The Time of Renewal
Summary: Ellen has always hated humanity as much as she loved it. It's no secret that Ellen wasn't quite normal, even for an Exorcist. Her Innocence loved her over God, and she will always cry for the inhuman before humans. There are memories, thoughts that are not hers, but nonetheless feels like hers. It makes her wonder if she knew anything beyond the fact that she must keep moving.
When Red first met Mana by the grave of Allen, her first thought wasn't why isn't he crying, but why does he feel familiar? She had brushed it off as a co-worker seeing another in a place they don't usually cross paths, but while she didn't acknowledge it, the feeling still lingered long after they had separated.
Red isn't sure what makes her go out of her way to see the old clown, isn't sure why the magnetism that they share attract rather than compel. She's never liked others, as others have never liked her. It's easy to ignore those that share a neutral hate. They do their jobs, throw comments or even hands, and then continue on with their miserable lives.
The little red-headed girl has never been content to watch others live their miserable lives and had vowed never to need a creature as weak and horrible as a human.
(Red has been told time and time again that she is a freak, a Hellspawn and a monster. It's only fair that she no longer associates herself with such a race after she had already become an outcast.)
This man though, this old man who she knows isn't right in the head, who believes himself to be 17 when he's clearly in his mid-forties and looking worse for wear, has her coming back to check on him. The younger brother he's looking for is long dead, she knows when he won't admit to such a thing, and he's on an endless goose chase with no victory at the finish line. Paranoia is strong, always looking over his shoulder and talking about an Earl that wants him dead. It's nonsense, but Red still listens and commits every word he says to memory because there's a pit in her stomach that tells her he's right.
(She ignores that as well.)
Mana will leave, just like all the other one person acts that come through, but for the moment she enjoys the warmth of another person and listens to his rambles as if they were telling a story.
Of course it doesn't last.
Days later, Red meets a strange man that also evokes a sense of familiarity when they cross paths, but instead of the protectiveness that the old clown brings out in her, it's instead a sense of safety that settles in her bones.
The first thing the little street urchin notices is the namesake color, eyes a wine red and hair a crimson fire. They aren't too similar when it comes to coloring, with her hair being a few shades darker. He looks like a noble, and she's tempted to steal from him, but she's on duty right now handing out fliers for tonight's show and can't afford the fallout if he catches her.
She doesn't pay him much mind until all the other people in the square have left, and only he remains.
He gives her a warning of staying too close to the old clown, that only death follows in his wake, but that sense of protectiveness is flaring, telling her to stay by his side when the world crashes around them. She pushes it back, because if the streets and the circus have taught her anything it's to look after yourself first and everyone else last, and simply blows a raspberry at the noble dressed figure as he walks away.
Maybe if she had known what was to come, she would have listened to the strange man that shared many similarities with her, or maybe she would have continued on anyways. It doesn't really matter now, because those years with the broken clown were the happiest in her life.
Hatred has always been easy to reach for, simmering under the surface and when mixed with grief, Red's become explosive. She can't stand back and watch as Allen's killer walks free. Red confronts him. It doesn't matter that he turns the situation around, that she'll be killed for her actions, because Red is determined to take this piece of scum down with her while she can.
She doesn't expect Mana to step in, doesn't expect him to try to reason through her pain. Allen was Red's first friend, was Mana's companion, and for one moment the rage she feels towards Cosimov converts and redirects itself at the poor clown. There is too much anger and pain to think clearly, and she knows she should stop, but for once she wants someone to understand this burning in her chest and the sting in her eyes.
When the wrath drains from her and leaves only a distant calmness, it is only then that she can listen to Mana's words. He's a stupid clown, and a sentimental clown, who doesn't know how to grieve with his paranoia. The pain of Allen's death hasn't abated, but it has eased.
The calmness and kindness Mana had always emitted disperses, and there is panic in his golden eyes and his words become slurred together and half broken before forming. Her curse, her lame limb had hit him hard, over and over again, and she knows that as she's dragged away Mana is no longer the Mana Red has come to know.
In a vague sense of knowing, Red has always figured that if she didn't get out of this hellhole, she'd be killed. She's always been prepared for it, always known that the wrong action or word could have her sign her death warrant. It doesn't make it any more terrifying, because she's eight and so very young, but she has already accepted her end when a ball of gold comes playing towards the beast that threatened to eat her.
