want to join the Earl?

…No. He didn't want to. He didn't want to be pushed and pulled and taken apart and put back together until he was the perfect little Noah, a perfect little sadistic killing machine.

But neither did he want to return to the Order.

It confused him, pulling and tugging and tearing at him much like the two energies within him did. He should want to be with his friends, right? But were they even really his friends?

What should he do?

…in the end, he supposed, he could only do one thing.

He would keep walking, even to the end of time. If only because there was nothing else to do, he would keep walking, keep moving forward. Because there had to be something better out there; a new future, a new hope, a new start, even for someone as forsaken as he.

"Are you watching, Mana?" he breathed, staring up at the night sky, sparkling and glittering with hundreds of millions of stars. "I'll keep walking. No matter what."

The stars above merely twinkled back, silent and remote.


So…I have no idea where this came from.

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~Happy Camper27