Cover art: "Laughter in the End of the World: Luka" by LissaAller on . Used with permission.
Author notes: So, this story has spoilers for 'Shuumatsu no Laughter', a new manga my husband and I found recently. We really only looked into it because the main character reminded us of Naruto a little. Man, am I glad we found it because I think it's great!
The Manga is brand new and very short, only about five chapters. But it is SOOO worth reading. My recommendation to you is; if you like sibling love, the relation between demons and humanity, and some deep questions, (not preachy of or anything of course, just part of the world building), and of course the cool battles. Take a look at the manga and see what you think.
Then come back and read this story of course. :)
If you don't care about spoilers, read on. But I am not responsible for giving you insightful hints into the plot. . .Okay, so I am responsible. . . .
Anyways, your choice. I of course don't own the character or this world , just the fanfiction.
The 'Demon Eater' is having a birthday, and Haru's determined to make him a surprise.
Shuumatsu no Birthday
They were in a small town again, the back street lay all dusty outside the window, where all the shanty houses lined the path like broken ghosts. Haru and her brother had defeated this town's Akuma early that morning, and Haru knew that if she didn't hurry her brother would want to leave before the surprise was finished.
So, as carefully as she could, Haru took down the baking supplies and set them on the counter. She dragged her chair along with her as she went so as to reach the top shelves. If she didn't' hurry, it would be too late.
It was rare that Luca left his sister alone. However, since they had been able to track this particular Akuma down right after he himself arrived, the towns people where not very frightened yet. It felt safer than usual. When Luca said he was going to save them, they still had enough hope left to give it a try. So, she and Luca had done what they'd promised to do, and he'd left her to pack while he collected their payment from the town mayor.
She hadn't packed yet. However, the cake was far more important. It was her brother's birthday after all. Mixing the ingredients and keeping the fire under the stove, Haru broke the rules twice and went outside to get more firewood. Then she dumped her batter into a pan and slid the cake into the oven, cleaning up the kitchen as quickly as she could while it baked.
They hadn't had birthday cake for an awfully long time, as they were always traveling. Even though Luca always took, even a tiny bit of time to celebrate her birthday - sometimes with a game, or a small gift - he often, almost always, ignored his own special day. She figured it was because he hated getting older, especially since he was already growing bald and he wasn't even out of his teens yet.
Haru grinned at the thought as she began to mix the frosting. Her brother's age was something she couldn't help but tease about, especially since she was cursed with forever youth herself. Regardless how her brother felt about getting older, Haru was going to make him a cake no mater what. If he didn't like chocolate with vanilla frosting, well she'd just eat it herself.
When she could smell the cake, she checked the oven and pulled it out. Setting it quickly onto the counter. She frowned deeply.
It had turned out fine. A little lumpy, but not bad. It was just. . . Despite her wistful thinking, she had really expected Luca to be back by now.
How long did it take to scare a paycheck out of a fat little mayor anyways?
Stirring her frosting thoughtfully, and feeling mildly worried, Haru jumped in surprise when the door suddenly slammed open.
"Haru! let's get going!"
Despite the careless phrase, one repeated for almost every town they left, she could sense the slight edges of panic in her brother's voice. At least, she called it panic; it was really more confident then that, like thinly veiled concern. Either way, it frightened her.
Haru turned just as Luca came into the doorway, she almost cringed at the sudden look of disapproval that crossed his features, and for the first time in a month – he yelled at her.
"What do you think you're doing?!"
". . .Haru was. . . Baking a . . .Cake." She fell back into the childish stutter they'd practiced for years, tricking the townspeople into thinking she was a harmless four-year-old.
Luca grabbed her by the wrist and pulled her up the stairs, "Hurry up. We don't have time for this!"
"Brother, it's your Birth. . .Day. . ."
He already had most everything stuffed in their backpack by the time she'd even folded her second skirt. Luca paused when there was an awful pounding on the front door. He shoved the backpack to his sister to finish up while he went downstairs to keep anyone from breaking in. Haru could smell smoke.
Torches. She thought, frantically stuffing everything into her backpack.
She hated torches most, more then knives even. Luca was great at avoiding knives because he had lots of practice. But even he'd burnt himself on a pan or a hot coal before.
Fire was proof that unlike her, Luca couldn't live forever.
As the shouting outside grew Haru hurried downstairs. To her relief, Luca met her at the bottom step and took her by the hand. They walked quickly to the back door before he stopped and knelt in front of her, studying her face carefully to make sure all the makeup was in place. Once satisfied, he nodded once then stood and swung open the back door, making the entire town fall to a hush.
