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Author Topic: Nocturne [13/02 - Epilogue (END)]  (Read 72282 times)

Offline rokun

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Re: Nocturne [26/8 - File #29 & #30]
« Reply #380 on: September 07, 2012, 08:09:14 PM »
You know, maybe it's a bit sad, but I think you do some of your best writing when in moods like this. I suppose it makes sense considering how great writers have written throughout history though, huh? At least those who know me know that's what I've always thought...

But...
She never saw Ai again? :cry: It's really over? I have a hard time thinking Reina would be interested in and have the resources to enter that world. She'd already learned so much about it, after all.

That said, although I'm a bit curious how you'll continue, this could almost be an end in itself to me... even if it wouldn't really make sense to the story overall lol. But then this story has always been a bit avant-garde, eh?

Offline Estrea

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Re: Nocturne [26/8 - File #29 & #30]
« Reply #381 on: December 27, 2012, 09:00:08 PM »
Guess what, I'm back. Episode FINAL. Hoho. XD

======================================================

File #31


"President, your 3 o' clock is here."

The secretary's voice buzzed from the speakerphone, perched as it was on the immense, oak-panelled table that took up half the inner office and could easily have doubled as a fort. There were no windows in the inner sanctum, and only a narrow way in that opened up to a much bigger parlour area that looked more fitting for the CEO of a corporation. Had someone deigned to stop and observe, the main doors leading into that front parlour would probably be of more service guarding a bank vault than business secrets.

The inheritor of such finely honed paranoia did not necessarily have to share those instincts. There were still no windows in the inner office, yes. But now comfy sofas were set by the glazed windows in the outer parlour, just opposite a well-stocked mini bar. Unlike her austere father, Kamei Eri had to resort to different methods of charming her opposition. Then again, she was also less likely to have someone after her life, or at least, less aware of the possible methods through which that course of action could be pursued.

She was by the windows now, drink in hand. Her organizer lay open at the coffee table, though only unrecognizable scribbles could be seen on it. Condensation sweated its way down the sides of the glass, past her tightly clenched fingers and staining the rich carpeting. She stared out from behind the glass, and wondered, not for the first, if her mother had shared the same view.

A soft tone at the door brought her back to her surroundings. No knock could have penetrated those blast doors guarding her late father's lair. Eri allowed herself a brief chuckle; reinforced doors and layered defenses had not saved her father from a premature death. Which was why she was going to have them replaced by nice glass ones soon. Hell, she might as well just remodel the entire place for the heck of it!

Another button pressed to allow the internal locks to disengage, even as she engaged the intercom to let her secretary know to let the visitor in. Her heels left slight indents against the lush carpeting, only to spring back up in the wake of her passing. At the bar she poured herself another drink; whiskey was her poison of choice these days.

The doors rolled open slowly, and a diminutive figure in a business suit and slicked back hair stepped in. Gaudy black wire frames sat like a defensive bulwark on that pale face, and the hand clutching the nondescript briefcase was almost skeletally thin. Her visitor stood quietly at the entrance as the doors rolled shut once more, clearly waiting for some sign of acknowledgement from her before moving. Manners, at least. Or was it a sense of intimidation from a personal audience with the CEO of Kamei Corp?

Eri pursed her lips, recalling from memory the details of her 3 o' clock appointment. An up-and-coming IT startup that had developed a promising program. The beta testing had gone well and there was market demand for it, but they required funding to go further. The banks had not approved of further loans seeing how the little firm was still in the red from their investment in their product, and so the company had had to look further afield for options. Eri had taken studied the proposals after they had been filtered through her top executives, and arranged the meeting not long after personally testing their program. If she could maneuver things properly, instead of simply sponsoring the company, she could broker a deal to turn them into a subsidiary of her corporation. She didn't go to business school for nothing.

"Kawayama-san, was it? Do take a seat." Her smile was gracious as she waved the nervous young executive towards the plush sofas by the window. She took the second glass of whiskey with her and walked over to the sofas. There she waited as the young man padded softly up to her...

...and froze. A whiff of a familiar scent made her lose her grip on one of the glasses, which was deftly caught by the same thin hand. Deja vu, much?

"You shouldn't be drinking on an empty stomach." It was jarring to hear a voice switch in mid-sentence, going from a rolling contralto to a husky soprano. The ghostly hand placed the still-full glass on the coffee table, having spilled not a drop from it during the save.

"Ai-chan." Eri found herself breathing out, a thread of feeling between anticipation and cold fear curling her toes, stealing her thoughts and senses. She could only feel, and not all of those feelings were pleasant.

No reply, only a sliding sensation as Ai uncoiled herself away from Eri, moving sinuous as a snake. The tiny distance helped the heiress breathe, and she took the opportunity to turn and step back further, putting a sofa between them. Not that it would have stopped the assassin, she knew. And yes, she knew very well what Ai was. Not who she was, but what.

