Author's note: Hey look-it's my first time writing an AU. Hurray! I've always wanted to try one of those! Anyway, the setting for this is turn of the century New Orleans. Specifically it's about the notorious brothel from the French Quarter, The House of the Rising Sun. (I love this setting for some reason.) I won't give out too many plot details, because the set-up will become readily apparent in this first chapter. Just know that this is a multi-chap fic. and it carries a lot of warnings: Firstly, this is a slash fic., so if that isn't your cup of tea, you might want to hit the back button now. Secondly, there will be a lot of dark themes happening in this fic., such as graphic sexual situations, abuse, violence, non-con, and the like. Consider this your trigger warning for these things. But if you're still reading this after seeing these warnings, then I say-hey, I hope you enjoy my new experimental fic.! And also, please leave a review and tell me what you think of it. I appreciate any feedback! Now, onward and upwards..
"House of the Rising Sun"
The Jewel of the Quarter
The gentle breeze that blew in from the river did little to cool off the dry simmering heat of the mid-July streets. The magnolia flowers drooped from the trees like runny egg whites, melting like cones of ice cream beneath the rays of the hot unforgiving sun. People walked the cobbled stones with a drag in their step, fanning themselves with whatever came to hand: playbills, hats, palm leaves, anything. Yu strolled along with his hands in his pockets and his head down, avoiding any and all eye contact with the people who passed by him. He was sweltering in the harsh black of his school uniform, and beads of sweat were creeping along his temples like unwanted garden slugs. He bumped into a lady holding an elaborately patterned parasol and muttered an apology under his breath. He ventured a glance up and saw a welcoming smile covering her make-up caked face. She looked like a China doll gone wrong, the summer heat having put cracks and eddies in her carefully made-up facade, the skin powdered as white as the stucco on some of the Spanish style houses in the quarter. Yu glanced away and hurried down the street, bowing his head. His posture was guilty, emitting a sense of furtiveness. He knew he shouldn't be out in the quarter. It was forbidden to him. But he had come here nonetheless.
A brass horn screeched out a warning as he darted across the road, stopping beneath a black and white sign which read Ursuline Street. He continued to walk with his head down until he came to a large townhouse outfitted with large, lacy balconies. Currently, one of the balconies was being occupied by a tall blonde woman in a white dress with ample cleavage on display. Seeing him on the sidewalk below, she leaned over the railing, showing off even more of her décolletage as she pressed herself against the bannister. "Hey, pretty boy," she cooed. "You looking for some company?"
Yu looked around him in confusion. He was currently the only one on the sidewalk so the woman must have been talking to him. With some effort, he raised his eyes, meeting her saucy, smirking gaze. He shielded his cat green eyes with a hand and yelled up at the balcony:
"Do you know where I can find Mikaela Hyakuya?"
The woman quirked an eyebrow. After a beat, she turned from the railing, yelling into a set of open French doors, "Hey Chess! Have you seen Mika?"
"Who's asking?" Another busty girl wearing a white dress with embroidered lace came out onto the balcony. She linked arms with the taller blonde woman and they both leaned like insouciant cats against the railings. The girl called Chess raised her eyebrows at Yu and turned to her companion, whispering some unheard words into her ear. Then they both burst out laughing.
Yu shifted nervously on the sidewalk below, his head swiveling left and right, on the lookout for trouble (because trouble, it seemed, followed him everywhere). When the women didn't answer him, he repeated his question. "I'm looking for Mika Hyakuya. I...I was told he might be here-"
"Oh, he's here pretty boy," interrupted the taller, blonde woman with a smirk.
Yu froze with his mouth hanging open. "Well, um, can you tell him an old friend is here to see him?"
"And would this 'old friend' happen to have a name?" Chess turned her face into the unidentified woman's arm and her shoulders shook with silent laughter as her companion continued to tease Yu with her words.
"Chess, run and tell Mika that Yu Hyakuya is here to see him." His name was spoken with such husky, salacious tones that it caused Yu to shiver in the impossibly hot summer heat. He could feel his face going red as a vined tomato as the woman continued to regard him with a silent, judgemental smirk. Then she said, her fingers teasing along the top of the railing, "Why don't you come inside? It must be terribly hot for you out there. We could make you very comfortable…"
Yu swallowed and ducked his head at her invitation. "Um, no thank you. I think I'll just wait here."
