Author: Clockeater PM
When Ivan goes to see a collector with Alfred, the last thing he expects to find is a boy as the jewel in Arthur's collection. AU, human names used.Rated: Fiction M - English - Romance/Tragedy - Russia & China - Chapters: 11 - Words: 30,534 - Reviews: 95 - Favs: 79 - Follows: 54 - Updated: 05-07-12 - Published: 03-31-11 - Status: Complete - id: 6859083
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
A/N: It's been a quite a while since this has been updated (and I don't want to figure out how long . ) School, life, writers block, me being lazy/unmotivated can be blamed for this delay. (and to think I used to have a somewhat regular update schedule for this...) To be honest, I've somewhat lost interest in this, and I'm not really satisfied with this chapter...but oh well.
Also thanks to everyone who reminded me to update this :) it would probably take me much longer to update this if people hadn't.
His senses dulled, his mind retreated from the world. There were no tears this time, as the carriage continued to roll along, only a sense of numbness. Even the disbelief that was coursing through his body- he was barely aware of it. The only thing that seemed to break through to Yao was the sounds of the carriage rolling over gravel. He clung to the sound, using it like a lifeline, anything to distract his mind from the inevitable chaos and pain.
It wasn't until Yao found himself back in a familiar room that choked sobs finally escaped him, it wasn't until then that he allowed himself to curl up in a tight ball.
Arthur's back hit the side of the wall as he slid down against it. In one hand he clutched the gun, but he wouldn't- he couldn't- look at it. Killing the person was a lot different than sending someone else to do the work and he didn't think he would feel like this. Waves of remorse and guilt crashed over Arthur, intensified by the sobs he could hear from the other side of the wall.
How stupid was he? he asked himself. He finally had what he wanted, he had put so much effort into obtaining Yao- he shouldn't let guilt control his mind.
"Sir?" one of Arthur's servants slightly bowed to defer respect to Arthur. "There are some guests downstairs. They say that their business is urgent."
Arthur nodded, his eyes slightly hollow as he followed his servant towards the sitting room. He listened with polite attention at first as his lawyer introduced another man as his uncle's lawyer. A smile broke across his face and grew wider and wider as they explained that the man from before had been trying to scam him of his money- one of their partner's who had tried to take advantage of a "grief-stricken" nephew, so they put it. They quickly reassured him that his fortune was still there; yes, he was still very rich; no, there was no debt at all.
Relief-what an exhilarating and uplifting feeling, Arthur found. He thanked the lawyers heartily on their way out and assured them that he was not angered with them at all. Once they were gone Arthur collapsed on the nearest chair immediately and laughed in relief.
His faith in Yao and his determination to keep him beside his side, not much different than a favorite pet, was restored.
Everything, everything would get better. He would keep telling himself this over and over again.
The first thing Arthur did with his restored wealth was to take Peter shopping. Before they left, Arthur made sure that Yao was secure in the room- there were no windows or other doors to escape from and the only door into that room was locked and a servant had been posted to keep watch. Not that Yao seemed to have any inclination to try to escape, though. The Chinese looked rather lifeless and simply stared at his surroundings in bewilderment. It made Arthur feel guilty, but only a tiny bit.
Arthur pushed all thoughts of Yao out of his head as Peter yelled at him to hurry up.
"Real gentlemen do not shout loud enough so that everybody in town can hear them," Arthur reprimanded his young cousin, cuffing him on the ears.
Peter stuck out his tongue. "Don't tell me what to do, stupid jerk." He laughed, running off so that Arthur couldn't try to hit him. Arthur grimaced. He had always been such a polite child when he was that age, he was sure. Then again, he did still have his mother and his uncle to look after him. After Peter's mother had become pregnant with Peter (Arthur assumed, by some dirty vagrant), Peter's mother had been disowned. Shortly after birth, she had died, or so Arthur had heard.
Though he had scarcely met Peter before, he had to admit he had a soft spot for the young boy who was crashing his way through the clothing store, much to the dismay of the shop owner.
"I want this!" Peter yelled, pointing to a neatly pressed sailor suit. Arthur pursed his lips.
"Really?" He let disapproval color his tone.
"Yes!" Peter stamped his small foot on the ground and started to argue his point, but he had already lost Arthur's attention.