"I was looking for you all this time." Truth that stank of lies. Eri took the opportunity to look the other woman over. Ai was pale as death, and the carefully applied makeup concealed only her more feminine aspects. When the glasses came off, she was only somewhat recognizable as the mysterious young woman who had crossed paths with her months ago. Now a shadow of herself, cheeks sunken in a way makeup could not replicate, the lack of the concealing glasses revealed hints of scars at her temple. Battle-worn and battle-scarred, she stood as a wisp or wraith, the only bright things left were her eyes, and those burned cold.

"I received your...invitation." Ai's voice was low, and her lips curled in a sneer. She ran a hand through her short locks, deliberately pushing strands far enough back to reveal ugly stitches running underneath. Eri swallowed. She had known that the people she sent had not returned, that they were unsuccessful. She did not, could not know how much damage they inflicted. But they were gone and Ai was here. Was she going to be next?

"There's no contract on you, rest assured." Ai let her hand fall, dead eyes still pinned to the taller girl. There was something dark and hungry and desperate in that tiny frame, danger caged within her unassuming form. If there was anger, it did not burn. There lay a hollow depth instead, devouring all who looked into those dead orbs. Eri shuddered. It was like looking into Hell itself.

"Why have you come?" Eri wanted to know. Her minions had been sent to bring Ai in, so if Ai had not resisted, they would have brought her here. Instead, Ai had butchered them all, but still showed up. Why?

"You can't sheathe a bloody knife." Ai whispered, stalking close. Eri stepped back subconsciously, mirroring the move. A ghost of a smile touched Ai's lips.

"Tell me, was it your idea or was it the old man's?"

What? Eri blinked. Abruptly, Ai crossed right past her, walking to the liquor cabinet and tracing one nail around the lacquered edges. Caught off guard, Eri almost tripped on the sofa she was standing next to, and rescued herself by sitting on its arm. She stared mutely at Ai's back, mind whirring. Ai's voice had lost the menacing edge, taking on an almost conversational tone as she pretended to study the bottles behind the glass.

"You know, I thought it was too easy. Not a cakewalk, yes, but it shouldn't have come so close, become so personal. So I asked a question a person in my line should never ask: who took out the contract?"

Now Ai was pacing behind the mini bar, slow deliberate steps that ended at the other end, where she leaned against the counter and rested her full weight against it, folding her arms as she cocked her head quizzically at Eri. Again, with that ghost of a smile. That look on her face, of one who had seen and known and done too much.

"I'm a weapon, you know. Point me and off I go. I don't ask who does the pointing. It doesn't change a thing. It shouldn't matter." The smile was brittle, eyes emotionless.

"Tell me, does it feel good to be standing in your father's place?"

Eri flinched at the unspoken accusation. Cold needles ran down her spine. She forced herself to stillness, not wanting the assassin in front of her to read the tension in her trembling fingers. It didn't really work, but Ai didn't seem inclined to point it out. Taking a deep breath, Eri squared her shoulders as she pushed up from her position on the sofa.

"This was never my father's place. He married my mother for it."

"Is that why you did it then?" Ai seemed genuinely curious. Not judgemental. Merely curious. Then again, perhaps one should not look towards a paid killer for examples of morality.

"I didn't know it was real..." Eri started uncertainly, then her mouth firmed into a thin line. "I didn't know who you were until...after."

"Didn't know, eh?" Ai shook her head, bemused. "Well, that answers a few questions at least."

"It's over and done with. I have to pick up the pieces anyway, so it's not like...!" Eri blasted back defensively. She would not stand and be insulted by this person, regardless of how she personally felt about her. And she definitely had some very mixed feelings about Ai, assassin or not.

"You know, he would have died anyway." Ai said suddenly, tapping her jaw reflectively. Eri blinked, took a half step back.

"What?"

"Your father. He was already dying." Ai paused, waiting for the fact to sink in. "He wouldn't have lasted another year. Two at the most."

"You're lying." Eri ground out through clenched teeth. Ai smiled coldly.

"I researched his medical background for the job. He had a heart condition, and that's what I worked on...but after the job I went back and dug a little further. Turns out the heart condition is just a symptom for something else." Ai shook her head. "Some kind of muscular dystrophic disease. He was wasting away on the inside."

"No...he would have said something, wouldn't he?" Eri looked uncertain, backed into a corner. Ai chuckled lowly.

"Ever wondered why he retired so early? He could have stopped field work and continued on in an administrative or training capacity, and don't look at me like that. You knew what he did for a living before he married your mother and had you. He was pushed into an early retirement when his condition manifested. Oh, but it was mild, and it took years before it weakened him significantly. His heart, for example, was just one of the first..."

"Why are you telling me this?" Eri said lowly. She did not seem amused. Who would, when placed in her position? "Are you trying to make me feel guilty or something?" She took a deep breath. "It's not going to work, you know. I made a choice, I'll live with it."

Ai stops, and then she laughed. Deep, rolling chuckles that seem to draw out some deep ache from within. She actually had to hold on to the bar counter for support. Eri frowned, her knuckles turning white with tension as she clenched again. What was so funny?

"You are your father's daughter, aren't you?" Ai grinned, a shadow of her old persona falling back into place. It was gone in the next minute, replaced by a deadly serious look.