The woman propped her elbows on the rails, cupping her delicate, pointed chin in her hands. "You really are a pretty boy," she cooed. Yu continued to blush under her intense, appraising gaze. There was a flurry of activity from inside the open French doors and then Chess returned, pulling a seemingly unwilling Mika by the arm. "I told you not to disturb me when-" he was saying angrily, up until the moment he spotted Yu, then the words seemed to die on his tongue.
Yu shielded his eyes and gazed up at the indescribably beautiful boy before him. Mika was simply dressed in cream linen pants and an open white button down shirt. His blond hair was all askew, sticking out in all directions like a sea anemone. He looked like he had just rolled out of bed and thrown on his clothes, but he was still quite the sight. Long moments passed as Yu just stood there with his mouth hanging open, silently drinking in the sight of Mika standing on the balcony above him. He no longer noticed the two women, their heads bent in collusion, giggling silently just behind Mika. He no longer noticed the honking cars or the random people on the streets. No, it was as if time had suddenly stopped, had simply frozen, and it was just Mika and him, alone together in the quarter. Mika-the one boy he had been searching for, for so, so long. And now he had finally found him. Unfortunately, it was at the notorious House of the Rising Sun.
It was Mika who broke the spell first. He waved a harsh, dismissive hand at the two laughing women, and they fled into the cool, welcoming darkness of the open room behind them. Mika turned and quickly closed the wide French doors, the din of their laughter fading behind the glass panes. Then he slowly turned back and approached the balcony rails. His wide blue eyes gazed down at Yu. It was a long time before either of them spoke. Finally Mika said, in a barely heard whisper, "Yu, why did you come here?"
Yu ignored the obviously critical tone in Mika's voice. "Because I had to find you. I had to, Mika. I had-"
"-you have a comfortable life, Yu," Mika interrupted him. "You should go back to it. Your family will be upset if they find out you came here-"
"-I don't care, Mika! I don't! I only have this life because...because you…" Yu trailed off helplessly, unable to finish. His hands twisted together, and his eyes dropped to the cobbled stones, his shoe kicking viciously at a loose brick. "Do you really no longer care for me?" he asked in a plaintive whisper.
The hurt in Mika's eyes was immediate. He slumped listlessly against the rails. "Oh, Yu-chan, you know that's not it. It's just…" And then it was Mika's turn to trail off, leaving so many things unsaid, unspoken. Seeing the wan smile on Yu's face, he asked, with a raised eyebrow, "Why are you smiling like that?
"Because you called me Yu-chan, just like the old days." The smile disappeared and there appeared a new, determined look on Yu's face, a fierce set to his quivering, hardened jaw. "I'm not going to leave you here, Mika," he said firmly. "Please come down. We can leave here right now, together-"
"How did you manage to find me?" Mika cut him off with a questioning look.
A humorless grin crossed Yu's face. "I overheard some men talking about you down by the river. The jewel of the quarter, they called you-"
"Mi, Mi, Mika!"
Yu watched as Mika's whole body went rigid at the sound of his name being called from the room behind him. There was a fleeting look of fear, and Mika leaned over the rails, frantically waving Yu away. "Go, Yu! You have to leave!"
"Not without you!"
"Go!" Mika hissed, a desperate look of terror on his face. It was enough to drive Yu back a few paces. "Please Yu," he begged. "You have to go-"
"Fine, but I'm coming back for you," Yu spat determinedly. He turned on his heel and started marching angrily down the street. After a few paces, he stopped. Then, as if being pulled by a string, he turned to look back at the balcony on which Mika was still standing.
The French doors slid open with an oily creak and a tall, older gentleman with long, silvery hair came out onto the balcony. Something about the way the man approached Mika, the slow, predatory step to his gait, sent aberrant hairs standing straight up on the back of Yu's sweat soaked neck. A cold clammy chill, one that had nothing to do with the weather or the sweaty state of his own overheated body, crept along his spine with bony, skeletal fingers, setting every nerve in his body on high alert. Yu watched as the man and Mika exchanged unheard but obviously heated words, then the man reached out and grabbed Mika by the arm, pulling him back into the yawning darkness of the open room. Yu clenched his fists and felt the tiny vein on the outside of his temple begin to throb, beating out thumping spasms in time with his own pounding heart. He gritted his teeth and stomped off down the street, heading in the direction of the St. Charles Avenue trolley. His immediate hatred of the unknown man had set his teeth to grinding, shifting in time with his every step. He knew what he had to do. He had to get Mika out of there. He knew what he had to do, he just needed to do it.
He would be back...