kol: keys to the soul (Keys (ANCD))
[personal profile] kol
fandom: ANCD’s Cloud Keep AU
cast: Dee, Galen (+ mention of Julian)
prompt: 31_days, “tiny little erosions”
note: So I wrote the draft zero for this way back in 2011, but when I was showing off the accompanying chibis I’d done for the piece, I realized I never got around to finishing this story and decided it was high time to get this in the can!


Naruto Terms:
— Cloud— one of the ninja villages. For our purposes, in this AU the Angels are at Cloud Keep. The fallen would have residence in a rival ninja village, Dis.
— Jonin — the highest level of the ninja regular forces— think of it as a Captain. Usually adults.
— Chunin— literally the middle rank of ninja. Usually teenagers.
— Genin — the lowest level of ninja. Usually kids.
— Killer (surname) — the leadership of Cloud in the Naruto canon are the Killer clan, a family of badass warriors who seem to be lifted right out of WWE wrestling. Killer Bee is the notorious rapping ninja, and his character is the whole reason this AU happened in the first place. While Bee doesn’t exist in the Cloud Keep AU, I did keep the naming system in place. Dee’s name in this AU would be Killer Dee, indicating she’s from the clan, but nowhere near top ranking, similar to Meresijm’s background.
— Jutsu — think of it like a magical spell, only this uses your hands in set positions & channeling your chakra correctly.
— Bloodline limit — these are inherited abilities passed down through certain clans, but they can be elevated into techniques unique to an individual. Dee’s bloodline limit involves her being able to see chakra from up to a mile away and is nearly impossible to shield against. Naturally she uses this to torment Galen. ^.^;;
— The use of Angelic names vs Modern Day names — I decided the angelic name would be a field/code name, and the modern day name would be the characters actual names. In Naruto you’ll have jonin train groups of genin ninjas, and in this Dee refers to her students exclusively by their code names to distance herself from them.


——————




There was a comfort to the darkness, a sensory numbing void that sheltered Dee’s body from the world beyond. It was the heavy hold of Galen’s healing jutsu… but how could she be held in his jutsu? Galen never left the Keep, not since he’d been promoted to Director of the Hospital. She wasn’t at the Keep, right?

But her mind was numb and held no answer.

She returned to the darkness for some time, until a wave of harsh bleach and the acrid bite of antiseptic broke through her sensory cocoon. Slowly, her mind fired, this time connecting the dots. That smell was unmistakable, and since her bloodline limit had awaken, chakra never lied to her. Galen’s jutsu meant she was back at the Keep after all, back in the hospital, with no idea how she had gotten there.

Never a good sign.

She knew there had a been a mission, and if she was back in Cloud Keep’s hospital, that meant it had gone terribly wrong.

But her mind remained lethargic and slow to awaken. Only flashes came to her, little dots that Dee struggled to connect, then begged to stop as the images stormed her mind.

Her student team, newly promoted to the rank of chunin and too wild with joy to practice stealth on the road to Dis. She had allowed their loud chattering, still smug her team had all risen when others, including Julian’s, had failed. Pyriel, beaming, asking if they were a real Killer squad now. Dee had watching as Dokiel, so proud of the jutsu she had taught him, formed the hand seals that would spell their doom. Dokiel, oh so stupid Dokiel, charging the seals with chakra to show off, completely forgetting they were in enemy territory.

The jutsu soared above them, a 20 story tower of brilliant white heat— a beacon to a nearby squad of demon nin. There was no time to mount a defense and her team had the low ground— it was a brutal fight against the fallen nin, the road soon littered with bodies, including her own. The light fading from Dokiel’s eyes before blood blinded her own, and then, the blissful relief of darkness.

How had she gotten back to Cloud? Had any of her team survived? And where the devil was Galen? It was unlike him to allow a patient to return to consciousness without looming over them, grouching about having to actually do his job because they had the gall to get injured.