"He was going to die, you hated him for causing your mother's death -- yes I knew about that -- and wanted him dead, and next thing you know he does turn out dead. You think you killed him, then go on to take his place, oh I'm sorry, your mother's place as head of the company." Ai pauses, spreading her hands out in front of her as if laying out the points on an invisible screen. "Fits so neatly together, doesn't it?"

"You have a problem with that?" Eri wondered if she could somehow call security and get rid of Ai, but dismissed the thought almost as quickly as it came. By the time security came, Ai could probably kill her in ten different ways without breaking a sweat. Even if she stalled.

"I don't. There's just one little problem, you see." Ai's smile was artificially bright as she draws on an imaginary chalkboard. "How did you contact us?"

"Well I..." Eri stopped herself before she said more, wary of Ai leading her into some kind of verbal trap. Thus far she had never come out and admitted orchestrating her father's demise. If she had. The way Ai was twisting things around, she was starting to doubt herself. She had just been poking around her father's office, and those files had just been left there...contact codes for a shadow organization. She never had to see anyone, make any direct contact. It was completely impersonal, a secure and anonymous transaction over the web, just a shot in the dark...and then her father died, and the payment request came back through the same channel. That was when she realized what she had inadvertently done, and decided that she had no choice but to live with the consequences. It couldn't be traced back to her in any case. Everything was encoded, and she had burned the files after making the payment. Wiped the computer from which she had made the transaction as well, took a hammer to it actually. Not that it would have mattered; the original transmissions were scrambled, encrypted and dissolved within hours. But she didn't know that, of course. Better to be safe than sorry in any case.

Ai did not seem much interested in her reply, or her lack of one. She simply raised a finger, wagging it back and forth. "You couldn't have had access to us, not without your father."

"He worked for the government." That means he wouldn't use you guys. Eri had simply assumed that her father still worked freelance for his former employers, perhaps in a different capacity, and that his possession of those codes for contacting them were perhaps part of an attempt to crack the organization and bring them down. She could not have been more wrong.

"And I work for them as well." Ai said calmly. Eri's eyes widened, but Ai held up a hand to stop any protests. "Officially, I don't exist. Not on paper, no computer records, no legal trail. I'm a ghost in the machine." Her smile was cold. "Now, just think for a moment. How useful could that be when you want something done without being officially involved?"

"You're a killer." Eri said flatly. Ai shrugged.

"And people always need something done. Sometimes...permanently." Ai's face went back to being an impassive mask. "I've been on more missions than you know. Not all of them have been in Japan. One target here, another one there. I've been in fancy hotels as often as the lowest gambling dens. A dark alley is no different from a glitzy district. Sometimes the mark is high profile, sometimes just a thug from the street. There are no patterns. Nothing obvious, anyway. Not until I started paying attention." Ai's voice was mechanical as she spoke, separating emotion from the logic of her analysis. It made Eri's blood run cold.

"I know I'm a weapon, sold to the highest bidder. And the highest bidder isn't always illegal." Ai pretended to look at her nails, buffing them idly against the fabric of her suit jacket. "Your father knew of us, I'm sure. I wouldn't have known him, and he wouldn't have known me. That's not how the system works." A shadow flitted across Ai's face. "Plausible deniability, always."

"Are you sure you should be telling me all this?" Eri asked shakily, trying to distract herself from the scenario Ai was building for her. "Don't these secret organizations usually try to kill you when you reveal things like that?"

"I'm already dead." Ai said flatly. She shoved her hands into her pockets, stalking out from behind the counter and advancing towards Eri, who backed all the way until she hit the glass windows behind her. Ai smiled suddenly, deceptively angelic as she continued.

"And you killed me."

Eri shook her head. She did not understand. Ai sighed, walking back a few paces to sit on one arm of the sofa. She seemed worn out all of a sudden.

"You wouldn't let go. I'm a liability now. Compromised. A shadow can't be a shadow with a trail. I'm marked. Living on borrowed time. I'm dead, from the moment they picked me up and made me what I am. And now I'm headed for my expiry date, because you wouldn't let go."

For a moment Ai seemed almost vulnerable, like a poor lost child caught in a horrible nightmare. So much so that Eri actually took a step forward, one hand outstretched, her face already twisting in sympathy. I'm sorry, I didn't mean to, I only wanted...

The hard shell snapped back into place, leaving only the worn warrior in its place. Ai had a cynical expression on, all sharp edges and bitter reproach. The look she gave Eri was not gentle, but there was no rage or hatred in it. Whatever it was, Ai was resigned to her fate, but not above striking a final few blows before the critical moment came.

"Don't say it." Eri cut in abruptly before Ai opened her mouth. A sudden fear had risen in her, a cold dread that simmered balefully in the pits of her stomach, hinting and whispering and she did not want to know. For a moment, Ai's face seemed to soften, as if in pity...and then a cruel twist came to her lips, and she smiled without mirth.

"Why not? You should be happy to hear it. You killed no one, little girl. Your hands are clean." Ai held her own hands up. "That's more than I can claim."

