Warnings: Yaoi, non-consensual citrusy stuff. Minor, minor spoilers.

This is partially inspired from a doujinshi at www.genkiland.com It
takes place during episode five.


*****

I hate Van Fanel on so many levels I hardly know where to
begin.

I hated him when I first heard his name. My purpose was to
eliminate him and so I despised him with every fiber of my being. Some
say that you must stay cool and composed in order to triumph over an
adversary. They're incompetent. Glory only comes when the blood is
pounding in your ears, when your heart feels ready to burst with fire,
and you raise your sword to deliver the final sentence to the infidel.
Being rational only means being capable of doubt and doubt is
weakness.

I hated him as I watched his stalk of an outline far in the
distance as he flew away on his guymelef, a dragon of such trite
symbolism it's disgusting, luring my dragon slayers and me away from
the airship. He must have been so proud of himself for his sacrifice,
and I loathed him for his stupid heroics and blatant manipulation. To
think that he could trick the lowliest foot soldier in the Zaibach army,
let alone *my* elite force is too arrogant to even be contemplated. He
probably thinks he succeeded too; we didn't follow the airship any
further.

I hated him when Folken opened the hatch and he tumbled out,
and I recognized him as that scrawny kid in Shezar's fortress. And,
oddly enough, when I first saw him there but could not know who he
was, I had hated him the most intensely. He had been so sullen and
furious, hissing accusations at me. I had burned to kill him. I wanted
to make him scream his apology with the last remnant of air left in his
bleeding lungs. So I didn't even give him the honor of m acknowledgment,
in favor of interrogating Allen's strange woman. It had been gratifying to
feel his eyes drilling uselessly through my back, unable to provoke me
without my permission.

And I hate him now, as I stare at his damn guymelef, which
Folken is too sentimental and sloppy to destroy, because I completed
the mission and captured him and I'm still thinking about how much I
hate him.

I was dwelling on it when he was just that angry boy in the
stronghold. His clothing and hair and attitude had been too dark and
unassuming to blend in with Asturian pomp, and the memory of him
was a distinctive ripple in my mind. Now that he's the dragon, I can
feel his eyes on me even though he's in a cell on the deck below,
probably drugged out of his mind. It's stupid and nonsensical. I want
to hurt him for it.

I also loathe this guymelef, which won't let me activate it and
is an outdated piece of crap if I ever saw one. Folken finds me sitting
in front of it and looks at me as if I should feel ashamed of something.
I just stare at him, I know my eyes are strange and gorgeous and
intimidating, and he eventually looks away although it wasn't a
submissive gesture. Folken's wrapped that black cloak around himself
as tightly as possible and his expression, always pensive and
ambivalent, is downright mournful. His native land and name have
never been very well kept secrets, and it's easy to see Folken's just
had a long overdue sibling bonding session. He's not fit for Zaibach if
he's willing to care about something as meaningless as disapproval.

"What are you still doing here, Dilandau?" There's a warning
in his voice that I'm not concerned with. Folken may outrank me but I
am far above him.

I stretch leisurely before I answer because I'm not sure why
I'm still in the landing bay, staring at this fossil of a guymelef.
Inexplicably, my mind flashes to Van. I didn't control the thought and
anger is smoldering in my chest although I'm not quite sure at whom
yet. Still, the anger, the potential of a focus, is a good sign.

"Just wondering how this tin can is a threat to us," I answer,
disdain smooth and dripping from my voice as it should. "How's the
brat doing?"

Folken's looking at me sternly, disapproving of how I belittled
both his folklore and his family in less than fifteen words. He should
know that he can't divide the facets of his loyalty between two
countries as he sees fit. He should know his old ties have no merit in
the first place. Folken's pathetic, one of the thousands worthy of my
scorn.

"The dragon is stable," Folken says at length, with his usual
quiet repose. For some absurd reason I feel relief where I hadn't
known there had been tension.

*****

I have never been this infuriated in my entire life.

