In the semi-darkness, she mutely traced his tattoo with her fingers. The word “sin” fashioned in nail-like letters superimposed an inverted cross, adorned by black wings, with the question “when you gonna learn?” curved like a smile underneath. He wore it proudly on his left arm and was more than willing to show the tattoo to any adoring, intrigued female.
The irony of something so pretty was lost to the unsuspecting eye, but she understood the underlying meaning perfectly. He had taken lives in cold blood. She had been as ruthless, if not worse. No matter how repentant they were, there was no removing the black wings on their back. By their will – she by her own volition and he propelled by duress – they had slain their loved ones. They were both of them unforgivable sinners.
Of course, she hadn’t realized the weight of what she had done until much later. She was grateful her ignorance lasted for some years. Had she known who she was fighting against, she would not have been able to deliver the killing blow.
He did not share her fortune. When he had buried his pain beneath a flamboyant façade, his personal nightmare returned from her grave to haunt him, to challenge him in cold indifference. She could only imagine the excruciating pain he had to endure when he tightened his lethal wires around the neck of his supposedly-dead-partner-slash-love-interest-turned-enemy. Sometimes, she would catch the hot tears on his face as he slumbered beside her.
He was also everything her dead love was not. Apart from his laser-like green eyes and slender physique, she could not find any semblance of the one her heart longed for in him. His hair was too dark (the shade reminded her of her mother), his demeanor too flirtatious (he was a notable womanizing playboy), and she doubted he could understand her devotion to protect someone with her life (he once confessed he had deliberately pulled out of mission). Yet, she was drawn to him, as he was to her.
And so, when their friends were tucked into dreams free from unrelenting ghosts, they sought out each other’s warmth in their nightly rendezvous. Their relationship was not built upon love or the need for physical companionship. Theirs was a bond held together by the mutual understanding of a shameful past they wished they could forget, but also knew was a burden, a regret, a disgrace that would follow them to their deathbeds.
Aino Minako and Kudou Yohji, admirers of all things exquisite. They sought redemption from the crimes they had committed, but never finding it. While the blood spilled by their hands was not always so innocent, their desire to be cleansed remained strong. By seeking release in each other’s arms, they reached out in vain for heaven. Only in the throes of passion could they have temporary respite from the grief that draped over them day in and day out.