In all the years of Galen patching her up, he had always been there when she woke up. Worry struck her, and the familiar fire flared within her eyes, the golden light pinpointing the chakra of three nurses down the hall and an aged orderly further still. No threats on the floor, nothing to be alarmed by, yet still it filled her still waking mind. Where was her team? Where was Galen? Was she all alone?

Dee blinked the gold from her eyes, twin suns setting to mocha. “Damn,” she groaned, body protesting the slight flair of chakra her futile search had used. Not a good sign— Dee’s ability to see chakra signatures rarely tested her endurance these days, but she felt as if she’d used the ability for weeks straight, not mere seconds.

Alarm rising, she tested her limbs, but barely raised them. Fatigue, weakness, resistance-- all signs pointing to a long stay in unconsciousness.

Dee looked down at her body and was unsurprised to see most of it clad in bandages, tightly wrapped from Galen’s neat hand. The Killers would not approve of her slow healing if she was still covered in so many bandages, but then again, she was only a member of that family by the whims of a drunken one night stand between her mother and a low ranking cousin.

Still, she knew her illustrious cousins would rather die than subject themselves to the hospital and Galen’s surly care. Not that she’d had a choice.

Keenly aware she wasn’t the stoic invincible mountains her kin were, she examined what she should see of her body,. Three layers deep at her gut spelled the likely source of her weakened state. A pierced gut? Probably from a fallen’s poisoned arrow— what a good example for what remained of her team she was turning out to be. The Killers would be so proud.

She tested the edges of the triple bandages, trying to get a sense for how large the injury was, but she could feel no sensation. She added a slight pressure only to bite back a gasp that filled her mouth, the tears that stung her eyes.

“Hurts like a bitch, doesn’t it? Get out of the way next time.”

Relief flooded Dee’s exhausted body, but the only verbal response she offered was a dismissive snort. It wouldn’t do to let Galen know she was happy to see him— he’d just claim she’d gotten hurt just to have an excuse to bask in his glorious presence, but then would spend the next day hiding all the sharp kunai from her quarters and replacing them with rubber toys.

It hit her, then, that she hadn’t seen him when she’d activated her bloodline limit. How had he fooled her eyes? It was possible to mask chakra from Dee’s clever eyes, but never at such close quarters. He probably figured it out just to spy on my mother. Dee thought darkly, letting her apparently no longer undefeated eyes to close. “And let you stay on vacation? I thought I’d do you a favor— you know rummaging around in my insides is the only action you’ve seen in weeks.”

The bed rattled as Galen stepped closer, and Dee didn’t need to have her eyes open to sense his bulk towering over her. Protective, furious, worried— Galen being quiet was never a good sign.

She hoped that Julian had stashed the best of her kunai before Galen went into super protective mode.

“You mean what was left of your guts by the time Jehoel dragged your sorry ass in here.”

If Jehoel had dragged her back to Cloud Keep, then at least one of her team had made it. She let her body relax into the hospital bed, suddenly realizing how tense her body had been. She hadn’t utterly failed all her students then.

“Most of you is Julian supplied now,” Galen continued, his voice so close she could feel his awful morning breath lashing against her face. “Go easy on the liver— definitely not his best work.”

She’d scared him badly then, worse than all her brushes with death in the past… and she was sorry to admit there had been more than a few of late. She doubted Galen would exaggerate Julian’s contribution— they all knew how much it took out of Julian to use his S-class jutsu, which allowed him to grow surplus organs that were always a perfect match for transplantation. From the sharpness in his tone, Julian had to have provided at least half of her internal organs.

How long had she been out? That kind of operation would take days, weeks.

“Hmf.” Dee cracked an eye, reading beyond Galen’s grumpy appearance to the fear and worry still lingering tight on his face. She wasn’t out of the water yet, it seemed, which probably ruled out a bar run with Julian to thank him. Maybe he’d allow a rain check and a fruit basket? “Don’t suppose he stuck around? Guess I owe him a round later.”

“Started without you, actually— got himself shit-faced, crowing how he’s a quarter Killer now.”

