kficanon ([personal profile] kficanon) wrote2012-09-29 03:56 am

part seventeen

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(Anonymous) 2012-09-30 05:27 am (UTC)(link)
even though he’s done it countless times before, every time tao finishes a hit, he still goes a little pale, a little cold underneath his skin. it is not death that bothers him because he knows death is inevitable - whether or not he kills them, eventually they will meet their end. it is what comes afterwards that makes him feel uneasy.

he rolls the corpse onto its back, taking a small, silver dagger from its sheath on his belt, and rips two diagonal lines into his skin. blood spills from the body, still warm, and he smears it into a pattern on the floor beneath: two rudimentary wings, not angelic but jagged and rough. above the head, he writes “E X O” in large, erratic block letters. when all is done, he stabs the dagger through the body’s spine, right in between the two crudely drawn wings, straight through until the hilt meets flesh.

only then, after he’s marked the body with the sign of the dragon, is he finally allowed to leave.

- - -

when his master had taught him how to kill, he also taught tao to respect death. every time he draws the sign, he can hear his master speaking softly into his ear, just out of sight, and it takes all his strength not to look back. he knows he will only regret it if he does.

- - -

it is well past midnight by the time he returns, but wu fan is always awake to greet his return. xiumin is by his side too, as reliable a right hand man as ever. “you’re late,” wu fan says. “and there’s blood on your face.”

“i’m sorry,” tao replies. “it was... ah, never mind. i’ll try to do it quicker next time.”

wu fan nods briskly. “clean yourself up and get to sleep. you’ll be free for at least a few days before we’ll need you to go out again. do what you need to in the meanwhile. good night, tao.”

“yes, duizhang,” he says humbly, bowing as wu fan walks past to leave.

xiumin, though, turns and places a hand on tao’s arm. “it was hard, wasn’t it?” he says, and tao is a little embarrassed that xiumin heard the weariness in his voice so clearly. xiumin, though, smiles and gives him a sympathetic pat. “you did well, tao. go get some rest, alright? you deserve it.”

tao feels somehow more ashamed when xiumin is so kind than when wu fan is so distant.

- - -

after he cleans the blood off of his face and his hands, he changes his clothes and lies in bed. when he closes his eyes, he imagines his next kill and wonders when the guilt starts to go away.

this is all over the place, i know :(

(Anonymous) 2012-09-30 05:33 am (UTC)(link)
what are you talking about, this was great *__* i love when we see both badass and vulnerable tao, and i like the contrast between kris and xiumin's reactions even though kris is stiffer than i'd imagine. but i guess he has to be if he's boss?

i do like the idea that tao isn't squeamish about the actual killing, but the marking. the marking process itself is really cool! so all in all, i liked this a lot. i hope you keep adding to it :3

(Anonymous) 2012-09-30 05:39 am (UTC)(link)
re: kris, i was trying to make him seem unapproachable in an "i seek your admiration but i feel like i'll never get it!!" kind of way since it's tao's pov. but yeah, i had a hard time getting that through u_u if i ever edit/rewrite, i'll try and work on that o/ thank you for the feedback, and i'm glad you enjoyed it!

(Anonymous) 2012-09-30 05:47 am (UTC)(link)
oh! a bit like unreliable narrator! okay, i can see where that would work because even if kris did show a hint of approval, i guess tao wouldn't see it as enough. can't believe i didn't see that, because i tend to love pov-influenced stuff orz

good luck if you do edit or rewrite it :)

(Anonymous) 2012-09-30 05:36 am (UTC)(link)
like the other anon said, i think kris is a little more stiff than i would expect? but otherwise i love, love this.

(Anonymous) 2012-09-30 05:40 am (UTC)(link)
addressed that point to above anon, but duly noted o7 i'm glad you liked!!

(Anonymous) 2012-09-30 05:44 am (UTC)(link)
i totally get where you're coming from! i hope you write more tao in the future.