I see. Thank you for sharing that… fascinating piece of information.
Ienzo sits very quietly while Even inspects the crumpled square that was once a crane, half-glancing at him through his fringe every few moments. But then once the notepad is back in his hand he fidgets restlessly as though something is bothering him, thumbing over Even’s last three words again and again.
And then, finally, he takes the pen and - holding it so tightly in his hand his knuckles pale - he writes:
“Everybody is apologising.”
He is unsatisfied by this response; he holds the notepad in his hands for a minute longer, glaring at his words in a manner that suits better his age, and eventually sets it down on his lap again to make an amendment. Above the first word he writes “Almost”.
Then, suddenly inspired, he holds the pad up to Even without passing it to him to indicate that he has more to say, then turns over to a clean sheet and writes in the same deliberate hand;
“But if they had cared so much they might have said something.”
“Mother says that it’s easy to be wise in hindsight.”
“I didn’t tell her I think that’s a stupid thing to say.”
He is a professional; he spent years in medical school and years after that studying psychiatry for the sole purpose of dealing with situations like this. A child ought not make him feel so unsure; not even a child with beginnings that uncomfortably resemble his own.
Ienzo’s tension does not go unnoticed and as Even watches him thumbing over the last line of his thin, slanted writing he feels a twist in his gut. Perhaps he should not have indulged that impulse. Then again, it was heartfelt. Is it appropriate to do as his heart tells him or would he be better to keep things professional? A silly question, but one he nonetheless has no idea how to answer.
Once the boy has finished writing, he takes the pad again to examine it. He takes longer to respond this time.
“Sometimes even very clever people cannot see what is going on around them. They say things like that because they want to believe they could have prevented it“—he swallows and for a tiny moment, his hand trembles as he grips the pen—”even though they can’t.”
He pauses, staring down at the words, and half wondering if he should just cross them out and start again. Eventually, he adds:
“Nobody can erase the past. The future is more worrying.”
Even’s been staring. Lumaria’s sly, narrow eyes take note of even the slightest linger of the scientist’s gaze and finds his smirk all the more curved in satisfaction as he escorts him outside. It’s only a matter of time, he decides. Even Carmine seems like the type to never mix business with pleasure, but the young heir sees the potential for misdirection in such a… rigid agenda. This game has only just begun.
The man’s laugh is a strange one. Almost… cute in its awkwardness. Lumaria figures that he doesn’t laugh that often. This only has him glancing back at him with eyebrow raised. ”As do you,” he replies with a soft laugh of his own; a much more smooth, lulling sound. ”Delving into the depths of the heart… I can only imagine what that must be like.”
He couldn’t care less, really. The heart and its wonders do not interest him. He carries on with the conversation nonetheless, removing a key from his pocket to unlock the greenhouse. ”I take pride in my work, Mr. Carmine. If we do not understand the darker realms of life, how can we possibly hope to control them? Poison isn’t something we’d want in the wrong hands, after all.” Which explains the several locks that Lumaria has to tend to before he can open the greenhouse and beckon him inside.
The air is warm— humid and dense to placate the very strange assortment of plantlife that is arranged in rows for them to examine. Lumaria simply gestures to them, smiling. ”Please, take a look around. Be careful not to touch, of course. Some of the specimens are very… sensitive.”
“The heart is a fascinating thing, but I’m afraid my studies on that matter are strictly confidential.”
It is a little sick when he really puts his mind to it. He studies humanity on such an intimate level; the potential for disaster will always be present, just as it is in every human soul. Furthermore, the more he knows about the human heart, the more he seeks to lock his own away. Such a fragile, volatile concept… it is unsettling, to say the least.
“No.” He wets his lips with his tongue, realising he has fallen silent and allowed the smile to fade from his face. “But you’re right; with such knowledge comes responsibility. I hope you have been very careful, Mr. Derosiers.”
Even can’t say he’s ever been exceptionally fond of plants… or humidity. He can already feel his hair starting to stick to his forehead as he walks through the door, closing it quietly behind them.
If every item in this greenhouse is as poisonous as it is beautiful, Even does not know if he should feel unsurprised, terrified or both. There is something captivating about the plants lining the tables, the shelves, the hanging baskets; a sort of life and light to them that Even has never seen in a garden before. Naturally, his years of medical training have cured him of the impulse to touch foreign objects without rubber gloves, but he reaches out to a flower—morning glory, deep blue, soft pink bleeding from the base of the petals—and lets his fingertips hover mere millimetres away.
“You have quite a collection.”
Even watches him a little too closely; then, conscious of this, he turns his face away slightly, suddenly aware that someone who refuses to speak might be uncomfortable choosing his words under such scrutiny. He sidles back to his desk slowly, checking over his shoulder once or twice, and looks at the open file he’d received from Ienzo’s family doctor earlier.
No physical damage detected in the larynx or surrounding areas, says the GP’s scrawl; suspect symptoms are psychological.
It’s no help whatsoever; all it does is reinforce what Even already suspected the moment the situation was explained to him. After all, Ienzo has every right to be exhibiting psychological issues. Gazing back at him guiltily, the doctor wonders if perhaps he’s too close to the situation altogether. How can he be objective when his very existence is a direct result of the atrocities that took place in that supposed sanctuary?
Ienzo seems to be done though. Even takes the pad and examines the sentence quietly, before taking another pen from his desk and sitting down across from the boy to pen his response.
“Hello Ienzo, I am Dr. Carmine. I am 30 years old. Can you tell me how you have been feeling lately?”
Even once he has deciphered the words, Ienzo spends a moment inspecting the doctor’s handwriting, tall and thin like its author, the words and letters tightly packed against one another, jostling for space. Hm.
And then he turns the page, tears out a new sheet, and ever so carefully folds over the bottom corner so that it touches the opposite side. He tears this piece off, meticulously, so that it makes a triangle. He flattens it out to a square, and begins to fold, pushing along each fold with his thumbnail so it stays flat and crisp. In five minutes, he holds in his hands a little origami crane. He glances at Even with his single visible eye; he looks back to the crane. And then, just as meticulously, he unfolds it again, snapping its neck and breaking its tail, peeling away its wings until nothing remains but a square piece of paper, still etched and grooved from its history as a bird, no longer lying flat on the table.
Ienzo sits back, and looks at his knees.
Even waits and watches. Such a curious child, he thinks, though he can hardly expect a boy of his—their—background to be anything but. Time and time again he wonders if his actions at the church had come too late. Did he doom another generation through his inaction all those years?
If he gains anything from the paper-folding ritual—and it does seem a ritual, so slow, so precise—it’s that nothing he ever does will smooth the past clean and clear. For a moment, Even says and does nothing. Then, silent, he reaches out and touches one of the raised ridges that was once a wing.
“It can be hard,” he says, quietly and suddenly unsure of who he is addressing, “to forget.”
Recalling the arrangement with the notepad, he picks it up in his hands again, draws a line across the page underneath his previous ‘entry’ as if to hold a place for the paper crane, then writes again:
“You don’t have to tell me about anything that makes you uncomfortable.”
As an afterthought;
“I am sorry.”
Fandom: Kingdom Hearts
Summary: Companion piece to this blog, concerning the birth of Even Carmine.
Rating: M » I really wouldn’t read this if women being made to do things they do not want to do with their bodies upsets you.