I have felt stronger emotions in battle: rage, exhilaration,
pleasure that had coursed through my veins more potent than blood.
Those guide me. Whatever is bothering me now is only scratching the
surface consciousness, making me tense and twitchy for reasons I
can't define. The ambiguity of both the emotion and its cause irritates
me. The Dragon Slayers can sense my annoyance and act especially
cautious around me, which only pronounces my mood.

"Dilandau-sama?" Chesta is saying, meek and cringing as
always. Honestly, if I wasn't here to protect them, these boys would
be completely defenseless. It's almost sad.

"What?" I ask, bored.

He cowers. "So... w-what should we do about it, Dilandau-
sama?"

"Do about what?" I never pay much attention to these reports
of my men; today I'm downright ignoring them. I look at Chesta --
really look at him -- for the first time since I earned a higher rank
than him, since he was no longer a potential threat. He's so slight;
he looks like he could barely fight a breeze. Pale too-- his eyes,
his skin, his hair even the light blue of his uniform, are infant soft
colors. All of the Dragon Slayers are pale, come to think of it.
Van's hair is so black it soaks up the light. He has the permanently
dark skin of someone who has spent too much time in bald fields...

Someone must have enchanted me. There's no other
explanation for this.

I ask, "Where's the dragon being kept?" before Chesta can tell
me the problem. Or whatever it is.

"Dilandau-sama?"

I raise my eyebrows skeptically. "Tell me you know who the
dragon is."

Chesta almost looks indignant. I didn't know he had it in him.
"Of course, Dilandau-sama. He's being kept in room 24b on the
second floor."

It figures that Folken would put a prisoner of war in a guest
room. I head for the stairs, ignoring Chesta's stammering questions. I
don't know what will happen, what I will do, and I don't care. Plans
are other people's concerns. I succeed because I care about the
victory, not the means to it.

******

The room is large, a lamp in the corner the only source of the
grainy blue light. It's almost empty except for a table and a bed by the
far wall where Van lies, an unobtrusive, flat shadow. I was right,
Folken had put him out. Real display of filial affection, that. I don't
know what Folken makes that stuff from but more than a milligram
can make a damn *beastman* woozy. Van doesn't sweat or cry out in
his forced sleep like most people I've seen under the influence do. He
lies flat on his back, arms at his sides, palms down. It doesn't look
natural, but it doesn't look chemically induced either. He's all
smooth, long lines; he could be floating, could be hovering above
something beautiful.

Every instinct I have screams that I should kill him but,
although I know he is a threat -- almost solely because I can't explain
why he is threat -- my hand doesn't move towards my sword. Folken is
right about some things; a problem needs to be understood before it
can be eliminated.

I wonder what they're going to do with him. I know Folken,
maybe even Dornkirk-sama, wants him to join the Zaibach cause, but
he seems the type who would slit his throat and gracefully fall into the
roaring sea from a high cliff rather than change his mind. One of the
generals will probably end up killing him when no one is looking
although it would be a waste of resources. Van looks like he could
be... useful.

I stare at him in the dark, want him to wake up. I probably
couldn't shake him awake although it would be fun to try. A lock of
his scattered hair (what does he *do* to get it in that sort of disarray?
Cut it himself with his eyes shut?) is arced forward almost over his
nose and my hand reaches to brush it off his face before I recognize
the action. I jerk it back viciously.

I was stupid before; Van should die. I should be the one to kill
him. I'm owed that much.

I don't know how long I spend there, almost as still and silent
as the boy I'm waiting for, before Van wakes up. He doesn't groan or
stretch or give any sign that he's conscious until he opens his eyes. He
blinks, orienting himself in this unfamiliar place with no real
expression. It's a surprising show of willpower and I'm impressed in
spite of myself.

I'm careful not to make noise, but Van's eyes flicker quickly in
my direction and he almost jumps off the bed, landing in a defensive
crouch. He assesses the room, checks to see if he still has his sword
-- which he does not -- before looking directly at me. His eyes are wary
and his voice is raspy and cold as he asks, "What the hell do you
want?"