"Stop." Eri bit the inside of her cheek, nausea roiling in the deep of her throat. She felt ill with possibility, old doubts and fears coming back to taunt her. And so very vaguely, hints of a guilt she had refused to feel beginning to surface.

"For God so loved us he gave us his only Son, and for our sins He died." Ai recited with great gravity, cocking her head as the malicious glint in her eye grew. Her eyes never left Eri as she continued on, relishing every word.

"Your father arranged his own death. You think you set it up? He set you up. He set all of us up. We were always dancing to his tune, all the way to his death and beyond." Ai looked at the deathly pale expression on Eri's face, noted her clenched jaw, the shaking shoulders.

"The best part? He knew you wanted him dead, and he still loved you enough to let you kill him. He had your measure, you know. He knew you would step up after his death. And the way he did it...he made sure you were untouchable. I wasn't allowed to kill you to erase my trail..."

"Then why don't you now?" Eri growled through gritted teeth. "It's not like you even care anymore!"

"That's true. I don't." Ai said half to herself, then refocused on the situation. "But why should I? There's no purpose, it won't change my situation at this stage, and I rather leave you alive now that it has come to this..."

"So you can come gloating? Rub it in? Yes I hated my father! Mama died because of him. He was always controlling my life, every single step of it. If I made friends, he drove them away eventually with his paranoia. He gave me everything I wanted, but nothing I needed. I hate him. It was always about what he wanted, and he took over Mama's company and renamed it after himself. He tried to marry me off to some corporate flunky that could keep controlling my life even after he died. I don't need a father like him. He deserved to die."

Eri spat out the last in a rage, her nails digging into the flesh of her palm, bile rising in her throat as the hidden resentment of years spilled over. She was shaking, and she tasted iron on her tongue -- she had bit her lip in her rage.

Ai was silent for a moment, her head bowed. She allowed Eri some time to control herself, rein in the rage, master her emotions. Then she spoke, clearly and slowly.

"I kill people. I don't ask if they deserve it. I rarely even wonder why. Sometimes it amuses me to learn the significance of their deaths, but I keep it to myself and show no sign of understanding -- it keeps me alive for another day. My life is not my own, and I have never wanted to kill the people I killed. I do it for me. Kill or be killed; for me it is literal. I don't know what it's like to hate someone and want them dead. Lives are cheap in my line of work; I talk money, not feelings, when I kill."

Ai gazed at Eri, not without pity.

"He loved you and you killed him. He raised you, made you strong, and you repay him with murder. You will live, because to die would cheapen the decision you made. But I would have you know that he would have wanted you to live too. He wanted you to be strong, and you proved it with his death. You never escaped him, even in the end."

"Shut up!" Eri yelled, clamping her hands over her ears and shutting her eyes tightly. "Shut up shut up shutupshutupshutup!"

Mocking laughter, ghostly in the air. Ai drifted close, putting her lips to Eri's trembling ear.

"I won't kill you, princess. Not now, not ever."

Because you deserve to live with the truth.


=================================================================


CLIMAX AND END.

Well actually there is an epilogue after this. But I need to sleep.

Papa Kamei had a Xanatos Gambit going on. Ergo:

1) Eri doesn't want to kill him. He will die eventually anyway. He sets her up with a reliable husband, one she can work her way around eventually to assume at least partial control of the company, or if she doesn't, the husband will care for her after he is gone.

2) Eri does want to kill him. He sets up the contract, working clauses into it to make sure that Eri has immunity (probably trading off favors and other possible information) and allowing Eri to think that she set it up. His will in the event of his death would have given her all his shares in the company in any case, and the husband he set up for her will still care for her and tend to the business should she demonstrate no interest in running it. Granted, the husband got bumped off in the process here, but it still all works out because Eri has the strength of will and the training to run the company...training that he has been giving her by essentially guiding her and making sure that she went to business school and was aware of the internal affairs of the corporation even before his death.

And let's not forget 3) He was dying of a wasting disease and rather than die slowly, he chooses when to die instead of essentially letting his muscles and organs rot away. I think I rather a quick death too in this case.

Oh and this was why Ai was so pissed off at the end of Eri's arc. She had a feeling she was being played, and spent time looking it up because pride.

I'll get the epilogue up after I get some sleep. :P Enjoy in the meantime!

永遠に咲き続ける花なんていない、すべてはいずれ枯れて朽ち果てしまう。

Currently writing:
- Lilium-related things. God save my soul.

On Hold:
- Everything Else. Too many to list.

I'm also on AO3!
http://archiveofourown.org/users/Estrea

Offline rndmnwierd

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Re: Nocturne [28/12 - File #31]
« Reply #382 on: December 28, 2012, 03:57:00 AM »
I'm going to have to reread the whole thing because I've forgotten what was supposed to be going on XD

Offline aya-chii

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Re: Nocturne [26/8 - File #29 & #30]
« Reply #383 on: December 29, 2012, 05:16:00 AM »
Guess what, I'm back. Episode FINAL. Hoho. XD


OHMAGAD ESSY'S BACK!!! update update update! did you know how long it took you? i've been waiting for ages wondering what might have happened to ai after her not-so-good lovestory ending with reina!  XD

Quote

File #31


"President, your 3 o' clock is here."

