Notes: Wow, I totally planned to get more of this done this weekend than I did. But here's the first section, AKA the godawful long backstory prologue. Lots of headcanon here. Also, warning now for copious amounts of Homestuck references.
Once upon a time, there was a girl.
She was, in all respects, an ordinary girl. Blond hair and green eyes, a face that was pretty, but not so beautiful as to attract too much attention. She dressed in plain, practical clothes, and often kept her hair tied up behind her head with a scarf as she worked. She lived with her mother and younger brother in a Spanish port town, and her father was a Dutch sailor who was very rarely at home. The girl loved her father's stories of faraway places, and dreamed that she might one day see them herself. Her family was not rich, and so the girl had to take care of her brother often while her mother served as a maid for the richest family in the town. The two of them, when they had free time to play, could often be found in the back alley behind the big house. There, the girl would sometimes tell stories to her brother and the other servants' children.
One day, when the girl was just becoming a woman, strange guests arrived at the manor house. They were men of the church, but unlike any others she had ever seen, for they carried about them strange, magical weapons called Innocence. The girl followed them, curious, as they set off through the town, seeking monsters called "Akuma."
The men searched for three days, and she followed, but they could not find the Akuma they sought. In that time, the wife of the manor's lord, who was much beloved by them all, died suddenly, of a mysterious illness.
That night, the girl heard voices in the room of the lord—
"Call out her name, and she shall be returned to you.♥"
When the screaming began, the girl ran for the guest rooms, to the strange men of the church who could defend them from the monster that wore the lord's skin.
One of the men, a swordsman with his hair bound back, told her to take the children and leave. She refused; when her mother and the other servants left, she remained behind.
And when the battle seemed most dire, as she crouched behind the door watching, the girl saw a flash of green light, and knew what she had to do.
The form of the Innocence was rough, little but unrestrained energy, but that energy flew from her hands like an arrow, and felled the Akuma (distracted as it was by the men) in a single shot.
And so the girl became a woman, and the woman became an Exorcist.
She was promised that in exchange for her leavetaking, her family would be well cared for, and so before her father had even received news of what became of his only daughter, the woman left with her new companions. Time would bring her to many of the places her father had spoken of, and many more besides, all the way to China, where lotuses bloomed upon the surface of tranquil fish ponds, and back again.
Time also brought her love, for she and the swordsman grew close, first as comrades in arms, and then as something more. In spite of the war, which seemed at the time to be going well for the Order, with more Exorcists joining the ranks than dying, the woman found herself content, nay, joyful about her new life.
But all good things must come to an end.
No one, except perhaps the Earl himself, knows where the Akuma came from that day. The ambush was well-planned, and the Akuma were stronger, smarter than those the two lovers had faced before (for, indeed, it was the first time Level Two Akuma would make themselves known to the Order). The woman knew that only one of them would survive, for the swordsman had been grievously wounded, and to use the power of her Innocence to heal him would cost the woman her own life.
She made her decision. And after her last arrow left the bow, the swordsman, in his grief, turned at once upon the Akuma and slew them all. Then he took the woman in his arms, and placed a ring upon her cold finger, and he carried her back to the Order.
"There may yet be a way to revive her," he was told by a scientist of the Order. "Take her to the east, where the lotus blooms, and perhaps you can meet her again."
The swordsman agreed, and so the woman was given to the Asia Branch, to be given a second life, a fate in which the swordsman would later join her.
That was one hundred and fifty years ago.
Once upon a time, there was a boy.
He was, in many respects, an extraordinary boy. Black hair, and brown eyes, with a scar across his nose, of which he could not tell you the origin. It had been there for as long as he could remember, which was not very long, for the boy was not born like other children. He had no father, and no mother, and perhaps no family at all, unless one were to count the other children who slept still, beneath the surface of strange fluid within circular pits in the ground. Each of these children was called an Apostle, for they were bound to a strange substance called Innocence, which might someday save the world. But to use the Innocence caused the lone awoken boy great pain, pain which tore his body apart in great body swaths, and so magic was placed upon him so that he might heal of any injury within a few moment. And thus the testing continued, but each night, he went to the room where the others slept, and he told them stories.