I don't answer just to annoy the little brat, studying him coolly
down the length of my nose. On average, the tranquilizer lasts for a
little over a day. Van woke up in hours but the effort has taken its
tole. For all his brave words and quick reflexes the drug's still in his
system and I can almost see him sway side to side as he glares at me,
struggling for his normally easy balance. He's breathing hard too but
that's due to anger as much as weakness. I imagine the two of us from
profile. Van: as close to feeble as he'll ever be, furious and irrational.
Me: tall, elegant, arrogant white in the face of his muddiness. I am
clearly the one in control. I am the master of what will happen here.

Van's straightening up his shoulders and surveying the room
more carefully, taking advantage of my silence to compose himself. He
doesn't stay calm for very long as I continue to stare at him, quiet
spinning around the room, and finally snaps, "Well?"

I purse my lips. "I was just trying to figure out," I say steadily.
"Why they considered you worth the trouble."

His expression is surprised, almost upset, before it sets
resolutely iron. I think I might have hurt his feelings and the idea is too
funny not to continue. "Really, a floating fortress was commissioned
and my men and I were called in to capture you. Both the best of the
best. It didn't take enough time and effort to justify all that expense,
don't you think?"

Van's not a hard read -- his hands are clenched and his eyes are
piercing and he's almost shaking with rage. Only his exhaustion and a
spider's thread of reason is preventing him from killing me. Good. He
despises me as much as I despise him.

But then he looks to his side for almost a minute, expression thoughtful,
like he's listening to something, then turns back to me, still angry
but less wild. He draws himself up to his full height, which isn't
impressive. Something must have stunted his growth years ago
or limited it to his temper and his eyes. Van stares at me, mouth
solemn and gaze level enough to intimidate someone else. I just
stare back.

"I'm not afraid of you," he says.

I snort. That's a standard line, a lie to bolster spirits that I
shortly break, but Van doesn't sound particularly defiant or defensive.
He hates me, would not hesitate to torture me if our situations were
reversed, but he does not regard me with fear. His message is clear;
he is unarmed and unable to fight and I might be able to hurt him here,
but I can never break him.

And I realize that's why I came here. I want to crush him, warp
him, hurt him in ways in which he can not even conceive. I want to
see him scream and writhe and whimper in every possible kind of pain
before I allow him to die. I want to make him beg, to shatter his pride.

And he has just extended the challenge.

I smirk. Now that I know the goal, this will be easy. "Then
you're a damn idiot. Folken might be stupid and sappy enough to give
you this fancy little room and not shackle you to the wall but the rest
of the entire Zaibach nation would gladly see you burn. Shezar and
whatever is left of his crew can't find you here and we'll take Asturia
soon, in any case. You failed your kingdom, you failed your friends
and you're trapped like a rat and left to our mercies. Honestly, I don't
see why you're so important that someone as timid as Folken would
extend all this effort to capture you, but he did and you're stuck."

At the mention of his brother Van bites his lip and looks at a
spot on the floor a few feet in front of him. So they did have a little
family reunion. I can't see his face for the duration of my speech but
he looks up at me again when I'm done. He blinks hard once but his
eyes are still a little wet as he says very softly, "Don't insult Folken."

Suddenly I am blindingly furious that that cold fish gets this
sort of reaction from Van when he sees me as only worthy of his
condescension. I cross the room in three quick strides and slap him
across the face as hard as I have ever slapped any of my men. Van lets
his head roll with the blow so he must have seen it coming, but he
doesn't try to dodge it or even acknowledge the pain even though my
hand print is a vivid, precise mark blooming on his cheek.

He turns his head back slowly, takes a deep breath and
punches me so hard I can imagine my jaw shattering like glass. I didn't
expect him to fight back for some ridiculous reason. Perhaps I've been
around the Dragon Slayers too long. I take the hit clumsily, tripping
back a few feet with a grunt.