Arthur froze as he caught sight of Alfred through the window. The young American was walking with an arm slung around the Canadian. Jealousy, that bitter emotion that Arthur was no stranger to, rose up his throat.
"Sure, get the clothing," Arthur called over his shoulder as he ran out of the shop and after Alfred. He hollered Alfred's name, not knowing what he would even say to Alfred when he turned around.
"Alfred! Alfred! You damn bloody git!" Arthur continued to yell after Alfred, but the American's back got further and further away.
"Alfre…" Arthur's voice died in his throat and he slowed to a stop on the sidewalk. A fat lady bumped into him and a group of Nordic men pushed him out of their way. But Arthur noticed none of them.
Why was it that he never got what he truly wanted?
If he could cry he would, but it seemed that there were no more tears left, and somehow in this state he felt so much worse. He didn't flinch when the door banged open and Arthur entered the room. He merely blinked when Arthur lifted him up by his shirt and proceeded to slap him. He was abruptly dropped to the ground after and he only gazed at Arthur. The accusations and blames slid past his ears, as did the name 'Alfred' that repeated itself so many times in Arthur's rant.
Yao ignored his stinging cheek and buried his face in his arms. A low whimper escaped him.
Oh, how he wanted Ivan.
It was Peter who came up with the idea.
"Can we travel somewhere?" Peter asked him, tugging on his sleeve while Arthur was trying to cook a meal for them. "I don't wanna stay here! I wanna travel! I wanna go to the islands!"
"It's 'want to' not 'wanna'," Arthur reprimanded. Since it was Peter suggesting the idea, he had the urge to refuse the proposal, but, though he hated to it admit it, he didn't find it a bad idea at all. "Maybe," he allowed, "if you eat all your dinner this time."
Peter pulled a disgusted face, but brightened up at the prospect of a trip.
Arthur left Peter at the dinner table to bring food to Yao. As per his agreement with Arthur, Peter said nothing about Yao nor acknowledged the fact that Yao was here at all.
Arthur pursed his lips when he found that the tray of food he had laid out for lunch was untouched. It had been the same over the last few days.
"Do you really think starving yourself is going to do anything?" Arthur asked. Yao didn't respond, he seemed fixated on pretending that Arthur didn't exist, but that wasn't unusual. He cleared his throat as if that would clear away the awkwardness that was ever present in this room. "Erm, we're going to be taking a trip soon…and-"
"No," Yao's voice, hoarse and dry cut through to Arthur's ears.
"No," Yao repeated, his voice growing stronger. "I am not leaving this city, aru."
Arthur ground his teeth together in frustration. "You don't have a bloody choice in this." He grabbed Yao's thin wrist and pulled him to his feet. Yao swayed, his matted hair swinging. "He's dead- you have to realize this. Staying here won't make him come back. Don't be so bloody foolish." Arthur paused, internally cringing at his words, though he had no way of stopping them from coming out.
"We're leaving in a few days. Clean yourself up before then- you're a mess. An embarrassment."
Arthur turned his back to Yao and left, missing the look of hatred that was directed towards him.
After Arthur was gone, Yao huddled down, toying with the smoldering black blobs Arthur was trying to pass of as food. "He's not dead, aru. He can't be," Yao murmured, unsure of how much he believed his words.
It hurt like hell.
Like something had pierced through his skin, through his heart and had continued through to the other side. The pain was searing, burning, flames ripping their way through his body, and he wanted to cry out, but he had no voice too.
More frightening than the pain was the familiarity of the pain.
More frightening than this was when everything had gone black, blank, and he had ceased to exist.
Then he had found himself and relief flooded through him.
Then another form of pain had erupted, shooting through his core down to his toes. It felt as though his heart had been torn apart and was now slowly, gradually re-stitching itself together. It felt like this for a long time, though how long he could not tell.
And then suddenly the pain started to recede. His heart started to beat normally again, no longer pumping too fast, no longer beating painfully. The burning sensation went away gradually and it was a relief to fill his lungs with air.
"-other! Big brother!" the sounds that had seemed like a faint buzzing in the background before was starting to make sense now.
His mouth opened, the intention to respond, but his voice did not come out. His eyelids fluttered open and shut before staying shut.
"Big brother!" Natalia screeched, her hands reaching out to grasp Ivan's shirt.
"Mademoiselle," Francis said wearily from the doorway to his room. "You must let him rest. Please come sit down, s'il vous plait?"