The secretary's voice buzzed from the speakerphone, perched as it was on the immense, oak-panelled table that took up half the inner office and could easily have doubled as a fort. There were no windows in the inner sanctum, and only a narrow way in that opened up to a much bigger parlour area that looked more fitting for the CEO of a corporation. Had someone deigned to stop and observe, the main doors leading into that front parlour would probably be of more service guarding a bank vault than business secrets.


ahhh.. yeah... what was the story again?? :nervous *rushes back to track where the nocturne files are within my chaotic brain*

Quote
The inheritor of such finely honed paranoia did not necessarily have to share those instincts. There were still no windows in the inner office, yes. But now comfy sofas were set by the glazed windows in the outer parlour, just opposite a well-stocked mini bar. Unlike her austere father, Kamei Eri had to resort to different methods of charming her opposition. Then again, she was also less likely to have someone after her life, or at least, less aware of the possible methods through which that course of action could be pursued.

ahhh~ kamei... wait, i thought her piece in this story is already done? guess a turtle fades slower~ get it ? lol HOORAY for kame  :cow:

Quote
She was by the windows now, drink in hand. Her organizer lay open at the coffee table, though only unrecognizable scribbles could be seen on it. Condensation sweated its way down the sides of the glass, past her tightly clenched fingers and staining the rich carpeting. She stared out from behind the glass, and wondered, not for the first, if her mother had shared the same view.

lol. scribbles. :lol:

great, i can totally imagine rocking-up that elegant, a no nonsense businesswoman look! her appearance had always to fit such personality, the aura.. if not only to be ruined by her usual turtle antics. yeah. gawd, how her role evolved that much since the last time...


Quote
...and froze. A whiff of a familiar scent made her lose her grip on one of the glasses, which was deftly caught by the same thin hand. Deja vu, much?
guesses who?

Quote
"You shouldn't be drinking on an empty stomach." It was jarring to hear a voice switch in mid-sentence, going from a rolling contralto to a husky soprano. The ghostly hand placed the still-full glass on the coffee table, having spilled not a drop from it during the save.

"Ai-chan." Eri found herself breathing out, a thread of feeling between anticipation and cold fear curling her toes, stealing her thoughts and senses. She could only feel, and not all of those feelings were pleasant.
who else? hahaha. it would not be a final chapter without an Ai in it. but i wasn't expecting for Ai to enter the scene through the young executive. good cosmetics ai, wonder if you can share some? i wonder if you.. at least good in the appearance of the male.

Quote
"I was looking for you all this time." Truth that stank of lies. Eri took the opportunity to look the other woman over. Ai was pale as death, and the carefully applied makeup concealed only her more feminine aspects. When the glasses came off, she was only somewhat recognizable as the mysterious young woman who had crossed paths with her months ago. Now a shadow of herself, cheeks sunken in a way makeup could not replicate, the lack of the concealing glasses revealed hints of scars at her temple. Battle-worn and battle-scarred, she stood as a wisp or wraith, the only bright things left were her eyes, and those burned cold.

"I received your...invitation." Ai's voice was low, and her lips curled in a sneer. She ran a hand through her short locks, deliberately pushing strands far enough back to reveal ugly stitches running underneath. Eri swallowed. She had known that the people she sent had not returned, that they were unsuccessful. She did not, could not know how much damage they inflicted. But they were gone and Ai was here. Was she going to be next?

 :shocked the encounters with reina ? it was all eri's fault ?!!!
bat naaahhh~ ain't going to hate you eri, you still look hot with your corporate attire  :yep:

i was completely clueless of what was the conversation all about, confused but feeling the tension and anticipation welling within me.  kept reading.. reading...

Quote
"Why are you telling me this?" Eri said lowly. She did not seem amused. Who would, when placed in her position? "Are you trying to make me feel guilty or something?" She took a deep breath. "It's not going to work, you know. I made a choice, I'll live with it."

Ai stops, and then she laughed. Deep, rolling chuckles that seem to draw out some deep ache from within. She actually had to hold on to the bar counter for support. Eri frowned, her knuckles turning white with tension as she clenched again. What was so funny?

"You are your father's daughter, aren't you?" Ai grinned, a shadow of her old persona falling back into place. It was gone in the next minute, replaced by a deadly serious look.

"He was going to die, you hated him for causing your mother's death -- yes I knew about that -- and wanted him dead, and next thing you know he does turn out dead. You think you killed him, then go on to take his place, oh I'm sorry, your mother's place as head of the company." Ai pauses, spreading her hands out in front of her as if laying out the points on an invisible screen. "Fits so neatly together, doesn't it?"

oh ai-chan, she's a kamei and of course a daughter of her father as well~ you humour me--- e? KAMEI WANTED HER FATHER DEAD :panic:
aya gasps. daddy looks. lil bro and lil sis stares at me. i briefly glance at them, i continue to read... it's nothing tee-hee XD
so kamei planned it all. she might have been surely shocked that it worked... but she actually earned two great things from this deed.
a)yes her father is dead. great
b) SEXY ESCAPADE WITH AICHAN  :roll:

Quote

"Are you sure you should be telling me all this?" Eri asked shakily, trying to distract herself from the scenario Ai was building for her. "Don't these secret organizations usually try to kill you when you reveal things like that?"