I recover quickly though. I always do. My anger has past
coherence, turned into liquid metal rage. I hit him again and again and
again, joy fluttering deep in my chest at every solid crunch of my fist
meeting bone. Van's in no position to resist, that punch must have
taken his last reserves of strength, and soon he's curled up on the
floor, trying to protect his throat and stomach. I kick him open, force
him straight and flat on his back, then draw my sword and hold it at
the concave of where the neck meets the throat. He's sensible enough
to keep still but he glares up at me, bleeding in some places and
breathing jaggedly.

"You gonna kill me?" he hisses, tone acid but voice garbled
and weak.

I stare at him for a little before I understand that this particular
provocation is intentional. I have humiliated him beyond a king's
tolerance and he wants to die fighting and defiant. It would be sensible
to kill him now while I'm certain that I can and he is weak and
bleeding on the floor like I wanted, but... I don't. I just don't and I'm
not sure why.

In the midst of my hesitation, Van slowly starts to reach for the
blade of my sword, either to fight it from me or push it away. I step on
his hand and grind my foot before he gets far, and Van, for the first
time in my presence, winces in pain.

"Folken was pampering you leaving you unbound," I inform
him, my voice almost jarring in the blanketing silence this room seems
to demand. I fish a red cord out of my pocket, which is strong but
thin, the kind any good Zaibach soldier has. Folding my sword under
my arm I tie his hands behind his back, which takes more time than
effort as he's in no position to resist but does so anyway. He even tries
to kick me a few times. Satisfied that the knots are tight and biting-- if
Van struggles he will bleed and the drying blood will fuse the ropes
together --I stand back up and again keep my sword a whisper away
from the juncture of his throat and chest.

Van's gasping for any air he can get now, his face lined with
pain. His eyes could be mirrors of my own anger. "Well? You gonna?"

I won't kill him. I know that as surely as I know my name.
Death would be too easy, I want him soulless and crying and... and...

Van's lower lip has split somewhere along the way and a little
blood is trickling down his chin. I bend down again, wipe it off with a
finger where it looks so much darker on my pale skin. I rub the blood
off on his shirt, my eyes wandering to the ties, which have partially
come undone and expose much more of his chest. I look up at his face
again and the anger in his eyes has melted to uncertainty as he cranes
his neck up to see what exactly I am doing. He looks... sweet in his
vulnerability.

And it hits me with the force and heat of an actual dragon that
I'm here because I want him desperate and naked and squirming
beneath me. I want him to belong to me in ways he'll never belong to
anyone ever again. I want him bruised and aching, profoundly hurting
in almost the way he's hurting me.

Bile rises in my throat. I feel nauseous, almost dizzy. I was
taught about these sort of biological urges -- which is all they are,
biological urges -- but they have never applied to me. I am above that,
untouchable, clean and perfect. I am superior to the masses
surrounding me. These impulses are disgusting, shameful when I never
should have a reason to feel shame. Van deserves worse than I can do
to him for bringing this out in me.

"You're not worth dirtying my sword." I finally say. I walk
across the room, checking and fixing any imperfections in my uniform.
I hear Van panting and something soft rubbing against stone and when
I finally look over he's is struggling to rise to his feet. It's no small
feat; his arms are useless, he's injured, weak and drugged. His eyes are
closed in concentration as he uses the support of the wall behind him
to prop himself up bit by scraping bit. It occurs to me, as it has always
occurred to me, how very childlike and inexperienced Van looks. He
has to be at least my age and he's all wiry muscles and focus but I
don't think he's *done* very much.

"Have you ever killed anyone, Van?" I ask, surprising myself,
but I have the presence to whirl around and put my hands on my hips
mockingly, all gleaming red and white and gorgeous.

Van jerks his head up, surprised by the question, surprised by
my voice. He probably forgot I was here. He barely glances at me
before going back to what he was doing.

I am by his side, grabbing him from just under the chin and
lifting him off his feet to slam his head into the wall, before he has time
to react. "I will not be ignored," I say in his ear, a silky purr.
"Especially by you. Answer the question Van."