“Ass.” Dee said fondly. He was okay then, good, no lasting harm from growing half her organs. “Doesn’t he know it works the other way?”

Not that membership in Cloud Keep’s most notorious family had done her any favors… or kept most of her students from getting killed. She’d eagerly give Julian her Killer blood, fat load of good it got her or her kids.

She twisted her face away from him, too well aware the familiar doubts were naked on her face to one who knew her as well as Galen liked to pretend he didn’t.

“Pyriel?” She asked cooly.

“Short a kidney until Julian sobers up enough to grow her a new one.” Galen sank onto the mattress beside her hip, offering no further details on Pyriel’s state. Dee didn’t need to be told the girl had lost a whole lot more than just an organ or shed some blood— those could be replaced.

A brother could not.

She felt, more than saw, him press his thumbs deep into the meat of his thighs; the back of his elbow tensing against her hip as he worked his muscle. He always did that when he was working out a mental knot, twisting a problem over in his brain until it relaxed into an answer, a solution, something he could break into place.

Dee was too tired to let him work out what bothered her— she’d lost a kid under her protection, it didn’t take a genius to add two and two together to get four. But she moved her head back to study his profile anyway. His jaw tensed under her sharp vision, but he said nothing, twisting whatever bothered him over in his head.

“So I bet the Killers are happy to have another member in their illustrious ranks.” Dee, twisting the conversation back to the safe topic of Julian. It was always safe for them to talk about Julian— his carefree grace had always been the grease between their jagged edges, keeping the machine turning. “Should I officially petition to adopt him into the clan?”

“You know we would have adopted you if we could have.” Galen said, pressing harder into his thighs his eyes staring off into blankness of the wall. “We tried, you know, but your bloodline limit awakened, and nothing could pull the Killer from you at that point Dee. And not even this will.”

“What, having half my organs replaced by your brother’s?” She teased.

He met her eyes then, the intent blazing in his eyes causing her own gaze to weaken, fall to the bandages covering her belly. ”You failed to bring Dokiel home, but it wasn’t your fault, Dee— he shouldn’t have been promoted to chunin in the first place. But the elders pushed, liking the idea of a new Killer squad, and now his potential is blood smeared on Dis lands. It wasn’t your fault.”

“So it was the accident of my fucking birth that killed Dokiel then?” Dee snarled. “That doesn’t fix anything.”

“It will one day.” Galen’s hands stopped pressing into his thighs, laying flat against his uniform instead. “I can only stitch you back together—you know the real healing depends on you.”

“Some fucking healer you turned out to be.”

“I don’t do head crap.” Galen managed a tight smile, smoothly rising to his feet.

“Lazy arse.”

“Says the woman whose been laying in bed for two weeks.”

“Yeah, whatever.” Dee yawned.

She missed the rise of Galen’s chakra, but the darkness began pressing in on her again, the comfort of Galen’s healing jutsu weaving around her consciousness again. It seemed the good doctor had deemed the time for pleasantries over. Which was good, because she was too tired to deal with Galen’s bedside manner anyway.

“Turn the light off on your way out and get some fucking sleep Asiel— you’ve got two weeks worth of morning breath and I’ve got a kid who is going to need a kidney soon.” Dee managed around another yawn.

He grumbled an smart ass reply, but she was fading back into the blissful darkness before her brain could wrap around what those words could be.

Date: 2015-04-20 06:38 am (UTC)
impersona: (Default)
From: [personal profile] impersona
“I don’t do head crap.” Galen managed a tight smile, smoothly rising to his feet.

I LOVE THIS LINE THE BEST. I couldn't come up with better even if I were writing him.

Poor Dee :< Poor Dokiel. Poor Deeeee. Have you ever had a fic before where Dee was responsible for other people? I feel like this is the first time you really explored it.

You nailed Galen and Julian, especially Julian. Of course he is pleased as hell to have given so much to Dee. He probably would have done it even if all he got afterwards was a cone of ice cream, but he would feel particular pride in helping save her, as he sucks being out in the battlefield and could not help her there.

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