Natalia cast him a dark look reserved for those who got in the way between her and her brother. After a moment of staring from both sides, Natalia gave Ivan's limp hand a squeeze before she followed Francis to the living room. She perched on the edge of a couch, ready at any moment to pull out her concealed dagger.
Francis held up his hands, a mockery of surrender.
"Come now, I would never dare hurt une belle fille," he smiled. "Besides, do you not think that you should be saying merci beaucoup?"
He was met only with a blank stare before relapsing into silence.
Natalia regarded the Frenchman with caution. True, he had helped her. When Natalia had managed to get rid of Arthur's men, she had run over to rescue Ivan, only to find him collapsed on the ground with blood running from his heart. It was like last time's injury. Her own heart beating quickly in panic, she had tried to lift Ivan up from the ground, but he was rather heavy and their house was so far away. At that point Francis had been walking by and had offered to help take Ivan to his house, which wasn't too far away. Between the two of them, they had managed to carry Ivan to Francis' house. So far it had taken a few days for Ivan to stop looking like a corpse. It was faster than last time.
Natalia had seen the wound last time she had found Ivan collapsed and she saw the wound this time. Both times, with the injuries he had received, he should be dead. Natalia didn't pretend she knew why Ivan wasn't dead, but she wasn't going to question it.
Better not to question the things she was grateful for.
Ivan's head spun and a nauseating feeling settled over him as he stumbled into the living room and collapsed on the couch. He cast his violet eyes about the unfamiliar room. "Where…?"
Sharp pain stabbed at his heart, unrelenting, though he was slowly growing accustomed to it. When he had woken up, his mind was muddled, but everything had quickly come into a sharp focus as his mind cleared and he was able to remember everything correctly.
Yao had been taken away from him. Again. He had briefly felt wonder and shame that he had forgotten things from before, but then his single-mindedness took over and the only thing on his mind now was to get Yao back.
He quickly realized the bad shape he was in when he had barely made it to the living room. Sweat beaded on his forehead from exerting himself and he felt himself slip off the arm of the couch.
Male hands caught him before he hit the floor and helped him back on to the couch. A cup of water was lifted to Ivan's lips and he greedily drowned it.
"Be careful with the glass!" the man reprimanded Ivan as he carelessly set the cup on to the glass table.
"Who are you…?" Ivan trailed off as he turned to look at the man, almost instantly recognizing him as Francis. "Francis!" Ivan greeted, a bit happily. "I haven't seen you in a long time, da? Not since…" His brain quickly supplied the last memory he had of Francis, which if he remembered correctly had been when Francis had been about to take Yao. A dark haze settled over Ivan and he instinctively reached for his water pipe. Finding none, he didn't hesitate to pick up Francis' glass table and slam it on the pale Frenchman.
Ivan stared smugly at the bloody mess on the floor that was Francis. Anyone who touched his Yao didn't deserve to live…
"Oh…" Francis groaned, sitting up and starting to pluck broken shards of glass out of his scalp. "Mon Dieu…"
Ivan frowned. He reached down and picked up a piece of glass and stabbed Francis with it. The poor Frenchman dropped to the ground with blood dripping out of his chest. With a pleasant smile plastered to his face, Ivan reached for Francis' arm and tried to find his pulse. His smile widened when he confirmed there was no pulse.
That was one less person to deal with…
Ivan's frown promptly dropped from his face when Francis moaned and sat up. He raised the glass in his hand, ready to deal another blow to the Frenchman.
"Stop!" Francis raised his hands in front of his face as if that would actually stop the Russian.
Ivan frowned deeply and prodded Francis. "Ehhh? Why aren't you dead yet?" he complained.
"You…" Francis trembled weakly. "Mon Dieu…you've already killed me several times! Will you not stop?"
Ivan cocked his head to the side and, for good measure, drove a glass shard through Francis' heart, twisting it before pulling it out. This time it took Francis several minutes before he was able to open his eyes.
"Why can't you die?" Ivan kol'd. He grabbed a lamp and raised it above Francis' head, inciting an unmanly squeal from the Frenchman.
"If you would just- stop! I can explain!" Francis shouted. "No matter how many times you- put that down!- try, I won't- stop that!- actually die!"
Ivan paused, his violet eyes indecipherable. "You…won't?" He didn't bother to mask his disappointment.