"I'm already dead." Ai said flatly. She shoved her hands into her pockets, stalking out from behind the counter and advancing towards Eri, who backed all the way until she hit the glass windows behind her. Ai smiled suddenly, deceptively angelic as she continued.

"And you killed me."

O_o whaz da meaning of diz?!


Quote
"You wouldn't let go. I'm a liability now. Compromised. A shadow can't be a shadow with a trail. I'm marked. Living on borrowed time. I'm dead, from the moment they picked me up and made me what I am. And now I'm headed for my expiry date, because you wouldn't let go."

 :cry: so this is really the end e? for ai-chan... for the story...?
i'm still not blaming you kame, you're just really slow to realize things and ai-chan wouldn't have told you anyways

Quote
"Your father arranged his own death. You think you set it up? He set you up. He set all of us up. We were always dancing to his tune, all the way to his death and beyond." Ai looked at the deathly pale expression on Eri's face, noted her clenched jaw, the shaking shoulders.

"The best part? He knew you wanted him dead, and he still loved you enough to let you kill him. He had your measure, you know. He knew you would step up after his death. And the way he did it...he made sure you were untouchable. I wasn't allowed to kill you to erase my trail..."

good old man. terribly genius old man... seriously eri, are you your old man's daughter?

Quote
"I kill people. I don't ask if they deserve it. I rarely even wonder why. Sometimes it amuses me to learn the significance of their deaths, but I keep it to myself and show no sign of understanding -- it keeps me alive for another day. My life is not my own, and I have never wanted to kill the people I killed. I do it for me. Kill or be killed; for me it is literal. I don't know what it's like to hate someone and want them dead. Lives are cheap in my line of work; I talk money, not feelings, when I kill."
guess this is the conclusion of ai's life in this story. i feel terribly sorry, sad... whatever appropriate word it could be... for her. yeah it's cool that she wages guns like that, and draws bloody death as easy as that... and swoop girls out of their feet as swiftly as that... in the end, she was just a mere killer with no history. no life to be surrounded by warm bodies that would reciprocate all those love that she could have given if not because of this job. this is sad essy, and epic at the same time. gawd, all these emotions i have kept within me along with this story, ai of nocturne is one tragic masterpiece.

Quote
"He loved you and you killed him. He raised you, made you strong, and you repay him with murder. You will live, because to die would cheapen the decision you made. But I would have you know that he would have wanted you to live too. He wanted you to be strong, and you proved it with his death. You never escaped him, even in the end."
awww~ papa. his genuine love for eri, how could you have done that eri... in the end all she wanted is for eri to be strong, knowing how brutal the world had been to him and could be for his princess. parents will always know the best, the best.. no matter how wrong it might seem often. please visit your father's grave eri! daddy i love you !

Quote
"Shut up!" Eri yelled, clamping her hands over her ears and shutting her eyes tightly. "Shut up shut up shutupshutupshutup!"

Mocking laughter, ghostly in the air. Ai drifted close, putting her lips to Eri's trembling ear.

"I won't kill you, princess. Not now, not ever."

Because you deserve to live with the truth.

was that truth a happy life-worth salvation or life-long torture...?
now i feel sorry for eri, surely she'll be forever tormented, ai. how mean :P
with that, one thing have sprang-out of my mind. in desperation to wash the guilt out of her, eri might as well become an assassin  :glasses:


essy~  :farofflook:


oh there's an epilogue? let me reserve a few more words for that  :cow: :cow: i want to know what will happen with sayu... with the surprise revival of eri, now i'm not entirely sure if gaki's arc is also finished. and maybe before the final judgement to her life she'll come back to atleast see reina, right? then seeing reina, she'll realize she wanted to live and fight for her lifeee!!!! wiii~!

edit: this is my first time ever commenting here. lol.. *a few seconds* maybe i haven't still, i cant remember any. lol
« Last Edit: December 29, 2012, 05:23:09 AM by aya-chii »

Offline Estrea

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Re: Nocturne [28/12 - File #31]
« Reply #384 on: February 12, 2013, 11:15:52 PM »
The long awaited (?) epilogue. Not that anyone even really remembers the story. It took me, what, 4 years to finish? Even worse than NR. :lol:

Anyway, here ya go~

============================================================


There are times, if she were to be tempted to reclaim what was left of her family's darker history, she would simply pull out a plain-looking knife, be reminded of murder's weight, and the value of a full night's sleep.

There she would rest, and abide in peace. In the sun.

~*~*~

She lives with her sister now, and sneezes infernally at the presence of that mangy furball her older sibling keeps. She likes cats, but allergies were markedly less forgiving, preferences notwithstanding. There is the occasional date with interested men, and she honours those outings for the sake of her parents, but would have been quite content in her current state, forever.

Sometimes she wakes in the dark expecting a call, and night-time always invites a thrill of danger to her senses. She dreams, and sometimes she is even asleep when she does so.