He kicks and twists around uselessly until he either sees the
futility or just runs out of the energy to fight back. All the good
money's on the latter. He glares at me then scowls at the floor,
muttering, "I killed a dragon to become king."

"I asked if you've killed someone, not something."

Again, Van doesn't answer. I squeeze as if I want my fingers
to meet my palm and, almost wheezing, he shakes his head.

"What was that?" I ask mildly. "I couldn't hear you."

"No," Van spits out as if the word is sour in his mouth. I keep
my grasp for a little while before letting him go. Van slumps back
against the wall limp with relief, closing his eyes.

"Really never? You've never killed *anyone* in your entire
life?" I'm incredulous and smug. He may effect me strangely but I am
innately superior to this boy.

"No," Van says again, colder than winter but in his normal
voice as if merely disagreeing with a friend. The ring of my hands is
brilliant scarlet around his neck although my palm print is starting to
fade. "I don't kill people needlessly. I'm not an animal."

I don't care what happens, what I do now. I just want to wring
the condescension out of him. I grab Van by his shirt, pull him so close
our noses are almost touching. His eyes are wide black moons.

"You little bastard," I snarl. Some analytical, remote, part of
myself notes that I'm showing too much anger. "You think you can
judge me?"

"I'd be too disgusted by what I would find," he hisses back.
He's radiating heat, the only heat in this icy blue room, and trying to
struggle free of my grasp. I hate him and I never want to let him go.

I don't think about the consequences of what I do. It's one of
my greater strength. I honestly don't care about what the results might
be when I pull Van so close he fits into the curves of my body, grab
him by the back of his head and kiss him hard. It's a long kiss, a
painful one. I bite his lip until I taste blood and grip his hair until I
might pull it out.

Van freezes rigid with shock, his eyes almost bugging out,
which I must admit is satisfying. Then he starts to struggle with
strength I thought had gone by now. He might have been able to fight
me off in healthier times but Van can barely stand, and I only grip him
tighter every time he pushes away until I can feel the pressure of each
of his ribs, the mad staccato of his heartbeat. He switches tactics and
goes completely limp, sagging so heavily I almost have to support him.
This is not nearly as fun. I yank on a clump of his hair hard enough to
feel the pressure on each individual strand, making him squirm a little
from pure instinct. Only then do I let him go.

Van stumbles back, gasping one great gasp of air as if he's
been swimming or something. He's winded and flustered and I savor
my composure, although it only stems from refusing to think about
what just happened. Van looks at me and there is so much surprise
and uncertainty in his eyes it can almost be fear.

"Shit," he almost whispers. "What was that about?"

I walk towards him slowly, calmly. Van obviously wants to run
but his honor won't let him and he tries to stand tall as I grab his chin.
Idiot.

"Shut up," I tell him, before kissing him again, my teeth
clinking against his. I don't try anything more than that, anything with
my tongue. He probably bites.

Van plays it smart by going limp immediately. I use it to my
advantage, tossing his dead weight on the bed and straddling him
before he can realize it. It wouldn't even matter if he had the time. He
can't overpower me now. Blood is running down the side of his face
and I lick it up before kissing down his neck, relishing its metallic tang
and his involuntary shiver. Van's body is one long line, he's that rigid,
that tense. He's trembling slightly, I don't know with what until I
mouth his adam's apple and he starts thrashing again, unable to
tolerate anymore.

A few of his ribs are bruised, possibly broken, from either
when his guymelef was captured or the past few minutes. Either way
I'm responsible and when he winces as I push on his ribcage with the
heel of my hand I'm grimly, possessively, pleased. I hate him more
than I ever thought possible; every time I think I hate him to the
capacity of human malevolence he finds a way to make me hate him
more.

My body is reacting, I'm powerless to stop it, and he has the
audacity to act brave and heroic, as if he's the one who's being taken
advantage of. All he's losing is his innocence. That's an eventuality,
only a result of experience. I was *pure* before now. I was
unreachable. My perfection is evaporating before my eyes, fading with
every touch.