"Ah…finalement," Francis sighed with relief when Ivan made no move to attack him again. "I can't die for the same reason you can't die."
Ivan paused, cocking his head to the side, weighing Francis' words in his mind. Several things clicked. "You were trying to take Yao when I broke into Kirkland's place…" Ivan's brows furrowed.
Francis coughed, a bit more blood coming up. "It is said," he slowly started explaining, "that when one takes complete possession of an Immortal, they, too, will obtain immortality- what some people consider 'good luck,' oui? Ahh, the first time I killed myself, I woke up without remembering anything- quite a problem, oui? Then I stumbled outside- I was rather disoriented, see? - and right into the road. Instantly killed! Mon dieu, it was so painful, but I remembered everything when I woke up after. Dying doesn't get any less painful, you know." Francis gave Ivan a hard stare.
Francis paused. "Not that stupid Arthur actually knows that. Imagine, having an Immortal and not reaping all the benefits. I couldn't stand by and let that cute little boy go to waste- though I found it surprising that even Yao doesn't seem to know about that benefit…"
When Natalia returned to Francis' living room, she found the Frenchman on the floor unconscious and rather broken.
Ivan was also gone.
Yao struggled, though he knew there was no point to it. Arthur paid him no attention as Yao was shoved into the carriage, staring out the window instead. Peter, sat next to Arthur, kept his head down, fiddling with the hem of his clothing- never again would he have to wear dirty rags, never again would he have to starve. And for this, he couldn't bring himself to look at Yao at all.
Yao curled up on his seat, letting his eyes close, all the more easier to pretend he was somewhere else and not here- he tried to think of places that wouldn't make him think of Ivan. A useless endeavor, he couldn't dispel the man from his mind no matter how much it hurt nor how much he tried.
When the carriage jerked forward, proceeding to rattle its way down the cobblestone street to the railway station, Arthur casually remarked, "There's no point in staying here." He pointedly ignored the murderous aura radiating towards him.
Yao slumped back into his seat. He would ignore Arthur. His throat ached, but he refused to give Arthur the satisfaction of seeing him cry.
Ivan groaned, clutching at his chest. Running had certainly worsened his condition. He leaned against the metal fence, panting, and stared up at Arthur's home, thankful that he had made it.
Then he frowned, Arthur's mansion was dark and there seemed to be no sign of life. He quickly forced open the gate and within a few minutes, had broken into Arthur's home.
Ivan swore, his voice echoing throughout the empty rooms. There was no one here and Ivan was sure that Arthur wouldn't simply leave Yao unattended. He stumbled back outside, wiping the sweat from his brow. All the movement was taking a toll on him. Frustration ripped through him- but it was better to concentrate on the frustration than on the worry and the fear.
Then, luckily for Ivan, a man whom he recognized as one of Arthur's walked around the corner carrying a large box. The man stopped in surprise, seeming to recognize who Ivan was. He turned on his heel, poised to flee, but Ivan was quicker and before the man had a chance to escape, Ivan had already flung his water pipe (Natalia had returned it to his jacket pocket earlier). Even injured and weakened, Ivan still had good aim, the water pipe finding the man's head perfectly.
A smile passed over Ivan's face before he reached to down to pull the man up. The man let out an undignified squeak and something similar to amusement settled in Ivan's features. He shook the frightened man.
"You will tell me where Arthur went, da?" Ivan demanded, squeezing the man. The man quickly told Ivan what he knew: that Arthur had decided to leave for some time- which was why the mansion had been closed and everything had been moved quickly, that Arthur had just only left, that Ivan had only just missed him.
"Where is he headed?" Ivan asked, opening and closing his fingers one at a time round the man's neck.
"I don't know," the man cried, frantically trying to pry off Ivan's strong fingers. "The- the train station, he's leaving by the train station! Please don't-"
Ivan let the man fall back to the ground, the man's neck twisted oddly.
He left quickly. Hope warring with despair, his frustration flared up again with how slow he was moving.
But he still had time.
"Blasted traffic," Arthur grumbled, tapping his foot against the floor of the carriage impatiently. "It'd have been quicker to walk here."
The carriage rumbled to a stop in front of the train station. Arthur let out a sigh, "Finally."
Yao stared out into the crowd. Despite knowing it was useless, he couldn't help searching for him. Instead he caught sight of that interfering American.
"Alfred," Arthur uttered. He glanced back at Yao before leaving the carriage to try to make his way to Alfred's side.