The little creature saves her, giving her an out of the cage they had trapped her in. And she's thankful, right until the moment she runs into the man who had asked if her name was Allen in the town square. His eyes are colder, leaning towards blood instead of wine, and he raises a gun to Red's head. The sense of safety she had felt with him dissipates, confusion slipping by and acceptance taking its place. This is her fault, just like the priest says, and if he deems her sins so great as to kill her (the freak, the monster, the demon) Red knows that she cannot stop him even if she were to try.
The little creature that had saved her before intervenes, and the noble drenched in crimson lets her go, to leave and never return. To disappear from the face of the earth and never let a word escape her mouth.
Red has little choice against a man with a gun, even when something tugs at her to follow the path to Mana to right what she has wronged. She wanders the forest for a while, guilt eating her at the thought she had just left the old broken clown alone. Red doesn't mean for her feet to take her back to the circus, but they take her to it all the same.
The circus is burned down, ruined and ashes floating in the wind. Only the Ringmaster and the two men who had dragged her to the cage remain alive, passed out in the middle of nothing, and all the other performers clothes scattered around with bullet-like holes with no sign of their bodies. An overwhelming fear for Mana seizes her, and she searches the crowd for the kind man. He's calling, not for Red or even Allen, who she half expected for him to forget the dog's death, but instead he called for Ellen.
Mana has never talked about someone named Ellen in all of their talks, in all of his stories, and she has no idea who Ellen is supposed to be. But then Mana catches sight of Red, and he calls for Ellen in glee once more while looking at her, and it suddenly clicks that he's talking about her.
…except he's not. Red has never had a name, and Mana wouldn't have given her one without her input and permission. Ellen is one vowel off from Allen, and she knows that whatever she did to Mana has cracked him in a way she can't fix. For whatever reason, Mana thinks Red is Allen, the dog that made him smile and kept him company for so long. Ellen, the change of the vowel, is probably the last remains of his sanity trying desperately to fit a gender with a name.
The important screws have been loosened, the ones that made Mana, Mana. He can no longer remember why he's traveling, what he's searching for, and the guilt and grief that rears its ugly head is almost too much to bare.
Red watches as the old man that had come to care for her tries to remember the reason for his journey, not knowing how to make it right as her feelings overwhelm her. She doesn't know how to help. Red has always been better at destroying things than creating them, and she doesn't know how to put Mana's memory together. There is a conviction inside of her, born from the rambles of a madman who can't remember that what Mana has become is all her fault.
(Deep inside, a place which will sleep for almost a decade more, knows that what Mana had been is their fault as well.)
She knows that she could walk away, get rid of this man that is most certainty insane and continue on her way. She could escape him like she has done with so many with less than ideal intentions. The smart thing to do would be to leave, let him wander the world in search for what he has forgotten and go their separate ways. He's a clown, an old man, a loony that no one will care about. It's that last thought that stops the line of reasoning in its tracks.
No has cared about Red either, and isn't it a perfect match?
A mad clown and a broken mirror.
(Years later, when Mana is gone and Ellen is only a husk of her former self, when she has rebuilt herself in Mana's imagine, this thought will bring a sad smile to her lips. Because she has become a broken mirror of a mad clown and can't tell what the mirror reflected before it broke.)
She grabs his hand, tightening her rip, reassuring herself of her next action or trying to bring comfort to Mana, she does not know. All she knows is that this clown is mad, and was the first person to see Red, and that she owes him for what she has broken.
"I'll remember for you, Mana. I won't let you be alone. I'll stay by your side until the very end."
(Little did Ellen know that she had promised this to him before.)
...So, nice to see you guys again. It's been a few years, hasn't it? Well...
I have no excuse really.
Update on my life though - dog died, got a new dog a year or so later, graduated high school a year ago, trying to work on driving and getting a job and college. Grandmother died the day of/after my sister's birthday. Family has been thinking about moving in with my Grandfather to help him out, but hasn't done it yet because we don't know what to do with the animals (Grandpa does not like cats/dogs) so I'm wondering if I can't grab an apartment or rent a house with some friends and take the animals with me. Also trying to save up enough for a new computer because this one is on it's last leg.
Lots of stuff has happened since I've been on this website. Sorry about that. Nothing is abandoned, it's just I've been filled with anxiety and depression and I'm to the point where I want to get help but unsure of how to bring the topic up without flipping my mom out. Don't worry about it though, because hopefully I'll be out of the house soon and be able to force myself to go to therapy for help.
Just to let you guys know I am taking art commissions, shameless plug in, and you can find more info on my deivanart. (Same username)
Let it be known that I am alive, and I'll be okay.