He can't hide a high, unhealthy, hitching inhalation as I punch
him with the force of all my disgust. "Shut up," I order again.

He fixes me with a glower that could peel paint. I ignore it,
lean down close and murmur next to his ear. "Be quiet or I'll kill you.
Do you want your people to be leaderless? Do you want them to find
you dead like this?"

I feel him tense, constrict like a snake, before he forces himself
to relax slowly and grudgingly, muscle by muscle. Always a dutiful
king. I chuckle. I can't help it. The guy is too awful at mind games.

I ruffle his hair almost affectionately. "Now that's a good
boy." Van snarls silently and I laugh again, keeping an eye on him as I
take off my shirt. Just because he can't hurt me doesn't mean he won't
try. I'm trembling too now, and I bite his neck hard for bringing out
this weakness in me.

The tiniest of tiny whimpers escapes Van's throat as I tear a
line down the front of his tunic. His eyes are shut tightly, as if this
might not be happening if he can't see it, and his expression is
miserably resigned as he tries to be stoic. I rip off his shirt impatiently
but I can only stare at his bare chest for a time after that. How could I
ever think he was scrawny? Van is slender but all hard, exquisitely
defined muscle and smooth, tan skin. He could not be more different
then me yet somehow he's beautiful. I trace the lines of his torso, its
muscles and a nearly invisible network of scars, with the tip of one
finger, then with my mouth.

Van's nipple pebbles when I graze it with my teeth, which
makes me smirk. He couldn't have hit puberty over six months ago
and this is almost certainly the first time anyone's touched him this
way. Even if it's on only a primitive, physical level, his body's
responding. I worm my leg in between his, which is harder than one
might think he's still so stubborn, and shift into the growing warmth
there. Again it's more than he can take and again he's fighting me. I
pin his shoulders to the bed and stare at him but move my knee back a
fraction. Van's eyes are glittering and the color is high in his cheeks.
He breaths deep and hard. I've never seen anything like him.

I kiss his mouth again, almost gently this time, as if all this is
about affection and not anger and control. I can feel Van's surprise at
this sudden tenderness and, for a brief, heady moment, his whole body
softens. He doesn't kiss back, I would be suspicious if he did, but he
becomes passive. For a few seconds I'm not trespassing, not
overpowering him.

And some hazy part of my brain wonders if this is what I really
want.

The fortress shakes heavily with the heavy weight of what can
only another ship. I sit back on my haunches, concentrating as there's
another thump, shorter this time. The ventilation communication
device Folken's been tinkering around with recently crackles into use,
broadcasting Gatty's desperate voice. "Dilandau-sama!"

I slide off the bed, standing up. "What happened?"

"We're being boarded, Dilandau-sama! Please come quickly!"

"By who?"

"Allen," Van says softly to himself. Then his eyes grow
puzzled but pleased, soft. "Hitomi..."

"I'll be right there," I assure Gatty. "Just give me a minute."
The device turns off and I look back at Van.

He's sitting up now, still half naked, his arms bound behind his
back. The implications of I've just done, of what I was about to do,
occur to me. I've never felt so sick. Van watches me suspiciously as I
walk over to him, unsure of what I am capable of doing to him now.
After all that's happened he still doesn't flinch as I draw my sword or
as I raise it. I slash the rope binding his wrists in a quick, expert cut. In
my last glance of Van he's rubbing his hands, trying to bring back the
circulation, and watching as I put on my shirt then close the door and
lock it when I leave.

I try to think as I walk the hallways, my eyes adjusting to the
light. I am relieved, I decide, relieved beyond measure that I was
called away when I was. My hatred can still be pure. I will still be
pure. Van will be taken away and soon he'll barely be a memory,
someone of no consequence who has no effect on me. I can hardly
wait to have him gone from my life, one way or another.

I draw my sword and go to face the menace ahead.

The End