Masquerade Pt. 6: Legato; The Gift of Death

Disclaimer/Notes: I don't own (insert anime) and never will. Anyway, I sort of found myself feeling sorry for Legato while writing this! It's more mangaverse than anything, because Legato gets some more development in the manga, like Knives. He's a little bit different than how he is in the anime. His icky past is explained... Anyway, I hope this is okay! It's really only my second story with Legato as a primary character, and the first one in which I've ever written him seriously. Anyway...yeah, this is a little bit twisted. But IC, I hope?

Dead. The man in front of him was dead.

Legato hadn't realized it until he felt a streak of warmth slip down his face. The desert traveler slid to the ground as scarlet spread through the rough cloth of his cloak. Without blinking, Legato reached a finger up to swipe the liquid from his cheek, and he licked it. Blood.

He looked up at his master, whose glare stopped the boy from doing anything further. "Filth," his master said simply. "If you're going to follow me, I won't have you touching it." He did nothing more. He walked forward and Legato stared down at the traveler. He hurriedly wiped the offending marks of scarlet from his face.

The man had done nothing wrong. He'd simply had the misfortune to be traveling the same route as Legato and his master. He'd seemed kind enough. He'd stopped on his way past them, shielding his eyes against the bright noonday light of the suns, and had asked them if they needed water.

But his master needed nothing. To assume so was an affront.

Legato Bluesummers did not spare the man another glance. He hurried to catch up with his master. Deep indigo hair, hastily sheared, slipped over his eyes no matter how much he tried to tuck it behind his ears. Clothes salvaged from the ruins fit his slim frame too loosely.

A thought flickered through his head, there only for the briefest moment, barely long enough to become consciously acknowledged. If he failed this master...would he die, too?

It didn't matter. He simply wouldn't fail. He could not fail this man.

His hair slipped over his eyes again. He didn't bother to move it.

The next time someone got in Master's way, he would kill them. For what his master had saved him from...for how that man had freed him, he would do anything. Anything that was in the range of his abilities. As one left living by this powerful being, he would repay that debt with his life, if it became necessary.

They rested when the suns set that night. A single red moon was visible in the sky, and Legato sat away from the fire his master had built, off in the shadows where only soft flickers of gold illuminated his face. He had pocketed a sharp slab of rock while the blond man wasn't looking.

He was too human. The more he thought about dying, the more he hated it. A while ago, he hadn't minded the thought. To die was to be released from the hell he'd lived in. He couldn't explain it, but more than anything, now...he wanted to live.

It was a horrible feeling.

He took the rock and pressed it to the skin of his wrist, twisting the rock until it pierced his flesh. Blood welled up around the filthy wound. He did the same to his other wrist. Each was only deep enough to bleed, not deep enough to be fatal. He blinked lazily, uninterestedly, as he watched the scarlet that dripped lazily down both arms.

My blood...

He placed the rock against his chest and carved a similar wound.

My heart...

Gingerly, his fingers caressed the slice on his neck, nearly healed.

My very humanity...

He looked to the man sleeping silently in the flickering light.

They're yours. I am not a human but a blade to be used and discarded at your will.

From that night on, it was sealed. He learned how to follow behind his master, several steps back but not too far behind lest his master think he was not paying attention. He learned how to act, and how to live the half-life he had alloted to himself. He cut his hair to reflect that fact, seeing the world through a single eye.

He had lived all of his life thus far to please others. Slavery was all he'd ever known. He did not know how to live any other way, and this was just another, more desirable form of captivity. really seemed like an eternity since that day, since he had been chosen. Other tools—other blades had been thrown into the dust of this arid planet, left to be broken down by the brutal winds, and yet he was still here. It was weakness; it truly was just a sign of his own lingering humanity that he felt satisfaction at this fact.

There came a day when that age-old promise was called upon, and he knew that this fight would be his last.

Why, then? At the the end of everything, why did he allow himself to feel again? Perhaps because, even though he was indebted to his master and resigned to accept whichever fate he was handed, it felt nice to try the bonds he'd been placed in all his life, to see what was beyond them.

Freedom before death, if only for a moment.

It was all he needed. It was all he wanted.

Author's Notes: That was more fun to write than I thought it would be! Digging into Legato's head was great. ::puts a bandaid on Legato's broken brain:: Well, this is the last story for now, so I'll label this as complete. With my impulsiveness, who knows if it's really complete, though...

I really hope you enjoyed this, and all the crazy little stories that preceded it. I'm not sure if I've gotten the characters right, but it was fun to try to see life through their eyes (disturbing and depressing at some points, too.) Thank you so much for reading! Please, please review...if anyone would take a moment to leave their thoughts, I'd be so grateful. Are the characters IC? I know some pretty crazy thoughts have been jammed into these pathetic little oneshots, but I tried to keep the characters true to their anime and manga counterparts.