Views From Babylon

Raitei is watching tonight; lightning burns deep in his eyes as he sits on the pile of boxes and metal, echoing the slow crawl and crackle of power behind tonight's thick clouds. It goes as far up as Babylon City, that observation. He is aware of them. They are aware of him. They are aware of everything below them, human and virtual and mechanical and potential. He is aware of that. It goes around in little circles; perception, watching, considering, but never yet action. The others, around him; he is aware of them, too, but remote. The Thunder Emperor does not condescend to mortals, let alone bed them. He leads them, but he is not of them.

Raitei lies beside Kazuki tonight, and the other's hair spreads over them both in a loose cloak of dark brown silk, thick and rich and smelling of spices. Kazuki went to sleep first, as though being awake while Raitei slept could somehow suggest disloyalty. Kazuki is a fine princeling, beautiful and quick and dangerous, the Prince of Battle Terror indeed, but when he is next to Raitei his eyes are all for the Thunder Emperor (and who could be jealous of that, who at all) and he falls towards him like a death's-head moth towards the lightning. Kazuki lays aside his power and his privilege and everything that went with being the leader of Fuuga, and bends for Raitei like any other member of Volts, and Raitei accepts it. And Raitei bows for nobody. And the strings that tie them together burn with passion, because Kazuki's family is old, and Kazuki knows that you give everything to your leader, and Raitei accepts this also, and there is nobody else behind Raitei's eyes.

Kazuki is making love to Juubei. Juubei doesn't know words like "screw" or "fuck" -- they don't exist for him (any more than they exist for his sister, of course) but lovemaking and respect and coupling and affection and the inability to draw himself away, all of them exist, and he runs his hands through Kazuki's hair as he spreads his legs for his master, and the bells ring, they ring for him, he is Kazuki's, he is doing something necessary for his Prince, and there is nothing else for him, not dead family, not living family, not lost home, not Mugenjou, not anything except Kazuki's eyes and voice and skin and hair. The world is compassed by two bodies.

Juubei and Toshiki and Kazuki and Sakura lie curled in a pile together tonight, snuggled together like puppies, and folds of hair and skin and clothing and sashes all blend together into a crumpled swirl of colours. The sensuality of it is something that they have yet to grow into; tonight they are children, close together in the cold, curled up for comfort, for the knowledge of friends and family and love.

Kazuki went to Shido's bed tonight. He might have been curious, or he might have been amused, or he might have been genuinely desiring the other's body, but neither of them pretended anything about love. He bent beneath Shido like a willow, and at first it was mouth against mouth, and then it was skin against skin, and then it was the two of them together in a tangle of sheets, and Shido took Kazuki as one animal takes another, harsh and angry and burning, and Kazuki threw his head back and cried out, and afterwards they slept together with Shido's arm thrown across Kazuki's body and Shido's face buried in Kazuki's hair.

Shido is watching Sakura thoughtfully. He considered Kaoru earlier, but she is too dangerous for him, quite besides the fact that she is Ginji's bitch and would not bark for any other master. Even then, she isn't part of the inner circle. Sakura, on the other hand, might, or she might not; she could, or she could not; she will, or she will not; and Juubei will be ignorant, or he will not. Her skin would be like cream, once stripped of her constant veils of clothing, and her eyes -- her eyes would be silent, as always. But would it break the pack's harmony? He is not certain, and while that remains, he lets her be conscious of his eyes on her, and leaves it to her to choose where her steps will take her.

Makubex is watching Shido. Of all of Volts, Shido is the King most in tune with nature, with those things of the body which Makubex does not understand. Shido walks like a wolf, like a great cat, like a predator poured into human shape but still moving with animal grace and ferocity, with such casual mastery, and Makubex balls himself up like an unhappy child (but he is an unhappy child) and will not ask, will not speak, and holds himself still until the moment is gone and he can turn back to the cool light of his computer screen again, until he can fall back into the world of data where everything has answers and where there is nothing to desire or fear.

Makubex plays with his computer, the rattling of his fingers on the keys like branches in a high wind tapping against the window. He can see what is going on around him, of course; he would have to be blind not to. He had the "talk" from his grandfather, and he didn't let the old man know that he'd already read it all years before off various Net archives. Really, it all looks so . . . fleshy. Physical. Sweaty. There have been things which he read which intrigued him, but for the moment, he would rather spend his time on his computer.