Yao would have snorted if he were any other situation but this. Arthur was too pathetic- he had loved and lost and still he couldn't express himself properly. Even now he was only scolding and yelling at Alfred instead of saying what he really meant and Alfred was looking annoyed that Arthur was wasting his and Matthew's time.
But it did make Yao feel a little better to see Arthur in misery over a loved one.
Oh, how he wanted revenge on Arthur.
Yao blinked his eyes and cleared his head. If Arthur thought he was just going to come quietly, he was wrong. Yao had no intention of going anywhere with him. His eyes darted to the guard in front of him who wasn't even paying any attention to Yao, then to Peter who posed no threat at all.
And here was a chance.
Yao moved quickly, stunning the guard before the man knew what had happened. He ignored Peter who was staring at Yao with wide eyes, jumping out of the carriage.
He hesitated for a split second, meeting Arthur's eyes, then ran into the crowd.
At the same time that Arthur cursed and lurched forward to follow Yao, Ivan clutched the side of a small stall selling flowers. He fought down the overwhelming nausea, scanning the crowd to try to locate Yao. He ignored the people crowding around him, asking if he were sick or injured. Ivan shrugged aside a few worried hands.
In such a situation as this, Ivan couldn't help but be glad that he was so tall. Right after spotting Arthur pushing his way through the crowd towards the train platform, Ivan lunged forward, shoving disgruntled travelers out of his way.
Repeated apologies automatically left Arthur's mouth as he made his way through the throng of people.
He gasped when he broke through the crowd of people, one hand outstretched to grab on to anything to keep him from falling. His hand closed around a slim arm and two pairs of shocked and surprised eyes met, golden and emerald.
Arthur smiled thinly in relief. He didn't notice the rage in Yao's eyes. He pulled on Yao's arm, trying to drag him back to the others, but Yao remained rooted to his spot. He was surprised when Yao's fist connected with his face.
Arthur opened his mouth, but said nothing, strangely cowed by this defiant Yao.
"… Don't be ridiculous!" Arthur found his voice. "There is no choice- you're coming either by your own free will or by force."
"No," Yao persisted, pulling away from Arthur.
Arthur cursed, unable to dislodge Yao from his spot- he was unable to get close enough to strike him or to do anything else other than try to grasp at his arms.
Yao froze at the familiar voice. But- no, he was only imagining things. Arthur took Yao's distraction as an opportunity to try to wrap his arms around the Chinese boy.
"No!" Yao's hands shot out in front of him and without thinking, without having any idea of what he was doing at all, he had gripped Arthur and flung him right off the platform and on to the tracks. Arthur let loose a cry of shock and fear. He tried to stand back up, but stumbled back down on the tracks, wincing as pain shot through his ankle.
Yao's eyes flickered down the tracks and a small smile spread across his face. Arthur followed Yao's line of vision to the quickly approaching train and struggled harder, reaching to Yao for help. His eyes pleaded with Yao, but Yao stepped away into the shadows of the platform.
Suddenly he looked past Yao and his eyes widened in disbelief and fear.
Then everything was happening so quickly, the train coming into the station, people trying to rush to help, Arthur constricting in fear, and then Arthur was-
Long hair whipped around Yao's face as the train moved past him. Yao let out the breath he had unknowingly been holding and stumbled a few steps backwards.
People were running to Arthur's mangled body and a few cries rose above the crowd.
Yao clamped a hand over his mouth. He felt horrible, so horrible. What had he done?
What felt worse was the realization that if he had to go through this again, he would do the exact same thing- regret was a foreign concept at this point. He couldn't stop feeling pleased and relieved.
Yao stumbled backwards again, tripping over the ground. Strong arms surrounded and caught him. Before he could realize what was going on, Ivan was cradling him.
"Yao, Yao," Ivan murmured into Yao's hair.
"Yiwan?" Yao responded, staring, then instantly touching and tracing Ivan's face: his cheeks, his lips, his nose, anywhere he could reach. He wasn't sure if he could believe it was really him. "You're…"
"Shh," Ivan pressed his lips lightly to Yao's forehead. "Everything's fine, I'm here."
Yao closed his eyes as Ivan moved them away, wrapping his arms around Ivan's neck, hardly daring to believe he was here.
No one noticed the pair leave.
The end~ Kinda.