She does not speak of her, nor is there anyone to speak to. Some ghosts were best left buried, but for sweet kisses and lingering touches in memory.

~*~*~

She takes to drink far more heavily than advised, but keeps sufficient wits about her to not over-indulge. Her liver may protest, but she is young still, and it should serve her a good decade or so. Maybe even more.

Life is ever a harsher mistress than Death. She keeps neither picture nor photograph where the eye may follow, and even the mirror is shunned but for personal hygiene. More often than not, her eyes are bloodshot and her skin sallow. But makeup is a wonderful innovation, and her suit is her armour. She sallies forth each day, work her only distraction.

When night falls the bottle is her only companion. The rope lies coiled in the bottom of her dresser. She does not look there. But she knows, remembers why, and tries to forget.

Some days, she even succeeds.

~*~*~

The day she says 'yes' to that nice young man who has been courting her for years, she made up her mind to discard that box she has kept all this time.

Little things, really. Notes, tokens, memories shared and best forgotten. Life goes on. Stairway to Heaven remains at the bottom of the box, the complete collector's edition back in her possession, pristine but for the little dent in the casing and a scrawled apology stuffed within the casing. She has not taken it out since.

That night she dusts off that old box for the first time in years, and touches a hand to the amulet at her throat. It hangs there still, as it had for the last dozen years, the veritable albatross around her neck. It is weight and burden and protection, the gargoyle guarding her heart. Even now, she feels but only faint affection for that nice young man, but that is more than she has felt for anyone in years.

When she finally removes it, she breathes deep, and finds herself finally ready to love beyond its aegis. Ai, the inscription read. Funny how she could only move on after discarding it, even if only symbolically.

Fingers brush across the token. She never does throw the box away. She never will. But she never takes it out again.

Her husband deserves better. She deserves better.

But she never will forget. She could not.

~*~*~

Death improves some people.

In a town best called Obscurity, by the proverbial banks of Lethe, she toils as one more faceless drone in the mass of Humanity. There is a simple charm to normality, she finds. Dull days and an uneventful existence are a balm upon her shrivelled soul.

She plays at a role like any number she has assumed before, but for one difference. She plays for Life now, not Death. Every day lived is another day earned. A triumph won without cost to another. There is some small satisfaction in that, daily deception notwithstanding.

Her face is not the one she was born with. Her knee still aches in cold weather, and the scars are but a small price to pay for freedom. To exist, to live, to have an identity...these are beyond price.

The hunt calls to her from time to time. She resists the pull, as she has always done. There are lines to be drawn to prevent a descent into the madness of beasts. A human chooses, a slave obeys. She is no longer a slave, in either body or mind. She remembers this, and clings to it.

There is but one occasion where she was sorely tempted. To put an end to things. To redress the wrongs done to her. But one does not right a wrong with another. There is no end to vengeance. Where could it end if she were to begin?

She is not without sin. But she would not add to the weight of them. She may never be truly clean, but her life is her own now. The choice is hers. And she chooses to sin no more.

I will not be what you made me to be.
I will be free. I will live.
I will be myself, whoever I may be
.

~*~*~

Life goes on.

We laugh, we cry, we smile, we hurt. Our lives are but pieces in a puzzle. We might not fit together, but there is a place for us somewhere.

Our paths cross, our lives plunge headlong, but we remain even as others pass into and beyond. We are limited, but the possibilities are infinite. We may not know it, but people come into our lives for a reason, and even if we do not realize when or how, we will have been changed by their presence.

We can see but one part of the picture. Who can say if we have been changed for the better?

But because we have lived and loved, we have been changed for good.


=============================================================================


So. It has ended. I changed the epilogue, I must admit. Something came to me and I decided to alter a few things. Let's say that this is a happier ending than I intended. XD

I might come back with further thoughts about the whole series. It's too late (early?! 6am...) so I can't really put thoughts coherent. I thank any and all patient enough to wait for me to finish, and if I have lost readers midway, I have no regrets still, for I have finished something else at last.

And now I rest.

永遠に咲き続ける花なんていない、すべてはいずれ枯れて朽ち果てしまう。

Currently writing:
- Lilium-related things. God save my soul.

On Hold:
- Everything Else. Too many to list.

I'm also on AO3!
http://archiveofourown.org/users/Estrea

Offline kawaii beam

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Re: Nocturne [13/02 - Epilogue (END)]
« Reply #385 on: February 13, 2013, 01:39:04 AM »
it done! im happy and sad that its over ;3; its good to see how everyone ended up, and feels like how some real relationships would end. i'd also love to hear your thoughts after you go get some well deserved rest XD
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Offline rndmnwierd

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Re: Nocturne [13/02 - Epilogue (END)]
« Reply #386 on: February 13, 2013, 04:49:42 AM »
Ah endings. I can't say I'm displeased with 'happier' endings, I really will have to reread this to form a better analysis. Believe me, it's on my To Do List...