Makubex nestles up to Raitei's leg and leans his cheek against the older youth's thigh, comforted by physical presence, physical warmth. He is the youngest, and so they all look after him, letting him near, watching over him; while he is the mightiest of them all on the networks, he is physically weak, a younger sibling to be protected, a child to be cared for. Tonight he sleeps with Raitei, tomorrow night he will sleep with someone else, and each time he clings to the other in the bed so desperately, as though he fears that he will vanish in the night and nothing will be left of him. Nothing at all.

Sakura sleeps sitting upright tonight, because Makubex has fallen asleep with his head in her lap, and she does not wish to disturb him. She has thrown a fold of her shawl across him to keep him warm, for the night is cold. Behind her she can hear her brother and Kazuki together, and her brow creases, then relaxes. She is concerned about her brother. He cannot be the only person Kazuki will ever love. Kazuki is their lord, and their family has been in service to his for centuries, and if Kazuki should turn away from Juubei, or should reach out and beckon another to his side and his bed -- Uryuu Toshiki, or even herself -- then there will be nothing that Juubei can do but bow his head and accept it. And Juubei will do this, she knows he will, but his heart will break. She is afraid of the note that she will hear in her voice, the pain that she will see in his eyes, and she does not know what she can do that will save him.

Toshiki and Sakura lie together in his blankets. Kazuki smiles to see what he assumes to be shared pleasure, and Juubei does not disapprove (or not more than he would of any man who came near to his sister), and neither Toshiki nor Sakura see any need to speak the truth. Sakura is not the person who Toshiki desires, nor is she the person who he wishes to punish, but the night is dark, and cold, and she does not answer him when he asks her why she comes. In the glare of the lightning which streaks the skies above, he raises his arms to hold her, and she lays down her burdens for a little while.

Toshiki asked him, and Kazuki agreed as if it were nothing important, a mere casual exchange of intimacies. Kazuki agreed, and now Kazuki lies underneath Toshiki, and Toshiki has possession of that lean body, those slender hips, that pale skin, that dark hair which he has so many times stopped himself from reaching out to touch. He has watched that hair grow, and with every day he has wanted more and more to touch it with that ignorant protective ownership which Juubei so unthinkingly asserts, and he has watched Kazuki grow taller, and he has watched and now he has it all, the voice, the hands, the eyes, the hair, the body, all of it, and -- and it was given to him without a second thought, and it should be everything he has ever desired. And it isn't. He can please Kazuki, he can serve him, he can screw him, and still Kazuki will always want Juubei more than him, and it isn't fair.

Juubei sleeps with Kazuki. The passion is past, and now comes the sweeter part for him, that moment when Kazuki is curled up in sleep, utterly defenceless, utterly trusting, utterly his. There is nothing in the world he wants more than Kazuki. There is nothing in the world he would not do for Kazuki. Love and loyalty and pride burn in him and make his lips curve once more as he lies there, not yet choosing to sleep, wanting a few more moments to enjoy the sensation of knowing how much Kazuki trusts him, how much Kazuki depends on him. He was born to protect Kazuki. It is good to love what one lives for.

Masaki lies next to Raitei, pondering affection and necessity in the slow afterglow of orgasm. Raitei snores. Raitei is very young in some ways, but old in others. The Thunder Emperor cannot be a child. Embracing him is dangerous and exciting; the light against the lightning, power against power, strength against strength. He rather likes the boy. He hopes that he won't have to kill him.

Masaki sits casually, one leg draped over the other, light dancing in his eyes. Everything is going just as it should. This is a great relief to him. There are all sorts of things that he could do in order to make sure that events progressed as they should, and he is fond enough of these children that he would rather not do such things. Matters are in order; Mugenjou is stabilising; his masters are pleased. He glances towards Raitei and sees that the Thunder Emperor is beckoning him to join them. Very well. Babylon City rises darkly above him, above them all.

Sparks in the shadow of Babylon City, the Emperor and all those round him huddle together against the dark, and touch in desire or fear or hope or simple fondness. If they are watched from above, then the watchers are silent and make no sign. Raitei looks up at Babylon City, and lightning crackles between his fingers, stirs in his blood, whispers in his breath. Surely he will never leave these people; they are his to protect and care for, his to love.


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