Everyone was there. They were carrying knives, and pitchforks, and anything they had that was sharp and dangerous. Their torches burnt even though it was daylight. The shadowy light flickered against the dark mark on her brother's face.
"I've gotten everything I wanted here," Luca said. "You're Akuma is dead now and you can live on even if it won't be peaceful." Luca's voice was mellow as he spoke to them, despite their hateful eyes. No matter what they did or said, he'd smile at them, in that know-all smile he had. Haru knew that when Luca smiled, that was when he was worried most and thinking hardest.
The people grumbled and whispered. Some shouted.
"Did you kill him so that you could take his place Demon?!"
"We don't want you here!"
"You won't terrorize us!"
Others were praying to whatever god they thought could protect them.
Luca was frowning. Like his smile, the people around them interrupted it wrong. They thought it meant that he was angry, Haru knew it meant that he was sad.
"I'm leaving," he said firmly. "You better put those things away before you hurt someone. Come Haru."
He walked, and she followed. The crowd parted quickly as they passed even some of the full grown men hid behind others.
Haru looked back at the little house they'd been staying at, envisioning the delicious cake sitting untouched on the table. Luca had to pinch her arm discreetly to remind her of her role, and she immediately cried out in distress. "Brother wait! Haru's coming too! Don't Leave Haru!" she cried, hurrying to travel the mere steps between them as if she feared being left behind.
She hurried after him as if he was the only person in the world, as if she was heedless of the people around her.; the people swearing and yelling out threats. In reality, she wished with all her heart to hurt every one of those people, especially the ones with torches. They just weren't being fair.
As they walked, the mob followed as a short distance. Some yelled but most whispered quietly to their fellow villagers, or to the heavens. Haru could hear every word, she was used to listening to whispers. They whispered about demons, about death and hell and burning.
They whispered about literally tearing the Akuma to pieces which was the only way to kill a demon. . . Though even that didn't last forever. Haru walked closely beside Luca, and finally took an instant to glare at one of the people flanking them. The angry villager didn't even notice her.
She tried catching the eyes of another, but he too wasn't paying attention.
They were all too busy staring at her brother. They weren't watching her, they weren't whispering at her, they weren't cursing her to a painful half death. They were talking about Luca.
The fear, the hatred. . . No one directed it towards Haru. In their eyes she was no more then a poor, simple, pitiful child. Perhaps they thought her a helpless prisoner to the Akuma beside her. A prisoner with the Akuma's determined, shadowed eyes watching her every move. The black mark against her cheek set as a threat to eat her up alive if she ever did something amiss.
They were cursing him, with all their hearts they wished to destroy him. He'd saved their village, he offered kindness when all he received was hate.
He protected her from danger. . .
The thought, made her begin to cry for real, but she knew she couldn't. It would smear the makeup layering her face, hiding her. Then they would see the truth.
However, when alone with her brother, after defeating yet another evil person, the makeup could come off. She could reveal who she truly was, no more disguise, no more acting.
Her brother's tattoo however, his fake mouth of Akuma which was the target at all these people's hatred. . . He'd put it on himself to protect her. . .And it would never. . . Ever. . . Come off.
By this time they were outside the little town, the shouts had faded away like one of Haru's bad dreams. However, she was still crying.
Luca turned. "That was very good Haru, but you need to. . ./" His mouth curved downwards in one of his nervous looks of concern, "Goodness Haru, what's the matter?"His frown deepened to something angry, "Did they hurt you?!"
She shook her head, tears smearing down her cheeks and feeling sticky, "No. . ." She gasped, "You!"
"What did I do?" her brother asked in confusion.
"They're always hurting you!" she yelled, hands trembling. It hurt even worse now, to see that confused look on her brother's face, real confusion. He was so used to playing his role, being her guardian. . . He no longer seemed to feel the pain others caused him.
Haru kept crying.
"Shh. No tears now. Everything's fine." he assured, kneeling down. "Haru stop crying."
"I. . . Can't. . . I. . . They made us leave your cake!" This created a new river of tears at the thought that her brother wouldn't get his birthday. She wondered if he even remembered the special occasion.
He stared at her, looking slightly amused, and a little annoyed. "The cake? You're worried about the cake?!" Luca laughed, "You silly. Here." Reaching into his pocket he handed her a folded, squishy napkin. Which, when she opened it revealed a soft mush of chocolate cake, and what appeared to be a spoon full, or perhaps a hand full of pale frosting.
He wiped away her childish tears with the palms of his hands and stood up. "Happy now?" he teased, turning away, and licking the frosting from his fingers. "Let's go. We have some Akuma to hunt."