One day, another boy woke up. And although the two of them fought like animals, a strange friendship grew between them, for in the caverns, there was no one else who understood what it was, to be in so much pain that you cannot feel it any more, and all you have left is to laugh.
And so it was, until that winter, just a bit past the first boy's birthday, when the second boy began to have strange visions. A woman, and a body not his own, with hands extended towards her. The boy told no one, not even his friend, but the scientists who watched over them, men and women of a group called the Black Order, discovered his secret.
Labeled a failure, the second boy was strapped down, intended to be put to sleep forever. His friend used the strength the healing magic had given him to try and make their escape. But it was all for naught, and the two were recaptured. In trying to find his friend, the boy with the scar upon his face came to find a room of bodies; Exorcists, slain in battle, who had been used to create new Apostles to take up the fight.
And the boy understood. In losing his innocence, he gained Innocence, and set about the destruction of the laboratory that had created him.
In the end, it was just the two of them, standing between the pools of blood where the other Second Apostles had been slaughtered in their sleep, both with memories not meant to be theirs and weapons of Innocence that always were.
And so it was that the first boy smiled and said—
"Die with me, Yu."
One wishing to die, because of the memories of someone who he had lost. One wishing to live, because of the memories of someone he had promised to find. And thus they clashed, and the boy with the scar upon his face was struck down, ever smiling, and so they both were set free.
The second boy, believing that he had killed his only friend in the world, looked into the sky with tears in his eyes.
"I love you," were the words upon his lips, and his eyes were filled with the visions of a woman. "I will find you, someday, I promise."
And one hundred thirty years have passed since that day.
And the second boy grew into a man, a swordsman with his hair always tied back. And the first boy slumbered once more, so deeply that his dreams did not touch the world, and it was said that he could never wake up.
After all, why would he want to?
And so it came to be, that when the Order's war grew hard, and they needed a new kind of warrior, one who fought the Akuma, not with Innocence, but with the power of their own kind, that the dreaming boy was made into a monster. From his regenerating body were taken cells infused with the energy that binds a soul to an Akuma's form, and so his own soul became so bound, chained in invisible anguish.
And so it was that the Millennium Earl sought to use the boy for his own plans, and the super-human powers of the clan of Noah were used to do what no other human might, and the dreaming boy woke once more to a strange body and strange power. A power which he turned upon the one he had once called friend, intending to finish what he started.
And so might have ended our story, if not for the interference of a boy with a cursed eye and Innocence in place of an arm, who dared to stand between them and remind them that they had once been friends. If Allen Walker had not seen the soul of a woman, with her blond hair tied back and an Exorcist's uniform in place of the plain clothes she once wore, the truth would have died with the boy with the scar upon his face.
The truth was not enough to save him, though. The transformation into an Akuma took a greater toll upon the boy's body than the restorative magic could counteract, and in the arms of the swordsman, his body turned to stone, then to dust.
It was thought, at the time, that the soul, both the woman and the boy (for they were nothing less than the same person) had been destroyed, for such is the nature of an Akuma that meets its destruction by means other than the killing blow of Innocence.
But the full nature of Innocence was not understood, and indeed, many mysteries yet surround it. The substance seems, at times, to have a mind of its own, and will go to great lengths to protect its Accommodator. And so in this case, it drew the nearly ruined soul to itself, and became the body for an Exorcist who had none. Such is the making of an Innocence of what came to be known (to those few who do know of its existence, most now dead) as the Apocryphos type, after the first specimen of such, which lived in the guise of humans for seven thousand years between the two wars, waiting for the Heart of Innocence to appear once more.
And so the boy became, not a man, not a demon, but perhaps a sort of angel, and he took it upon himself to right the balance of the world, because if he could not find freedom in death, then he would take it where he could.
And that was one hundred and twenty years ago.