Offline Estrea

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Re: Nocturne [13/02 - Epilogue (END)]
« Reply #387 on: February 13, 2013, 09:24:14 AM »
So. I went back and skimmed through the story from the start. My bad, it was 5 years. :lol: Well, around 4 and a half if you want to be precise. XD

What can I say? I originally wrote this story because poe-chan wanted an evil, amoral Ai. I gave her assassin!Ai, who even in the end never really repents. Yes, in the epilogue she survives (as I originally planned), but she chooses not to kill anymore. But that's not really pentience as it is practicality. If she went back to killing eventually she might cross paths with people from her past. She didn't fake her death for nothing, you know. XD In the original epilogue she killed one last time. The old man who raised and trained her. I chose to abandon that angle though. As for Ai faking her death...well, there are a few things to leap through and I probably should cover that hole somehow XD Yuukarin is involved, definitely. I know how that scene plays out, and it actually has a bonus of a flashback to when Ai had to execute her own predecessor... :P The Ai of this story has been a darker construct than I had to work with, and I hope any inconsistencies in her characterisation eventually smoothed out towards the end. I went for nihilistic and I hope I achieved it.

Ok, so for the rest of the epilogue. I gave a short summary of each of the characters' eventual fate. Their personal stories continue, but I won't be following them anymore. XD Let's see...

Reina. Her section is the shortest, but when you think about it, she is the only one who never ended up sleeping with Ai. Kisses, yes, but they never actually had sex. There are a number of reasons why I chose not to let them go that way, but foremost is that I wanted Ai to have a non-physical-only relationship with someone. Yes, she flirts with Reina at the beginning, but eventually it evolved (de-evolved?) into a more protective semi-sisterly relationship. It was business, of course, but Ai chose not to take advantage of Reina. Then again, Ai had a lot on her mind at that point in time. Faking one's own death takes a lot of work, you know. XD But Reina eventually breaks away from her family's history, and basically goes legit. Good for her. XD She is probably the only one who knows who Ai really is and gets away safely with it. More or less. :lol:

Sayu. Ok so she is the other person who got out more or less unscathed, but to the end she can only guess at what kind of a person Ai is, without the iron certainty that Reina has about exactly who Ai is. Her ending isn't really a "bad" ending, but I did borrow from her radio show irl where she said that her ideal future is where she lives with her sister and they grow old together... Everyone, repeat after me: gaaaaaaaaaaaaay. :lol: I see Sayu having a number of short-term relationships that don't really work out, but she may eventually find someone. Who knows? XD

Eri. Originally I contemplated her committing suicide. But that doesn't really jive with how she works in my head, so I went with the alcoholism instead. Even the alcoholism was a strike of inspiration from that last chapter, really. I didn't plan for her to turn into a raging alcoholic, but it worked out. Guilt is a powerful motivator. She does contemplate killing herself, but I don't think she has the guts to do it. At least not directly. XD

Gaki-san. Ok, I admit hers was the biggest change in the epilogue. Considering she had to choose between either suicide or ending up in a psychiatric ward in my original epilogue, I must say that getting married to a nice person is a definite step up. If anyone ever wondered about what happened to the boxset Ai borrowed, well there it is, she returned it before going off and faking her death. XD Risa will never forget Ai, but she would never mention her. Ever. Would you?

So, looking back through the chapters, there have been some ups and way too many downs along the way. Too much inconsistency, I think. The plot is more than a little shaky, but I think I did a fair job trying to tie my remaining loose ends together with what I had. Ai's choice to not kill in the end...I must say, it's not because she isn't evil anymore. It's more pride and stubbornness. Imagine, you have been raised and trained for only one function. You escape. To rebel, you choose to go against that function. That's how it worked out in my head. She doesn't regret what she had to do. She probably only regrets being deprived of the choice. Is that a very bad Ai? Why, yes. I wouldn't want to be her friend here. XD I like her, personally, but she's not a very good person. Doesn't stop me from liking her, of course. XD

Also, cookies to anyone who can spot the references to Ray Bradbury, Neil Gaiman, and Bioshock. There are a number of inside jokes for myself in the text, but I don't expect those to be spotted (if you think you spot anything, feel free to shout out XD).

Lastly, I would like to thank everyone who has persevered with me through my non-updates and slow writing pace and general laziness. XD I hope the story was worth the wait (I don't think so, but there are parts which I liked myself). It's been fun on this journey, and I hope everyone is satisfied with the ending!

永遠に咲き続ける花なんていない、すべてはいずれ枯れて朽ち果てしまう。

Currently writing:
- Lilium-related things. God save my soul.

On Hold:
- Everything Else. Too many to list.

I'm also on AO3!
http://archiveofourown.org/users/Estrea

Offline scratchdnote5

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Re: Nocturne [13/02 - Epilogue (END)]
« Reply #388 on: August 09, 2013, 12:49:07 AM »
I'm ever so slowly trudging my way through this. I've been trying to get through all of the chapters in one go, but I think I overloaded my brain instead. It's actually an interesting go at things since I've never actually read many things as crazy as this in any fandom I've been in, except for Criminal Minds. That stuff is bat-shit crazy when it's in written form. I'll come back to edit this once I finish reading through everything. Hopefully I live?

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